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July 7, 2022

The New B2B Marketing Rules in the Revenue Zone [Tom Burton Interview]

The New B2B Marketing Rules in the Revenue Zone [Tom Burton Interview]

Have you thought about how little control we have over the consumer or buyer these days?

With so many sources of information, a distaste for ads, and the popularity of social media, how does a company try to control the buyer's journey and buying cycle?

You can't. But if you embrace that fact, you'll find a whole world of possibility in marketing to a new generation of millennial buyers and influencers as well as transforming prospects and customers into your own sales team.

This fascinating interview with the author of The Revenue Zone: The Ultimate Playbook for The Next Generation of B2B Sales, Marketing and Predictable Revenue Growth, Tom Burton, will have you building our own yellow brick road in no time - and finding success in the digital and social media marketing of today.

Key Highlights

[01:59] Introduction of Podcast Guest, Tom Burton

[07:53] The Revenue Zone Defined

[14:09] The Three Rules on Engagement With Younger Audience

[16:21] Managing Expectations and Budget

[18:07] The Yellow Brick Road

[20:10] Building Library of Content

[21:25] Filling In Your Potholes

[30:29] Tom's Message for Small Business Owners

[32:25] Lead Smart Tool

[38:21] Connect With Tom

Notable Quotes

  • And we can be in control, but we have to be in control in a much different way than we have done in the past and how we control things, right.
  • You have to change your mindset to embrace the fact that the millennial or the buyer is in control of their own journey.
  • Enable the buyer to facilitate their own journey, don't keep putting up gates, don't keep putting up things that then you know, that get you back into control.
  • So we have to look at our KPIs differently. And again, but we're all going back to that same goal of having people in the revenue zone, right, we wanted people in the revenue zone before we start that. We don't want people in their prospects on the revenue zone.
  • But whether you're an SDR and AE or whatever your role is, as a salesperson, you're, you're still very valuable. In fact, you're more valuable than ever, but you need to be valuable as a guide, and a trusted adviser versus a salesperson. 
  • We have to control the process differently. And we have to control that depth process by understanding where the buyer is in their journey. And then helping them and facilitating them based on where they are in that journey. 

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Transcript

Neal Schaffer:

Hey friends, let me ask you a question. In digital and social media, how much control do you and your company have versus the consumer, the buyer? Well, things have changed over the last few decades since some of the called the Internet came around. And we actually have a lot less control than you might think. Well, with so little control, how do we influence buyers and visitors to become customers? You're gonna find out all about how to do that. On this next episode of The your digital marketing coach, podcast. Digital social media content, influencer marketing, blogging, podcasting, blogging, tick talking LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, SEO, SEM, PPC, email marketing, who there's a lot to cover, whether you're a marketing professional entrepreneur, or business owner, you need someone you can rely on for expert advice. Good thing you've got, Neil, on your side, because Neal Schaffer is your digital digital marketing marketing coach, helping you grow your business with digital first marketing one episode at a time. This is your digital marketing coach, and this is Neal Schaffer. Hey, everybody, this is Neal Schaffer, your digital marketing coach. And there is no place I would rather be than together with you, for the next 30 minutes on this podcast. Today is an interview day. And we talk about this concept of losing control, but how to influence without using the same tactics that just aren't as effective as they used to be. If you are in b2b, you've probably heard about this for some time for b2c, maybe not so much, but I think it is really universal. And today's guest, Tom Burton is an author of the book, the revenue zone, the ultimate playbook for the next generation of b2b sales, marketing and predictable revenue growth. Next Generation is really important word because how each generation communicates, how they perform, product research, how they purchase, it all differs from generation to generation. And sometimes, you really need to do a reset on what your organization is doing, to get caught up with the time. So that's going to be one of the reminders from today's interview. We're also going to talk about how to build your own Yellow Brick Road, as well as how to get your customers into the revenue is own and what do you do once they are there? I think you're gonna find it both a fascinating and an extremely actionable and informative interview. So without further ado, this is my interview with Tom Burton. You're listening to your digital marketing coach, this is Neal Schaffer. Tom, welcome to the your digital marketing coach podcast.

Tom Burton:

Thank you. awesome to be here, Neil. Hey,

Neal Schaffer:

it's really great to have you. I always love to have other marketing and sales authors on the podcast. So I'm really excited to dig into your book, your new book, The revenue zone, the ultimate playbook for the next generation of b2b sales, marketing and predictable revenue growth. I know we're gonna we're gonna cover that in a bit. But before we get to the book, can you tell me a little bit about, you know, who you are, what your company currently does, and what we'll start from there?

