B2B Revenue Acceleration
B2B Revenue Acceleration

Episode · 2 years ago

81. How to Turn Your Sales Teams Into Thought Leaders


You don’t have to be an executive to be a sales thought leader.

Actually, if you position yourself as a consultant for purchasing decisions, you’ll begin to see people who trust your transparency coming to you for sales.

In this episode, we interview Jeremy Brown, Content Marketing Manager at Crunchbase and Founder at Startups Give Back, about sales thought leadership goals and tips.

We talked about: transparency in sales thought leadership, building the “lead generation engine," and five actionable tips for establishing your personal brand.


To hear this interview and many more like it, subscribe to The B2B Revenue Acceleration Podcast on Apple Podcasts, on Spotify, or on our website.

You were listening to be tob revenue acceleration, a podcast dedicated to helping software executives stay on the cutting edge of sales and marketing in their industry. Let's get into the show. Hi, welcome to beat the revenue acceneration. My Name is owing them with K and I'm up today with Jeremy Brown, content pocketing manager at crunch base. How are you today, Jeremy? I'm doing amazing. Ray. Thank you so much for having me. Happy to be here. It's an absolute pleasure. So today we won't to speak about how to tell you'll sense team into silk lead us. But before we go into the details, before we still the conversation, Jeremy, could you Preaz Intron, just show side of to all audience and tell us small about your role at crunch base? Sure. So. I've been in the content marketing game for now over eight years. So I've been working with large enterprises and even smaller startups, essentially helping them build Lee generation kind of teams to ultimately drive more revenue, and that's what I do at crunch base. So, as you mentioned, on the content marking manager at crunch base, I focus on our bb side of things. We actually have two sides of the business. We have our B Tob and BTC. Most people know crunch base for the BTC side of things. So when you go to crunch Bascom and you interact with the data that we have, that's our BC offering. And so crunch base is a platform that's over fifty five million people are re single year rely on to prospect for new business opportunities. Now what does that mean? If you're a salesperson, you can actually use crunch base to find opportunities, to actually find companies to sell to. So, for example, we have this really great signal around funding, and so we track all the funding that company is raised. And so let's say that your salesperson in London and you are interested in uncovering companies who raise capital on the past let's say six months. You can use crunch base for that and actually find companies that are a good position to actually buy your product service. And so that's that's how people interact with crunch base. If you're an investor, you can find companies invest in. If you're a founder, you can find them. Bet You can find investors. So there's a lot of ways to actually use the crunch base data. Yeah, we've been a we very, very, very familiar. I think we've been a relying on crunch base alert and, as you say, the others in term of people getting fund of Investment and everything. I've been super useful for us. So we've definitely used your solution as a trigger out to engage risk prospect so so, yeah, I to hear. Yeah, it's great and yeah, definitely. Are you very sorrow as well? You know, there is some AL solution that we've seen out there over the yearl's probably that anymore now we really put all eyes in this and let's get with this crunch base. But I guess there's a solution. Will Not a sorrow in time of getting all the foundings in one place. Really all that the basis. This is super cool, guys. Yeah, so coming back to you to pick down enough about crunch based. Are Fantastic as a company. You are guys. We often see CEOS and Cems and also, I level executive in general, investing in that personal brand and, you know, being seen as so cleader in their own industry. It's powerful to help them to promote the companies but also to build up authority and trust within within that business communities. But we don't. I don't believe that you need to really be an e level exact to be a soclet on your industry. Actually, the fact that you are walking in the trenches with clients every day would potentially put you in a better place to be, to be also created up in your industry and you can have multiple people working within your organization generating or even content that will positively impact the company reputation. So, as my first question, could you please elaborate a little bit on what I just mention and share your thoughts on the topic of not just getting the exact but more people in the organization to be so leader and pushing that personal brand absolutely. Just to give...

