min to LISTEN
January 19, 2021

Why Marketing Should Run Sales (+ How to Do It)

Kyle Lacy
Kyle Lacy

Kyle Lacy is the CMO of Lessonly, where, unsurprisingly, he leads a team of marketers. 

Here’s a more surprising bit: he also looks after a group of outbound sales reps. In our conversation today, we talk about that and expand on Kyle’s firmly held belief that marketing should run sales. We discuss what that means for you and your company and how to make it happen.

Listen to this episode:


Everyone explains that making your business different is vital — but NO ONE (not even experts) explains how to actually do it... Until now.

Just click on that big fat red button, answer a couple of questions, and learn to stand the f*ck out in a no-bull, super-practical way:

Join 8,070 mavericks getting my emails,
but who's counting, amirite?!

"You're literally the only marketer I can stomach."

Braeden Mitchell
Security Engineer

"A terrific celebration of marketers and marketing in all its forms."

Cindy Gallop
The Michael Bay of business

"When are you going to do something in French so I understand it?"

Mr Grenier
My Dad

We covered:

  • The difference between sales and marketing 
  • Knowing when leads have come from marketing activities
  • Start with a fully optimized website
  • Fully utilising both inbound and outbound marketing
  • How to feed the sales team
  • The number one method for optimizing a website
  • Why you should be talking to customers 
  • Hiring the right people for the right jobs
  • Increasing the volume when it comes to brand


Full transcript:

Louis: Bonjour, bonjour, and welcome to another episode of Everyone Hates Marketers.com. The no-fluff, actionable marketing podcast for people sick of shady, aggressive marketing. I'm your host. Louis Grenier in today's episode, you will learn why marketing should run sales and what that means for you and your company. My guest today leads marketing for Lessonly the training software that helps customer service and sales teams do better work.

He leads a team of marketers, which is not that's surprising, but also outbound sales reps. So that's something I'm going to talk about. He has knowledge in multiple facets of marketing involving Demand Gen and content marketing, design running, messaging, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. That's enough buzzwords for this intro. Previously, he worked for Salesforce, Exact Target. So plenty of experience there. Kyle Lacey, super happy to have you on board.

Kyle: Hey, thanks for having me appreciate it.

Louis: So let's, let's ask the basic question first, but it's actually not so basic. What's the difference between marketing and sales in your opinion? Like how would you define each?

Kyle: I think, I think marketing has a whether right or wrong has just more creativity involved because we have to because we were raised that way as marketers. Sales are, sales has a tendency to be more process-oriented, scientific in the approach of how you're supposed to sell, you know, whether that's a BDR, how many activities, a BDR needs to run in order to get a first meeting or a demo to, you know, how an account executive is working a sales cycle. And I think that that's the main difference. Now what has changed is that marketing has become more scientific as you know, this idea of revenue growth and a revenue leader has started to. combine, right over the years, especially in high growth, high growth software. But I'd say those are the biggest differences.

Louis: And just to go also to talk on, on foundations, the, what will be the number one goal of marketing versus number one, number one goal of sales,

Kyle: My opinion? It's the same. Marketing should own a revenue number and sales should close that revenue number

Louis: Should close it. What do you mean?

Kyle: That if we're, if marketing’s sourcing it. Marketing should source quite a bit of the deal that sales close. They direct, we call it direct source at Lessonly. So we, as the inbound team, as the outbound team, are sourcing the deals and sales is closing it, but, in the past marketing has been very much brand-oriented and talks a lot about marketing influence or marketing attribution.

And I just think that's, that's a bunch of bullshit. You need to own a revenue number, you need to be responsible for generating revenue for the company. And sales is on board. That's why alignment is important. Right? Sales is on board to close those deals that you create as marketers.

Louis: Okay. So you would, let's say just sort of sake of the argument,100 deals into the table that are worth 1 million in total.

Kyle: Yeah, you talk about sourcing percentages, right? I think that they ease account executive sales rep should be responsible for some self-sourcing, right? Depending on the size of deals and all that crap that you can deal with, but marketing should be responsible for sourcing 50, 60, 70% of revenue.

