[00:00:00] Rosalyn Santa Elena: Welcome to the Revenue Engine podcast. I'm your host, Rosalyn Santa Elena, and I am thrilled to bring you the most inspirational stories from revenue generators, innovators, and disruptors, revenue leaders in sales, in marketing, and of course in operations. Together, we will unpack everything that optimizes and powers the revenue engine. Are you ready? Let's get to it.
I think buyer's first versus revenue. First, this is something Mike Weir the Chief Revenue Officer at G2 shares in this episode of the Revenue Engine podcast, helping the buyer should be your core focus to create the best experience for your buyer to not only be successful, but to keep coming back to your business as a partner, helping to drive value. Mike and I also discuss how the buyer experience has changed and what go to market teams should be thinking about as the market continues to evolve.
[00:01:08] Sponsor: Today's podcast is sponsored by Outreach.io. Outreach is the first and only engagement and intelligence platform built by revenue innovators, for revenue innovators. Outreach allows you to commit to an accurate sales forecast, replace manual processes with real-time guidance, and unlock actionable customer intelligence that guides you and your team to win more often. Traditional tools don't work in a hybrid sales world. Find out why Outreach is the right solution at click.outreach.io/RevEngine
[00:01:46] Rosalyn Santa Elena: So please take a listen to this long-time revenue leader about the buyer experience, but also about data, the power of revenue operations, and so much more.
So excited to be here today with Mike Weir, the CRO at G2, for those of you who might not be familiar with G2, although I can't imagine any listeners who wouldn't be G2 is the largest and most trusted software marketplace where people can make the best software decisions based on authentic, real reviews from peers.
So welcome Mike, and thank you so much for joining me.
[00:02:21] Mike Weir: Thank you for having me.
[00:02:23] Rosalyn Santa Elena: Yeah, it's great to have you here. So we have a very well aligned approach to revenue and to revenue operations. So I am really excited to chat with you about driving and optimizing revenue, especially through that strategic business partnership, right between the chief revenue officer and the VP of rev ops.
So let's talk a little bit about your. Right. A little bit about your journey that led you to becoming G2 CRO almost two years ago. You've had just an amazing career in sales and in marketing with several years spent at CDW and then at LinkedIn in various roles before joining G2. Can you share maybe more about your journey and some of those key milestones that have led you to where you are today?
[00:03:05] Mike Weir: Um, I've been in the tech industry, my whole career, so. A couple of decades now. And as you alluded to I've, I've worked across some amazing brands that have taught me a ton about how to build a successful business, how to support a successful business. And I started in marketing and, you know, learned a ton over there, which I think is, is why I've always been so closely aligned and kind of dependent on the revenue operations team, which we'll get into, you know, being a marketer.
I was very data driven. I had to analyze the market and understand what was going on. And then over time, I just wanted to get closer and closer to the customer. And then that's what led me over to the sales side of the house. When I made the transition to LinkedIn from CDW, and then ultimately made the jump to G2 because I was helping build out the technology vertical within LinkedIn's marketing solutions business.
And I saw the opportunity and I was excited about being a part of building a marketplace. That's very much for buyers. There's so much going on with technology buyers that requires some dedicated focus. I know where to G2 to try to help make it even better.
[00:04:16] Rosalyn Santa Elena: Awesome. That's awesome. You know, sometimes when I, you know, when we think about our careers, there's sometimes that sort of aha moment, right.
That really makes you see things from a different perspective. And I think you touched on it maybe a little bit just now about your journey from LinkedIn to G2, but along your journey, was there a moment in time or maybe an event that really helped kind of shape or change your career? Maybe it's a person, you know, was there a person who really influenced, you know, some of the choices that you made?
[00:04:45] Mike Weir: There was definitely a very unique transition that I made from, you know, being a senior marketer at CDW after having worked at know manufacturers of technology before. And say, you know, I think my future careers being a CMO, and I'm really excited about that. I loved marketing, but I was always a marketer that was very close to sales.
And so I, I was fortunate to have a couple of different mentors that really encouraged me to get even closer to sales. And so. That led me to like this aha moment of like, wow, if I'm going to be an amazing CMO in the future, I have to get sales even more deeply than I do. Just kind of shadowing and meeting with a sales team and being on customer calls.
