The Sales Engagement Podcast
The Sales Engagement Podcast

Episode · 9 months 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 leasttwo thousand and twenty one, on May eleven through thirteen, were focusing onhow to win together in the new sales era. You'll learn new go tomarket strategies, get deeper funnel insides and actional takeaways for your entire org fromrevenue leaders, Highgro startups and fortune five hundred companies and are very special guestsor none other than Guy Raz the podcaster and author of how I built thisand carry lawns, the first female fighter pilot in the US Navy. ComeSave Your seat for this high energy online event at only stock outreach. ThatI 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 inrecord time after virtual events and turns them into revenue. You can also seehow outreachrus account based plays, manages reps and so much more using their ownsales engagement platform. Everything is backed by data pulled from outreach processes and customerbase. When you're done, you'll be able to do it as good asthey do. Head to outreach, Doo on outreach to see what they havegoing on. Now let's get into today's episode. Hello and welcome back everyoneto these sales engagement podcast. You're hanging out with Scott Parker. Thank youfor 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'sone 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 getyou to go a little bit more into your back story, but quickly forthe listeners, TJ is svp of strategy... supper consulting operating partner at salessource 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 startrolling. 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'sat Adobe, which is incredible, massive, massive enterprise company. So, Jason, welcome then we're thank you. Excited at cited to collaborate, likeit's been too long to do this totally. Certainly has been some like lead upsand build up to this around our car calendars. It's hard to getthree 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, newbdrs, manager level, director levels, VP's, and it's always interesting tohear someone's, I call it, Superhero origin story. How did you getto sapper and such a cool role? Yeah, I am so fortunate andprivileged. So my quick story is that I did not start out in thebusiness world where he is, that I did not start out in the businessworld. I started out with a humanities degree out of college, one ofthose kids, and then also, you know, I worked in youth servicesand I did something like pastoring for a while anyways. But I was reallypassionate about starting new things, so I started a couple companies. None ofthem were success. They all fell through, but that led me to the opportunityof 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 allthe initial campaigns for our clients, which... me, I tell people,was like business school, one D and One. So I didn't get myMba, but I got to like help companies design their their prospecting efforts andI 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 doneanother episode in the past where we got a little deep for in thebackground. We dissect some of the you know, the things you learned frombeing like a pastor. That's that's such an interesting way to get into itand it's always fascinating on this podcast. One of the coolest things is searingpeople's stories of how they wound up in this incredible profession that is, youknow, sales, marketing and business development. All right, Jason, you're outmy man, same same question, Joe, be tough bar to getinto a company like that. You know it's it's no easy feat. Thatis, 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 thetime, my my Hollywood dream, as many people do, wanted to bea 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 leadingprojects and kind of work my way up in Hollywood and work for Disney fora while running a production company, and then came to a point in mycareer where I wanted something fresh. I wanted something new and something of morethe flexibility and work get to, you know, the Tech Industry, Ithought, 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 andkind of got a roll. It's coming called Magento, which was a startup at the time with ecommerce booming, and then we got acquired a fewyears 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 excitingto 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 makethe title of this this episode, like a TV producer and a pastor fallinto sales. This is a good Sitcom. That's our next question is buddy gotmovie? Yeah, I love it. That's super cool. So I haveto ask the question just to follow up to that. Jason, Ican imagine the parallels and and why they would transfer over right. I imaginethere'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 underratedskill, honestly, and it's I never thought how many skills that I wouldleverage in use as being, you know, coming from entertainment industry to it stillsales, but in different ways. Some selling with stories, but insteadof 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 hasbeen really, really valuable for me and I was like doing it in acondensed way to make an impact. I think knowing how to make an impactand stand out is really really remarkable and kind of good. Goes down tocopywriting 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 pastexperience. Yeah, storytelling and it's so incredibly, incredibly important. There's afew things I don't know for the for listeners to go and look up thatwill help you write a compelling story even and you can use these things inyour for your product. You just have to change them. There's like goread all about the heroes journey and you...

