In this episode of Selling in the Cloud, we're joined by Matt Heinz, President of Heinz Marketing.
Matt held a variety of roles in PR, marketing, sales, and business development before starting his own consultancy in 2007. At Heinz Marketing, his team is hyper-focused on helping organizations deliver measurable results through improved revenue growth, product success, and customer loyalty.
Tune in as he sits down with our own Michael Pollack and Sarah E. Brown for a discussion on how marketers can grow their pipeline through a more buyer-centric approach.
Michael Pollack [00:00:09] Hello everyone, and welcome to Selling in the Cloud, a podcast about the business of cloud sales and marketing, brought to you by Intricately, the authoritative source of digital product adoption, usage, and spend data for cloud sales and marketing teams. I'm Michael Pollack and I'm here with Sarah E. Brown. And we are your co-hosts.
Sarah E. Brown [00:00:39] Michael, in this episode today, we are joined by Matt Heinz, who is the president of Heinz Marketing. We'll chat with him about how he helps his cloud marketers and sellers sell more in the cloud. Shall we dive in?
Michael Pollack [00:00:51] I'm stoked. Matt, we're excited to have you.
Matt Heinz [00:00:53] It's my pleasure. Thanks so much for having me.
Sarah E. Brown [00:00:55] Tell us a bit about your background and a brief history of how you got to be where you are today as the leader of Heinz Marketing.
Matt Heinz [00:01:01] Well, Sarah, this has been a giant mistake. I studied journalism and political science at University of Washington with the intent of being a reporter or to follow in the footsteps of Woodward and Bernstein and right the wrongs of the world. And I was a reporter for a brief period of time. And long story short, you know, serendipity kind of played its hand and I ended up in a PR firm for a while, was at Microsoft for a while, ran marketing for a couple of Seattle startups, and then about twelve and a half years ago, decided to try to do my own thing. And it started as just me and a laptop as an independent consultant. And it's since grown, not crazy big, but, you know, my mighty team of 14 people based here in the beautiful Pacific Northwest helping people build pipeline. So it's definitely not been what I thought I was going to do when I set up my career. But I love what I do.
Michael Pollack [00:01:45] I love that story. And I think for many of the people we have on this show, for many of the people that are listening to the show, their career obviously kind of takes some twists and turns. I have degrees in political science and rhetorical studies. So similar to you, a lot of liberal arts. But I will say on that topic, I do think the fundamental skill that I point out is generally missing in today's business world is the ability to communicate well, right. And I just think the proliferation of decks and spreadsheets and all the things we do as part of business, being able to tell a narrative and better yet, being able to write it down and articulate it, I find is one of the most deficient skills in people entering the workforce and even people who've survived for a long time in the workforce. So I don't know if I have a question there, but I guess I just would say for what you do, being able to communicate well is a core part of you, your brand and your business. And maybe I guess the question I might ask you is when you're consulting to your clients, when trying to get people to build good practices, do you find that their communication quality is at a level you would expect, or are you often surprised that it is or it isn't?
Matt Heinz [00:02:54] It's a really good question. I think, you know what I just talked about sort of this unpredictable series of career steps for me, but I'm very grateful for my journalism degree and experience. So I think, you know, more than just learning how to write, journalism school taught me how to tell stories. It taught me how to take complex issues and boil them down to a couple of inches of copy to really sort of condense the gist of what it means. My first job out of school, I was a reporter for Olympic Peninsula newspaper in Olympia, so I was covering state government, not for the state, not for just Washington general, not for anybody but people in the Olympic Peninsula. They had their own issues. They had their own perspective. So I was trying to independently report the news events, condense complex issues, but explain why it made sense or why it mattered to people in my newspaper's jurisdiction. And so I think two reminders and lessons for that: one is the element of storytelling; two, is the need for condensed storytelling to be brief in how you tell stories. And three is to know your audience, know what they care about, and know what's in it for them to make sure the story isn't just well told, but to make sure the story is relevant.
Michael Pollack [00:04:03] As I'm listening to you talk through that, I want to take us just on a tangent here for a second, and I'm going to eventually hand it back to my co-host or she can rein this all in. But I'm curious for your opinion, as someone with a journalism background, if you look at the modern, I'm going to call it like the outrage-based news world we tend to live in. Or maybe it's the outrage industrial complex. If you look at the rise of Twitter and just headlines superseding, whatever the message is, this is totally off topic, but I'm curious your take on this, that the headline now is so much louder than what the message is at times. It makes me worried about for us as a society to have thoughtful discourse on serious matters. But just with your background in journalism and as someone who also uses social media to amplify what you do for good, I'd say, what's your take on the state of kind of this news economy we live in? Where, again, the headline is often louder than the message. The dopamine kick of re-sharing something on Twitter, I think plays a role in that. But you would love your thoughts real quick on that.
