In episode four of the Revenue Rehab podcast, ‘’Everyone Has An Opinion: Building Influence Across the Organization’’, Brandi Starr was joined by Christina Del Villar, A Silicon Valley Marketing Executive Consultant, and author who helps companies transform, grow and scale, by leveraging technology.
In this episode, Christina discusses how marketing professionals need to be recognized as the company revenue generators that they are. The main revenue generators have traditionally been associated with sales, but as Christina points out, without marketing, companies have no leads.
Emphasizing the importance of feeling empowered to help generate revenue, Christina believes that every person in the company should lean into this, and marketing teams are no exception.
Christina also discusses how marketing professionals are the backbone of every company, yet continually get undervalued, as she has first-handedly experience in the boardroom. Christina talks passionately about how marketers deserve, and need, a proper seat at the table.
Filled with advice that every marketing professional needs to hear, we promise that you will love listening to this episode!
Focus on relationship building with people from other organizations. It will help you to learn more, have more empathy, and start to build trust. Go find somebody in another organization, and try to see things from their perspective.
The term ‘’authentic.’’, because Christina thinks it’s used incorrectly. She discusses how often, when people are labeled as inauthentic, this isn’t always the case, we might just not like them or like the way they’re doing things.
Welcome to Revenue Rehab, your one stop destination for collective solutions to the biggest challenges faced by marketing leaders today. Now head on over to the couch, make yourself comfortable and get ready to change the way you approach revenue. Leading your recovery his modern marketer, author, speaker and Chief Operating Officer at Tegrita, Brandi Starr.
[0:34] Brandi Starr:
Hello, hello, hello and welcome to another episode of Revenue Rehab. I am your host Brandi Starr and I am really excited. Today I am joined by Christina Del Villar. So Christina is a Silicon Valley Marketing Executive Consultant, an author who geeks out on helping companies transform, grow and scale, leveraging technology with over 25 years of experience at Fortune 100 Companies and more than 20 startups. Christina has developed go-to marketing and marketing strategies for exponential growth, new product launches, acquisitions and IPOs, particularly for high growth companies where she leverages her experience and industry perspective to take them to the next level. Christina's grit marketing method focuses on helping marketing professionals to build smarter programs, be more efficient, and exponentially grow revenue to improve overall company performance. Her book, Sway: Implement the G.R.I.T. Marketing Method to Gain Influence and Drive Corporate Strategy arrived in bookstores in August 2021. So Christina, welcome to Revenue Rehab, your session begins now.
[1:59] Christina Del Villar:
Thank you Brandi, thank you so much for having me. Obviously, I love talking about this topic, so this is going to be fun.
[2:05] Brandi Starr:
Yes, I am super excited to have you. We've talked before and I'm so impressed with just you as a person, the way that you think, the way that you put together the book and help to drive influence, so I'm excited to bring that to our audiences today. But before we jump into it, I like to break the ice with a little bit of a whoosah moment that I like to call buzzword banishment. So we all have those buzzwords that are overused, that we cringe every time they're said. So Christina, this is your opportunity, what buzzword would you like to banish?
[2:48] Christina Del Villar:
So this might be controversial, but I would like to banish the buzzword authentic. I know, I know, you know what I think the reason is because I think it's used incorrectly. Because people are judging people based on authenticity. And they're saying, oh, that person isn't authentic, when in fact, they are authentic, we might just not like them or like the way they're doing things. So when you say that about a person or a company, maybe they really are being authentic. Again, it's just not the same culture or tone that you're used to. So maybe not banish it, but make sure that people understand the definition of it.
[3:28] Brandi Starr:
Really, really interesting that that is your buzzword. A couple of episodes ago, I guess that was episode two, I talked to Andrea Lechner-Becker...
[03:42] Christina Del Villar:
[03:42] Brandi Starr:
You know Andrea, and we were talking about when you are not super ladylike in the boardroom, and how that bias of women executives especially, happens. So her and I talked a lot about authenticity and being your authentic self. So for those listening, if you haven't listened to episode two, make sure to jump back a couple episodes and give that one a listen after you finish this session with Christina and I, because we do talk a lot about the fact that being your authentic self also means that people don't always like it.