I have to go over there and own a revenue stream. And that kind of aha moment led me, you know, ultimately the LinkedIn and jumping into the sales organization, which kind of got me to the second. Aha, is like, I'm not going back. I love it. You're on the revenue working day in and day out with customers.
It's like, how do you leverage our platform at LinkedIn now at G2 to help your business, but more than anything, like how do I help you get how technology buying is changing? To adapt your strategy and to build a stronger business. And how do you build long-term relationships with buyers that create happy customers that ultimately build a really big successful business with high retention rates and, you know, hopefully expansion as well.
[00:06:23] Rosalyn Santa Elena: Yeah, that's awesome. I kind of moved over to the dark side of sales and never, never looked back. So let's talk a little bit about G2. G2 is. And one of the most recognizable companies, especially in the tech space, you know, and you've experienced such, just incredible growth over the last few years. It's really remarkable to see, you know, the company continuing to expand its footprint and its offerings.
You know, so I guess maybe from your perspective, what are some of the key elements that have really contributed to this high growth?
[00:06:57] Mike Weir: It all starts with the core focus of help buyers think there's there's a lot of roadblocks. There's a lot of inhibitors that could have been put out there. If we were just thinking about revenue first, that would have created a horrible buyer experience and would have caused our audience to, to not be as engaged, to not come back to us for more insights.
The technology that they're using or the technology that they're considering purchasing. And so that they kind of focus on the buyer was huge. I think an aspect of that really which is unique is that it's an open marketplace. You don't have to be a paying customer to be there. Right? We have well over 110,000 vendors and products represented within the marketplace though.
You know, the vast, vast majority of them are. They are not paying customers of ours, but we want to make sure that when buyers come to G2, they can discover all the amazing brands that are available for their need type. And so there's not just the four biggest CRM players in the world. 50 plus global CRM solutions that then has options for you to get the insights around, you know, what are the best from an SMB perspective?
What are the best for enterprise? What are the best ones for. The best ones in Asia, Pacific or Latin America. And so that, that ability to kind of start with a very open marketplace to discover what's available and then drill in more and more to your specific need to get insights from peers and other real users has just helped create a ton of buyer value. And that's what we're focused on.
[00:08:39] Rosalyn Santa Elena: Yeah. I love that. I love that really helping the buyer and being buyer focused versus revenue focused. Yeah, I think about too is in that unique space because every time I know every time I'm thinking about right, buying a technology, when I have a need or a salute for a solution, my go to is G2.
Right? If I'm, if I'm looking for actual customer reviews, I like to look at G2, right? There's just so much information available to us, right. As prospective buyers today, it's just a completely. Market right. Different experience. What are you seeing, I guess, in the market? Like how has the buyer experience changed, you know, over the last couple of years and where do you see it headed?
[00:09:18] Mike Weir: Yeah, there, there's a lot of different dynamics to, to talk about there, but a couple a couple that have been going on for quite a while. But we're seeing a ton of is that obviously the buying committee has gotten big. I even at SMB companies, there are more people at the table because every software that's being purchased is now thought about as what's the business value that this is going to be providing versus 15 years ago, even 10 years ago, you know, it was still kind of more thought out for the it function of it.
And so you've got a ton of different functions at the table. Analyzing, should we buy this? Who should we buy it from? How do we implement it successfully? And ultimately what's the business value that it's going to drive for us. And we're seeing that every single day on our platform with, you know, the buyers that are logging in the buyers that are.
Just actively engaging with the reviews. They're coming from all functions across a company. And we're seeing a lot of different functions that are coming in and looking for their own specific insights or likes on I'm a CRO. And I want to understand the latest sales automation software, what it can do for me.
But the interesting trend that's occurring is they're also using platforms like G2. That's a better get in the mindset of what are the others that are sitting around this buying committee table? What are they experienced? What are they thinking about? What's the value they should be getting. So if I'm looking at it from a CRO perspective, I'm also searching through to see what of, what are marketers saying about.