Tom Burton:

Yeah, so my, my background, you know, I'm a tech guy from training or college, I was a computer science guy and engineer in college. But when I left college, I got involved in startups and really got, you know, enamored with the whole business side of the marketing side, the sales side. So I've spent the majority of my career in tech sales, tech marketing and building tech companies. I actually had a digital marketing agency for a while, because I, I sold a company to intuit a few years ago, and they were really into digital marketing, I just got enamored with it. You know, it was marketing that actually could be measured and tracked and all that kind of stuff. So, so long background in that area, my current company, I got the bug a couple of couple of years ago to get back into tech into software, and co founded a company called Lead smart technologies, which is, I look at it as kind of a next generation CRM product. So it's a CRM product that really is designed to help companies use data to make good decisions, and build good sales strategies rather than just tracking activity and, you know, like, basically a contact database. So that's where that came from. In the book that you just mentioned, came out of, you know, like I said, I've been in sales and marketing my whole career, but came out of kind of a defining moment I had a couple of years ago in a board meeting where I was getting asked about our pipeline and our confidence. And I realized that, you know, I didn't have the confidence and I didn't have the I really wasn't I didn't believe in my pipeline and my sales process the way I have had in the past. And I didn't know why. And so it was like a punch in the stomach, in the middle of a board meeting that I was like, I don't feel all that good about answering these questions. And so the book came out of that, and I kind of immersed into what the hell just happened. And, and the book is kind of a, an outcome of all of that.

Neal Schaffer:

Very cool. Well, we'll have to, I don't want to make you feel uncomfortable. But that sounds like quite the epiphany moment there knows,

Tom Burton:

it's in the book, I cover it in the book, right? It's, it's, you know, that's what you need every once in a while is a bit of a wake up call. So,

Neal Schaffer:

yeah, it's funny, I have a very similar background, my background is also b2b tech sales. But I'd always get my hands into the marketing side. And I was very, very interested in that side. And yeah, the pipeline is very, very interesting phenomenon. Because it's based on the Word of salespeople following a process, but there's no guarantee whatsoever, it's really a combination of what people think, will happen based on a certain path of the process. But then a war breaks out, or there's an earthquake or anything can happen. Right? So it's definitely a very, very interesting phenomenon that most businesses, you know, run their board meetings on based on these predictions, right?

Tom Burton:

Yeah, absolutely. And I think you know, what, and we'll talk more about this, I'm sure. But, you know, pipeline or confidence and pipeline in my past has always been well, how much in control of my of the sales process and the end of my prospects. And what I would hit me there is that I honestly, at that point, really didn't feel like I had control. And I was kind of hoping more that I was in control. And then when I realized that, hey, that's not the world we live in anymore, right? The buyer wants to be in control. Right? So how do I actually facilitate that rather than trying to be in control myself, which, you know, maybe 10 years ago, that worked, it doesn't work in the world that we're in now. So it was really a shift in mindset all the way around?

Neal Schaffer:

Very cool. You know, we talk in general marketing of this shift of, you know, you're no longer control of your brand. You know, social media users are people tuning out ads, people, you know, making decisions just based on their own research that often involves social media. So I think that message of, hey, you know, sellers, no longer control, it's just part of this whole digital transformation that we're going through, right?

Tom Burton:

Absolutely. And we can be in control, but we have to be in control in a much different way than we have done in the past and how we control things, right. And we have to control that through our, our how we guide and how we support the buyer versus trying to control every step of the sales process that they're going through. But anyway, I'm sure we're going to dig into that a lot more.

Neal Schaffer:

Yeah, well, let's, let's start there. So obviously, we have this your book title is the revenue zone. So why don't we first sort of, you know, uncover what, what that means for all of us?

Tom Burton:

Sure. So and I think that's what I realized in that meeting, right, is that I didn't have as many prospects in the revenue zone, as I wanted to feel like I was comfortable, you know, committing to so what is the revenue zone, I define the revenue zone is a place where a prospect has, you have created enough demand and built enough trust with a prospect that they are seriously considering spending money with your company or for your product or your for your service, doesn't mean they bought anything yet. But they're at a point where they feel confident enough through the trust that they've built. And they're excited enough through the demand that's been created, that they want to buy your earlier they can seriously considering buying your product, and they're seriously, you know, they find your business acceptable and confident in doing with them. That's the revenue. So. So obviously, then how do you take somebody who you've just, you know, has just become aware of your company or just been aware of your product or service knows very little about you? How do you move them from that point to the revenue zone? And that's the basic premise of the book.

