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Jun 1, 2023

In this episode, Dan connects with the founder of the Marketing Advisory Network, author of Unleash Possible, host of the Unleash Possible podcast, and most recently co-author (with Dan and 34 others) of The Most Amazing Marketing Book Ever, B2B powerhouse Samantha Stone. With a passion for complex problem-solving, Samantha shares powerful insights on the value of communicating effectively with your customers 

B2B communication is strategic, and all too often, businesses make the mistake of thinking it just happens. In reality, it takes time, and as it turns out, it’s one of the most intentional, strategic components of your entire business model. It takes effort to understand your customers, who they are, and what they need. Once you’ve done those things, it’s time to activate them with a message that brings it all together and ignites something special. 

Neither Dan nor Samantha pulls any punches in this episode as they dismiss myths about marketing and share eye-opening insights that will get your gears moving in the right direction. They also discuss her book entitled, “Unleash Possible: A Marketing Playbook that Drives B2B Sales.” When it comes to B2B marketing, chances are Samantha has been there and done that. Now, she wants to make sure you reach that same place and do it better.

Here's what you can expect from the show: 

  • Insightful exchanges on the nuances of B2B and B2C communication. 
  • The power of networking and value of intimate networks of influencers and contacts.
  • The need for marketers and creatives to be amongst one another for a nurturing experience.
  • The B2B Experience: stories, reputations, trust, and getting to know your customers.
  • Narrowing it down to find out who you can best serve.
  • The flaw of spending your way to success and growth. 
  • Sales can do things that marketing simply cannot … because marketing isn’t always human. 
  • Building sustainable customer relationships, not just securing a sale. 
  • Sometimes you have to hold the hands of sales and show them the way. 
  • The importance of managing internal stakeholders and understanding their “why”. 
  • If everyone is focusing on the buyer, all the jobs become easier. 
  • The remote workplace has changed the work-learning landscape. 

Notable Quotes

  • “Marketing, communications, whatever it is that we do, creativity, being curious, intellectual curiosity, they’re all so common across leaders in the field, but they need a valve or safe space to let ideas fly.” – (9:16) – Dan
  • “Good marketing, great education is emotional.” – (10:19) – Samantha
  • “Just because you don’t have the skill doesn’t mean you can’t get the skill.” – (22:24) – Dan
  • “Businesses need to find niches that they can own and expand from.” – (28:50) – Samantha
  • “Qualitative research is actually a little bit of a lost art.” – (36:44) – Samantha 
  • “As human beings it is natural for us to put the most value on the product or service that is the hardest for us to deliver.” – (39:08) – Samantha
  • “If we take the time to understand our customers, we’ll build businesses that have sustainable growth.” – (1:12) Samantha

About Dan Nestle 

About Samantha Stone

Samantha Stone is a forward thinker and true champion of B2B communications. She’s the author of Unleash Possible: A Marketing Playbook that Drives B2B Sales and a leading contributor to the rapidly evolving world of marketing. A skilled researcher, highly sought after speaker and consultant, she’s authored several successful go-to-market efforts, resulting in recognizable results for brands across the business spectrum. The founder of Marketing Advisory Network, the arch of her career has seen her become one of the most trusted voices in the B2B space. Most recently, she has developed on-demand courses focused on mastering the art of finding and using buyer insights. She is a member of Mark Schaefer’s RISE Community and co-author (with Mark, Dan, and 33 others) of The Most Amazing Marketing Book Ever.