Matt Heinz [00:05:03] I would say I haven't thought a lot about it, but just thinking about, like, why I wanted to be a journalist, like I mentioned, sort of Woodward and Bernstein, like what I considered sort of my "why" as a reporter and as a as a journalist. I think I and many of my colleagues and many of my peers and when I was a student, took the concept of being the fourth estate seriously. You know, there were three government branches and that we thought of journalism as the fourth estate, the right to free speech. You can say what you want, but there was a responsibility to play that checks and balance and to communicate in a responsible way objectively what you're seeing and what matters. And I think the part of that is the difference between headlines for entertainment, content for entertainment, content for vanity metrics around like how many people can I get to watch this? How many re-clicks can I get? And how many people can I get to express their own sort of emotion and response on this? I think that is a game in and of itself. And look, I think there's value in elements of that in content. There's value in – my wife, back when we could go to the gym, her motivation to go to the gym was she was only allowed herself to read People magazine and US Weekly at the gym, right. And it's fun, it's entertaining, but there's no fourth estate purpose to any of that. But I think that there's still there's value in that. But I think as a journalist, I think most journalists you talk to, they take very seriously their role as communicators and their role as part of society in sort of maintaining sort of clarity, transparency and the public good. So I think there's a difference and I think there's opportunities on both sides of that in the right appropriate place.
Michael Pollack [00:06:34] That's fair. I think that's a totally fair comment. And I think, again, I didn't mean to totally derail this, but maybe that walks into kind of what Heinz Marketing does, right. And the notion that today in marketing and sales, there's more options than ever. There's more solutions than ever. Everything has what sounds like a snake oil sell to it. But in reality, some subset of those products are awesome and some may be less awesome. It would be great for you to maybe just share with our audience what Heinz Marketing does for customers, what it is you sell, who do you sell to, and how you add value for your customers.
Matt Heinz [00:07:08] Thank you for that. You know, fundamentally, our value prop, we help companies build predictable pipeline in complex buying situations. So, you know, if you are inconsistent in developing qualified pipeline to your sales team, if you feel like there's lumpiness in pipeline production, if you feel like marketing is more random acts of campaigns versus something consistent that is scalable and predictable, we can help with that and we can help you have a system that becomes independent themselves and a part of your DNA and discipline internally inside your company. I think a component of that is always putting the customer first and understanding what they care about. To your point, there's a lot of companies that want to sell you stuff. There's a lot of companies that are firing off emails and making phone calls and leaving voicemails and trying to get your attention. Can I have 10 minutes of your time? We're inundated with that. And if you look at the tone and the focus of both of those messages, they're entirely seller-centric. They're all about what the seller wants and very little about what the buyer wants. And it is not rocket science to sit down and say, who is my buyer? What do they care about? What are they motivated by? And an easy way to sort of think about that is to say, what is their status quo, what are the things they take for granted that they expect are true in their business and in their course of business today? And what do you have that can reframe that problem? What do you have, what insight can you bring that can help them think differently about the problem that they do or don't know that they have? I think this is a fundamental element of building authentic demand – it's not how quickly can they get to a demo, not how many people can I talk to or call? How well do you create authentic interest, urgency and a commitment to change? Because prospects see that the status quo is no longer relevant or useful or successful in helping them get to where they want to go. That is their story. And so if you think about to go back to storytelling, the prospect is the hero. They're going through a journey. They're discovering there's a problem, there's going to be a pain of change inside their organization. But if the outcome is worth it, now, we're getting somewhere. So underneath all of that, we could orchestrate what does marketing send? Who does sales call? Which prospects do we call and why? Like, those are all things that oftentimes sales and marketing teams start with. But none of those things matter unless you put the prospect story and their journey first and foremost, to guide the rest of your strategy and execution.
Sarah E. Brown [00:09:37] There are a lot of directions we can go in that. And I love this phrase, I think you said, what was it – random acts of campaigns?
Matt Heinz [00:09:41] Random acts of marketing. You can apply it to sales, you can apply to prospecting, pretty much everything.
Sarah E. Brown [00:09:47] You know, it's interesting, so as you help your cloud clients or your prospects and your building, your funnel and you're targeting them, how do you help them understand that potentially they're not using the right data in their marketing or they're approaching marketing, using your phrase, random acts of marketing as they're prioritizing and as they're trying to reach their target audience sort of as a marketer reaching marketers. How do you help people understand that the way that their working needs improvement?
