Pipeline Visionaries

Customer Satisfaction That Drives Word-of-Mouth with Sarah McAuley, CMO at Paperless Parts

Episode Summary

This episode features an interview with Sarah McAuley, CMO at Paperless Parts. Paperless Parts is leading the digital transformation for custom part manufacturers. Their patented technology and proprietary geometry engine unlock insights that enable job shop manufacturers to modernize and grow their business. Sarah has 20 years of experience building and managing world-class marketing organizations, accelerating ARR growth, and shaping and defining new software categories. On this episode Sarah shares her insights into how customer satisfaction drives word-of-mouth, improving customer loyalty with impactful engagement, and creating customer champions.

Episode Notes

This episode features an interview with Sarah McAuley, CMO at Paperless Parts. Paperless Parts is leading the digital transformation for custom part manufacturers. Their patented technology and proprietary geometry engine unlock insights that enable job shop manufacturers to modernize and grow their business. Sarah has 20 years of experience building and managing world-class marketing organizations, accelerating ARR growth, and shaping and defining new software categories. 

On this episode Sarah shares her insights into how customer satisfaction drives word-of-mouth, improving customer loyalty with impactful engagement, and creating customer champions.


“Our customers are way better salespeople for us, than we are. They come to the table with so much credibility and real-world experience around what it’s like to change the way you’ve been operating. So I look for different ways to incentivize that behavior.” - Sarah McAuley, CMO, Paperless Parts


Episode Timestamps:

*(02:55) - Sarah’s role at Paperless Parts

*(03:32) - Segment: Trust Tree

*(11:50) - Understanding your customer personas and their pain points

*(17:56) - Segment: The Playbook

*(19:14) - Identifying how your customers are consuming information

*(23:34) - How customer satisfaction drives word-of-mouth

*(31:01) - Segment: The Dust Up

*(34:44) - Segment: Quick Hits



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Episode Transcription

[00:01:41] Ian: Welcome to Demand Gen Visionaries. I'm Ian Faison, CEO of Caspian Studios, and today we are joined by special guest Sarah, how are you?

[00:02:00] Sarah: I am wonderful. Thanks so much for having me.

[00:02:02] Ian: Thanks so much for joining us today. Excited to learn about Paperless Parts and all the cool stuff that y'all are doing, how you go to market, and of course, get some of those insights from your background and career. So let's get into it. How did you first get started in demand? 

[00:02:18] Sarah: Wow. I don't think it was called demand when I first got started in demand, I joined a company couple of years outta college to run the communications and investor relations team, and they said, Hey, we need someone to run marketing, and what does marketing really mean in that context? Well, our sales team we're kind of coming out of growth mode and into scale mode, and we needed more leads to work.

[00:02:40] Sarah: So they said, Sarah, go figure it out. I didn't have a fancy. Demand Gen back then. I think they just called it marketing. 

[00:02:46] Ian: Indeed. But who are we without fancy titles. And then flash forward to today, tell us a little bit about your role at Paperless Parts.

[00:02:53] Sarah: Sure. So Paperless Parts is a quoting and estimating platform for custom part manufacturers.

[00:03:00] Sarah: These are the folks who are making everything from. The casing that holds a medical device to one of our customers made a bracket that holds the flag on the moon. Special types of screws that hold night vision goggles onto military helmets that you can literally shoot a bullet at and they, they won't break.

[00:03:19] Sarah: It's the backbone of American manufacturing building really anything that you can imagine and put into a remodel or a pdf. 

[00:03:28] Ian: And we're about to get real deep into that here in a second. In our first segment, the trust tree.

[00:03:44] Ian: This is where we go and feel honest and trusted, and you can share those deepest, darkest, demand, gen and marketing secrets. So we know a little bit about paperless parts. Who are your all's customer?

[00:03:55] Sarah: Yeah, so paperless parts serves custom part manufacturers.

[00:04:00] Sarah: These are guys who own job shops, and our primary users of our software are the folks doing the quoting and estimating. So our typical persona has been in the business for 30 or 40 years. These are guys who can look at a part and say, Hey, this is. $35 part, but then they have to go and do a bunch of math and they're whipping out their Excel spreadsheets and their highlighters and doing a bunch of stuff manually.

