September 15, 2022
Learn how to increase your organization's operational efficiency, and get more tips, takeaways, and predictions for stabilizing and growing your business.
Perfectly Content — Season 2 | Episode 1
Welcome to the Perfectly Content podcast, where we are diving into the challenges of creating standout, B2B marketing content and strategies, hosted by Foleon’s content crew. We are on a mission to help all of the B2B marketers out there become a little more perfect and a lot more content.
Sim: As SVP of Sales at Foleon and an avid supporter of tech, I want to talk to you about investing in it at a time when organizations are assessing their budgets. But before we deep-dive into that, would you give a quick introduction to yourself?
Caesar: Yeah, Caesar Chevalier, Senior Vice President of Sales here at Foleon. Probably unique — or I say unique, but maybe not in the sense — that here at Foleon, we leverage technology a lot to drive our decision-making.
Lots of people talk about being data-driven, but as many people know who enjoy data and information, there's a difference between data and information, right, and understanding how that data impacts your business and adding that layer of business analysis and topic of data.
So, yeah, huge, huge data nerd, huge technology nerd, because I do believe that people in my role or folks in similar organizations and similar roles to me, CMO, CFO, CRO, all of them benefit from technology, helping them to scale. And that's what technology does. It helps us scale. It helps us with economies of scale.
So yeah, huge, huge fan of technology and always looking to figure out ways we can use technology, to remove human effort and be smarter about our decisions.
Sim: What gets you excited about new technology?
Caesar: Yeah, I'd say it's the possibility. You know, you mentioned, as SVP of Sales and most typical Sales people are kind of, you know, “go by the gut”, just kind of “do what you can” kind of thing.
And I think probably in another life, I would've been born as a scientist. For me, it's the technology that allows us to peek into things that we can't do normally and naturally. It allows us the ability to understand where to go, where to place bets. That's really important to a scaling organization like Foleon. And so I'd say the thing I love most about technology is how much it enables us to build systems at scale.
And that's what you need when you go from a startup to a scale-up, to be able to build everything at scale and reduce the amount of human effort and 1-1 human effort that’s required to build things. And so for me, that's the big thing.
Sim: What should C-level executives consider when looking at technology to aid teams? And can you give us some examples?
Caesar: Yeah, I can give you an example I recently had with our CFO and CEO. But to answer the first part of your question, I'd say that especially in uncertain economic times, what you should be looking at is how technology can aid in you better understanding your business to do things like protect your customer base, mitigate churn, drive expansion or make you more efficient with how you're engaging your prospective customers.
A few examples, I would say, are things like one that I've just brought up recently is in these uncertain economic times where lots of marketers are experiencing challenges with the demand generation because it's less when people are feeling the pinch of wallets, then they tend to think: “oh, well, I can't spend money.”
So, I would say one of the things we're looking at right now is expanding our SalesLoft, our Sales engagement tool. And so we want to have our account executives into the platform as well. Today only our BDRs use the platform. We figure, hey, if we want to offset any challenges we see in other parts of the business and we want to help, right, and contribute to that top line opportunity, why not have our account executives in this software able to run outreach as effectively as our BDRs are? Right?
Of course, we could just give them Excel spreadsheets and allow them to email people. But again, you think about scaling and, you know, scales of efficiency.
That's not really smart, and it's a false economy. You'll save money on that license and spend it all on time. So where you see situations like that, where technology can aid in driving efficiency and driving, you know, the bottom line, which is revenue or cost savings, you do it.
Other examples might be, you know, conversation intelligence like Gong or Chorus, or even things that help you with creating, you know, all the parts of your demand generation strategy or your sales revenue strategy.
Sim: What are the trends you see with organizations trying to withstand the recession pressures that we are all currently facing? And what advice do you have for them?
Caesar: It's one of those interesting things where it almost feels a bit like a self-fulfilling prophecy. Everyone's worried about this thing that's looming and because they're worried, they’re making decisions about something that hasn't yet happened. And this creates the situation that they're trying to avoid. So yeah, I know, a bit of a fortune 50 statement, but I'd say that people should think about when trying to, you know, understand the current economic conditions is: first, listen to your customers. What's happening with your customer base? How are they feeling? How are they feeling about the economic times? And also like, how does your technology, how does your platform help them navigate it?
Understand what that is, double down on that and make sure that your customers first and foremost understand the value that you bring to them during these times. I'd say that's the number one place to start. Ensuring that your customers understand the value that you add through your technology.
Then I'd say, honestly, your team will be nervous as well. So from an internal standpoint, which obviously affects revenue and customers, make sure you're honest with your team and transparent about how these macroeconomic factors impact them and the business and the role. And if there's uncertainty, folks create their own narrative which isn’t ideal. So I think being transparent and honest all the time with your team and making sure they feel confident and comfortable about what’s happening is super important, not just to your team but also to your business. And so it's not one of those happy things, it's smart business to make sure your teams understand what’s happening. I'd say, in terms of how you navigate spending and doing the things you need and keeping your business running during these times, ultimately, there are still goals to achieve and many SaaS companies like us are still trying to grow, and there's room to grow.
I would say, join communities. One community I'm in is Pavilion, and they're fantastic. There are lots of SaaS CROs, founders, CMOs in there who are experiencing the same thing as you. So one thing I'd say is get out and talk to people, join membership organizations, or join communities with people who are in the same position as you. You might be able to talk to and figure out how they’re withstanding things and get advice that you might not think about.
So the short version is: work your community, work your network. And, don't go at it alone. Figure out how other people are navigating the choppy waters as well. Cause you know, no one's in this by themselves.
Sim: Any last words for executives who are trying to do the balancing act with budgets and also the need for new technology to aid their teams?
Caesar: Yeah. One of the things that I talk about a lot, and I was joking with our VP of our product this morning about it, there's an expression of being penny-wise, pound-foolish. I like to use false economies, a nice euphemism for that. Don't be that person. You still have a business to run and saving a few monies on a few dollars or some money on technology today isn't really gonna get you any closer to your goal.
If you take something out of your business that makes you efficient or helps you navigate how you engage with your customers and navigate your revenue and your GTM. And so I would say, be smart about what you're doing about any cuts you make.
Don't fall for the trap of the economy, where you save a few thousand dollars on technology and end up harming your workflow and the process and everything that you’ve laid out. Obviously, when you've got investors and they're looking at the market, they want you to be smart about their money and their investment and protect the future of the organization. But that's the thing I'd say, don't trade your future either short-term, long-term, mid-term for decisions you make today.
So, that means take the time, ensure you're using things, you know, business intelligence, analytics, hopefully you've got write-offs from departments you haven't cut.
Take the time to listen to the smart folks in your business. And, don't be the penny-wise, pound-foolish person in your business. Do what's right for your business and that’s what's right for the customers.
Sim: Thanks for tuning in to the Perfectly Content podcast. We hope you enjoyed the episode. And of course, if you did feel free to share it on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, or wherever you're most active. Be sure to check the episode notes for all of the links and resources mentioned in this episode. And if you'd like to be updated on when our next podcast is released, you're invited to subscribe at foleon.com/perfectly-content. Until next time.