Apr 13, 2022
🌉 MJ Peters: CoLab Software, VP of Marketing
Play • 13 min

Meet MJ Peters, VP of Marketing of CoLab Software. Understand your customer's job. Figuring out where to start. The marketing discovery call. Establishing credibility in a new role. Time management. Habit stacking. LinkedIn and Twitter organic as a recruiting tactic. Prioritize the segments of the market that are going to be easy to convert to revenue.

18 insights. 6 rapid-fire questions. Read the transcript.

Here’s what Carl Ferreira said about MJ:

MJ Peters. Gosh what to say? MJ was my boss here at Refine Labs and she is a VP of Marketing now at another awesome tech startup. MJ is one of these marketers that will be a CRO or CEO one day. She closed millions of dollars in business at Refine Labs and is probably one of the most sought-after marketers in B2B SaaS today. Think about how dynamic of a person you have to be to be a world-class marketer and be able to close half a million dollar deals and just knock them down. Just a genius. She really is just brilliant and you definitely got to have her on the podcast. —Carl Ferreira, Director of Sales at Refine Labs → Listen

What are 3 ways that your team converts your market into revenue?

So I am pretty new in my new role. This is the beginning of week 4 for me. So the answer I'm going to give is how I think about converting market into revenue and pretty soon we'll be doing all these things. Some of them are in progress already. In order to convert your market into revenue, which I love that as a concept by the way, you need to:

  1. Prioritize the segments of the market that are going to be easy to convert to revenue. So, figure out where you're going to focus. Almost every time I've started a new marketing role, there is an opportunity to narrow the focus from what the company is currently focused on so that you can do every other step of the process that much better, in that much more of a personalized way, for that segment.
  2. Understand your customer's job. Once you've figured out where you're going to focus, you need to understand your customer's job. You need to understand the key outcomes that they are trying to produce, and you need to understand pain points that they experience when trying to do that, or sources of frustration. I love to ask the question, “What is less than ideal about how you do that today?” That allows you to create and validate the messaging for each of those segments.
  3. And then finally, you're going to distribute. I think of distribution as both an inbound and outbound motion. So, here at CoLab, we are doing a lot of work to really align what our SDRs are doing, what they're saying, with what we're doing from a marketing perspective, to make sure that the customer gets the same experience, whether the touch point is inbound or whether it's outbound.

What are 3 hard problems that you recently overcame?

  1. Establishing credibility in a new role. So week 4, number 1 is definitely establishing credibility in a new role. Something that I've found that worked for this, this is just reflection, this was not my game plan going in, but I got one people win, one operational win and one strategy win in my first four weeks. People win being building trust with the people that are on my team by showing them that I care about their career progression and helping them. So quick people win. A quick operational win was helping the team implement a new meeting structure that’s worked really well at a previous company. So bringing in experiences from past companies. Great way to earn trust as an exec. And then a strategy win. So going out and pulling customer insights into the organization that weren't there before and they're starting to inform the strategy.
  2. Figuring out where to start. There's so many things that you could do as a marketing leader in a new role. It really helped me that our CEO is super clear on the role of marketing in the organization. It's about making sure that we speak the language of our customers, that we understand their pain points. We are eventually going to be creating a category, so that's going to be a big focus of marketing, and then of course putting points on the board from a demand gen perspective.
  3. Getting buy-in for the first couple of levers I want to pull. So, when you enter a new organization, how do people make purchasing decisions here? How do we decide that we're going to take one step forward in this direction, instead of that direction? Who do I need to talk to? Who wields power and authority here? Figuring all of that stuff out. It's coming along.

What are 3 roadblocks that you are working on now?

So, two of them have to do with our target market.

  1. A target market that is historically fairly slow to adopt new technology. So CoLab markets to industrial equipment companies, for the most part, and it's a target market that is historically fairly slow to adopt new technology. We're obviously a technology company, and we have to figure out how to compel people that, “Hey, this is something you need to do today.” And, digital transformation is not just something people like to talk about, but we need to start executing on these things, so we need to have a really compelling message to get people to adopt our tech.
  2. Same thing, target market. Sometimes we sell into an operations persona, and in manufacturing, I don't know if you've been on the ground with a lot of ops people from manufacturing, but they're tough, right? They're like, “I don't need any help. I'm going to do what I gotta do. I'm going to get it done.” So it's a persona that doesn't often want to reach out and ask for help. So again, we’ve got to meet people where they are and understand that that's part of the mindset.
  3. Coming back to category creation. I don't think that's easy to do. So, I don't know if it's a roadblock or just something that I'm anticipating being very challenging, but it's going to be really fun. I'm excited about that one.

What are 3 mental models that you use to do your best work?

I love this question. I have all kinds of mental models.

