The B2B Marketer Spotlight provides a platform for some of our favorite B2B marketers to share insights about their job, their best tips, their B2B skill set, and showcase their marketing and career advice.
This month we are excited to feature Dan Van Meer, Director, Demand Generation & Digital Marketing at VersaPay. I first met Dan at the ABM Summit in Toronto as we were seated next to each other at a vendor-sponsored lunch. Since then, our teams have worked together on creating meaningful thought leadership content for VersaPay.
Dan is a thoughtful, empathetic leader and shares some insightful ideas on cultivating strong working relationships with sales and marketing. He’s also a consummate learner and uses newer channels such as Slack groups to share ideas.
In his spare time, he keeps busy with his wife and three kids under the age of 6 and his guitar while occasionally dusting off his old hockey goalie pads.
- How would you explain to your six-year-old what your company does?
We help companies streamline how they send invoices, collect payment, and follow - up with people that haven't paid them on time. It's all about helping companies get paid faster and build better customer experiences.
- How would you explain to your six-year-old what you do for work?
make sure that people know VersaPay exists . I h elp them realize that they have a problem we can help them solve and that the problem i s big enough that we need to be talking with them as soon as possible to help them solv e it.
- Which element of your marketing tech stack would you recommend to others? Why?
Adding EverStringto our tech stack in 2018 was a game - changer for us. It’s an account research and prioritization tool that combines traditional firmographics (vertical, revenue, number of employees, etc.) with intent and technographic data (i.e. their corporate tech stack, such as ERP and other back - end systems). The tool also incorporates a “fit” score that models prospective accounts against the business that we ha ve won. Having that data has allowed us to confidently select and prioritize accounts more logically and rationally, versus the more traditional model built solely around firmographics.
What’s the best piece of content that you or your team produced recently? What makes it so good?The best piece of content is the one that we're working on with the GET LIFT team (editor’s note: This comment was totally unprompted!). We’re really excited about “The Finance Leader's Ultimate Guide to Digital Transformation in Wholesale Distribution.” I think what makes it so good is that it's written from a perspective that demonstrates empathy for a specific persona in key industries that we want to talk to.
- What’s your best tip for establishing a productive relationship with your sales team?
vest the time to get to know them, the processes they rely on, and the challenges they come u pon , so you can understand the context they operate in and support them effectively . The reality is that everything we do in marketing should be setting sales up to have great conversations as prospects move through the funnel. I n marketing , it's easy to get disconnected and lose sight of the fact that sales maintains the clos est relationships to our future customers , and showing them that you're just as invested as they are in seeing deals clos e helps you build a better relationship with them. Ultimately, we should all be focused on driving revenue, and if we unite around that objective, good things follow.
- What's your best tip for getting the best out of your Marketing team?
Be real , and don’t lose sight of the fact that the team you work with is made up of real people too. It means that some ideas won’t work, mistakes will happen, and that nobody has things completely figured out – and if you a build a culture that uses those truths as a foundation to build off of, you’re going to gel better, produce better work, and drive better outcomes for the business. I think sometimes we fall into the trap of throwing up a false front and acting like we have everything figured out, but that doesn’t work . People want to work with people they enjoy working with and portraying yourself as a know - it - all kills culture and builds crappy teams. The prevalence of data in this space has also left us prone to being overly analytical or robotic in how we approach our roles, and I think we run the risk of losing that human element that’s so important.
- What daily or weekly habit is the most important thing you do to help you be productive and successful at work?
Writing the top three things I needed to accomplish for the day before I open my email and looking at the week ahead to intentionally block off time to think through spec ific things that I have to get out of the door.
Is there a specific app that you really like that helps you be productive?
For me, it's not about a good app, but it’s about not having apps. I've cleared every app off the home screen of my phone, so when I open my phone now, there's n othing there. I've found that personally I'm prone to clicking headline after headline, so I need to put constraints around how I use my devices to stay productive.
- What’s the weirdest job you’ve ever had in your career?
The weirdest job I've ever had was when I was 16 , and I spent the summer helping an older gentleman from our church, who was a brilliant inventor. His basement was full of Commodore 64s, and part of my job was helping him identify which ones worked and disposing of the br oken ones. He also had a leather - bound handwritten book his grandfather had written about financial advice for teenagers, and part of my job was to transcribe that book into a digital format .
