Ep 054 - The End Of Sales & Marketing with Daniel Zsolt Rényi of Klear B2B

January 12, 2023

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In this episode of Confessions of a B2B Marketer, I'm joined by Daniel Zsolt Rényi of Klear B2B. We get Daniel to share the importance of shifting from a sales mindset to a revenue mindset, how sales and marketing can work together better, Account-Based Marketing (ABM), B2B content on TikTok, and having a systematic approach to creating content for social media. Learn how to provide value upfront when engaging in B2B lead generation with webinars, trainings, calculators, assessments, quizzes and more!

Generating leads and creating content for social media can be a daunting task for B2B businesses. With so many different channels to consider, it’s easy to become overwhelmed and unsure of where to start.

However, with a systematic approach, you can create an effective lead generation and content creation strategy that will help your business reach its goals. The first step in creating a systematic approach to B2B lead generation and content creation is to identify your target audience. Knowing who you’re trying to reach will help you determine the best channels for reaching them, as well as the type of content that will resonate with them.

Once you have identified your target audience, it’s time to create a plan for generating leads and creating content. When it comes to lead generation, there are several strategies that can be used. These include email campaigns, search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, social media marketing (SMM), webinars/virtual events, influencer marketing, and more.

Each of these strategies has its own advantages and disadvantages; therefore it’s important to choose the one that best fits your business needs and goals. Additionally, when creating an email campaign or PPC ad campaign make sure you use targeted keywords so that your message reaches the right people at the right time.

Once you have chosen which lead generation strategies are best suited for your business needs, it’s time to focus on creating content for social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc.. When crafting posts or ads on these platforms make sure they are engaging and relevant; this means using visuals such as images or videos whenever possible in order to capture attention quickly.

Additionally try using hashtags in order to increase visibility among potential customers who may not already follow your page/accounts on these platforms yet but may be interested in what you have posted about their industry or interests related topics. Finally once all of this is done don't forget about tracking results! This is key when evaluating how successful each strategy was at generating leads or engaging customers through social media posts/ads etc..

Tracking metrics such as website visits from each platform/campaign can give insight into which ones were most successful so adjustments can be made accordingly if needed going forward. By following these steps businesses should be able create an effective systematized approach towards B2B lead generation & content creation for social media platforms which should result in increased engagement & sales over time!

Thanks for listening and hit me up on
if you have any questions!

Episode transcript

Stop thinking of yourself as a salesperson. Think of yourself as a revenue person. So if you get this identity into everybody's minds, sales leaders and marketing leaders, like, okay, like you're still doing your sales thing, you're still doing your marketing thing, but above that you are revenue leaders, then it's a huge step.

Daniel, how are you doing?

Awesome, thank you. Doing great, hi Tom.

How's your day?

It's good, I went on a run, and then I had an electricity outage, so I almost couldn't make it, and I almost had to leave the house and go somewhere else to make this video, because there was no electricity for the past 20 minutes.

So, interesting, as you might say. I'm glad that we got prioritized, because then you were gonna leave the house to find someone for the recording, so. I really appreciate that. But anyway, thank you for your time.

What I wanted to cover is, it seems to me, like you have a passion for B2B, ABM, that I wanna dig into, and then there's a couple of other little ancillary things that we're gonna dig into as well.

But before I guess, if anybody wants to learn more, they need to go to clear B2B, or Google your name, slash LinkedIn, search your name, we'll link all this stuff below, if they wanna check out like more about you, right?

Yeah, yeah, exactly, exactly.

But yeah, like let's kick off and understand, your like view on ABM right now. My view on ABM right now, okay, it's consolidating, which is good news. And what we mean by consolidation is that, initially, like when ABM became a thing, so to say in 2004, and then it got picked up again, and hyped by all the vendors, by all the consultants.

