Today, Josh Wagner, Enterprise Account Executive, talks with host Islin Munisteri about implementing and selling Marketo before marketing operations existed in 2007. He believes your job as a marketer is to create world-class customer experiences through acquisition, retention, and increasing customer lifetime value. We need to connect people, processes, and technology--the lack of connectivity is driving a negative customer experience.
Josh Wagner is an Enterprise Account Executive at Shift Paradigm, a growth consultancy aligning technology and strategy. He also hosts the Love Selling Hates Sales Podcast.
Connect with our guest, Josh Wagner, on LinkedIn.
[00:00:20] Islin Munisteri: Hi, everyone. This is Islin with via strategies and I'm host of the rev ops careers podcast. I'm excited to have Josh Wagner with shift paradigm with me today on the podcast.
[00:00:32] Josh Wagner: Thank you. Thanks for having me. It's going to be fun.
[00:00:35] Islin Munisteri: Loving it. So Josh Wagner is an enterprise account executive at shift paradigm, a growth consultancy, aligning technology and strategy. They sold rev ops before it was known as rev ops. That's right. He also hosts the love sales hate selling
[00:00:51] Josh Wagner: podcast. Love selling hate sales podcast.
[00:00:54] Islin Munisteri: Oh, l love selling.
[00:00:56] Hate Salesforce. Sorry. I'm like, oh my gosh. When I was writing now, I'm like, it looks
[00:01:01] -: good.
[00:01:01] Josh Wagner: Okay. No problem.
[00:01:04] Islin Munisteri: Cool. So let's get started. So how did you start your career and your.
[00:01:11] Josh Wagner: Yeah, it's an interesting story. Like you said, in the open, it was a little bit before rev ops was even a thing.
[00:01:16] So around, let's say 2008, 2009, I was running sales and marketing for any learning company. And I reconnected with an old friend of mine. We got together for lunch and. We were, he had two companies going, he had a financial services company and he had this new agency that he had created. It turned out that he was Marketo's like 19th customer in 2007, 2008.
[00:01:42] And he had such a bad onboarding experience that he started creating an agency to employ. Marketo and so after we had our lunch, he started sending me these screenshots of alerts. He was getting from this platform that was saying someone viewed your website, someone accumulated a score of X, Y, Z, all of these different things.
[00:02:03] He started sending them to me. I was like, what is. Magic wizardry you're sending me. So we started to have some conversations about it. And like I said, I was running sales and marketing for any learning company. So I wound up working with him to help me implement Marketo and Salesforce for my company at the time.
[00:02:19] And I. Worked with him to implement it. I, got downloaded and got the best practices and started my journey as at the time a Marketo power user. And really that was the beginning of my career in the rev ops world was understanding Marketo Salesforce, how those platforms work together.
[00:02:38] What lead management looks like scoring all of those basic methodologies that today are somewhat table stakes, but that was the beginning of the journey for sure.
[00:02:47] Islin Munisteri: Wow. Talking with you. That's great. So it's so this whole marketing sales ops actually started in 2008, 2009,
[00:02:56] Josh Wagner: or is it earlier than that?
[00:02:58] Yeah, probably a little bit earlier, but that was around the Genesis of it. You had marketing automation was starting to create a space in the technology ecosystem. Salesforce had really just made a pivot. To the no software platform that put them on the, that really accelerated and hockey stick their growth trajectory.
[00:03:16] I remember because when we bought Salesforce, that was like the first year that they were taking their entire annual subscription upfront. And it was all sass bait, that type of thing. So it was right in the early stages of, marketing ops and sales ops being a thing based around marketing automation and CRM.
[00:03:36] Islin Munisteri: Wow. And and from there, you where else did you go after after you implemented, Marketo and Salesforce at your own company? Like I know at some point you jumped to lead MD. Selling smaller. , they would be concerned. I would concern larger deals, but you call them smaller deals with lead MD.
