A SEAT at THE TABLE: Conversations with Today's Top Industry Leaders

How Thinking Like an Engineer Can 10X Your Sales & Marketing

February 18, 2023 Timothy Partasevitch, Chief Growth Officer at Smart IT Season 10 Episode 10
A SEAT at THE TABLE: Conversations with Today's Top Industry Leaders
How Thinking Like an Engineer Can 10X Your Sales & Marketing
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Typically marketing and sales  are handled by a company’s  marketing and sales team - who, not surprisingly, approach the task using the standard marketing and sales tools.

But what if we could uncover hidden opportunities or boost our success rate by taking an entirely different approach? 

Our guest today will be talking about why we might want to solve marketing and sales challenges like an engineer - and how his has used this strategy in his company.

I’m Jane Singer and it’s great to have you with us on A Seat at The Table.

Today we have Timothy Partasevitch, Chief Growth Officer at Smart IT joining us.

Tim is a sales and marketing specialist, who solves business challenges like an engineer by focusing on data insights, analyzing what works, what doesn’t, and what can be improved from a technical and financial perspective.

In this podcast he shares his views on:

- How B2B businesses can create a marketing strategy that drives sales.

- Why marketing and sales should be one department - not two.

- The value of building a marketing process.

- Why sales engineering should be your primary strategy.


Asianet Consultants:  https://asianetconsultants.com

Connect with Timothy Partasevitch:  https://by.linkedin.com/in/tim-partasevitch

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Jane Singer  00:02

Typically, marketing and sales are handled by a company's marketing and sales team, who not surprisingly approach the task using the standard marketing and sales tools. But what if we can uncover hidden opportunities or boost our success rate by taking an entirely different approach. Our guest today will be talking about why we might want to solve marketing and sales challenges like an engineer, and how he has used this strategy in his company. I'm Jane singer, and it's great to have you with us here on the seat at the table. Today we have Timothy Partasevitch, Chief Growth Officer at Smart IT, joining us. 

Jane Singer  00:37

Tim is a sales and marketing specialist who solves business challenges like an engineer by focusing on data insights, analyzing what works, what doesn't, and what can be improved from a technical and financial perspective. In this podcast, he shares his views on how b2b businesses can create a marketing strategy that drives sales. Why marketing and sales should be one department not to the value of building a marketing process, and why sales engineering should be your primary strategy. 

Jane Singer  01:08

Finding the right talent that has that all important technical experience is not easy. The more complex the work, the more difficult it is to find seasoned people who can lead teams or execute projects that require specialized knowledge. When leading corporations or even smaller organizations are looking to recruit top talent, they turned to Asianet consultants, since 1988. Asianet has been working in partnership with its global clients to help them make the right strategic hires, they have a well earned reputation for being able to fill even those difficult to fill positions. So if you need to recruit new talent, or think that you might be doing that soon, head on over to their website. That's Asia, NEC consultants.com. Asia net consultants.com. I'll also leave a link in the show notes. Now let's sit down with Tim, and find out how we can look at our digital marketing like an engineer. 

Jane Singer  02:05

Tim, it's really a pleasure to have you here on a seat at the table. And I want to thank you for taking the time to join us here. 

Timothy Partasevitch  02:12

Yeah, thank you for having me, Jane. 

Jane Singer  02:14

Pleasure. I think that the topic that you talk about is really relevant to our audience here. And I think it's something that particularly as we're heading into what looks like a challenging year, because 2023 Looks like it's throwing us some curveballs. I think it'll become even more important for companies. And one of the biggest challenges for any company, but especially for those in the b2b space is understanding what it takes to create an effective marketing component for their company. 

Jane Singer  02:44

Mostly, marketing is something that you do only when you need to do it right. For example, when your sales are not doing well. And you're desperate, right to find new clients. And then as soon as you get sales going again, well, you can stop doing it. That's usually a mistake. So yes, please share what you think on that. 

Timothy Partasevitch  03:01

Yeah, like there's an interesting dynamic, generally between sales and marketing in general, like if you speak to business owners and people who run companies, CEOs and founders, usually they tell you that sales and marketing departments that they don't really like each other, they argue with each other. 

