The Sales Engagement Podcast
The Sales Engagement Podcast

Episode · 1 year ago

Ideal Customer Profiles w/ TJ Macke & Jason Serota


Who’s buying from you, and who are you selling to - are they the same people?

It’s three for the price of one today, as I’m joined by TJ Macke, SVP of Strategy at Sapper, and Jason Serota, Head of Commercial Business Development (Americas) at Adobe

What we talked about:

  • Superhero origin stories of both TJ and Jason
  • Storytelling as a key skill set for sales
  • Defining ICPs - ideal customer profiles
  • DCP vs TCP (desired vs true customer profile)
  • Lagging, current and emerging ICPs, as categories
  • Involving the right people at the right time
  • Advice for individuals working in and leading sales functions

We mention these resources during the show, for you to look up and make use of:

For more engaging sales conversations, subscribe to The Sales Engagement Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or our website.

Listening on a desktop & can’t see the links? Just search for The Sales Engagement Podcast in your favorite podcast player.

Hey folks, it's under me born. Now, before jumping in, I've got to tell you about on least two thousand and twenty one, on May eleven through thirteen, were focusing on how to win together in the new sales era. You'll learn new go to market strategies, get deeper funnel insides and actional takeaways for your entire org from revenue leaders, Highgro startups and fortune five hundred companies and are very special guests or none other than Guy Raz the podcaster and author of how I built this and carry lawns, the first female fighter pilot in the US Navy. Come Save Your seat for this high energy online event at only stock outreach. That I oh. Now let's get into it. Welcome to the sales engagement a podcast. This podcast is brought you by outreach, the leading sales engagement platform, and they just launched outreach on outreach, the place to learn how outreach. Well does outreach? Learn how the team follows up with every lead in record time after virtual events and turns them into revenue. You can also see how outreachrus account based plays, manages reps and so much more using their own sales engagement platform. Everything is backed by data pulled from outreach processes and customer base. When you're done, you'll be able to do it as good as they do. Head to outreach, Doo on outreach to see what they have going on. Now let's get into today's episode. Hello and welcome back everyone to these sales engagement podcast. You're hanging out with Scott Parker. Thank you for letting us your ear drums for the next thirty minutes. As always, we've got an incredible, incredible lineup of guests with us today. Typically it's one on one. Today we're doing you get three for the price of one. Today I am joined by two friends of mine. One TJ macky. TJ, welcome. Thank you so much, Scott. Very happy to be here. This is a great crew. It certainly is, and I'll get you to go a little bit more into your back story, but quickly for the listeners, TJ is svp of strategy... supper consulting operating partner at sales source as well, so that's super cool. And I'm also joined by Jason Saroda. Did I pronounce your last name right? You did, Nice, sail perfect. I seem to always forget to ask that question before we start rolling. It's always nice when I get it out. That was good, good, and it Jason is actually the head of business development for the America's at Adobe, which is incredible, massive, massive enterprise company. So, Jason, welcome then we're thank you. Excited at cited to collaborate, like it's been too long to do this totally. Certainly has been some like lead ups and build up to this around our car calendars. It's hard to get three schedules to to you align. TJ. Let's start with you, though. Man, I always like to kind of frame it up a little bit. We get all sorts of listeners to this podcast, you know, new bdrs, manager level, director levels, VP's, and it's always interesting to hear someone's, I call it, Superhero origin story. How did you get to sapper and such a cool role? Yeah, I am so fortunate and privileged. So my quick story is that I did not start out in the business world where he is, that I did not start out in the business world. I started out with a humanities degree out of college, one of those kids, and then also, you know, I worked in youth services and I did something like pastoring for a while anyways. But I was really passionate about starting new things, so I started a couple companies. None of them were success. They all fell through, but that led me to the opportunity of joining sappers team early on. And so sapper built the business on, you know, outsource sales development and business development. And you know, my job for the first year or two is to on board and create all the initial campaigns for our clients, which... me, I tell people, was like business school, one D and One. So I didn't get my Mba, but I got to like help companies design their their prospecting efforts and I learned so much from it and I've got a lot to share now. So that's my background. I love it. Man Then, and we've actually done another episode in the past where we got a little deep for in the background. We dissect some of the you know, the things you learned from being like a pastor. That's that's such an interesting way to get into it and it's always fascinating on this podcast. One of the coolest things is searing people's stories of how they wound up in this incredible profession that is, you know, sales, marketing and business development. All right, Jason, you're out my man, same same question, Joe, be tough bar to get into a company like that. You know it's it's no easy feat. That is, you know, what I would consider a tier one for sure, Tech Company. How did you get their? Man? Yeah, originally from Texas, moved to Los Angeles to, you know, chase. At the time, my my Hollywood dream, as many people do, wanted to be a TV producer and grew up my whole life and actually went to film school. Loved, honestly loves the storytelling and kind of collaborating with people and leading projects and kind of work my way up in Hollywood and work for Disney for a while running a production company, and then came to a point in my career where I wanted something fresh. I wanted something new and something of more the flexibility and work get to, you know, the Tech Industry, I thought, was going through some changes that I was really, really excited about, and I had some friends in the industry and sorted a network internally and kind of got a roll. It's coming called Magento, which was a start up at the time with ecommerce booming, and then we got acquired a few years into me working for there and now been in adobe was three years, coming up and run a you know,...

