Revenue-Driven Marketing With Andrei Zinkevich And Stefan Repin
Getting the perfect relationship between marketing and sales is the goal for most B2B and B2C companies, and revenue-driven marketing might just be the solution for that. Andrei Zinkevich, the co-founder of ROIPlan, along with Stefan Repin, the Founder of LuckBoosters, joins this episode to dive deep into the art of marketing and lead generation. They discuss the different strategies that they bring to the table while talking about the relationship between sales and marketing. Learn the real role of marketing in a business and what you need to be doing if you don’t have a marketing team in place. With AI-driven marketing being used here and there, they give their insights on how AI is being used in the industry and how they incorporate it into their process. Also, know and understand the impact of simply showing your face when it comes to getting empathy from your potential clients and customers.
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Revenue-Driven Marketing With Andrei Zinkevich And Stefan Repin
I've got a few folks that I don't know if we could call AI experts yet, maybe we can. You be the judge at the end of this interview. We're going to talk about revenue-driven marketing. We're going to talk about how to turn marketing into a revenue-driven machine. I've got Andrei and Stefan here. Where on planet Earth are you from? Andrei, why don't we start with you? Welcome to the show.
Thanks a lot for having us. It's my pleasure to be a guest on your show. I'm located in Split, Croatia. We have twenty degrees here.
I went there. I wish I was there. We do have snow on the ground here in Denver, Colorado. It’s about 5 inches of snow if you can believe that. Stefan, where are you located?
I'm located in Budapest, Hungary. It's a bit colder than Croatia. It’s 24 degrees. The city is beautiful. You should come to visit. I do like skiing. I go skiing in Austria.
We have something in common. Andrei, are you a skier?
I'm a football fan. I have played football since I was four years old. I never thought I would grow up as a marketer or as an entrepreneur. I was dreaming about a football career. We have what we have.
I had an interview with these guys on their show and it was awesome. I'm excited to dig in here and get into some of the conversations. If you haven't been to one of these webinars before, we wrote the book on AI for Sales. In this book, I interviewed 21 different CEOs, VPs of data and data analytics. If you haven't downloaded the book, visit our website. You can get a free copy or you can also buy it on Amazon. Check it out. I like to understand, first, about your company. I know both of you guys work at different companies. Andrei, why don't we start with you? ROIPlan.io, what do you help companies do? What does your company do? We can ask Stefan the same question.
I am the founder of two companies. The first one is ROIPlan.io. It’s a market and software that helps you to create revenue and marketing plans. It helps you to align all your marketing campaigns and activities with the company's goals through revenue, as well as aligning it with sales activities. It helps stakeholders to keep a hand on what's going on and on marketing to easily track marketing campaigns, efficiency, revenue, and the most important ROI of all campaigns.
It's a new startup. We'll have MVP. We have a better version, which we elevated with 40 different companies. Your readers will be able to check the MVP version, which would be a ready-to-go software for marketing orchestration. As for Getleado, my website is about B2B marketing. I worked as a marketing consultant for years. I work with two categories of clients, B2B service-based clients and tech companies like enterprise, Software as a Service companies, high-ticket products and etc. Before this, that was my core activity. I worked as an outsourced CMO and became a team extension of these categories of clients.
That's exciting, the background that you have working with high-ticket item companies. I assume that ROIPlan leverages all that experience that you have and puts it into a software program. That's exciting. Stefan, what about yourself?
I'm the Founder and Head of LuckBoosters. It sounds hilarious. We are an agency and we do social selling content and account-based marketing. You do account-based marketing yourself so you know what’s that. Putting it in perspective, we saw a lot through the years that B2B selling has become more and more complex. People don't want to read long articles. They call them pillar pages. It’s about the product, seller, or service they want to buy. Because the decision-making process is long, people are going to someone they can connect and they can engage and they can relate to, which happens to be a person. People relate more to a person than to a company. With the rise of the personal brand, I'm helping companies grow their personal brand by engaging with LinkedIn and making their brand sell for them through social, in particular, LinkedIn. Facebook also works well. The content helps to convert and engage the buyer for your service or your product.
LuckBoosters.com is your website.
I would agree. I have a marketing consultant that I work with in Arizona. His company is called BizFamous. Similar to your organization, I would think his advice to me in looking at my LinkedIn page and looking at our website is, “Chad, you've got a lot of neat case studies but it's all in text. People like to consume 30 to 60 seconds or maybe a three-minute video.” He pushed me to do a lot more customer testimonials and real-life conversations, human-to-human. I would assume that's something that you would be coaching your customers on as well.