Timothy Partasevitch  03:20

A lot of times, that's kind of like, I guess an old time problem that we just have in the industry for some reason, and everyone was talking about sales and marketing alignment now for years, but nobody seemed to figure everything out. So for example, like in my company's motto at the like, the simple solution is that I run both departments.

Timothy Partasevitch  03:42

So that's the line when you have a single person running everything. Although I understand like for like bigger companies, that might not be a possibility, obviously, because I like a dozen people, when you have hundreds of people on this one person did not manage possibly all of those, the issue with like dropping down marketing, especially chemistry 2023, I think like we are in really changing environments for a couple of reasons. 

Timothy Partasevitch  04:08

First of all, we just recently exited from my personal experience running all the different campaigns seems like it's people really, really tired of digital engagement. And people actually want to get back from zoom calls and everything in person. So my first advice would be to hone in on actually scheduling an in person meetings, calls and actually meeting in person rather than just trying to engage them on LinkedIn, or any other sort of platform. Because like, everyone was like, bombarded by messages, paid advertising over the past couple of years, but they kind of had to respond because there was no other option to find partners and make any sort of business negotiation either than like digitally on the internet space. 

Timothy Partasevitch  04:58

Now that the content is behind us, it seems, and everyone is going back to normal, this kind of swing to the pendulum to the other side, when people just want to ignore digital engagement. And just go back to old times, I think it will come back to the middle, like usually the pendulum swings both ways, really follow up, and then it kind of stops in the middle, 

Jane Singer  05:22

As you say, way too much time spent just doing everything virtually. At the same time. It's difficult sometimes to be able to do it in person simply because of time and travel costs. So on the one hand, yeah, of course, you don't want to be spending all your time on Zoom calls or on social media. But at the same time, how can companies implement some kind of a digital component? You know, because they do want to reach more people and travel costs are very high, the time it takes to travel is very high. Is there a way that you feel based on your experience that they could be strategically implementing? It may not be zoom calls? What are you seeing, 

Timothy Partasevitch  06:08

I think, like the digital components will be like, first of all, the arrangement of the meetings will be done through digital in terms of digital advertising. And you should, I think, like right now, more than ever, you need to distinguish yourself, because everyone was doing digital advertising for the past three years. And everybody can kind of get a hang of it. And everybody can do good enough advertisement. But good enough is no longer good enough. Because obviously, your clients, the leads and potential prospects that you allow to shoot, always assume that there is a second guy, your competitor, who pretty much does the same. And you really need to distinguish yourself how to do it. 

Timothy Partasevitch  06:52

One of them is, I think, going away from like, is that outreach, formerly like saying,Good Day, my name is that and that I'm the Chief Technology, Chief Growth, Chief Marketing Officer at this at company. I would like to speak… Do you have that problem? Like I have, every day, every 10 of those emails in my inbox, and I just ignore them. Because I've seen them all, I don't need to look through the email. 

Timothy Partasevitch  07:18

So you can distinguish yourself from the crowd. From the first email is very important. Like the first engagement, you need to pop out, you need to do something drastically different. For example, like just a quick thing that I do like in my campaign, I usually send a photo of me and my cat and say, “This is me, this is my cat, and we are waiting for your reply.” 

Jane Singer  07:39

I love that, I would definitely reply to that email. 

Timothy Partasevitch  07:42

That sounds a little bit cheesy and corny. But that's different that sticks with people. And you don't need to be that  professional business suit wearing person all the time to get attention, because that's actually what you need. Like that's the outreach, one on one, all you need is just grab their attention and distinguish yourself before that you will distinguish yourself by maybe addressing the problems in the first email, doing some research on the prospect and like doing some personalization. 

Timothy Partasevitch  08:14

But right now, everyone does personalization. I haven't seen a single email that doesn't include my name and the name of my company. So everyone who's talking about personalization. That's not a solution right now. That's a no. So you need to go even further. So I think the marketers need to understand right now that all those talk about digital like automation, personalization is no longer like a key to winning a client is just expected of you. 

