Podcast | Nicholas Kontopoulos from Adobe: How to Develop a Sales Mindset as a Marketer

| | Time to Read: 24 minutes

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Episode topic: How to Develop a Sales Mindset as a Marketer

In this episode, host Shahin Hoda chats with Nicholas Kontopoulos, APAC Regional Head of Growth Marketing at Adobe about how marketers can step into sales teams’ shoes and work towards achieving alignment with them. 

Nicholas advises marketers to be a part of the sales process by joining discovery calls and listening to the conversations SDRs have with prospects. He also emphasises the importance of seeking sales input while creating content and shares some interesting details about Adobe’s brand to revenue framework.  

This episode’s guest

How to Develop a Sales Mindset as a Marketer

Nicholas Kontopoulos, APAC Regional Head of Growth Marketing at Adobe

As the Asia Pacific Regional Head of Marketing, Adobe DX Commercial, Nicholas Kontopoulos harnesses over 25 years of professional experience, built across multiple industries and geographies.   

Previous to this, Nicholas was the Global VP for Fast Growth Markets Marketing at SAP, and had also held a number of highly strategic global and regional Business Development and Marketing roles during his ten years at SAP.  

During the course of his career, Nicholas has passionately pursued business strategies that both harness, and intelligently utilize the power of available technologies, both within the businesses he has worked for and those clients he has served. 

An international speaker, Nicholas has been regularly published on Forbes.com, News Asia, Bloomberg, CampaignAsia.com, Marketing-Interactive.com, THEDRUM.com and Customerthink.com.

Connect with him on LinkedIn

Conversation segments on this episode:

  • [01:45] Sales culture has historically been that of a lone-wolf
  • [03:25] Marketers should see sales as an internal customer
  • [07:56] Buying journey now begins by google search
  • [09:44] Creating an environment where marketers have exposure to sales
  • [11:20] Developing empathy for salespersons
  • [14:11] “What’s your value proposition for the sales team”?
  • [18:13] Marketers should be nimble to meet the sales team’s requirement
  • [18:56] Bring sales into the process for creating content
  • [23:01] About Adobe’s brand to revenue framework
  • [29:33] Be Bold - Advice for B2B marketers 
  • [31:45] Exciting thing about B2B - speed of change.
  •  

Resources mentioned on this episode:

About the Growth Colony Podcast

On this podcast, you'll be hearing from B2B founders, CMOs, marketing & sales leaders about their successes, failures, what is working for them today in the B2B marketing world and everything in between.

Produced by Shahin Hoda & Alexander Hipwell, from xGrowth

Get in touch!

We would love to get your questions, ideas and feedback about Growth Colony, email alexander@growthcolony.org

 


Episode Full Transcript:

[00:36] Shahin Hoda  Hello, everyone. Welcome to another episode. I'm Shahin Hoda with xGrowth. And today, I'm talking to Nicholas Kontopoulos, APAC Regional Head of Marketing at Adobe about how marketers can sharpen their senses when it comes to sales and understanding the sales process, why that's important, and how it can benefit you in the long term. On that note, let's dive in. Nicholas, thanks for joining us.

[1:00] Nicholas Kontopoulos  My pleasure, mate. I'm looking forward to having a great conversation.

[01:03] Shahin Hoda  So very excited, super excited about this. And I think it's a really important topic to discuss that arrangement between sales and marketing. I'm really excited to talk about this with you, considering you've had a sales background. And now you're in a marketing role, and really bring the best of the two worlds together. So, you know, I guess the first thing that I want to ask is, why should marketers care about that? Why should marketers develop an understanding of sales?

[01:35] Nicholas Kontopoulos  I think it's a great question to lead out with and, you know, let's be honest, sales can be a tough audience. As you said, my background sales and, you know, sales historically have been, you know, the culture that's been cultivated has been one of, you know, lone wolf, you know, type mentality, you know. They're out fighting the good fight, you know. They own the relationships historically, if you go right back, they tended to be the main interlock point for a cut between a customer and a brand, you know. So they had a lot of influence and power historically, as well, within an organisation. 

