After a year long ‘experiment’ in a sales role that came with lots of learnings, Kristina explains why she is now well placed to head up all demand generation activities across the business development and marketing at Interseller.
This episode covers:
- Kristina’s background in marketing and the marketing function at Interseller
- What the growth marketing role entails
- What Kristina’s experiment in sales looked like
- How time in sales helps marketers understand their marketing role better
- How marketing and sales alignment is human and human alignment
- How to manage as a one-person marketing team
- Why it’s the responsibility of a marketer to show the value of marketing
- Structuring campaigns with a short term outlook
- The challenges of switching to sales from marketing
- How sales insight can shape a content strategy
Listen to the full episode here:
And check out more of the FINITE B2B marketing podcast here!
Hello everyone, and welcome back to the FINITE Podcast. Today’s episode is with Kristina Finseth. Kristina is the Growth Marketing Lead at a SaaS platform called Interseller, which provides a prospecting and outreach platform for recruiters and sellers.
Kristina has been on an interesting journey spending some time working as an account exec on the sales side before transitioning into growth marketing. And we’re going to talk a little bit about what she learned in that process and what she’s taken with her into her current marketing role. So I hope you enjoy this episode.
The FINITE community and podcast are kindly supported by 93x, the digital agency working exclusively with ambitious fast growth B2B technology companies. Visit 93x.agency to find out about how they partner with marketing teams and B2B technology companies to drive digital growth.
Hi Kristina, thanks for joining me today.
Thanks for having me, I’m excited to be here.
I’m looking forward to talking. It sounds like you’ve been on an interesting journey from sales to growth marketing, which we’ll be diving into, but as we always do, let’s kick off with you just telling us a little bit about your very varied background and your roots, ending up in the current role and a little bit about your kind of day-to-day at the moment.
Kristina’s background in marketing and the marketing function at Interseller
Yeah, absolutely. And it’s definitely anything but linear. I’ve had kind of an interesting career trajectory to date. So I spent probably the first five years of my career in recruiting and HR, which oddly enough is still the industry I’m in just on the vendor side.
And then I made a switch to content marketing. I was writing a lot on the side, and ended up going to what I would call the dark side. You know, this B2B side, B2B SaaS, in the HR tech space at a company called Phenom People. I spent two years there just building out their entire content marketing function from the ground up. And then I went into more of a full stack marketing role for a tech startup out of San Francisco, had a rocky finish at the end, as everyone knows the risk associated with startups.
And now I’m working at Interseller. The interesting part though is I actually joined my last company as head of marketing. And about four months into that role, I started doing sales demos for a couple of reasons. One is because I was generating all these quality leads and I didn’t feel like they were getting the love that they needed when I was handing them off.
And so selfishly, I wanted to make sure that we saw them through. I was working hard to get these leads and then just general curiosity about what it was like to be in the sales seat. If anything, it would make me a better marketer. So I spent six months there in sales and when I left, I still wanted to keep exploring that.
So my current company, Interseller, I pitched myself here to be in sales, started out as an AE for my first six months and just switched over less than 90 days ago to a growth marketing role. I own business development and then all of marketing, which is obviously a big bite to chew, but it’s fun.
Yeah. There’s lots to talk about there. Let’s start at the beginning because I think that the period you spent as a recruiter and now in the role that you’re in, obviously gives you a pretty detailed understanding of personas and who you’re selling to and who you’re talking to and challenges and all of those kinds of things.
But I guess actually the recruitment role is kind of a sales role to some extent. You could say you said you moved over to the dark side of B2B. I was going to say that recruitment was maybe the dark side, but maybe that’s unfair. But I guess the account exec skill set could quite easily be mirrored in a lot of the recruitment skill set.
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, you’re selling something different, right? You’re selling people on a role within an organisation. I think that the same underlying prefaces are there, right? You’re trying to help someone fill a role within your company or externally, you’re trying to help a candidate land a role.
I think the same principle falls over to sales. You’re trying to help navigate the buyer journey. You’re trying to help them come to a decision, whether it’s you or not you. So, yeah, I think there’s a lot of similarities there.
And tell us a little bit about the Interseller product and what it does and where it fits into the landscape.