[04:23] Christina Del Villar:
[04:24] Brandi Starr:
As much as I love the word authentic and authenticity, we will put it in the box, we'll lock it up, and at least for this session, we will throw away the key.
[04:38] Christina Del Villar:
[04:39] Brandi Starr:
So now that we've gotten that off our chest, tell me what brings you to Revenue Rehab today.
[4:45] Christina Del Villar:
Well, I am super excited to be here. When you mentioned in the intro, what my book is about my book is really all about the influence that people, especially marketing people, but everyone in an organization can have to help drive that revenue. So obviously you are talking about all about revenue. And I think it's from a very interesting perspective, and that is how can marketing professionals help generate, maintain, and actually be recognized as the revenue generators that we are. And again to your book CMO to CRO, it's really critical. Because that is the role we play, we're just not seen as the revenue generator for our companies, and we need to shift that narrative.
[5:31] Brandi Starr:
I am with you there.
[05:33] Christina Del Villar:
I know you are.
I like to keep things zen and I also like to set an intention. And it helps keep us focused, and it helps our audience to understand what are we trying to accomplish today? So I'd like to set an intention with you, what are your best hopes for our talk today? Or what do you want people to take away from our conversation?
[5:57] Christina Del Villar:
I think that the main thing I want people to recognize is that regardless of your level in your organization, what your role is, whether you're in marketing or sales, or even product, you need to feel empowered to help generate and own revenue. I think the revenue number is a number that every single person in the company should own. And so I really want to have people start thinking about what that might look like for them and how to get there.
[6:25] Brandi Starr:
Okay, so as we jump into the conversation, I did my homework, and I went through and I found two great quotes from page one of your book. So I didn't have to dig far to find some gems, and I put them together because I really think it speaks to the heart of the problem. And so you start off by saying, "over the past 30 years, as a marketing professional, I have seen a lot in various stages of good, bad and ugly". Fast forwarding a couple paragraphs, you continue, "It’s been a wild ride. But through it all, one thing that has remained consistent marketing and marketing professionals are misunderstood, undervalued, and considered non-essential, instead of being recognized as the backbone of the company that we are." And I was like, yes! [Overlapping voices 07:21] with that one. That so spoke to me. And I know just in talking to other CMO's, really being valued and having a proper and you know, seat at the table is one of those buzzwords that I'd probably banish. But landing a proper seat at the table for marketing as a whole is really, really challenging. Can you talk a bit about what you've seen?
[7:50] Christina Del Villar:
I mean, I think it goes to -- and in the book I talk about this. Marketers do a really bad job of marketing themselves, and I think that that's a key issue that we have. But the point is that if you were to ask somebody in a company, who the main revenue generator is, most people are going to say it's sales. When in fact, without marketing, you have no company, you have no brand, you have no website, you have no leads, you really don't have anything. You don't have a process, you're not enabling sales, there's a lot of things that go in, and it's not to minimize anybody else, it's just to recognize the importance and significance that marketing actually plays in a company across the customer journey. And so I think it's really important for people to see that. But again, they're not going to see it unless we sort of help educate them. Some examples of how I've kind of felt minimized or my team has felt minimized, I went into a board meeting one time, and the entire board meeting was supposed to be focused on marketing, what we've accomplished, what we need to do to move forward and hit a revenue target and what we need in terms of resources. And so it started off as -- I wrote this amazing deck and my team was all ready to present it and then it was like, okay, well actually, you're only going to get like half an hour instead of two hours. And it's like, okay. By the time we were done, we had one slide and that was it. And they just wanted to know, how many leads did you bring in? And I'm like, well, who cares? I don't care how many leads I brought in. NQOs would have been my other banished word. The big question is, how much pipeline did we generate and how much revenue did we generate? And so I think people are missing that piece. They just think of us as that top of the funnel, how many leads did you bring in and what cool t-shirt did you make this month?
[9:35] Brandi Starr:
As marketers, it's obvious it's on us to change the perception. I mean, nobody is going to do it for us. [Overlapping voices 09:42] then the board was just like aha, marketing, you are amazing. But that's not how things work. So tell me what can we do -- so as marketing leaders, how do we start to shift that perception? How do we really get people to pay attention to the point that we are the conversation and not the one slide that gets slipped in at the end?
