CMO Insights: Patrick Giusti, Head of Sales & Marketing, Mad Street Den

November 13, 2018

This week’s guest on CMO Insights is Patrick Giusti, Head of Sales and Marketing at Mad Street Den.

In this video, Patrick talks about:

  • The challenges of running a startup and how new technology helps
  • What it takes to run Sales and Marketing at the same time and how he keeps the two departments aligned
  • What makes a salesperson successful

Learn more about Patrick from his LinkedIn profile and follow Mad Street Den on Twitter.

For more great CMO interviews like this one, please check out our other CMO Insights Videos or our YouTube channel.

Full Transcript

Jeff Pedowitz:

Hi, welcome to your Revenue Marketing Television and CMO Insights Series. I am your host, Jeff Pedowitz, President and CEO of The Pedowitz Group. Today we have as our guest Patrick Giusti, who was Head of Sales and Marketing for the US at Mad Street Den. Patrick, welcome to the show.

Patrick Giusti:

Yeah. Hey Jeff, thanks for having me on.

Jeff Pedowitz:

You bet. So, I was really excited to get you on. One of course, because you and I have known each other forever, a dozen war battles, but first person in a while, and it’s doing both sales and marketing at the same time.

Jeff Pedowitz:

Uh so what a great perspective, especially as we think about today’s performance driven marketer. So tell us a little bit about man straight down in the company, what it does, and then some, you know, what you’re trying to do. They’re running both sales and marketing for the U S yep.

Patrick Giusti:

So magistrate then is a computer vision AI company, and we’re focusing on the retail sector and we have a sub company called view.ai. And so it’s image and video recognition software for retail and fashion. So really what that means is we take video, we take images, we create metadata associated with those images. So the things like onboarding of products from the time they get them onto the website is faster. We can also do things like process videos, so that video can be shoppable. So if you’re looking at a video, we can extract the garments and you can actually buy those items as you’re watching a video. And a lot of other things that I think are really changing the retail industry and how people buy online and so super exciting, the company’s doing great. We have a great team, great leadership.

And so it’s, I’m a couple months into it and it’s super exciting, but retail is one of those industries that’s undergoing such a transformation, I guess, the Amazon effect. So it was very cool seeing some of the things you’re doing there. So talk, tell us a little bit about now running both sales and marketing, what’s that like? Yeah. So this is, this is my second time running sales and marketing. And it’s interesting cause I think my, as you know, my background is, you know, with companies like SAP and Oracle, where, you know, there’s always a pretty significant wall between sales and marketing and sales is just, you know, you go out and sell.

So having marketed it, it really gives me a much deeper appreciation for how hard it is and how hard it is to be really effective and drive leads and the cost of getting good leads and the value of getting good leads and getting a message out there. And so but, but on the other side of it, it helps me really understand, you know, what the, the effort did it go that goes into creating a good campaign and how valuable that is on the sales side when you have that messaging and that air cover as well as you know, all those good leads coming in. It’s a powerful combination that it certainly makes the selling side of it a lot easier. So

Jeff Pedowitz:

I know you’re just getting started building out the team, but because you are running both, do you think about your org structure of a little bit differently than maybe, you know, if you were just setting up a sales team, just setting up a marketing team, are there ways that you can drive alignment?

Patrick Giusti:

Yeah, definitely. I mean, I think, I think alignment is, is kind of the key word because, you know, I always thought that in a smaller company, it would be easier to have alignment between sales and marketing. But as I learned in the last couple of go around to was that you have the same problems, right? You, you, we want to make sure that sales and marketing are always 100% aligned and that, you know, especially when the sales team, when you get a lead that, you know, you’re following up on it immediately, and you have a process in place to report back on, you know, what the feedback is, what the quality of the leads are. You know, what type of lead it is so that marketing constantly has a feedback loop. And so the test and learn projects have that feedback from sales and they can, they can go out and adjust and make improvements on the next go around.

Jeff Pedowitz:

Okay. I did, are there specific ways that you’re going to hire where someone is running a shared function? So you’re kind of really doing sales and marketing together, or are you still gonna kind of have your classic different org trees, but you just happen to manage both because you’re going to have them both reporting into you.

Patrick Giusti:

Yeah, I think it’s, I think I’m going to keep them separate. That’s the plan for the moment. But who knows? I mean, I try to be as efficient as you know, in a, in a startup culture, it is, it’s all about being super efficient. So I mean, the reality is that, you know, content comes from you know, not just marketing people and it started, but comes from product managers. It comes from the CEO, the CTO. So kind of by definition, everybody has a hand in not only marketing, but in sales.

