Richard Lane

Chief Commercial Officer, durhamlane

6 Actionable Tips That Will Grow Your Business Faster in 2024

Speaker 1: Hi, and welcome to The Insiders by durhamlane, where we get perspectives from industry thought leaders about strategies that are unifying marketing and sales cycles to help accelerate growth inside your world.

Richard Lane: Welcome to The Insiders by durhamlane, an industry podcast that connects the worlds of marketing and sales one guest at a time.

I’m your host, Richard Lane. I’m co-founder and chief commercial officer at durhamlane. We’re a revenue acceleration agency, and we help enterprise customers create always on channels of meaningful and well-qualified sales opportunities.

Over the last six episodes of The Insiders podcast, we’ve featured industry experts from ADLINK, RS Industria, VIAVI, AFRY, OMRON Healthcare, and Nokia.

Every single guest we’ve had on the show has shared unique insights into the sales and marketing challenges they face inside their world. They’ve also been a lot of fun and great guests to speak with. They’ve offered actionable insights for you, our listeners, to take away and immediately implement into your own sales and marketing functions.

In this episode, I’m going to be diving into each guest’s actionable insights, and sharing my own thoughts and what they’ve said, what else you might want to think about to improve the impact of your mar-sales function in 2024.

First up, we have Richard Jeffers, founder and managing director at RS Industria, on understanding your customer.

Richard Jeffers: I mean, it’s statement of the bleeding obvious, the more you understand about the customer’s jobs, pains, and gains, and the more you let them talk about those jobs, pains, and gains, the more successful you’re going to be at finding out whether your solution is going to be the right thing.

My sales leader, who joined me as an experienced sales professional two years ago, I remember our first customer engagement. He was like, “I’m the sales professional, I’ll do the talk to the customers.” And I was like, “Yeah, okay then. You crack on, mate.” And at the end of that half hour he went, “I’ll tell you what, Richard, next time you can do that, because I had no idea what the customer was talking about.”

And so you’ve got to have an intimate understanding of the customer’s jobs, pains, and gains, and make sure that your solution is addressing those, and not just turning up and talking about stuff.

Richard Lane: Okay. So we’ve just heard from Richard Jeffers from RS Industria. Had a really great conversation with Richard in person in the studio, which is a rarity these days.

My thoughts from Richard’s actual insight leads us back to durhamlane’s sales mantra. The first one is mantra two, professional, humble, courteous, proactive, hungry, ambitious. I always see those six words in a bit of a Tom and Jerry mele. It’s our job to be professional, to be humble, to be courteous, but we’ve also got to be proactive. We’ve got to be hungry. We’ve got to be thinking about what next, where else could we be going?

Part of Richard’s view there was, you’ve got to make sure that you are doing the right things, doing them at the right time, and making sure that you’re being proactive.

It also led me to think about mantra three, which is, be interested to be interesting. Richard’s example there was we need to know about the world of our customer. We need to know what we do, how we do it, and the value that we deliver, in order to be able to get into question-based mode and to have a consultative mindset. So before we can do that, we’ve got to be confident in our world to then be interested in their world.

And finally, I’m going to head back to mantra one, which is, business fit, business value, developing long-term relationships. Richard mentioned you’ve got to have an intimate understanding of the customer’s jobs, pains, and gains, and make sure your solution is addressing those, and not just turning up and talking about stuff. Absolutely pivotal. For me, that’s a 101 of sales. We’ve got to understand the fit. How can we add value to their business above and beyond what they’re likely to be paying us, the value, and the added value pieces that we’re always looking for long-term relationships? If we can go into any potential customer environment with business fit front and center, it means we have to have done some research. We need to be thinking value, and we need to be thinking about long-term partnership. And with that, we get sales success.

Actionable insight number two comes from Karen Kulinski, EMEA marketing and communications director at ADLINK, on optimising your lead capture forms.

Karen Kulinski: I would say an actionable tip, it’s a hands-on tip really, not a strategic tip. Because I’ve seen the many bad landing pages out there. So it’s optimisng lead capture forms. If you want to grow your business and you want to create lead coming into your website or on your landing page, work on your web landing pages.

Keep it simple. Use clear CTAs, offer value, great content. Use progressive profiling. Try to mobile optimise your landing page. Test, AB testing. A compelling headline is even better than a non-compelling headline. Test, test, test.

Position your brand in a way you want it to be positioned, and go for the next perfect lead.

Richard Lane: Great hands-on advice from Karen there. One thing we’ve done at durhamlane is really to try and understand the word integrated, the connection between marketing and sales.