Matt Heinz [00:10:12] Well, I don't think you do it by telling people they're wrong. And I feel like sometimes people feel like that is a good, efficient way of getting right to the problem. Say, like, you know, hey, listen, what you're doing isn't effective. I think the prospect has to come to that realization on their own. It could be with your help and your help can come from two ways: one, you introduce information and insights that help them think differently about a problem. You're not telling them what to think, you're giving them new variables to help change the way that they think. Two, you exercise a level of radical curiosity where you're asking questions maybe that the prospect hadn't thought to ask themselves or assumed that they knew the answer to. But maybe they haven't asked themselves that question in a while. And based on new variables, based on maybe on some of those new insights, how has the answer to that question changed? I mean, this is why, like people say, well, you can't have an SDR, you can't have a 22 year old having a realistic conversation with a veteran in your industry. Well, if you can teach them how to ask the right questions, and you can teach them what to listen for, I think you could absolutely have someone early in their career ask those questions, guide that conversation, because it's not about what information you as a seller are sharing. It's about the insights and the realizations that the prospect is identifying on the road. And that is how they get to a commitment to change. So your ability to ask questions, to dig deeper, to ask why does that mean, what's the impact of this? Like we do a monthly all hands meeting with our company, we round robin. Someone gets to pick a LinkedIn learning course. And today, this morning, we were talking about, like, you know, mastering motivation. And we were talking about some things that you don't necessarily want to do, but lead to a certain outcome. And it's important to think about that ultimate motivation. Like, I don't want to have a salad for lunch and short term satisfaction would be to have the burger. But if my long term goal with my motivation is to become healthier, what would that mean? What would it feel like to be able to fit into your old clothes? What would it feel like to have the self-esteem and self-confidence back that you had at a smaller, healthier self? And that motivation, that commitment to change, that commitment to the outcome helps you go through the process that helps you make the tougher short term decisions towards the longer term outcome, right. And I don't think a lot of sellers are very good at helping to articulate and clarify with the prospect what that outcome is, what it's worth and what it would mean to their business.
Michael Pollack [00:12:33] When you share it that way, you know, I think you touch on an issue that I think is one that faces many of our listeners and folks in the space is that, you know, when sales and marketing is trying to do more business – you talk about Heinz Marketing's really focused on solving for, whether it's lumpy pipeline or improving the process – I think the challenge today is and this is I think most businesses struggle with this is separating out cause and effect. I think you made a comment that everyone's trying to sell something to a business. Right? There's huge sales organizations and marketing organizations that are built around selling more stuff to businesses. But something that I think you just said that I would call out for all of our listeners is your comment about asking good questions, conducting good discovery, I imagine in the decade plus, you've been at this. I'm sure there's been some wild engagements where all kinds of different tools and solutions have been implemented. But is the theme across the majority of your clients that, hey, we just need to coach the humans in our organization to ask better, more meaningful questions, to engage better with clients? Is that a recurring theme or, no, not even close?
Matt Heinz [00:13:41] Well, I think that ends up ideally becoming part of the outcome of the work needs to be done. I think a lot of companies very quickly just say, listen, we just need leads, we just need demand. We just need people for our sales to talk to. Right. But ultimately, if I drink my own champagne and have the same progression I just suggested that sellers should have with buyers, and I have to say, well, you know, I don't disagree with you that you need qualified opportunities to qualify people but like what have you done in the past relative to just getting people in the hands of your sales reps? And how's that work for you? Right. And how is doing something quickly now going to generate a better response versus stepping back and thinking about what are some of the foundational elements that might not be working as well for us? And sometimes you can turn around and say, OK, let's put ourselves in the shoes of our own marketing and sales. You know, like, what are you doing on Tuesday at 10 o'clock when that email from your sales team is scheduled to go out to your prospect, like, what are you doing Tuesday at ten o'clock? What do you think your prospect might be doing? So how do you think that email is going to play? Right. And so I'm being a little more flippant and a little less politically sensitive and sort of asking these questions here now. But I think to be able to sort of approach the problem from a different context and to imbue a little bit of empathy and sensitivity to the prospects, plight and situation and needs to help you think differently about this. And I get it, like I'm a business owner. I need to go get pipeline. I need to grow my business and close new deals. But I can't shoehorn those in if a prospect isn't committed to change. And that is a process. And sometimes three steps are faster than one to get to where I want to go that also gets the prospect committed to not only the process, but the methodology that we're telling them is going to make them successful long term.
Sarah E. Brown [00:15:22] You know, before the show started, we were having a conversation a little bit about how our climate has changed in this pandemic. And I'm curious, what advice are you giving the cloud marketing and sales leaders with whom you work regarding selling in this new environment?