So simply put, Interseller is a platform for prospecting and outreach for recruiters and sellers. So our ICP is really recruiting teams and more so on the external side. So like your recruiting agencies or executive search firms, et cetera. But with that said, we have quite a few just pure business development people using us across different industries, et cetera. But yeah, that’s as far as where we stand on the recruiting side, there’s not a whole lot of competition.
There’s competition in the sense that there are data finding tools that might overlap with some of our functionality. There are emailing tools that obviously overlap with some of that functionality, but head to head, there’s really not a whole lot of competitors in that space. But when I’m talking to sellers, I usually say we’re like ZoomInfo plus outreach.io. That’s really what we’re positioned at for recruiters.
Interesting. And it sounds like you’ve obviously got a lot of responsibility now in this role. We’ll go back to diving into what your experiment was like in a bit more detail. But I guess for all of our listeners, it won’t come as any kind of shock that there’s a lot of responsibilities as a marketer these days, but to have all of the business development and the marketing function under your remit must be a lot of juggling.
How do you define the growth marketing role as such and how does it bridge the gap between sales and marketing?
What is the growth marketing role?
Yeah, so it was easy for me to bridge the gap here because I’ve been in the role of the sales team. I’ve kind of already built this level of trust and respect because I’ve been there in their shoes and it just makes it easier for me to build the kind of collateral that they need, support them and enable them in the way that they need, et cetera.
And I think what’s really shifted for me is that if I think back to my earlier marketing days, I was really, really concerned with these metrics of just generating as much lead and traffic flow as I could. Of course we wanted quality and we would go back and do our attribution and figure out what’s going to close the deal. But for me now I have a sticky note on my desk and it says, drive revenue, not MQL.
And so every activity I do, whether it’s on the BD side or the marketing side, I try to look at it through that lens. Is this activity going to get us closer to our revenue goal? Or is it going to give us some sort of great brand visibility push, et cetera. And so as long as you keep looking through that funnel, with that purpose, I feel like it’s really hard to get disconnected from that.
And so this experiment itself, did you go into the sales side of things knowing that you would then come back to marketing? Or was sales like a possible change in direction slightly? Or how did you enter this period of working on the sales side?
When I went into it I just felt compelled. I’m at a point in my life, and maybe some people listening feel this way too, where I want to do work that moves me. And if that means getting off of this predictable career path that society has said, “you’re going to go to this and this and this,” then I’m okay with that.
And so when I moved to sales, it was because I really wanted to test it out. I knew in my head that it could be six months, it could be a year, it could be a new career. I mean, who knows? But I think what I did find out, after the year experiment, that what I really love to do and what I’m really good at are actually aligned. And that’s more of the demand gen, top of funnel kind of activities that I wanted to own. And so I think it helped me flesh that out and realise that growth marketing was a great intersection for me.
What Kristina’s experiment in sales looked like
What was life like? Give us a day in the life of Account Exec Kristina.
So I love doing outbound, that is my bread and butter. So there’s something to be said about controlling your own destiny and really just building your own book of business with the leads that you really want to talk to. And so I did a lot of outbound experimentation.
I think being a marketer and coming from content marketing obviously helps with being able to craft messaging fairly quickly, test it, iterate, et cetera. But over that process, I was able to find a playbook that really works for us. And so I think a lot of outbounds, sometimes I was doing as many as seven or eight demos a day and that was okay.
I’d say it was a good mixture of outbounds, a good mixture of demos here at Interseller. The AEs own the trial success as well. So there’s a lot of being there for customers and prospects and helping them through that phase until they actually purchase. So yeah, it’s not boring. I’ll tell you that even with COVID it was not boring.
And what about selling to recruiters? Because I guess recruiters are a persona that are often doing the selling themselves or that they’re doing a lot of outbound, they’re reaching out to lots of people, a lot of the time. How do they receive being sold to themselves?
It’s almost kind of selling to the sales guy. Some might be more open to it. Some might know exactly what you’re up to. I guess you kind of get both ends of the spectrum.
