Sales Pipeline Radio, Episode 156: Q&A with Derek Slayton @DerekSlayton


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Late in 2015 we started Sales Pipeline Radio, 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’ve featured an impressive list of guests and 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 and subscribe on Spotify,  iTunesBlubrry, Google Play, or Stitcher

We were thrilled this last time to talk to Derek Slayton, CMO at Terminus in an episode called, The State of ABM in 2019: Stay Ahead & Drive Revenue Impact

The future of marketing’s leadership role is the central topic between Derek Slayton, CMO of Terminius, the ABM Platform company.  We discuss the future of account-based marketing, and side-track into the important area of marketing’s revenue responsibility.  Derek contends tB2B marketing is no longer a red balloon versus a blue balloon’s discussion just about lead generation; today it’s about the partnerships between sales, marketing and the CFO with the focus on revenue.

Derek says Marketing has to be forward leaning into the revenue discussion and held accountable for holding up their part of the revenue bargain.  “We get lost in our to-do list,” and the most notable CMO’s balance the use of tools and leadership to advance the strategic goals of the company.  This is an episode every marketing leader should listen to more than once.

For more on ABM insights with Derek and me, check out the on-demand recording of our recent Webinar, Critical Insights from the 2018 State of ABM Survey

Listen in or read the transcript below for the Sales Pipeline Radio Podcast:

Paul:  Welcome back for another episode of Sales Pipeline. Grab your board. We’re going to swim out in the sea of ideas and see if we can’t see that sales pipeline starting to curl up out in the ocean there with the man who knows how to catch every wave, Matt Heinz.

Matt:  Well, I’m hoping that a lot of sales professionals are flushing out that sales pipeline and closing some deals as we record this on the last day of February. But I have been a little worried about you, Paul.

Paul:  Have you?

Matt:  Yeah. Well, last couple of episodes we were talking about beach drizzle out there. So I want to make sure that you are. It looks like the studio is dry. Are you okay?

Paul:  It’s a little drizzly out there again. I didn’t want to start off on negativity. We got some criticism saying Paul’s being down and negative just because it’s raining here in Southern California. But I’m telling you, it’s a disaster, and, again, it’s overcast and drizzly.

Matt:  Oh, yeah. Well, okay. So for a third week in a row, Paul is having to deal with a little bit of the weather, but the entire rest of the country deals with.

Paul:  We’re not used to this. We don’t get weather. The best job in the world is to be the weatherman in Southern California because every day it’s 70 and sunny. When it’s not, we’re discombobulated. We’re upset.

Matt:  Right. Earlier this week, our guest today and many people in the B2B marketing were down in Scottsdale for the B2B Exchange, which many years, including this year kind of represents the beginning of spring conference season. We’ve got a lot more coming up here, and we’ll be taking Sales Pipeline Radio on the road and broadcasting live for many of them over the course of the next couple weeks and months.

Thanks very much for joining us today on Sales Pipeline Radio, our last episode of February. If you’re joining us live on the Funnel Media Radio Network, thanks so much for doing so. If you listen to the podcast, thanks for subscribing. Thanks for downloading. We are well over 50,000 subscribers now as we head into the last part of Q1. And every episode of Sales Pipeline Radio is always available past, present, and future on We are featuring every week some of the best and brightest minds in B2B sales and marketing. Today is absolutely no different. Very excited to have a friend of mine, friend of the business, Chief Marketing Officer for Terminus, Derek Slayton.

Derek, thanks so much for joining us today.

Derek:  Hey, Matt. Great to be with you.

Matt:  If you were to compare Scottsdale weather versus Atlanta weather versus I’m assuming you’re going to be heading home to Boston weather here soon, kind of give me a state of your week here.

Derek:  Yeah, well to be honest, I’m not actually out in Scottsdale. The whole team’s out there, but I didn’t get a chance to go. I was in the Caribbean with my family for a quick vacation last week. So I got a four quadrant weather update for you. Beautiful in the Caribbean. I heard it was gorgeous in Scottsdale. It’s nice in Atlanta, and I’m flying home to 18 degree weather in Boston. So we’ll run the whole gambit across the country there.

