B2B Growth: Your Daily B2B Marketing Podcast
B2B Growth: Your Daily B2B Marketing Podcast

Episode 1698 · 6 months ago

Playbooks to Remedy Decision Fatigue with Faton Gjuka

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

In this episode, Benji talks to Faton Gjuka, Operating Partner atSumeru Equity Partners.

As marketing leaders, we are looking to expedite the learning process of our team members. One way to do that is to have playbooks in place for our team to run when specific situations arise. While this is common practice in some companies, Faton provides a unique approach that we can all learn from.

Hey be to be growth listeners. We want to hear from you. In fact, we will pay you for it. Just head over to be tob growth podcom and complete a short survey about the show to enter for a chance to win two hundred and fifty dollars. Plus. The first fifty participants will receive twenty five dollars as our way of saying thank you so much one more time. That's be tob growth podcom, letter B number two, letter be growth podcom. One entry per person must be an active listener of the show to enter, and look forward to hearing from you conversations from the front lines and marketing. This is be tob growth. Welcome back to be tob growth. I'm your host, Benjie Block, and today I am joined by Faton Juca Phaton. Welcome into be to be growth. Thanks, Benjie, thanks for having me. I appreciate this. So you're bringing us a unique vantage point today, man, because you are the operating partner at some Mary Equity Partners, which is a mouthful. Some people can be like, what exactly does Faton do? So let's start there, because you bring a very unique perspective. You sit in the unique seat where you're getting perspective on man a vast like variety of companies in a time of extreme growth. Right. So just give me a backstage pass. What's your daytoday like? What are you working on? Sure, thank you for having me. My name is Poton Zuoka. I'm an operating partner Sumereu eguy partners. It's a growth equity firm focus in mid market technology companies, specifically invest in in bb says or based in San Francisco, California, and we're focused on founder operated businesses with significant growth potential. So that that's that's where I work. I am a recovering former operator and the different, unique point of view to this where we have...

...value creation team at Sumero, so ceremer value creation teams come Brat is a team inhouse of professionals ranging from vice president all the way to manage and directors, and we're all full time employees and everyone is a former operator, from CEO's on down, and we usually are very strong in one a few functional areas and then we bring that experience, those learnings, that thoughtful pattern recognition to our portfolio companies, working closely and very collaboratily with our teams to achieve the growth objectives that we've set for different companies are different, different goals. So that's the background of the firm and where my role is on the firm and how I engage with portfolio companies. Let me ask you this when, because you're working with portfolio companies, like, what are some of the common obstacles that you see these companies you're working with? What, like, what are they facing? Yeah, so, because we focus on lower middle market tech, a lot of the portfolic companies that we invest in, our founder let and the founders have done a great job, great amount of hustle and effort to get the companies from zero to this point and usually by the time they're getting ready to accept investment with us, they are they want to professionalize certain functional areas and and certain leadership roles. And so part of the challenge, and part of, you know, where we help, is to show what great looks like for companies of this scale about to hit the gas and hypergrowth mode. And so at the end of the day it's all about people and it's a people business. So finding the right people in the right place and the dynamics and how the team is being structured those are usually some of the key levers and also presents the most challenging also the most opportunity for this to be successful. Hmm, okay, so let's talk about a little bit of what you do specifically, because essentially you're wearing multiple hats. You've got to be able to multiply yourself and your learnings. You're speaking while we can't see the audience right it's like you're speaking to a room full of marketers right now and they're going to resonate with that where it's like, man, I...