Yeah. I think if you approach it thoughtfully, which is something I tend to do, it’s probably a whole other podcast episode, but I don’t approach sales in the same way as a lot of people traditionally do.
And so I don’t mention anything about our product. I don’t mention things about problem solution. I’m really just looking at it as a ticket to an engaging conversation, knowing that we will be able to either turn an outbound lead into an inbound lead, which is this whole philosophy I have from data that I’ve been digging into.
But really I know how to speak to them because I know how to speak their lingo. I know what their pain points are. I know if I can look at a company page and very quickly on LinkedIn know if they’re investing lots of money into things like InMails, et cetera. And so it just makes it really easy to figure out what trigger to pull in order to get a conversation going.
In terms of the inbound/outbound split. Now I assume you’re generating inbound leads. Are they processed by the same account execs that are still doing outbound stuff as well?
Yeah, so we use our own tool for both inbound and outbound communications. A lot of what happens is, we’re working on SEO and all of the fun stuff to help get our inbound up without having to do too much effort. But they come in through our contact us or demo form and they automatically get round robin into our AEs sequences. And it starts that comms process over a one to two week period.
So tell us a little bit about the current team size structure. And now that you’re running the growth marketing role, I assume you’ve got other account execs on the team, but, it’s always useful for listeners to benchmark themselves against your size and structure.
Yeah, so we’re a very agile team. There’s 11 of us and we haven’t raised any institutional funding today. We are currently on track to be a 2 mil company by the end of this year, which is really exciting. Right now I am the only marketer which is kind of exciting. I’ll be looking forward to scaling and growing a team probably over the next, six to nine months with some new hires, probably more.
More than likely on the BD side to help free me up to work on some more marketing projects that I’ve really just let sit a little bit. I have three AEs and a head of sales. So the three AEs, I’m responsible for kind of feeding. Partially on outbound, but they’re also responsible for doing an element of their own outbound as well, just to help fill in those gaps.
We have my CEO, Steve Lu, who is awesome, who also is kind of our CTO, he’s an engineer by trade. And then we have two engineers on the team, two product specialists, which also handle a lot of customer support, customer success, product stuff. And then we have an account manager who handles our larger accounts that just need more love.
I think a lot of marketers would agree they benefit from being as close to sales as possible in a lot of respects. Do you think everybody should go through a bit of a process like you’ve been through?
How time in sales helps marketers understand their role better
I don’t think that it’s necessarily for everyone. I’ve worked with some marketers who are much better behind the scenes. They don’t have any desire or don’t feel comfortable getting in front of people and talking a whole lot. So I don’t think that it’s necessarily, you have to go experimenting in sales for a year.
In fact, I follow Dave Gerhardt. He’s probably one of my favourite marketers over the last five years I’d say. And he talks a lot about getting as close as you can to sales. And so if it’s not like me and wanting to jump into an experiment, I think getting on sales demos, making an effort to get to know the sales team or the people you are either doing handoffs to on the inbound side or that you’re helping to support.
Because a lot of times they can tell you some of the things that they’re encountering each day, you can start to pick up on trends and figure out how you can continue to support and enable them. But I think just at a surface level, be cool with your sales team.
Yes, there’s going to be the ones who come and ask for every little thing, and you’re going to have to figure out a way to minimise that and come up with a process for people still being able to give marketing ideas and feel like they’re getting due diligence and being reviewed, but build that relationship, listen to demos, get on live demos, sit on on as much as you can, whether it’s on lunch, whether it’s in the morning, whether it’s booking it into your day. I think that’s really important.
I think that’s great advice. I think I often see that there’s all these things we can do. There’s listening to sales calls, there’s tools like Gong, which are great. And what sales can do to build the rapport with marketing to their advantage. But there’s always going to be a little bit of a gap in the middle that isn’t necessarily filled by other sides.
And I think my confusion at the moment is that is just like a relationship thing, that’s just a human being. Can that void be filled by a good relationship on a basic human to human level between sales and marketing? I can’t put my finger on anything else.
I think that everywhere I speak to has a great sales and marketing alignment set up, it’s not because they’ve got an SLA between the two teams. They might have these things and they do part of the heavy lifting, but ultimately it just comes down to do the humans align? As fluffy as that may sound.