[10:17] Christina Del Villar:
And that we're a revenue generating organization, and not like the ones that are just spending all of the money as well, which is another issue that we have. So for me, it was interesting, when I started writing the book, my thought was, I would actually write a book for the C-suite and explain to them what it was that marketing did, the contributions we make, the value we have. And I talked to a bunch of my CXO friends, my CEO friends, I talked to VCs, and they're all like, yeah, that's great and we're excited that you're writing a book, and we're going to read your book, and I'm like great. And then you're going to take what I say and start figuring out how to disseminate that information to your teams. And they're like, oh no, we don't care about marketing. And I was like, oh okay. And so I was like, I can write a book that nobody's going to read or care about, or I can flip it around and really help those in the organization start to build influence internally. So that's basically what we're trying to get at. And to your question, what are some of the things that we can do? It really has to do with building trust. And it's kind of common sense and it's not really that hard to figure out. But the first thing you need to do is identify your customer journey. That's kind of a key thing you would need to do anyway in a marketing organization, along with your sales team. And then figure out all of the different areas that marketing already is touching or influencing; I call them touch points. Because if you do that, and you're able to identify all of those, you can then take that, whether it is you know, you're helping sales by developing a deck for them, or you're helping product by helping them understand who the net promoters are, the promoters are via your net promoter score. So there are things that marketing is just doing day in day out, probably not even thinking or recognizing it as significant or even adding value and having impact. But if we do that, and step back and start looking at all of those different things, then we can go and actually, mindfully, intentionally, literally influence them. And that's basically what I want people to do and to take away from this conversation as well.
[12:23] Brandi Starr:
It's really interesting that you bring that up. I guess it's been a year, maybe two, here lately, all the time seems to run together. But....
[12:35] Christina Del Villar:
I don't even know what day it is.
[12:38] Brandi Starr:
I was on another podcast and I was talking about metrics that matter and in that conversation, I talked about something very similar to what you're saying in that mapping out the customer journey, and all the touch points that happen. As a result, I actually had a company reach out and was like we need to do exactly what you talked about. So one of the deliverables that we did for them was we actually laid out on paper, here's all the sales activities, here's all the marketing activities. Start to circulate this so that everyone sees where later in the funnel that is presumed to be just nothing but sales magic...
[13:22] Christina Del Villar:
I was going to say magic
[13:22] Brandi Starr:
Where marketing is really actually supporting that. Do you feel like that helps to, number one, give more influence, and/or number two, to actually break down some of the silos, because I know that that's another challenge as well.
[13:43] Christina Del Villar:
The silos is a huge problem. And none of us intend to like just work in my little vacuum and do things. But if you're doing that you're not being as efficient and effective, and there's probably not as much transparency as there should be. So yeah, I really feel strongly that you need to identify, like you're saying that customer journey and all of those little points. So for example, I've got a million examples in the book in particular, but I call it a map of influence. This is literally your map of influence, it looks at all of the touch points, from product, to marketing, because there's still opportunities within marketing, to sales, to customer support and success. And whether it is helping customer success, identify and then give feedback to product in terms of what features and functionality should be prioritized. These are just super simple things that we're likely already doing, we're just not really identifying them as areas that we can actually control and help other people understand how we're helping with that. We just kind of go about our daily business and we just naturally start doing things, and we take on more and more things as marketers. But again, if we're super mindful about it, and again, I'm not saying toot your horn every time you do something, like you come into work and you clap...
[15:01] Brandi Starr:
[Inaudible 15:01] I am one walking around like toot toot, all day every day.