[02:11] Nicholas Kontopoulos  Obviously, it's evolved over years and more so in the last 10 to five, it's got, you know, those dynamics changed significantly. And that was sort of what drew me into the world of marketing as well. I saw that shift in terms of the roles between the two, sort of key functions within an organisation if I'm honest. With my sales and marketing, to me, I think critical functions, I mean, all functions play an important role. But certainly, in terms of the, when it comes to the perception of how a brand is perceived in the market, and ultimately our customers think about it as often as a direct consequence of your sales and marketing efforts. 

[02:48] Nicholas Kontopoulos  So I think it's important for marketers to really understand sales. I think that if there's one thing I do feel that hasn't, you know, has been a problem for a lot of B2B organisations has been the fact that marketing and sales have sort of seen themselves as not necessary, joined at the hip, they've operated independently of one another. And I really do think it's important for marketers to really, you know, look at how they can, you know, engage with sales in a way that drives mutual benefit for both of them. Yeah, I often say you got to see them, you know, first and foremost, as an internal customer.

[03:29] Nicholas Kontopoulos  You know, we as marketers are trained to look at our customers to really understand what makes them tick, you know, to build persona maps, for example. You know, that's a, you know, something that in more recent years became sort of a, an area of focus for a lot of marketers is to build, you know, persona maps and customer journey maps, you know, and I really encourage sellers, sorry, marketers to think in a similar light, and how they build a persona map of their sales organisation.

[03:53] Nicholas Kontopoulos  You know, in the sellers, you know, from a sales leader to a seller to a BDR, inside sales, because each of them will have different sort of, you know, hopes and fears, you know. So we really need to understand those hopes and fears and what drives and what makes them tick, you know, what are they, you know, what are their objectives, you know, what are their needs? And I think if marketers invest time in understanding sales through that sort of approach that will help build, you know, better insights and how they can better partner with them. You know, in the future. So, does that make sense?

[04:29] Shahin Hoda  Yeah, it does. It does. And I love that you said, you know, sales is potentially marketers, customers. I think I read this yesterday that someone was saying, you know, marketers have two customers today, gotta serve, and one is the actual customer. And guess who the second one is sales. And I think it's hard sometimes, you know, I feel like marketers are proud and they're like, you know, what we're doing is important. And then when you talk about, hey, these are your customers you really, in B2B, there's definitely an element that marketing needs to support sales is becoming a little bit of, sometimes it's a hard pill to swallow for marketers I feel. Maybe because they look at it differently. Have you come across that concept that marketers are like, you know, I'm not gonna do that?

[05:15] Nicholas Kontopoulos  Yeah. 100%. And I think sometimes it's also just down to, you know, the fact like I sort of alluded to earlier, there was historical, you know, a culture within sales that they were the, you know, they were, I mean, effectively worshipped him, in some respects. If you look at how, you know, sales organisation, they have their, obviously their, what's it called, once a year, the Winner's Club, you know, they get to go off and celebrate, they basically, you know, held up in, you know, to the whole company, and look at these amazing individuals and what they've achieved. And truly have achieved some really great works, because being a seller is hard.

[05:53] Nicholas Kontopoulos  As you said, I've carried a sales bag, It's one of the loneliest places you can be inside of a company. Yeah, I mean, you've got a lot of pressure. And you know, depending on the company, you work for, you live or die by the quarter, and when the result you're delivering. So that's why I appreciate the role of sales. Obviously, having been out there, I think this is where it can be a bit of a challenge if you haven't been exposed to what's involved in actually being a seller, how dependent you are on the rest of the organisation. Also to deliver on the brand promises you're making. 

