Tag Archives: Podcasts

Appearance on Data Radicals: Frameworks and the Art of Simplification

This is a quick post to highlight my recent appearance on the Data Radicals podcast (Apple, Spotify), hosted by Alation founder and CEO, Satyen Sangani. I’ve worked with Alation for a long time in varied capacities — e.g., as an angel investor, advisor, director, interim executive, skit writer, and probably a few other ways I can’t remember. This is a company I know well. They’re in a space I’m passionate about — and one that I might argue is a logical second generation of the semantic-layer-based BI market where I spent nearly ten years as CMO of Business Objects.

Satyen is a founder for whom I have a ton of respect, not only because of what he’s created, but because of the emphasis on culture and values reflected in how did it. Satyen also appreciates a good intellectual sparring match when making big decisions — something many founders pretend to enjoy, few actually do, and fewer still seek out.

This is an episode like no other I’ve done because of that history and because of the selection of topics that Satyen chose to cover as a result. This is not your standard Kellblog “do CAC on a cash basis,” “use pipeline expected value as a triangulation forecast,” or “align marketing with sales” podcast episode. Make no mistake, I love those too — but this is just noteably different content from most of my other appearances.

Here, we talk about:

  • The history and evolution of the database and tools market
  • The modern data stack
  • Intelligent operational applications vs. analytic applications
  • Why I feel that data can often end up an abstraction contest (and what to do about that)
  • Why I think in confusing makets that the best mapmaker wins
  • Who benefits from confusion in markets — and who doesn’t
  • Frameworks, simplification, and reductionism
  • Strategy and distilling the essence of a problem
  • Layering marketing messaging using ternary trees
  • The people who most influenced my thinking and career
  • The evolution of the data intelligence category and its roots in data governance and data catalogs
  • How tech markets are like boxing matches — you win a round and your prize is to earn the chance to fight in the next one
  • Data culture as an ultimate benefit and data intelligence as a software category

I hope you can listen to the episode, also available on Apple podcasts and Spotify. Thanks to Satyen for having me and I wish Alation continuing fair winds and following seas.

My Appearance on the Exit 5 Podcast: Traits of a High-Performing CMO

Just a quick post to highlight a recent podcast appearance I did on the Exit Five podcast, which is produced by the Exit Five community for B2B marketers, led by veteran marketer Dave Gerhardt.

In the episode we touch on the following topics:

  • My background and career path and my positioning of such: 10 years a CMO, 10 years a CEO, and independent director at 10 companies.
  • The origin of Kellblog, which was originally called The MarkLogic CEO Blog, created so I could walk in the footsteps of my media customers.
  • My early experiment with ChatGPT, see the comments on the post for an example that a friend did to prompt it better.
  • What makes a great CMO?
  • How to be a great partner to sales.
  • How and why to become the dispassionate analyst. (Or anchor — I don’t make the news, I just tell you about it.)
  • How to be a great partner to CEO.
  • Why is it often hard to partner with sales? Misaligned incentives or more than that?
  • How and why to become Woodstein with the VP of Sales.
  • How to call out misalignment and what to do about it.
  • When in doubt, serve sales, not the CEO.
  • How to avoid finger-pointing at the stage 1 to stage 2 handoff.
  • The idea that marketing owns a lot of the high funnel, and rides shotgun on the low funnel — and can help on both.
  • How to present information, non-defensively, and without automatically providing reasons or fixes. (Instead just seek discussion on whether we think it’s a problem and how high a priority it is to fix it.)
  • The right answer to most marketing challenges is this: the one I agree to with the VP of sales. The idea being that you have 15 marketing tools in your bag to fix something and want to agree with sales on which ones to use, when.
  • The importance of benchmarking and metrics.
  • A reminder to use market research — for many reasons, but in particular to avoid navel-gazing.
  • Spend 5-10% on measurement to ensure effectiveness on the other 90-95% rule.
  • Why the CMO should develop a strong overall understanding of the business and its metrics.

The episode is available on Apple, Spotify, Google, and Castbox.

I thank Dave for having me. I think the episode turned out really well thanks to his thoughtful and informed questioning.

Appearance on The SaaS Growth Hub Podcast on Founder Sales Knowledge and Sales & Marketing Alignment

This is a post to highlight a recent podcast appearance I made on The Growth Hub podcast with Seija Lappalainen and Reeta Westman, who are both based out of Finland, and with whom I had a lot of fun talking. So much fun, in fact, that we ran long and they ended up splitting the episode in two parts: one focused on founder sales knowledge (material derived from the Balderton Founder’s Guide to B2B Sales that I wrote and about which I’ve blogged here) and the other focused on sales & marketing alignment.