[15:12] Christina Del Villar:
You have to because nobody else is going to either see it or recognize it in terms of the impact that you're having, unless you're super clear about it. And again, you don't have to be like, oh, yeah me, we saved the company. Actually, you might want to do that. But just make sure that people understand that this is your contribution, and it was intentional too. Oftentimes, I get people going, oh, my God, wow, this is what you predicted and this is what happened. I'm like why are you so surprised? Yes, because that's what we work towards. But again, if we're not helping people understand that that's what we're trying to do and that's how we're trying to get there, then it is hard. And then to your second question, building that trust basically, people don't question you, they don't question what you're doing, they don't question the impact, they don't question the resources you're asking for, they don't question the value you're bringing, because they already know you and believe in you and have that relationship. So it is a lot about relationship building and it might seem sort of tedious in the beginning to continually go to lunch and have coffee, or talk on Zoom, or whatever it is, but it's really critical that everybody in the organization really believes in you and your team and what it is that you guys are doing.
[16:35] Brandi Starr:
And that's a great point. I know, earlier in my career I had someone talk about know, like, trust. People do business with those that they know, they like, they trust. And that was said in the context of the customer to the business. But the point that you're making really is spot on, that internally within the organization, being known, being liked and being trusted, is really valuable in actually being able to have the influence that you seek.
[17:09] Christina Del Villar:
Right, or even to do your job. There are times when maybe want to do a webinar, or you want to do a thought leader series, for example and maybe it's going to cost money, but you really know that this is actually going to help nurture and shorten that sales cycle. But if people don't understand what you're saying, or understand that it can shorten the sales cycle or increase revenue because now you've done a better job explaining what it is that your product actually does with these thought leaders, they are external and non-biased to your organization, they're not going to understand why we need to shift budget from here to here potentially, or why I need IT to set up this room so we can have a better studio for our webinars. So when you get to that point where they understand and they understand what it is that you're bringing, and again, that’s on us, that's on us to help people understand and recognize that. And again, I think we've just done a really bad job, because we just kind of again, we just do our job and we're just like I'm going to do my job. I don't need to tell people what it was that I did, why I did it, and the impact that it had, but I think we need to start thinking about it.
[18:16] Brandi Starr:
And I want to shift gears a little bit, because I love methodologies. I am one that like steps and I'm like lay it out for me, give me something to work from. So I want to shift and talk a little bit about the G.R.I.T. methodology. I love the acronym, for starters. So tell us what is the G.R.I.T. methodology and how does that help us to have influence?
[18:47] Christina Del Villar:
It's one of those things, I do love processes and methodologies. And for some reason, I was in an acronym kind of mood that day, but it actually fit well. So the G.R.I.T. marketing method, there's obviously four pieces to it.
The first one is the go to market strategy, which is really critical and we can talk a lot about that. But basically, at the end of the day, companies aren't thinking about things as strategically as I think they should. They might have had a goal set a long time ago, but that's not the guiding principles that they're leveraging to do everything going forward, which is really interesting. I think that people need to understand that.
The R stands for RPM, which is repeatable, predictable, and measurable. This is how marketers can also start building trust and influence is by, instead of like creating 5000 pieces of content, create ten really good ones that you can reuse and use in different ways and re-purpose and reposition and recycle. And so that's basically what that gets to. Because then there's consistency in what you're doing, the message is always clear and so that gets to that predictability and then hopefully, you can measure it and really understand the impact that it's having. So that's the RPM.
The I stands for intention, which I talk about a lot. I think people need to be doing things intentionally. I always ask the question, somebody will come to me and they'll be like, oh, can we do this show, and I'm like, great. Will it help us get to our end goal? And if it doesn't, then we're not going to do it. If we don't know yet, then we can test it some more, we can talk about it, we can see if it makes sense to do that, and have a plan around that. But otherwise, you really should be prioritizing and thinking about everything you do with intention.
And then the T stands for tools and technology. It's hard for marketers to really get around some of the tools and technology that they need to use and leverage to prove the impact and value that they bring. And so it's really hard, but oftentimes, it's owned by sales, or an IT group, or you just don't want to touch it, because gosh only knows what happened, how that even came to be, that monster that sits in a closet somewhere. But if you're not aware, if you don't understand the data, and you don't understand how to manipulate it or pool the data and use it to your benefit, again, to show that impact and to show the value, then that's a problem. And I know it can be scary, but we really need to start thinking about that. So that's basically what the methodology is. It trains people how to understand the go to market strategy better, how to be smarter and more effective with their programs, campaigns and content, and to be really intentional about everything they're doing, and to be able to leverage their tools and technology to be able to measure and show the results properly.