Net new revenue, right? Because we are at the frontline. We understand messaging, we understand the creativity behind it and we understand how to drive it. And I think that's a fairly new concept for a lot of marketers.

Louis: Yes. Yes. To be, to be, to be responsible for actually making money is these new fallouts and it's difficult to do, right?

It's easy. I think on a podcast to talk about how marketing should bring revenue. How the fuck do you do it is the other, the next step. So. Let's dive into that. Cause that's actually something we've never really touched on on the podcast and you seem to have very strong opinions on it, which I love that's how we make a good interview. A good discussion rather. So. Okay. so talk me back through. When you started with Lessonly, I suppose that when you started there, wasn't the structure in place, or am I misunderstanding?

Kyle: Yeah, it was about two years into my tenure at Lessonly when we moved the BDRs over to marketing.

But even before that, my, my, predecessor had done a great job with organic search, and we were still generating quite a bit of revenue. Total revenue, percentage of total revenue at the company. When we decided to move BDRs over, it was just the realization that it made more sense in marketing at Lessonly at the time.

Louis: Okay. So BDRs would be. You would consider them to be outbound. They would, they would reach out to companies like I dunno, cold calling, emailing, getting in touch on LinkedIn, stuff like that. While marketing, the traditional marketers in the team would be the inbound stuff.

Kyle: Yeah. So we have an inbound team and we have an outbound team and they, you know, it's outbound sales and inbound to the website.

Louis: How many for each roughly, like, what's the number of people,

Kyle: For the outbound side we have 16 or 17. On the inbound side, we've inbound. The inbound team is made up of MarTech content and inbound SDRs. So from an inbound SDR standpoint, we have four.

Louis: Right. So inbound, inbound SDRs are folks who only pick up folks who showed interest in Lessonly in the first place. Okay. And then the rest is the traditional marketers or content marketers? Yep. Okay. Okay. So tell me about the way things are structured, because it sounds pretty good on paper, but again, how do you, how do you measure those things? How do you know, inbound, like the marketing side, is bringing X number of revenue, like what's the setup?

Kyle: So we have, the way that we measure inbound is a first meeting goal. How many meetings did they book in a quarter for the account executives to work and then closed one revenue? So how much, how much revenue did those meetings generate? And that's how we measure the inbound team, the outbound team it's dependent on the segment.

We have an SMB segment and we have an enterprise segment. The SMB segment is measured on first meetings created and revenue generated. Enterprise is a little bit different because sales cycles are so much longer. They're measured on what would be traditionally called sales qualified? So an opportunity like the AE said, yeah, I'm going to move it into an opportunity and pipeline.

So they are responsible for pipeline gen and qualified first meetings, I guess, is the best way to describe it. outside of just closed one revenue, we look at close one revenue, but it's annual because sales cycles are so long.

Louis: So, okay. Let's talk about the inbound marketing, like the marketing side of things.

You, so what you measure is number of leads, generated number of meetings booked. Overall, like that's roughly, it seems the main, the key, the only metric that matters to simplify, how do you measure, how do you know that marketing is responsible for, I don't know that the meetings, that they booked, like what's the setup that, that leads you to know actually they come from marketing activities.

Kyle: There's, there are two ways. Number one, is, was it sourced from marketing? Did an inbound rep work the deal on our website on drift, our chatbot, on the phone? And did they book the meeting for the AE? So that's the frame. That's all of it. It's all direct sourced. You know, did the outbound SDR book, the meeting, and then outside of that, if we booked the meeting, but it takes 90 days or more for something to happen, then we lose that source of information.

So it's usually just, did we book the meeting? Did we set it up as a marketing team and did it close? That's kind of what we're looking at.

Louis: Okay. And so they could come from many different channels, right?. So at Lessonly what's the, what's roughly the percentage like of, of where are they coming from? Is it mostly organic search?

Kyle: We got a really strong, organic search strategy. So 50, 60% of net new revenue, which would include meetings booked is, is organic. The rest is PPC

Louis: Organic branded and non-branded?.

Kyle: Non-branded, both.

Louis: Okay. Both

Kyle: More and more non-branded. More just my, and I'm gonna, I'm getting out of my comfort zone here. I would say, keyword specific, not Lessonly. Is that what you're asking?