...some examples, and you know not that that you don't have to be an executive to be a thought leader. mean the reason you want to be a father is is pretty simple. It's about building trust, and so an easy example to illustrate that point is, let's say Bill Gates. When Bill Gates speaks, everyone listens because we trust what he's saying. Now, obviously he's a billionaire, wellknown, so that's an obvious example. Now here's another example. Let's say my dad. So my dad's a real estate agent. He's been a real estate agent for over thirty years. When I have questions about real estate, or if people around me that know me or connected with me have questions about real estate, they go to him and ask him questions because they trust that what he's saying is the truth and he's very transparent about that. And so imagine if your sales team had that same level of thought leadership within their own networks. Now you don't have to rely on some of the tactics that sells people do to actually sell, and an example of this is here in the United States. Use Car sales people. So use car seals. People have a bad reputation of being individuals who are not very transparent about selling. Use Cards. Now, if you were a person that wanted to build your thought leadership, leadership up in that space, imagine if, instead of not being transparent, you were transparent. Imagine if you talked about the cost of a car and why it cost that particular number. Imagine if you talked about the deans and the dents and the history of the car. Imagine the transparency that you're exhibiting that way. Now, from a consumer perspective. That trust is extremely important. At the end of the day, we want to buy from people that we trust. Now, it's interesting about business is that, from sales to marketing, we tend to either sell a product or market a product in a way that we as consumers would not be attracted to. We would not be interested in that particular way of selling or marketing. And so what's interesting is why don't we sell or market a product in a way that we would want to be sold to or marketed towards? And so being a thought leader at the end the day it's building that trust with a particular target audience and an an effort to help you sell more down down theod down the road. It's not a quick a quick win or anything like that. It does take time to become a thought leader, but when you do become a thought leader, you're in a plain a very good place. Yeah, so, and would you said transparencies a big pot, as he does, because you mentioned that the couple of time. Use the example a few skills sets people, which you know it's kind of a Cliche, but I think a Crechiet we speak to all again. So how much it's transparency VLSIS acture, technic Orde, notedge, and that's maybe a tough question because I guess he depends on the industry. But just to get you also so it was them, both of Trum sparencies vels, to Pew Up Calm Knowledge. I think that the other come need a combination of both. I do put the this is me in in my my personal opinion, but I do wait transparency over anything else, a person that I trust and is being honest with me about certain things that's putting me in a position to make the best possible purchasing decision for myself. At the end of the day, that's what consumers want. You know, put yourself in a consumer shoe. Would you rather make a purchase that you're confident in because you have the knowledge around that, because the individual share the knowledge with you, or would you rather purchase something that you're not really confident and you don't know whether or not it was the best possible decision for you? And that's why transparent it really matters, and I agree with you. I think it's spot of a spot of all call strategy when we when we set our sense, so when we set our slifiches,...

...but also when we represent our clients, to to a very transparent to the to the to the gold, you know, to the objective type of message. Can the chase. Basically, so if you're on a very competitive landscape, instead of going or on and beating around the Bushess just given us with it, and so well, I mean a very competitive landscape, I am selling something, you've already got one. So let me tell you why. Whatever good is, he's like, let me tell you the strim reason why, all the three things that makes us different. Let's get the chase, you know. But also, I've been say, Psychs, with some of my my sex people. We are about you've been very to the point. You tell you said no, we can't do it, and I was like yeah, we if we can do if we've got to say no, we can't do it, you know you can't. And I think like you. I think when you get into that sort of situation and you develop a relationship and from the beginning of your cells relationship or professional relationship, you start with that extreme level of transparency and honesty, you end up being the advisor people will call next time they need something. That may not be rely generating for you, but you become that cool guy that knows about stuff and that unseclopedy or Cyclopedia of knowledge that people want to get to when they want to have been done network, and that's I find it very useful. Now, coming back to the seals people and the benefits from the tactics. Basically, alogies sells people benefiting from the tactic and and and it texts time to build up a profile, texting to become as salt leader. I's not just about posting a couple of things once a week or inspirational quote or pictures on your instagram that you grab from someone else. But would you say that they can sell people when I mean they build their own inboundly generation engine by investing in their personal brand and and and delivering valuable content to the appears and customers? Oh absolutely. And by doing that, by building their own in valley generation engine, they don't have to rely so much on the cold emailing and the cold calling. So now, instead of having to do that, they have people coming to them. And you mentioned something a little while ago that was really important, and it's just this idea of having people come to you right, having people rely on the things that you're telling them and trusting that you know what you're sharing with them is valuable information to help them make a decision. And I will say over the course of my career the best sells people that I've ever worked with were very good at building trust very quickly and they had that kind of kind of kind of like a consultant type of approach to the prospects that they were having conversations with. And so now the prospects never really looked at them as a salesperson. They looked at at them as someone that they knew and trusted that they would give him information that would be valuable to help them make a perching to purchase decision. At times that made it say that might that may be as simple as, hey, you're not going to get any value out of our product, and I know from a sales perspective that that hurts because you're trying to make a cell. But that level of transparency and honesty, while it may not lead to a purchase right then and there, that that consumer is going to take note of that. They're going to they're going to take note of the fact that you told them, Hey, you know he we're are probably is not. It's not going to be valuable for you. And now that you never know, that prospect might go to another company next year and all of a sudden they need your product. Now, who do you think you're going to go to? Are they going to go to some random company or they going to go to the person that they interacted with before that was really transparent with them? So putting out content and, like you mentioned, not just doing, you know, inspirational quotes, of putting out valuable content, is extremely important. Now what does valuable content mean it? Let's take for a second example. Let's say your...