  1. Time management. How I think about time management. It’s funny, because I think there’s a lot of experts in time management that talk about all these things, and because I apparently don't read enough literature on that, I pieced this together over many years and then later realized that I could have just read a book and got the whole system. But, number one is, “How do I sort things that are coming my way to make sure that I make the decisions I need to make, that I take the actions I need to take?” So I sort it into 3 buckets:
  2. Do it now. if I'm going to do it, and it takes less than 5 minutes, do it now.
  3. Delegate, or say no. I try to do that right away, as well, because typically delegating or saying no takes less than 5 minutes.
  4. If I need to do it, but it's going to take more than 5 minutes, then I will time-block it. I've been time-blocking for a really long time now. I used to do it with sticky notes, then I did it with just my calendar, and now I use this awesome app called Motion, so that I don't forget things because things are flying at me all the time.

So, that's how I think about time management.

  1. Habit stacking. I just started reading Atomic Habits. Well, I'm probably about halfway through the book now, and one thing that I do already, that is referenced in the book, and that I might now do more intentionally, is called habit stacking. So if you want to create a new habit, then what you do is you stack it with a habit that you already have. My example from my personal life is that I'm pretty good at hydration, like I want to remember to drink water throughout the day, and I realized having read this book that I already have the habit stack. Each morning, when I drink my coffee, I drink ice coffee, so I use kind of like a pint class, and before I fill it out with coffee, I fill it up with water and I finish the water first. So, I've created a habit stack. I’ve just come across this concept, so I'm going to try and do that more intentionally with other good habits I want to form.
  2. Don't connect the bridge. I participate in this peer networking group that's called Upteaming. I participate once a quarter, I would say. It’s with other marketing leaders to discuss our challenges. One of the mental models that I learned through Upteaming is this concept called “don't connect the bridge.” It’s a great way for leaders, and probably just people mentoring others, to share inspiration and help others get through roadblocks in a different way than we've been taught. Basically, how it works is, we often jump straight into wanting to give someone advice, so we'll share our experience and we'll give advice. Don't connect the bridge instructs you to share your experience, but do not give the advice. Stop short of giving advice. Let the person who is seeking to benefit from your experience process your experience, in the context of the current problem they are trying to solve, and let them connect the bridge for themselves. I think it's super interesting. It's been super fun trying that out with the Upteaming groups.

What are 3 techniques that GTM teams need to try?

  1. The marketing discovery call. I posted about this yesterday, the marketing discovery call. So, we all know the sales discovery call. We ask customers questions so we can effectively position our solutions in the sales process. The marketing discovery call is a lot broader than that. The purpose of the call is seeking to learn, or seeking to understand, as opposed to seeking to position something. So, you basically are just gathering information about your customer so you can ask them about what a typical day in the life looks like. Or you can ask that question I referenced earlier in this conversation, “What's less than ideal for you?” And you can use that in all sorts of ways, whether it's bettering your product roadmap, improving your messaging, figuring out what segments to focus on, coming back to question number one. So I'm a big fan of the marketing discovery call.
  2. LinkedIn and Twitter organic as a recruiting tactic. When I started posting on LinkedIn, every day at the time, now I probably post three times a week, I had no idea that it was going to be like a superpower for my recruiting. I was just kind of doing it for myself and to learn. Now, I realize that I can get all-star candidates to apply to jobs because I have a personal brand. I think that's something that go-to-market leaders should consider when they're deciding whether or not to invest their time there. I don't personally have a huge Twitter following, but I think you could do this on Twitter as easily as you can do it on LinkedIn.
  3. PR as a content channel. This might not be applicable to everyone, but I've had a lot of success utilizing PR as a content channel. So I think a lot of people think of PR as a place where you blast out announcements about your company. Years ago I worked with a specialist PR agency that focused on only one segment of the market and they were able to add value, not only getting distribution for our content, but what kind of content is going to work well in this channel? So through working with them, I really realized that PR is a content channel, and it's another way that you can get quality content in front of customers, besides paid social, besides organic social, besides email, and actually, at the time it helped us reach a lot of customers that we were not reaching in those other places.

Who are 3 operators that should be our next guests and why?

Three people that I think you should talk to:

  1. Graham Immerman. He is VP of Marketing at MachineMetrics. They do all kinds of really cool stuff in their marketing with data because their product generates a ton of data. I think he'd have some cool mental models, and he just has a very interesting philosophy on marketing as a whole. He's a cool person to talk to.
  2. Ryan Paul Gibson. He owns a company called Content Lift and he helps companies interview their customers. So he is an expert on that marketing discovery call and he’s worked with lots of companies on their go-to-market strategy. Bet you he has some super interesting techniques that other GTM leaders should apply.
  3. Grant Duncan. Formerly of Voximplant about to start a new role. Don't know if I can tell you where that's going to be, but a super interesting guy. Super interesting marketing leader. Probably has a lot on his mind since he's making a new career transition.

Work with MJ → CoLab Software is hiring!

🎧 Listen to more episodes →  

More episodes
Clear search
Close search
Google apps
Main menu