Louis: Okay. Yeah, yeah, yeah, exactly. Okay. And then, and then you have paid, which also touch probably on both branded and non-branded keywords. And then outside of that, it's mostly crumbs. I mean,

Kyle: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, we've got outbound. It depends on segment as well. Like for our enterprise segment a hundred percent. Well, no, that's not true. 90% is sourced by the outbound team. Inbound, we still have a considerable amount coming inbound, but we don't have any, it's really hard to control levers. On the inbound side, if it's not organic search.

Louis: What do you mean?

Kyle: Meaning, like, we don't know. We don't necessarily know what lever to pull in our enterprise segment to increase inbound leads on the enterprise side. Right now.

Right now we're just working, what's coming in and that's, that's something we got to figure out as marketers. Right. You know, in order to scale, but you know, we're still trying to work that out in terms of why they're coming to the site.

Louis: Okay. Okay. Okay. Okay. So let's say we. Let's say you leave the job and you go to another company with roughly the same, similar system or, you know, where, where you rely on both inbound and outbound.

What would be your way to set up an operation in order to get to the point that where you are at Lessonly today? Like where would you start? Assuming, okay. Let's just assume a few things. Assuming there is a product that is good enough to be sold, assuming that there is some sort of a start of brand recognition.

Like people start to understand that this is a good thing. Assuming that the target audiences understand like this is a big pain and like all the normal kinds of conditions that makes a company worth joining but they don't really have anything in place to just get random leads coming in. What's, how do you go? How would you go about it and how would you advise folks listening right now to set things up in the same way?

Kyle: I mean, the first step would be looking at the budget and making sure that you are spending a certain amount of money on the brand. And brand, you know, for us, we spend 25% of our annual marketing budget is on-brand.

So that includes direct mail events that we don't really necessarily care are generating business. A lot of the experiential stuff that we do, like board games and just things that are just fun. And we do it without the expectation that I'm going to look at my senior director of brand and say, well, how much revenue did you generate?

We do it to say the experience is really all that matters in a features war, right? Any, any software company can build a feature set. It's really, you know, other than having a great feature set, you need the experience to be, to be highly impactful, right. As a software company. And so especially a software company at scale.

So number one, look at the budget. 50, 50 split, 50% should be paid, should be spent on Rev generating. 50% should be paid on some type of brand campaign, or you can do 75, 25. The other side of it is getting a badass graphic designer. All this shit, all this crap on, like you should hire a product marketer for it.

No, a really, really good graphic designer. And I, you're familiar with Dave Gerhardt? We all are. He says the same thing,

Louis: Everyone is at this stage.

Kyle: He's good at it, but I, but I, that is my, we have, we have two on our brand team. We have two full-time designers. We have a videographer and we have a web dev. And that's

Louis: So you are a media company.

Kyle: Yeah, well we have an internal agency basically is how I think of it. Right. Right. And that is so important that it's so important.

Louis: So we see at talks about it from like the talk about brand affinity, treating it as media. Like there's a lot of noise around this and it goes back to psychological principles of human beings where you need to build new memory structures in people's brain, or if they have already the memory of you, they know who you are.

Some ways to refresh it constantly. I need to show up, show up, show up, show up, show up so that they never forget about you. And when there are. The category buyer is when they're ready to buy from you or when they are ready to buy, they think of you first, right? Like that's kind of the fucking, yeah, that's the golden gross loop or golden funnel or whatever you want to call it.

That's, that's the beauty of it. So, go ahead.

Kyle: Well, I mean, the main problem though, is that most marketers fall back a hundred percent on their job on that. Which is not measurable and shouldn't be measurable. That's why I am very, very, very, very aggressive with the idea that you have to have some portion of your team own a revenue number.

The board is not going to give you a seat at the table unless you do. If you do not own a revenue number, that's why it's easy at Lessonly. We can do cool things like design a board game where we don't say how much, how much influence did that, you know, how much pipe did that influence or whatever the hell we're talking about at the time we just say, it's a damn cool idea.

We did it. And we shipped it and it's, and it's fun. And that's it. And we move on because we have an arm of the team that is generating money that we own. And now it's more stressful as a leader. However, you have the ability to do things that you are not able to do. Because marketers just think primarily about brand.