I would say that you need to get out there. People need to see your face. There is a famous book, Influence, by Robert Cialdini and he says, “The most influential is a person's face.” They can relate to you. They can see your face. They can empathize with you and that's important out there. It's not just the company. Once they can see the face of the company, which is a person, it's much easier to sell and engage with them.
Like now, we're not using video because the platform can skew the video a bit. I wish we could because it does add a lot more interactivity. We're going to need to tell some jokes or something.
You go first.
I'll go first while we're on this topic of snow. Where does a snowman keep his money? In the snowbank, of course. I told that once in Chicago at a conference and you could tell the guy was well to do and he was blind. He's walking through the lobby and he had someone holding his arm and helping him get through this nice hotel at an AAISP conference. He goes, with a Chicago accent, “You guys all seem like nice fellows from what I can hear in your laughter. Who's got a joke for me?” I told it in a more Chicago twang and I threw an F-bomb in there somewhere, “Where does the snowman keep his money?” The blind guy, he was proud of the joke. He laughed hard. Let's talk AI. Do you leverage AI in your sales or marketing motions? Are you seeing companies that you work with leverage AI? If so, where are you seeing that? Stefan, maybe we start with you on that one.
Regarding sales, I'm using some tools which synchronize with each other. They send data to each other. It's not that I'm using a lot of them for my own sake, but I've used a few of them for clients. A few platforms that I used was Segment, which was sending buyer intent data and information about the buyer and the user. We’re sending it to a chat platform that we had connected so they could interact with the buyer having already the information about the buyer like maybe the country or the usage patterns. I could say that’s AI. I am not sure that that's AI. If that's AI, that's how I use it.
There are many levels. Some people think of AI and they think of a robot that walks in your living room and brings you a beer and becomes your companion or something. What I'm learning about AI over the years as we've been down this path is that entry-level AI can be as simple as identifying a pattern or a non-pattern. If you've got a screen of all zeros and then you have a one that pops out, that's what AI can do. It can say, “Let me go look at all the 18,000 connections that Chad has on LinkedIn and all of Chad's one million second connections. Let's go look at a list of 100 companies that I want to get into.”
This can be done in 7 to 10 minutes. You click a button and let the AI go do its thing. It can tell you, beyond a reasonable doubt, these are the 438 people out of the one million-plus 18,000 people that Chad is connected to either directly or indirectly that can get him a meeting with those top 100 customers. It sounds complex and it is, but it's also a basic form of AI. It's looking for things that are different. How does this person have a better connection to my end customer? How can I leverage my network to go get me that meeting? Drift, to me, fits right down the sweet spot of AI. ZoomInfo, SalesIntel, there are a lot of data companies that use AI. We're in the early stage of AI.
Through the application, there was a show called The Silicon Valley and there was one guy who created an application called Is it a Hotdog or Not Hotdog. Its only function was to figure out if the object was a hot dog or not.
The other one that I saw at trade shows is like that, Hotdog or Not Hotdog, they showed pictures of donuts. They said, “How many donuts are in the picture?” When you ask a human, they said, “Are there 4, 5, 6, or 7?” When you said four, 50% of the room raised their hand. These are all humans. How can they not know that there's 7, 5, or 6? What happened is, there are three donuts that were full size. There's one that’s half-eaten. There's one that's a whole donut and then there's one that's cut off on the screen that only shows about a quarter of the donut.
Depending on your point of view and your biases, you come into that picture and you say, “There are four full donuts.” If you count a donut whole, there are five. If you count a half-eaten donut, there are six. If you count the one that's half of the screen, there are seven. The challenge of AI is, how do you teach it and who builds that chart of definitions to define if it's 4, 5, 6, 7 donuts? Is it a hot dog? Is it not a hot dog? Let's hear about this. I like to understand. You guys are on the other side of planet Earth and yet you have a passion for the things that my customers do. Thinking back years ago, for you Andrei or Stefan, how did you have a passion for this originally? How did you go from school and football over to revenue as a marketing machine?
I got this question during one of the workshops I was doing somewhere in Europe. One of the attendees, after the workshop, asked almost a similar question. I reflected on my experience. Here's a funny thing about football experience. Folks who are playing football, they usually are divided into two categories. The first category prefers to play FIFA, a computer game. Another category, which has a miserable number, are people that prefer to play Football Manager. You don't manage your football teams but you’re a manager. You arrange transfers, arrange training. You're doing all this coaching stuff.
I was a big fan of this Football Manager game. I realized that I was always fond of creating a strategy. It also reflects on my experience. I used to pick up some world teams. For example, in Italy, I picked up a company from a soft league and played it until I moved this team to high league and then won a National Cup. That was my goal. I created a long-term strategy to manage this team. What should I do? How will I grow it? Training plans and all this stuff. I acquired sponsorship opportunities and all those other things. The same happened to me in marketing.
