We will periodically feature a new B2B marketer answering questions about their job, their best tips, their B2B skill set, and showcase their marketing and career advice.
This month we are thrilled to feature Mike McCunney, VP of Marketing at Revenue Analytics. I first met Mike at a SiriusDecisions conference in 2016 while he was the head of marketing at SmartBIM. Since then, our teams have worked together on several content lead magnets that have received rave reviews from his internal peers as well as engagement from prospects.
Mike brings humour and empathy to every interaction and is a strong believer of the power of sales and marketing alignment. In his spare time, he keeps busy with his wife and two daughters under the age 5 while occasionally brewing up a small batch of beer when inspiration strikes.
- How would you explain to your six-year-old what your company does?
We help big companies price things using predictive and prescriptive analytics, so I would say, "You know how your Barbie Doll costs a dollar at the Dollar Store?" Actually, that's a bad example because everything costs a dollar there. So I would probably stick with, "We help companies price things."
- How would you explain to your six-year-old what you do for work?
I help other people learn about what our company can do to solve their problems. We educate them on how they can fix the things that are bothering them.
- Which element of your marketing tech stack would you recommend to others? Why?
I've been using the HubSpot MAP for a while, and I think that it's a quality product. There are a lot of good things you can do with them and their integrations at a price point that allows for you to invest in other pieces of your stack as well.
Another element of our tech stack that we've had much success with is Oktopost. There are a ton of social posting platforms out there, but what makes them stand out is their employee advocacy portion, which allows us to use their platform to amplify our voice through the folks in our company who are passionate about what we do. So by using their technology, we're able to then showcase the metrics behind the engagement, "Oh! We could see that this prospect engaged because of John's post on his twitter feed or Susie's post on LinkedIn.". We can see where this person entered into our universe and how they became nurtured, and so you can then reward the employees who are actively participating.
What’s the best piece of content that you or your team produced recently? What makes it so good?Our "Dynamic Pricing Trends in Media" whitepaper that we worked on with GET LIFT Agency has gotten an awesome reaction both internally and with customers. We started with a really in-depth survey and validated the answers by doing a fair amount of research on our own to dig through the various factors that we knew were affecting these companies. We're putting something in front of our audience that can genuinely help them. So it's not a fluff piece, nor is it a piece that just tells people what to do or that we're the right solution for them. As a marketer, I always get a warm and fuzzy feeling from genuinely helping people, and I know that this piece of content will help people do their jobs better.
- What’s your best tip for establishing a productive relationship with your sales team?
I've carried a bag as a salesperson before, and I think making sure that they understand that you have respect for what they do is crucial. We as marketers like to look down on salespeople quite a bit, and my theory on why we do this is because they often look down at marketers.The truth is that sales is challenging and it's not for the faint of heart. It's not easy for most humans to wake up every day and hear "no" a hundred times and then put on their smile and just do it all over again the next day.I always try to communicate to my sales folks that I'm not an Ivory Tower marketer. I came from carrying a bag, and so I can truly empathize with them. I try to look at our marketing efforts through a lens of, " How would you ever move a sale forward or have a conversation based on this piece of content or this email? How are we actually going to use this? What does it do to help?"
- What's your best tip for getting the best out of your Marketing team?
Similar to my answer about salespeople, it's ensuring that you understand the value in what they're doing and communicating that you've got their back and that you'll do everything in your power to obliterate anything in front of them to let them thrive. When you have a team that truly has each other's backs and is operating as a group, that's when special things happen. You'll have buy-in on not just what you've been doing, but whom you're doing it with and share a collective passion for what you're working towards.
- What daily or weekly habit is the most important thing you do to help you be productive and successful at work?
We have a meeting at the beginning and end of the day which allows us to set up the day and determine our priorities; what can we move, what can’t be moved, and then having a recap at the end of the day to discuss where we are. I think that just taking an inventory at the start of the day and the necessary time to see what informally happened and what's still outstanding has been helpful.
Is there a specific app that you really like that helps you be productive?
I like using LinkedIn quite a bit.
- What’s the weirdest job you’ve ever had in your career?
I got paid to buy beer, which was awesome! That also carried on into my life where I kept on buying beer, but I'd have to pay for it myself.I was an eighteen-year-old senior at a high school in Virginia where I grew up, and you could buy beer in supermarkets but not liquor in stores. So these grocery stores would have you go to their stores and want you to check to see if you could try to buy beer from their cashiers.I had this routine where I would get some Jiffy Pop (for you kids at home reading this, that's a popcorn container we used to heat up on the stove), some peanuts, and I’d get some beer with the intent of seeing whether they’d actually let me purchase it or not. It was totally bizarre but a blast as I still got that little rush of being a badass for trying to do something illegal even though it was being monitored.Whenever people would hear about this job, the number one thing I would always get from people would be, "Do they let you keep the beer?" Of course not! That's criminal. And yes, I was sad when I had to give it back.