...can walk your customer through, youknow, a heroes journey. That's a big one and then another one that'skind of a side shoot to that is. Have you guys seen the greatest salesdeck ever made? Andy Raskin did a post. It went pretty prettyviral. He breaks down which is essentially how to tell a compelling pitch andI think it's it's pretty genius. If you guys seen that. And he'sthe man. Yeah, and he's he's like the forefather, I feel likea our business for storytelling. Totally all right. So there's a few thingsI wanted to talk to you guys both about. We could take this amillion and four directions. where I want to start is one of probably themost potentially used buzz works in our industry for acronym. Sorry, acronyms,icep. I see, I feel like you can't. You can't get getanywhere 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 heardit before. Yeah, absolutely. So, ideal customer profile and I think,to your point, folks might define that differently in different places, butI think Jason and I are aligned on our working definition. Yeah, sofor 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 soldthem 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 theVP of sales, who then passed it out to the marketing the VP ofmarketing it was like, okay, cool, and now we sell to mid leveldirectors and manufacturing and that is the that's the Gospel. Now, don'tknow it, not your how we got there, but we got there.Jason. What is what is ICEP mean... you, because it's become muchbroader than that and I think we're at this precipice of it changing again andwe might need, who knows, a new acronym to throw around. Soyeah, no, any I think ICP means is the target customer you're goingafter? My opinion, is it easily repeatable? That specific industry? Isit the region? Obviously that lot goes into it, but in my opinionthere's obviously going to be a lot of exceptions to the rule. You mighthave a certain customers that were so specific to fit that product, but inmy opinion, when you're targeting someone who fits your perfect I sap and he'sbeen 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 myopinion. Yeah, that is definitely that what you have to watch outfor. And also there's a few things. There's like repeatability and also like speedto that repeatability, because you could, you can spend a bunch of cyclesand you have a big outbound team and you could, you can goafter a subject and you can probably repeat what happened. But is is itthe 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'rebuilding out. Yeah, I now found campaign that has to be where whereyou start is that step one, typically a one hundred percent and this isone of those you know, when you're in this business, and I thinkwhen you're in sales in general, this is like one of those services youdo that doesn't really get celebrated, but a lot of the work is helpingpeople 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 ofcame out in the conversation of like you're...

...desired like customer profile versus your truecustomer 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 nowwe'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 andit's important to have. It's different. Yeah, great, great, greatpoint. I like that. So we've coined now DCP. We've got anotherwe need to learn, but this is this is important. I think thisis super important and I Jason, I want to get your thoughts on this. But, like I remember again, some reason I always go back tothe my beginning of my career, because I had such a like a beginner'smindset. 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 likeblindly followed them and then you see the outcome. So it's like a reallyinteresting time in your career. And I remember it was at a Fintech companyand we would just put together a campaigns and they were literally, I'm ninetypercent sure we're at random, of just like this month we're doing dentists andwe would like yeah, go and the whole marketing team would create a dentistcampaign and we go after dentist, we send like mailer's and and then thenext week it would be, you know, small business owners, and we werejust kind of like pick this thing and it was a definitely a DCP, you know. Anyway, yeah, it was based on absolutely nothing andI can't even imagine the amount of like what that cost us to be focusingon our DCP versus our actual ICP. So, Jason, how do youhow do you make sure that you were...