Neal Schaffer:

Gotcha. So the revenue zone is really, if we look at that traditional marketing funnel, it's where they're, they're ready to make the decision. But the way they get to that decision, what you're saying is obviously very different than it would have been before the internet.

Tom Burton:

Yes. And I've had people say to me, well, the revenues or that sounds like an SQL or, you know, sales ready lead, it's like, well, yeah, sort of, I guess from that perspective, because certainly, there's a lot of qualification, and there's been demand and things like that. But those terms SQL and MQL, again, focus on the the seller, they don't focus on what the buyer has done. And I try and look at this from the viewpoint is how is the buyer ascended into the revenue zone? Not that we, you know, what are we measuring in

Neal Schaffer:

that? Got you it's really about the process that's led to that decision. So based on that, I want to talk a little bit or ask a little bit about LinkedIn, but not the way you might think I will. Okay, it's been very interesting. Over the past few years, there's been this transformation of what people talk about on LinkedIn and who is doing the talking. And even with, you know, Roe versus Wade, no matter what side, you said, I see all these don't bring politics and LinkedIn. On the other hand, I see just this whole new generation of LinkedIn users. And it really represents the fact that millennials are the majority of our workforce. And I see b2b companies now even engaging in tick tock, because they say, Hey, these are the future buyers, our products and services, these are the future managers and CEOs that have to sell to so you know, I know that one of the things you wanted to talk about today, where the rules were effectively marketing, and selling to millennials, and you claim that by 2025, millennials will be responsible for the majority of all b2b purchases. So I sort of want to unravel that a little bit, because I think that's a really fascinating topic that no one is talking about right now.

Tom Burton:

Yeah, and, you know, there's other studies that are saying that millennials are already responsible for more than half of the b2b purchases. So depending upon how you talk to, it's either already here or it's coming. Right, but And again, what is a millennial like, what is the brand, you know, there's some different things on that. But the fact is, is that there's a younger generation that has grown up on tech and with tech, that are make buying decisions, and, frankly, don't have a lot of tolerance for old school sales techniques. Right. And you know, if you if you take that same, I think that came from a Gartner study that you just read, if you look at some of the other Gartner data that's there, you know, upwards of 60, sometimes 70% of millennials that they have interviewed don't want to deal with a sale, they want a sales rep free experience. They don't want to deal with a with a salesperson. So why is that? Because they don't have a lot of tolerance for the traditional sales mentality of you know, hard sale, controlling high pressure, you know, 25 phone calls, and, you know, all the things that we all kind of think about when we think of sales sometimes. So, if millennials and they are right are now in control of the buying process, and running the buying process and running businesses will get better adapt to that world. Or, you know, it's basically adapt or die, right? You know, the Moneyball reference, right, adapt or die to the world that we're in, and we need to adapt to that. So, again, I think that's what again, hit me back in that meeting is I realized that a lot of the companies and the people I were dealing with, in my pipeline are not my age, they were millennials, and they were I needed to look at them differently. And I've looked at things in the past.

Neal Schaffer:

So based on all of that, how do you recommend the listener engage with this younger audience? It obviously requires different rules of engagement, what what would those look like?

Tom Burton:

So there's, you know, the first thing I tell Pete companies and, and all of this is, the first thing you have to do is change your mindset. Kind of, we've touched on this a little bit already, you have to change your mindset to embrace the fact that the millennial or the buyer is in control of their own journey. Number one, you need to embrace the fact that they want to remain remain anonymous, for quite a long period of time, and they don't want to talk to a salesperson until they're ready to talk to a salesperson, you have to embrace the fact that, you know, they don't want to fill in a opt in form for a piece of content that they're doing as part of their research, and then be bombarded with 45 emails and 10, SDR calls, right. So you have to embrace the and it's interesting, because you'll ask people like, Well, why would you want to be sold to the way that you're selling to? Others? They're like, No, well, then why are you doing it to others? So you have to embrace that mindset of the things that I just talked about. That is easier said than done for a lot of companies, because again, same reason I did you feel like you're losing control, you feel like, Oh, well, how am I going to be controlled the sales cycle? How am I going to know what my pipeline is? How do I know who's close to closing? Right, all the things that we care about as salespeople, but there are ways of doing that in this new world. So the three rules that I always say is, okay, if you're gonna change that mindset, or you have changed that mindset, then you're inherently looking at what you do in sales and marketing as a guide, you're being more of a guide or a consultant, rather than a salesperson. That's one of the first things that you're doing, you're opening up, you're, you're providing content and the resources that you're making, making them easy to access, access, relevant, and maybe even more importantly, laying them out in a way that they're being presented in the right sequence. Right, because not all content is relevant to a certain time based around where the person is in the buyer journey. So some content is way more relevant later in the buyer journey, some contents super relevant in the beginning. So don't just shotgun the content, think about which content makes sense at what point in the buyer journey and help the buyer go through and get that content in the proper sequence. So that's the third thing. And then by doing that, or the second thing, and then the third thing by doing that the rules are then is, again, enable the buyer, to facilitate their own journey, don't keep putting up gates, don't keep putting up things that then you know, that get you back into control. So you can have that phone call, or you can have that meeting, or whatever the case may be. So there's just some new rules that are part of this that you have to first be willing to accept and work with. And then you can start building the strategies for actually effectively working in this world.

Neal Schaffer:

So what you're proposing is we take a step back, we look at the buyers journey, we make sure that we facilitate that with content and assets. Yes. And how then do knowing I guess that we don't have control anyway? How would we manage that going back to that revenue pipeline meeting that you had to how are we going to manage those expectations? And the annual budget? And what have you those numbers that as managers and executives, we have to commit to? How do we go about talking about those things now, in this new revenue zone?

Tom Burton:

Well, we have to look at different KPIs. Right? So are metrics or analytics. So rather than metrics, you know, how many MQLs do I have? How many phone calls that I make? How many SQL is, which is the traditional metrics, right? That are there, we have to look at those differently, we have to look at metrics to say, how many people are consuming the content, what content? Are they assuming the consuming? are they consuming multiple pieces of content in a certain sequence? Right? So are they ascending through the process? And with our, with our content? And with our guidance? Are we getting people reaching out how many people then have actually reached out for guidance and support for us and wanting to talk to a salesperson, because they've already done their research, and they're ready to do that. So we have to look at our KPIs differently. And again, but we're all going back to that same goal, the same common goal is having people in the revenue zone, right, we wanted people in the revenue zone before we start that we don't want people in their prospects on the revenue zone. Now, we just have to measure how we're doing that and track our doing that differently in our historical

Neal Schaffer:

models. So you're basically transform the pipeline into a digital pipeline. That's all data driven. I guess now, you know, I had this epiphany moment listen to what you were saying is that companies need to architect as part of that buyers journey and access to content, somehow architect something that would prompt someone to want to reach out where the buyer is still in control yet, and natural extension of what they're going through is they actually want to reach out to get well, I don't know if it's access or to understand how you might have worked with similar companies that are under NDA, you can't talk about publicly, I don't know what it is, but they have to work these strategic things in and those become very, very strategic KPIs as part of the process. Is that a correct assumption?

Tom Burton:

Yeah, and I love the word, though, you said architect, right. So I call it the yellow brick road, you have to architect your yellow brick road, that starts when somebody first becomes even minute ly aware of your product or service and my newly aware of your company? What's the yellow brick road that you want to guide them down? To get them to the revenue zone? And I believe I have a whole system in the book on how you architect that yellow brick road? And how you put your pieces together in the right way? And then how do you measure? Is your yellow brick road really guiding somebody towards a revenue zone? Or is it running them off the road? Right? And so yeah, you absolutely have to architect that put it together, look at those things. And it's not as hard as it sounds, because what we have found in working with companies is if you just take a successful look, you know, go back to your last 10 successful deals, or the customer actually bought your product or service, reverse engineer that, look at what they went through, ask them what they went through, ask them about their journey, you will see and then go back and look at your analytics, look at your, you know, Google Analytics, look at some of the information digitally, you will see common denominators for successes and you will see common denominators for places where they weren't successful, reverse engineer that and then just like you would do in marketing, right, start optimizing, start testing. And you know, building it over time, and it's not something you're just gonna It's a journey, right? It's an ongoing process. But that's true in anything you know, that you're doing with sales marketing.