Matt:  My gosh. Well, I was in Denver yesterday for our latest CMO breakfast, and it was in the teens most of the day Tuesday and Wednesday. And yeah, for this West Coast boy, that gets a little chilly to be outside. But appreciate you joining the call today. There’s so many things we could talk about. The growth of ABM, the growth of Terminus as a key component of that. We’ll get into some of those elements, but I wanted to start with you. You and I got to know each other from your time at NetProspex, and you joined a startup, which was acquired by a large company Dun and Bradstreet, and now you’re back in startup land. So talk a little bit about what it’s been like to go from startup to big company and now back to startup.

Derek:  Yeah. Well I think the first observation I would probably make, Matt, is the atrophy rate of the CMO is incredibly high and something I didn’t necessarily appreciate coming back into a startup world from B2B. So just for those of you who haven’t been following my career, and I assume that’s most of you, I was at NetProspex, as Matt mentioned, smaller startup company ran both product and marketing there, got acquired by D&B. At D&B, spent about three, a little more than three years there with some great people and very big company, changes a lot of what we were doing from a product and marketing perspective. But jumped back into Terminus about six months ago, and yeah, I think what I would just say candidly is I didn’t have as much appreciate as I probably should have for how much this industry changes and how jumping back into a CMO role three years after I had been in one, I was jumping back into a dramatically different pond than I was expecting. So I had to get my CMO muscles tuned back up.

I also think it’s just joining a smaller company from a company that had great people but because it was big, sometimes struggled with decision making and being quick and nimble. There definitely are some learnings on being aware of your ability to initiate change inside a small company being high. That also comes with perspective of being careful with how many levers you choose to switch because you have much more access to those levers than you probably did at a large company.

Matt:  I mean, you have a really unique perspective having been in MarTech, kind of got out literally just a couple years, and then coming back and to recognize that speed of maturation and just sort of a progression in the industry is interesting. What do you think the implications there are though for those that never left the industry but many of us stare at our same four walls every day. So we know what we know and we know what we’re executing. How important is it to continue to sort of whether it’s be at the conferences or to talk to your peers, to make sure that you are keeping that edge as a marketing leader?

Derek:  Yeah. I think sometimes many of us get, to your point, Matt, get kind of caught up in the regularity of whatever job we’re currently in, and any time you change jobs, it can be an opportunity to take a fresh look at something because you have to. And I actually think my advice is to try to make sure you’re doing that on a regular basis in your existing job and to provide that outside perspective to what your company’s doing and what you’re team’s doing, what you’re personally doing, and oftentimes using conferences or even just customer visits or time out of the office as a great opportunity to kind of turn that switch on and exercise that muscle a bit because I think it’s critical. You can get lost in your to-do list. I know I do. We all struggle with that I’m sure.

Matt:  Talking today on Sales Pipeline Radio with Derek Slayton. He is the Chief Marketing Officer for Terminus, and you’ve been there about seven months. But I’m sure it probably feels like you’ve been there a while. There’s been a lot going on in the company. There’s a lot going on in the marketing events in the brand. I know you guys recently just went through a bit of a rebrand with Terminus, and would love to have you talk a little bit about that from two perspectives. One, I definitely see you more as a demand gen guy, more as a sales pipeline guy, and I know you have said your historically not a brand guy. So curious how did you manage a brand project without that being a brand guy because I’m sure a lot of people are going through that or will go through that? And also, you guys did this entirely in house. You didn’t hire brand agency. You didn’t hire an ad agency to help. So talk about this journey for you and talk about sort of the pros and cons of doing it internally.

Derek:  Yeah. Well, I have a lot to say on this. I’m pretty passionate about it. I’m really just candidly taken a lot of energy from the project, and it’s been a wonderful kind of experience for me to go through it. As you mentioned, I classify myself more as a demand pipeline and products person versus a brand person. I tend to think that if you build great experiences with the solutions you have, your brand takes care of itself, and if you can drive pipeline, your sales people will be happy. But brand is really important. I think it’s increasingly important as the commoditization of B2B and all products kind of comes to fruition, and that case, your brand’s story and that representation that you have with your customer can really should be your key differentiator.

And with Terminus being a company that’s growing and evolving so quickly, coming out of a space where we were a little bit more of a niche provider to now being a much more comprehensive kind of platform, count-based platform provider, I recognize that our current brand when I joined versus our current offering in the market and our strategic nature that we were filling with our customers didn’t match up. And we definitely needed to take a big step forward and corral kind of our brand story, our brand values, and our brand assets. So that was something that I definitely recognized coming in.