[21:42] Brandi Starr:
Awesome. So I want to I want to talk about the RPM a little bit because, you know, having things that are repeatable, predictable and measurable and then and again, I love the acronym. That is something that I had never phrased it that way, but that is something that holistically, I have always focused on because everybody hits a home run every now and again. You have the thing you do that just went absolutely amazing, but if you can't repeat that, if you don't know why that happened, then it's kind of just like everybody gets lucky, every now and again.
[22:21] Christina Del Villar:
I was going to say it's just luck.
[22:23] Brandi Starr:
Yeah, it's kind of like, ooh, got one. In tying this back to influence and being able to have influence and, you know, we titled this episode, everyone's got an opinion but being repeatable, predictable, and measurable, to me is where it goes from being an opinion to really being fact. And you can influence a lot more when you are leading with fact.
[22:59] Christina Del Villar:
Right, absolutely. And that's really the entire point of this. Let's say you do a webinar and you're going to say this is what we're going to get from that webinar, and then the next webinar, it's the same and the next webinar it's the same outcomes. People are going to be more readily open to whether it's resources or time, or whatever it is, to believing that this is going to be a successful webinar. And if that's a successful webinar, can you then take all of that content, and again, turn it into a white paper, blog posts, social media posts, whatever it is, so that you're taking something that you know is successful, and just opening up the different channels that you have and disseminating that information. It's really interesting, because I get this a lot I'm sure you do, and other people listening to this podcast will resonate with this. How many times people are like can't you just write an article? Can you write another piece? Can we have another data sheet? Can we do another case study? And more content doesn't necessarily mean you know that it's quality, or that it's going to get you to your end game. So being really mindful about one or two call pillar pieces and leveraging them, over and over again, not only does it save you money and time, but it's actually a better experience for everybody, not just you internally but then your prospects and customers are seeing the same thing as well. So again, it builds that consistency. And then to your point, it is predictable how this is going to perform because you know that this is useful content that people are listening to it and watching and reading.
[24:44] Brandi Starr:
And I think you know, it is one of those things where sometimes I think as marketers we get hung up in creating more stuff, because we get tired of the stuff that we've created. We've read that article fifteen times, but about it, it's not like our prospects are seeing our content as often as we are. No prospect is like, wow, that white paper again. Sometimes I do think we get in our own way in that respect in that it's just kind of like, yeah, I'm tired of looking at that, we need something new. And it's like, no, like really?
[25:30] Christina Del Villar:
Maybe part of it, maybe 50% of it needs to be new and maybe it's just a graphical interface that needs to be changed. Or maybe you need to turn it into a video instead of an infographic, whatever it is, but take what you know is already working and just reposition or up level it or you can change it for different audiences. I know, because I work in b2b a lot, and so there's a lot of different audiences. It might be a CFO, or an IT person or my end user. So how can I take that kind of core piece, and then adjust it so that they recognize that it's actually written for them? So there's things that you can do without it becoming super tedious. At some point, if that product doesn't exist anymore, you definitely want to up level that for sure. But in general, why change something that actually is working, if it is working?
[26:24] Brandi Starr:
Exactly. So talking about our challenges is kind of the first step, and nothing changes if nothing changes. So we have to do the work. And if we think about in traditional therapy, the therapist will give the client some homework as a way, but here at Revenue Rehab, I like to flip that on its head, and I am going to ask you to give the rest of us homework. So if you could kind of summarize for the audience the key takeaways around how we solve this problem and get more influence for marketing. And give us our homework, tell us what is the one thing we can all do to move the needle?