...company manufactures furniture. Now, putting out valuable content isn't talking about your company. Isn't talking about your pricing or how amazing your products are. Good content in this situation is things like what's the best wood for kids? What's the best scratch proof would what about the types of fabric? What type of fabric is good for homes that have dogs? Is there a waterproof fabric? What's the best type of water proof fabric? So putting out content, blog posts, podcast videos about things like that is valuable because, again, you're helping a consumer make a decision. That's the at the end of the day. That's what producing content is meant to do, is to help that individual get enough information and so that are coughing and making purchasing decision and hopefully that purchasing decision is your company. Yeah, absolutely. And then, and coming back to a point you made about again the transparency and and and people coming back to you and all that, I've got for a ton of example. So part of our sales cycles, when we engage with with a new prospect of an existing clients, even to the expansion or whatever, we always go through breading up a business case and often of all the course of the business case we realize that things don't said, don't add and we will say to the clients or the prospect which he look, I'm sorry, but we can support you the numbers on matchup. So what we will do? Let us look at other solution and will recommend use our solution. That will bring you bad maybe a better written on investment or more aligned with your expectation or more line with your market or more lingues which you want to achieve, and you'll be shot prized. And I don't know what it is. If it's if it's reverse psychology, if it's if it's if it's a fact that they get pushed back on the fact that you say new to them. But sometimes the more you say no, I can't help you to people by explaining and I've been going through a process, so you know it's mathematical. It's very clear as to why things don't work, walk up or don't adder. The more they want you to work with them and define the way. And you're right, it may not be now, but if I take them amounts two months from non six months or actually then moving to another company to then come back to you and re engaging with you, and they will always called that moment where you said no to that, because it's so it's almost like he feels refreshing for prospect when someone was trying to send them some things and I'm sorry, it's not the right fit. I think that's really your way and it's a war that we've not we've not used so far in the podcast, but to create a sort of respect, which I think is also you know, I think knowledge, transparency and respects are probably the free, you know, the three main things that I would say would gravitate around. So the leadership, but but yet that that that's respect it when it's when it's but it's put in place because it's so difficult to get when it's in there. You know, it's just that pull, the confidence and everything else that makes some beautiful things happen. So more practically, now, how do we make this happen? Okay, what would you say or what would be your tips for audience in terms of actionable things that you can do for sells people that are looking to get into that CIRC leadership mindset? Where do you start? Was the frequency of the content? Well, to post out to make sure to keep the consistency. It's a wide open question. I'm socially Jervy, but I'm gonna let you take it from here. Yeah, so the good thing is nowadays pretty much everything is free to get started. You don't need, you know, you don't need to spend money on a website or think that you can use linkedin or Mediumcom to actually get started. Or if you have your own company blog, you can get started there too. Now I will say not everyone is a good writer or even wants to write. So you have...

