Hey there! Welcome to the Marketer Of The Month blog!
We recently interviewed Trevor Hatfield for our monthly podcast – ‘Marketer of the Month’! We had some amazing insightful conversations with Trevor and here’s what we discussed about –
1. What most people get wrong about marketing attribution
2. How to make data more actionable
3. Sales-led approach vs marketing-led approach
4. Scaling and optimize support in a growing SaaS company
5. The role of marketing in support
6. How to expertly navigate the recession by aiming for healthy growth
About our host:
Dr. Saksham Sharda is the Chief Information Officer at Outgrow.co. He specializes in data collection, analysis, filtering, and transfer by the means of widgets and applets. Interactive, cultural, and trending widgets designed by him have been featured on TrendHunter, Alibaba, ProductHunt, New York Marketing Association, FactoryBerlin, Digimarcon Silicon Valley, and at The European Affiliate Summit.
About our guest:
Trevor Hatfield is the founder and CEO of Inturact, an Integrated Marketing Agency and HubSpot partner whose mission is to align web marketing with sales objectives by utilizing the most up-to-date methodologies and technological solutions to broaden his clients’ reach, build their brand, and increase their revenue. Inturact has run successful campaigns for companies ranging from startups to Fortune 500 corporations.
EPISODE 082: Developing a Predictable and Sustainable Marketing System in B2B SaaS
Saksham Sharda: Hi everyone, welcome to another episode of Outgrow’s Marketer of the Month. I’m your host Dr. Saksham Sharda. I’m the creative director at Outgrow.co, and for this month we’re going to interview Trevor Hatfield, who is the Managing General Partner at Inturact Capital and B2B SaaS investor. Thanks for joining us, Trevor.
Trevor Hatfield: Thanks for having me.
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The Rapid Fire Round!
Saksham Sharda: So, Trevor, we’re going to start with a rapid fire round just to break the ice. You get three passes. In case you don’t want to answer the question, you can just say pass. But try to keep your answers to one word or one sentence only. Okay?
Trevor Hatfield: Sure.
Saksham Sharda: At what age do you want to retire?
Trevor Hatfield: Maybe never.
Saksham Sharda: If you had to write a book tomorrow, what would you write about?
Trevor Hatfield: Outdoors.
Saksham Sharda: How long does it take you to get ready in the mornings?
Trevor Hatfield: Five minutes.
Saksham Sharda: What would be the title of the book about you if your worst enemy ever wrote it?
Trevor Hatfield: Jump
Saksham Sharda: Most favorite color?
Trevor Hatfield: Blue.
Saksham Sharda: What movie do you enjoy quoting the most?
Trevor Hatfield: Happy Gilmore.
Saksham Sharda: What is your ideal way to spend about the
Trevor Hatfield: Outdoors.
Saksham Sharda: What time of day are you most inspired?
Trevor Hatfield: Morning.
Saksham Sharda: Fill in the blank: An upcoming marketing trend is __________.
Trevor Hatfield: Back to sales lead
Saksham Sharda: The city in which the best kiss of your life happened?
Trevor Hatfield: Houston
Saksham Sharda: Pick one – Mark Zuckerberg or Jack Dorsey?
Trevor Hatfield: Pass.
Saksham Sharda: How do you relax?
Trevor Hatfield: Meditate
Saksham Sharda: I’m glad you didn’t say outdoors again. But okay. How many cups of coffee do you drink per day?
Trevor Hatfield: Two.
Saksham Sharda: A habit of yours that you hate?
Trevor Hatfield: Biting my nails.
Saksham Sharda: The most valuable skill you’ve learned in life?
Trevor Hatfield: Patience.
Saksham Sharda: And the last one is your favorite Netflix show?
Trevor Hatfield: Not to have one.
Saksham Sharda: Okay, well, so you had two passes I think and it was like 8 on 10. So you win a card. Just kidding. You don’t win anything.
The Big Questions!
Saksham Sharda: So alright, the longer questions which you can like answer at ease. The first one is, what are some things that people get wrong about marketing attribution, according to you?
Trevor Hatfield: It’s not more around what they get wrong. But the fact that they generally is tracked wrong. So they’re trying to attribute based on things that are inaccurate.
Saksham Sharda: And what leads to this common mistake being made all the time?
Trevor Hatfield: It’s difficult to do.
Saksham Sharda: Okay, we’re not still in the rapid-fire round. So you can elaborate more unless this is all you have to say?
Trevor Hatfield: No, we can talk about attribution. So I mean, obviously, there are a lot of different attribution models, right? And I think depending upon your business model is what works best for you. There are simple models on the first touch, and last touch, and then you have lots of different models in between you have multi-touch. But I think that the problem is sometimes people pick a model that maybe doesn’t align with their business model or their tracking data that is having attribution tracked incorrectly, which is probably the most common and worse mistake, which goes along the lines of tracking in general everywhere, including like product analytics. So tracking, I think, in general, doesn’t get enough data validation, before trusting the data and making decisions on data, which is very dangerous if it’s not accurate.