...trying to change the landscape of, you know kind of how it works there and trying to, I would say, really grow their business the next level and it's been really, really exciting to see how far this company has been transforming over the past two years. Really, really fun. That's incredible. I think we might have to make the title of this this episode, like a TV producer and a pastor fall into sales. This is a good Sitcom. That's our next question is buddy got movie? Yeah, I love it. That's super cool. So I have to ask the question just to follow up to that. Jason, I can imagine the parallels and and why they would transfer over right. I imagine there's a massive writing component. There's an intense creativity component in the producing world. What do you still draw on from those times in your role today? Yeah, I mean I think storytelling, I think, at such an underrated skill, honestly, and it's I never thought how many skills that I would leverage in use as being, you know, coming from entertainment industry to it still sales, but in different ways. Some selling with stories, but instead of going to team networks. You know, I'm going to companies in person. So I think really knowing how to leverage that type of skill set has been really, really valuable for me and I was like doing it in a condensed way to make an impact. I think knowing how to make an impact and stand out is really really remarkable and kind of good. Goes down to copywriting and collaboration and kind of working at with a lot of different teams, and that's kind of what I did a lot, honestly, in my past experience. Yeah, storytelling and it's so incredibly, incredibly important. There's a few things I don't know for the for listeners to go and look up that will help you write a compelling story even and you can use these things in your for your product. You just have to change them. There's like go read all about the heroes journey and you...