Before I started my consultancy, I worked for six years in enterprise companies as Kimberly-Clark and Biosphere. I was invited by my friend to become a cofounder of his business. Two years later, I moved to my historical homeland, Holland. I started consultancy because I needed to move out of the local market. That's how I started to combine all of my experience and develop that full funnel market and frameworks, which helps companies to set up an evergreen lead generation and sales machine where marketing becomes a revenue-driven department and not a department that generates some leads that never convert into sales.
The funnel starts with generating awareness and generating the target traffic and it continues to the sales funnel where the goal of the marketing department is to help the sales team to close more deals. We then have a client success funnel that marketing also helps the client’s success teams. If an organization doesn't have a client success team, the marketing takes care of onboarding, customer success and customer satisfaction. We find them opportunities to expand inside this account and provide them these opportunities to the sales team. That's what I was working during the past years, polishing this framework and helping companies from different B2B industries to grow their businesses.
That's outstanding. I'm curious. On the work that you do for your customers from a marketing perspective, do they usually have a marketing department? Are you providing skillset and expertise for companies who don't have a marketing department? What's more prevalent?
In most cases, they don't have a marketing department and they want to build it. In my experience, naturally, these companies that hire me as a consultant, they grew by referrals and mostly by their networks. They did some inside sales and generated some referrals. That's how they grow. They reach a revenue plateau and they realize that they want to scale and they have no idea how to do it. In most cases, my clients, I have some vendors that tried to do some outreach, try to do some advertising and it didn't work for them.
They want somebody who will come and create a growth market strategy and help to set up all markets and processes inside the organization. That's the first and the major type of my clients. There's a second type of client. This company has a marketing department but they have the same challenge. They reach a revenue plateau and they want to scale. In most cases, they don't have necessarily skillsets. In this case, I work in advisor mode. I run workshops for them and do managerial stuff. Even if they have a CMO, I become an external CMO/advisor and help them to do a breakthrough.
Let's transfer to this question. I'm going to go to Stefan, LuckBoosters. I think back to a long time ago when I was still in high school. I went to a local mall and I was a skateboarder at the time. My dad took me and my friend to a mall and dropped us off. There were a bunch of professional skateboarders. Tony Hawk, Christian Hosoi, Steve Caballero, these are all major names in the skateboard industry. I'm going to relate this to LuckBoosters.
I'm a math driven person. They had a drawing and you could write your name on a card and then you put it in the box. Rather than doing one, I've filled out probably 50 to 75 of my name on the ballots. When it came time for the person to announce the winners, they start going through like, “Larry Jones, Bob Smith, Tina,” all the winners. It's down to 30 winners of all these different skateboards and things. I'm like, “You’ve got to be kidding me. I put in 75 ballots and I haven't been picked yet.” Finally, they go, “Chad Burmeister, come on up.” I won a t-shirt and then I said, “That's cool.”
They did the main prize. The main prize was dinner with all of these professional skateboarders. As a seventeen-year-old, you can only imagine hanging out with the heroes that you see in magazines. Guess what? They called me again, “Chad Burmeister, come on down.” I open with that story here because that's what LuckBoosters and ROIPlan are all about. It’s all about getting more ballots in the box and getting more opportunities for companies to play in opportunities. Relating that story to building a revenue-driven machine, how do you help these companies get more ballots in the box and more opportunities to get more chances to get pipelines and opportunities? What would you say are the top couple of major strategies that you help companies within that area?
I'm a big proponent of growth marketing. There is such a thing in growth marketing called pizza review. It's a meeting full of people, which can be fed by two pizzas. Usually, that's up to 6 to 8 people. These eight people, before we start a sprint or any activity, stay there and then we give out ideas that we think could work. Based on that, we can create a small MVP and think about how we could alleviate those ideas and make them count and then see the results. As a result, it will be the bullseye. The bullseye would be different for each company.
Talking about different strategies, at least from what I saw, the warmest leads and the best leads, the ones coming from your own network are the ones who are referred for you. I would strongly recommend companies build a referral program or an affiliate program because that's the best quality of leads you can get out there. They already know the quality of your work, what you can deliver, and so on. People don't trust paid advertising that much anymore. They do a lot of reviews before they buy.
A good source would be these platforms like G2 Crowd, FinancesOnline. They all are like comparison websites, which can give good leverage if your company is a good fit for a specific solution or not. People can compare solutions. They’re next to each other and they see live reviews. LinkedIn is a good channel for B2B sales. It's good for awareness. It's good for marketing. It's good for sales. It's good for everything. It's booming. You got a lot of organic. These are a few channels on the top of my head.
