Mitch Speers Podcast Transcript

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Headshot of Chief Revenue Officer Mitch Speers

Mitch Speers Podcast Transcript

Mitch Speers joins host Brian Thomas on The Digital Executive Podcast.

Welcome to Coruzant Technologies, home of the Digital Executive podcast.

Brian Thomas: Welcome to the Digital Executive. Today’s guest is Mitch Spears. Mitch Spears serves as Co-Founder and Chief Revenue Officer at BuyerForesight. In this role, he brings over 25 years of global experience in sales and marketing with a focus on technology, media, and e commerce sectors.

His past professional experiences include roles as President of Digital Media at Integrated Media Solutions, Chief Operating Officer at Vital Business Media, and Executive Director of Digital Product Management at Penton. Based in Duluth, Minnesota Spears operates within the information services industry.

Well, good afternoon, Mitch. Welcome to the show!

Mitch Speers: Thanks very much.

Thank you, Mitch, for jumping on. I appreciate you making the time, getting to talk to chief revenue officer at. Buyer foresight today. So, we’re going to jump right into the questions. You’ve got quite the career in marketing in product management.

You were a senior executive and now you’re the chief revenue officer at buyer foresight. Could you share with our audience the secret to your career growth and what inspires you?

Mitch Speers: Absolutely. So, there’s no great secret or magic wand to wave over your career to, to get to success. And I would say that success is also one of those.

Be careful what you wish for situations. It’s a lot of fun to be in a senior management role. It’s also a lot of stress. So, as you get more opportunities and more interesting things come your way. Yeah. The stress and responsibility come right along with them. So, there’s a reason why it sometimes takes a lot of years to get there and why some people opt not to want to keep rising because you know, it’s a tradeoff.

But I, in terms of what is, you know, recommendations that I would have to career growth it’s. Be accountable, take responsibility. Those are qualities that are always appreciated and will mark you out from the majority of your peers. If you are conspicuously accountable for your actions, for your targets, um, for anything where management is hoping that you will get things done to actually be accountable for that, whether it’s good or bad that’s huge.

Be curious. Look for you know, look to, to find out the underlying reasons for things. And again, that will, in my experience, being curious. And figuring out the root causes of things will always mark you out from peers who don’t bother to make that effort. And, you know, being curious is also something that you can cultivate, but at some level, if it’s really painful for you to be curious in your chosen field of endeavor, that may be a signal that you’re in the wrong field.

Because it’s hard to fake curiosity for over a long period of time, but it is a muscle. You can train. And you know, I would say, take related to that. Take the initiative to be best informed person in your group. Make that extra effort to dig in and understand the industries you’re working in, the companies who are you’re focusing on understand them at a level where you can surprise and make a client, for example, feel a little uncomfortable because you know more about their business than they do.

It’s a great way to again, stand out from your peers and be effective not only inside your organization, but with clients and prospects. The final thing I would say is ignore office politics, and if you can’t ignore them, work somewhere else because politics are such a big issue in your organization.

And you don’t feel comfortable navigating that, then you probably need to find another environment. That’s been my experience. Some people are natural at navigating those political waters. And if you can God bless just make sure you’re enjoying it while you’re navigating it.

Brian Thomas: Awesome. Thank you. Appreciate you lining out some of those things that have made you successful in your career and Mitch, your philosophy to understand buyers and talk to prospects is interesting. Why do prospects have a different perspective than the traditional assumptions about positioning, messaging, and targeting say about the buyers?

Mitch Speers: So, thank you for that question. And the point here is that many marketers look to their existing customers as the model for their buyer personas, but unless you’ve got 80 percent plus market share, your own customers, aren’t going to show you how to connect with companies who should be doing business with you, but aren’t so, and then we see this a lot, right?

It’s. It’s easy to use your own customer base as the model for all future customers. But customers won’t tell you your baby’s ugly because they are professionally invested in having chosen you or retained you as a vendor. The only people who we find get give, will give you the unvarnished truth, at least as they see it, is people who should be your customers, but aren’t.

And those are prospects. So, prospects have all of the criteria of your buyer persona in terms of, you know, the size and type of company in the industry and the level and the role and all of that. But they’re buying from your competitor, or they don’t have they’re not buying any solution at all.

If you can understand what motivates them. Chances are you’re going to get insights that your own customers will hesitate to give you or don’t care about because they don’t have that problem. But you know, if as in most cases, you have a minority share of the addressable market there are great learnings to be had from prospects who aren’t afraid to tell you that.

You know, your solution has big gaps in it and what those are.

Brian Thomas: Thank you. I appreciate the insight perspective. They’re coming from you, Mitch. It’s important to understand about learning what truly. Your broad audience is not just your customers that are loyal to you or like you said, professionally invested.

So, thank you and Mitch, you have redefined ABM or account based marketing to audience based marketing. Could you elaborate on this for us?

Mitch Speers: Sure. So, account based marketing is something that companies have been pursuing as this ideal for engaging their strategic targets for decades. You know, 15, 20 years, at least, and there are still a lot of companies who are investing money and resources in a B.M. programs, account based marketing programs. Because. In theory, it makes sense, right? Really understand your strategic accounts and build campaigns around that nuanced understanding of each of each account and don’t send out generic one size fits all messaging to all of your accounts. It all makes sense, but it’s really hard to do.