So like, there were a lot of expectations about ABM. And as things naturally are, it got a bit overhyped, way too big expectations, and now people are starting to realize that it's not a magic bullet. It's a great thing, it's a great strategy. It's not a standalone strategy, not a magic bullet. And so we're sobering out, and starting to put things in place regarding ABM.

So I don't think it's a strategy in and of itself, that can be used by a company. It's certainly an important component of a strategy.

Got it, makes sense. If you want, I can go deeper on this. So the reason it's not a standalone strategy, is because when you're talking about account-based marketing, what you're strictly speaking of, is creating campaigns and sales sequences, and complex motions for specific accounts, who are ready to engage. But there is a step preceding that, meaning you have to actually prime or warm up the market.

Because if you don't do that, you are strictly limited to outbound. So what they say often is that, ABM goes really well with inbound, and I totally agree with that. Or if you want to be more trendy, you can say ABM goes really well with demand generation. And so it has to be viewed in this context. So it's not a standalone thing, but it latches onto other strategies and motions.

What would you say is the difference between ABM and demand generation?

Okay, well in demand generation, by definition, you are creating demand where it doesn't exist. So in an ABM setting, you're approaching and targeting and engaging companies who probably aren't ready to buy your product yet. So what you're doing there is actually building a relationship.

Now, when the relationship building happens, and they're engaging with your content, then it's time to turn on the ABM engine and target them with ads, perhaps to outbound. So it's basically the step that comes after demand generation. So with demand generation, you're getting them ready, you're getting them in state, you're educating them.

And when they look ready to move on, when they get in market or become in market, then you turn on the ABM engine and then you can target them. Makes total sense. So when you, because I know the first stage of ABM, it's like you define exactly who the ideal targets are. Maybe you tier them and you get all the contact data.

And then there are actions that need to be taken, right?

Right. These actions are often split between sales and marketing.

And so if that's the case, if ABM sits within the marketing function, but it uses sales as a resource, like, did that mean the sales technically report into marketing for an ABM, like, piece of work?

Well, the general setup with many B2B companies now is that they have a so-called a revenue department. And within that revenue department, you have sales and marketing.

So in that sense, they would be side by side and there's no hierarchy between them, which totally makes sense, because if you look at the process of taking the buyer from a completely unaware stage to engaging them, and then at the end of the day, trying to sell to them and then selling to them and then reselling to them, like in that process, you have marketing followed by sales.

And obviously you have some overlap in between. And if you ask me, like, the big question isn't where the overlap is, whether one function is sales or marketing. It's about how to make the two work together. And because there is such an overlap and they're so dependent on each other and there has to be alignment, that's why it makes sense to put them in the same department.

Now they can still be separate teams and they should be separate teams, just like within marketing, you have performance marketing, you have SEO, you have content and you have whatever PR and whatnot. So it makes sense to still have sales and marketing under separate leaders. But if you're talking about a larger organization, like they definitely have to be joined at the top.

Do you have any, because sometimes these groups of people maybe don't get on so well, do you have any advice or insights on how, if you're a seller, you could engage and build better relationships with marketing and vice versa?

Yeah, okay.

So you're asking about how sales and marketing can become better friends, right?

Exactly. And work together better.

The best, and it's funny you ask this because just the other day, I was approached by somebody who is in sales and they really get the demand gen and ABM thing. But their marketing department doesn't yet, really.

And so they were asking me, it's like, what do I do as an account executive to get everybody on board?

And my advice after some thinking was that, well, the first thing you do is you stop thinking of yourself as a salesperson, think of yourself as a revenue person. So if you get this identity into everybody's minds, sales leaders and marketing leaders, like, okay, like you're still doing your sales thing, you're still doing your marketing thing. But above that, you are revenue leaders, then it's a huge step.

So it's not just that we are one team, but let's understand that we are all in here for revenue. And that doesn't mean that marketing only cares about revenue and all that they do should tie into revenue.

It's like, that doesn't, I'm not implying that. It's just that like, let's make it a part of our identities that we're revenue people before we are sales and marketing people.