[00:03:55] It's a
[00:03:55] Josh Wagner: little bit of an interesting journey. So when I was at resolutions, which is an e-learning company, we spent some time, we had an interesting go to market strategy. That company themselves was making a pivot from a traditional production. And into an e-learning company. And the reason for that was around nine 11.
[00:04:13] They, a lot of their biggest clients were in the airline industry. So they lost 70% of their revenue based on the impact of nine 11. So they were trying to think of something that was more forward looking, future looking and to pivot and scale those resources. So they create an any learning company and they asked me to help them figure.
[00:04:33] How could we take any learning company to market in a unique way, giving that e-learning was already a thing you weren't going to go compete with the Sabas of the world in institutional, your learning. It was already fully baked and they weren't going to be able to develop a platform that fast with that type of capability.
[00:04:47] So what we wound up coming up with was a niche vertical market strategy, where we'd find niche markets that were very compliance heavy, and needed to track and report on that compliance activity. And we would partner with a subject matter expert who was maybe doing like live training or something like that who needed to expand their market.
[00:05:10] So we would say, Hey, listen, partner with us. We tune we'll turn your content into e-learning. Cut you in on the revenue and you help us with the content. So we branded for different industries in e-learning around these vertical markets. And what I wound up doing then was running marketing out of a single Marketo.
[00:05:31] To five different companies. So to speak with the shared e-learning service through a single instance of Salesforce and Marketo and with various segments and audiences, very different value props and routing to different salespeople based on the different industry, the lead flow and all those types of things.
[00:05:47] So that's where I cut my teeth with Marketo and Salesforce, and really learning to bend the system in ways that they weren't really intended to be. And then I was looking for a change. And interestingly enough, I did this five months stint in pharmaceutical sales. That was but I got a text from Justin, the person that I told you, I went to lunch with, sold me, Marketo sold me Salesforce and helped me implement it.
[00:06:10] And he said, listen, I need someone who understands this stuff to come. Help me sell it into the marketplace. Our agency is growing. We're selling, implementation optimization, staff, augmentation services. You get it. So come work for me. And that's how I wound up working at lead MD, which in the early days, that's all we did was Marketo implementation optimization and staff augmentation.
[00:06:29] We've grown a bit since then. We've been acquired since then. And our scope is much broader, but those were how I cut my teeth.
[00:06:37] Islin Munisteri: Great. That's great. And then I think you went to so when you guys were acquired by shift paradigm how did that change the, your
[00:06:45] Josh Wagner: sales motion? The sales motion was a gradual change over time.
[00:06:49] And interestingly enough, we weren't acquired by shift paradigm. We were acquired by trendline interactive. We rebranded a shift paradigm about six, eight months after the acquisition, just because the two companies were both had a really strong footing in the marketplace and we needed to rally around a new header to bring both sides of the organization together as one, which I think was a really good plan, but the whole thesis behind that acquisition was that.
[00:07:17] B2B and B2C journeys are having a lot of crossover right now. The people are people and they're buying in their consumer lives somewhat similar to their buying and their business lives. And there's a crossover. So that hypothesis is the reason the two companies came together and then the charge was to find out what is the gap?
[00:07:35] What is the, what are companies, where are they failing in delivering on bringing those audiences together? And what we found is that every organization is doing. Fundamental go-to market strategy stuff like audience research, market research, those types of things. Most people today have at least some foundation of operational effectiveness around rev ops.
[00:07:57] There is some level of experience design happening, but the real missing piece to creating world-class customer experiences, whether it's B to B to C, is this concept called data fluidity and data fluidity is the connection point between all of these things and how data moves throughout the ecosystem, and ultimately serves up a world-class customer experience.
[00:08:17] And. Just finding that the iterations in the marketplace going through different cycles, talking to customers, talking to prospects that has changed year over year, just to get to the point where we understand where the market is now, and we're trying to help solve real problems for organizations.