So because you’re drawing on the best people in the, the best minds in the company. And we have a lot of great people that don’t necessarily sit in marketing, but are great contributors. So if you look at, you know, who contributes to marketing, it’s basically everybody or it’s most people. So I think from an org chart perspective, they re they remained separate. But from the reality is, is that, that everybody’s a contributor. And, you know, when we have marketing calls, there’s a lot of people on those calls

Jeff Pedowitz:

That makes a lot of sense. You know, for most of the time I’ve known you, it goes back a while now, probably about seven or eight years, you’ve worked at pretty big companies. So now you’re at a store that you know, what’s different. I mean, I’m sure there are a lot of things that are different, but you know, it isn’t the most acute,

Patrick Giusti:

That’s pretty, that’s a pretty long list. I mean, it’s great. I mean, I love it. It’s I love the, the being able to, you know, see across the whole company and see all the parts of a company where you just, you just don’t have that at a company like Oracle or SAP. You know, one of the things that, that you know, I get to do is I get to see you know, all the, that come in, all the campaigns that go out. And so you know, one of the things that we’re really focusing on is trying to understand what the quality of those leads leads are. So if I, if I break it down at a high level, what you know, let’s say we get a hundred leads, 40% of them are usually, you know, people that are looking for information for personal reasons, right?

30% are, you know, maybe, maybe investors or you know, different type of institutions that are looking for information and you get about 30% that are your target audience. Right? So it’s interesting at a, at a small company, being able to see all that, I can then start to think about how do we tweak the messaging to, you know, up that percentage. So we get more leads and more interaction from our target customer, or is that just the way it is? Is that the way it’s always going to be? So we just need, instead of getting a hundred leads in a month, we need to get 200. Right. so being, you know, the, the kind of really fun part about being at a small company is that at a startup is, you know, you get to test a lot, you get to try a lot of different things and you can be really surgical about the results and how you analyze the results because you get to see, you know, across the whole company. And so that’s, it’s been really fun. So

Jeff Pedowitz:

To the efficiency and scale, a couple of times, are there certain things that you’re doing related to process or technology that will kind of help you escape velocity?

Patrick Giusti:

Yeah, I mean, there there’s, I would say that the technology part of it is I think it’s kind of table stakes as you get into the startup world. Now, you know, you have to have marketing automation you have to be able to push your message out through all kinds of different channels. Do you know Facebook and LinkedIn and, and so you have to use technology, but I always, I always think about what it would like, what would it be like to have a startup maybe 10, 15 years ago when, you know, you didn’t have you know, hosting the way that we have it now you didn’t have things like marketing automation the same way we have it now would have been a lot harder. Now, those tools are all accessible to startups. So, you know, we take advantage of all those.

And so we run email campaigns and we look at attribution and we use ad words and we push our message across, through all the channels and really, you know, try to test and learn and figure out you know, not only what channels working, but what message works on, what channel, which channel. And so that’s kind of a constant process of, of using technology to figure out what works best. And we have to do it fast. We have to, it can’t be, you know, two, three month campaigns. This has to be, you know, week over week.

We have to look at the, look at the data and say, okay, this is working in, this is not working. And from a process perspective, I think you know, once we get that, that, that lead or that information over to sales, we need to, we have a process where we’re going to act on it really quickly. We’re going to act on every lead. We’re going to qualify them in or qualify them out, or put them in a drip or decide if we want to, you know, invest in a, in a, in a sales process, if they’re the right type of customer, right. Type of prospect for us. So it’s definitely a combination of both, both a technology and process.

Jeff Pedowitz:

So to get your startup. So I’m assuming most of the effort right now is on land grab, just trying to acquire as many customers as again.

Patrick Giusti:

Yeah. Def definitely. It’s it’s well, there’s really two things. So I think, you know, there’s different types of startups, but when you’re at a startup that is somewhat creating a category, you have a couple of different challenges, which are first, you have to kind of educate people on what you’re, what you’re proposing to them. Like, why, what is it? So when you say things like, you know, computer vision and artificial intelligence and image recognition, some people know what that is. Some people don’t know what that is. And maybe that person that is your target, doesn’t, they’re not in a technical role. Maybe they don’t know what it is, but they’re interested. So you have to do that education part of it. You, the message has to be simple. It has to be understandable enough for them to say, yeah, I want more information on this.

Or, you know, I’m going to bring in some people that have been working on something similar, cause they need to hear this. Right. so that’s part of the focus. And then the second part of it is you’re exactly right. It’s, it’s, it’s customer acquisition and creating a process where, you know, we are super organized in the way that we process and leads and talk to customers. And so the, that we have really defined steps so we can get them to, Hey, I’m interested to, yes, here’s a proposal or no, call me back in six months or whatever, whatever the case may be. But I find it important to go, to get through the process quickly and get to the answer like, Hey, is this a good fit or not for them?

Jeff Pedowitz:

No, that makes a lot of sense. I mean, and I guess over time, you’ll start working on upgrade paths and, and with more product and more services. But right now you’re just trying to get, I guess, critical mass.

Patrick Giusti:

Yeah. I mean, you’re exactly right. I mean, so the, the, the other thought that kind of swirls in the back of my head all the time is, you know, when you’re building an infrastructure, like let’s say customer success, right. When you have five customers, yes. You can do it when you have 10, you know, you can still do it with the people you have. We’re at about 25 growing to I think, a hundred in the next hopefully 12 months. So we’re building out a customer success team specifically to make sure that you know, the customers that we do have are getting the maximum amount of attention that it’s really white glove treatment.