Louis: I would actually argue that some marketers think primarily about performance marketing

Kyle: And then they lose the other side of it.

Louis: Yeah. And so I saw the super, I see the supervisors all the time. So it's important to have both you can't, I don't think you can be a good marketing leader without having both. and so let's talk about the first thing you said, which is 25, 75 or 50 50. Yeah. There are even the research, done, that shows that it should be roughly 60, 40, 60 for some, 60% brand building and 40% activation, performance.

Kyle: The flip the opposite?

Louis: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, again, like you can find anything. I, I don't have the, I need to, I need to find the name of it, but it's actually a pretty conclusive study that was shared by, I think Byron Sharp and also Mark Ritson. And so this, it seems to be quite, you know, thorough anyway, it doesn't really matter what the exact percentage is, what matters is that it needs to be done and you can't measure it. Now, you are starting a new business. How the fuck do you convince the board to say, listen, we're going to do cool shit.

Build an agency. And 25% of the budget is going to be blown into creative shit. But here's the kicker. You won't know that it works.

Kyle: Yeah. I, you know what, honestly, I don't remember what I did three, three or four years ago when I joined Lessonly. But what I would say is that you do the revenue first. You show revenue growth, your CEO, the board.

Like, they're not going to care that you did a board game. They're going to say, wow, that's really cool. I want to do that for my other portfolio companies, but if you're not generating revenue and all you're doing is spending time on cool shit. You know, you're going to be called out at some point, in my opinion, which is to your point, it's very important to have a mix of both.

Louis: Okay. Okay. So you join this company and so the first thing that you do to make sure that people like you, people know that you're good at your job and you actually bring revenue, is you focus on the revenue side to start with.

Kyle: You feed, you feed the sales team.

Louis: Okay. So how do you do it? How would you do it? Assuming again, that we are in a model where you have a sales team in there?

Kyle: Yeah, it depends. I mean, it depends on a lot of factors, you know that, but you know, if it's enterprise is complete, I have a completely different answer than SMB. You know, I think that from an enterprise standpoint, you need to scale quickly and you can't go this route of just hiring two account executives and trying to figure out what's repeatable, you know, you need to hire five, they're expensive and you should hire five BDRs.

And you should have an account list. So you want to target and you go through that account based marketing approach, right on the SMB side. I wouldn't, you know, a lot of people say, you should start with organic. It took us, it was, it was in development three, three to four years before I joined Lessonly for it to start working.

So this idea that you have a business and you're just going to start producing blog posts and it's going to drive organic traffic. I just think it's ridiculous. Now you should start doing it. If you want to see that impact. Two or three years from now. Right. But for me, it's you got to find repeatability, you've got to spend the money to do it.

Google ads, bing, newsletters, whatever. I mean, whatever you test constantly, we do. We have a pretty rigorous see it, click it rate optimization tests that we do every two weeks. And that includes certain keywords that include, you know, a landing page design that includes a new Facebook ad campaign to see what's going to work.

So if you're going to do it, you need it. You need some money to do it. And then you constantly test on what's working. And if it does work, then you put just a little bit more money in and you scale it. As as slow you can scale. I mean, scaling shouldn't be slow, but you get, you get what I'm saying.

Louis: So here we're talking about demand capture in a sense, right? Like we're not expecting long, a long, a long funnel. Like we, we get the revenue for the sale straight away and we set up the foundation so that we get most of it as quickly as possible.

Kyle: It's also dependent on the type of it like if it's a product-led growth business, like Calendly or Typeform, Like I have a completely different, that's all about volume, right?

You want to get as many people as possible on this platform. And that's more like a, B to C type play than something like Lessonly, which’s turning into more of an enterprise play. Like it's just, the go-to markets are just very different.

Louis: Right. Okay. So let's go over based on the listeners and based on who listens and knowing a bit about them, I would suspect that less care about enterprise and more of them would care about either.

Like SMB, a lot of potential clients, smaller revenue per client. And so, and a lot of them selling either a product or a service. and so let's try to go through, try to find fundamentals there that could be applied to them. Right? Yeah. I mean, it sounds like. Go ahead.