Timothy Partasevitch  08:41

And you need to do even more and go beyond. And I think we'll see like in 2023, we see more nutrients coming up. People will start talking about automation, personalization. Everybody knows about that. Let's talk about something new, something different, how to distinguish yourself from the first demo. And like, I think we've been through a couple of those cycles over the years in terms of email outreach, marketing, advertising campaigns on Google ads, that you go through this cycle that somebody picks up something that is working, something that is more unique than everyone else starts doing it. And we go to another cycle where we need to think of something new. 

Timothy Partasevitch  09:19

And I think we are at the end of one of those cycles. I think that's a good point. And you're absolutely right. Everybody wants to do what everybody else is doing. And that dilutes the impact of that particular strategy or tactic. 

Jane Singer  09:33

Now, when you're talking about marketing, and I think this is really important, you talk about building a marketing process. I really like that because anything that you do you need to do consistently over a period of time and effective particularly marketing marketing is you know, you'd say it's a marathon but it's even long it's almost like a career and be able to to keep up that diligence on a regular on a long, long, long on how you need a system or process otherwise, it's overwhelming. What do you see? 

Timothy Partasevitch  10:05

Well, first of all, like coming back to sales and everything.

Timothy Partasevitch  10:10

When you're talking about the marketing process, I think it's inseparable from the sales process, you need to understand how your sales cycle works, what your salespeople are doing, how they engage with the customers after the first touch point was marketing material. And likely, how you do delete acquisition really depends. So use, like, as I was saying, people need to stop treating marketing and sales as two different entities and rather look at them as one coherent entity that needs to work like clockwork together. 

Timothy Partasevitch  10:44

First of all, obviously, things like using a CRM, keeping track of everything using automation tools, and scheduling everything. I am a big proponent of using a data driven approach. I only determined what works and what's not based on numbers. And this kind of like my background academically is engineering. So for me numbers, pretty easy. And I think like if you want to be a good marketer, nowadays, you should be good with numbers, you should be really good at analytics and understanding what lies beyond those numbers. 

Timothy Partasevitch  11:16

Many people don't see like the forest for the trees, unfortunately, always be experimenting, always doing like a bee campaigns don't just like, create one like template of email or messaging or landing page and say, Okay, we have this engagement. And that's good enough, create five variants and determine which works better. And try to just reiterate, until you reach the point where it's like you no longer have the ability to improve yourself.

Timothy Partasevitch  11:45

And this comes with the idea that structuring your team is also important. So because like usually, like when we talk about marketing, there's several components. So you have like targeting and data mining, people who need to be involved in knowing what kind of leads you're targeting, who is your ideal customer persona, they need to like to know it by heart. Like if you wake them up in the middle of the night and say like state our three like free customer personas, they should just be able to do that in the middle of the night, then you have other people who actually do the targeting who can schedule the calls. 

Timothy Partasevitch  12:21

And then you have the core content department, which is very, like, important nowadays. Again, that comes back to distinguishing, everyone kind of knows how to write a decent enough landing page and do a decent enough design for anything. Again, as I was saying, is no longer a good enough unit to distinguish yourself and really hone in on what you offer. And I see that nowadays, that going straight to the point where it's best, like straight to the point and capturing the tension works best. So in terms of like you're building a process, it's never easy to establish a working process that can be maintained long term. 

Timothy Partasevitch  13:06

And you usually will go through different iterations. But getting like this initial structure, making sure that you have the right people, because it comes down to, I think, your team and how you structure your team structure in the process, making sure that your sales and marketing buttons are in full alignment. Having meetings to do together, like weekly, bi weekly, whatever you do at your company is very important, just yet keeping the communication flow all the time open within those departments. I think that's a really good point. 

Timothy Partasevitch  13:40

And the fact that you're linking sales and marketing together, as opposed to separate departments is important because people oftentimes, of course, they look at sales and sales actually drives revenue very directly. It's very measurable, it's very easy to see what's coming from sales, and even some, in most cases, what person is actually most effective, what person may be least effective. So companies and me too, you know, you like that, right? It's transparent for business, it's really transparent. It's easy to see what works, what doesn't, and who delivers the results in terms of the sales department. Yeah, that's great marketing is you still have numbers. It's just like, I think that they're not that directly related to revenue and costs. 