[06:21] Nicholas Kontopoulos  So each and everyday sellers out there making promises, you know, we've got an amazing product, is going to transform you, you know. They're very dependent on the rest of the organisation to actually deliver against that. And marketing plays a big role there. However, that said, you know, the way I look at it, as a marketer, you have to be invested in understanding your sales organisation, because at the end of the day, what's our job? Our job is to bring a customer and seller together, to have a conversation that leads to, hopefully, that customer seeing that our company can actually provide a solution to their needs, that is going to help them transform their organisation, it's going to help elevate their own profile in that organisation. 

[07:01] Nicholas Kontopoulos  So it's really important that marketers understand that end of the day, that's what we're trying to do. All of our efforts all come to that moment when we can bring our customers and prospect. Prospect the customer together with a seller for that, hopefully, what will be a meaningful conversation. And that's why the alignment between sales and marketing is so important because the story that's maybe led to that conversation happening, nine times out of 10 now starts with marketing. And this is the big shift, this is the big change that's happening in that sort of 10 year period I referenced earlier. Historically, when I started in sales, I tended to bring the relationship into the business.

[07:37] Nicholas Kontopoulos  I tended to be the one that was that key catalyst for that deal to ultimately become wider. It did become, you know, I still had support, don't get me wrong, but you know, I was bringing those names into the database, as such. However, now we know, that's not the case. Most journeys start with a Google search keyword search. Yeah, most customers will start with a question, you know. Who's the best marketing automation provider out there? You know, or, you know, etc. And that's the big change. I remember having a conversation with one of my sales leaders, and we, you know, most of our careers spent in the technology side has been about selling solutions that solve problems for marketers and sellers. 

[08:18] Nicholas Kontopoulos  Yeah, so I remember having this conversation with one of my sales leaders saying, look, we talk about a journey starting online, yadda, yeah. Have we ever thought about what that means for us internally as our sales and marketing leader? I mean, if we are telling our customers that 60% of the journey begins, when interactions begin before they've even spoken to a seller, what does that mean for us? And I remember that being in sort of a key moment for me and my career and how I started making some changes around how we aligned with sales and sort of build a demand revenue model around that. And I think that's really important. Yeah. So really, understanding sales is quite critical. And how can you do that? Again, it can mean that you don't have to do 20 years. 

[09:01] Shahin Hoda  That's definitely my next question. That's definitely, you know, let's say I'm a marketer, right? And I join our organisation. So where do I start? I want it to feel a little bit intimidating, I'm new, I'm a Junior. There are these and you know, a lot of organisations, sales teams are still put on a pedestal and they're not very approachable. How do I, what do I do? What is the first step that means the market or junior market or starting your organisation or might not be even a junior I'm a manager, starting our organisation, wanting to understand sales a little bit more? What should I do? Where do I start?

[09:39] Nicholas Kontopoulos  Okay, if we come in, I'm just saying we would go with a junior person on a manager. First of all, if I was a manager, I would create an environment where hopefully, there's an opportunity for us to get our marketers embedded with the sale, our junior marketers embedded with their sales teams to go out and do you know, ride shotgun with them, you know. Or be part of calls, discovery calls to be engaged with that sales cycle, you know, early on to sit with the inside sales team and listen to how calls, how they run their call, spend time with a BDR. 

[10:10] Nicholas Kontopoulos  So creating an environment where my marketing team can get exposed to that would definitely be one of the first areas I've started and something I tried to do with my own organisation. It's a little bit different, difficult now, obviously, with the environment mainland, operating in with people having to work remotely, but there's still no reason why someone can't dial in and listen in on a call and be and that's a great way for marketers to also hear directly from a customer, you know. What are those messages that the seller is using, that are connecting that I can then maybe bring back into the business? 

[10:43] Nicholas Kontopoulos  So there is a mutual benefit for sales to see that as well. And that's how you can architect that with the sales organisation leadership team by saying, we'd love to embed ourselves, the marketing team in a rotational way where they're being, you know, a fly on the wall. So we can take those insights back into the business to help improve the content we're delivering you then can then automate and drive the more effective conversation. So you can package it up that way. 