[00:04:26] Sarah: And what paperless parts wants to do is bring a layer of automation to that process, reduce some of the manual steps that they're taking so that they can get quotes at the door faster, more accurately when more business and grow their business from a career perspective. An entire left turn from where I spent the last five years.

[00:04:44] Sarah: I spent the last five years of my career doing demand gen targeting DevOps practitioners. People who hate talking to people who want to read everything online, who hate the notion of being marketed to. There's millions and millions of them, and they work in every industry under the sun. Every company is a digital company now, so every company has a DevOps team or a cloud architect or cloud ops team.

[00:05:09] Sarah: So to make such a stark. Turn into the vertical SAS industry really forced me to rethink what demand gen meant. Our personas here, I have a little secret. Our highest performing channel for demand gen is direct mail, which is not something I ever thought I would say in my career again. But we have a, we have a direct mail or.

[00:05:29] Sarah: I guess to be fancy, we'd call it an account based marketing program, but really it's direct mail program. And these guys that we're marketing to are so appreciative of the thought that we've put into it that they literally just pick up the phone and call us to thank us so . Oh, that's awesome. It's, uh, it's definitely a different world.

[00:05:45] Ian: I love that. That is a very different world excited to, to dig into that. So how do they buy? What does that buying committee look like? How many sort of decision makers are. 

[00:05:55] Sarah: Yeah, sure. So the biggest challenge we have from a go to market perspective is fighting the status quo. As I mentioned, most of our customers have been doing this for decades and decades they've been doing it.

[00:06:06] Sarah: I joke that our biggest competition is Microsoft Excel in a yellow highlighter. It's not a scenario where folks are online necessarily Googling best quoting and estimating platform for custom. Job shops. If they were, they'd find us. Cuz we do do that too. But the digital component isn't necessarily front and center from our demand gen strategy because we really have to educate the market that there is a different way that to do that, that's different than how it's been done for the past 30 years.

[00:06:32] Sarah: It's sort of set against a backdrop of. Some macro things that are happening in the industry, which is a lot of these job shops are starting to change hands. Most of these shops are generational businesses, and when someone decides it's time to retire, they typically take one of three paths. They pass the business along, usually to a family member, a younger family member.

[00:06:52] Sarah: They might sell it to a PE firm or a larger shop that's looking to roll up a bunch of shops, or they just say, You know what? I had a good run. I'm gonna cash out. I'm gonna sell the business, sell the equipment, sell the building, and move to Florida. And either the first two cases, that's generally a pretty good entry point for paperless parts because they're turning the business over to a more digitally native kind of audience.

[00:07:16] Sarah: An audience that's been used. Buying things on Amazon, right? They're very comfortable with SaaS platforms to optimize literally all aspects of their lives. So they start to look for where can I drive this efficiency into this business that's operated pretty much the same for the past 10, 20, 30 years.

[00:07:34] Ian: And then how is your marketing org structured to go after those 

[00:07:38] Sarah: folks? Really exciting week to be asking me that question. I welcome two new team members. Hey, um, one started today. The next one's starting next week, but we had a little kickoff dinner last night. So prior to me joining, we were a marketing team of two.

[00:07:51] Sarah: We had a kind of generalist who was mile wide, inch deep on everyth. And a content marketer. I was brought in specifically after paperless closed RB round, which is led by open View specifically to scale the go to market function. We were doubling the size of the sales organization. We needed to make sure that the marketing team was gonna grow and support that growth.

[00:08:11] Sarah: From a top of the funnel perspective, I have since hired someone to lead our field marketing organization and. The all important marketing ops function, the one person in my life that I cannot live without. Yeah. And that's the person that started today. So today is a wonderful day for me at paperless 

[00:08:27] Ian: parts.

[00:08:27] Ian: It is true. Rev ops is the thing that makes the marketing world go around. You mentioned that the sales team. Grow a bunch, marketing team's grown a little bit, especially after raising round. And obviously, you know, in startup plan, do you have a time horizon of, Hey, we need to do X in this amount of time and you need to be smart with your dollars, but you also need to spend them.

[00:08:47] Ian: How'd you think about that process of going into that? 

[00:08:49] Sarah: Well, for perspective, I just joined Paperless about three months ago. You know, first order of business was just doing some blocking and tackling around program health and actually thinking about when you're a. A one man band, most of what you're doing is reactive.