So then how that actually works in terms of accountability within an organization is the revenue leader whatever job title we wanna give them, they're given a revenue target and they have to use the resources, both sales and marketing and maybe sales and marketing ops, I suppose as resources to hit that goal.

Would you agree?

Yeah, so what generally happens is yes, they're given revenue targets. And then at the end of the day, like sales is gonna have a bigger chunk of the accountability just because they're closer to the fire, they're closer to the goal. So it's like when it's the football world cups now. So when a team needs to score, it's primarily on the strikers, like the two or three guys who are attacking in offense.

But their job is not enough.

So you still need to get the midfield and even the, what do you call them?


Yeah, no, no, no, that's American football. Defenders.

Defense, yeah.

Okay, so you need to get the defenders and especially the midfield to set up the situations. But at the end of the day, if the strikers are gonna be the ones who are most accountable for a lack of goals, if it doesn't happen, and they'll be most celebrated if it does happen. That makes sense.

So when you like go in and work with clients and they have a CMO and they have a VP of sales and they don't really talk, they both report, let's say into CEO, do you like make this recommendation?

There should be a joint revenue team.

Yeah, and it's funny how in a lot of organizations, like it's been, they've had a very similar setup for a while, especially if you go into software development companies. So not necessarily product companies, but development companies, they often have someone called the commercial director and the marketing would report to them as well as sales. And so it's like a revenue function and it's been that way for God knows how long.

So it's not a completely new thing, this concept of a CRO. Sometimes they already have that. If they don't have that, then yes, that's generally the advice as we start working together to get the people together as often as possible and preferably have the leader be super clear on what's happening with who, where, and what are the motions, because that way they can have a handle on things.

And it's super hard because sometimes, theoretically people will agree, like what we're talking about here, like that takes five minutes to get across and you'll see like heads nodding, oh yeah, makes total sense, 100%. And then when it comes to the day to day, people just gravitate back to their old ways of doing things. And then like even we're working with a client for 15 or 16 months now.

And I just started to realize that for, we set up this very healthy cadence where we would regularly meet with not just sales, but also with product, the head of product. And it was awesome. And then I'm just realizing that for the past couple of weeks, the sales and product guys just started to wash off and not take part in these meetings.

Because some people gravitate back to their old way of doing things. And if they don't see like the direct consequence and direct benefit of working together as one team, then it's easy to let go. So it takes some real consciousness and management in staying on track.

Would you put the SDRs, the sales development reps in the marketing or sales part of the revenue function?

That's a good question and it leads very far because the way, okay, most successful SDRs I see are basically social media managers. They act like social media managers. They're like so active and they're creating demand. And what I'm seeing is that there is, the way business works nowadays, especially technology, SDRs need to be, or in general, salespeople need to be doing social selling the right way.

Because by so, you tell a salesperson social selling and they'll think of, okay, sending in mails to people called. And that's how they view social selling. But the best SDRs and account executives are out there on a social networks, creating content, engaging with people. And as long as they're doing that, it doesn't really matter which state department they sit in.

I think like it might even be, okay, it's logical for them to be under marketing, but hey, if a sales leader can support them and if for whatever reason it's better that they're in sales, do that, do that. But in my mind, they would gravitate toward marketing. But what they actually do as SDRs is far more important than which department they sit in. It makes sense.

The best definition I like of sales and marketing is sales is just influencing by one-on-one communication and marketing is influencing by one-to-many communication. And your description, which I love, of the SDRs as essential social media managers is, basically saying a chunk of their role is one-to-many influence, which is therefore marketing. So it's super interesting as to where people would sit in the business.

I think here's a lovely jumping off point though into your use of social. I'd love to understand like the platform to your folks thing. I think it's LinkedIn and TikTok. Your strategy, like how you create all the content can be pretty prolific. And then the impacts it's having on like your brand and your business. Yeah. So I'd say it's 95% LinkedIn for our company at the moment. And we're experimenting with TikTok.