[11:06] Nicholas Kontopoulos  As a junior marketer, obviously, the value there is you get, you're getting richer insights in terms of learning what your customer internal customer requirements are and needed. And also, again, you develop a deeper appreciation, and ultimately, hopefully, empathy for the salesperson in terms of what they're having to do. And seeing, you know, it isn't a walk in the park, you know, you have your good customers, your easy customers, and you have your very difficult customers and seeing that I think will help inform them, and maybe change some perceptions that exist in the organisation. 

[11:38] Nicholas Kontopoulos  But you have to have an open mindset, I think it's a mindset thing as well. So you need to make sure that you're doing that, you know, to architect that requires obviously having, you know, a sales leadership team that's open and responsive, or, you know, willing to do that. And again, I think that's where the manager can lead that effort and help build that, that sort of consensus with the sales team, that this is something that could be beneficial for them. 

[12:02] Nicholas Kontopoulos  But yeah, you need that as a, you need to go in with an open mindset, that you need to put a put aside any sort of preconceived ideas you might have of what the sellers job is like, and again, I think that could actually help accelerate that like because I think sometimes marketers might think they're salespeople, all they do is go out and have lunches and play golf, which is, you know, I think the unfair assessment of what's involved in their day to day job. 

[12:28] Shahin Hoda  Yeah, that's a very good point, one of the things that I found working with either our clients or interacting with marketers and sales. I've also found that sales usually have a lot more, much better understanding much more granular understanding of the customer than marketers do. And, you know, if we try to put a campaign together, if I just speak to marketing, I end up with a bland campaign. And I have to get that kind of crispy, granular insights from sales. What is your experience with that? And, you know, marketers getting that information from sales?

[13:13] Nicholas Kontopoulos  Couldn't agree more. You know, again, as we sort of touched on sales does have that proximity to the customer that we don't have as marketers. I mean, marketing, I mean, if you want to think about it, we sell at 40,000 feet. Whereas, because we're all in sales, this is the other thing that's really important, actually, what I mentioned earlier, you know, I remember reading an article once, where a CEO used to walk around asking everyone in the business what their value proposition to sales is. 

[13:45] Nicholas Kontopoulos  Yeah. Everyone, he asked everyone, like not just marketing. He asked finance and procurement. I love it. I love that. Because, at the end of the day, we're all in sales. We all play a role in a deal getting closed. Yeah. So we need to understand that. And I think that's a great area to start with, in terms of thinking about what is the value proposition you have? How do you support sales? And what is the value you're bringing to the table? Can you go just touchback on your question again, because I've just lost my throw.

[14:23] Shahin Hoda  I want to talk about that. That sounds interesting. So the CEO went around asking what your value proposition is to the sales team? 

[14:31] Nicholas Kontopoulos  Yes, find that 

[14:32] Shahin Hoda  Not what's the value proposition of our company? What's your value proposition to the sales team?

[14:38] Nicholas Kontopoulos  Yeah. Because at the end of the day the sales organisation and you could expand this then do include customer like customer success teams as well. So you know, once you onboard a customer though, because they play a role in the arguably you could say it's, it's still a sales role because they're still working with a customer upselling, cross-selling in a lot of cases they carry numbers in that respect. So, if you think about that, you know, it's bringing new customers in, and then, you know, obviously keeping those customers and upselling, cross-selling into them. The rest of the organisation needs to look at how it is supporting us.

[15:12] Nicholas Kontopoulos  You know, I'll give you a simple example. I remember having an argument with the procurement team, yeah, over onboarding an agency that was going to play quite a critical role for me in delivering on a core element of my go-to-market. And I remember we were getting this tussle, they were saying, we have a three-month process that we need to work through whatever was. Can't remember the specifics, but I remember asking the individual what their value proposition to sales was, taking this idea and putting it into flight. 

[15:40] Nicholas Kontopoulos  And it was really interesting because the individual I was dealing with, was astonished. She didn't know the answer to the question. And I said, Listen, let me help you here. Your value proposition is helping me engage with the parties I need to engage with to create the pipeline that ultimately will convert into leads that will lead, create leads that will create, convert into a pipeline that will help them help ourselves get to their revenue targets. 