Kyle: Sorry. I keep interrupting you very, very, very American of me.

I'm sorry. For me, the first step's the website. You know, if you're, if you're saying day one like I am, I am optimizing the shit out of that website and I'm breaking it because most people think about it secondary to all the tactics, but your most important product outside of your software or your service is your website.

And most people don't optimize it. Like they're not using the lighthouse Chrome extension to do like page load times. You know, if I'm selling a service and you do a great job of marketing that service, I come to your website, it does not load on my mobile phone or I can't click your phone number on your site.

Like you're just breaking the experience. You're breaking the sales process. So first, the first step for me is optimizing the website right off the bat. I don't care what you sell. I don't care if it's a plumbing company or you're selling trading software. All right, I'll stop there.

Louis: So what's the number one method? What's the number one method, to optimize it? Like how do you know whether it's broken or not?

Kyle: I usually look at load time and, you know, the Lighthouse is an awesome Chrome extension. You can download that was built by Google developers and it will give you scores on whatever page you're on, on how Google is viewing your website.

So it's pretty cool. It's like zero to a hundred, I think. And it turns red if you're terrible, which is most people, cause Google robots are crazy, but you know, it's very, very, very important to look at because Google now, well, it has over the past two years started ranking off of load time. So even if you were number one on an organic keyword, your load times, five seconds, they're going to kill you.

They're going to kill you because it's a bad experience.

Louis: So now what, if you have a fast website but shitty positioning, shitty messaging,

Kyle: What what's what's bad messaging. Is that what you're asking?

Louis: No. I mean, like, okay. Like you could have a fast website that says that is absolutely hopeless.

Kyle: Absolutely, absolutely. 100%.

Louis: So that's also part of it yeah?

Kyle: So optimizing first is load time. Get the thing working appropriately and then talk to your customers. Try to figure out why they're buying from you and, and put that on the website. I don't, I don't want to see any, like, Hey, we sat into a conference room and spent six hours trying to come up with copy. And we actually didn't talk to anybody that buys from us. I mean, it's crazy

Louis: Six hours. You're being, you're being very conservative and nice since six days, six weeks.

Kyle: That's fair.

Louis: So talking to customers, right. Did you, so did you do that when you joined Lessonly did you actually say, listen, I need to talk to customers ASAP.

Kyle: Yeah, I took, I took the first, it was, I was lucky because I came from the venture capital firm that invested in Lessonly. So I had, I had some background information there, but I also, I spent a month observing. When I first joined. So I did not, you know, I joined in February. I spent the entire month of February just observing and taking notes, which I would say anybody moving into a position like that, I think you should do.

I think everybody should do it, which also included talking to customers. I will say that that has fallen off over the years. You know, we have, we have a customer advisory board where I watched the videos. Like we, we have notes that they're taking, but I could do with more conversations. I think anybody, anybody in an exec position at a software company could always do with more.

With more customer conversations,

Louis: Even outside of software.

Kyle: Everyone. Absolutely.

Louis: Like the question I like to ask people to piss them off a bit in marketing is when was the last time you talked to a customer

Kyle: Like a zoom call? It's been a while for me right. Now, we have a, we have a customer community that's a mobile app called Lama nation. That we use to communicate with customers and talk to customers and get product feedback and stuff like that. But like, one-on-one, it's been a while for me. Honestly so that, you know, pandemic or not, like I need to, I definitely need to do more of it.

Louis: You need to get your shit together.

Kyle: I know, I'm screwing up,

Louis: So you joined the company, [inaudible], right? Your cell phone mounts, you talk to customers, you understand why they buy, they bought from you and the reason why I'm going to skip, not skip this step, but talk about it quickly is, because we talked about that so many times of the podcast, talking to customer interviewing customers who, if you're listening to this right now, and you want to know more, just search on the site in the podcast to know how to do this, but I want to touch on other stuff that are, I think you're quite an expert in, so you talk to customers, you, you make sure the copy is great on the website.

That it talks to people using their own words. and then it sounds like you want to set up the foundations, to capture demand ASAP, right? Yeah. so again, it's difficult to know maybe, maybe folks don't search for your stuff on Google, but it's very rare. So I suppose it's one of the key things you can do is to set up Google ads, Bing ads, or whatever, as fast as possible, right? Yep.