...can walk your customer through, you know, a heroes journey. That's a big one and then another one that's kind of a side shoot to that is. Have you guys seen the greatest sales deck ever made? Andy Raskin did a post. It went pretty pretty viral. He breaks down which is essentially how to tell a compelling pitch and I think it's it's pretty genius. If you guys seen that. And he's the man. Yeah, and he's he's like the forefather, I feel like a our business for storytelling. Totally all right. So there's a few things I wanted to talk to you guys both about. We could take this a million and four directions. where I want to start is one of probably the most potentially used buzz works in our industry for acronym. Sorry, acronyms, icep. I see, I feel like you can't. You can't get get anywhere without here and someone drop ICP quickly. TJ, what is ICPA? Case? There's a few listeners that that don't know that acronum. Haven't heard it before. Yeah, absolutely. So, ideal customer profile and I think, to your point, folks might define that differently in different places, but I think Jason and I are aligned on our working definition. Yeah, so for yeah, for me, I remember hearing about this six years ago. I'm like a BDR and it was really just who we thought. We sold them too. Wasn't always based on a ton of data in sales force. It was based on like the top couple AE's that bubbled it up to the VP of sales, who then passed it out to the marketing the VP of marketing it was like, okay, cool, and now we sell to mid level directors and manufacturing and that is the that's the Gospel. Now, don't know it, not your how we got there, but we got there. Jason. What is what is ICEP mean... you, because it's become much broader than that and I think we're at this precipice of it changing again and we might need, who knows, a new acronym to throw around. So yeah, no, any I think ICP means is the target customer you're going after? My opinion, is it easily repeatable? That specific industry? Is it the region? Obviously that lot goes into it, but in my opinion there's obviously going to be a lot of exceptions to the rule. You might have a certain customers that were so specific to fit that product, but in my opinion, when you're targeting someone who fits your perfect I sap and he's been more broad and something that is you know can repeat after over and over, and obviously that will change over time. I would say that's the key my opinion. Yeah, that is definitely that what you have to watch out for. And also there's a few things. There's like repeatability and also like speed to that repeatability, because you could, you can spend a bunch of cycles and you have a big outbound team and you could, you can go after a subject and you can probably repeat what happened. But is is it the most I guess it's like most efficient repeatable way to to do something, and I'm doing will. Yeah, totally. TJ, you work with literally hunters. I think probably. Is it thousands now of company spend thousands. Yeah, it has been thousand, thousands of companies to I imagine when you're building out. Yeah, I now found campaign that has to be where where you start is that step one, typically a one hundred percent and this is one of those you know, when you're in this business, and I think when you're in sales in general, this is like one of those services you do that doesn't really get celebrated, but a lot of the work is helping people unpack what they think they're ICP is versus what reality comes back to. This is something that is actually how Jason I got kicked off on this. We were, you know, kind of talking shop and this difference kind of came out in the conversation of like you're...

...desired like customer profile versus your true customer profile. It's like your DCP and your DCP like what is actually happened, because to me, and ICP has to be based on closed deals versus, you know, like you mentioned, like one day the CMO says now we're going to prospect you know, Xyz, and we've never done that before. And so I think the aspirational targeting is something else. I would say, and maybe there's plenty of people who will write me emails about this afterwards, but I think it's something other than your ICP. It's an aspiration and it's important to have. It's different. Yeah, great, great, great point. I like that. So we've coined now DCP. We've got another we need to learn, but this is this is important. I think this is super important and I Jason, I want to get your thoughts on this. But, like I remember again, some reason I always go back to the my beginning of my career, because I had such a like a beginner's mindset. Leaders were making decisions that sometimes for right, sometimes for wrong, but I didn't know whether they were right or wrong. So kind of like blindly followed them and then you see the outcome. So it's like a really interesting time in your career. And I remember it was at a Fintech company and we would just put together a campaigns and they were literally, I'm ninety percent sure we're at random, of just like this month we're doing dentists and we would like yeah, go and the whole marketing team would create a dentist campaign and we go after dentist, we send like mailer's and and then the next week it would be, you know, small business owners, and we were just kind of like pick this thing and it was a definitely a DCP, you know. Anyway, yeah, it was based on absolutely nothing and I can't even imagine the amount of like what that cost us to be focusing on our DCP versus our actual ICP. So, Jason, how do you how do you make sure that you were...