...to audit yourself and what you like and what you're you know what you're good at and it sometimes it's comes with trial on error. So if you know that you hate being in front of video, then don't do video. You can do a podcast like this, for example, or you can you can write if you're if you don't like writing, then you can try something else. So that's where I would start. First is audit yourself and what you're interested in and what you're not interested in and go from there. If you work at a company that has a marketing team, already, work with that marketing team instead of having you manage everything, you can have them manage things. They can share topics with you that they might want you to produce content around. That way you don't have to think about all this because obviously you're trying to sell. But if you do have the time to be able to dedicate to carving out, to my some time to idate and come up with some ideas that would be beneficial for you as a thought leader and then obviously your company, then definitely bring those to the surface and work with your marketing team. So that would be number two. You mentioned frequency. Now this is this is really going to be dependent on a lot of different factors, mainly the individual. Some people are proficient writers, and they can write a blog post every week or every couple of weeks. I wouldn't suggest starting there. If you, if you this is the first time you're getting into the content marketing game as a salesperson, I would do maybe one thing a month or one thing a quarter, and then from there gaged how much time it takes you to produce a particular piece of content. Let's say it took you three days. Okay, now you know you have a you have a bench park in terms of how long it takes to produce something. So now you might want to increase that. Maybe it's twice a month or maybe it's twice a quarter, and then just go from there and then before you know it, because you've been doing it for so long, you're very proficient at it and now you can just continue to increase that. That number are the frequency number, and frequency is important in the long run because being a thought leader, you need to be putting your thoughts out there. So again I would I would start there, and then where to post it again. It is it's going to really depend on on the individual, the company and the industry itself. So, for example, if like crunch based, for example, if I'm writing about because one of the again, one of the personas that uses crunch base are salespeople. If I'm going to write something that I want to focus around thought Leyership, I'm going to probably post it on Linkedin because that's where audience lives every single day. So chances are I'll have the highest opportunity to reach the largest crowd by posting on Linkedin. So it. And then you mention also consistency and, like I said, consistency and frequency really really matter, just because if your thought leader, you need be putting your thoughts out there on a very consistent basis. You know so, but at the same time it's just a tricky thing. So being a folly, you need to be consistent and have high frequency. However, if this is the first time you're producing content, you need to start slow, unless you've been doing it for some time and in you're comfortable producing more. But you also got to keep in mind that the more you produce, that might take you away from some of your corresponsibilities in terms of cold email and cold calling, etc. But if you do it right, you will have more people coming to you, which means you can kind of offset the the fact that you're not cold calling as much. Yeah, and what'St of all, you have destructive content, because we se's what we see something. You know, I'll tea courts whatever, very destructive titles. You really want to read them. And often I look at a title and I'm not, Oh my God, that's gonna get interesting, when I'm just looking at the top of his eight minute street. Okay, let's go right and I'm going to free St when I'm Oh my God, this he's barring. I just got cold back. When when someone sends you an email with ever do you two duts? When did ever fall would do something? They just send it to you because they want you to believe that someone was something was for Waldy, but it's it's it's a tactical feel was violated, because I'm like, will you mean do a trap so I won't buy from you? And now this is terebor.

But what do you think about that? Because I think, I think again, he's coming back to a transparency it. But but these destructive, good fossilad sheep. But do you need to keep it DC planes need to keep it, you know, low key, to the point? What was what are your thoughts in that I don't think you need to be disruptive. I think you need to be practical. I think the content that you produce has to be practical. Now you might come across, you know, maybe a title, for example, that you put out that is that does kind of go viral. That's fine, but I don't think you should go into it in terms of producing content with the idea of, Oh, I want to go viral because I can also, depending on the article, that can also be detriment to your company's reputation. I think, I believe that, especially if you're just getting started in this, you to focus on the practicality of things. So, again, going back to example that I use of a manufacturing company that produces furniture, being practical is talking about the difference furnitures that your company produces and why one furniture, in terms of let's say, the wood, is better than another type of furniture, why one fabrics better for another better than another type of fabric for kids or homes with dogs. That's a very practical and that's very valuable to the people that you want to be buying from you. That it's valuable. That's what they want. So that's what you produce. So being disruptive, yeah, you might get, you know, so in a nice spike in traffic to your website, for example, if you do post that particular block post on your website. That's cool now, but at the end of the day, that's not really going to move the needle for you. What's going to move the needle is being very practical and being and producing content that's very valuable to the people that you're trying to sell to. Yeah, let's question that have got for you with it's the truly linked to the to the to being a salt leader in its sense, but it's lime to engaging with the audience that sees you as a soclet out. The rest of the time, what we've seen recently and Bot purely since the kind of flood down that we're going through. So we are recording that. It des Ad it's well on the twenty eight of April, Two thousand and twenty right now. So in the midst of covid nineteen, we are all down. We were having so much fun and we contway to go out. It's see each but you know, what we've seen walking with skeet arena, my marketing manager, is that we did decide to put a few personal professional post as such, a bit monuct personal, kind of fredated post. So, for example, of a put a bust up on linkedin about my wife drew a schedule about how she will look after the kids. Blessed out. She's looking care for the kids for ten, twelve hours a day when I'm work and so, so lucky. But she we've got this three other than six months old as well as it's that it's not really easy age to deal with kids. So so bless her. But you know, that's went absolutely crazy. People have been sharing it, people have been commenting on it, people, we had you mongus amounts of views on that and and that's really easy pose. That probably took five minutes to create. It was me looking at something on my own, my own my teaching table, liking it, taking a picture of it, sending it to catarinaw. We worked on a quick thing because caterine helped me to put all my linked in person. She get access to everything and literally I went crazy very quickly and people speak to me about it. So I've got prospect of got existing clients all send the things from your wife. It's been it's been an ongoing things and kind of famous for that now and and I guess my question to you is, you know, would you say is a good again, I don't know if it's a tactic because he was the deity was not to get people to like me for it. I guess it's just like showing stuff and I found it funny and as I would share it. But you think is good to to have some sort of a not just focus on practical content all the time, but also, as you're developing your personal brand, to put some more...

