Sales Pipeline Radio, Episode 127: Q&A with Guy Weismantel @guyweismantel

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By Matt Heinz, President of Heinz Marketing

Late in 2015 we started a show called Sales Pipeline Radio which runs live every Thursday at 11:30 a.m. Pacific.  It’s just 30 minutes long, fast-paced and full of actionable advice, best practices and more for B2B sales & marketing professionals.

We cover a wide range of topics with a focus on sales development and inside sales priorities. You can listen to full recordings of past shows at SalesPipelineRadio.com and subscribe on iTunes.

We were thrilled this last time to be able to talk to Guy Weismantel, CMO at Pushpay.

We talk a little bit about different go-to-market approaches when you get outside of the eco-chamber that many of us work within in SaaS companies and technology companies and selling to different markets.  He shares insights applicable in any industry and also touches on building culture within marketing.

A couple of questions Guy answers are:

Is there a difference with an audience that maybe doesn’t have as much experience buying?
What were some of your priorities and strategies coming in?
What have you prioritized putting in place in the first half of the year?

Sometimes it’s not the most obvious thing, in terms of the bright shiny number. It might be something kind of under the radar a little bit that actually is more qualitative and it goes to how they can be better at their job, or get recognition or accolades, or save some time. Those kind of fluffy, less quantitative things sometimes are what gets us through.

What are some of the things that you think are going to continue to be challenging or a challenge that emerges that you’re thinking about in advance and trying to address (Specifically around your go-to-market strategy)?

Listen in or read the full transcript below for this and a lot more!

Matt:  Thanks for joining us on another episode of Sales Pipeline Radio, very excited to have you here. We have an increasing number of people listening to us live on the Funnel Media Radio Network. If you are with us live today, thank you very much for joining us. We are broadcasting live today. It is 11:30 Pacific, but it is 2:30 Eastern here in New York City. We are on the East Coast for a series of events and conferences this week, winding down tonight, and excited to be with you.

If you’re joining us from the podcast, and from the podcast recordings, you can catch us anytime at iTunes store, Google Play, all the places you can find fine podcasts, and every episode of Sales Pipeline Radio. Every episode past, present, and future you can find at salespipelineradio.com. Each week we are featuring some of the best and brightest names and voices and thought leaders in sales and marketing and B2B. Today is no different. Very excited.

And also, Paul, as we record this, so it’s mid-August. The college football season is coming up again. We have a proud member of the Fighting Irish Nation from the University of Notre Dame, Guy Weismantel, who is currently the CMO at Pushpay. Guy, thanks very much for joining us.

Guy:  Hey, great to be with you Matt.

Matt:  So to start off with, I know we didn’t talk about this before, but do you have a prediction for Fighting Irish football here in the 2018 season?

Guy:  My Irish have disappointed me repeatedly. We get late in the season, and we’re right in the hunt, and we seem to fall flat. So, I’ve probably given up predicting. I feel good about the last game of the year at USC, though. I always feel good about the game against the Trojans. I like our chances there.

Matt:  There’s a podcast called The Solid Verbal that I listen to and it’s all about college football. One of the guys, he went to Penn State, but his favorite team growing up was Notre Dame, and that’s still his favorite team. His ups and down are quite dramatic each week as they … even if they win … if they don’t win well enough, he’s just a basket case. So, I don’t know. College football’s going to be a lot of fun to watch.

Guy:  That’s probably how my wife feels.

Matt:  Nice.

Paul:  I have to interject that I was accepted at the University of Notre Dame, but I chose to go the University of Michigan here at the last minute. Yeah, so I’ve been very torn. Whoever wins that ball game, that’s who I root for for the rest of the year.

Matt:  Great way to start the year in week one. We got Michigan and Notre Dame. So excited for college football.

But today I want to talk about B2B marketing. Guy, we’re very excited to have you on the show. You’ve lead marketing at pretty much all the big marketing companies, at all the big technology companies in town. You’ve been at Egencia, which is part of Expedia. You’ve been at Vertafore, which was acquired recently. You were at Microsoft for a long time. And in many of those cases, you’re selling into enterprise organizations. Very different at Pushpay. Can you talk a little bit about what Pushpay is and what some of the primary marketing challenges you facing these days?