...focused on your ICP and not yourDCP, because I imagine it's always evolving, right, it's not like a oneandoneexercise of like Oh, cool, we know our ICP now we're goodforever. Yeah, now, that's a great question and I think that's oneof the biggest things that I like to voice when we're on boarding, youknow, new bedrs and STRs, is is first thing, instead of gettingto another product. Is I think the number one thing when you're getting startedis the product is all you know, featuring functionality, and you'll learn thatovertime. In my opinion, I think the number one thing to know iswho would be a good fit for your product and why? So telling mybedrs, before you're reaching out, just be because you're given a lead frommarketing 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 therea reason? Because if you don't know why, if you can't answer thatquestion, how they can actually fit? Can you tell a story of howyour product can add value and actually help that company? And you can't tella story, then you're not going to be able to win another. Sothat's kind of something. The number one thing, and it usually that answer, is needs to be more simple, like less as more so, likedon'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 ICPversus if it's super custom yet they're going to be exceptions, but you gottathink more broad, big picture. That's something that I really like to totone 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. islike every single time, before you setting that email, before you make thatcold call, just quickly go to the mental exercise of like, why amI calling this person specifically at this specific company? Because there's there's nothing worsewhen 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 partof 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 inthe 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 myclosed 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'remaking these decisions about who our ICP is, not our DCP, because we're goingto spend a lot of cycles on this. So this is a veryimportant decision, very very important decision, and I think the either thing thatI come back to. You know, we're trying to figure out what itis. We'll talk about the WHO in a second, but to me it'sstopping. 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 itis 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 folkstreat ICP as a unit, Form Group, and this is one of the thingsthat Jason and I were kind of getting amped on as this idea it'sactually 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. Ithink that's really important, but I think there's three other buckets that may bemore 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 andyour emerging ICP, and the idea there is that each one of those,your ICP, is like an Arrow moving through the air, and you knowthe tip of that Arrow is your emerging..., the middle of that isyour current and the tail end of that is you're lagging and over time businessis change, markets change, products change, and so you're not going to targetand engage folks in the same way. There's going to be some companies youwant 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 andthere's going to be some new markets that you know we're going to be yourfuture, but aren't worth spending all of your attention on today. I likeit. I like it a lot. Jason. Can you break that downeven for those yeah, I love asking this question because it's honestly, mostlyfor myself. Break that down, like I'm I'm seven years old. Youknow what is a I getting indicator? Where does it leading indicator? Andbreak 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 liketo 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 inthat's also going to change your ICP, but also the timing, like what'sgoing 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 fadingICP. So maybe in the beginning you're going after small companies, but nowyou're your products is turned into more of enterprise products. So maybe it's nowlarger 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 thatthe highest have predictable demand. So there's the most predictable demand for that specifictype of target and that's probably like your bread and butter. And then Iwould 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 knowthat obviously affected businesses worldwide. A lot of different businesses had to adapt theirbusiness models for every type of business. So that could be and some ofthem 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 virtualmeetings or weren't going to do certain types of remote work. That's going tobe maybe something that's going to be now because of the timing part of yourfuture ICP. So something that's, I would say that changes your business thelong 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, maybeit was just a covid that could be. That could be an exception, butsome of them, obviously it's going to be more of a long termchange. Well said, well said. Thank you for for breaking that down. Okay, I've another Jason. I'm going to go back to you rightaway on this one. What happens if, top down, there is a newdesired customer profile, which often happened? I'll give you an example. Whatoften happens in startups. Are Your time at at Magenta. You gookay, we got to go sell to the enterprise, the unit economics.Now we got to scale this thing. We gotta we got a hundred xnext year. The only way we're going to do that is to go afterour DCP and maybe those aren't the natural ICP right now. How do youlook at that? How do you start to merge your ICP with with yourDCP when it's what the business needs at that that juncture? Yeah, Imean I think it's all all goes down to storytelling and your brand and changingif there's a new feature functionality, let's say, you know, talking yourengineering team and talking to your marketing team, changing the value that we're selling sothat it will really be very obvious and big picture how you can makean impact on that new version of their ICP that you're trying to get breakinto, because if it's not obvious, then it's not going to be obviousto your customer. So it has to be super obvious of the value you'regoing to bring one thing, but also,...

