Meet Sidney Waterfall, VP of Demand at Refine Labs. A go-to-market measurement system. Standardizing key metrics for success. Creating demand through content from subject-matter experts. Dark social. Removing friction for buyers. Route high intent leads directly to subject-matter experts or your best people. Funnel analysis. Habits and structure. GSD Time. Asking, “How does this work?”
22 Insights · 7 Questions. Show transcript.
Sidney Waterfall. She's another VP of Demand here at Refine Labs. The reason that I love working with her is that she's rewriting the playbook for marketing measurement and how to report out on it so that marketers have a seat at the executive table. So, helping marketers just be more informed from operations standpoint, how to report effectively on revenue and how marketing is truly impacting the bottom line.
Here’s what Sam Kuehnle said about Sidney:
What are 3 ways that your team converts your market into revenue?
1) Start with creating demand. It's a pretty broad term, but what we mean by that, and what we do at Refine Labs, creating content from subject-matter experts. Luckily, we have a subject matter expert who is our CEO, but there's a lot of other subject-matter experts throughout the company, in their own niche, in their own interests, that really focus on creating content, just to be consumed, and sharing their expertise rather than creating content with any expectation in return. And then, we, as a company, and as individuals, focus on distributing that content on social platforms and using dark social. So video, text, Slack communities, any ways we can get out that information to be helpful to others. So that's like one big pillar to be creating demand.
2) Dark social. We are leaning into dark social. We have actually put like most of our eggs in that basket, as a company and again, as individuals. So, that means participating and engaging on those channels. So LinkedIn DMs, comments on LinkedIn, other platforms that you can't track. Word of mouth communities, Slack, peer-to-peer, events, community events, Zoom events, things like that is what I mean when I talk about dark social. So leaning into dark social and then not worrying about attribution. So I call it leaning into unattributable marketing efforts, AKA dark social. So, that's basically how the majority of our revenue is driven here at Refine Labs.
3) Removing friction for buyers. We let buyers come to us when they're ready. We remove a lot of unnecessary friction. We let them fill out the form and convert when they're ready. We don't force that conversion. And, when they want to talk to sales, we make that as seamless as possible, and get them right to the right people, and allow them to immediately engage as fast as possible.
What are 3 hard problems that you recently overcame?
1) A go-to-market measurement system. Sam may be alluded to this in the intro. I'm working on a pretty big project, which is defining a new, go to market measurement system. I’m working with a couple of people here internally and we're really excited to bring it to market. So one of the biggest things that recently overcame with that, a) it was a beast of a project, pretty intimidating, but super exciting to work on, but b) I was really trying to figure out, “What is our structure for documentation, for content and education, around this that we want to launch?” That took a lot of back and forth and thinking things differently. But that was recently something we aligned on, and now are starting to execute on. So it was kind of a big problem to solve for that.
2) Being the coach instead of the player. I recently moved into this VP of Demand role a couple of months ago. I love to be hands-on with my clients and I love to be in the weeds sometimes. So stepping back from being that day-to-day champion with the client and enabling my team, training my team, to be that, and then supporting them when they need help, working with them on strategy, being that coach instead of the player, that has been an internal problem that I've had to really focus on. I feel like I'm in a really good place with that with my team right now.
3) Funnel analysis. The third problem–surprise, surprise–also around metrics and Salesforce funnel analysis here. We do a lot of funnel analysis, go-to-market analysis, of what's going on with our clients. We have a really, really complex setup with data and a lot of different sources. Some of the data's in the data warehouse, some of it's product data, some of it's in Salesforce, some of it's in an Excel spreadsheets. So it became very, very complex to kind of put all of these data sources together, to be able to analyze what's actually going on in their business, and what's working and what's not. So that was a big, big project, and actually kind of fun. I kind of geek out on that kind of stuff personally.
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What are 3 roadblocks that you working on right now?
1) Standardizing key metrics for success. For how we believe that you should be reporting and what you should be reporting on. Weekly versus monthly versus quarterly. And to what audience. So I think that's really key when you're rolling out, or changing, or go to market strategy or the strategy that you're kind of deploying in your business. We are working on standardizing that across all of our clients right now. You normally just have the tendency to report on the same things, weekly, monthly, and quarterly. That doesn't really make sense and it doesn't really make sense for different audiences, so we're trying to define that, and standardize that, across the business right now. So, that's something I'm working on.
2) Enabling and training my team on certain new things that we're doing or certain initiatives that are rolling out. We do things very differently at Refine Labs, and not many people have experience running and doing campaigns and running strategic things how we do. So, it does take some enablement and training. I would say that's kind of always a constant. That’s always on there.
3) Building my personal brand. Again, this is kind of always-on, but specifically, right now, I'm getting comfortable with video. I'm trying to take this to the next step with video instead of staying with text. So, TBD, I started a few things, but trying to make consistent progress on that and not just do one or two things.
What are 3 mental models that you use to do your best work?
First off. I didn't really know what mental model was, but I Googled it, and I get the concept, but I've just never really heard that term before. Now, I like it, and I'm going to use it all the time.