It’s so important to understand who your customer is, where they exist, the pains and gains that they’re looking to solve, and then it’s important to enter dialogue with those individuals.

And Karen’s point around a clear call to action, having a great landing page, is really in our mind the first step. So once you’ve got someone into your world, then how do you engage them and motivate them to take action?

Karen’s really talking about that first piece. We talk about being the middleware that connects the worlds of sales and marketing together. Really think about how do you then move that interested party through to the next stages of your sales process? Helping them to solve their problems, think about how they can develop their business, and seeing you as a partner for the long-term success.

Next up is actionable insight number three from Zsuzsanna Blau, head of digital demand and marketing campaigns at Nokia, making sure you are measuring the right metrics.

Zsuzsanna Blau: I really think that instead of measuring marketing qualified leads, we should be measuring team source revenue, or at least marketing source revenue. So connecting your KPIs to business goals. This will allow you to really look at how your buyer converted and how your buyer entered the pipeline, and then how they are interacting with you for retention programs, how they are ending up in new pipeline generation. Which I think is a much more customer-centric view, because you are assessing these results from the buyer’s perspective, what they did in order to end up with new pipeline, and you’re not assessing the results from an internal stakeholder’s perspective, like how your MQLs are moving to sales accepted or sales qualified opportunities. In my opinion, this will also allow you to crack buyers’ intent.

You’re kind of reverse engineering a whole part of your customer’s journey to purchase. That means you’ll be able to identify patterns. You’ll be able to identify specific steps that they may take before they decide to buy something from you. That will give you actually forecasting ability as well, which we always say we want to seat at the revenue table, and in a lot of cases, marketing is still being looked at as a cost center. Forecasting ability will definitely get you a seat at the revenue table.

Richard Lane: Great actionable insight from Zsuzsanna there. We had a great conversation and I think Zsuzsanna puts the complex very simply.

I think as you listen back to the actionable insight from Zsuzsanna, you’ll realise that there’s actually a lot of work to do there if you’re going to get that right, but it’s such an important piece of the jigsaw, for all too often, marketing and sales leaders, you could argue business leaders, have been intent on measuring their own area rather than looking at the bigger picture. I think one of the things that smaller businesses are able to do more easily is look at the whole. As your organisation grows, and I understand this from my own experiences, is that it gets harder not to become more siloed.

So one thing that I would really implore you to think about to Zsuzsanna’s points is, look at your KPIs as how they affect business results and business goals. Measure, measure, measure, but do your very best to measure the right things. And what are those right things? Those are the things that are going to help you grow your business, going to help your business to be successful and to achieve the right results.

The final point that Zsuzsanna makes in that actionable insight section is around forecasting and marketing having a seat at the table. Being able to contribute to accurate forecasting is absolutely key for any business, and marketing having a place and a part of that program will be highly, highly beneficial. So if you’re a marketing leader out there or a want to be a marketing leader, think about how you can support the forecasting process with actionable insights and activities that are going to help your business to grow.

Actionable insight number four now from Antti Nykanen, head of marketing at AFRY, on a perennial issue that all organisations face, how to effectively connect your marketing and sales departments.

Antti Nykanen: This is not anything new or of fancy or super expensive even, but I think it’s something that has been the best thing that I’ve done in my career. When we conducted a buyer persona and customer journey mapping workshop, and I think that’s what most marketing units do at some point, with that we managed to do the most difficult thing, to kind of connect the people in marketing and connect the people in sales, getting good feedback from sales that, okay, this is what our customers are like.

Then after that, putting the results into practice after the workshop. So that’s apparently not easy as well. A lot to achieve on that front. But just recently, one of my colleagues has posted excellent workshops within marketing and communications people that this is how you utilise the buyer personas, communications, planning and execution, and even exercises. Let’s plan a Google app for this kind of person and that kind of person and then learn to see the possibilities, how to use them in practice.

Richard Lane: What I love about Antti’s advice there is that he takes something that we all talk about, but gives some really actionable ways to make it happen.

At durhamlane, we act as the middleware that connects the worlds of sales and marketing together. Why is that necessary? Well, because typically those worlds don’t talk together enough. And marketing do a great job, create interest, but it’s not sales ready. And that’s where we pick up the baton, qualify, and then move across into the sales world when it’s ready for a concrete next action to take place.