[16:06] Nicholas Kontopoulos  And it's a great example of how all the different roles still play. I mean, she has an impact. In this case, has an impact on revenue. If, what if, by not helping me get to where I need to get to. So I think when you approach things like that and think of it that might, in that, you know, through that lens, it actually helps you build a unified approach around how you organise yourselves and ultimately serving the sales customer. So the customers as well as our sellers' needs. Yeah, so 

[16:36] Shahin Hoda  Right. 

[16:37] Nicholas Kontopoulos  Yeah, it was really great. 

[16:38] Shahin Hoda   Nicholas, Nicholas was that the last time they use that?

[16:43] Nicholas Kontopoulos  I've got another one. 

[16:46] Shahin Hoda  Every single time somebody says no to sales, you just turn around be like, sorry, what is your value prop to sales? Can you just remind me of that again and then define it for them. 

[16:55] Nicholas Kontopoulos  This is it? Well, the other thing I have, you know, is a bit of a joke is the SPU. Are you part of the SPU? And people look at what's that and say sales prevention unit, you know. So that's the other area that yeah, and again, it's a serious matter. Again, I don't want to diminish the role of the supporting functions, because they play a critical role. And again, they play critical roles in ensuring the business doesn't wander into the territory, it shouldn't wander into by. You know, forging a partnership with a partner that maybe is insolvent, you know, so there's, there's legitimacy around sort of what they're trying to do. But what happens is companies get bigger, they can become quite, you can get rigidity, you know, they become rigid, you know, in terms of, and there's a sort of status quo type mentality, it starts creeping into the business. 

[17:45] Nicholas Kontopoulos  And that's a massive red flag for any company. And once you start hearing all this is the way we've always done things that should be an immediate flag for anyone to start thinking, well, maybe, you know, maybe it isn't, it's time to rethink that. So yeah, that gets back to because those if you look at a lot of the frustrations that sales organisations often have, it is that sort of lack of, you know, support that they will often say that they're getting in terms of helping them get across the line, you know, so from a marketers perspective, that's where I tried to ensure that the way we operate, doesn't become rigid. It enables us to have that flexibility and to be nimble enough to make those adjustments that are needed. Yeah.

[18:25] Shahin Hoda  Got it. The other question that I was asking was about, from my own experience, I find that you know, in a lot of situations when I'm designing a campaign, a lot of the wood for the fire of the campaign comes from sales. The insights that they want to create. 

[18:43] Nicholas Kontopoulos  That's right. I remember you asking that. 

[18:45] Shahin Hoda  So what is your experience with that?

[18:47] Nicholas Kontopoulos  Yeah, again, it's a great question. And I definitely want to answer that. So I'm glad you brought us back to that one. 100%, bring them in, you should bring sales into the process of creating content. Yeah. If you're going to create content campaigns, having them involved in the process serves so many purposes. Yeah. First of all, it helps ensure that you are focusing on the right potential problems. Yeah. And ultimately proposing the right solutions to those problems. Yeah. As we've already touched on, they have that proximity to the customer. Yeah. And they're having those conversations. So obviously, talking to customers, and sellers is quite a critical component in building out any sort of campaign. 

[19:27] Nicholas Kontopoulos  It's something that we're trying to bring into our mix is not just the sales but also having customers you know, content councils. Yeah, where you actually have a customer, sellers and even the channel, you know, partners involved in that process, you know. What are the products because that's the other one, you know, channel partners are also an important part of the mix? Yeah, they are also having a lot of regular contact with customers. And we work very closely with our partners as well, in terms of creating content. So bringing those individuals in, gives you that richness of insight. 