I would say, a way tobreak into a new ICP is I think a gold goes down to yournetwork. 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 ismost important to those types of customers. So I think building or using yourrelationships for that new ICP and seeing what's most important and then how does ourproduct or whatever service you're selling really help provide that value to that company isalso 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 narrativebreath to like hey, we do great in it. I don't know whymanufacturing is always my example. I've never sold that to manufacturing. Always comesup first. You know we're selling it to manufacturing, but we really wantto break into big tech. How do you coach them? And that's anair. Yeah, I like you know, I think just to be clear forthe folks at home, like desire hired customer profile isn't bad. Likethat'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 reallyin 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 withour network. We sell to our moms and our uncle's and friends of friends. So, like what are inside of our company? You know, whatare those folks that are close to us that we can go sell to improvethe case. And then we take those early examples and we take them toa really specific part of the market. So we sold a bunch of dentistoffice will. Now we're going to go to Houston and sell Houston Disney thedentist office because we've got a story to tell there. And then by thetime we've done that, now we've converted a DCP into an ICP because we'veclosed deals, we've proven the value and we can go take it to themarket. 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 comesback to placing bets and when we're not intentional about how we attack an ICPor a DCP and we're just reactive. It's like going to the black checktable and just putting everything down on, you know, red twelve. It'slike maybe you'll get lucky, but maybe you won't, and that's no wayto 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 Ifeel like I'd be doing the both of you had disservice if I didn't broadenthis 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'mjust 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 twopart question. So for the individual contributors listening, you know, the DRS, maybe junior as, what some advice you would give them? And thenfor the leaders out there, what some advice that you would like to imparton on people? Yeah, now, that's a great question. I thinkadvice for upcoming. You know people industry, you know bedrs, SCRS is.You know, one of the most important skill sets to learn is tounderstand your company's trends and how that industry is valling over time. So Ithink knowing how to leverage your data and tell that story we using data issomething that I think you can apply. I always then, that's my numberone thing every time I on Border Bedr is, you know, you gotto 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 knowinghow 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 executivesis, you know, let your bedrs and as here as take morerisks. That's something I really want to push is is I want my beersto fail and learn from them mistakes, because that's how they're going to growand learn and when we challenge them to take a chance, that's your teamis going to grow and you're going to when you learn how to invest inyour team and have them really focus on how this growth mindset rather than alwaysfocus on the numbers. My opinion, the numbers will come naturally. Inmy opinion, as you focus on their growth instead of just got hit thisgoal. We got hit this goal. I think the goals will come overtime. So I think just that mindset, I think nowadays. I think it'sa better approach, I think, to getting strs and bedeers to haveto feel more included and feel like they are in a better work culture.Personally, excellent advice. And the good thing about the first one, thedata analysis, is it's getting easier and easier to do that and that trendis 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 gotcanva instead of power point. There's you know, but you don't actually excelas still like finally enough, like the goat software, but there's all thesethere's all these sort of things that make that analysis a lot, a loteasier. So one thing, and I wanted to the take more risks ishuge, 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 thebusiness, but if they win, it outweighs the impact at big time, right, because they can you can repeat that. It could become anew process. I like that great grade...

...advice. All Right, ten questionyou 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 ICEPand intentionality and using data is like I don't think there's many people that wilddisagree 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 adheringto these things, you know they're there, things being thrown at them. Youknow, I would encourage them to like find ways, create small waysfor 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 carveout ten percent of your day, ten percent of your prospect universe, togo after your new theory? And I think the only advice there's just bescientific about it. So incorporate, you know what Jason said about the dataanalysis 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 beable to prove the value, prove your case, and I encourage, Isee is, to not wait on leadership to do that for them, butbe invite themselves into the room by proving it out and then, for youknow, for the leadership. I would come back to how are you gettingyour truest information on this? So some of this is always going to comefrom data, but I think a big piece two is the reason that Iseep becomes misaligned is because it has to naturally include like strategic input and tacticalinput. You've got to have like the data on what's actually happening and you'vegot 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 encourageleaders to expedite that feedback loop outside of formal reporting to try to get aquick pulse on either how new markets are...

...emerging, how old standard customers areno longer current or valid and making sure that they're getting both sides of thatstrategic and tactical equation so that they can correctly lead when it comes to tohow the business is run and what bets are made beautiful. Well, Ithink that's a perfect way to wrap it up, and I feel like thered thread through all of this is wherever you're at in your career, tryand get more data driven, less less just instincts, feel and got youknow, we're definitely turning into more of a science than an art. Ofcourse there's always going to be that art component, that is the storytelling whichwe 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 haveto have you both back again to wrestle with another topic, because I knowyou guys are thinking about this stuff all the time. But Jason Dj thankyou so much. There's a pleasure having a Scott pleasure conserve and for allthose 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 frontof 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 engagementto get the most out of your sales engagement strategy. Make sure tocheck out outreach that ioh, the leading sales engagement platform. See you onthe next episode.

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