Timothy Partasevitch  14:28

But there's still like analytics you can do and I think it's just like one or two degrees of separation to your direct revenue stream. And you just kind of need to do a little bit of work to understand how your investment in marketing affects everything because like, you need to remember that when we're talking about the funnel, like traditionally like if you Google like sales, funnel, linear anything you'll see the same picture. But at the end, like at the very top it says like cold prospect could generate those

Timothy Partasevitch  14:59

Cold prospects that's generated by the marketing team usually. And so you cannot just ignore it. And utilizing marketing along the sales funnel is also very important. I think so, because any person who has worked generating leads, like a year in sales knows that usually, the biggest problem is to not actually like scheduled the first call. It's not about closing the deal. It's about like the process in between because very often, you think that everything is going well, you've chatted with the customer, they show interest, but then they just start ignoring you. And like nothing comes out of it. That's where you can also utilize the same marketing ploys, like simply utilizing something like case studies, reminding yourself constantly. And again, grabbing their attention again and again, can be very useful.

Jane Singer  15:52

Yeah, I totally agree. And I think that if marketing is sort of, you might say, the black hole of sales, right? Whereas you're saying, sales are very transparent. Marketing is very opaque. But I guess what also frustrates people is that sales can be very immediate, not always, but you can get a result fast, right? Particularly someone who's a seasoned salesperson, in some cases can get that result fast. Whereas marketing, even for a seasoned marketer, there's a very long lag time in the beginning, right? To get that flywheel going, you really have to be able to it's like going, I like to compare it to going to the gym, where how long you go, before you actually start to see improvement. And I think that's one of the frustrations that people have, like, well, we keep spending money on this, we're not seeing anything, you know, we're getting data. But you know, you need a lot of data over a long period of time. 

Timothy Partasevitch  16:52

And one, one more thing that I would like to add is sometimes distribution to everything. So for example, as I said, sales is very transparent and everything and like, for example, you can deliver results very fast, or very fast like but you see, like you have a typical sales cycle, as we call it like, and we will say whatever is one month, two months, three months, half a year, usually what happens, like the marketing can actually affect the length of the sales cycle, that's something people don't usually see is that with marketing, you can shorten it. Very often, what happens if you're cut down on the cost of marketing, then your sales cycles tend to prolong in time?

Timothy Partasevitch  17:34

Very often, that's what I saw, again, and again, in many b2b companies, like you turn off the marketing, and the salespeople start underperforming. 

Jane Singer  17:43

Yeah, I think that's very true. And I think that people don't understand that and in some respects, because you don't see that direct link between marketing and sales. So therefore, you think, Well, I've been doing this marketing, I don't know what I'm getting out of it, I have my sales people calling people, they're getting orders. And so you turn off the faucet, right? For marketing. And then you don't see that a couple of months later, the sales also start to slow down. 

Jane Singer  18:12

But because there was that lag between, there's just so many lags between when you start it and when you turn it off, that you don't see the correlation, unless you really have expertise in that area. 

Timothy Partasevitch  18:24

Yeah, that's definitely true. And this, and one of the things that are very annoying is that this lag, it's not like a week or two weeks, it can take months and months. So sometimes you can literally cut down not only on the market cause but actually lay off some people. And then after several months, your sales go down and like you've done that irreversible but pretty much already irreversible damage to your company revenue streaming, you need to reassemble the entire marketing, because you actually didn't see the value in it. 

Timothy Partasevitch  19:01

And I understand that. Unfortunately, I think a mistake on many marketers is that sometimes we are not very good at actually illustrating very clearly through numbers, the value that we bring, and I think again, it comes back to the disconnect between sales and marketing. What there's no link between so like you can never actually illustrate the value of what you're doing. 

Jane Singer  19:28

Yes, absolutely. I totally agree. I think it's very, very hard with marketing, even when you have all that data available to you to really quantify what you're getting in a way that people outside the marketing department can really see the value in. You always feel like you haven't made your case as fully as you would like to so to speak. 

Timothy Partasevitch  19:49

Yeah. And that's, again, like coming back. I think that if you're planning to be a marketer, because like, I always see no problem like please nowadays when hiring new people, especially young junior marketers, is that this is some sort of glamorous idea of working in marketing and advertising. People think that is quite a glamorous job like, Oh, I'm working in advertising marketing. 