The decision to do it in house was really came from a couple different avenues. One is we just happened, I happened to be blessed with having a couple in house designers that are just fantastic. And that’s actually a luxury that I hadn’t been accustomed to having at other startups. This is now my sixth startup company. If I can not feel depressed about saying that, and I’ve always had external agencies, never really had internal designers available for marketing. We have that here for a number of reasons, and they’re all good ones.

So as we looked at our brand and we as we looked at what we were trying to do and as I looked at the talent we had and also just talking to some folks out in the market, I spent some time with Ryan Bonnici, who’s at G2. There was a great rebrand that the folks at Asana drove where they had a wonderful blog where they talked about the process they went through that was super helpful. We just kind of felt like we had enough understanding of what we’re trying to do. We had enough bandwidth and design capabilities in house who was willing to take on the project, and we kind of knew where we wanted to go. And I would just say my learning was that look. If that fits, doing it in house, it just takes away so much of the other external challenges that come with a brand project because they typically are very expensive. You’re talking about hundreds of thousands of dollars. And agencies come in and they typically want to run through a fairly laborious process, for good reasons, that we just felt like we didn’t necessarily need.

So the takeaway was that we were able to do it in a little less than three months. I think we got a really gorgeous new brand mark and brand story that came out of it. I think it really fits with what we wanted to do, and we were able to execute quickly and candidly. In startup world, as you well know, saving a penny for other endeavors is not ever a bad thing. So that was also a good side benefit as well.

Matt:  Love it. Well, let’s talk a little bit about the MarTech space that you are now firmly back into. The number of tools out there continues to proliferate. I think those specifically in the companies marketing space also continue to expand and mature. Talk a little bit about what you see now that you’re back in terms of everything from the consolidation of tools to especially for those listening, what are some of the skillsets and attributes that are required for modern marketers to be conversant and to be capable with the MarTech tools they need to succeed?

Derek:  Yeah. I mean, I think the tool ware industry has definitely gone a bit haywire, and I think we’re seeing that. I think even internally here when I joined, we had a number of MarTech tools that we weren’t necessarily putting to good use. And sometimes a lot of that goes with the people and the churn that you might have internally. So in many cases, you have people turn over and people that brought in a tool are no longer at the company. The knowledge transfer just doesn’t happen, and therefore the tool can fit a little bit idle.

I think what I see happening now is kind of a return to the basics and saying what are our core objectives as a team and how does our technology need to be constructed to help us do what we really care the most about. As opposed to, we have all these tools, let’s make sure we use them the way we think they’re supposed to be used. And I think what we’re seeing is because the solutions are getting better, the vendors are spreading their wings a bit. There is a ton of overlap in kind of some of the use cases that many of those tools support, and I’m just seeing folks being much more diligent about I’m trying to do X and have actually three pieces of technology internally that can partially help me with that, whatever X is. Let me pick one and pick a vendor that’s going to help deliver 100% of what I need, and let me drop the other two tools. And I think the skillset that is required in marketing in that arena is really being much more aware of what the business objectives actually are and how do I map my technology to those business objectives.

Matt:  Love it. Well, we’re going to have to take a quick break, pay some bills. We’ll be back with more with Derek Slayton. He’s the CMO, Chief Marketing Officer, for Terminus, account meets marketing platform. We’re going to be talking a little more about sort of the strategic nature of marketing in B2B and the revenue responsible role marketing is playing. We’re going to tease a little bit, both a state of ABM survey as well as an upcoming event. If you’re in ABM, you’re not going to want to miss. We’ll be right back on Sales Pipeline Radio.


Paul:  Okay. Let’s pick it back up with Matt and his guest as they throw another shrimp on the barbie and tell us more about the state of ABM in 2019.

Matt:  Thank you very much, Paul. Well, excited. Got a little more here with Derek Slayton, the CMO of Terminus. Next couple weeks, you’re going to find some really cool stuff on Sales Pipeline Radio. We have the Senior Vice President of the Seattle Mariners. She’s been with the organization for 23 years. She runs everything from individual ticket sales to group ticket sales to corporate sales to suite sales, a little B2B, a little B2C. She has an overview of a lot of inside sales people as well. So thought it’d be interesting to get her perspective. We’ll have that on the show here next couple weeks.

Also, Jamie Shanks, he is the founder of a company called Sales for Life, and he has just completed a book called SPEAR Selling, talking about how sales organizations and sales leaders can really build a program focused on going after a specific audience. So not just selling with nets, fishing with nets but fishing with spears.