[19:59] Nicholas Kontopoulos  Also, the other cool thing is, it helps you achieve your goal because if you're creating content that bought into you then creating a unit, you're creating a red thread that then can run through the whole campaign from, you know, from creating the brand awareness, you know, side of things right through to hopefully seeing that convert into revenue, because the seller is using the same language, there's the messaging that you all have aligned around on. And more importantly, the customer has had a consistent experience across that. That to me is really, that's where a lot of marketing falls away when you don't have that interlock with the sales organisation.

[20:34] Nicholas Kontopoulos  You can go create a beautiful campaign that gets engagement. But if the seller is using a completely different storyline, once the lead gets passed over to them, the customer gets a disjointed experience and says, okay, that wasn't what I was originally, you know, buying into, or you don't, you campaign falls over at the start, because it's not getting engagement, because the story you're telling, or the problem you think you're trying to solve for isn't a problem for the customer and actual fact, and you missed that because you haven't spoken to your sales or channel or the customer themselves. 

[21:05] Nicholas Kontopoulos  So yeah, I think bringing them into the mix is quite a crucial component. And, and more so in that, that if you get them in, and then they're invested in it. And then you're both building a campaign, or content that you've, you know, got skin in the game. Yeah. So if no one can complain, say, hey, well, you know, we built this with you. And I find that you don't get a lot of complaints back from the sellers, then you know that because I know that if it didn't work that they were both invested in making that bit of content come to life. And for whatever reason, if it didn't work, we can go back to the drawing board and look at okay, how do we, how do we learn from that?

[21:42] Shahin Hoda  Yeah, and I feel like sales put an extra effort in those situations too. You know, whether they're using that content in our app in their outreach sequence, or whether you know, the way they're talking to customers, and they bring this content, they push it a lot harder versus here's the content piece for you sales Team and enjoy.

[22:06] Nicholas Kontopoulos  100%. And I'm really lucky that we've got some really great sales leaders as well as sellers in the mix insertion earnings when we talk about sales, you got obviously the seller him or herself that's out, you know, owning the response to bringing customers in or creating those conversations in conjunction with us. But then you got the solution sales organisation, they're really like in technology, and particularly, you have a solution, you have a big, you know, solution, sales organizations pay quite a critical role. And they have a lot of knowledge, those individuals tend to have a lot of, you know, industry and process knowledge around how a company operates and how they, you know, how our solutions help solve that. So we tend to work quite closely also with solution sales teams as well.

[22:47] Shahin Hoda  Got it. Got it. That makes sense. Now, one of the things that I wanted to do in this is a conversation we previously had, and I'd like to maybe dig a little bit deeper into this. You have a concept at Adobe called brand to revenue framework. And I'd love to hear a little bit more about that. And I'm pretty sure a lot of people will be interested as well, of what's the, you know, what's the ethos behind that? Why did it get created? And what's it for?

[23:14] Nicholas Kontopoulos  Alright, so if you think about any business, any business, all businesses, or unified around the need to create profit, yeah, and they, you need to be building and growing. Yeah, they need to grow and be profitable in that growth. Yeah, so revenues, quite a key anchor point that I think it's critical for all marketers to be focused on when it comes to sales, yeah? Because, at the end of the day, they're measured, and they live and die by the revenue number that they own. And ultimately, I believe marketers should use the revenue and pipeline numbers as their two core KPIs. And they do not just pay lip service to it. I mean, a lot of marketers will say, yeah, I'm revenue-focused, etc. 

[23:58] Nicholas Kontopoulos  But, I mean, really, and get against that, you know, in terms of, you know, you've, specifically on the pipeline numbers of the first category and secondary, the revenue and why put it in that order is because we create the pipeline, then obviously, the sale, it takes ownership of that, and up to them to then bring it home. Now, we still support them through that process. But there is a, they take the lead once it goes from a pipe, you know, once it becomes a pipe, they take the lead and then convert it and we support it. So I see the priority for me and my team is building the pipe, and then ultimately, but I still want to see that pipe convert. 