What did you study at university, and how has it helped you in your career?
All through high school, I loved programming and using computers to solve problems, so Computer Science seemed like a very natural fit. I got into a great university but ultimately realized that the program was not the right fit for me. My academi c performance reflected the struggles I had to stay engaged, and ultimately, I was asked by the school to take some time off to re - evaluate my priorities. I hit reset and started taking Business & HR at a local college . Over the Christmas break, a profess or convinced me that I needed to switch into the Marketing stream, which I ultimately finished and used towards completing a Bachelor of Commerce at Ryerson. While my academic journey was frustrating at times, in hindsight I’ve realized that everything I learned in computer science has given me the ability to understand back-end systems , processes and the technical side of digital marketing . T hough I failed academicall y in computer science, it set me up for a lot of what I've been able to do in the last fo ur or five years .
What’s the best interview question to evaluate a B2B marketer?
I ask interviewees to walk me through their favorite campaign where they’ve been a part of both the planning and the execution . It allows you to get a holistic view of the individual in a couple different ways . From an attitude perspective , y ou can see how they talk about the planning , ideation and strategy piece and get an idea of how they actually think through their work, how they plan for results and the measure ment of the results. I love hearing people talking about how they interact with people and I listen for how they fit into a team dynamic. A re they somebody who takes credit for everything ? D o they share the success and the win? Do they recognize the contributions of others? With this question, it’s more about listening for clues about their attitude and approach, as opposed to project management and outcomes.
What advice would you give to your 25-year-old self?
One, stop comparing yourself to people around you. And two, stop worrying about the future. Own the moment and do great with whatever work is in front of you, and everything's going to work out. Looking back, I think I spent so much time doubting my career progression and looking at people I went to school with and thinking they're doing cooler stuff than I was. I lost sight of enjoying what I was doing in the moment and learning from that.
What’s the biggest intangible that you look for in a job candidate?
When I look at the people that I've worked with who just absolutely crushed their jobs as a leader or teammate, they're all people that have more going for them than just their career. They have hobbies and passions they chase outside of work, and I b elieve that always helps bring balance and perspective into life. I look for people have balance in their lives, a healthy sense of what their priorities are (b oth personally and professionally ), and are confident without being egotistical.
- What underrated skills should every marketer have to succeed today? In three years?
Empathy to wards the people that they work for, the people they work with and for the customer.
How do you keep your B2B skillset up to date?
ding blogs, grabbing coffee or lunch with people, sharing ideas on what's working and what's not working and chatting through things that I’m frustrated or blocked by . There are also a few great slack grou p s that I tap into (Online Geniuses, Email Geeks) that have allow ed me to connect one - on - one with a lot of great people. I’ve gotten lots of great ideas and advice around ABM, tech stacks and design through these communities . I t’s kind of a digital equivalent to going out for coffee, I guess.
Which conference is a can’t-miss for you? Why?
he best conference I've attended so far wa s the Gartner Digital Marketing Conference. They hit a great balance of being strategic and practical, so there were tons of great ideas that pushed the envelope, but everything was broken down into digestible next steps.
Which blogs or newsletters are a must-read for you? Why?
I’ve been coming a cross a ton of great content on Medium lately that is very specific to lots of the projects and ideas we’ve been working through. Not really a blog or newsletter, but helpful nonetheless.
- How do you spend your free time?
Two things that are most important to me are my family and my faith. Typically, my evenings and weekends are spent with my wife and our three kids , and it involves a lot of LEGO, Barbie s and books . We’re very involved in our church and volunteer there in v arious areas on the weekends.
What book or podcast would you strongly recommend?
by Keenan helped push my thinking around sales process es . He challenges a lot of the traditionally held notions around what a sales process looks like and provides some good food for thought. It reads like a very natural progression on the Challenger model, which was a model I’ve always thought made a lot of sense.
If you weren't a B2B marketer, what would you choose as a career?
would be a contractor building custom homes . I love how that profession blends art and science . I’d really enjoy the hands - on aspect of that career, and I think it would be really rewarding at the end of each job to stand back and appreciate what you've created through the process!