We really should be turning up the knob on TikTok because I got on there about a year ago and I started experimenting a year ago and I've kept it pretty low key ever since. And I don't visit back to TikTok regularly, but like there was a period where I didn't look at TikTok over the summer because of various things.

And I went back and just the sheer amount of B2B content just exploded over a few months. So I think it's definitely here to stay unless something weird happens at the top in America and TikTok gets banned in the US, but that's the US. You still have Europe and the rest of the world.

But yeah, so TikTok should be something that in the technology sector you ought to at least keep an eye on and perhaps experiment with. Right. And second part of your question was what I'm finding useful and what tends to work.

Okay, so what tends to work is that social media is never or should be a standalone thing. It can work that way, but it's so much more powerful if you tie it into other marketing initiatives.

What I mean by that is any campaign that's going on, be it like a quiz, a webinar, or a course that you're putting out that you want people to sign up for, if you put some social media, both organic and paid behind it, it's gonna do so much better.

And about how impactful it is for us, it's very impactful because it's almost the, well, it's a primary channel, a primary client acquisition channel. And it is the dark social, as they say, because we'd have a client, we'd have a buyer, they'd come in and you said, hi, found you on LinkedIn, I liked your content, let's talk. And then eight days later, we would sign a contract.

And they have never once engaged with anything that I wrote. The guy was just researching, he was totally in market. He looked at a couple of people on LinkedIn and for some reason decided to give me and a couple of others a call. And we had a conversation and bam, so that was 100% LinkedIn, not any other marketing activity or channel. And it's pretty common, it's pretty common.

And so who from the business is posting outside of you, if there is anybody else?

And then what kind of things are you posting?

And then how do you work that into your daily work schedule?

Yeah, okay, so we have two other people posting from the business on their private profiles. And we have a company page and the company page essentially just repurposes some of my stuff. So currently we're posting once a week on the company page, which is a repurposing of an earlier post of mine. And other people, I just tell them to post about whatever they want, because initially that's gonna be the easiest route.

And it tends to work out the best over the long term. So if you tell people, social is such a free and intuitive media. If you really try to direct people, then it's not gonna work out. So of course you're gonna have business objectives, but for the moment, we don't worry about that. We just want people out there posting, building a presence for themselves. And obviously it's gonna be something business related.

And because they're in marketing, it's gonna be marketing related. So as long as they have that, then it's cool. And if we're running a webinar and they just knock a link out with their content saying, hey, you should sign up for this, then even better, but it's not even important. You had another question.

Oh yeah, but how you fit this into your productivity workflow.

Oh yeah, I really suck at creating content for social media. So it should be something that is systematic. And what we do for our clients when we repost on social media, it's like totally systematic, it's totally process-based. And I have relatively little to do with it. It's handled by the others. And for myself, it's just so random and spontaneous. And it's the hardest part of my day.

I try to post every weekday, but it never happens. So I ended up posting about three to five times a week. And I just have something random on my mind and I start typing about it. And sometimes it'll be 20 minutes, sometimes it'll be an hour. Sometimes it'll just like today, I start typing and I'd be like, okay, this would make a great webinar topic.

And so I stopped the post, I go and set up a webinar, and then I finished the post and I link, I put the link to the webinar registration page. So it's very spontaneous, which is totally unsustainable in the long run.

So I really should be, because this is a confession show, right?

So I'm here confessing my shortcomings to you. So in the long run, what really should happen is for me to have a systematic way to brainstorm content and then create content and just make it happen that way so that it's much more predictable and not based on surprises and weird things. We appreciate the confession.

I do love the approach of like writing a post, be like, yeah, this would be a good webinar, set the webinar up so you're like prepping, I don't know, even before you, it's like a spontaneous creation of the CTA as you're creating the content itself.

