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The Five: Doing More With Less

Hello and welcome to this week’s edition of The Five, a weekly collection of B2B marketing lessons, learnings, thoughts… ok fine it’s stuff. B2B marketing stuff. Curated by me, Dave Gerhardt and driven by the community at Exit Five (we host a private community of ~3,500 marketing pros at exitfive.com/membership)


Thanks to the 2023 Exit Five presenting sponsors Jasper (AI), Demandwell (SEO), and Zapier (Automation).


Let’s get into it.


#1 Doing More With Less


Layoffs, budget cuts, slower sales cycles, and a lack of urgency to buy your product right now. That's become normal in B2B SaaS over the last two quarters. But what does it mean for marketer? Do nothing? Just play defense? Yeah right. Marketers are being asked to do more with less, and if you're one of those marketers this is a session you don't want to miss. 


Next week we’re hosting an Exit Five Live session that will be like therapy if you’re in the thick of it right now. We'll talk to three marketing leaders about what they are doing to drive sustainable growth for their companies under less (cough) favorable conditions. We’ll discuss what’s changed for them in the past year, and how they’ve adapted their strategies and tactics to adjust to the existing market climate.  We’re being asked to do more (than ever) with less (than ever), and this session will cover how these marketers have adapted and risen to the challenge.


Click here to register for this session (this will also make sure your name is on the list to get the recording even if you can’t make it live).


#2 Managing Burnout


Speaking of doing more with less, did someone say burnout? 


There’s been a spike of anonymous questions in the Exit Five community related to managing stress, burning out, and feeling stuck and it’s no surprise.

If that sounds like you here’s a great resource: this podcast episode with executive coach (and former marketing leader) Hana Jacover. We talk about managing burnout, fighting imposter syndrome, work/life balance, finding your right path, maintaining authenticity day to day, nonviolent communication, and how to get unstuck in your career.


Listen to the Exit Five podcast on Managing Burnout & Getting Unstuck in Your Career


#3 Dress It Up Or Down In An Interview? Does It Matter?


The most popular post in the Exit Five community this week came from this question:

Have times changed that much in terms of how you present yourself in an interview?


I have been interviewing people for a Digital Marketing Manager position - all via video - and I am noticing that people do not "dress up" any more. It seems to be a much more relaxed style interview process. And a follow up "thank you" is close to non-existent.


I'm assuming this is how it is now within this industry, but want to make sure I'm making a legitimate assumption. I realize I'm interviewing a younger or more "hipper" crowd and maybe they don't own a button up or nice top. Is this the way I should be thinking about these interviews, that personal presentation should be judged way below qualifications and skill set?


As a side note, this came up when I brought someone to a second interview with my EVP of sales and they commented they were not impressed by the way they presented themselves since sales people come to an interview pretty polished. I mentioned that I don't pay attention anymore since it doesn't seem to be that way in the marketing world.


Can someone validate my train of thought here? Should I continue to ignore personal presentation (to an extent) and focus on skill set?


The consensus in the group seemed to be…mixed! Many said cmon, dress code doens’t matter. Some said there’s a certain “bar” for what is acceptable. Others said yes, “putting your best foot forward is important - presentation being one of those things.”

I’m less concerned about the attire, but not sending a thank you note seems simple enough. We are not not sending thank you notes nowadays are we? I’ll send a thank you note to a podcast guest or to someone I had lunch with - why can’t you send a thank you note after an interview? Doesn’t have to be thorough. How about just, thanks!? Anyway…


#4 ABM Continues to Be Topic #1


This one continues to surprise me, but anything we do related to ABM is almost instantly popular. John Short (CEO of Compound Growth Marketing) did an AMA in the community last week all about ABM and there were dozens of good questions. 


One key theme I saw in the comments was simplify. ABM does not have to mean targeted display ads and direct mail. It’s more about understanding who your best customers are, why they buy, and then doing specific activities to start conversations with them (vs. just spray and pray marketing to everyone).

I like this answer from John to the question of “how would you approach ABM at a small startup with a little budget that hasn’t done ABM before?”

1) Look at your own data to see where your desired bigger customers are coming from and what characteristics make them unique - use that to build a target account list.

2) Look for low hanging fruit. I would look for opportunities to leverage co-marketing with partners in tangential categories, I'd look for select outbound email opportunities, and I would use Linkedin to target them with content and introductions.

3) I don't think you need display to have a successful ABM campaign, in fact, I suggest holding off on that until you've identified some low hanging fruit opportunities like I listed above and paid social.

4) The biggest early expense I often recommend is a service like ZoomInfo - use this to give your reps account intelligence, and identify ways to target your audience.


#5 Learn How To Become a Prompt Engineer


There’s been plenty of chatter about ChatGPT. Personally, I think the use cases in marketing are endless and this is not a tool or trend I would be ignoring. Get smart about generative AI and tools like ChatGPT. This is not about finding some secret answers to marketing that didn’t exist before, but it’s about being more productive and tapping into the brain of the internet vs. relying on an intern to write that important sales email or spending countless hours doing research or manually doing tasks that ChatGPT could give you instantly.


One Exit Five member shared a great PDF from Rob Allen “How to Become an AI Prompt Engineer” and you can use that resource to write prompts to help you:


- Write a launch email for a new product

- Tease a new product drop coming soon

- Follow up with abandoned carts

- Write a cross-sell email

- Post-purchase “thank you” email

- Welcome new subscribers to a list

- “Last chance” before the deadline expires email

I was skeptical. Now I see it clear as day. Heck, why did I not use Jasper or ChatGPT to write The Five this week!?

Well I guess first I have to know it and figure out what works before I can automate it …

OK, back to work.

Hope you are having a productive week.

- Dave

PS. Could you share this email with a friend? I wrote a tweet / social post you can use or edit.

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