Kyle: Yeah, it really depends; I mean, you could get involved in a community to try to do more organic traffic, you know, a lot of the influencer and I hate, I hate to even use that word, but that type of thing, but honestly it is. Where do people go to buy?

You know, I love the fact when I go to my plumbing and heating company or even my accounting firm’s website, they're asking me how I heard about them. Right. I love that because you're figuring out where people are finding you and then double down on that. and then, you know, And then test everything.

I mean, that's, for me, the one, the one mistake that I did make when it had to do with messaging and positioning and persona development, that type of stuff is that I spent a lot of time early on doing it. And then I lost track of it, which, you know, because I was focused so much on, on other things. And now coming back around, we have to do more of it now as a company because we might, we lost track of it earlier on.

Which is, which is very important to know, you need to have some type of rigor, on your ICP and customer profile and all that crap. I don't want to use too many words.

Louis: So before we go into that, I want to touch back on something you said, which is, asking people, where did you hear from us in the first place?

And this is critical because Google analytics is lying to you and you need to be very careful with those, sources and channels. I fucking hate this for the reason that it's not because it's coming from Google organic, that this is where they heard from you. Like, how would it have, would have the search, your fucking name in the first place without having heard from you before that. So the question is so powerful and yet so simple. 

And that's why I think marketers are struggling with this. Like yeah. Is that, is it that simple? Actually, sometimes it is. Obviously, you don't want to ask people who have been customers for the last five years. How did you first hear about us? They won't remember, but if you do ask recent customers that has three months, two months, one month, they will likely remember, Oh yeah, I heard from you on the podcast or whatnot.

And then as you said, you doubled down on it, right? It's not rocket science. we've done that many posts multiple times in the companies I've been involved with and, and, and the answer, they sometimes a bit it's nice to hear, but sometimes a bit, no ranking is. I heard it from someone else, which is good, but fuck, how do you...

Kyle: Well, you just throw that into the brand side of it.

You just say, Oh, we're just not going to measure that part of it. But one point that you made, I think is important to note. I cannot. express the importance of simplicity, the less clicks it takes for somebody to get information from you to buy, the better that's e-commerce that's software that's if you're a damn lawyer, like you have to.

Right. So for us, as that applies to Lessonly, we had 500 landing pages on our site with forms, a bunch of gated content we got rid of all of them got ungated, everything we have. We have a few CTA, our number one CTA is to see a preview or get a demo. And that's it. Because if you download an ebook, I want you to read the ebook.

I don't want you having to deal with a bunch of emails from salespeople, right? Because just because you downloaded an ebook, so simplicity is important, right? The research that people are doing is important, but that does not mean that you need to inundate them with messages. Right? What you do need to do is make sure when they click ‘get a demo’, that is simplified as possible.

Right? And that's, you know, the barrier to entry needs to be very low, very, very low. I don't care what you're selling.

Louis: So how simple is it suddenly at the minute? Like when you click on a book a demo, what happens next?

Kyle: If you click book a demo, I mean, you can fill out a form and then you'll get hit up by a STR because you, cause you're a, cause you're a qualified lead, right?

You said I'm interested in seeing a demo. the other, how we've simplified it is using drift. You know, we, we have a lot of drift functionality on the site for people to chat with our sales reps. So if you're just interested in figuring out like, Does this help with customer training? You can just get on drift and ask you don't have to fill out a form and get a call from an SDR and go through all that crap. So chat, chat has been a huge, huge tool for us, and it's been very, very powerful over the past year and a half, honestly.

Louis: And you see increased marketing team they're not going to, they are going to wonder, or they're probably not wondering where the fuck was those customer came from after hearing you talking about it in another podcast. I mean, you know, when you flip, when you, when you understand it this way, this is why it's impossible to track every single thing, especially the brand side of things. We are talking about drift without any affiliation to them.

I mean, you're using them, you're happy with them. And it's like, that's what happens when you have a good product and you, you nail your positioning and that's it. People talk about it and that's just naturally what happens. Yeah. So you mentioned something else, which is. You do when you join, you're full of energy, you want to do well.