...personal stuff, so you've got some sort of new alternating very sot lead are very useful for your industry content, with some things like, well, let me let you shouldn't really to be mobile play said let me show you what I am when I'm the talking type of content you you keep valuing that I do and it goes back to something that you kind of touched on and the fact that people are talking to you about it and ultimately that humanizes you. I know that's it's a it's a funny word to say, right, you're humanizing your personal brand. Yeah, so you know, when it comes to a business it can be difficult because if you're only talking about one particular thing, people know you for that one particular thing, and if you're only talking about business, you don't come across as a human you know you're no one knows information about you. And so this goes back to what I say, what I mentioned the beginning of this podcast, around people buy from people they like and trust, and so the trust element comes when you're producing that valuable content about you know, again going back to the manufacturing example, about let's say, producing furniture the like. Portion comes when you're humanizing your brand, your personal brand, and people have some context around who you are as an individual. And it's and the Internet it's amazing. You know, we can interact with people on twitter or Linkedin and it feels like we've known them our entire lives that we've never met in person. And the the way to get to that point is to not be afraid to showcase, you know, content, whether it's a blog or or image or video, that has some personal element to it. There's nothing wrong with that. Just know that every time you do that that is creating a perception of who you are as a person. So, if you're putting out something you want to make sure that you want to be known for that thing. So that. So yeah, to answer your question, I don't see any any problem with the producing content that has some personal element to it. It's good. Okay, what e's so or is a bit kg to shut things about personal life, but who saway not to give it a go because we think it's cool and that went where. So we'll try that every even a little bit furs and we keep you post it on the on the development. Jeremy, we getting to the end of the episodes, but I had a fantastic time with you today, Jeremy. It was a very good conversation. He actually really like the example of the funny show shops or from this stopping he makes you makes perfect sense and definitely we'll take some of the will definitely have some takeaway from myself and form a base based on some of the example and and tips that you you gave today. But if anyone wants to connect with you to L more about crunch base, you don't know about crunch base, that you know, please case come out. You know it's all over us. You find you've gotten good at it. It's a great at the base or if they want to talk to you at conversation or flying with you. Were wrong. You know, I want to make us no bread and I want to be a sucdio. What is the best way to get into trees journey? The best way is connect with me across social media. So my social media hands Social Jeremy, on all major platforms. I'm very, very active on all the major platforms. So that's the easiest way to engage with me and to continue the conversation. And if you want to learn more about crunch base, easiest way is to go to crunch basedcom and you sorry free trial and just interact with the data and see what it can do for your for you and your business. That's enough for why aren't many? Thanks once again, Jeremy. It was an absolute visual took in the show. Thank you so much, ry. Thank you for having me. operatics has redefined the meaning of revenue generation for technology companies worldwide. While the traditional concepts of building and managing inside sales teams inhouse has existed for many years, companies are struggling with a lack of focus,...

...agility and scale required in today's fast and complex world of enterprise technology sales. See How operatics can help your company accelerate pipeline at operatics dotnet. You've been listening to be tob revenue acceleration. To ensure that you never miss an episode, subscribe to the show in your favorite podcast player. Thank you so much for listening. Until next time.

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