[00:09:05] Sarah: You know, a sales guy wants to go to a show, or the CEO has an idea, or you're launching a new website, but there's a shift that happens when you go from that mode into scale mode where you have to start thinking programmatically. So even just. Defining what those programs looked like and giving the team and the broader organization some swim lanes into how we should think about what we're doing from a marketing perspective was really important because it empowered the team to be very clear about what we weren't gonna do that allowed us to go and get the work done where we saw the highest level of opportunity.

[00:09:41] Sarah: So really without knowing a whole lot. Our business and customers yet, you know, still on the, on ramping period, there's just some technical web enhancement activity that anybody with some experience could kind of audit the website and put a program in place to get us from where we are today to a more aggressive traffic and conversion number.

[00:10:02] Sarah: Things like, you know, looking at what percentage of our web traffic was branded search and, and high buyer intent type search. Um, so we did some optimization. On that front, we hired and onboarded a PR agency. Again, we are fighting against the status quo, so getting just that top of the funnel awareness around paperless parts and who we are and what we're all about was certainly first and foremost.

[00:10:26] Sarah: And then because this industry is so highly personalized and coming out of Covid has been a breath of fresh air that we can now meet and convene in person. These aren't guys that are sitting at their desks in front of computers. 10 hours a day. Oftentimes they're walking the shop floor, they're meeting with customers, they're, they're meeting with partners.

[00:10:46] Sarah: So the opportunity to get back out into the field. Brings some more in person activity into the mix and put some concerted effort around that really breathes some life into our demand gen activity. 

[00:10:57] Ian: Isn't that the tricky part? It's the last thing that they want to do in a given day is deal with this, but you're like, But if you deal with this now, you don't have to deal with all that other stuff in the future, which is Yeah, I know that you don't want to do.

[00:11:09] Ian: Yeah, 

[00:11:09] Sarah: and change is hard for anyone. It's one thing if you're trying to argue switch from someone else's platform to our platform. That you at least have a framework for understanding what a switch or a change in behavior would entail. But when you walk into these shops and you say, You know, this thing that you've been doing for 30 years, we don't think you should do it that way anymore.

[00:11:29] Sarah: It's a bigger hill to climb. 

[00:11:31] Ian: So you mentioned a little bit of the demand piece to this. I'm curious, you have this essentially non-existent demand, but very existent pain that all these folks are having. Right? How do you create demand? Yeah. 

[00:11:45] Sarah: It sounds so cliche that I hate to even lead with it, but really going deep into understanding your customer personas and the pain points.

[00:11:53] Sarah: People are pretty skeptic. When they first learn about paperless parts, you ask everyone to rate their quoting process on a scale of one to 10 and how's it going? And most people will give you like a six. Nobody's like, Yeah, I'm really crushing it. It's amazing, but it's also passable. But as soon as you introduce the concept of what we're doing and show them a little bit how it works.

[00:12:15] Sarah: Then that six becomes a two , that they realize how bad their process actually has been and how much better it could be. So really it's just cracking that first moment of, man, this is something that's really gonna change my life. Like I can afford to go on vacation. That's a very literal thing with our customers.

[00:12:32] Sarah: Like a lot of these shops only have one or two estimators, or the owner themselves is doing all the estimations. They literally don't go on vacation because they can't risk not getting a quote turned around in. We have this amazing thing here. It's one of the strongest parts of our culture is we have a customer love Slack channel, and when our customers send us notes, we screenshot it and share it with the whole company.

[00:12:53] Sarah: Literally, these emails come in all the time and it's really just amazing to see. Any other 

[00:12:58] Ian: notes on marketing org structure or a demand strategy before we get into the. Yeah. 

[00:13:04] Sarah: I think just on the org structure side, like regardless of names and boxes and lines, I've managed teams of. Varying structures.

[00:13:14] Sarah: I've had marketing ops report to marketing. I've had marketing ops report to a centralized BIS ops function. I've had geographically aligned field marketing teams working with geographically aligned sales organizations. I don't think any of that really matters. You're gonna evolve your organization, um, a hundred times, you know, if you're there long enough.

[00:13:37] Sarah: Um, but what I think is critical from an alignment and organization perspective. And where I see a lot of conflict come up is when people are playing with different sets of data. So regardless of boxes and lines, getting alignment around what we're measuring, what it means, what's the source data, how are we maintaining the integrity of that data structure?