Marketing and sales alignment is human alignment
Yeah, I think you’re absolutely right. And I think actually caring about the human. One of my friends, Laura Bibby, heads up marketing for a company called Scede. And she says all the time, it’s not B2B, it’s B2H or it’s H2H right? Human to human.
And I think that goes with inner relationships too. If you can build a really good foundation, then you guys can work through anything. We’re still ironing out the handoff, right? We didn’t have business development as a separate function before I transitioned into this role.
So there’s still this element of, we have the playbook, we’re getting the leads, we’re getting the leads that we want to talk to, but then how do we make that handoff very smooth? We’re still working through those things. And I think you have to be okay with the fact that everything’s not going to be perfect off the bat and that there’s going to be some uncomfortable things to work through. And that’s okay.
Yeah. It misses part of life, I guess. And so you’re the only marketer right now. You mentioned that you’re hopefully going to be scaling a marketing team over the next six, nine months and beyond, but there’s so much to do. So where do you even start with the amount of stuff that’s on your plate?
How to manage as a one-person marketing team
Well, I’m a very organised person. I use Notion and I have what I would call a Trello board in Notion that I create for each month. But I think one of my early marketing leaders had us actually using Jira, if anyone’s familiar with that.
And it’s mostly on the engineering side, but we would literally run two weeks sprints, which I was a big fan of because it really helps you hyper focus. And so I’m a big fan of not planning too far ahead. In fact, I would almost argue a quarter ahead is probably enough knowing that things are going to evolve, especially if you’re in startup land like me.
So I don’t plan too far ahead. I know some of the bigger pieces that I want to keep consistent, like our webinar program, things like that, where you can build out for time, but I’m a big fan of bucketing here’s what I want to get done over the next two weeks.
And then time-blocking on my calendar is a saviour because I have to dedicate enough time between business development and also the marketing side. So I’m not doing everything is really the answer to that question, Alex.
I think what I am doing is prioritising and treating marketing right now as more project based because I would rather do one or two projects at a hundred percent and blow it out of the water, then try to spread myself across all the marketing things. And I’m just going to categorise them as things right now and maybe hit them all at like 14, 15%. That’s just me, but I’m also old school.
Oh yeah. So for those who can’t see this, Kristina is showing me her notebook.
I’m showing my little checklist. It just helps me.
I think if it works for you, it works for you, but I think that’s something where you just mentioned. So often I see this really often in like earlier stage startups where maybe a CEO or founder doesn’t quite fully understand the marketing role to some extent and has some pretty broad expectations.
I share them on LinkedIn occasionally and laugh at how shocking some job descriptions are with everything from Salesforce expert to marketing automation, to copywriters, to web designer, to graphic design. Like it just goes on and on. Some of them are like probably 8 or 10 roles in 1 job description for like an entry level generalist marketer. And then the net result of that is that a year passes and that some poor marketer has taken on that job.
And after a year, as you say 10 things have moved forward 50% rather than two things having moved forward to completion or having made a big impact. I think particularly the early stage is that it just happens so frequently. Obviously there’s a lot of encompassing your role, but do you think there’s a realistic outlook within the rest of the business of what you can actually get done day-to-day?
The responsibility of a marketer to show the value of marketing
Yeah. And that’s why I’m so excited to be in this role here because I’ve been in the org where the expectations are way too high and it lends itself to two marketers working around the clock, I’ve been in that role. And I think one thing that maybe some people don’t understand and I’m a sensitive person.
I can take things personally sometimes, is that when you’re working with founders or CEOs who have not necessarily hands-on run marketing programs before, when they start to dig at things, think of it through the lens, as it is your responsibility, to also educate your CEO or your founders or your leadership on marketing, just as much as it is doing it.
And so I think if you start to look at things that way, does my CEO ask a lot of tough questions? Yes. Does my CEO give pushback on certain projects? Yes. But I think it comes from the lens of he wants to understand exactly what the desired outcomes are. What’s going to go into this from a resource and time perspective? There’ll be budget that we need for this.