Matt:  Speaking of fishing with spears, more on the ABM side, the account-based marketing side, with our guest today, Derek Slayton. Derek, talk a little bit about maybe not necessarily the state of ABM survey report, which I know we are intentionally avoiding a little bit today because we’ve got a webinar next week and we’ve got some other promotional elements around that. So we will cover that a little later, but you guys also have a new just, literally earlier this week, announced a new conference or an expanded conference coming up this summer for account-based marketing professionals. Talk a little bit about what’s coming up.

Derek:  Yeah. Happy to, and thanks, Matt. So for those of you who have been following the space, we’ve been driving Flip My Funnel community since the inception of Terminus was actually a founding principle. It’s a company which is really the movement around account-based marketing, and Flip My Funnel has been an event that we’ve run with a lot of love since the beginning of the company. We had over 1000 marketers in Boston. We run it in August every year. We also partner up with the folks at the Demand Gen and G3 Communications, our big sponsors of B2B MX, which is the event in Arizona we were just chatting about earlier. Those guys are very interested in getting an East Coast presence. We were very interested in expanding the reach in the audience around Flip My Funnel. So we’re super happy to be partnering with those guys and running a kind of co located event the same times we usually do in August in Boston at the new Encore hotel there, which is a fabulous property. It’s the 12th and 13th of August. It’ll bring together a bunch of different content tracks.

Flip My Funnel will be kept as a standalone thing nested inside this larger event with a lot more relevance. It’s actually going to be at the sales and marketing summit. So we’re bringing together both sides of the revenue machine and making sure that we’re driving that continued alignment story around being a partnership between sales and marketing as we go to market. I think that’s one of the underlying principles of account-based marketing.

So if you’re an account-based marketer or just a B2B marketer looking to get better, I’d encourage you to check out that event. We’ll have some more information in the coming months about how to sign up and register for it. It is the 12th and 13th of August in Boston at the gorgeous Encore hotel, which is a brand new property just opening up. So if nothing else, bookmark a calendar so you have the space. And we’re definitely looking forward to bringing Flip My Funnel and account-based marketing, practitioner content to a larger audience this year in Boston.

Matt:  Yeah. Save the date for sure. The conferences that Terminus has put on the Flip My Funnel movement have always been great, great speakers, great attendees. If you want to get out and learn from other people that are doing account-based marketing at various stages of maturity, highly, highly recommend it.

Let’s talk a little more about that sort of nature of B2B today. I think the fact that you guys are expanding this to be a sales and marketing conference is further evidence that marketing is really being asked to step up to the table to not just drive demand but really have revenue responsibility. Talk a little bit about the increasingly important but also complex objectives marketing has around customer experience, around creating more operational efficiency between sales and marketing. What does that look like for you, and how has that been a big part of sort your early days at Terminus?

Derek:  Yeah. I mean, I think it’s definitely a trend that I’ve been trumpeting myself for a number of years now. I’m seeing it in other companies I think in B2B were marketing used to be kind of red balloons or blue balloons at the conference. It’s now a dramatically different situation. And I think that’s a wonderful thing but I think as I look at what I’ve been asked to help with at previous companies and at this company, it does require a deeper level of partnership between myself, our chief revenue officer, our chief financial officer because what we’re actually looking to drive is efficiencies across the business, and that comes down to how do we balance the dollars we’re investing in people and programs in the market with the revenue expectations we have for the business and the profit or op X requirements that we have as a company.

And I think as a marketer today, as a B2B marketer today, you need to be capable of sitting at the table and having those discussions and actually playing a role much larger than just lead generation or brand within the context of the company. And you see lots of marketing organizations taking on strategic projects. Whether it’s customer experience as a whole or pulling in sales development for lead qualification and demand generation through to meeting setting or business development or other initiatives that are maybe traditionally broader than just the normal marketing arena has been. So I think that’s an interesting kind of development and definitely requires marketing leaders to be forward leaning in terms of looking at the business more objectively and looking for places where the companies can be altered for the better and taking a leadership role in that regard.

Matt:  What do you think it takes for marketers to sort of elevate some of that as a part of their priorities? I mean, Terminus is I would consider more of a progressive company that just kind of gets that sales and marketing should be working together. I think you get outside of tech, you get outside of SaaS and MarTech, you see a lot more marketers that even if they believe they should embrace revenue responsibility, the sales team is surprisingly defensive and sort of resistant to that. You got executive leadership that don’t necessarily see marketing in that. What would be your advice to marketers that understand this is a role they need to play but need to manage the internal culture to try to get there?