[00:14:02] Sarah: It's hard and it's boring and it's tedious, but if you don't have that, It doesn't really matter how you're organized, cuz there's gonna be a ton of conflict. 

[00:14:12] Ian: Yeah, I mean it's similarly in the cliche realm, it truly is like you're speaking a different language, right? If you're not all on the same page, if you don't agree with whatever, there's no hope to ever figure the rest out.

[00:14:25] Sarah: And there's also an agreement that needs to happen, a handshake between. Sales and customer success and finance around what are the right metrics. I remember kind of earlier in my career, going back to that time, I sort of had a solution looking for a problem. I ran some of the best marketing campaigns of my career.

[00:14:45] Sarah: I. Had a cover story in Harvard Business Review and I had an online maturity assessment tool that people were filling out and capturing leads, and it was the cornerstone content of our annual user conference. You know, it was multi-channel, it was compelling. It looked amazing. It was awesome. People are giving me high five.

[00:15:09] Sarah: Left and right for like how well executed it was, and I threw up a scorecard and it was green, green, green, green, green around all the metrics that we set out When we launched this, the only problem was none of it was translating into sales deals. You know, we're getting going. But they never really got past a certain stage in the sales pipeline.

[00:15:28] Sarah: It felt empty to celebrate , the victory of a green marketing scorecard. If there's no sales that come out the other end, or really having accountability through the funnel, like all the way to closed one deals, and you can't declare victory until there's that alignment from the moment a lead comes into your system to the day they become a customer, and ideally to the day they renew and expand.

[00:15:51] Sarah: As a 

[00:15:51] Ian: customer, I definitely. With everything that you just said, but I am so curious, like why, if it was that good of a campaign and you felt strongly that it was good, why didn't it translate to sales in that 

[00:16:03] Sarah: instance? Yeah, it was for a clean tech company, in theory, everybody wants to care and everybody wants to make smart and responsible decisions.

[00:16:11] Sarah: We had very credible experts saying, Not only should you care cause it's the right thing. Here's what you should care about because it's gonna have a great bottom line impact on your business. But again, it goes back to understanding your customers. These are people that have, you know, a list a mile long of things they must do.

[00:16:32] Sarah: The things I would like to do, you know, rarely. There's not enough hours in the day for a lot of folks. So you know, short of a regulatory requirement to start reporting on some of these things, or a price on carbon or short of some macro driver that was going to change what we were doing from like, that's a nice responsible thing to do to.

[00:16:54] Sarah: If I don't do this, I'm going to get fired and my company's going to lose a bunch of money and we're gonna go outta business. I think we just overestimated our customers appetites. It's something that they were intellectually curious about that I think they knew was the right, but was just never gonna bubble up.

[00:17:08] Sarah: To that level of I have to get this done, I have to get this done this quarter, and I have to get this done instead of doing the other 10 things that are also on my list to do. That's so 

[00:17:16] Ian: fascinating. From where you were as a stage, it didn't seem like it was a fit. If your biggest thing was creating demand from Nice to have to need to have, It's like you failed there.

[00:17:25] Ian: If your criteria, when you set it out was to say, I want to go from off the slide to on the slide in consideration. , right? It's like you would've crushed all those goals. You'd be like, everybody knows who we are now. We're like household name we some that made some of the people were talking about and they actually liked the tool and like they know who we are now.

[00:17:45] Ian: You know? That's so crazy. What an interesting case study. Okay, let's get to our next segment, The playbook.

[00:18:01] Ian: This is where you open up that playbook and talk about the tactics that help you win.

[00:18:07] Ian: We already know one of your uncut budget items cuz you teased it earlier. But what are your three channels or tactics that are your uncut budget items? 

[00:18:15] Sarah: So we already talked about our direct mail program is uncut, which is just hilarious to me. And actually I was evaluat. Different direct mail platforms because again, this isn't, you know, 1990s direct mail.

[00:18:27] Sarah: This is attached to campaigns and measuring ROI and looking at claim rates and direct mail now was very different than it was before. But I was looking at different direct mail platforms and I posted on LinkedIn and I said, you know, I hate LinkedIn World and all my marketing buddies. I'm evaluating these couple direct mail platforms.