1) Habits and structure. Or habit stacking. So I recently read, I took the holiday time in January, to read Atomic Habits, kind of refresh on some of that. I hadn't read it before, but I heard really good things. It's a great book. Super actionable. So, I've been implementing a lot of habit and structure into my routine. I'm a creature of habit, and I like routine, but sometimes you need to update that, or change that, to set yourself up for new success or new goals that you might have.
2) Get shit done (GSD). I don't know if this is a mental model, but this is just my own mental model. I just call it, “Get shit done.” When in doubt, if I'm not executing, or providing value, or moving stuff along, I like check in with myself and I say, “Oop, you need to pull up, and you need to get shit done.” So, sometimes I block my calendar for “GSD Time.” It’s an acronym for that. That's how I like to structure my week. If I know I have got some big stuff coming up, I need dedicated time. I block out a GSD time.
3) Know when to walk away. Sometimes, by the end of the day, or sometimes by like Thursday or Friday, let's be honest, I'm not really in the right mind-state. My mind is like mush and I feel like I can't really do things. So I just go walk away, take a lap, take my dogs on a walk, or just be like, “Yeah, I'm done for the day. We're done here. This is the point of diminishing returns. I'm just going to come back to this in the morning, fresh, and knock it out. It's going to be 10 times better, and I'm going to do it in like half the amount of time.”
What are 3 techniques that GTM teams need to try?
1) Invest in dark social content and content creation. So, creating content for these types of platforms and how you deliver them. So, that could be starting a podcast, and then taking that podcast and distributing it, getting people to listen to it. That could even be starting to consistently post about your subject-matter expertise on different social media platforms, or even trying a new platform as a person, or as a brand. This could go either way, as a brand or for a person.
2) Route high intent leads directly to subject-matter experts or your best people. Let’s just skip that in-between, old-school step, where we got to get them on the phone with someone that's not going to provide them any value. Just route them straight to the information that they want to get to and the person that they want to talk to. It’s funny, I did listen, and of course, Arthur also mentioned that, and I was like, “Ah, I love this.”
3) Add self-reported attribution to your high intent conversion forms. Definitely need to add a field to your high-intent conversion form—high-intent conversion is going to be someone raising their hand, asking to talk to your sales team about your product—for what we call, self-reported attribution. So, that is a field that just asks, “How did you hear about us? Free text required on that conversion point. The insights that you will get from that is insane. We've implemented across a ton of different clients. It's wild. It's an additional touch point that allows you to understand other things that technology can not track. So, aka, “How'd I hear about you? I heard about you on this podcast.” Or X, Y, and Z.
What are 3 questions that you love to ask and why?
1) What are you trying to accomplish? So, this could be all three of those, honestly, but one of my go-to’s is, what are you trying to accomplish? A lot of times you’ll get in and it’s like, “We've got to do this!” And you’re like, “Whoa, what are we trying to accomplish here?” To me, I can ask that to myself, to clients, to customers, what are you trying to accomplish? So, that leads you to, “What is the actual output we're trying to get to? What's the actual, goal potentially?” It lets you level-set there, versus going straight into how we might get there.
2) How does this work? I ask, “How does this work?” a lot. Or, “How does that work for you? How does that work here? What does that mean for you?” Because working with a lot of different companies, everybody does stuff differently, but they'll use the very similar words. And so I like to like clarify, and ask, and not assume, how does that work?
3) What do you think? Probably just like, “What do you think? What do you think is best here? What are your ideas?” I'm an outgoing, kind of extrovert, so I like to talk, and I like to express myself, but not everybody's like that. So I like to ask people like, “Well, what do you think is the best option?” because not everyone is a talker like me.
Who are 3 operators that should be our next guests and why?
These are kind of all over the place, but all these people know what they're doing.
1) Dave Rigotti. He is a co-founder of a really cool new company called inflection.io and he's really redefining, and helping, the PLG space re-think MarTech. It's just super intriguing, plus he's just a super smart guy about all things MarTech. Started with Bizible, worked at Marketo and Adobe. So highly, highly intelligent. Great person to talk to, especially cause he's starting his own company right now.
2) Travis Tyler. The next one would be Travis Tyler from PandaDoc. Hilarious. Personable. I've never actually met him in person, but I feel like I know him. Great content producer. Just very entertaining type of marketer who thinks a little bit differently. So love that.
3) Karl Yeh. I met him, actually, through our Demand Gen Live community. He has a great success story about how he's flipped the script, transition from lead gen to more of a demand gen focus, and how he did that at his company. The results they're seeing is great. Plus, he posts a lot on LinkedIn. His content is very tactful. It's comical and he knows, and gives away, great tips for using video, or how to use video, and how to chop things up. So, super actionable tips.
4) Cassidy Shield. I'm going to add a fourth in here. I will have to also plug someone in the Refine Labs team, which should be Cassidy Shield. We just hired him a couple months ago. He started, I think, in January or February and he is a previous, essentially, kind of CRO, he was over marketing and sales at his previous company. And then we hired him as our Chief Growth Officer. So, now he's over sales for Refine Labs, and our internal marketing, and our internal growth channels. So, Carl's boss, essentially, but he is very plugged in. I feel like he not only from Refine Labs, but probably his previous company, has a lot of information. So I would probably say Cassidy Shield.
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