Prolific author and nationally recognized, award-winning blogger, Matt Heinz is president and founder of Heinz Marketing, with 15 years of marketing, business development, and sales experience from a variety of organizations and industries. Hear him speak at INmarket on Winning The In-Market Prospect: The Sales Leader’s Perspective (July 8 in San Francisco).
6s: Can you share a little bit about your background and experience, particularly with data? And your current role at Heinz?
MH: I’ve been doing B2B marketing for 18 years, the last seven with Heinz Marketing. We’re basically sales pipeline people, a bunch of math marketers who focus not on leads but sales pipeline contribution as our primary metric. I started the company with just a laptop and a bus pass, and we’ve grown since then with an amazing team and clients around the country.
Data is the foundation of everything we do. It literally is the beginning and end. Our marketing plans start with a spreadsheet, and our results manifest themselves in sales results, pipelines and forecasts. Data also helps us dramatically improve the precision of our efforts on a daily basis.
6s: Why do you believe in the power of data, and especially in data-driven marketing?
MH: It speaks the truth! I love the precision and clarity data can provide. There’s still plenty in B2B sales & marketing that’s subjective. There’s still tons of room for art in a world increasingly driven by science. But our ability to find, leverage and optimize based on data really gets our mojo working.
Data-driven marketing is leading the charge for CMOs to convert their organizations to profit centers, and it’s dramatically elevating the standing of marketing departments are business drivers and accelerators. It’s also leading directly to increased credibility, focus and investment from CEOs and CFOs worldwide.
6s: What are the biggest pain points you are seeing for today’s marketers and sales people?
MH: A lack of focus on the buyer. I’d have said lack of focus on SALES if you were talking about marketers alone, but both sales & marketing is frequently guilty of talking more about themselves and less about the needs and desired outcomes of their customers.
And it gets worse. Your buyers are crazy-busy. They don’t have time for you. You have precious few seconds to get their attention. Do you really think they want a demo without understanding the context?
Your prospects want to talk about themselves. They want to HEAR about themselves. If you sound like you MIGHT understand their problems, they will talk your ear off.
A chatty prospect is not a qualified prospect, but a prospect willing to talk about themselves will very quickly self-qualify…or not.
6s: How is data changing (or simplifying) for today’s sales people?
MH: It’s doing both. The days of the “cowboy” sales rep and VP are waning. Instinct in sales is still extremely valuable, but data can drive better, faster decisions than ever before. It can provide immediate coaching based not just on intuition but on metrics.
Plenty of sales & marketing professionals literally drown in that data. They don’t know what to do with it. They fail to make decisions because they keep looking deeper and deeper into the data.
The best use of big data is to cut through the clutter, find the right data and FAST data to move forward. Data isn’t going to deliver 100% precision, ever. It will always have a margin of error that requires testing in your unique environment.
But that margin of error is so many times LESS than what sales organizations have historically followed via their gut, instinct and, well, guessing.
6s: What advice do you have for your clients using data?
MH: Data-driven marketing is becoming table stakes for market-leading organizations. It’s driving velocity and competitive differentiation in every industry.
Competitive intelligence is going to separate winners from also-rans in greater volumes in the months and years ahead.
You need a data strategy. Now. Don’t boil the ocean. But get started.
6s: What are some of the best new tools and technologies you are seeing for data-driven marketing?
MH: There are so many now! Honestly, the best answer I can give is to start with your process, your strategy, your gaps – THEN identify the technology and tools that can help you the most.
Too many companies let the tail wag the dog – they choose technology that’s cool and current and hip but that doesn’t solve their most pressing problem(s).
Get the fundamentals in place first. In my opinion that’s CRM, marketing automation, predictive intelligence and multi-campaign weighted attribution.
From there, fill the gaps. Prioritize your biggest problems, your biggest roadblocks.