[00:08:34] Islin Munisteri: And I guess, what are those problems? How, how does marketing create growth or like, how are our activities creating revenue or what what
[00:08:46] Josh Wagner: is the problem? Yeah, it's a really good question. So if you think about marketing teams today, they're really charged. Impacting growth within an organization.
[00:08:54] And like they never have in the history of marketing, often marketing was looked at as the pretty picture department or in support of sales, but now marketing really has growth objectives on their head and growth comes in one of three ways. Typically it's through acquisition it's through retention or creating lifetime value.
[00:09:10] And when you think about those three lenses, the one thing that's consistent through all of that is the customer so your job as a marketer is to create world-class customer experiences. And those customer experiences are the connectivity between all of the touch points that they have with the organization.
[00:09:28] Those touch points could be digital. They can be person to person. They can be any number of things, but it's your job as a marketer to create that connectivity, the problem. Is that as marketers, we have created this siloed effect across people, process and technology. That's making it more and more difficult to create that connected experience for the customer.
[00:09:49] And it gives us the wrong vantage point in terms of what the customer's doing. What are the clues that they're leaving us behind that we should be actioning on. And the solution to that problem for the past 15, 20 years has been technology. Let's buy more tech, let's add tech, let's do this. Let's do that.
[00:10:06] As you look at the info scape, right? It's now what 8,000 some MarTech technologies that aren't connected to one another, right? The problem is amplifying itself because you're seeing just more of the same. You're adding technology. You're not connected, it's not embedded into the ecosystem and it's causing more confusion.
[00:10:25] So the solution to that problem Is really what we call. We believe that the connected experience is rooted. Customer experience is rooted in connectivity, not in technology. And that's interesting thesis coming from a technology company, but what we're saying is that there are three key pillars that every organization does.
[00:10:48] They, everyone does audience intelligence work. Everyone does experience design work, and everyone does operational work. But the missing piece to that is data fluidity. And without data fluidity, you can't bring those pieces together and create a connected customer experience.
[00:11:05] Islin Munisteri: That's quite a different thesis I think then than what's really going on today in In current circles,
[00:11:12] Josh Wagner: What are you think is different about it? I guess
[00:11:14] Islin Munisteri: It's not necessarily different. The thesis of rev ops is to bring together your marketing sales and customer success teams toward a single revenue.
[00:11:25] And your thesis is to really have all that data connected together so we can make better
[00:11:31] Josh Wagner: decisions. I don't think it's different. It's not different. It's not drastically different. It's taking it a step further. So yes, the idea behind revops to bring marketing and sales and customer success together, but together for what together to better serve the customer.
[00:11:45] So the back end has to serve the front end. And if we forget about that, then we're disconnected we're not delivering a connected experience. So rev ops as a foundational piece of the puzzle, which I truly believe it is can't operate in a silo from everything else. The front end has to be the back end has to be serving the front end, which is the customer.
[00:12:07] I agree.
[00:12:07] Islin Munisteri: And I guess going further on that. What's your philosophy on how like rev ops, like how different rev ops teams should interact?
[00:12:17] Josh Wagner: Yeah, I think starting off is the concept of rev ops is still fairly new. Within the last few years, there were still separate departments and in many organizations, they are marketing ops and sales ops
[00:12:29] so that naturally creates some level of conflict between. Two sides of the house, the marketing side of the house and the sales side of the house. And I still hear to this day we can only go so far in our, let's say creation of our lead lifecycle because we have to go to sales ops to do the other side of it.
[00:12:47] The other half of it. If we're operating that way in a us versus them, or we need them to do this, and then we do this and they do that, you're missing the point. So if one, if we do. Get behind the theory that rev ops is a holistic solution than it needs to be treated that way. And we need to be bringing those two things under one umbrella and having a holistic view that again, serves the customer at the end of the day.
[00:13:12] But I think that from a rev ops standpoint, one of the most fundamental things that I believe in is that you have to set standards with acceptable standard deviations that people can play by and those standards can't be created in a vacuum. They can't be created because serious decisions said, this is the way you do it.