And you do all your personal research and you do interviews and you nail the positioning, you simplify everything, and then life goes on and pressure on targets and whatever else. And you start getting, you know, losing touch with the information you worked on in the VR space. So how did you realize, cause you mentioned that's what's happening right now.

There's only, how did you realize shit? We need to get closer to this again, we need to refresh that information regularly.

Kyle: You know, we talked about who to hire, right? And I said a graphic designer and not a product marketer. Your second hire should be a product marketer. So are, so my mistake as a leader and you know, this, I want to be clear.

This is, you know, the. As you scale your, your, your ICP, your customer profile is going to change, especially at a software company, right? Because you are bringing in more industries, more segments, more types of people. If you have a product marketer, that's thinking about it, it is so much easier. Right. And my mistake was I had the ability to hire one, three years ago and I didn't cause I opted in for something else.

Louis: So what about something else?

Kyle: it was, I don't exactly remember who. But it was definitely more, I think it was MarTech or a design, another designer. And then we spread some of the OTE out across some of the channels to drive demand, which, which that worked like, we drove more demand. We are growing, we're scaling, but then as the teams get bigger, like Lessonly went from 50 employees to 170, 180 now.

As the teams get bigger, you need to focus more on an ICP because there's more people working deals and getting in front of customers and talking to people. And if you don't have anybody leading that charge internally to capture all that information and to make changes based off of the constant flow of information, it will break at some point.

And it's just very important to start early on to understand that.

Louis: So in your eyes, the product marketer owns all the, all of this research and the constant updating of the [inaudible]

Kyle: Them or a product manager, it depends on the type of business.

Louis: And, and, and then based on the information that comes in from sales, from, from inbound, outbound, whatever else, right?

Kyle: Yeah. And then you change your persona sets. You, you do, and re-ablement on what it means to sell the product. And I think this apply, I think it's something that not that traditional businesses can learn from software that software does really well. Software shifts really, really well if done correctly. And I think that's, what's important is that making sure that you're staying in front of people.

So you're understanding why they're buying, how the implementation went, like all that stuff. And you need one person to run that it can't be a committee. It just doesn't work.

Louis: Why not?

Kyle: Too many people, especially at scale, right? If you have one person, one person can run the committee, but one person needs to be responsible.

I mean, it's like anything it's like, if you, if you have a committee of people and nobody's really running it, you got kind of a problem because everybody has their own opinions and they're all going to go do something. Committee's work, but you need somebody that's heading it.

Louis:Have you seen this ad from Burger King recently about the whopper that was moldy.

Kyle: I haven't seen it no.

Louis: So it's like a massive ad campaign they did a few months ago where they just had a picture of the burger or the signature burger that was just moldy. And I think it was just that. And the reason they did it is to take a dig at McDonald's that basically doesn't get moldy because it's full of chemicals.

So they basically say, you know, it's good shit. The reason why I'm telling you this is because I think if it was brought to a committee, is this a good idea? Everyone would have found five ideas not to do this. You know,

Kyle: I would say that committees work when they're involved, like we have, we have what we call squads on the marketing team and it's cross functional.

So if we're trying to figure out how to yeah. But if they're involved in the creation and the production and the distribution of the idea, it works. If you have a committee making decisions on whether or not to do something, it is terrible. Right. So, okay. And that's, I think that's the difference in mostly, I should just say squad.

Cause when I say committee, people just glaze over and like, Oh God, I did not want to be involved in a committee.

Louis: When they hear committee is like more like fucking stakeholders [inaudible] together. And what we mean more is like what you're talking about cross functional. Teams that work together towards the same goal.

Okay, so we've unpacked a lot of stuff there. So you joined, you set up the performance side. I mean the demand capture, making sure it works, you optimize it. You understand where people have heard from you in the first place. You constantly update your personal profile, you talk to customers and then we start to have a bit more leeway to actually do brand shit.

You know, brand building. Is it when you start saying, listen, we've done some good work. Now, now it's time to increase the volume when it comes to the brand.

Kyle: I didn't ask. I don't think you should. I think you should just start doing it. start doing

Louis: So what do you start with?