So that as we acquire these customers, we also you know, sustain that growth through to keeping those customers. And as we come and getting input from them, and as we, as we introduce new products, that they get a chance to look at them first. And you know, all of the things that you’d want, if you were, you were a customer,

Jeff Pedowitz:

That makes a lot of sense. So I guess shifting more personal topics and I mean, you’ve been in sales long time now, what do you think has changed the most as a sales professional in the last five years?

Patrick Giusti:

Yeah, it’s a great question. I mean, it, I think about it a lot and as I hire, I hire a lot of people that are, that are, you know, maybe it’s their second or third job and they don’t necessarily remember what it was like to, to not have a cell phone and be a sales person or whatever. Right. Right. Exactly that. And so and so, yeah, they’re there, I think the most significant thing that it’s something we talk a lot about in marketing is, is that when you, when you get that first phone call or, you know, whether you call that person or they call you, or you have a lead, they’re going to know a lot about you. Right. I mean, I remember at the beginning of my sales career, you know, I was, I was a telesales rapping every once in a while.

They’d let me go out and do the corporate pitch. Right. So I do the first five minutes of the may business meeting. I do the core corporate pitch and everybody would sleep through it. And then they do their, the sales fire. Right. And that’s the way it was, it was, you went on site, you did this, you did that now. There’s, you know, when, when, as we all know, when a customer contacts, you they’ve probably looked at two or three of your competitors, they know about all about you, they know what, how many w what are your cus who your customers are. And so, you know, being really prepared for that you know, is key. So one of the things that we do before any sales call is we do what the reverse of that would be, right. Which is, Hey, if customer X is, is you know, hits the website, fills out a form, and we have a conversation we need to know, you know, what is this company about?

How long have they been, been, been in business? You know, what is the ownership like? Is there any, or is there a niche that they’re going after and what are they trying to do as a company? You know, what, what is their annual report or 10 KSA? I mean, what, w w what can we find out about them because they know about us. And we, we can be pretty sure that they know about us and our competitors and who our customers are. So we need to do the same thing. And that that’s, I think probably the biggest thing that’s changed is that access to information both ways. So we know they have it, our customers have it. So we, it’s an obligation for us to know about them as well.

Jeff Pedowitz:

Do you find that sale, most salespeople have that kind of patience?

Patrick Giusti:

Yeah. They don’t. And, and, but it’s, it’s a matter of I think institutionalizing, things like that and saying, no, we don’t, you know, get on a call unless we have what I call a call plan, which has all that information. It’s just, you know, it’s one page and maybe a little longer and you fill it out and you have not only the information about that customer, what, what is a specific goal? You know, what are we trying to get out of this meeting? And, you know, what do we think the customer’s pain points are and what are they trying to accomplish? Because if we don’t hit that, then the message is not gonna not gonna resonate with them, but yes, it takes, it takes a little bit of a persistence to make sure that everybody is doing it.

Jeff Pedowitz:

So why do you think sales is a particular profession? Why so many sales professionals just kinda never had quota or don’t seem to be able to achieve. And then there always seems to be a couple of every company that you could probably airdrop drop them into a forest with a Swiss army knife, and they’d be fine, you know, but why, what do you think inhibits most salespeople from being truly successful?

Patrick Giusti:

Yeah, it’s, it’s, it’s a good question. I’m not sure I have the answer for that. I, I know that there is a certain profile of person that I look for that tends to be successful. And, you know, that is, you know, it’s a combination of, of, I think, you know, confidence the ability to really think about it at less as, Hey, I’m selling this, this particular product to a part to a company as Hey, you know, we have a product that’s going to help them. I just need to figure out what my customer cares about. So being empathetic to, you know, what a customer is going through and really understanding what their process is. And I think that is, that is kind of the new way that we have to sell. And I think it’s the third part of it is just hard work, you know, putting in the time to, to understand what the products are and what the products do and how they help customers and knowing the case studies and being able to answer the questions.

I think, you know, in a traditional model where you had, salespeople’s two salespeople and you had solution consultants, sales person got the meeting, he brought in a technical person and they talked about all this stuff, right. I don’t think that’s what our customers and prospects expect anymore. I think they expect, Hey, I’m taking time out of my day to talk to you, I expect you to be an expert in whatever you’re talking about. And that is, I think it’s the expectation. And if people can’t do that, and I don’t think they’re going to get a second call it’s pretty easy to get the first phone call. It’s hard to get the second phone call and you gotta know your product. You gotta know the space, you have to know your customer’s industry. And I think that’s what separates good, good salespeople from mediocre. So people

Jeff Pedowitz:

Well said, good way to wrap it up.

Patrick Giusti:

I’m sure that’s not nothing new to you, but yeah.

Jeff Pedowitz:

Yeah. But it’s always good hearing from a true professional like yourself. So Pat, thanks again for being on the program. Wish you all the best and continued success over at Main Street Den.

Patrick Giusti:

Yeah. Thanks, Jeff. It was a pleasure. Good to see you.

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