Guy:  Absolutely, yeah, I’ve been at Pushpay for about six months and it’s a really interesting company. Really fast growth, fast business. Started out with two co-founders in New Zealand who came to the US. It’s a really, really different niche, and one that I hadn’t had a chance to market into before because Pushpay’s really focused on a philanthropic marketplace … around churches and schools and non-profit organizations. And so, you’re right. Coming and building a career at big companies like Microsoft and Expedia, and having the multi-million dollar, 18 month sales deals is a little bit more what I’ve been used to, but I’ve also had some start-up experience in the past. And Pushpay is a really interesting blend of both of them.

The product itself is a donor-management and engagement solution. It’s a platform and it’s an app, and it really lives within the organization to allow them to both manage all of the contributions that they receive, and also works to help them increase and move givers off of cash and check and into a digital environment. The company was a half a million dollars in revenue about five years ago and now it’s trending this year for $100 million in revenue. So, it’s incredibly fast growing. Incredibly exciting times at the company.

But it is a really different type of customer to try to market to. It’s not your traditional B2B tech customer that I know a lot of your listeners and myself are used to marketing into. So even though you know what you’re getting into when you take on a new job and a new responsibility and a new team, and there’s all those same building blocks, it’s been a ton of learning for me to go back a little bit and roll back what I thought I knew and what a lot of the technology that I’m used to buying as a marketer and selling as a marketer. The table stakes are a little bit different and the things that our customers respond to and prospects respond to are a little different than I’ve been used to, as well.

Matt:  I imagine there are some things that are similar, right? There’s still a buying journey. There’s still sort of discovery stages. There’s still personas of the people you’re going to want to engage with. But when you’re selling into non-profits, and part of now that you’re selling into churches, what are some things that stand out that are different, in terms of decision making … in terms of the approach you had to take to build pipeline?

Guy:  Yeah, so you’re definitely right about the first part. We have product marketing. We have demand generation. You have all the same go-to-market motions. Ultimately we’re all consumers and so we go through an education process. We go through an evaluation process. At some point, we’re ready to make a decision. We might negotiate on price. All of that, and the marketing skills you accumulate, and in the team you build you’re looking for those really great marketing skills to do that.

The tweak, or the difference, which I’ve found, and you see it in other industries as well. You mentioned Vertafore. When you sold into insurance company, they had a lot of the same characteristics that a non-profit or a church might have.

Or, you see it in other professional organizations as well. You have people like physicians, doctors, lawyers who are really great at their subject matter expertise, but are not as savvy on the technology side because that’s not the primary thing that they’re concerned with. They’re concerned with representing their clients, or selling an insurance policy, or saving a life. So, when you get into these non-profit organizations, you’ve got a little bit of a similar profile. They’ve organized to feed homeless people, or get clean drinking water to people who don’t have it. That’s really why they form together or the goal or mission of their organization of their church, or whatever.

So, kind of the traditional B2B, ROI, kind of, here’s how much you will save. Here’s the latest feature. Here’s the awesome thing that we can do that no one else can do. Sometimes that’s not as interesting to them because that’s not what their focused on and that’s not what they’re evaluated on. Especially when you get into a philanthropy or non-profit type of environment. That’s of secondary importance to them.

That’s part of the education process is, okay, just because Pushpay might be the biggest, or have the most customers, and have some qualities that might be interesting and impressive if we were in a different marketplace. Often times, they’re far less interesting to the people that we’re trying to sell into today. So, from a marketing perspective, I think that there’s applicability like this in every industry. We can get to the CFO or the CEO or the IT person, if we’re selling a piece of technology.

But we all have experiences in previous roles as well, that that one persona, called the gate keeper. The gate keeper, we all know, doesn’t often have budget responsibility. They don’t even have decision making authority, but they can stop you in your tracks and you can’t around them. In a church or a non-profit organization, the gate keeper is often the most important person. In our case, it’s often someone, and I found this in insurance as well. In an insurance agency, someone who’s been around for quite some time, has a lot of tenure in their role, is really comfortable with the status quo. So, again, telling them about the latest and greatest … and 20% more … and 30% more … That’s not as interesting to them. They’re not as impressed by those sorts of things.

Whether you’re in non-profit or in for-profit, that gate keeper role is just magnified on this side of the marketing lane. And that’s been the most interesting thing for me to discover in my first few quarters on the job here.

Matt:  That’s fascinating.