And it doesn’t scale. And. And because it’s really hard to do, it often doesn’t get done. And if and often the path that companies take to trying to realize the promise of account-based marketing is to invest in tools, automation tools that promise to deliver. Through some AI black box magic and ABM program that gets results.

But of course, these are workflow automation program platforms that still require a human being to apply judgment and make decisions. And so, they end up not really. Hitting the mark in terms of the ideal of account-based marketing. So, our idea here, and it’s not unique to us. There, there are plenty of companies doing this.

All of them. They may not be calling it precisely this, but this idea of audience-based marketing is rooted in the notion that. You know, advertising as we’ve understood it, you know, from decades ago doesn’t work for B to B sellers by putting an ad in a magazine or a display ad online or a search ad on Google or being or wherever, um, will help in the margins, you know, may get you something here and there, but in terms of what’s going to actually drive your business, they don’t work.

What works is. Engagement and having a relationship in a conversation with prospects and, you know, but prospects are overwhelmed with marketing messages that they’re and new tools and AI tools have only will only make this worse. So there has to be a fair exchange of value between yourself and your prospective customer.

And usually that exchange of value is in exchange for useful, actionable information and insights that I can give you. Please engage with me by telling me who you are and talking to me and to others in the community. So, when we talk about audience-based marketing, we’re really talking about how can we build an audience?

Of people who look like my buyers, right? Match my ICP where we can give them useful content and experiences. With no expectation of a sale, right? It’s not a pitching environment. It’s a hey, we’re going to build a safe space for people who are in your role. We’re going to offer lots of assets and resources and experiences and in exchange.

We want you to participate. We want you to talk. We want you to ask questions. We want you to come to our events, all of these things. And in the process of getting to know each other and your peers Some of you, some of you prospects who become part of our audience will naturally say, Oh, hey, can you help us with this?

And maybe that turns into a yes and a sales conversation. But if it takes six months or a year or 18 months to get to that point, that’s fine. If it never happens, that’s fine. Because if you’ve engaged and participated as a member of our audience, you’ve contributed value and knowledge. And and experience to the rest of the group.

And some of those eventually we’re going to become get into sales conversations with. And all of this comes back to the notion that most companies. Do not have a majority share of their market, most companies as they’re going out to market and looking at building their sales pipeline, they’re coming up against the hard fact that only 10 percent of the or so of their addressable market is actively in market today and salespeople trying to make quotas marketers trying to meet their market.

Their goals are going to focus primarily on in market buyers, people who are, you know, about ready to negotiate with a vendor. But what about the 90 percent remaining who could be your customers, but just aren’t in the market today? We think that’s a largely ignored and overlooked opportunity. And the goal of audience-based marketing is to invite those people in as well, even though they’re not ready to buy and they told you they’re not ready to buy, they will be ready to buy in 18 months.

So why not cultivate a relationship with them today, make that strategic longer time horizon investment today. And the result is going to be a much more valuable sales pipeline over the long haul. And you’ll get all kinds of insights and benefits to improve the positioning of your own product by engaging with those people on a regular basis.

In addition to the prospects who are in the market and even your own customers, all of them are. Potentially valuable additions to your audience, which make this community of prospects and ongoing value to your organization and to the people who participate in it.

Brian Thomas: Thank you. I appreciate you unpacking that you.

Talked a little bit about the differences of account-based marketing versus audience based marketing and building that building and fostering that space of trust. So, potential future customers will be ready when the time is right. So I appreciate that. And then last question of the day, Mitch, if you could briefly share what advice you’d give to young professionals who are also getting their start in sales or marketing.

Mitch Speers: You know, the change agent we’re seeing out there right now. Is AI it’s especially generative AI. And we are in the infant stages of that and seeing its impact on every industry. And the advice I would give to young professionals starting out, whether it’s in sales marketing or any other field, but certainly those fields is.

Don’t be lazy, basically. And being lazy is you know, takes a lot of forms, but in, in the, in these burgeoning times of generative AI and the ability to, you know, craft a quick and precise prompt in chat GPT and get a sales letter spat out the other end. It’s easy. To give into the temptation to be lazy.

And the problem is that everybody else has access to those same tools. And what we’re already seeing is that there’s this wave of mediocrity. Out there, and anyone who makes that additional effort to distinguish themselves by not taking the easy way out but applying their curiosity and the resulting knowledge to a situation, they’re the ones who are going to succeed.

They’re the ones who are going to stand out, and they’re the ones who are going to progress more rapidly in organizations. That are looking for competitive advantage themselves.

Brian Thomas: Thank you. I appreciate that. And a lot of people coming out of college or really out of any trade school do need some mentors.

And we talk a lot about mentorship here on the podcast. And again, you shared some great nuggets around that’ll help others succeed in their career. So, I really appreciate that. And Mitch, it was such a pleasure having you on today and I look forward to speaking with you real soon.

Mitch Speers: Great. Thank you so much.

Likewise, enjoyed having the conversation and look forward to any questions that come out of this.

Brian Thomas: Bye for now.

Mitch Speers Podcast Transcript. Listen to the audio on the guest’s podcast page.

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