...need to basically be able to clone myself, multiply myself, multiply my learnings. But you've had to do this, and so I wonder what are some of the ways that you've had to multiply and kind of scale yourself in your work? Sure, yeah, so a little bit more context as well, and I'm going to get to that point. And because we have an active portfolio, ten to twelve companies at a time. Yeah, so it's superpose. It's a marrow. My focus is driving growth of the across the portfolio. Companies specific to go to market. So this this also includes marketing and sales. I have a very hands on approach with portfolio companies has spent a lot of time with the companies. I've also served an interim roles for them. So logistically how this works is that if a portfolio company doesn't have a marketing function or sales function, of served that role is interim head of marketing for a couple months while we've built infrastructure, we have hired people and that gives us enough time to hire a full time a better version of myself to as a permanent replacement. So that could be part of the job. Also working multiple environments, like you said, but always focused on what can I bring from a digital marketing lead generation, sales operations, pipeline management, pricing, channel strategy, common management. These ares are the areas that I focus and the question what you're asking is like, well, you know, those are a lot of different capabilities within go to market and you have a portfolio companies like car to you be effective, and this is where we've developed a set of sort of repeatable processes across the different portfolio companies. That that how do you help or folic companies with the thoughtful powder recognition, and we do it through growth programs. So we have created a program of coll it of continuous engagement that's designed to drive these business capabilities to be transformed to so they're more effective and performing better and in a way that they can be worked together...

...in a collaborative manner with the with a functional leader, and be able to drive drive results. I don't in the industry people might call these playbooks. We shy away from that. Were in this and I explain the difference is nuance or not play books in a sense that they are not you pose on anybody. Like when I think of playbook, think of a football playbook, plays being called and that's what's me extually during the field. If these are are a collection of best practices that we're working closely with the management. So usually had a marketing or head of sales or even somebody like had of REV opposite is reporting to head of marketing about moving a certain function. They're not imposed on anyone. If a portfolio company has its own approach that is successful and scale book, we are more than okay to give the management the flexibility to stick around with what works right. I love that you're clarifying that right from the the top of this conversation too, because one of the things here at be to be growth that we really stress a lot is the need for mindset shifts and not just here's a one, two, three, do this exactly this way, this best practice and then you're done, wash your hands of it, but instead, like what do we need to adopt right like what's the mindset that we should take on, the wisdom that's necessary to grow in scale, something instead of just, like you said, a playbook where it's just do this exact thing, coach calls the play and we're done. So thank you for clarifying that and I love what you're saying. Pattern, recognition, repeat a processes, continuous engagement. Those are things that we're all thinking about and you're doing this in a in a very unique way. Anything else you want to add there? Yeah, thank you for opportunity to a little bit in dolls on this. So you could have playbooks for anything. Of Growth Programs. We focus on the points of maximum impact, like can we really drive this? Because that's what's going to drive the growth as a company? And then, because you're working with people and and you have very...

...capable people on the other side, they are running their teams and but they only need this an area in certain part and that that's when they've reached out to you or you've identified and then you're working with them. So the growth programs are a very pragmatic and action oriented ways on how the management can improve that specific business process and our firm we're very proud working collaboratily in a partnership with management. So we these growth playbooks are widely share. Their incredibly helpful for the executives that want them and the you. We receive a lot of positive feedback. Management teams appreciate the dedication to share in these best practices in a collaborative approach to the value cuation. Yep, okay, so let's go. Let's start to go a little more practical here and just maybe give us a little bit more detailed context around what one of these growth programs might look like, because people are going to have in their mind right some and idea of what a playbook is. A lot of businesses are going to have something like what were are alluding to here, but your approach is different and it's unique in some ways. Give me some context around what a growth program really looks like, right, so let's focus for let's go deeper in marketing. One of the most helpful and successful frameworks to marketing for us has been revenue marketing. It's a term that's come up in the last couple of years and I can slay what that means to us and how we help or folid companies through this framework to be able to achieve their growth objectives. In a nutshell, revenue marketings everything should funnel to revenue, so everyone's goals are tiled the sales goals, which is to generate revenue. And the Revenue Marketing Framework has played a significant rolling growth for our companies and we'll continue to increase this and increasingly right. And so how do you achieve this? We show that and we can help the companies, you know, realize this. The first we commit the small improvements. So what does it mean like? Can we break up every process we currently have in focus on improving those processes by one to two percent? So it's the additional marginal gains. So if we were to...