We’re talking to Guy Weismantel. He is the CMO at Pushpay today. We’re talking a little bit about different go-to-market approaches when you sort of get outside of the sometimes the eco-chamber that many of us work within in SaaS companies and technology companies and selling to different markets.

Is there a difference, as well, with an audience that maybe doesn’t have as much experience buying? Where, if you’re selling into a CMO, you’re selling into a CIO, part of their job is buying things and supporting their organizations. And then you go into a non-profit where you’ve got an executive director. You go into a church and your decision maker’s an executive pastor. Like, their job is not buying stuff, right? Is that true in the environment you’re selling into? And if it is, is there a difference in the way that you approach that buyer?

Guy:  There absolutely is. I’ll give some shades of gray. In a larger non-profit, in a larger school university, in a mega-church, those folks have really large staff. Like, 300, 400 people. So they’ll behave like a pretty normal organization and even in some kind of mid-size philanthropic organizations, you’ll have people, and you see this a lot and maybe some folks listening do this on the side where they have people that have come from the for-profit side and now are in the non-profit or space side. So, they’re bringing a ton of their expertise from their professional lives, and maybe they’re volunteering. They’re serving in a volunteer role. You see that a lot in these types of organizations.

So, on the one hand, there is the same degree of sophistication, especially as you get into larger groups where they have full-time people on staff that are thinking about the same thing that maybe a more traditional go-to-market approach would. Like the CMO, like you talked about. If I’m talking to a head of communications for a really large non-profit or church, they have the same issues and they know the same things that I do as a CMO. But, here’s the challenge. You do get, again, whether it’s the gate keeper, where you get into a little bit of a smaller organization where, again, we have done a pretty good job of it, but we had to kind of rebuild the approach to say, “Well, what makes this person interested or will spur them to act?” Because it’s clearly not the traditional kind of approach of, “We can do more for you.” Because they’re not looking for more profit. They don’t really need more profit. A lot of times, what you find is it’s around, “How do we save you time?”

I’ll give you a great example. For a lot of our churches, they’ll have a service on Sunday and they’ll have collections and they’ll collect money and donations and giving from all the people that are there. Then, for the bookkeeper, most of their Monday, and sometimes part of Tuesday, is all the financial reconciliation of that. That is a huge part of their time.

If I can cut that down by 50, 60, 70%, now I have their attention. Now that’s something that’s interesting. So, it’s a twist on, “Hey, we can increase something by 50, 60, 70 … Actually, I can save you five hours out of your day. Is that interesting?” Okay, that could be super interesting because I already don’t like this part of my job anyway.

And again, I think that’s applicable in any industry. Sometimes it’s not the most obvious thing, in terms of the bright shiny number. It might be something kind of under the radar a little bit that actually is more qualitative and it goes to how they can be better at their job, or get recognition or accolades, or save some time. Those kind of fluffy, less quantitative things sometimes are what gets us through.

Matt:  Very interesting.

I’m curious, in terms of your internal culture as well, the organization is obviously a for-profit company and is trying to make money. One of our clients was a company that was in the church management software space and it was founded by folks that were trying to make money, but there were also Christian values that were being used and solid within the organization. Did you find any of that at Pushpay, in terms of the founders are the reasons why this exists? And are there some parts of the business that change at all how you go-to-market?

Guy:  There are some. I think Pushpay’s done a really good job from the beginning at really positioning itself as a technology company that serves these types of organizations and not an extension of these organizations. There certainly are a number of groups that someone from a church or a non-profit decided, “Well, I should start a software company. I can build an app. Or I can do something.” There’s a lot of those things. Their marketing will be reflective of that. It’s like, “Built by a pastor, for pastors.” Or, “Built by an executive director and I know your market because I was in your market.”

That certainly is the case in many places, but I think what the company realized early on is that these types of organizations have really not been well served because the existing technology. Because you have a lot of these small companies that don’t have a development staff and a support staff and they can’t keep innovating. So, you end up in a situation where you have a chance to kind of disrupt the status quo because you’ve got a lot of old, outdated, in many cases, on-premise technology. And when you have these organizations that are trying to reach new people to give and donate their time and their money for the causes that they care about, suddenly you can come in with a team that continually innovates. That brings the same consumer experience that everyone already has on their phones to their non-profit or church organization. That becomes a different discussion that becomes really interesting.