Saksham Sharda: And what according to you would be some essentials needed to make data more actionable?
Trevor Hatfield: Yeah, so I guess a starting point with making data more actionable is actually the definitions of your metrics or your data. So I’ve worked in B2B SaaS, that’s where I stick but this kind of goes across the board, either way, understanding the most important metrics through the customer journey of your business is very important. And those metrics at a starting point, all need to be tracked, validated, and understand who’s responsible for them, and what strategies you’re going to use to grow them. Do you have the tool stack and the expertise to grow those metrics? But that’s where I would start with tracking. And generally speaking, surprisingly enough, I would say every business I’ve worked with doesn’t have that basic stuff down. Doesn’t even matter how mature they are. Once we dig into the data, we define your metrics, we put events in place, and we’ll realize that many of these events weren’t tracked in the first place, even the core ones. And sometimes like, surprisingly, the most core ones. It seems to be missed, somehow.
Saksham Sharda: So how many, like approximately what percentage of people or businesses that you’ve worked with that don’t even have these core events tracked properly?
Trevor Hatfield: 100%.
Saksham Sharda: So it’s an example of a business that had it tracked properly and had some other issues?
Trevor Hatfield: Well, once you have the tracking in place, then you definitely start to have other issues. So ultimately, your next step is data validation as we talked about. So understanding if your back ends are matching, and what your tracking data is telling you. So that then you can model different things and make decisions. But the bigger side of that is your business is always changing, right? And so understanding this as a framework and not a finite thing that you set up and forget is also important. So instilling that throughout the team becomes vital for making decisions based on that data and then modifying it as needed when you need a new event. Where does it fit in? Is it important to track? How are you going to make decisions around it? What opportunities are you going to find in your data and where that will lie? So this is like an ongoing thing that never ends? And I think a lot of people when I think of tracking, they think, “hey, we set this up, it’s tracked now we’re gonna forget it.” And it just doesn’t work that way. And so expectations around tracking how important it is and making decisions with data, I think is a big gap in this, definitely in the software space.
Saksham Sharda: And so how do you think marketing and sales teams should approach this tracking in the upcoming recession because I guess it’s going to be a different period than the ones that used to?
Trevor Hatfield: So if I were to simplify this down, there would be one core metric for any business. Let’s take a Calendly, for example, there are promises, scheduling meetings, the first time someone schedules a meeting, and I would get an understanding of how that attribute to retention. After that happens what’s your Northstar metric around that? Generally speaking, your Northstar metric, in my opinion, is going to come from your core metric of what your business promises. After they accomplish that for X amount of times within a period of time, that leads to the highest retention, that’s your metric. But ultimately, it’s around this core promise of your business. And that’s what all your marketing teams should be striving for your CX team, your sales team. Ultimately, the point is, if everyone concentrates on a single mark, a single core metric that surrounds the promise of your business, I think it can be extracted down to that single success metric. And that’s where I would start. It doesn’t have to be complicated.
Saksham Sharda: But you also mentioned earlier that the next biggest marketing trend is sales lead marketing. And so what would you have to say about that in relation to this?
Trevor Hatfield: Yeah, maybe I would change that to hybrid. So what I kind of meant by that in a single word was this product lead movement has been very attractive for a lot of companies, which is also something that we’ve been very successful with and good at, but I think layering back onto this a sales lead approach to center around the customer, all of this. To me, the overarching layer is customer lead but these are all different ratios of focus, right? Whether your product is doing the selling or your salesperson is doing the selling. But I see a slow trend back towards more focus on bringing the sales guys back in and a hybrid approach layered on top of your product lead approach that’s becoming more and more effective is a long-winded way around what I meant.
Saksham Sharda: So leaving sales and marketing aside, what do you think is the best strategy to scale and optimize support in a growing SaaS company?
Trevor Hatfield: A couple of things. One is making sure that your support team can handle the majority of their requests without engineering help, or like by themselves. So empowering your support team to be able to support the customer base without needing any outside assistance. The other is in like handoff, in between alignment between operational teams. So depending upon high touch, low touch models, etc. But like from a big picture, sales can hand off to support or support can hand off to another operational arm, that’s a technical arm for the company, etc. But having all of those teams understand the flow of information through the customer journey and where their roles are and who to hand off to what and when is a big gap that I see too.
Saksham Sharda: And what role do you think marketing can possibly play in support?
Trevor Hatfield: The biggest thing is just understanding the handoff in my opinion. It’s never really like a full handoff. But there should be a core strategy, a core understanding of this customer journey that we talked about earlier, and the metrics that exist between them. And if the entire team is aligned around that, things become much clearer versus working in operational silos. So that’s where, if you go back to the track, it’s not just about understanding attribution or SaaS metrics, but it’s also about team alignment.