...focused on your ICP and not your DCP, because I imagine it's always evolving, right, it's not like a oneandone exercise of like Oh, cool, we know our ICP now we're good forever. Yeah, now, that's a great question and I think that's one of the biggest things that I like to voice when we're on boarding, you know, new bedrs and STRs, is is first thing, instead of getting to another product. Is I think the number one thing when you're getting started is the product is all you know, featuring functionality, and you'll learn that overtime. In my opinion, I think the number one thing to know is who would be a good fit for your product and why? So telling my bedrs, before you're reaching out, just be because you're given a lead from marketing or even me or your boss gives you a list. Ask Yourself, like why are you reaching out to this company you know at like is there a reason? Because if you don't know why, if you can't answer that question, how they can actually fit? Can you tell a story of how your product can add value and actually help that company? And you can't tell a story, then you're not going to be able to win another. So that's kind of something. The number one thing, and it usually that answer, is needs to be more simple, like less as more so, like don't try to force the products to fit that prospect. If it's easily, I think like if it's easily adds value to them, then that's your ICP versus if it's super custom yet they're going to be exceptions, but you gotta think more broad, big picture. That's something that I really like to to tone down with my team. So yeah, that's a great a great point, and I want to underscore that for any of the btrs listening. is like every single time, before you setting that email, before you make that cold call, just quickly go to the mental exercise of like, why am I calling this person specifically at this specific company? Because there's there's nothing worse when you like you get that shot and... don't have that ready of like, Oh, here's what we do, but you don't have the why part of why you specifically why you right now? That's a great one. Okay, Tj, I want to talk a little bit about who should be in the room when you are to find like how do we start to unpack this? This thing? You mentioned closed one deals. So I look at my closed one deals. What else should I be looking at as a business? And then a follow up question, who should be in the room when we're making these decisions about who our ICP is, not our DCP, because we're going to spend a lot of cycles on this. So this is a very important decision, very very important decision, and I think the either thing that I come back to. You know, we're trying to figure out what it is. We'll talk about the WHO in a second, but to me it's stopping. It's, you know, refraining on the reflex of making ICP Monolithic, like we think. It's like a solid cube and it is what it is and it will always be. And sure, there's exercises, maybe annually. Where we go, you know, did we break into any new markets? We have new products, but for the most part a lot of folks treat ICP as a unit, Form Group, and this is one of the things that Jason and I were kind of getting amped on as this idea it's actually a collective and we would argue that and all at Jason Speak for himself. But, like, you know that it's this idea of, I think, three big categories and a lot of folks reflex ICP in industries. I think that's really important, but I think there's three other buckets that may be more important, and it's it actually has to do with your changing market presence. So it's I would call it, you're lagging ICP your current ICEP and your emerging ICP, and the idea there is that each one of those, your ICP, is like an Arrow moving through the air, and you know the tip of that Arrow is your emerging..., the middle of that is your current and the tail end of that is you're lagging and over time business is change, markets change, products change, and so you're not going to target and engage folks in the same way. There's going to be some companies you want to let fall off the bandwagon. They're going to hold back your growth. It's going to be some folks that are your bread and butter and there's going to be some new markets that you know we're going to be your future, but aren't worth spending all of your attention on today. I like it. I like it a lot. Jason. Can you break that down even for those yeah, I love asking this question because it's honestly, mostly for myself. Break that down, like I'm I'm seven years old. You know what is a I getting indicator? Where does it leading indicator? And break that concept down, because I think that's it's a really, really good, good point. Yeah, I mean I think it comes I would like to ask questions and can kind of you know, before you're reaching out, ask these questions. So something maybe as your product is evolving over time in that's also going to change your ICP, but also the timing, like what's going on in the world? What is happening? So questions ask yourself. You know, if your product has goes through different updates, you know, is that product, is that target, repeatable? So I think that's fading ICP. So maybe in the beginning you're going after small companies, but now you're your products is turned into more of enterprise products. So maybe it's now larger companies are going after and these smaller companies wouldn't be that are less complex, wouldn't be a good fit anymore. If you're current, I seep. Obviously that's going to be your bread and butter. Those are the ones that the highest have predictable demand. So there's the most predictable demand for that specific type of target and that's probably like your bread and butter. And then I would say emerging ICP could be an upandcoming trend or could be a timing thing. So, for example, maybe not to bring up covid but you know that obviously affected businesses worldwide. A lot of different businesses had to adapt their business models for every type of business. So that could be and some of them are going to be permanent. So...