I mean, there’s all these things that you almost have to continue to make this internal business case. And then I think the other piece is just documenting as much as possible too. And I know I’m going off on a tangent here, but this is really important stuff. I am trying to build repeatable processes.
So as I stood up the webinar program, which I’ve done in my past, I know everything that goes into that. I don’t necessarily need a checklist, but I put one together that feels really redundant because I know that when I hire someone, I can easily hand it off.
And also my CEO now knows every little piece that goes into that. It’s not just let’s do a webinar tomorrow. They understand that it takes six to eight weeks sometimes. So I think it’s important to continue to look at it through that lens that you’re educating your CEO. And you need to build these processes so that you can eventually hand them off to someone who can do them far better than you can.
I think that’s such a great tip. That’s something that, again I see it’s often, where we’ve got a webinar tomorrow on marketing operations and actually a CMO that I did a podcast with a few months ago said if he was building out a marketing team again from scratch, he would start with marketing operations as the first role.
This is someone that’s got a team of two or three now, but has also had a team of like 80 people in the past. And I think that says a lot about the level of process and efficiency that needs to be planned into marketing. As someone who’s building a business myself, I can sometimes feel like I’m obsessing too much over checklists and writing stuff down, but I think it will pay dividends when you hire someone in six months time, makes life so much easier.
You mentioned a little bit about the campaign side of things and how you structure things maybe by quarter. I guess this is always an interesting one because different people have different approaches. Some people are very campaign-based in everything they do. I think at the same time, a lot of marketing has moved to a bit more of a always on approach.
How do you typically structure? It sounds like your webinar program and those kinds of things are relatively consistent, but do you go campaign topic or pillar piece of content that is your thing for the quarter and then everything kind of flows off of that? Or how do you typically approach it?
Structuring campaigns with a short term outlook
Yeah. So I’ve run on teams like that, where we have quarterly themes and down to like monthly themes and tie everything to that. We’re definitely not at that point right now. I think right now we’re still in that phase of, I’m the first marketer there’s a lot of experimentation.
And so I think it’s more important to experiment somewhat frequently, not too frequently and fail quickly or figure out what’s in doubling down on those channels or those activities, those campaigns. I’m not tied to a specific theme right now. In fact, I would almost argue, I don’t want to get on anyone’s marketing bad side here, but if you’re planning out themes for content and having your pillar focused, I think that’s okay.
But I think you also have to be okay with the fact that that might just shift overnight when something else happens or something hot comes onto the market from a news perspective and things like that. So I think it’s okay to have those themes, but I don’t know. I’m a little less practical in that regard to be honest.
No, it makes sense. I was going to ask you about the experimentation side a bit more, because I think that the growth hacking marketing role has been so synonymous with experimentation and fading fast and those kinds of things. I think there’s also an interesting one culturally in that some businesses are built for that.
And I guess startup culture is not through and through, but maybe tell us a bit more about that side of things. And do you feel like you’re kind of pretty constantly trying new things and experimenting? Or are you at a stage now where you’ve got a bit of a plan and you might not be doing as much for the next few months?
Yeah. So I’m at the stage where I have an overarching plan, but when it comes to copy and email messaging and things like that, what worked six months ago doesn’t work today. And so a lot of what I ended up finding myself testing and experimenting is more with email copy and what’s going to help engage more people into conversations with our team. And so a lot of what I’m doing is for example, we have our go-to playbook.
This is something that I know a lot of marketers listening to this, there’s this misconception for people who don’t understand marketing that they’re just going to keep AB testing. And AB testing all these different things when really you should be testing against whatever your A is.
So finding your A is important. I spent probably about three months finding our A, we have our A right when it comes to messaging and copy. And now what I do is every quarter when it’s about to end I’ll refresh that A, make sure that the copy is not stale, it is more current with what’s going on, what we expect to be going on in the next quarter. Just make sure that it feels really good, it’s not outdated.
We’re not using things like pandemic and in these crazy times, and just things that people don’t care to hear about anymore right now. And then I also pick some sort of new B test of copy that I want to run that’s drastically different from our A. And I do that by re-engaging all of the prospects who opened, but didn’t reply in the previous quarter.
