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B2B Marketing, Sales and The Customer Experience - An Interview With Matt Heinz

We had the opportunity to sit down with Matt Heinz, Founder and President of Heinz Marketing. Our discussion focused on the role of marketing and sales and how they impact the customer experience.

Matt Heinz is a prolific author and nationally recognized, award-winning blogger. and had 20 years of marketing, business development and sales experience from a variety of organizations and industries. Heinz is a dynamic speaker, memorable not only for his keen insight and humor, but his actionable and motivating takeaways.

We appreciate Matt taking the time to speak with us and lend his thoughts and insights to our blog.

VisumCx: Many agencies that exist today focus on either the marketing or sales organization. Heinz Marketing spans both groups. Why did you decide to take that approach?

Heinz: We certainly span both functions, but are most passionate about helping marketing organizations embrace revenue responsibility. That requires tighter integration and partnership with sales than ever before, and aligns marketing directly with the exact same goals as sales.

You can’t buy a beer with an MQL. We help marketers focus, execute and measure their impact on sales and revenue performance.

Those are the marketing results all businesses really want.

VisumCx: What role do you see both marketing and sales play in the delivery of customer experience?

Heinz: Ann Handley from MarketingProfs says that everything the light touches is content. I believe the same thing about your customer experience. It starts with the very first interaction a prospect has with your brand, and is impacted by every single touch point from that point forward.

Want to bait and switch prospects into opening your email? That’s negative equity early in the customer experience. Similarly, when sales push prospects too hard to close at the end of the month, it too often leaves a bad taste in their mouth that’s hard to wash out.

Too often marketers put the vast majority of their focus on getting the first deal. But the real revenue impact comes in managing the entire customer lifetime value, and the entire customer experience from cradle to grave.

VisumCx: The Content Marketing Institutes Annual Benchmarking Study again showed this year marketers struggling with content effectiveness. With the majority of organizations creating and spending more on content marketing, why does effectiveness seem so elusive for brands?

Heinz: The vast majority of content is supplier-centric, bottom of funnel product pitches (or thinly veiled pitches erroneously described as white papers). I’ve lost track of how many content audits we’ve done where 90 percent of what exists (including blog posts and “offers”) are more appropriate for late stages of the sales process instead of at the top of the funnel.

I get where it’s coming from. Most brands are under intense pressure to drive deals, so they want to push prospects through the funnel as fast a possible.

But what most of those marketers don’t realize is that three steps often are faster than one. In other words, when you help prospects discover information that loosens their own status quo, that gets them to build a foundation of need and interest, you’ll convert far more of those prospects into real deals.

It feels like it takes longer, but it’s actually far more efficient.

VisumCx: Forrester reported that almost two-thirds of CMOs will be responsible for customer experience. How will this change the role of marketing in an organization?

Heinz: For one, they’ll think twice about sacrificing long-term impact for short-term gain. They’ll start prioritizing lifetime value over immediate email open rates.

They’ll also start thinking beyond the marketing, and into the actual product and service experience. If everything the life touches is part of the customer experience, that spans literally everything – marketing, sales, customer service, the product itself, how those customers interact and are impacted by fellow customers – everything.

That’s infinitely more surface areas than many CMOs are thinking about today. But it will help them make better decisions and priorities that have far better long-term value for the business.

VisumCx: As marketing and sales teams continually look to improve, what are some of the key areas you see that need the most improvement?

Heinz: A single, integrated buying process is a great start. No more marketing first, sales second. No more isolated and conflicting messages and story lines.

Please, no more growth hackers. Tactically improving open rates and retweets isn’t the goal. Focus on the prize – more sales, happier customers, higher lifetime value. You still have to execute the fundamentals and tactics, but measure it’s value and impact on things you can buy a beer with.

That’s a good place to start…

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