[00:18:45] Sarah: Give me the skinny, good, bad, or ugly on all these different platforms. And I got a lot of really helpful responses. One person commented basically direct mail, so 1990s, scrap it and focus on your content strategy and thought leadership. And I just sort of laughed when I saw that comment because I think it's, I think.

[00:19:06] Sarah: Probably a pretty common trap that marketers fall into is the notion of what worked at my last company is gonna work here. And if you're not starting with who your customers are and where they're consuming information, if you're starting with those assumptions and not pressure testing them and validating them, you might as well be guessing.

[00:19:25] Sarah: So that made me Chuck. Our second channel that we ran an experiment around, this is where data will tell you a story, but you're not necessarily sure it's telling you the right story. So we used to do a bit of print and digital advertising with the industry trades and do third party webinars with them and go to their events and things like that.

[00:19:46] Sarah: And we weren't really seeing a ton of campaign roi. You know, we weren't seeing the huge registration numbers or click throughs or, or anything of that nature. So we pulled back pretty considerably on the spend that we were investing in those channels. And something interesting happened, our online demo request numbers started plummeting.

[00:20:07] Sarah: So those programs weren't working the way we thought they were. They weren't directly converting to from like, you know, I register for this webinar and now I'm interested in you and sell me something. But they were just seeing our name and our value proposition. Again, this, the audience isn't sitting at their computers a ton isn't sitting and watching webinars over their lunch breaks, but they were seeing the promotions for the different content.

[00:20:32] Sarah: They're like, Oh, that looks interesting. Let me jump online quick and jump straight to the personalized demo. So that's an area we literally did cut in Q2 before I got here, but now added back in and we're seeing those numbers start to climb. So that would be net positive. And then the third is the in person events.

[00:20:48] Sarah: It's such an integral part. This industry where face to face credibility really matters. That might change as we see some of the generational shifts and more comfort self-educating through the buying process online, through technical content, through a free trial like experience or something like that.

[00:21:09] Sarah: But we just haven't seen that sort of 

[00:21:10] Ian: tipping point yet. I was talking to our marketing team earlier today and we were talking about the idea of the construct of webinars and this idea of you have podcasts, you have videos, you have webinars, all these different things, and it's so funny how an in-person events, same sort of way where it's like, I think so much of that.

[00:21:26] Ian: Experience of whatever way that you learn mentally would be like, Okay, this is how I learn new information. Like I go to a webinar once a week and that's like my personal development. Or I go to this trade show once a year and I learn everything that everyone's been doing. And then I take that back to the business and I work on that in December or whatever, implement it for the new year and like I'm done learning for the rest of the year.

[00:21:48] Ian: Yeah. Or you know what? Whatever that thing is. Or just how do you learn like that's. You're trying to find is like, where are their watering holes? Where are they spending time? And then what are they doing when they're spending time there? Why are they going to trade shows? I just think it's so fascinating to hear that people who are using trade shows in that way, whereas we hear other marketers talking about how they're cutting investment.

[00:22:12] Ian: In trade shows. Yep. In big trade shows or certain types of trade shows. So yeah, 

[00:22:15] Sarah: it's just, just, yeah. You know, in my previous lives doing the big cloud shows, the AWS reinvents that are so big and so noisy, thousands and thousands and thousands of people, and you collect literally thousands of leads. I think we did like.

[00:22:32] Sarah: 9,000 or 10,000 leads At the last reinvent I went to, only a handful of them are qualified perspective customers for the manufacturing industry. We just got back from imts, which is comparable in size to reinvent to 80,000 people depending on. Pre covid or post covid kind of metrics, booths weren't even giving out swag.

[00:22:55] Sarah: There wasn't that same culture of why you go to this event. Actually, I mean, a lot of these shops go to these events literally to buy physical equipment. The multimillion dollar machines that are gonna go land, they literally purchase them. One of our customers bought $9 million worth of equipment on the show floor.

[00:23:11] Sarah: So that's you. They're going with a, you know, I've got this objective. I need to get this stuff done. Pivoting a little bit, trade shows and events in general, they're channel, right? They're an avenue to get your message out. I would say one of the things that's been critical for paperless parts and is critical for any kind of new category or new paradigm type company.