Unlike other types of companies in this space that have a development staff of four, five, or a dozen. When you’ve got 150 developers and support staff that are thinking about this every day, that starts to impact them. The type of experience you can deliver to your customers. I think there is a line where certainly a reflection of the people that we serve we want to make sure that we hew closely to the values that they have and they’re going to be looking at that. And these types of organizations are very concerned about image. That doesn’t always go right for them, so they definitely hold their vendors to a standard.

But having said that, we want to make it clear that we’re a public company. We don’t play favorites or have anything like that. We just want to make sure that we are aligned with the goodness that a lot of these customers do. I think from a marketing perspective, that’s super interesting. I’ve never had the chance to align marketing with some of the amazing outcomes. Like, building wells, and feeding people, and giving clothes to people who don’t have any. That is really cool to market, as well.

Matt:  That is really interesting stuff.

We’re gonna have to take a quick break here and pay some bills. We’ll be back. More with Guy Weismantel. He’s the CMO at Pushpay. We’re gonna talk more about what’s working today in SaaS software sales. We’re gonna talk about team building and culture.

Much more. We’ll be right back. Sales Pipeline Radio.

*Break*

Matt:  Paul, we might have to do a college football special edition of Sales Pipeline Radio.

Paul:  I think so.

Matt:  I am not kidding. It’d be super fun. Maybe we can bring Guy back and we can bring him in mid-season and he’ll either be gloating or commiserating. I don’t know. What I love about college football, when you’re a fan of a professional team, people use the ‘we.’ They make themselves part of the team. Like, you didn’t do anything. Right? You’re not part of this team.

Paul:  We won this weekend. Yeah.

Matt:  But if it’s your school, you went there. Just like those kids are going there now. There is a ‘we’ as part of that. I think that’s what makes it so special.

Paul:  I agree. I never heard of that before. I think you’re onto something.

Matt:  Okay, we’re going to have to schedule that in here at some point.

Alright, we got a couple more minutes here with our guest today. Thank you so much, everyone, for joining us on Sales Pipeline Radio today. If you like what you’re hearing, you can definitely get the copy of this episode on demand in a couple days at salespipelineradio.com.

Comin’ up next week, we’ve got Norman Behar. He’s one of the founding partners of the Sales Readiness Group. He is focused on sales training, especially training sales managers. He’s got some new research and some new insights we’ll be talking about next week. Then, later on in the end of August, we’ve got Elay Cohen. He is the co-founder of SalesHood, which is a sales enablement and sales training platform. We’re gonna talk about a new book he’s got coming out around employee enablement, sales enablement, sales operations. It’s really good.

But, a little more today with Guy Weismantel. He is the CMO at Pushpay and been at the company for six months or so. Talk a little bit about team building culture within marketing. What were some of your priorities and strategies coming in? And what have you prioritized putting in place in the first half of the year?

Guy:  It was really great to inherit and come on board with a really good team in place. The team that had helped build the company up to where it’s been. But I think that a lot of companies kind of get to this level, the early stage growth, where there’s no competition. You just are in huge customer acquisition mode and now, it’s a crowded market. A lot of companies have seen the success that Pushpay has had and the buyers start to get more sophisticated.

So, one of the reasons that I was really excited to join when I did was that the company’s at a really great inflection point to kind of switch over. We do things like ABM and we think about going deep on our buyer personas and we’ve got to build out things like product marketing. Where, as before, if it was just like, “Hey, let’s run paid search and just do Facebook ads and people will just kind of flock to us.” Now, it’s a little bit more outbound focused where we’re having to go really engage with people. Educate them on why Pushpay and kind of get them over to sales and keep the train moving so we can continue the pace of growth.

As you think about that sort of situation coming into it, that kind of dictates the skill set and the type of talent that you need to bring on. I was really clear with Chris Heaslip, our CEO who’s a phenomenal guy and talked to him for several months before coming on. I told him at the beginning, I’m not interested in building the best non-profit church marketing team. I’m interested in building the best marketing team.

He’s a huge fan of marketing and whole-heartedly supports what we’re doing here in the company. So, the one maybe different lens and it’s not an exclusive because I think we all look at this market and we want the best people, right? At Pushpay, just because of the customers we serve, it’s not this generic auto manufacturer, or telecom provider. These are organizations that many people and employees here belong to and participate in.