I love the referral piece. I got an email from RingCentral. I used to work there. I had a team of 100 people. I was wondering, “When are they going to come out with a referral strategy, especially during these crazy COVID times?” Guess what? I got an email and it said, “Click here.” If you refer them to someone, they give prizes, they give awards. You can build points. It felt thought out. I suspect they have 300,000 to 400,000 users. Imagine if they not only went to the business makers but also the users. If you like RingCentral because it's more secure than everything going on with Zoom, tell your friends about it that you like the video platform.
Salesforce.com did a study and they said, “You're 181 times more likely to sign a customer by going through a referral partner than if you cold-called the person directly.” You're onto something. We're running close on time here. Let's ask Andrei the same question. Obviously, your website, ROIPlan.io, says that you help companies build a revenue-driven machine. What’s the number one thing that you think of as it relates to building a revenue-driven machine, leveraging marketing to do so?
First of all, let me share with you what's usually happening in the organizations that have marketing and sales teams that stakeholders or CEO doesn't have a marketing or sales background. In most cases, they have a marketer or they create a marketing team. They don't know what should be the goal for marketing. If you are selling high-ticket sales products, they usually have a long sales cycle. You can't leverage simply Google AdWords or Facebook ads to generate new customers. You have several stages in your marketing and sales funnels. You need to nurture these leads. You need to transfer to sales-ready leads.
In most cases, marketing and sales teams are not alliances. A sales team obviously gets a sales quota. They need to generate revenue. Marketing teams get a lead quota. Here's a trick I’ve seen. Marketers ran different marketing campaigns that generate the so-called leads, which are subscribers or people who download eBooks or some gated content, but they are not leads. They didn't show any buying intent or they didn't show any interest in a product.
One thing I learned as a marketer, you can pay for bills with leads and with likes or with any other revenue metrics. The goal of marketing is to align all the campaigns with sales even if you're on brand awareness campaigns because they're necessary for demand generation, obviously. If you are not a well-known market leader, you still need to do a lot of brand awareness and demand generation campaigns. You need to think about how to align all of these campaigns with your sales funnel metrics. Everything you post on LinkedIn, every video, every blog post, every podcast episode, you need to think about how you can align it with your customer journey and sales funnel metrics.
For example, I post on LinkedIn and I have several goals. The first of these goals, I want to generate views from my target accounts, especially if I have funnel content. From these views, let's say I generated 2,000 views with my post on LinkedIn. I expect at least three of my dream clients will notice this post. I expect from these three clients that one of them will download the bottom of my content funnel, which is a case study. For example, a case study will show the qualification form, team size, location, industry, etc. It means I have a trigger to start a sales conversation with them. It’s a rare example but if we scale these numbers we can say, for example with our blog post, we expect this number of views which will be converted in this amount of sales conversations.
From these sales conversations, we will generate this number of sales qualified opportunities. We can simply apply our sales funnel metrics as a sales cycle and deal closed. We can predict that from this brand awareness campaign. We can generate, for example, $200,000 in revenue in the next three months. That's the goal of every marketing campaign. Paid acquisition is a clear path where you can easily calculate an ROI. What about podcast opportunities or guest post opportunities? You want to definitely generate leads from these activities. You'll get some tangible outcomes. You'll get a backlink from the man with a high reputation. You'll get social proof that this well-known website published your course. As well, you can predict what traffic you can convert from this guest post.
You can expect that you have published on TechCrunch for example or you published a guest post on G2 Crowd Blog. You can expect 1,000 visitors will convert into 50 email newsletter subscribers. These 50 newsletter subscribers will convert to then market and qualified leads. Ten marketing qualified leads will convert into one sale qualified lead. That's how you can always present your campaigns. When you plan your campaign, you always think in terms of ROI. How much money this will help to bring to your sales pipelines? That's my process and what I think about making marketing revenue.
We've got a whitepaper on the website. We've got the eBook. If I banked all of my sales on the eBook, I'd go out of business because there's a lot of people that are interested in learning about AI. It could be a CIO, who doesn't care about sales. They care about AI. If you don't understand business and you ended up in that role, you could say, “How is that not a good lead? It's the CIO of Ford Motor Company.”
As for the sales side, I would say, “Ford Motor Company sells business to consumers. We sell Business to Business.” Because the CIO of Ford Motor Company downloaded AI for Sales, it doesn't mean I'm all of a sudden going to sell the wrong company the wrong solution. You're dead on. There's going to be less focus on PR-driven campaigns and more on revenue-driven campaigns. You are dead on. I'm glad other people on the other side of the planet Earth are thinking the same way we are. I've appreciated you being here on the show. We'll catch you on the next one. Thanks, everybody for your time. Stefan and Andrei, thank you.