In the podcast episode we address questions including:

  • Which role I most preferred in my career (e.g., CMO vs. CEO vs. NXD)?
  • What are my duties in my role as an EIR at Balderton Capital?
  • Why we decided to write the Founder’s Guide to B2B Sales?
  • What are key things founders need to know about sales?
  • The Andromeda Strain problem — what explains what chief architects and top salespeople have in common?
  • What is the most common thing that product-founders get wrong in approaching sales?
  • Why I think a popcorn machine is a better analog than a funnel when it comes to sales?
  • How do founders become good salespeople?
  • How can marketers best learn about sales?
  • How much has technology changed sales and how important are technology skills?
  • Why am I such a massive fan of conversation intelligence tools, such as Gong or Jiminny (where I sit on the board)?
  • What should founders know about marketing?
  • Why I think marketing is in part responsible for the confusion surrounding marketing?
  • How to better align sales & marketing (and why unfortunately it’s still worth talking about)?
  • How to resolve alignment conflicts between the CEO, CRO, and CMO?
  • Why marketers should be broad in skills, tools, and knowledge to help avoid the Maslow’s hammer problem?
  • What are my views on titles (and associated structures) such as chief growth officer, growth marketing, and performance marketing?
  • How to grow sales & marketing together, which touches on the pipeline chicken/egg problem and the inverted funnel model?

I’ve embedded a video version of the episode below.

The podcast is available on Soundcloud, iTunes, Spotify, the web, and YouTube.

I hope you enjoy it and thanks again to Seija and Reeta for having me.

Appearance on the SaaS Revolution Podcast

SaaStock recently released an interview with me on their podcast, The SaaS Revolution Show.  The interview, conducted by SaaStock founder and CEO Alex Theuma, was notionally about the Balderton Founder’s Guide to B2B Sales that I published late last year.  While we ended up discussing that, we also covered a whole lot more, including:

  • My background as a CMO, CEO, and independent director
  • My work with Balderton as an EIR 
  • Which job I prefer, and why:  CEO or CMO
  • Why we made the Founder’s Guide to B2B Sales
  • Key takeaways from the guide
  • The transition from founder-led sales (FLS) to sales-led (SLS)
  • When to hire your first sales executive or leader
  • Why it’s important to define process (and metrics) early — before you need to
  • The Holy Grail of a repeatable sales process
  • Why salespeople are like airplanes (they only make money when they’re in the air)

If you’re interested in listening to the episode, you can find it here.

I’ll see you at SaaSstock USA in Austin this June where I’ll be talking about conversation intelligence, inspired by my work with Jiminny, a UK-based startup where I sit on the board.

Appearance on the Precursive Podcast: The Role of Services in Today’s SaaS Market

A few weeks back, I sat down with Jonathan Corrie, cofounder and CEO of Precursive — a Salesforce-native professional services (PS) delivery cloud that provides PS automation, task, and resource management — to discuss one of my favorite topics, the role of professional services in today’s SaaS businesses.

Jonathan released the 48-minute podcast today, available on both Apple and Spotify.

Topics we discussed included:

  • The Hippocratic oath and executive compensation plans (do no harm).
  • How to frame the sales / services working relationship (i.e., no chucking deals over the fence).
  • Why to put an andon cord in place to stop zero-odds-of-success deals early in the sales process.
  • How to package services, including the risks of tshirt-sized QuickStart packages.
  • How to market methodology instead of packages to convince customers of what matters:  success.
  • The myth of services cannibalization of ARR.  (This drives me crazy.)
  • The alternatives test:  would a customer pay someone else to be successful with your software?
  • Selling mistake-avoidance to IT vs. selling success to line-of-business executives.
  • How and why to bridge “air gaps” between functions (e.g., sales, customer success, services).
  • How to position the sales to CSM “handoff” as à la prochaine and not adieu.
  • The perils of checklist-driven onboarding approaches.
  • The beauty of defining organizational roles with self-introductions (e.g., “my name is Dave and my job is to get your renewal”).
  • The three types of CSMs — the best friend, the seller, and the consultant — and how to blend them and build career paths within the organization.
  • Top professional services metrics.  Caring about (versus maximizing) services margin via compensation plan gates.
  • The loose coupling between NPS and renewal.

Thanks again to Jonathan for having me, and the episode is available here.