...map out of framework at a high level, without considering any acronyms here, what are the repealable processes that we relently focus every hour, every day, every month, and then we increase can we improve those two white one percent a week and then it's just like the law of compounding interests. If you have this one, twenty fivezeros growing in one percent every day, you have a million dollars by the end of the year. That's the the approach that we do. Such just a commitment to small improve it's okay, and breaking up the processes that are important to revenue. Let that's sort of level zero. The second there's a foundational elements that we'd like to have a linement on, and so this is what is the steady stream of feedback and collaboration and goal setting with our sales and support teams. So marketing is at the center of this. What feedback and what collaboration can we have with sales and support? The key is that we not only want to align on the initiatives, but we also want to align on the goals with those teams. This is why it's, you know, revenue. It's a little bit higher level. And then we have these revenue maps, which allows the strategically prioritize these initiatives focused on revenue and the revenues, not just to get new customers, you know, protecting revenues also and reducing charn it's also a revenue initiative. So, just just for your listeners, then we're like, do we have the systems and tools in place? Like this is an important step for us to maintain this operational excellence later on as we're optimizing. And we also look at the people. Does does every role have clear ownership and responsibilities? And this actually harder in marketing than it is with with with you know, in sales, because in sales your quota unusually, it's kind of what drives your performance. When in marketing it it's sometimes harder. So then we come to the playbooks and what is like, Hey, the foundation of every campaign we're going to launch is centered around these playbooks for success and become a they become a checklist, a guy that allows to execute faster and more productively. And then we will like, okay, if we have a camping that it's mostly around...

...brand, and then means like organic search is important. What is the best in class SEO takeaways that you can you can show me, and this would be a two page very bulleted format, like have you considered this? Listen this. It's not that the person on the other side may not know those or them it might take him a little bit longer to go find them out. It's the idea to reduce the learning to very practical what you need to so you can execute this in the context of the bigger framework for drive the results. Hey everyone, if you've been listening to be to be growth for a while, you know that we are big proponents of putting out original, organic content on Linkedin, but one thing that's always been a struggle for a team like ours is easily tracking the reach of that linkedin content. That's why we're really excited about shield analytics. Since our team started using shield, we've been able to easily track the reach and performance of our linkedin content without having to manually log it ourselves. It automatically creates reports and it generates dashboards that are incredibly useful to determining things like what content has been performing the best, what days of the week are we getting the most engagement and our average views per post. Shield has been a game changer for our entire team's productivity and performance on Linkedin. I highly suggest checking out this tool if you're publishing content on Linkedin for yourselves or for your company. You can get a ten day free trial at shield APP DOT AI, or you can get a twenty five percent discount with our Promo code be to be growth. Again, that's shield APP DOT AI and the Promo Code is be the number two be growth. All One word for a twenty five percent discount. All right, let's get back into the show. Not that the person on the other side may not know those or them. It might take him a little bit longer to go find them out. It's the idea to reduce the learning to very practical what...

...you need to so you can execute this in the context of the bigger framework for drive the results. That was said really well. I want to get to like where that sort of playboat growth program takes us in a second. You said something I want to discuss because you're working with multiple companies, so you've worked with all these marketing teams or those that like it's hard to define, is what you said right? With sales easier, we got quotas, we got some things we're working with. Have you found some common threads, though, within revenue marketing specifically, where you're like, okay, these are the sort of key objectives we find ourselves coming back to. Some of the key metrics are goals that drive this yes and this quat question. You come back to what drives you. What is this? What is a strategic direction of the marketing team? These are there's three things were looking at. What are the buyer insides, the market insides on the company initiatives, and I can explain briefly on them. By our inside we're looking at what is our ideal customer profile, which becomes a foundation of our campaign messaging, the audience targeting, and we also met out the bias journey in a set by SEP to ensure that the campaigns on the website support this bier behavior. This is important because that's exactly who sales should be selling to and there is any confusion around ICP, their out bond function is not going to work. As you know, they're going to have a lower connection rates and not, you know, not being able to sort of be on the same same level as a marketing team. The second thing is marketing site. So this includes the standard projects like competitive analysis or, you know, digital audits for all the competitors. What are their marketing gaps? What are our marketing gaps? To be able to win more with with less, and this is a Measu a little bit of Seo and sem having been great example of this strategy playing out, because we can capture economic demand without having to overpay or compete with a competitor that it's got a much bigger budget. And doing that analysis you can find...