Neal Schaffer:

Indeed, and I want to talk about the two I see these two big technology pieces that are necessary to best manage this number one obviously is a CRM and I know that you're, you have a company working on that. I want to get to that at the very end to learn more about that. But you also need a tremendous amount of content is what it sounds like. So can you tell me a little bit about companies that are listening and are thinking, okay, Tom, I get it. I want to re architect everything before we get to the yellow brick road, I need to start building out this library of content for the buyers journey. How should companies go about starting to do that or trying to modify what they already have, knowing that the buyer is in more control than they might have thought of before?

Tom Burton:

Yeah, so one thing I've learned, or we've learned by doing this is the companies usually have more content than they think. It's just not being used, as well as it could be. So part of what I do in the book is I actually have a worksheet, there's a quite a big resource center, we've put together with the book that you can go and download and things. And one of the things I built in there was kind of a sophisticated Google Doc, that allows you to inventory kind of a framework for inventory and all the not just the content, but anything that could influence that buyer journey. From, you know, to the revenue side, right? What influencers? Do you have that, you know, that have a video on their site? What are customer case studies, whatever the case may be that you have, so you can inventory all of that. And most companies I found have a lot more really relevant and good content than they realized. Then the next step in the yellow brick road is okay, then what? Which of those pieces of content that I already have? Should I put in the right sequence? Right? Ideally, ideally, what would be the best way to have a prospect consume that content in the right sequence, and then model all that out? Now, you will, will likely find holes, you'll you know, I call them potholes, right, you'll likely find potholes in your road, okay, fine, you can fill those in, but get started. You know, it doesn't mean you can't start the process, start monitoring the process with what you already have, even though there may be some big dips and potholes that you need to fill in over time. But then you're now building a content strategy that is based around optimizing your yellow brick road versus kind of a spray and pray strategy, which well, if I just throw out a bunch of content, hopefully somebody finds it interesting. And they want to buy from us. So it to me, it actually puts a lot more streamlining in what you're doing with your with your content.

Neal Schaffer:

So it sounds like we have, well, I guess you could call it sales and marketing alignment or very marketing driven process. What becomes the role of the salesperson I mean, outward sales as a profession, I think is in decline, has inside sales is probably increasing. So do we no longer need outward sales? And this becomes just pure inside sales? Or what's your take?

Tom Burton:

Well, I think, you know, I don't know if it's inside or outside, you certainly need sales. Because the one thing that the role of the salesperson and I was on a podcast a few weeks ago, and we were talking about the role of STRS and, and things like that. But whether you're an SDR and AE or whatever your role is, as a as a salesperson, you're, you're still very valuable. In fact, you're more valuable than ever, but you need to be valuable as a guide, and a trusted adviser versus a salesperson. And actually the biggest, you know, all of this, you know, buyer or the prospect wanting to be in control of their own journey. It's in some ways, not good for them. Because there's so many rabbit holes that you can fall into. And there's so many areas you can get confused. In fact, that's one of the biggest problems with the buyer being in control of their own journey is confusion and overwhelm, and confused and overwhelmed prospects don't become customers for anybody, right? They don't do anything. So you really have a job, in my opinion, as the as a salesperson, to look at yourself as more of a trusted adviser, a consultant, a guide. In fact, I'm going to, I've been getting a lot of questions on that, well, how the heck do you do that? Well, I'm going to actually write a blog post and do some videos on that. Because there's actually a way to actually transform a bit, how you look at things and how you go about that, so that you're not just like, hey, we got to get the next meeting. You know, when can we, you know, that more traditional sort of sales pieces. So, you know, STRS, in particular, inside sales, I think also can have a huge role in this, especially as you're introducing companies, right? What's the role of the SDR? If you really think about it as getting them on that yellow brick road? That's what their job is, is to get people started on that yellow brick road. Well, if you do that more effectively other than, Hey, can I have a 15 minute call, which generally doesn't get anybody started on anything, it just gets you pissed off, right? And you actually get them down a certain place. Now you can actually get way more, again, your SDR and your insight team's job is to get people on the road, get them moving on the road, and then the AES or the other people can help facilitate them. Can you down the road? So we could probably talk all afternoon about that. But there's quite a bit that can go on there.

Neal Schaffer:

And listening to you talk about that. Tom, I reflect upon you know, we at the Schaffer hall so we leased cars, we don't buy cars because life is short and in Southern California and the cars becomes an important part your life so every three years were changing cars, given me the ability every three years to see how the buyers journey or purchasing or leasing a car and then dealing with salespeople goes and it's been really an same time, I think that there are more and more salespeople that they don't have a sales title. Maybe they have a title like finance or lease manager, what have you, but I'm just here to help, you know, answer any questions you might have, make sure you have all the resources, you need to make the best decision. And they have a very, very comfortable hands off approach. And there's still some really cutthroat salespeople out there. But I think part of this time is that the sales management need to read your book, because the salesperson is only going to act upon what they're supposed to do what those KPIs that their management's looking at data, if they don't evolve into this, then, you know, a salesperson alone is not going to be able to implement this in their company.