So that’s something that happens every quarter, and so I will test that to see if it moves the needle. I feel more comfortable doing that. I have a problem with not wanting to burn through our leads with bad experience, because then we have to band-aid that repair it and then try to break through.
So I find re-engaging people who already went through our A is a little less risky for us because maybe now they’ll respond to more short and choppy non-personalised texts. I mean, no prospects are created equal. So that’s where I find myself experimenting a lot. And so it’s more on that line of business development and sales enablement when it comes to the marketing side, but it’s very copy driven.
I think it’s worth touching on some of the challenges that come up from having been through this experiment a bit. I guess a lot of marketers, if they were forced to go through this process might end up having some kind of mini identity crisis. What am I doing? And what’s my future? But you entered into this process of your own free will.
And it sounds like it’s been a really healthy journey for learning and progression and that kind of thing, but no doubt challenges along the way. So what did you find was the most tricky part?
The challenges of switching to sales from marketing
So there’s a couple of parts that were somewhat tricky to me, especially in the beginning. I think when I would get on demos, it was really hard for me to solve for pain right away.
I think a lot of what I wanted to do, and this probably came from marketing experience, is when people would ask either in an email, just tell me what you do. Or walking through a demo, I feel like I need to give the one-page or a verbal format, right? Or type out here are features and here’s what we do, and we can enable you to do this. And it’s very markety.
So I think what I had to figure out in that first, I would say it probably took me a good three to six months to really get beyond that, is losing the pieces of the marketing speak that don’t really transition to the sales process and getting stronger at objection handling.
If I get someone who says we’re already using another vendor, marketing Kristina would have said, okay have a great day, we’ll stay in touch. You know, that kind of stuff. But sales Kristina would go back and say, okay cool I’m not asking you to leave your current vendor. I just want to learn what’s working for you and what’s not. And just try to start a conversation.
And so I think that was a big hurdle for me, is really understanding that. I’d say that probably was the biggest challenge, just getting over that marketing brain set of what happens with us when we’re trying to position the product?
Yeah. I think it’s a really common thing for anyone changing roles. To naturally fall back to your safe space or the way that you’ve approached things before. It takes conscious effort to battle against that. I guess I’m interested in all of these kinds of conversations you had on the sales side, I imagine have been super useful for pretty much everything you’re doing on the marketing side, but content in particular.
I know I often find that talking to sales teams, they have so much insight around what links they send through to prospects on the website and which bits of content they share the most regularly. And some of this stuff marketing’s like, I didn’t even realise you knew that existed, let alone shared it. So would it be fair to assume a lot of what you picked up as fed back into the top of and shaped content strategy in all parts of marketing?
How sales insight can shape a content strategy
Yeah. And it’s interesting because if I think back to some of the roles that I was in marketing before, where you’re selling to enterprise and it was a much larger team and different set of challenges, there was a lot of that. Not really fully understanding what conversations were happening, especially via email because we weren’t using Salesforce at first.
My previous roles, we just didn’t have visibility into all the conversations post handoff. And so I think being able to see that, not from like a spying, creepy way, but it’s nice to see what your go-to templates are. Cause all the salespeople have their standalone template for a post demo followup and what they share. And so that’s where I started first is like, what are they sharing? What could be updated? Oh, that video is way outdated. We need to get that up on the radar.
And I think putting more time into non-company branded materials is really important. And so a lot of places that I end up sending people and a lot of time that I’ve spent building collateral has been on G2 and being able to send reference pages for different persona types, whether they’re a seller, an internal recruiter, an external recruiter, et cetera. And quickly being able to empower the sales team that way.
And also just like this week, I’m rolling out our video customer testimonial process where I’m going to get on Zoom and interview and do more of a video case study. So I think yes, it’s helped me, but I also didn’t resurface a whole lot of bad habits. It was more, they were using what they thought was the most up-to-date best piece of content. And really, it’s just more about that behaviour shift of saying, don’t keep using this because it’s outdated.
I would actually rather you go and curate a piece of content from a thought leader that’s relevant in our industry and share that in a follow up, than share a one pager, which quite frankly, they’re probably not going to care about as much anyway. So just more behaviour shift, but not a whole lot of bad behaviours there, believe it or not.