Matt Heinz [00:15:36] A couple of things. One, I think we are all far more distracted than normal. You know, we're like, oh, you don't have a commute, you don't have your travel schedule. Yeah but I got three kids upstairs that are barely clinging on to doing remote school. We all have distractions around us that we wouldn't have necessarily in the office. I don't think we've gotten used to that. I think it's just changed and still is a distraction. I think you have prospects that may have entertained three to four to five priorities, pre-pandemic. But right now we're still in cash conservation mode. Their CFNo is still turning down incremental purchase for the time being, so you had better be the one, or top one or two priorities on that prospect's list to get funded. And I also think your time to value has shrunk, but you may have a value prop that is going to last for months, quarters, if not years, but I think you better present 90 to 120 days at most value prop of how you're going to impact their business to bubble up to those one or two top priorities. That said, listen, I mean, value propositions, well-defined, well-articulated are still getting through. I occasionally help people ask me like, hey, you know, what is it like marketing and selling in a purely digital environment? So this is not a purely digital environment. When we finish with this podcast, I've got a series of phone calls and I'm going to put my shoes on, go outside into the Seattle freezing cold for this week and make some phone calls while I get a little exercise like I've had that telephone for a very long time. You know, I have no idea at my office where physical mail was delivered, let alone if it ever made it to my desk. But getting mail and packages at home right now is one of the highlights of my day. So with the right prospect, it's worth putting that effort in. That can be a healthy element of what you're doing. So, you know, we are always faced with challenges and roadblocks and obstacles as sellers. This was pre-pandemic, this'll be post-pandemic. What are you doing to differentiate yourself? What are you saying? What are you offering? What are you communicating? And how are you communicating in that in a way that creates insight, motivation and even joy with your prospects?
Sarah E. Brown [00:17:38] You know, I love what you said. I don't know if we'll subject our prospects to go into the Seattle freezing rain unless they want to, but, you know, you've created a community of CMOs, including some revenue leaders at the top cloud companies in the world. I'm curious, you know, definitely takes a lot of work and investment to build a community like this. Why did you create it? And what are some of the insights and learnings that you can share with our audience that you've gotten from this group?
Matt Heinz [00:18:01] I guess I started the investment for a couple of reasons. One, just after I started Heinz Marketing, I had no marketing budget, so I couldn't afford to buy leads or buy any advertising. But I had my writing background. So I just started putting up a blog post every once in a while and did a little newsletter. And, you know, that's how I knew how to communicate. And to this day, I think being able to create a record of how you think, to be able to create a track record and a paper trail, if you will, of the things you think about a particular industry, about a particular function or discipline that helps a lot. I don't care what role you're in or what you're trying to do or what your objective is, like that will help you in your career. I think also I've been happy to take a long view of prospecting where if I can be, you know, valuable and curious and generous to the extreme with prospects to say, listen, there's nothing off the table, I'll be a complete open book about what I know, what I do, if you want a template, I'll give it to you. I'm not going to hold back. And if I can do that in a variety of formats, whether that's a blog post or a podcast or our CMO coffee talk community on Fridays, I mean, all these different formats are a way for us to give back and build community. I mean, I've been doing this for 12 and a half years. We've had a nice little growth arc as a business. I've never hired someone in sales. We've never had a dedicated sales or marketing employee. We're a marketing consulting firm so we can crowdsource some of our marketing. I'm still the biz dev guy. And it only works because we've been able to build a business based on referral, word of mouth, and qualified inbound exclusively. So if you're a venture-backed company and trying to hit your number next quarter, one of your investors said you have to hit no matter what. You may have to go out and do more than that. But I've been really lucky and I've been really fortunate and very grateful that I've been able to invest in relationships and invest in value creation, invest in generosity. And I expect that something that will create a more sustainable and deeper growth path for us as well as a competitive differentiator.
Michael Pollack [00:19:59] There's a book I read many years ago called The Trusted Advisor. I think David Maistre is the guy who wrote it. And I think early in my career I was in consulting. I had started a consultancy similar to yours. And I think I would echo your comment that the greatest equity I find, even when engaging with our customers, is sharing thoughtful insights and being a trusted advisor and not trying to sell something down people's throats, which is the tendency of sellers. Because if all you have is a hammer, all you see is nails sometimes. So it's wonderful to be in that position and to be A. a subject matter expert, and B., again, a trusted advisor, because the relationship you have is much less about selling and much more about informing. But I want to just twist it for a second here and just ask you one kind of question. I'd love for you to share with our audience kind of some of the trends you're seeing out there and maybe even talking in the cloud market. But I'd love to hear and I imagine our audience would as well, what do you think are some of the big changes or even disruption or maybe evolution if it's not quite that dramatic that you would expect in a cloud market or kind of maybe it's it's in this overall selling market in '21 coming out of what happened with COVID and just coming out of a changing world, is there anything in your head that you think makes 2021 a pivotal year where things change dramatically? Anything worth calling out for our audience?