...obviously like remote work or meetings, virtual meeting. So a lot of companies that maybe weren't going to do virtual meetings or weren't going to do certain types of remote work. That's going to be maybe something that's going to be now because of the timing part of your future ICP. So something that's, I would say that changes your business the long term and I wouldn't say in terms of it could be the exception. So it's really seeing the timing. So if it doesn't pant out, maybe it was just a covid that could be. That could be an exception, but some of them, obviously it's going to be more of a long term change. Well said, well said. Thank you for for breaking that down. Okay, I've another Jason. I'm going to go back to you right away on this one. What happens if, top down, there is a new desired customer profile, which often happened? I'll give you an example. What often happens in startups. Are Your time at at Magenta. You go okay, we got to go sell to the enterprise, the unit economics. Now we got to scale this thing. We gotta we got a hundred x next year. The only way we're going to do that is to go after our DCP and maybe those aren't the natural ICP right now. How do you look at that? How do you start to merge your ICP with with your DCP when it's what the business needs at that that juncture? Yeah, I mean I think it's all all goes down to storytelling and your brand and changing if there's a new feature functionality, let's say, you know, talking your engineering team and talking to your marketing team, changing the value that we're selling so that it will really be very obvious and big picture how you can make an impact on that new version of their ICP that you're trying to get break into, because if it's not obvious, then it's not going to be obvious to your customer. So it has to be super obvious of the value you're going to bring one thing, but also,...

I would say, a way to break into a new ICP is I think a gold goes down to your network. So if there's any partners or ecosystem of leveraging any you know, your internal community, is to see a understanding those relationships and what what is most important to those types of customers. So I think building or using your relationships for that new ICP and seeing what's most important and then how does our product or whatever service you're selling really help provide that value to that company is also something away to really help change a I would say I would like it. I like it, TJ. I'd love your your opinion on that, because I bet you get companies coming to you and they're staying a similar narrative breath to like hey, we do great in it. I don't know why manufacturing is always my example. I've never sold that to manufacturing. Always comes up first. You know we're selling it to manufacturing, but we really want to break into big tech. How do you coach them? And that's an air. Yeah, I like you know, I think just to be clear for the folks at home, like desire hired customer profile isn't bad. Like that's how every business is born and creates that you know, accelerated growth. So it's not about avoiding them, but it's just about creating the distinction. And so when you want to break into a new market. I think really in Linefood Jason said, like you approach it like you're starting a new business. So, like how do we all start new business? We start with our network. We sell to our moms and our uncle's and friends of friends. So, like what are inside of our company? You know, what are those folks that are close to us that we can go sell to improve the case. And then we take those early examples and we take them to a really specific part of the market. So we sold a bunch of dentist office will. Now we're going to go to Houston and sell Houston Disney the dentist office because we've got a story to tell there. And then by the time we've done that, now we've converted a DCP into an ICP because we've closed deals, we've proven the value and we can go take it to the market. But I think it comes back to you share a great story. You know early in your career your Bedr and week to week your prospecting randomly. Maybe is too harsh, but all...

...of these different businesses and it comes back to placing bets and when we're not intentional about how we attack an ICP or a DCP and we're just reactive. It's like going to the black check table and just putting everything down on, you know, red twelve. It's like maybe you'll get lucky, but maybe you won't, and that's no way to run a business. It's no way to run a business development team. Yeah, I like that. I'm I'm a read twenty three guy itself. I almost call it all right. So I love it. I love it. This is such an interesting topic, lots of great insight, but I feel like I'd be doing the both of you had disservice if I didn't broaden this a little bit. You both have had incredible careers, incredibly smart people. So I'm going to keep the next couple questions just intentionally broad because I'm just going to try and tease out as much of your wisdom as possible. And Jason, I'll start with you. So for it will be a two part question. So for the individual contributors listening, you know, the DRS, maybe junior as, what some advice you would give them? And then for the leaders out there, what some advice that you would like to impart on on people? Yeah, now, that's a great question. I think advice for upcoming. You know people industry, you know bedrs, SCRS is. You know, one of the most important skill sets to learn is to understand your company's trends and how that industry is valling over time. So I think knowing how to leverage your data and tell that story we using data is something that I think you can apply. I always then, that's my number one thing every time I on Border Bedr is, you know, you got to go take a sales force reporting class or whatever crm you're using is. It's going to benefit you for whatever role... go into, like on knowing how to do data analysis. Nowadays, I feel like it's a requirement, honestly. So that's honestly my biggest thing that anytime someone gets on board, I would say a hundred percent do that. Friend. Message to any other executives is, you know, let your bedrs and as here as take more risks. That's something I really want to push is is I want my beers to fail and learn from them mistakes, because that's how they're going to grow and learn and when we challenge them to take a chance, that's your team is going to grow and you're going to when you learn how to invest in your team and have them really focus on how this growth mindset rather than always focus on the numbers. My opinion, the numbers will come naturally. In my opinion, as you focus on their growth instead of just got hit this goal. We got hit this goal. I think the goals will come over time. So I think just that mindset, I think nowadays. I think it's a better approach, I think, to getting strs and bedeers to have to feel more included and feel like they are in a better work culture. Personally, excellent advice. And the good thing about the first one, the data analysis, is it's getting easier and easier to do that and that trend is going to continue. Is Getting easier and easier to do every day. You know new no code, apts or are pop it up. You've got canva instead of power point. There's you know, but you don't actually excel as still like finally enough, like the goat software, but there's all these there's all these sort of things that make that analysis a lot, a lot easier. So one thing, and I wanted to the take more risks is huge, right, because you benefit off of especially at the entry level position. They take risks and if they fail, it's not a huge impact on the business, but if they win, it outweighs the impact at big time, right, because they can you can repeat that. It could become a new process. I like that great grade...