[24:35] Nicholas Kontopoulos  So we stayed invested all the way through. So the revenue elements are quite important to that, you know, brand new revenue model. So we use that to go from brand and we go from revenue, we reverse engineer back from there. Okay, what are we in order to get to that revenue number? What do we need to do? So you use a reverse waterfall model, you start building out your pipeline point of view in terms of what you need to get in terms of pipeline, in order to get to that revenue number and then you need to start about, okay, how do I build the pipeline that's needed to, you know, to help us get to revenue, I then start to think about the campaigns and ultimately, you know, that then leads you to then start thinking about, okay, I need to create brand awareness and all the good stuff that happens in between that. 

[25:15] Nicholas Kontopoulos  So having a clear framework and model that thinks about everything from revenue and reverse engineering self back to then creating, you know, brand awareness is really critical. And then understanding the key in the lock points there. So when you think about it, there's a lot of different stakeholders involved in that, yeah, you got everyone from comms teams, to sales teams to inside-outside sales channel, you know, BDR, teams, etc. And then the partnerships, the ecosystem, there's a whole ecosystem that builds around that, that you need to think about in stores outsource, you know. So you've got, you know, third party agencies you're working with that are supporting that. So really developing a clear understanding of that ecosystem. And all of the key interlock points that occur from brand to revenue are really important. 

[26:02] Nicholas Kontopoulos  So we've got a model that enables us to look at, you know, you know, that entire flow, and look at the ecosystem that supports that. Now, we haven't perfected this by any stretch of the imagination. And it is a journey, not a destination type of approach that is constantly evolving, it's constantly adapting, because, again, the landscape of operating costs, as we've seen in recent times, is constantly evolving and changing on us. So, but having that sort of framework. And that model that has, you know, the flexibility built into it that is agile enough to adapt, because it has to have the agility in there that can adapt to sort of changing needs of the business is really important. 

[26:46] Nicholas Kontopoulos  So for us, yeah, we built this brand new revenue framework or model, it's an engine. As such, I would say it's, think of it as an engine, you've got core components in the engine, you know, we've got the on the front end, which so like I said, once we've built out an understanding of what our revenue targets are, pipeline targets are, etc., we then start Okay, what are the messages? What are the audience segments we want to go after? What are the campaigns that we then need to think about building and programs campaigns and tactics and, and how they map against this engine is really important?

[27:19] Nicholas Kontopoulos  And then you and then we work, basically looking at how our campaigns perform on a weekly, monthly, quarterly basis and make and use the insights coming out from the data to inform those decisions of where we need to make any adjustments. But the key there just to close out that rather long answer to your question is for that to work, there needs to be robust discourse taking place across all of the stakeholders involved in that. Yeah, because there's no one individual who owns that, I guess, you could say the MD owns the responsibility. And he or she's responsibility is to make sure everyone plays nicely with one another in terms of that happening. But if everyone's invested in that type of my framework, and understands their role, I find it really beneficial. You know, it is a journey. It's not something you can just do in one quarter. I mean, I've been building the one I'm on now for a couple of years. So yeah.

[28:14] Shahin Hoda  Got it. Got it. No, I appreciate that. I think it's very fascinating to hear, you know, how you approach it and how you put these frameworks in place. So I appreciate that. Okay. I have a couple of rapid questions that I want to ask you. Right before we wrap up. So the first question I want to ask you is what is one resource, it could be a book, blog, podcast, talk, whatever it is, that fundamentally has changed where you work and live or live?

[28:40] Nicholas Kontopoulos  Well, aside from your podcasts, of course, I would say I'm going to go, Joe Rogan, actually a poker podcast. I've been a big fan of his for many years. I've listened to him, it's at least four years now. Four or five years. And I love the range. The first thing is he gets, you know. So he has, you know, economists, politicians, entertainers, comedians, business leaders, you know. Elon Musk was on there a long back, you know.

[29:07] Shahin Hoda  Elon Musk smoking weed. 