Tom Burton:

It'd be hard. I mean, you can you can certainly implement parts of it as a salesperson as an individual, you know, contributors so to speak. But yeah, if you're fighting against the fact that you're being measured by KPIs that are completely 180 degrees opposite from what we're talking in here, that makes it a tough, tough journey. You know, it's interesting, you mentioned car in chapter two, I have a whole example of a good way in a buyer what bad way to go through a car buying experience, and exactly what you said, right, and there are I have gone through recently, a really amazing car buying experience. And the example I use in the book was an amazing car buying experience, which, you know, people would be like, Oh, my gosh, if the car, if the auto industry is doing this, but that's how they're they have to be, you know, especially in a competitive world. So, yeah, absolutely. It's, it's going to be hard, much harder to do. And really, the stakeholders, you need to have involved in really implementing the revenue zone, and I talked about this is really your full revenue team, your marketing group, your sales, you know, if you have Reb ops, or sales ops, or people like that, or even if you're a tech company, and you got clients success, and you know, things like that all of them really need to, they're all the customer focus, customer focus people, they need to understand and align with our customers and prospects want to buy. And I agree, it's not going to happen overnight. I'm not expecting people to change overnight, I look at this as a bit of an ongoing project. But I also think it's going to accelerate faster because the old way is not working. And if you look on LinkedIn, well, you know, you post a lot on LinkedIn, right? Look at where all the emotion is on LinkedIn, the emotion from people is this crappy sales process this, you know, the way that we're pissing off prospects, right, there is a lot of emotion. And a lot of, you know, a lot of people are care about that. So when that starts to happen, we'll start to see change.

Neal Schaffer:

And I think, you know, we as as buyers, and as people just feel a lot more empowered, and I actually had a very, very negative experience at a car dealership recently, that is in a nice part of Los Angeles that spends a lot of money on their branding. And it was such a negative experience. For the first time, I'm actually extending my lease past 36 months, right, I'm eating my words. But, you know, I afterwards, I get all these bots like, hey, you know, how was the meeting? Can we help you get into a car, and I just said, I just let them have it. That was one of the worst experiences, I will never do business with you. And I didn't go on to social media and go that far and talk about it as well. But I can imagine that there's going to be more and more people that feel empowered to actually talk. So I think that a lot of people miss out that there are other decisions, there are other companies, people can work with their you don't have a monopoly and any given time. And once you piss someone off, once you break that, that that, you know, once the bridge is down, they're never coming back. And they may influence other people just as influence influence people in a positive way. They can also influence right in the negative way. So I think that's something that also bears reminding to our listeners. Now,

Tom Burton:

there's a huge competitive advantage if you're doing it the right way. And we're seeing that actually, I mean, that says just my opinion, I see we're seeing that, with some of the companies that we have been working with that are doing more of the revenue zone approach. It's a huge competitive advantage. And in a lot of cases it when done right, it eliminates your competition, or pushes it aside because your competition is not doing it this way. Right. So it's like, well, wait a minute, do I want to deal with a car dealer that gave me that awful experience? Do I want to deal with a car dealer that aligns with how I want to buy a car, you know, it's like, even if they have a better price at the other one, you're probably going to go with the one more you have the better experience.

Neal Schaffer:

And Tom we can even go further with retention and loyalty. I just want to give a shout and I know this, I don't Well, this might be a competitor. It's been a while. My listeners know that I use ConvertKit from email marketing. Every three months, I get an email from the customer success manager who's not waiting for me to bring up a problem just saying hey, if you ever you know it, just during the 90 day check in, here's my calendar link, you want to schedule a call? If you have any questions or you want to learn latest features, let me know, right? It's that I'm still in control. But I feel welcome as a customer that someone is there is and she never fails to contact me quarter after quarter, which is a perfect cadence for me. So I think that we can extend this conversation as well. Absolutely. So you know, I'm just thinking about my listeners. So if the marketers that are listening here It's really obviously we've we should be doubling down on content, but it's thinking of content. And they should be thinking about content as part of the buyers journey, but it's really doubling down on that realigning, understanding, you know, the sales process better the buyers journey better digging into their IP and making sure that the content they have is best aligned. So I think that, for them listening, this is a very natural extension of the job they should be doing. For the salespeople, they should be, you know, recommending their bosses read your book. But also, you know, other things as well. I'm just thinking for the small business owner slash entrepreneur that doesn't have a big staff, what should the message be for them? I suppose instead of thinking about hiring that salesperson, think first about the content, or what would you propose to them?