[27:13] Christina Del Villar:
First, there's two parts. One is recognizing what that customer journey is and identifying those areas that you already are probably playing in. Like in product are you helping influence pricing, or how it's being bundled, or how it's going to market, or the launch or anything like that. Obviously, with marketing, that's our role so we have a lot going on there. In sales, how are we influencing them? Are we enabling them with decks or are we going to certain shows that are bringing in specific leads. All of these things that we're doing on a daily basis, and customer success as well. So really identify those different areas, and then just pick a few to start. So you might decide that you have a really good in with one of the product managers. So start talking to them. Go buy them a cup of coffee, or ask them what is working for them, what isn't working for them, just in general and how could marketing or you influence that. And then I would say, if you're a manager, I do this with my teams all the time. I actually pair up my entire team with folks in other organizations, like buddies. And sometimes I'll say go find a buddy in engineering and sometimes I'll actually assign a buddy; sometimes they know this is happening on the other end and sometimes it's just random marketing person is like, hey, let's go have some lunch. But if you just start super simple and really, this is an overused too, empathy, but understand where they're coming from. Understand when I say to product and engineering, I need you to change your priorities and focus on this specific feature functionality, what is that going to mean to them? What is it going to mean in terms of their time? What is it going to mean in terms of maybe somebody can't go on vacation own. There's all kinds of things that are happening that we also don't see, and so starting to build those relationships is how you're going to start learning a little bit more about that, having more empathy, and then starting to build that trust. So that's your homework. Go find somebody in another organization, and try to kind of see things from their perspective a little bit.
[29:20] Brandi Starr:
I really like that. I definitely love any action item that means I get to go eat.
[29:26] Christina Del Villar:
Yes, you're right. Go on a break.
[29:29] Brandi Starr:
Yes, all of that. Take an engineer for tacos.
[29:32] Christina Del Villar:
Ice cream sundaes, I do ice cream sundaes. I take people out for those. There's all kinds of all kinds of places you can go.
[29:42] Brandi Starr:
So that is an amazing action item. I love that, is to try to really have a one on one conversation with someone from another function so that you can understand their perspective and they can also understand yours. And that goes back to that know, like trust, because as you have those one on ones, they will hopefully come out knowing and liking you.
[30:10] Christina Del Villar:
That's a good point. Hopefully.
[30:14] Brandi Starr:
That could go terribly sideways but we won't talk about that.
[30:19] Christina Del Villar:
The interesting thing is, and this is what happens. So you start building these relationships, and then you're in a bigger group of people. And then whether it's a team meeting, or your monthly, who knows what it is. But now you're a marketing person, you're saying, hey, you know what, I really want to go to this show because it's going to help us understand what features our potential customers are looking for. And you've just had lunch with a product person who's like, yeah, that would be amazing. So now you have support, not just internally from your own marketing team, but from somebody in another team in an organization, and that starts to sort of build for everybody.
[30:57] Brandi Starr:
That is amazing. Well Christina, I have enjoyed our discussion but that's our time for today.
[31:05] Christina Del Villar:
[31:06] Brandi Starr:
Thank you so much for joining me and thanks everyone for joining us today. I hope that you've enjoyed our conversation with Christina. If you'd like to continue the conversation with Christina, you can check out both her book and her podcast. So her podcast is All Things Growth and her book is Sway. Both can be found on her website, which is Christinadelvillar.com, which is C-H-R-I-S-T-I-N-A- D-E-L-V-I-L-L-A-R.com. It'll also be listed below, wherever you are listening to this podcast. I can't believe we are at the end already. Thanks everyone.
[31:45] Christina Del Villar:
We could talk forever.
[31:45] Brandi Starr:
Thanks everyone for joining me and we will see you next time.
You've been listening to revenue rehab with your host brandy star. Your session is now over but the learning is just begun. Join our mailing list and catch up on all our shows at revenuerehab.live. We're also on Twitter and Instagram at Revenue Rehab. This concludes this week's session. We'll see you next week.
Marketing executive, consultant and author
Christina Del Villar is a Silicon Valley marketing executive, consultant and author who geeks out on helping companies transform, grow and scale, leveraging technology with over 25 years of experience at Fortune 100 companies and more than 20 startups. Christina has developed go-to-market and marketing strategies for exponential growth, new product launches, acquisitions and IPOs, particularly for high-growth companies where she leverages her experience and industry perspective to take them to the next level.
Christina’s GRIT Marketing Method focuses on helping marketing professionals to build smarter programs, be more efficient and exponentially grow revenue to improve overall company performance. Her book, Sway: Implement the GRIT Marketing Method to Gain Influence & Drive Corporate Strategy, arrived in bookstores in August 2021.