...out the lawler tails on the Internet where your customers may be, and that alignment is very helpful with sales because once you find that mql or that lead and you're passing it on, sales need to be prepared to nurture at through their funnel, because there were they were aligned with you. Thank you for breaking that down. I think it's important and you see right this pattern recognition of like what's most important. So it's fun to like go down that road a little bit with you because you can point it out some of the unique things are working on there. Okay, so let's let's jump back into gross programs. In these essentially, again, we don't want to just call them play books because we want to think differently about him. But when you're working on these, you've gotten to the point, you've got past some of the structural things, the conversations that need to take place. Now you're actually working on one. What does that look like as far as how you're building it out, and is there any sort of like core questions you're asking yourself for like a template that you're working from, like what does that look like? Yeah, it's great question, just to bring the conversation full. The growth programs is where the programs that you know Sumeria is created, right, and you know for portfolic companies, these are, you know, very pragmatic action oriented. When I was diving deeper into a revenue marketing and a MBA specific playbook on what best some for us, Seo looks like. That would be more of a traditional playbook, of because you're just looking this Yo, the growth playbook and higher level was just the revenue. Yeah, so you were asking about you know, what is the structure of these? Usually one of the most important things on the playbook is is the principles point of view, and the principles point of views usually the author or the collection of authors that have worked on on this, and that's where you have people that have done this at a high level working together. Be like imagine then, see if you just wanted to learn something about you might have been interviewed for a new job and you're looking to learn something. It could be just, you know, maybe the just six, and you have a friend who's in a logistic...

...space and you want to have coffee with them. You know, I hit what are the things that I need to know, like, you know, just like get me up to speak quickly, the most important things, of giving you bullet points, like hey, these are the six things. If you know this, you will do well in understanding this. And so that's exactly what this section of the growth playbook is, whereas it's a principle's point of view. Why are you even writing something like this? Why even creating something? And so the best of principles, like a this is important because it's all ties to revenue. This important because it ties to customer science, faction or ties of this. As a result, it will impact the growth of the company. So that's usually the piece, the the most important part, and it's about two paragraphs long. And then you go into the actual, more of the bulleted form, out of the practical of you or like when doing something. So consider this and this and this, and that's that's where those are very helpful because, you know, busy lives, we usually struggle from context switching. You might be, you know, dealing at a higher level with this company here personally there, but if you have to go deep into something, if you have this that's able to help you out, it just makes you more productive and you're more efficient. Yeah, okay, there's a lot of value here. I want to ask if you kind of followed questions compared to a typical length of like a playbook. When I think of that, I think it's a usually in my mind it's a little bit longer. My eyes started to start to glaze over a little bit because I'm just like I'm going to have content fatigue and I'm going to be like, okay, thank you for this re source, but now I have so much and part of what you're saying is if we can keep it simple and really bake it to what is absolutely necessary, that's going to help tremendously. Right, absolutely good. I started my career and management consulting and one of the knocks, and that is a you create a lot of exits it on the shelf. That's the opposite of what this is. This is trying to be that, you know, practical, very pragmatic, action oriented way for how management team can improve a specific business process through this, you know, collection...