So we are the middleware, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be working with your sales colleagues and working with your marketing colleagues to create a RevOps success, as we would call it. Whether that be through personas and mapping, like Antti talks about, whether it be through demand and lead generation, whether it be helping with forecasting, as Zsuzsanna talked about earlier in this podcast.

And if you go right back to The Insiders episode one with Emma from RS Group, then we talked about mar-sales. And what Antti really talks about there is a mar-sales world. You might call it a RevOps world. You might call it a growth ops world. It doesn’t matter what it’s called. It’s about working together with your colleagues on all sides of the customer journey. We would also add customer success and account management into that process. So pre becoming a customer, becoming a customer, staying a customer, and becoming a loyal customer, is where you should be putting your efforts and your focus.

Onto actionable insight number five, this time from Paul Gowans, global director of regional and channel marketing at VIAVI, on using data and analytics to guide your approach.

Paul Gowans: Well you know Richard, you touched on data there, and I think that is a fundamental element now of our business, which is data and analytics and measuring things. It’s the old adage, if you don’t measure it, you can’t improve it.

It’s often quite difficult with marketing campaigns to determine was that successful or was it not? What was the ROI on that? We now live in a data analytics world. I think it’s important that marketing decision making is based on data and results.

There’s a lot of work that needs to be done upfront with that. It’s a bit like the flywheel. It’s really difficult to get going, get that momentum. It’s hard. But once that thing starts spinning, you get results, and the thing moves at a faster pace.

So I would say, on top of the consistency measures we talked about, look at the data. The data’s telling you something. I just think it’s just the discipline associated with data and measuring what you’re doing and determining what was successful and what wasn’t. It’s okay to fail, right? You only to want to fail fast and move on to the next thing.

Richard Lane: Great advice from Paul there. It’s interesting for me personally, because I’m a relationship guy. Relationships still matter. And data is a critical piece. Data has become the new goal for most organisations. So I’m still a relationship guy, but I now use data to help me make the right decisions and build the best relationships. And the old adage springs to mind listening to Paul, what you can’t measure, you can’t manage.

And finally, last but not least, actual insight number six this time from Paul Stevens, director of Digital health for OMRON Healthcare, on being comfortable with the idea that you can’t be an expert in everything, and how industrial partnerships can help fill gaps in expertise.

Paul Stevens: For me, I think a broad insight that I’ve gained over the past years is this concept of knowing what you do well and finding others to do the things that you don’t do well, or to help you to grow capabilities that may become core to you in the future.

So obviously one example of that, and the reason that we are talking today, is that we worked with durhamlane on sales lead generation, because that’s an area where we didn’t have experience in direct sales and lead generation in the type of market that we were entering with remote monitoring. But we also see the same in technology partnerships, and actually in building internal teams as well.

So it’s really important for me as a manager that we are recruiting people into the team that do things well that I don’t know how to do or that the team doesn’t know how to do. And we have to be comfortable with that, that we are not experts in everything, and our teams and our industrial partners should be bringing that expertise so that we can grow faster.

Richard Lane: Great advice there from Paul, and I’m not just saying that because he chose us as his lead generation partner.

What Paul does say is really that you need to surround yourself with the best people and the best partners that can help you to achieve your goals. It’s something that comes across time and time again. People and organisations that recognise their strengths, double down on doing what they do as best as they possibly can, and then using other people and other partners to do other aspects, tend to grow the fastest, tend to be sustainable, and tend to develop and build the best businesses. So surround yourself with the best to help you become the best.

A good example that I can share on partnership is the relationship we’ve developed with Salesloft, a sales outreach platform. We’ve worked with Salesloft now to standardise our outreach, the main part of what we do as a business. And using best in class technology has helped us to improve the results for our customers.

You have to invest in partnership. That has to be a two-way street. At durhamlane, we talk about our three Ps, people, process and partnership. All three of those are essential to developing successful long-term relationships.

So there you have it. A quick review of the insight and actions of recommendation from guests on this series of The Insiders podcast from durhamlane. I really hope you’ve enjoyed it. It’s been interesting for me listening to the insight and pulling that together and thinking about how does that help us in our everyday life. And I really am grateful to our guests for what they’ve shared with us over this series, and some of the enlightening and fun conversations that I’ve had.

I hope you enjoy it too, and look forward to getting your thoughts and comments for our future series of The Insiders.

So finally, thanks for tuning in. Please subscribe on your preferred podcasting site to ensure you are notified of all new episodes as and when they’re published. If you’d like to learn more about durhamlane and our unique method of selling at a high level, simply visit for more information. And I look forward to being with you again soon.

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