Tom Burton:

I think that there, I think that this is actually a huge advantage for a small business. And or for a smaller, you know, even a solopreneur or a smaller business. So, yeah, I get, you know, again, the mindset, right, take a look at the mindset and the philosophy that's been introduced in the book, and really take a look at okay, how do I use that with my customer? And right, you know, and rather than trying to build, you know, super sophisticated direct response, sales funnels, you know, that require, you know, that, frankly, right, still piss you off, in a lot of cases, right? Is how do you actually accomplish what that same objective is by using more of the revenue zone philosophy, and enabling that buyer to become create demand and build trust with you, and what you're doing? So again, it doesn't require, you know, I've seen revenue zone or yellow brick roads created with five, six pieces of content. Others may require, you know, you might need 25, right? It depends upon what you're selling, it depends upon your buyer, it depends upon, is it a team, that's fine, as an individual, there's a lot of variables that go into it. But it doesn't have to be a super sophisticated thing. It could be four or five, six pieces of, of, you know, bricks, as I call them, right? And it's not just content, but it could be other bricks along the way that ended up getting your prospect into that revenue. Sounds.

Neal Schaffer:

Awesome, awesome. advice. Thank you, sir. So we're getting near the end of our conversation, you've given us a lot, a heck of a lot to think about even before reading your book, hopefully, everyone listening will go out and buy a copy of the revenue zone by Tom Burton. I want to ask you, you know, before I normally ask, Hey, where can people you know, find out more about you? And have you mentioned that you're, you're building a CRM, and my listeners know that I love technology, I love to talk about all the great tools that are out there. And so can you can you talk a little bit of it? So is this like a Salesforce killer that you're been building? Or how would you best describe it.

Tom Burton:

So we actually have a partnership with Salesforce, okay. And we have a unique arrangement with them, where we actually get to develop on top of their platform. So it's not like companies have to buy anything from Salesforce, they buy from us, but we've been able to use their cloud platform to build our CRM around, because they have an amazing cloud platform, all the security, all the everything that you don't, you know, want to have to worry about. And what we've done, there's a couple of things that we've done, and are working towards, is, and we can probably get into, you know, we could have a whole separate conversation about, you know, third party data, first party data, zero party data, all the different data that is out there, but how do you take, you know, CRMs, historically been? They've had two flaws, in my opinion, and we're trying to solve both of those flaws. One is, is they've been used to track activity, or to track contacts, and then use predominantly like, as a sales manager, well, how many calls did you make and all that stuff? Right, as you know, people say it's been used as Big Brother, it hasn't been used to help a salesperson or a marketing person, have more insights, so that they can better support and communicate to their prospect and to or to their customer, you know, whatever the case may be. So we have customers that, that use our product leads smart, that are distributors and they sell tons of different product lines, you know, they may sell hundreds of different product lines. They want to know how they can look at their with their customers, and decide, hey, you know what, we've been selling 10 product lines to them. But they could really use the other 90 product lines that we use, we had no idea we were only selling 10 to them, how the can the salesperson now leverage that use that data to make a good decision, build a meeting plan, decide who they're going to go talk to what they're going to bring up all of those types of things. So it's enabling right a sales person in a sales organization, and a marketing organization to use data to be more effective. So we do a lot of things with data. Again, we could talk a lot about that. Going forward. The second part of the equation CRMs have historically not been adopted. And the reason they don't get adopted well is because they're super hard to use. You know, companies try and roll out. You know, I call it a big bang. Here's a million things you're supposed to learn how to do in the CRM. It's overwhelming. So we've re architected what we're doing with the CRM with our CRM, much like you would do with your phone. It's an app based piece. So if you want an app for, you know, upselling into customers, you can download and install that app and use that app. If you want an app for dealing more with leads and prospects, you can download and use that app. If you want an app that's, you know, potentially helping you understand where your marketing investments going and looking at attribution and things like that, you can download that app. And then different customers can use different apps. And it becomes a much more crawl, walk run approach to adoption. And we're finding that the adoption and the end the speed of which they can get up and running, right, the speed of implementation and the speed of adoption is much, much higher. So we're trying to really solve the two, the two big issues that have kind of made CRM a four letter word in the past.