...of thought, all powder recognition, not just photon creating it, but people like me who have done this at a higher level for companies of this size. So that's also important. You could have a you know, digital marketing and pressing and packaging or customer retention growth playbook for a company that is a two hundred million dollars growing it you know, fifty percent. That's different than a company that is a thirty million dollars growing at, you know, eighty percent. It's just the way that's going to be consumed and the resources available to execute that are different. So it's also within the context of how they're going to be used and consumed. Okay, this might be hard for you to estimate, but at this point, having done this, like how many of these do you feel like you've been a part of building? And I would love to get like some context there, because you've done this repeatedly. How many of you worked on? And then what would you say is some of the Roi you've seen from this format? The number of playbooks will work to the firm are, you know, more than fifty, and it's all like the major areas that we all think are important to the business. HMM, the value of them is immerged enormous. For our company. Majority of the growth in our portfolio companies comes from organic growth. Add on Ma's is one of the levers that we had value to, but two thirds of the growth is coming from organic growth and that could be attributed to the efficiencies that are portfolio companies are creating and growing and this is a part of that. Not taking credit for all that, but it's part of that and it ties to that big number of them as order the growth coming from from this kind of work. Yeah, any specific examples or companies you've worked with where they've implemented something like this and come back and been like man, this was a lifesaver. Yes, and and by the way, this is one of the companies where we hired the head of marketing and is an action absolute rock star...

...that I've learned so much from him that he's actually helped me shape some of this thinking and be able to take it from, you know, help other companies with it. This company is one of the things that in marketing that's important. Those is what is the contributional marketing to close deals, again, pie to revenue, not impressions, you know, conversions, all those are, you know, important, nonsense, but that's one of the big numbers for bb says not not direct consumer. That would be a different aim. And the company was, you know, struggling between eighteen to twenty percent of closed business coming from marketing. We took it from that to fifty percent. Wow, yeah, what that means is that marketing is we were doing it this efficiently, so it was able to obviously feed sales with all the leads and and the business and we would, you know, less pressure on them to be able them to do their own prospecting. So the ship change with what we're allocating resources and it's not have a few other companies that are approaching the fifty percent mark. For us that seems to be a sort of a best in class, you know, marketing contributing some of the close deals. Maybe other companies out there that are doing much, much better than this, but you know, we would we would be happy with that kind of goal. The percentage growth is incredible and I'm glad to spotlight an example there. I think that that's important for us to be thinking about. I wanted to do this as we start to take this conversation home is if you're putting yourself in your learnings from this sort of structure and all the work that you're doing. If we were to drop you into a marketing roll right if we were drop you it like, let's say there's a CMO listening to this or a director of marketing and they're going, I want to implement something similar to this playbook model. What where would you tell them to start? Is there something that they can do from their vantage point that's similar to this that they could execute on? Because we always want to leave with something that maybe maybe you're...

...listening this in your car right now or you're on or run and you're going, Oh, I love what he's saying. Obviously, in his context he's working with all these companies. I'm working in one, but what would you tell people to do? What would you tell people to a playbook that they could make or a place to start? If Ben's a very important question. I'm going to introduce slightly new concept on this and take away, which was one, is that alignment with the other functional group, so of sales and customer support usually are very important for marketing to be aligned. And what initiatives you're working on there will move the goal and revenue. So that's one. Even being calmed on closed deals is something we highly recommend for revenue teams, not on on generating leads. You might be generally, which is great. That's part of the process, but what matters is all the business closed. That's when you have zero friction between marketing sales, when you have that kind of alignment. I'm in sentence. And then three is we didn't get chance to talk about this early warning system. It's something that you know, how do marketing teams get to be this efficient and be able to get the point where they can just dial knobs and be able to optimize their spen so for every one dollar put in the system that can predictably generate, you know whatever their freshold for Roi is. And this is the early warning system I want to bring about. And there's some tools in the market that just I can reference one later if you want me to. They're just coming about. To this is setting goals and perform almost thresholds on your metrics and and everything in there is measure and optimized. For example, you might be running campaigns in real time and you have signals for email open rates and you know how different the visitors are be having in different websites and you have this campaign here in this campaign there. It becomes so big to manage that in real time that this early warning system, once you set the thresholds, it alerts you what something might be broken or something is overperforming, because you can get surprised on the positive side, and then, based on that, it's a real time...