Matt Heinz [00:21:19] The answer is yes. I think that the volume of tools at our disposal continues to proliferate, our constraint on those tools for our business, for ourselves, professionally, personally, is not actually budget, it's bandwidth. And I think that as new tools emerge, previous tool functions are being acquired and being merged with previous tools. And, you know, whereas four or five years ago, we're getting asked to help people construct their sales and marketing technology stack. More often than not, we're getting asked to audit Deconstructive. So I think that as the technology market continues to mature, as there are more and more cloud based services that solve all kinds of problems like we did in the last week, I've talked to two companies, one of which has a cloud marketplace for rocks and another has a cloud marketplace for steel. Like I mean, we're getting to commodity land for where cloud services are coming in and providing value. Let's assume for the course of this discussion that those are valuable tools, right, that they are doing something that makes things better. They're disrupting old industries in old marketplaces. They're doing it to the benefit of their customers. Let's assume that. We are still inundated with tools. I mean, I don't even want to count as we're recording this here, like how many tools and tabs and things are open and sort of, quote unquote, in use, you know, on my desktop and in my business. And so which of those are need to have which of those do I see and deem as critical to my success? You want to be in a place where you are indispensable. And I think it is a hard as there are more and more tool options in front of us and as our bandwidth to consider, truly consider, more tools, constrains and is more difficult to get over that bar. And over time it's going to be even more difficult to sustain it. Our focus as SaaS marketers, as cloud computing marketers, often getting the prospect across the line to buy. I don't think we're still very good in most B2B businesses, but especially in cloud computing, at sustaining the customers' interest, in sustaining their curiosity, sustaining the joy and clarity of ROI and outcome. And I think that as the marketplace becomes more mature and more crowded and as our bandwidth and our ability to focus continues to be challenged, especially in this market where we've got other big things in the world to consider, the companies that sustain that focus enjoy what their customers are going to be with.
Michael Pollack [00:23:49] So if I were to try and paraphrase that back, your takeaway is 2021: peak cloud, or we're getting awfully close to it. And really, it's the year of figuring out how do you cut through the noise, how do you stand out, how do you build a compelling relationship, whether it's with that prospect or with your customer? Did I characterize that fairly?
Matt Heinz [00:24:06] Yeah the one thing I keep thinking about, you said that was peak cloud because I feel like if I had a nickel for every time the last 10, 12 years that I thought we've gotten there, we keep going even just in the marketing technology space. I mean, like five years ago, we were like, holy cow, there's over two thousand marketing and sales technology tools. Well, now there's over eight thousand. And we're like, oh my gosh, how can we know? There'll be more and more. And it's an example of how powerful and sort of ongoing, the opportunity is to do business with the cloud and with A.I. and with these amazing tools that we have, but that doesn't mean it's any easier for us to grok it as humans with a limited amount of sort of frontal lobe processing power.
Sarah E. Brown [00:24:51] Well, Matt, really appreciate you joining us on the show to share your insights. For those who want to learn more about your work, where should we direct them to?
Matt Heinz [00:24:58] Well, first of all, thank you guys for having me. Any time I get to do a podcast and use the phrase frontal lobe, you know, it just you can find us at heinzmarketing.com. We have 12 plus years of content, all for free. We've got a ton of research we've been doing in the B2B space. Check that out for sure. Every day we're taking some of the stuff we read across the web that we think is important for B2B sales and marketing professionals, we put it on our Twitter feed, @HeinzMarketing. And if you ever have a question for me, just reach out directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sarah E. Brown [00:25:29] Fantastic. Thank you so much, Matt.
Michael Pollack [00:25:31] Thank you, Matt.
Matt Heinz [00:25:32] Thank you, guys.
Sarah E. Brown [00:25:33] That's it for us. This episode may be over, but we can continue the conversation on Twitter with the hashtag #SellingInTheCloud. On Twitter, I'm @SEBMarketing.
Michael Pollack [00:25:41] And I'm @MRPollack.
Sarah E. Brown [00:25:43] Thank you to everyone for joining us for this episode of Selling in the Cloud, brought to you by Intricately, the authoritative source of digital product adoption, usage, and spend data for cloud sales and marketing teams. If you like the show, head on over to iTunes, or wherever you listen to podcasts, and please give us a review. We appreciate it. Until next time.