...advice. All Right, ten question you TJ one for ices that are listening and one for leaders that are listening. Yeah, absolutely so. I would say all of this talk on ICEP and intentionality and using data is like I don't think there's many people that wild disagree in theory. It all comes down to practice and how we execute. And so for the ICS out there that maybe don't have the luxury of adhering to these things, you know they're there, things being thrown at them. You know, I would encourage them to like find ways, create small ways for you to test, find small ways to explore. So, you know, I think kind of running with Jason's idea. Like, you know, if you're being dictated and ICEP that is no longer productive, can you carve out ten percent of your day, ten percent of your prospect universe, to go after your new theory? And I think the only advice there's just be scientific about it. So incorporate, you know what Jason said about the data analysis so that you've got a story to tell, and this is different, different type of storytelling. We come back to that. You've got to be able to prove the value, prove your case, and I encourage, I see is, to not wait on leadership to do that for them, but be invite themselves into the room by proving it out and then, for you know, for the leadership. I would come back to how are you getting your truest information on this? So some of this is always going to come from data, but I think a big piece two is the reason that I seep becomes misaligned is because it has to naturally include like strategic input and tactical input. You've got to have like the data on what's actually happening and you've got to have near term or real time data from folks in the field, sales people, SDRs, CSMS, to give you feedback in the short term. You can't wait for the annual planning meeting and so I would really encourage leaders to expedite that feedback loop outside of formal reporting to try to get a quick pulse on either how new markets are...

...emerging, how old standard customers are no longer current or valid and making sure that they're getting both sides of that strategic and tactical equation so that they can correctly lead when it comes to to how the business is run and what bets are made beautiful. Well, I think that's a perfect way to wrap it up, and I feel like the red thread through all of this is wherever you're at in your career, try and get more data driven, less less just instincts, feel and got you know, we're definitely turning into more of a science than an art. Of course there's always going to be that art component, that is the storytelling which we talked about, but if you could come buy that with the correct data, you're going to become unstoppable. Gentlemen, this has been a lot of fun. Thank you both. You're an incredible wealth of knowledge. Will have to have you both back again to wrestle with another topic, because I know you guys are thinking about this stuff all the time. But Jason Dj thank you so much. There's a pleasure having a Scott pleasure conserve and for all those listeners, thank you for rocking with us. We'll see next time. This was another episode of the Sales Engagement podcast to help this get in front of more eyes and ears. Please leave us a shining five star review. Join US at sales engagementcom for new episodes. Resources in the book on sales engagement to get the most out of your sales engagement strategy. Make sure to check out outreach that ioh, the leading sales engagement platform. See you on the next episode.

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