[00:13:33] Or gardeners that this is the way you do it. It needs to be those best practices are fine, but every business does some have, has some unique ness to them. And you have to set those standards with the business and the customer in mind. So creating centers of excellence. That cross lead management, that cross omni-channel marketing, that cross scoring that cross training, that cross enablement, all of those different things that, that core foundational operational center of excellence is super important for organizations, especially as you grow and scale, you can't do it without it.
[00:14:13] Islin Munisteri: And can you tell me more about the concept behind like the operation center of excellence? What do you mean.
[00:14:21] Josh Wagner: Yeah. So think about as an organization grows, oftentimes they do it a variety of.
[00:14:54] Islin Munisteri: I think we lost Josh. Let's say if he comes
[00:14:58] -: back, I think start off. There's two of them
[00:15:07] and then we can get them started. We can create a.
[00:15:51] Josh Wagner: Josh. Hey, I don't know what happened.
[00:15:53] Islin Munisteri: It just died. That's okay. It's okay. Yeah, we can. I'll edit that on the script.
[00:15:58] Josh Wagner: It's all good. No problem. All right. Maybe start back over with your question and I'll dive back in. Awesome. Sounds
[00:16:05] Islin Munisteri: good. So what do you mean more about the centers of the operations center of excellence?
[00:16:11] Josh Wagner: Yeah. So you think about how organizations scale, oftentimes it's organically by expanding their addressable market, expanding their ideal customer profile, taking different routes to market a whole host of ways. Also it sometimes becomes a merger and acquisition activity, right? Adding new products out of new companies, bringing more, more into the fold.
[00:16:33] As you start to scale the company, it comes, becomes really important that everybody is operating out of the same. Operational playbooks, so to speak. And the best example I can use that as lead management, a lead comes in through a variety of different channels. It could be through form fills on the web. It could be through referral.
[00:16:50] It could be through digital advertising, this a whole bunch of different ways that leads come through how that lead goes from acquisition, all the way to revenue and everything in between that lead management process becomes critical to how an organization scales and grow. As an example, I have a customer or the enterprise.
[00:17:10] It we're talking a $38 billion organization. And because they didn't have global standards around lead management, they were actually missing, there was $12 million of pipeline just sitting there that wasn't being worked because there weren't a standard process for lead management and getting those leads, dispositions, sorted, routed to the right salespeople.
[00:17:33] Salespeople knew what conversations to have based on those things. Those global standards need to be set. So lead management, as an example, training and enablement, is an example, change management campaigning. If you're using digital Omni channel approaches, how do you bring campaigns to the market?
[00:17:50] Are there different use cases that you might have all of those different things that need to be standardized in order for organization to scale and make sure that they are taking advantage of every. Investment in their technology and investment in their lead acquisition sources.
[00:18:06] Islin Munisteri: Wow. I can't believe like $12 million.
[00:18:09] Just sitting there.
[00:18:10] Josh Wagner: It happens more than you think.
[00:18:11] Islin Munisteri: Yeah, like it actually happened to me when I was trying to look for a time tracking software and I called their line and I fill out the form, but they never. Reached back out to me and I'm like, I'm guess I'm not using your software.
[00:18:25] Josh Wagner: So think about that, right? That customer experience is bad and it was bad because of ops. So the backend wasn't serving the front end. Exactly. What I'm bringing back to you is rev ops has a real impact on the customer experience and that's a real life example of it.
[00:18:42] Islin Munisteri: And then that was that's interesting because.
[00:18:46] Wondering, actually one of the rev ops co-op events was trying to understand the ROI of rev ops. And how do you justify the ROI
[00:18:56] Josh Wagner: and tell a CEO that their leads aren't being worked. See how quick they take action.
[00:19:04] -: Oh
[00:19:04] Islin Munisteri: man, that's a good cold email sequence. I can see writing
[00:19:10] Josh Wagner: exactly. They care very much.