Derek:  Yeah. I think part of it is accountability and how you measure your teams and how you structure your teams. One thing I’ve been very kind of cognizant about is making sure that as I’ve watched the team in marketing, I have great leaders in core aspects of the marketing organization to be able to scale appropriately so that I can help drive those conversations a little bit more strategically. Another piece is just within one of those functions, typically demand gen, make sure that that leader is somebody who has some experience with sales, possibly has been in sales, is sitting down on a daily basis with the sales leaders that we’re supporting to understand how they’re compensated and measured and what they’re trying to do with their teams and how they can help.

And I think when marketing starts to deliver on those promises and be much more of an aligned organization around helping sales be more effective in whatever it is being measured by, which is typically revenue. Then you kind of buy the equity to be more of a partner at the bigger table on how do we change the way we invest in this business and therefore a dollar that the CFO has to allocate doesn’t become a dollar that gets argued between the sales leader and the marketing leader. It’s a discussion about where are we going to get more leverage from this dollar. Should we put it into an event or a marketing program or do we want to put it into a sales rep or a sales development rep? And you can have much more kind of constructive conversations once you’ve built that level of trust I think.

Matt:  Love it. Well, just a couple more minutes here before we have to wrap up. I want to ask you about some of your influences as you’ve kind of made your way through your career. People, authors, managers, professors, people that have had a particular influence on you. Who are like one or two maybe that you would highlight that you might recommend other people check out as well?

Derek:  Yeah. I think I fall back on this fair amount when I’ve chatted with others. I was at Citrix Systems. We got as a small company in Boston. We got acquired by Citrix Systems in 2006. I should know that year. It was the year my son was born. We actually got acquired the same week he was born. We thought about naming him Citrix but we didn’t.

Matt:  That’s good.

Derek:  The CEO at Citrix is a guy by the name of Mark Templeton. He’s now a CEO of DigitalOcean. He has been an incredibly awesome influence in my career just because of his ability to have empathy for people who work with him, to understand how to motivate people in a way that gets them to buy in to what’s going on, to have an understanding of what is the customer experience we’re trying to deliver. And I think as a company, that’s a really important thing, and marketing needs to be right in the middle of making sure that we’re clear on what that is and what our brand values are and what our key attributes that we really think are most critical.

So Mark continues to be just a great influence over how to lead, how to work with people, how to inspire the most out of the people you work with, both people that work on your team and people that you work with on other teams. So he’s one that I draw back on a fair amount.

From an author perspective, and I say this with a little bit of reservation because it’s probably been said a hundred million times before, but I think that’s actually just a compliment to the individual. I really love the way that Seth Godin provides tidbits that make you think about how you want to drive your marketing message and what you’re doing from a product perspective to higher levels. And I’ve used his stuff regularly within teams I’ve worked with. In fact, I bought everybody on my team a copy of his new book, This Is Marketing. I think it’s got a ton of kind of connection to what we’re trying to do here at Terminus from a work with people who should be working with your kind of perspective, which is really at the core of account-based marketing to begin with. So he’s one that I continue to use time and time again. I think he has a great ability to net out really great tidbits of info that have great meaning and actually not only that, they have a great way of making you think deeper about whatever challenges you’re thinking about in your current job. So he’s another one I would mention.

Matt:  Love it. Well, we unfortunately are out of time. We’re going to have to wrap it up. We want to thank our guest today Derek Slayton. He’s the Chief Marketing Officer for Terminus. We will certainly put in the notes a few links of things we talked about today. We will keep you abreast once we have registration information for the conference coming up in August with Terminus and Demand Gen. So thank you for that. And that’s all we got time for today, Paul.

On behalf of my great producer Paul, this is Matt Heinz. Thank you for joining us for another episode of Sales Pipeline Radio.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Matt Heinz
Prolific author and nationally recognized, award-winning blogger, Matt Heinz is President and Founder of Heinz Marketing with 20 years of marketing, business development and sales experience from a variety of organizations and industries. He is a dynamic speaker, memorable not only for his keen insight and humor, but his actionable and motivating takeaways.Matt’s career focuses on consistently delivering measurable results with greater sales, revenue growth, product success and customer loyalty.


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