...as war analytics that you can act on that. For example, you might have their email campaign is opening rate is below two percent, which is just, you know, crushing. You can take that in real time and not have to wait a couple days because you've been alerted, and assign it to the email marketing manager with the right task and so there it's a follow up through that. Or you may have a campaign that's performing better than what you thought. Maybe have a fifteen percent roy in this and then you can't maybe, maybe I should allocate more resources to this, because this is working really well so that that early warning system is is part of what is mentioned tools and systems earlier, but it enables this early warning system so you can be able to optimize in real time data driven decisions on every single metric and you know, yeah, that's that's another one of those takeaways that I'd like to leave the market on leaders with. Yeah, I like that as a base. To have something in place as an early warning system is is important. Is there? So we set that as like the foundation, basically, is what you're saying. Beyond and then beyond that, maybe there's some specific systems or structures with around these playbooks that we can put in place, but you have to have that kind of first. Would be what you're advocating for. That's right. Well, I love this. Is there anything else you want to add on the playbook side of things that you think maybe it's that we often overlook or something that we should start doing as we leave this episode in this conversation that we've had? Yeah, start small, right. Goes back to originally what I'm saying. Be Okay with small incremental movements of one to two percent and CONSISTENC of wins. If you're trying to make big overhauling changes, it can be daunting. You need a lot of sake coolers right away. That's what causes a momentum. Try to optimize for small gains, but do it consistently. You're going to find bigger and greater benefits. It's good.

Let me ask you one more follow up question because I just thought of this too. But as you're working on the playbook specifically, have we, but you've been using just written format, like quick bullet points, and that's all you do. Is this is just a very format driven question. Are you using video at all to teach and do some of this like bullet pointed work that you want to point out, like ways to do things, or is it all just written so that people can kind of pull up a dock and that's that's the end of it? Our work programs are in written form. They're not something that you just give somebody to implement. It's yeah, we also have a discussion around that. It's part of my job and my team is we're like in working so andso companies like this is what the best practice is to work for this context for you, we could try to tweak this a little bit, but again it's an important concept to have. Video could work. We actually have a portfolio company called three hundred and sixty learning. It's an at test space. Is An elmask that helps companies create contact in this quickly. At eight minutes and it's very engaging in social it's something that thought about creating someone growth programs in that way, since it's even more easier to consume on the other side. I'm not there yet, but yeah, that's a good point. Now, totally fair. I just I'm always interested in how you're executing on it and I love the this version and how you're talking about it because again, your personalizing Hey, for your company and Miss Stage. This is what works and that totally makes sense. We actually had joey chance, she's market at three hundred and sixty learning. We had her on just a few weeks ago. So good reference there as we start to close here. But love this conversation. How can people stay connected to you and the work that that you're doing summer equitycom on the informations on the website. Always looking to partner with ambitious entrepreneurs and see where we can help each other. Phatony, it was so great to have you here on B tob growth today and we really appreciate you stopping by. Thank you very much, but we're always having conversations like this here on be to be Gross,...

...we want to help you in your mindset and with your own innovation. There's a lot we can take away from this episode, some really key conversations to be having, some ways that we can take this playbook idea and even just the simplicity of bulleting it and going hey, this isn't mandatory, you don't have to do it exactly like this, but we can all kind of take and learn. I love what was given away here. So maybe this is your first time listening. Go ahead subscribe to the podcast on whatever podcast player you're listening to this on. If you have questions for me, I'd love to connect with you on Linkedin. You can just search Benjie Block talking about marketing, business and life over there, and we'll be back real soon with another episode. Keep doing work that matters.

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