[00:19:12] CEO's view leads typically, especially in smaller organizations, in the SMB, they view leads as the lifeblood of growth. And if they find out that leads are coming into their organization, that aren't being worked, they typically take that very seriously.
[00:19:31] Islin Munisteri: Awesome. That's good. Okay.
[00:19:32] And I guess, what do you think of when I say the term rev ops roadmap?
[00:19:38] Josh Wagner: Rev ops roadmap. So I think of what is our standards today and how do we future proof those standards so that we're continually scaling and iterating. And how do we create a feedback loop for all the different players that will allow us to make sure that not only do we have a roadmap in place that, that here, but it's also a living and breathing document that we have the ability to take feedback on and grow over time.
[00:20:04] That's what I think about for. That's
[00:20:07] Islin Munisteri: great. And I guess my last question is like what's the best piece of career advice that you would tell your younger self,
[00:20:13] Josh Wagner: Don't rush the process. Experience for the most part, trumps everything. And I would say that getting diverse experience is going to serve you well, don't get too hung up on titles or upward mobility and all the things that people.
[00:20:31] Kind of tend to get really hung up on. I would say that differentiated experience will differentiate you more than you think. So I'll give you an example of what I was out of college. I didn't want to get a job. So I started a company with a buddy of mine. We had no money, no contacts and no experience, not exactly a recipe for success for starting a company, but.
[00:20:56] We managed to build something from nothing. We ran that business for four years. We paid ourselves pretty decent wages. We had some, we built some really good connections. We'd built a partner network that we were able to sell into and sell through. And you could say the company was a failure, right?
[00:21:14] Because at the end of the day, We didn't really build a business. We built jobs for ourselves. There was no scalability into it. If we weren't grinding, we weren't making money. But through that, I learned a lot of things. I learned how to read a P and L I learned around a balance sheet. I learned the power of cashflow.
[00:21:29] I learned all of the different things that are fundamental to running a business, even though it was only a business of two. Very successfully, or maybe not very successfully, but the fundamentals of running a business. So now when I'm out selling services, if I'm in the room with a C level executive, I know what they care about.
[00:21:49] And I can speak that language cause I've done it right. Maybe not at their level, maybe not in the fortune 500 or whatever, but I still understand what they're thinking about anytime we're having those types of conversations. And I will tell you, I haven't interviewed much in my life. Only a couple of.
[00:22:03] That's all anyone wants to talk about is, oh, tell me about this business you started. What was that? Not telling that story like, oh man, that's so cool that you took that risk because when you're young, you have no responsibility. Like my life now at 42 with three kids, I can't take that risk. I can, but it's a lot harder for me to take that risk and say, oh, I'm going to go start a business and do this and that.
[00:22:24] Whereas at 22, What I have to lose.
[00:22:29] -: Wow.
[00:22:31] Islin Munisteri: It's interesting reading Dan Pink. He talks about like the power of regret and as you get older, it's like, you regret the things that you didn't do more than the things that you did do. So it was great that you took the jump into having your own business at
[00:22:45] Josh Wagner: 22.
[00:22:46] Yeah. And again, it, maybe you couldn't define it as a business. And I think regret is one of those weird things. I'm sure there's all things that we regret doing, but that's what I say. If you're asking, what would I tell my younger self, just gain experience, do lots of different things. Get one thing I will tell folks is your ability to.
[00:23:07] Insert yourself into a situation and have a point of view based on some level of experience sets you apart from so many people. Creating those experiences early on and just getting into things, jumping into them, even if you don't know anything will serve you really well in the long-term.
[00:23:22] Islin Munisteri: Awesome. I think that wraps it up. Josh. I think we had a great podcast and we had definitely different viewpoints than our usual. Folks like usual guests. So yeah, that's been awesome. It's been awesome. Thanks Josh and I hope to talk to you soon.
[00:23:39] Josh Wagner: Yeah, you're welcome. Thanks for having me.