Kyle: We started, we started with direct mail. We started doing cool direct mail. You know, we were, if we had a, we were trying to, examples are we would send a clear glass box with an Apple watch in it to a person. And they had to get the code from the sales rep in order to open it.

You had like the board games that we designed, Ollie Llama, our mascot. We have a Lego Llama that you could put together. A lot of, you know, a lot of brand swag and t-shirts and stuff that we spend a lot of time designing because we want them to look cool. We want them to just not be a logo. Right. and just spending a lot of time on cool things on the website, right? Like spending time, designing a site that's appealing outside of just being a lead capture. And you, and you can only do that if you're if you do the lead capture first because that's what drives revenue and that's what funds companies. most companies,

Louis: Most companies. so how did you, how did you pick those ideas? Like those, those crazy crazy ideas, or what was the process?

Kyle: I got very lucky that I inherited a group of people that are extremely good at it. That is not...

Louis: What are the profiles?

Kyle: We had a senior director of brand that used to be an agency videographer. We had designers that were previous agencies, so there's a theme there. And then we had really, really good startup marketers that were on the team. We had a really good writer on the team, and then we expanded the team outside of that.

What's been interesting is that our profile, our profile is kind of spread out all over. Like we've hired people with experience in software, but our director of inbound who runs majority of our revenue gen projects, Ben Bataglia came from, came from ministry. He wasn't even in software at all. And he, you know, our interview process, he won us over and he joined, he has been huge for this team. Right. So it's kind of, we're a little weird in the way we build out a team in a good way, but you know, the first people were brand really, really good brand people.

Louis: we only have a few minutes, which is a shame I would have to ask you way more questions on this, but it's all good. So the last question, before I ask you the two final questions, I always ask, those ideas such as sending direct mail and stuff still sound very much like it's, I wouldn't say demand capture, but it's very close to how you expected a meeting to be booked out of it, right. It was still kind of close to a goal no?.

Kyle: Yeah. The example I gave you, we did, which is a terrible example to give you, which is the Apple watch. I just liked the idea. Most of our direct mail doesn't have a call to action really. It's mostly just like we've sent, we give a golden Llama every quarter to an employee that lives the values of Lessonly and we've sent close to 5,000 golden Llamas out to customers and prospects to give to their employees. And we don't have a, we don't have a CTA on it. It's like, Hey, we want you to recognize your teammates that are doing great work. And then we have a landing page on the site and that's it.

Louis: What's what's the size of.the Llama?

Kyle: It's like three inches. It's like, I, I had to spray paint the first 2000 of them. So I'm probably going to die very young.

Louis: Yes. That sounds like that was, that was quite underwhelming. I was expecting like a fucking Lamma like..

Kyle: We had, we had a better work week, which is, you know, we, July 31st is better Workday in Indiana where we're based and blah, blah, blah. We had a week and we actually hired Ollie Llama a real Llama out of a farm in New York to attend a bunch of zoom calls, which was fun.

Louis: Yeah. That's that makes sense.

Yeah. Yeah. That's when you can do actual cool stuff, that's what it means. so Kyle you've been a pleasure. Thanks for going through all of those details and being candid about your experience. What are the top three? Resources you'd recommend listeners today.

Kyle: Number one is OpenView ventures, website, ov.vc.

It's one that I go and read every day. I think they are the best venture capital firm in the world. Of course, I'm a little biased, but, outside of that, LinkedIn, I spent a lot of time on LinkedIn, right,

Louis: You do, you're always live and in there.

Kyle: Always there. And then a third would be, How you, you even prepped me for these, these didn't you?

Louis: Do your fucking work.

Kyle: No, I only have two it's like what the hell? I've got two kids. What else can I do? the third one would be, I spent a lot of time in biographies of history and history. So a lot of presidents, Theodore Roosevelt, stuff like that. I highly encourage people to get out of business books every once in a while and read about what's happened because I think it's, I think it's very, very important to frame on how you think about the world, how you do work and how you think about yourself.

Louis: Not the art of the deal by Trump though. Like

Kyle: Not, not Trump's books. No, I'm cool. I am from Indiana, but I'm not a Trump fan. Okay.

Louis: Kyle, you've been a pleasure? Thanks so much.

Kyle: Thank you.