Timothy Partasevitch  20:13

Actually, it's not like a lot of work with numbers, you need to be a very math savvy person who can quickly get on their feet, do the analytics and everything. And this is not a lot of glamour, to be honest, it's very, like, especially junior-like tasks that you do, like in SEO, in paid advertisement. Social media is also very repetitive. I very much like to try to get people who have at least one year of experience in the marketing field, and it doesn't matter which field of expertise they have, whether it's like SEO, paid advertising, social media, I just want a person who understands a little bit what they're getting into. 

Timothy Partasevitch  20:53

Because if they have no experience in marketing, you're in for a trip, because like, after a month or two, like there was a that's not what I expected. I thought it was gonna be a fun job there. for creative people. There is a room for creativity in marketing, obviously. But there's also a job that needs to be done.

Jane Singer  21:13

Absolutely. I think you're right. I think people don't realize how much math science there is in marketing these days. It's not, as you said, just repetitive tasks. Yeah.

Jane Singer  21:27

Now you talk about sales engineering as a primary strategy. Does that work? Can you explain that? Yeah. It's the sort of like the idea of sales engineering is like, 

Timothy Partasevitch  21:38

Yeah, I think it is just like a fancy phrase to use, again, rapt attention, which kind of calls it the idea of understanding what actually drives any sort of select sales. Because you can read 100 books and people saying things like this drive sales, direct sales, I think at the end of the day, people like on the other end, customers, they worry about a couple of things. 

Timothy Partasevitch  22:02

This can be broken down, like any business cares about three metrics, its revenue. And can you answer the question? Can you increase my revenue? Then it's cost? Can you decrease my cost? And risk? Can you help me mitigate risks? And that's it. If you can answer those questions during your sales presentation and convince the person next to you that you can do one, two or three of all those things, then they'll buy, if you're just talking about your product, how you are great and everything.

Timothy Partasevitch  22:34

 Like it's a trap that many young sales people fall into, they start talking about themselves and their product, forgetting about that, like people next to you don't really care about it. Steve Jobs did a really good thing with Apple, when he came back he completely restructured the marketing messages around his product, an iPhone, it wasn't like the most powerful and sophisticated smartphone and existence. Now he just said like in his marketing campaigns, creative people choose iPhone. And that's it. 

Timothy Partasevitch  23:07

Because every person likes to think of them as creative people.  You need to  address, like the customer value, address the customer issue and understand that at the end of the day, we all care only about our business and ourselves. And that's what you kind of need to structure everything around it. 

Timothy Partasevitch  23:30

So I would just just like any person, just break down revenue cost risk, what does your product solve? Can you increase the revenue? Can you decrease the cost? Can you help them mitigate risks, and hone in on that. And if you can put it into metrics, that's where engineering and analytics comes through, then even better, you can give you a case studies how you like in terms of marketing, obviously, it's about generating more revenue. 

Timothy Partasevitch  23:57

Or if you're like a new person, for example, applying for a job, even if you're trying to sell yourself that's still not a great example, for anyone who goes through the interview. Hone in on numbers, can you cut down the cost of marketing for the previous company without affecting the revenue? That's a great like, if you would come to a job interview and say like in my previous job, I cut down on like 20% of marketing expenditure without like, negatively affecting the effectiveness of the campaign itself. Now, that's a great metric. That's the person I'd like to hire. 

Timothy Partasevitch  24:34

Same with choosing your partner. Same for choosing a vendor for marketing and sales. Can you hone down on those three issues? And can you provide proof of concept? That's pretty much what I mean by sales engineer. And obviously, it's about structuring your message. Usually, there's a lot of psychology going into sales. I always tell myself that doing sales is like dating a lot. There's a lot of similarities between how you engage on a first date, how you make a first impression, and how you talk.

Timothy Partasevitch  25:09

Usually I say to young salespeople that the first call with the prospect ever, you should be listening and not talking at all trying to get as much information as you want. Because the last, the last thing that potential customers want to see is like, self involved salesperson who talks about themselves in their company, because they don't care. They want to listen, and they want you and it all, it comes down to trust of this lip, they want to trust you. And there's no better way to establish trust than listening to people's problems.