[00:23:33] Sarah: How do you operationalize your customer evangelists in the most effective way possible? As I mentioned, we have a customer love Slack channel. Our customers genuinely love us and love talking about us, and love telling stories about how we helped them. Transform their business or grow their business. I, I just think our customers are way better salespeople for us than we are.

[00:23:58] Sarah: They come to the table with so much credibility and real world experience around what it's like to change the way you've been operating. So I look for different ways to incentivize that behavior and we don't. Actually really need to incentivize our customers to talk about us. Generally speaking, they're super happy to, Although we do have some customers who are like, I'll totally be a reference for you, but not for any other shops in my home state.

[00:24:20] Sarah: Like, I was just gonna say, yeah, like I'm in Texas, I'll talk to any shop in California. You want me to, Or you know, vice versa. But even that sort of fewer and farther between, they're pretty tight knit community and they're sort of thinking you. The tide that's gonna float the American manufacturing industry versus getting that, that little edge.

[00:24:39] Sarah: But, so that's been a big focus of our team from a content perspective, from a content distribution and channel perspective. You know, to events. We were literally just talking today about, do you think we could just incentivize a couple customers to come and like Right, stand and talk to people, . 

[00:24:56] Ian: We were having that same conversation also earlier today of just like, how do you remove friction to accelerate your word of mouth?

[00:25:04] Ian: I'm working on a blog post to something to the effect of Q4 is, is budget season, which means it's referral season, right? Yep. It's like everyone is asking their friends like, What the heck did you do this year? But software are you using for this? What thing are you, you know, like every, it's like referral seasons here.

[00:25:20] Ian: Like how do I get as many of my customer. Out there as referral agents. Yeah, as possible. And remove that barrier. Because like the truth is, yeah, I could create an awesome like little case study I could put on the website. You know, you could go to cast studios.com, you could check that out. It's like, how do you do that stuff?

[00:25:37] Ian: You know, the idea that like the brand ambassador, there needs to be like a new version of that. If anyone has, anyone who's listening has a really good like, brand ambassador program, let me know. But that stuff is just so hard 

[00:25:47] Sarah: to figure out. Well, I'll, I'll tell you the playbook. Kind of lifted. So are you familiar with a company called Service Titan?

[00:25:53] Sarah: Yep. Mm-hmm. . So Service Titan is a vertical sas, great content company. A lot of podcasts, a lot of podcasts, vertical SAS companies, similar to paperless parts or toast, or the companies that are really trying to take a vertical centric view and become sort of the platform of record for a given community and service.

[00:26:10] Sarah: Titan has. A very well defined and very specific customer referral program where they actually incentivize their customers. If they refer a customer, they take it. Then the referring customer, a financial incentive. If that customer. Or if that prospect then signs, they'll get another financial incentive and they've run the numbers.

[00:26:29] Sarah: This approach lowers their customer acquisition costs. It helps them grow faster and it cuts their sales cycle time. So we've actually just implemented a very similar program for paperless parts a little too early to tell if it's gonna be the linchpin like it was for Service Titan, and I have to give a shout.

[00:26:45] Sarah: Thank you to Ross Beman, who's on our board and works for Service Titan. So really helped us sort of think through the finer points. And we are a little bit hesitant to go down this path because our customers are almost always just willing to talk about us anyway, right? So it's like, so why would you pay them, right?

[00:27:02] Sarah: So if they're willing to talk about you, why would you pay them? And the answer we came back to was pretty simple, which is number one. You should reward and recognize your evangelists, whether it's paid or an appreciation gift or a thank you note or whatever, like the bare minimum is that you need to programatize appreciating your customer ambassadors.

[00:27:27] Sarah: The second piece is, , everybody has day jobs, so it's like cool. They'll totally talk to you or talk about you, but there's a difference between saying, Hey, I just deployed this thing and it's really cool when it comes up in conversation and. Taking that proactive measure to let me introduce you to my friends at paperless parts.

[00:27:49] Sarah: They change my life and you should talk to them. Like that's a different kind of motion. And the third piece is that everything else in marketing, you wanna be able. To track and measure what's working and what's not working, and if you're just sort of like throwing it out to the wind of, Hey guys, talk us up, we really appreciate it.