Timestamped summary of this episode

00:00:00 - Introduction,
Host Dan Nestle introduces himself and his guest, Samantha Stone, a leading B2B marketing influencer and advisor. They discuss the challenges and rewards of B2B marketing.
00:04:29 - The Uprising and Rise Communities,
Dan and Samantha discuss their attendance at the Uprising conference and their involvement in the Rise community. They talk about the importance of connecting with other marketing professionals and the value of in-person events.
00:08:35 - Emotional Marketing,
Samantha and Dan discuss the emotional aspect of marketing and the importance of tapping into the human experience. They reflect on how the Uprising and Rise communities have provided a safe space to explore ideas and connect with others.
00:11:22 - The Value of Community,
Dan and Samantha talk about the value of being part of a community and the benefits of engaging with other professionals. They discuss the Rise community's use of Discord and how it has become a valuable tool for learning and networking.
00:14:10 - From Economics to Marketing,
Samantha shares her journey from studying economics in college to becoming a B2B marketing influencer and advisor. She discusses her passion for helping companies drive revenue through effective marketing strategies.
00:14:33 - Challenges of Public Policy,
Samantha reflects on her love for policy and its challenges, but admits to being impatient. She discusses the slow pace of public policy and how it takes years to make an impact because it affects whole communities.
00:16:14 - From Sales to Marketing,
Samantha talks about how she transitioned from channel sales to marketing. She discovered her love for marketing and how it allowed her to have a bigger impact. She also discusses the challenges she faced and how she learned as she went along.
00:19:34 - The Birth of Marketing Advisory Network,
Samantha explains why she started the Marketing Advisory Network. She wanted to do what she loved without the baggage of internal politics clouding her judgment. She also talks about how she wrote her book to help people who couldn't afford her services.
00:22:29 - The Importance of People Skills,
Samantha discusses the importance of people skills in marketing and sales. She talks about how she honed her people skills by being empathetic and understanding the sales team's perspective. She also emphasizes that anyone can learn people skills with practice and guidance.
00:27:18 - Unleashing Possible,
Samantha talks about her book, Unleash Possible, and how it helps companies tap into their full potential. She emphasizes that companies often overlook the resources they have within their organization, such as people and processes. She also discusses the importance of convincing the world of your big opportunity when starting a business.
00:28:44 - The Importance of Narrowing Audience,
To create traction, businesses need to find niches to own and expand from. Focusing on narrowing the audience helps to better understand who a business can best serve and prevent bringing in customers who aren't a great fit.
00:29:42 - Measuring Marketing Incorrectly,
Boards, CEOs, and salespeople are obsessed with measuring marketing by the number of leads generated. This approach creates the wrong behavior and makes marketing focus on the wrong things. Instead, marketing should be held accountable for overall business metrics and growth.
00:33:00 - Spending Your Way into Success and Growth,
Businesses too often try to spend their way into success and growth by running more ads and content syndication. However, they overlook referral activity, advocacy, and word of mouth, which are missed opportunities. Businesses need to experiment with these channels for better results.
00:36:48 - Qualitative Research,
Qualitative research is critical for understanding why a buyer or a group of buyers likes a specific aspect of a product or service. It complements data by helping businesses understand what is essential to each buyer at each stage of the process. Salespeople are the best personalization engines for building emotional connections.
00:42:43 - The Role of Experienced Salespeople,
Experienced salespeople instinctively know the buyer persona or the buyer data and can build emotional connections. However, they may not have the mechanism or incentive to share this data with their teammates or
00:43:46 - The Importance of Understanding Buyers,
Samantha Stone emphasizes the importance of understanding buyers' needs. She explains that good salespeople do not waste time convincing someone to buy something they do not need. Stone believes it is crucial to earn the trust of salespeople and understand what drives them.
00:45:16 - Buyer Personas in Recruitment,
Stone mentions her team's focus on the book "The New Rules of Marketing & PR" and creating buyer personas for recruitment. She notes the challenge of obtaining information from recruiters and emphasizes the need to tailor marketing materials to different learning styles.
00:47:11 - Building Relationships with Salespeople,
The conversation shifts to the relationship between sales and marketing. Stone explains that salespeople are often hesitant to share data because they do not see any benefit. She recommends creating pilots to prove the effectiveness of marketing materials and building relationships with influential salespeople.
00:50:21 - Knowing Internal Stakeholders,
Stone stresses the importance of understanding internal stakeholders, such as salespeople, and creating buyer personas for them. She emphasizes the need to recognize different personalities and learning styles and tailor marketing materials accordingly.
00:56:33 - Samantha Stone's New Learning Product,
Stone introduces her new learning product, designed to help people who are new to the marketing field or transitioning to a new role. She notes the challenges of learning remotely and emphasizes the importance of staying up-to-date with the latest industry developments.
00:58:12 - Samantha's Transition to Creating a Self Paced Class,
Samantha talks about her transition from providing custom training to creating a self-paced class. She shares that she wanted to make her workshop material accessible to a broader audience and that her course is video-based with exercises in a workbook to help participants apply the skills to their job.
00:58:59 - Buyer Insights Course,
Samantha's first course is all about finding buyer insights and is heavy on qualitative research skills. The goal is to help more people understand how to do this kind of research, even if it's not their primary job. The course is designed to take the mystery out of conducting interviews and help people ask better questions.
01:01:00 - Understanding Buyers,
Samantha emphasizes the importance of understanding buyers and the need to eliminate friction from the process. She shares a personal experience of how a company lost her as a customer because of the friction they put in the sales process. She believes that marketing is all about understanding people and that it's a good human skill to have.
01:02:44 - Simplifying the Process,
Samantha talks about the importance of keeping things simple and removing obstacles for buyers. She believes in creating a frictionless process and removing unnecessary steps to make it easier for buyers. She believes that marketers need to constantly go through and try to eliminate friction points as they come up.
01:10:12 - Taking Time Off,
Samantha talks about the importance of taking time off and making time for personal and family commitments
01:11:18 - Long-term thinking in business, farewells

Show notes created in part with Capsho