Left, now you mentioned it, this webinar strategy, because I kind of felt like webinars went out of fashion like a few years ago.

A, it's like hard to get people there. And then B, like it's really hard to make a webinar like really good. And then C, if you like pitch people on the webinar or after the webinar, from what I was seeing before, we weren't getting as great a conversion as you would like five years ago. But I'd love to understand how you're running that process. Great questions, all of them great questions.

So number one, yes, it's harder to get people to sign up for a webinar. Number two, yes, it's hard to get those who signed up to show up. And so there are a little tweaks that you can do. One is not to frame it as a webinar. You can frame it as a class, as a training, as a Zoom call to make it feel not like a webinar.

Of course, people know that the format is gonna be pretty similar. But if you frame their mind differently about it, then it's gonna be different.

Also, if your topic is niche enough and relevant enough for the target audience, it's gonna work better. The thing about pitching is that I am for pitching actually, and it's worked well for us. So we would provide about 45 minutes of golden content like very heavy and practical and applicable content. And then quite often we segue into an offer, which would be like an initial project or a sprint with us.

And we're pretty frank about this. So like once we hit the 45 to 50 minute mark, I would say, okay, so you see the process, you can go and implement this at your organization. If you've got questions, if you're stuck, message me, I'll help you. If you're interested in doing this with a consultant, let me show you our process and the price for how much we do it for.

Or because we quite often have other B2B consultants and agencies on the call, I would also add that, hey, if you're an agency, feel free to add this to your services if it makes sense. And if once you've experimented with it, here's our process, use it. That makes total sense. Here's how we frame it.

And so we just go, okay, so what's gonna happen in this sprint is we do this and then we get your target audience and then we set up this and then we set up that and then we test this, we test that, bam, bam, bam, and then out it goes.

And in the end, we'll even say, okay, like for a limited time, if you sign up with us right now, we can do this for this much instead of that much. And nobody's offended.

I mean, it's like, because if they stop to the end of a 45 or a 50 minute presentation, which they usually do, so those show up, will tend to stay towards the end.

I mean, if they're that interested, then they're gonna be interested in the implementation of what they just heard. What doesn't work and what we never even tried or attempted to do is to build a whole webinar around like a feature or a product presentation. So like I would never disguise a pitch as a webinar. So that would really suck. Got it.

So the key is like being, ensuring that you're adding value to your people's lives before you go over the pitch.

And it's got a smooth one, right?

Could you like, you go ahead and do it yourself or we can do it for you. So it's a very smooth pitch, makes total sense. Exactly.

Yeah, and then just one more thing. If you're a service-based company, like even the pitch should provide value as in teaching and process and the components. So even that has value. Makes total sense. If you do it right.

What do you mean by a new school lead gen?

Yeah, okay, so lead generation gets a really bad rep for a reason. And when people start smashing on lead generation, what they mean is putting out some shitty ebook and then whoever downloads it gets called by an SDR or put into a seven step email nurturing sequence. And so we're assuming that that's what lead generation is just because that's what Wispy and V companies are doing.

But there are so many other opportunities to generate legit leads. And what I mean, like some of the stuff I mean isn't even new school.

So I just, it's just a sensible and a better and more value driven way to generate leads. And so some of the things you can be doing for starters, so like a webinar or a training or however you frame it, that can also serve as a lead generation mechanism.

Now, what you do with the leads that you would be, whether you wanna call them leads or just contacts, it doesn't really matter. What matters is what you do with them. So you shouldn't be contacting people just because they signed up to consume some content of yours, be it a webinar or an ebook or a course or whatever. So you shouldn't pitch them.

You shouldn't be assuming that they're ready to buy just because they're consuming some very vague awareness based demand generation piece of content.

Okay, so that's one thing, but you're still getting contacts and then you can get back to them later. So when you have a followup episode, if you have a tool that they can use, you are advised to reach out to them and provide even more value after you got their email address and their contact data.

So what are some of the things you can do?