That’s good to hear with some fascinating insights there. I feel like all marketers need to spend not necessarily time during the role as you said, but I think definitely some time listening in and being closer and there should be some absolute minimums every month that people commit there. But yeah, really interesting.
I was going to wrap up by asking you a few final, quick fire questions. One of which was what’s your favourite kind of MarTech tool or technology that you’re using at the moment? You’re not allowed to say your own product.
I was going through that thinking Interseller would probably have been my first one, but yeah I know people have a love/hate relationship with Salesforce, but I think that if you have clean data, which is something I find really really important, the reporting functionality and all the ability to run all the top of funnel reports, everything that I need to need to be able to see and connect the dots on. That’s really important to me, conversion rates, win rates, et cetera.
So Salesforce is really important, but I also just like Slack and I know it’s weird. I have a marketing channel in our Slack company and I am a huge fan of transparency. Not because I want people to know that I’m working on things, but because I want the whole company to feel like they have the ability to look at it, give feedback and just understand more about what we’re doing and why we’re doing certain things. So I think that’s been huge from a collaboration standpoint,
Biggest challenge right now?
Doing all the things. I think I still face challenges with am I the right person to be in this role? Can I scale this thing? Can I do this? And then I go back and forth and say, well everyone started somewhere and not everyone has scaled a team.
Everyone’s had to scale a team for the first time, everyone’s had to do this for the first time. And so I think I’m a little anxious about that. Especially as we continue to progress as a company and there’s a never ending list of marketing priorities and everyone knows that you are never finished with that list. And if you are that’s a little scary because you probably shouldn’t be.
So I think that list continues to grow, and figuring out where to prioritise my time when I have it is still challenging. I don’t have all of that together.
It sounds like you’re doing all the right things and getting things set up. I’m sure we’ll be keeping a close eye on the journey. No doubt a year or so from now, we’ll be looking back and going, Kristina’s got a team of god knows how many people on the marketing team and things have taken off.
What are you most excited about in the B2B marketing world?
I really think that sales, and this is a conversation that’s been going on forever, should BD report into sales should BD report into marketing, et cetera. I just think there’s going to be a whole lot more alignment. I really do. I really think that things are blending a lot more.
You’re seeing growth marketing happen as a role in organisations a lot earlier. And I’m just noticing that a lot of startups are starting to hire marketers earlier and earlier, understanding and buying into marketing quickly, which is to me a good sign.
I always get scared when I see companies that are like 40 plus employees, or maybe even let’s just say a hundred plus employees and they have a marketing team of one. It’s a red flag to me. It’s like, why has leadership not bought into marketing? So I think more organisations are just going to understand that marketing is a critical role and the sooner they can hire that first person to help build and own that the better.
Maybe one final question on that, because it’s something I’ve seen popping up more recently. Any thoughts on the revenue operations side of things? I mean rev ops as a thing just seems to be growing and growing. And then the chief revenue officer role is one that’s been around in different guises, but I think whenever I look at CRO profiles it’s all salespeople.
Usually it’s salespeople by background rather than marketing people. And so if I was a marketer, would I want to be reporting to a chief revenue officer that doesn’t necessarily have much marketing knowledge or is sales first? I don’t know. But what’s your thoughts on that, because your motto of driving revenue and not MQLs aligns quite nicely with that. What are your thoughts?
Yeah, I think this is going to go back to having leadership at each of those areas that can align right towards a common goal. And so I think as long as OKRs, or goals all point towards the same, it doesn’t matter who is leading.
I think my earlier statement still stands, whether you’re reporting to a CRO that maybe doesn’t come from a marketing background or you’re reporting into a CEO or anyone, your job is also to educate them and give a business case on why we’re doing what we’re doing in marketing. That’s just part of it. And so I think that still stands and hopefully it’s a CRO that wants to be educated and really wants to give you full autonomy to own that.
Awesome. Well it’s been so great talking Kristina, I’m grateful for you giving up the time to share your insights and the journey you’ve been on. I’m looking forward to seeing the growth you keep driving at Interseller looking ahead. So thanks again.
Awesome. Thanks for having me, Alex.
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