What did you study in university, and how has it helped you in your career?
I got interested in marketing in high school, and it became a passion of mine. I went to nationals in DECA several different times, winning a national award in my senior year and pursued Marketing in Undergrad. I also added things like psychology that I thought made a lot of sense and would be helpful for building my skills. But I've definitely been one of the fortunate few to know what I wanted to do at an early age, have an affinity for it and on most days feel like maybe I’m not half bad at it.
What’s the best interview question to evaluate a B2B marketer?I like to say “I'm not perfect and I'm not under the impression that you're perfect either. Give me an example of something that just went off the rails, it went awfully, and it just couldn't have gone worse! What happened? What did you learn from it? What did you do to fix it?"I think it's quite revealing because not only do you get to see how someone reacts to challenges but you also very quickly get to see who takes accountability. Is it, "Well, John Doe did this and left me at something where I couldn't do something.”? The chances are that you could have done something. I think, as a marketer, if you don't fail, now and again, it's because you're not trying hard enough. But you need to make sure to learn from those failures.
What advice would you give to your 25 year-old self?Start proactively investing the time in professional growth such as going to conferences and reading books. These were things that came more naturally in my thirties but weren't necessarily that top of mind for me in my mid-20's.I also learned early on from one of my old bosses to always be a certain percent under budget because everyone else would always be over budget. As a marketer, I think that we're often known as being over budget and over time, so when you can differentiate from folks who might not have that innate respect for marketing and your company gets to know that about you, I think that makes it better and has played out well for me.
What’s the biggest intangible that you look for in a job candidate?
People use the word "culture" a lot today, but for me, the number one thing that I look for when hiring is team fit. Do they have that passion? A criterion that we use here is, how would you feel about being stuck at an airport bar with this person for four hours? It very quickly reveals itself. So it doesn't mean that the person has to be a raging drunk, but would they be interesting or are they someone that you would want to be around? If we can be around people that we respect and whose company we can enjoy, it’s all the better.
- What underrated skills should every marketer have to succeed today? In three years?
Having that understanding and mentality of not thinking that something or someone is beneath you. I know that very early on in my career, I didn't want to be doing data entry and anything that I thought of as lower level. I thought I had gone to school and paid my dues at the entry-level jobs. And as you go through the rest of your career you understand that everything needs to get done and the only way that you'll get that respect from your team is if they know that you're able and willing to do whatever has to get done. Nothing is beneath anyone. Get your hands dirty and make sure your team sees you doing it.
How do you keep your B2B skillset up-to-date?
I think if you go to the right conferences, they can be helpful. The bad ones tend to be a bad investment in time and money, so you've got to be careful about which ones you go to. I think keeping up with those can be fantastic, and not just from the presenters and from the potential vendors and partners point of view, but also peers. You're figuring out, "What are they doing? What's working here, what's working there?" And figuring out where you need to sharpen your sword.
Which conference is a can’t-miss for you? Why?
It's definitely SiriusDecisions Summit. There's always a high quality of attendees there, and good speakers as well as content. I thought they did a good job going back to more of a teaching nature this year.
Which blogs or newsletters are a must-read for you? Why?I'm a big fan of Marketing Profs and look through my LinkedIn feed regularly as there is typically a ton of great information there.
- How do you spend your free time?
I've got two kids and a full-time job. I don't know what free time is. I still get to homebrew now and again, which is a rare opportunity. So, I enjoy brewing and the product as well. I have a two-year-old and a five-year-old, so, we're kind of all-hands-on-deck right now. Once they grow out of the shouldn't-be-running-with-sharp-objects phase, I would like to homebrew more often.
What book or podcast would you strongly recommend?
I first started listening to the B2B Growth podcast, and I think James Carbary and Logan Lyles do a great job there. It's a nice cross-section where you get to hear from a lot of different marketers and often they'll be able to prod out a couple of meaningful points which are interesting. I also enjoy the evolution of Sangram Vajre's FlipMyFunnel podcast, as it provides helpful insights as well.
If you weren't a B2B marketer, what would you choose as a career?
My mom's a teacher, and my sister's a professor, so I think that someday I'll probably do that too, as I genuinely enjoy helping others and watching them grow and develop. I hope my team would agree.