[00:28:12] Sarah: Do a solid, Then you don't really understand how well your brand champions are advocating for you on your behalf. And I think both with Service Titan and Paperless, a relatively small financial incentive, like, like our customers, they spend. Millions of dollars on raw materials, metal, machinery, labor, their software budget, the money they have to spend on software is like 1%, 2%, right?

[00:28:40] Sarah: So if we can give them away to offset some of that cost, it just makes the resistance to adopting a new solution. That much lower. And then the theory goes, once they've adopted it and they see how well it's working, then they're gonna get the value and they're gonna stick with it. Like you can waste way more money chasing leads that are outside of your ideal customer profile through passive channels like advertising or webinars, or you know, you got BDRs hitting the phones, trying to get through, trying to get the qualification.

[00:29:16] Sarah: If you can shortcut that process by throwing someone a couple hundred bucks, Why not? I mean, it's good for them. It's good for the, the, the prospect that's coming into the fold that's getting a solution that genuinely has value. You know, if, if you had a crappy product, you know nobody's gonna be willing.

[00:29:32] Sarah: Do that. I don't care how much you pay them, because the thing people care more about than money is their reputation, right? So they're not gonna be shilling a bad product on your behalf. I 

[00:29:42] Ian: heard something really interesting a while back, advice from, so shout out Match or furo. Uh, the CMO Vapor who said this to me, where he was like, Ian, at the end of the day, anyone that I know personally, if they're to send me an email completely cold, that's just like, Hey, we use this product.

[00:30:02] Ian: I don't know if you're ever gonna look for anything like this, but like if you do, you should check them out. He's like, I will always look at it like always. Yeah. If it's someone that I actually know and trust. Sure. Like that's the thing about referrals is. . Even if you're not in consideration at that exact moment, you now become in consideration consideration because you're like, I'm gonna look at it.

[00:30:21] Ian: Yep. Yeah, it's fascinating stuff. We did a whole episode with Jason from metadata talking about pay demos and how well those worked for them. So I mean, I think that like this is this sort of ideas like. We need to figure out how to maximize the marketing dollars that we're spending. If that means literally paying people to demo stuff or paying other people to get people to demo our stuff, it's all part of the calculation.

[00:30:43] Ian: But I think it's, those are the type of investments that, like you're not gonna see like massive outsized results from that, but like you said, you can really stack up wins and if that's what your targets are at that moment in time is to like stack up wins then. Then that's what you need to do. Yeah, for sure.

[00:30:59] Ian: Next segment here. The dust up 

[00:31:15] Ian:.We talk about health attention, whether that's with your board or sales teams, your competitor, or anyone else. Have you ever had a memorable dust up, Sarah? 

[00:31:24] Sarah: Oh, too many to count. One of my more memorable dust ups was a sign of immaturity on my part, and that is when you are so tempted to hit reply.

[00:31:40] Sarah: All that is just the biggest mistake you can make, especially if you're pissed. Kind of alignment with sales and what matters. And what's real versus what are kind of the vanity metrics that put on display just to, you know, make. Thank you. Deserve your bonus. So I had a situation where a particular sales leader was not fond of Salesforce and putting things in Salesforce, which made it incredibly difficult to report on the efficacy of the programs that we were running.

[00:32:15] Sarah: And someone on my team was gonna take the fall for it. The region was under producing, the data wasn't in Salesforce. There was a healthy debate. To be had there. But instead of having the healthy debate, we immediately downshifted into the, you're not doing your job and you're not doing your job. And all trust was gone.

[00:32:38] Sarah: And any interest of. Actually figuring out a solution was quickly replaced with, He's a four letter word and she's a pain in the, you know what? And it really just was not my finest moment. It didn't help that this person was in, but dramatically different geography when time zones were not super conducive to just jumping on the phone.

[00:33:00] Sarah: Had a boss pretty early in my career who'd actually be very disappointed to hear this story because he was a proctoring gamble trained marketer. And so in addition to training the team on our actual go to market and marketing strategies, whatever, he led the mini proctoring gamble. Marketing MBA course for our team of marketers.

[00:33:23] Sarah: There were two trainings in particular that he read that really stuck with me, even though in this particular anecdote, I ignored both of them. One of them was, yes, no maybe training. And it was all about learning when to say yes and when to say no and when to say maybe, and how to have those productive conversations.