[29:09] Nicholas Kontopoulos  Yeah. And it really is, I find it really interesting. And that diversity of thinking that comes across that podcast is amazing. And, you know, I have to get my brain juices fired up. So, yeah, he'd be the one that I'd say I find really interesting. An individual that, you know, challenges a lot of big topics that are being wrestled out there now.

[29:30] Shahin Hoda  All right, sounds good. Question number two. If you could give only one advice to B2B marketers, what would it be?

[29:36] Nicholas Kontopoulos  One advice, be bold, you know. Be bold, you know. Step out, you know, be willing to step out on a tightrope without a safety net, you know. I think if you want to, if you want to make, you know, put a dent in the universe, as Steve Jobs said, You've got to be willing to, to be bold and take a step out on a tightrope without that safety net. I think that's one of the biggest fear factors, I think. A lot of people faces being able to put themselves out there. And I think you got to be willing to do that, you know. 

[30:05] Nicholas Kontopoulos  And to do that means, you know, surrounding yourself as a leader with, you know, smart people. People that might be smarter than you and being comfortable with that, you know, understanding what you don't know. And then building teams around you that help fill in the gaps of where you might have knowledge gaps or capability gaps. And then yeah, and also encourage that sort of mindset and also enable them to, you know, I don't know who said, you know, fail fast, you know, fail, you know, fail often fail fast, fail forward. Someone said, once I really like that, you know, so having that mindset, I think it's really important. So yeah, be bold.

[30:41] Shahin Hoda  Yeah, question number three. 

[30:43] Nicholas Kontopoulos  Yeah. 

[30:43] Shahin Hoda  And what are the influencers that you follow in the marketing space? And you can't say, Joe Rogan.

[30:49] Nicholas Kontopoulos  No, that's easy. Martin Lindstrom is a big one. He really influenced me early on, he wrote a great book called Brandwashed. He's written loads of great books. So I'd read every one of his books. David Rowan, another guy, he's a great, a Wired editor. He wrote a great book on Non-Bullshit Innovation. I highly recommend that as a read. Gary Hamel, you know, he wrote the first book of his I read was Leading The Revolution, I think it's called, and he's a management thinker. So fantastic thinker. Brené Brown, she's great as well. Dare To Lead, I think, is her book. The last one, Nancy Duarte, she's also fantastic. I really into presentations, I love presenting. And she's got a great set of books on how to create, you know, impactful stories and presentations. So there's a few. 

[31:38] Shahin Hoda  That's awesome. That's plenty. I love it. I got to put that put those in the show notes. So all right, the last question. Question number four is what is something that excites you today about B2B? 

[31:48] Nicholas Kontopoulos  Oh, I just the speed of change. You know, the speed of change is is it's when, again, Gary Hamel I think so this, you know, change is changing in itself. And that that excites me. I think in terms of the pace of change, you know, each day you wake up? I think we were saying this earlier before we started, you know, it is never a dull day. Yeah, it's always something happening. And I think the B2B world, in particular, is changing. You know, we're seeing the consumerization of technology, we're seeing the consumer. 

[32:21] Nicholas Kontopoulos  So the expectations that we have as consumers, porting their way over into the B2B world, you know, as a B2B buyer, now, I want that Apple experience, I want that, you know, the same experience that I get in Burberry, you know, wherever it is I go to, that provides a sort of a high touch sort of, you know, experiential type experience. You know, I want that in the B2B space now. So this is the challenge for us, as B2B marketers, how do we step up to that challenge? And that's quite exciting. I think 

[32:49] Shahin Hoda  It is very much as I love that, Nicholas, this has been an amazing conversation. I really enjoyed it. I mean, there's just a thing. There's a lot of interesting points that you raised and recovered. So So thanks so much for joining us.

[33:03] Nicholas Kontopoulos  My pleasure, medium, I look forward to hopefully getting to catch up with you in person at some point when I'm down in Australia next.

[33:09] Shahin Hoda  Absolutely. No doubt about it. Looking forward to it. Thanks a lot, Nicholas. He's many. All right.


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