Saksham Sharda: And could you give us an example of some company that you’ve worked with that has really managed to grow their support in an ideal way?
Trevor Hatfield: That’s a good question. Yeah. I don’t know if I can label companies, we’ve worked with many different companies. And support exists in a kind of different ways, depending upon, let’s say, that customer acquisition strategy, where some are proactive, or some are more reactive. And ideally, you have both. But I would say one company we worked with was able to really optimize their support just with like a first-time response. That’s a great metric for a support team, honestly, to concentrate on because everything else trickles down after that. So once you see first time response, being under a minute or two, then there’s a lot of fewer customers reaching out that are already frustrated, just because they’ve had to wait for a longer period of time to hear back. Right? So if you just concentrate and boil it down to that one metric we saw success with that was.
Saksham Sharda: And so have you seen companies that have pivoted based on the customer-centric data that you’re talking about or based on what support felt that customers were in need of for instance?
Trevor Hatfield: Of course, I mean, that’s just customer-driven data to improve upon and optimize, right? There are like a million possible examples of that. But I think ultimately, that a lot of the support is dry drives like sales and marketing strategy, right? In product, everything comes from, if we go back to what I said earlier, the layer on top of all of this is customer lead. And that’s direct customer lead information that’s going to influence what you do to build your business. You got to listen to the customer.
Saksham Sharda: So how do you think these understandings would be influenced in the upcoming recession or in the downturn? Or do you think companies would have to become more flexible, they’ll have to pivot faster, they’d have to be listening to this data even more intently or what is going to happen in the coming years?
Trevor Hatfield: Yeah, so when we talk about the recession side of things, we have always focused solely on what we call healthy growth. So I think people are going to have to optimize towards healthy growth. Healthy growth is predictable, scalable, repeatable, and measurable, these are all different things that become important. And when you’re not, what we’re calling healthy, you’re generally throwing things at the wall to see what sticks or have a bit of shiny object syndrome, which is what happens when you have an influx of like, money, when you get funded, or different things you start really exploring, which isn’t bad. But what you’ll have to do is understand how to optimize things again, in that, It goes back to if you’re going to be healthy, that’s a part of the game in itself. I don’t know if that helps answer the question.
Saksham Sharda: And so irrespective of the recession and the pandemic, where do you think the future of SaaS was headed anyway?
Trevor Hatfield: More optimally. Yeah. So like you can see the praise in the bootstrap community becoming a little bit higher. The whole idea on funding and stuff, it’s great, but like, we’ve seen so many inflated numbers on valuations and different things, people kind of just pass right over them now. And everyone’s coming back to respecting the people, it’s respecting the grind, the people that are in the grind, that figuring out problem-solving with less. Because ultimately, the more that you solve problems in, let’s say, a bootstrapped model, the more you actually will be successful, even in a funded model. So I think that whole thing will push that further, the whole recession scenario will push that further, because that’s basically what you’re gonna have to go back to be successful.
Saksham Sharda: And so in your work, I think more and more bootstrap companies coming to the fore, or what is the split of bootstrap versus funded companies at present?
Trevor Hatfield: So we heavily concentrate on a framework that works for both, but our model is basically leveraging your dollars optimally, so like, it doesn’t matter if you’re funded or you’re bootstrapped, we use the same sort of frameworks that maybe you would when you were bootstrapped, except considering you’re going to have more, you’re gonna be using those dollars more optimally. So, when it comes to like, percentages, I don’t think it really matters. I think it’s more about like if you’re going to get funding, where that money is going. And you’re going to get let’s say, leverage on equity for that founder is going to be higher when that round closes.
Saksham Sharda: Okay, so the last question for you is a personal one, which is what would you be doing, if not this in your life right now?
Trevor Hatfield: Something outdoors.
Saksham Sharda: I somehow felt that was gonna be the answer.
Trevor Hatfield: I don’t know. I’ve been moving to Colorado, and I’ve been spending a lot of time outdoors I have two little kids. One son that’s two and a daughter, that’s 10 months right now. And we’ve been doing a lot of bike riding, and he just will sit in a river and just chunk rocks and nothing all day. And so I’ve been enjoying that. I’ve been finding enjoyment in that and just kind of like experiencing being outside of it more, which has been nice. So and I’ve always kind of had that part of me inside and naturally being in front of the computer so much that it’s a good balance.
Saksham Sharda: For sure, after having been in the technology race to find oneself throwing rocks at a river sounds very Nirvana, almost like Nirvana. Cool. I’m glad that’s where you’re at in your life.
Saksham Sharda: Well, thanks everyone for joining us for this month’s episode of Outgrow’s Marketer of the Month. That was Trevor Hatfield. Thanks for joining us Trevor.
Trevor Hatfield: Yep, thanks again.
Saksham Sharda: Check out their website for more details and we’ll see you once again next month with another marketer of the month.