[00:33:40] Sarah: And one was actually a communications training, and it was if you were agreeing with someone a short. Is usually a pretty good way to communicate that if you are disagreeing with someone, pick up the phone. , have a conversation. Yeah. Or are better yet if you can get face to face in an office. And man, I just threw both of those lessons right out the window.

[00:33:58] Sarah: My boss at the time called me on it. We said, I'm gonna be really straight with you. You came across as incredibly immature in this conversation, and I don't think you did yourself any favors, and it was such kind of a, an eye opening moment in my career. I was sort of in that pivot point between like middle manager and senior manager.

[00:34:19] Sarah: It was a big swing and a miss that definitely kind of stuck with me. Okay. Let's 

[00:34:24] Ian: get to our last segment here. Quick hits. These are quick questions and quick answers. Just like how quickly qualified helps companies generate pipeline faster. Tap into your greatest asset, your website to identify your most valuable visitors, and instantly start sales conversations quick and easy.

[00:34:44] Ian: Just like these questions, go to qualified.com. Learn more. We love qualified. They're the. Been with us since the very beginning of time. Go to qualified.com to learn more. Sarah quick hits. Are you ready? I'm ready. What is a hidden talent or skill that's not on 

[00:35:00] Sarah: your resume? I joke that my hidden talent is that I speak many languages.

[00:35:05] Sarah: Someone asked me what my hidden talent was and I said, Oh, I actually speak many languages. And they were like, Oh, French, German, Spanish. And I was like, No, I speak Tim. I speak David, I speak fielder. I speak Susie. I speak Jenny. You know? And I think that the ability to engage with a lot of different type of personalities to mirror their communication style, to proactively listen and kind of synthesize.

[00:35:27] Sarah: I became a little bit known as. What this person means to say is translator. In my company, when different personalities had to get in a room, they were known for not having great or effective communication styles. They would often throw me in the room and say, Go translate for 'em and come out with an answer.

[00:35:45] Sarah: So that's my hidden talent. 

[00:35:47] Ian: Great answer. Do you have a favorite book, podcast, or TV show that you've been checking on recently?

[00:35:52] Sarah: My favorite podcast is The Moth. Oh. Um, I am devouring a lot of Kate Quinn historical fiction lately. I recently started coming back into the office. I now have an hour commute where it has afforded me the opportunity to start reading again cuz I have three little kids at home.

[00:36:13] Sarah: So the notion of reading for pleasure was a fictitious thing I only dreamed of for a few years, but now that I've got an hour on a train or a ferry to enjoy, I've rediscovered my passion for historical fiction

[00:36:25] Ian:. What advice would you give to a first time CMOs trying to figure out their demand strategy?

[00:36:32] Sarah: Go build your personal board of directors. Totally. It's a, it's a little bit different than go find your team of mentors in that when you think about building out a board of directors for a company, you're not looking for like that silver bullet person who like knows everything and does everything.

[00:36:47] Sarah: You're looking for that one person who does something really great that your company needs and your company needs to be great at, and you. A team of like five or six or however many kind of directors you have on your board. And I think when you take that same approach to building your personal board of directors, especially as a first time cmo, then you start to think about who's the best leader I know, and I want that person on my board of directors.

[00:37:14] Sarah: It doesn't even have to be a marketer. It's just who's the best leader the. Data geek I know, and what are the tools that that person's using and what are the questions that person asks every time they see a slide of metrics? Who can I tap for that? So I think if you're deliberate about it and you're really looking critically at the people in your network and what they're really great at, then sort of piece, that can be a really powerful asset in your corner.

[00:37:37] Ian: I love it. Sarah, this has been awesome chatting with you. For our listeners, you can go to paperless parts.com to learn more, check out their marketing. Any final thoughts, anything to plug? 

[00:37:46] Sarah: This has been awesome. One final thing to plug, If anyone's looking for a job, I'm hiring. Even if you don't see it listed on the website, this company is growing like fire and I need great marketers to join the team.

[00:37:56] Sarah: Actually, we need great people cross function, so check out our career site and come join the team cuz we're building a pretty amazing company. That's a lot of fun to work at. 

[00:38:05] Ian: Fantastic. Thanks again for joining and we'll talk soon.

[00:38:08] Sarah: Sounds great. Thank you so much.