So, while not having any sort of filter on, “Hey, do you go to church? Or, do you give to non-profits?” It is important that we can put ourselves in our customers shoes. And again, that’s no different than any other company. I didn’t have to pass any special test to come here, but I think it important that, if we’re going to be able to tell those stories and position how we can help. Again, not in an overbearing way because you have customers that in some cases recoil a little bit if they think you’re being too heavy handed because they don’t have the same profit mode maybe that Pushpay does … that we’ve got to be able to walk a mile in our customer’s shoes. We’ve got to be able to understand what motivates them and have a kind ear for that.

That’s really been the only other filter that I’ve applied other than I just want people who love to win, who are really good at what they do, have an open mind in terms of learning, and we’ve been able to recruit really well because how different this opportunity is. Because, again, it’s just not that often where you can see the direct results of someone using your product is clean drinking water. And that’s just a great experience. You’ll have lots of other experiences I can recruit people again.

I do a lot of other things, but for this experience, what you do is gonna have a direct impact on doing some good in the world. Which, I think we’d all agree is a good thing right now. So, that’s really attractive for people to say, “Wow, I can tell great stories, which is what marketing is about. I can have the latest tools.” We’ve done a lot of in depth in a lot of the vendors and tools that everyone else is using. And we can do it in a way that we’ve got a kind eye toward people doing good in the world. That’s a really cool combination.

Matt:  Just a couple more minutes before we have to wrap up here. I’m curious, we’re well into cue three now, as they look at their second half of the year and into next year, what are some of the things that you think are going to continue to be challenging or a challenge that emerges that you’re thinking about in advance and trying to address? Specifically around your go-to-market strategy.

Guy:  Yeah. More and more competitors are coming in as they see the opportunity. Some of them are free. You kind of have this premium type of competitor. Pushpay’s a more premium size competitor that lives at the middle and top end of the market. So, we’re always looking at how do you compete with free when someone doesn’t know the difference? A lot of our challenge is around education. And getting to that customer first so that we can kind of make sure they understand why we’re different and why that difference matters and why they should be willing to pay for that. You always have really big organizations that take a look at the space and the success and go, “Wow, maybe we should get into that as well.” So, you see a bit of that happening.

But, for us, even as fast as we’ve grown, we have a fraction of the marketplace. It’s a huge addressful market. So, for us, it’s really around how do we implement some of these amazing marketing systems that many of your listeners are using today and apply them to really keep our growth super charged, while we pay attention to the folks that are circling us. When you’re a leader, that’s what happens. That’s what’s on plate for the rest of this year, for sure.

Matt:  I love it.

Last question for Guy Weismantel, CMO of Pushpay.

We ask many of our guests, “Do you look across your career and the people you’ve learned from, who are a couple people that maybe stand out?” They could be professors. They could be authors. Alive or dead. Who are some of the people that have really influenced you in your marketing career that you might recommend other people check out as well?

Guy:  Yeah, there’s a professor. He was at Kellogg where I went. His name is Steve Rogers. He was at Harvard last time I looked. Brilliant professor. Published. Just a great guy and I owe a lot to him because when I was working at a start with my dad, we knew nothing about going to get money. And this guy took a chance and helped me outline what a business plan looked like, and helped me get it written, and let me pitch ideas to get ready. I owe a lot of my early career to someone like that.

There’s another gentleman by the name of Dave Kellogg, who many of your listeners may know. Dave’s been around Silicon Valley in a number of different capacities. A really great, hard-nosed, strong CMO VP of Marketing when I was at Business Objects, who really drilled into me the importance of messaging and positioning and getting that right for your customer.

Those two people are people that really had an impact and influence on my career, as I’ve been able to go forward as well.

Matt:  Love it. Thank you for sharing that today. And thanks, Guy, so much for joining us on another episode of Sales Pipeline Radio.

If you like what you hear, you want to share this with some of your team. Share this with some of your colleagues. In a couple days we’ll have this episode available on demand up on salespipelineradio.com. We’ll also take a transcript of this and put some of the highlights up at heinzmarketing.com the beginning of the following week.

Join us the next couple weeks. We got a lot of great guests as we finish up our summer at Pipeline here.

For my great producer, Paul, this is Matt Heinz. Thanks for joining us for another episode. Sales Pipeline Radio.

Paul:  You’ve been listening to another episode of Sales Pipeline Radio from the good folks at Matt Heinz Marketing. Right here on the Funnel Radio Channel for at work listeners, like you.

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