PODCAST 15: The Art and Science of Pipeline Generation
On episode 15 of the Sales Hacker podcast, we speak with Jeff Reekers, VP of marketing at Aircall. Jeff walks us through how to think about pipeline development and lead generation marketing campaigns.
If you missed episode 14, check it out here: A Quick Guide to Seed Fundraising for Salespeople.
What Youâ€™ll Learn
- How to use data to build pipeline effectively
- Using empathy to develop your Ideal Customer Profile
- Secret tactics and tips to generate awareness and engage in effective conversations
- Understanding how unit economics can impact marketing investment
- Thoughts on scaling the right way
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Show Agenda and Timestamps
- Show introduction [0:09]
- About Jeff Reekers [02:13]
- Marketing at Aircall [3:59]
- Marketing philosophy: know your numbers [10:04]
- To build your pipeline, start with your ICP [12:42]
- Deliberately focus on improving your ARPA [19:10]
- Demand generation as a revenue-driver [24:10]
- What should sales leaders get from marketing? [35:15]
- Aircall's marketing stack [36:44]
- Samâ€™s Corner [42:46]
Sales Hacker Podcastâ€”Sponsored by Aircall
Sam Jacobs: Hey everybody, welcome to the Sales Hacker podcast!
It's your host Sam Jacobs. We've got an incredible episode upcoming today. We're interviewing the VP of marketing from Aircall, Jeff Reekers. Jeff's an incredible talent, so I'm excited for this interview.
Before we get started, I did want to give a thanks to our sponsors this month. Now, Jeff is the VP of marketing from our sponsor. It's a complete coincidence because Jeff is on my top ten list of marketers, regardless.
Aircall is a phone system designed for the modern sales team. A seamlessly integrate into your CRM, eliminating data entry for your reps, and providing you with greater visibility into your sales team's performance through advanced reporting.
About Jeff Reekers: Baseball Card Stats
Sam Jacobs: I met Jeff when he was VP of marketing at Handshake. He's got a long and illustrious career as a marketer over the past, probably ten plus years on both coasts. He'll tell us all about his background. But, really one of the brightest artists working and most creative marketers working in SaaS today. We're really excited to have you. Welcome, Jeff.
Jeff Reekers: Thanks, Sam. I'm really excited to be a part of it. Thanks for that lovely intro, as well.
Marketing at Aircall
Sam Jacobs: Awesome. So, you're running marketing. Give us a rough size of the marketing org and the sales org. What are your deal sizes like and what market category are you going after?
Jeff Reekers: Our average deal size is about $15K, ACV. We're in the phone system market, so it's a very broad market. We tend not to focus on eCom, SaaS companies, and specifically support and sales teams within that. On the sales side, we have four account executives and they are paired with two SDRs.
Related: How To Build (And Scale) A Successful Sales Development Team
Marketing Philosophy: Know Your Numbers
Sam Jacobs: Give us your philosophy on marketing and how you approach marketing.
Jeff Reekers: Youâ€™ve got to know your numbers better than anybody else in the organization. This might be true for other roles outside of marketing.
To have a really strong presence, and to grow in your career, you've got be able to talk numbers alongside the CEO or the CFO.
Also, how specifically they coordinate with other departments, and the top goals for the organization. Above and beyond, the most valuable thing for me has been understanding the math behind marketing and how everything funnels down to revenue.
To Build Pipeline, Start with Your ICP
Sam Jacobs: If I'm trying to build pipeline, what are the pieces that go into the supply chain that ultimately ends up in somebody agreeing to have a conversation with me?
Jeff Reekers: I think you have to agree as an organization who you want to be relevant to. I am extremely against anything that's a spray and pray type of approach. I think the more narrow you are, the more opportunity there is to grow.
The second part is understanding how the customer is buying, as well. You want to be in front of them in two ways.
- One, you have to have a really strong value prop.
- Two, when you really want to start focusing on a particular area, you have to be in front of people where they're searching.
Related: 5 Painful Mistakes That Are Crippling Your Customerâ€™s Buying Experience
Deliberately Focus on Improving Your ARPA
Sam Jacobs: What do you think the biggest drivers to success are in your role? I think you've probably grown 8x over the course of the last year. How do you put a plan together?
Jeff Reekers: Â You got to know your sales cycles. If you're efficient, you can project out from there.
The number one thing was average revenue per account. If our ARPA goes up, then that's going to make everything much more efficient. It's first about changing a model from a very inbound-centric one.
This obviously impacts a lot of things. It impacts the product and how we sell, and it certainly impacts how we're doing the marketing. You have to really collaborate first off, and sell it across the entire organization. Not just the CEO, but across the org.
Demand Generation as a Revenue-Driver
Sam Jacobs: You're fundamentally saying that demand generation drives revenue. I really love the philosophy, but did you come in with that philosophy or did you discover it within the math?
Jeff Reekers: We discovered it within the math.
It's very clear to me that when we're driving inbound, we can drive it to a certain extent and we can get more leads. But, you lose a bit of control with what's going to come in â€” the exact company, product-fit etc. Ultimately that's one thing I'm very concerned about.
What Should Sales Leaders Get From Marketing?
Sam Jacobs: What's the one thing sales leaders should get from marketing?
Jeff Reekers: One thing that always want to avoid is you can't have one team that wins and another team that loses. Meaning, I'm in a marketing org and our goal is to generate X amount of pipeline.
We accomplish that but if the sales team is not successful that quarter, then it's not a great culture to have one team winning and another team losing. I think it's about having shared goals and shared metrics.
Aircall's Marketing Stack
Sam Jacobs: I'm curious what's in your marketing stack. What are some of the tools that you're using or not using?
Jeff Reekers: Before I invest in anything I want to make sure that it's not meant to reinvent anything that we're doing, but accelerating something that we're doing. We use something called Notion for all our marketing projects â€” our planning and for sharing it across the team.
It's essentially a replacement for Google Docs, Evernote, and it's a valuable resource.We use the traditional stuff. Salesforce, Pardot, SalesLoft â€” which all the reps love quite a bit. We also use LinkedIn Sales Navigator.
Sam Jacobs: Hey everybody, it's Sam's Corner. All the episodes and all the interviews are good, I'm obligated to say that. But, I really do think that Jeff Reekers is a really special talent and has great insights into marketing.
A couple of the things that I hope you took away â€” one of them is just the focus on the ICP. Second thing â€” very specific and unique insight, which I just love: Two SDRs to one AE. Flood the AEs with pipeline.
Donâ€™t Miss Episode 16
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Finally, a special thanks again to this monthâ€™s sponsor, Aircall. If you want to get in touch with me, find my social handles in my bio below.
Iâ€™ll see you next time!
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