I mentioned webinars. The other thing that you can do is set up tools. No brainer for many software-based businesses would be a calculator, an ROI calculator that helps them calculate costs. What we love and do for almost every client sooner or later is assessments or quizzes. So something that helps the audience assess where they are and what the next steps should be.

So you're already providing value in the form of semi-personalized advice because you're asking them questions and based on the answers, you're giving them recommendations on how to go forward with their situation. And so the reason we love this is because you're getting zero party data.

So they're willingly giving you data about where they are, what they do, what they think about your certain topic, and you get their contact information in the end if they give it to you. It's a really powerful and mutually beneficial way of generating leads. Got it.

So I think what we're talking about when we say new school lead generation is like, just yes, it's fine to collect email addresses, but it isn't really fine to pitch people that are definitely not ready to buy because you harm the relationship.

And so you can collect email addresses, but then you wanna keep on adding value until they come to you or until they really show some intent that they wanna buy and then you pitch.

Is that right?

Exactly, exactly. We should also talk about the other things that you're doing. And so it's what I'm really passionate about is over delivering. So ungating a lot of super valuable content that most other companies and competitors would gate so that people, especially if it's like the top of funnel, generic or demand gen stuff, and not really the later stage and more detailed, more technical stuff.

So if you ungate the best of your work, it's gonna be one form of over delivering. And then when you're actually collecting an email address, then again, you should be over delivering and saying, oh wow, I would need to pay consultants for this knowledge. You want that impression to sort of arise or emerge when they're consuming your content and using your assets. So over delivering.

And so when you do collect an email address, make sure there's a lot of value behind it. Always over delivering. I think that's a good way or maybe a good summary of our conversation. And that's the vibe I'm getting is that you like both for your company and also Clear B2B for anybody, Google that with a K. And for your clients, it seems like the focus is add value upfront.

If we do that in the B2B world, then ultimately people are gonna come back to us, whether that's through you posting on LinkedIn and TikTok, through you setting up quizzes for clients, whether that's you through the webinars.

Would you say that's a good summary of the Clear and Daniel approach?

Yeah. And the other thing that's at play here that's important to keep in mind is the network effect. So a lot of times when you're going out there, putting out useful content and constantly over delivering, you're building something that's bigger than yourself or your company. And you're building this pie like the whole industry that's gonna benefit from you. And sooner or later, it's gonna like trickle back down to you.

So the benefits are gonna come back to you in direct way. But the thing is to keep in mind is that you're actually building something that is greater than yourself. Love that message.

Daniel, I wanna thank you so much. We're gonna link to the website. We're gonna link to your LinkedIn. We're gonna link to your TikTok as well below.

But is there anywhere else people can find you?

Yeah, we've got a show of our own on Spotify. It's called the Electric B2B Show. So wherever you listen to podcasts, Google or Apple or Spotify, you can find the Electric B2B Show. And that's where I hash out content on a more or less weekly basis. That will also be linked below. Daniel of Clear B2B, thank you so much for your time.

Thank you, Tom. It was great.

Thank you, Tom. It was great, too.

All right, guys, thank you so much to Daniel of Clear B2B for coming on and being so generous with the ABM Demand Gen social knowledge. I love the final vibe that we came up with, which is I think the one thing you should take away from this episode if you take away anything is just to simply remember, try to add value upfront.

If you do that over the long term, that goodwill will compound and will ultimately come back to you in the form of demo requests, leaves generated or proposal requests. We must also give a massive shout out to H-Refs Webmaster Tools. If you go there, Google H-Refs Webmaster Tools, sign up for free. You'll get backlink tracking, SEO health tracking and keyword tracking, all completely for free, so go and do that.

Now, if you have any feedback for the show, please go to Apple Podcasts, leave a rating and review. Send me the screenshot either to tomatfame.so or in a DM on LinkedIn, and I will get you a shout out on the show. Thank you so much for listening.

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