Neal Schaffer:

Indeed, that sounds really exciting. And what I'm sorry, what is the name of your tool? Again,

Tom Burton:

lead smart lead SMART Technologies is a company. Yeah.

Neal Schaffer:

So how I assume then in terms of email marketing, you basically tie into other email marketing, what

Tom Burton:

do we do? Yes. So in fact, we have, yeah, if they're using HubSpot, or ConvertKit, or you know, Active Campaign, or Pardot, whatever they may be using, right? A lot of times there is data that you want to take from that, and feed into your CRM so that your sales team has some insights into who's engaging, who's doing certain things. And so all of that is part of that data sort of flow, that we want to be able to then take and organize in a way that a sales team can use it for driving more sales rather than just tracking activity.

Neal Schaffer:

Gotcha. So by you know, I know we're at the end here. But when you describe lead smart, it's still sounds a lot like that old sales management world, where the we're still trying to stay in control, how is lead smart adapting to this new world that we talked about here?

Tom Burton:

Well, as I said earlier, right, we have to, we have to control the process differently. And we have to control that depth process by understanding where the buyer is in their journey. And then helping them and facilitating them based around where they are in that journey. So I look at, you know, leave smart in the CRM, as that sort of guide are helping you that guide is that map that's helping you provide that data, so that you can provide the right information at the right time. Because again, you're allowing the buyer to control their own journey, but you're using data and insights to interject at the right time. Like you gave the example earlier, my guess is, if you didn't log in to ConvertKit for a month, you might get sign there and calling and saying, Hey, Neil, I'm just calling to see is everything okay? Or, you know, is there anything we can help you with? Because data told them that you've been inactive for for a month? Or you know, and that's just an example, right? But it's through that buyer journey, we want to see if as much as possible, how we can help them. So no, we're not trying to use it as that, you know, old school sort of sales, how many leads or how many calls you make that kind of

Neal Schaffer:

stuff. So you're really you're really putting the car back in the CRM, the relationship, right?

Tom Burton:

Well stated, well stated. And the see really focusing on the customer and the prospect.

Neal Schaffer:

Very cool, Tom. So we know we should check out lead smart, we can go to Amazon, check out the revenue zone, any other place in social media you want to send our listeners to to connect with you.

Tom Burton:

Yeah, so the book, you get it on Amazon, but there's a website, we have a website called the the revenue zone.com. That's also where the resource center, as I mentioned, there's a bunch of resources that you get free access to, without having to put in an email address, either. So we've, you know, so that you can access it and use the different tools that are that are there. It also has links to Amazon, lead smart as lead spark tech.com. And I'd love to connect with anybody on LinkedIn. My LinkedIn is T bird and 5350 Tom Burton, but T bird and 5350 is my ID. So feel free to connect, reach out. And, you know, we're definitely looking for, I'd love to talk to people that have a passion about this and, and are trying to kind of change this as well. So it's really great.

Neal Schaffer:

I've met a lot of innovative salespeople that definitely think along the lines what you're talking about. So I'm hoping that for those listening to podcasts will reach out. But Tom, thank you so much for your time and for sharing all of your experience and wisdom

Tom Burton:

with us. That was awesome. Thanks,

Neal Schaffer:

man. Wasn't that a fantastic interview, we really hit upon a lot of different subjects. But I hope that it makes you look at digital content influences social media marketing a little bit differently than you did before you began listening to this episode, and that's really my goal for each and every one of these episodes. If there is something you would like me to cover that I haven't covered before, or if there's a special guest that you'd like to recommend, feel free to reach out to me go to my website, Neal schaffer.com/contact. And while you're there, check out all the free The eBook resources that I have, it's under the top called freebies or Neal schaffer.com/freebies. I have free ebooks on LinkedIn, influencer marketing, email marketing, guest blogging, and a number of other things. So definitely check that out. And well until next time, this is your digital marketing coach signing off and reminding you to always keep your eyes on the goal. You've been listening to your digital marketing coach, questions, comments, requests, links, go to podcast dot Neal schaffer.com. Get the show notes to this and 200 plus podcast episodes, and Neal schaffer.com to tap into the 400 Plus blog posts that Neil has published to support your business. While you're there, check out Neil's Digital First group coaching membership community if you or your business needs a little helping hand. See you next time on your digital marketing coach.