Jane Singer  25:52

I think those are really good points. And you're absolutely right.

Jane Singer  25:57

It really takes a lot to understand marketing, particularly nowadays, that it would probably pay for companies to understand how marketing works before they get involved in even hiring people or trying to build a department. I don't want to try to put you on the spot. But in general, what might be timelines that people would be looking at if somebody is looking to launch a marketing campaign? 

Jane Singer  26:23

And let's say they really haven't done anything on a consistent basis before? What would you be looking at in terms of going from launching that campaign to starting to see some kind of results, ie sale, obviously an improvement in sales? What might you look at in terms of a timeline? 

Timothy Partasevitch  26:43

Yeah, obviously, that will depend very much on the industry you're working in. Some industries, just by their nature are slower to respond like the market is a little bit slower. 

Timothy Partasevitch  26:55

For example, like you may think of healthcare, it's very slow to respond and do like it much more than insurance, financial sectors, like very slow, usually, unless we are in a time of turmoil. But in terms of the timeline that you should be expecting, I think that going for three to six months to see any sort of improvement, like months 123, I don't think that you can see any sort of meaningful changes that you wouldn't attribute to potentially random error. But yeah, three to six months, I think is like the timeline you're looking at to see any meaningful changes.

Jane Singer  27:37

Okay, I think three to six months is pretty, pretty fast. I think that's really not too bad. Yeah, it's not too bad. 

Timothy Partasevitch  27:45

Obviously, like, as I said, you need to also understand this, obviously, it will also depends on how much you've invested, like, upfront into marketing. Like, if you're just investing in, for example, like outreach campaigns and seeing, like acquiring newness, like, I think there you can see some sort of like improvements in three to six months, SEO obviously takes a bit more time to get real results. But it has a snowball effect that it gets bigger and bigger and bigger as things go along better advertisement, like Google Ads can bring pretty much an immediate result. 

Timothy Partasevitch  28:24

But it takes a high upfront cost. So it's also like a cost benefit analysis, the more money you can put in upfront, the faster usually you'll see the result, the less money you put in the longer time. But that's like any business. 

Jane Singer  28:40

Yes, of course. Well, Tim, thank you so much for sharing so many interesting insights. I think that everybody is trying to understand marketing better. People are feeling pressure to do something, but not sure what to do and not sure what's going to give them a return on investment. So thank you so much for sharing your expertise with us. 

Timothy Partasevitch  29:00

Yeah, sure, no problem. 

Jane Singer  29:02

Now, how can people find you? Where can? Where can people get in touch with you? 

Timothy Partasevitch  29:08

I'm active on LinkedIn, and share my social media. But if you want to contact me directly, I think LinkedIn would be the best way to engage. 

Jane Singer  29:19

Perfect. Well, I'll include all those links in the show notes. And again, I'd like to thank you for taking the time to join us here on a seat at the table. 

Timothy Partasevitch  29:27

Yeah, thank you very much. It was a pleasure talking to you. 

Jane Singer  29:30

I'd also like to thank our sponsor, Asia net consultants, Asian that's a specialist in recruiting top talent in Asian markets. Since 1988. Asianet has been working in partnership with its global clients to help them make the right strategic hires. They have a well earned reputation for being able to fill even those difficult to fill positions, learn about how they can help you find the best talent by heading over to their website. Asianet consultants.com. That's Asianet consultants.com

Jane Singer  30:00

I'll also leave a link in the show notes. Thank you for joining me here on A Seat at the Table. If you enjoyed this episode or learn something from it, I would love to hear about it. If you'd like to support the show, please hit the subscribe button. And if you can take a minute to leave a review on Apple podcasts or other channels. That would be fabulous. Don't forget to check out our podcast website seat podcast.com. That's seatpodcast.com. If there's something you'd like to share ideas, suggestions or comments, please feel free to reach out. I would love to hear from you. Thank you again for joining me and being part of our international community. I'm Jane Singer, and I'll see you in the next podcast Episode.

(Cont.) How Thinking Like an Engineer Can 10X Your Sales & Marketing