Like, are they liking how this flows into the MarTech stack or the CMOs and marketing operations leaders getting value from this as well. And then that helps inform my perspective. As I talk with Amanda, our COO about how we're creating a unified rep tech MarTech stack. It's like, Hey, I'm, I'm seeing, you know, potential concerns about this product.
We're considering based on what marketers are saying. Like, do you share these concerns? Is this going to be a problem for. And so it's not only just more people on the table, but they're really thinking about others' perspectives in a very different way than what we've seen historically before it was trying to convince to follow your opinion. Now they're trying to get each other's perspectives to align and make smart decisions together.
[00:11:48] Rosalyn Santa Elena: Yeah. Yeah. I love that. I love that. And I think that kind of feeds into just, you know, the whole alignment across the go to market. Right. Journey. You talk about kind of partnering with your CMO and really is that right?
Because the technology and the data is. Every part of the business and it's no longer like a, just a tool for marketing or just for sales, right. Or just for a sort of post-sales. Are there things that you think, you know, go to market teams should be thinking about, or maybe doing differently from the approach of the buyer?
You know, because things are changing from a buyer experience.
[00:12:18] Mike Weir: Yeah. There's two things that really come to mind for me. The one, the reality is that, you know, the idea of people being afraid of changing out vendors doesn't exist anymore. People will change even within your one. If it's not working, we are seeing buyers are going and they're just ripping and replacing it.
It's like, Nope, this is not living up to the promise. Don't like it, we're going to get rid of it. So if you're part of a go to market engine, you gotta be thinking about just not just winning the client, but like, how do I really, really help them successfully implement? How do I drive, you know, happiness success in using the product from day one, because the moment they purchased the clock's ticking to when they're going to consider kicking you out.
So be very maniacal about that implementation and that customer success process. I think the second part of it is just the buy-in mechanics are changing. I think people are demanding price transparency. I mean, they're using reviews, they're using outreach platforms, communities to start just asking, like, what are you paying?
What's the average price here. They're using SAS spend management type tools to like, understand. What's a fair price. And so we, as the go to market team really should be thinking about how can we create more price transparency. So then lead to the other dynamic, which is really interesting. People are willing to buy even higher, spent.
On a credit card, people are willing to transact with eyes of all the marketplaces right now, people are willing to just buy it, whether they're putting it on like their AWS bill or an Azure bill, or they're just purchasing it directly online through e-commerce portals and marketplaces directly. Like that point of transaction, doesn't have to be.
The physical type of transaction, the in-person type of transaction, the high touch transaction that we are used to. So there at least. They're willing to make the purchase on their own. And then they have very high expectations for you to live up to what you promised. And we get, we got to just think about each of those touch points in helping them pre-sale purchase. And post-sale a little bit differently.
[00:14:43] Rosalyn Santa Elena: Yeah. I love that. It's so true. I mean, in the soul frictionless, we talk a lot about this frictionless buyer process, right. Because. We as consumers, even we're very demanding, right? We go, we do all of our research. We know what we want to buy and we know what we want to pay for it and sort of what we're expecting, you know, as the return, that's really good feedback.
I love that. You know, you talked about customer success, a little bit driving value for our customers. Right. And I think, you know, the wonderful thing is like you get a chance probably to work with many different customers, right. And you have an opportunity to really help these customers be successful.
What is your, I guess your philosophy. Around driving, you know, customer success, customer value, and you've had customer retention. And how has that really contributed to the sort of the growth that you've experienced?
[00:15:25] Mike Weir: Yeah, I think for, for us, we're, you know, we're not trying to be revolutionary, we're just trying to do what's right for the customers.
And so our, our philosophy. We want to create, and we want to create teams. We call them pods internally that partner with clients, for long-term relationships and our CSMs, the customer success managers are kind of the epicenter of how do we help you use what you've purchased really well. So philosophically, I want them to be some of the most knowledgeable people in our company about our offering.
How do you use. What integrations are available, how those integrations work so that they can be that trusted advisor for their clients to not only talk through like the starting point of implementing and using different G2 solutions, but to be there with them through regular check-ins through quarterly business reviews, through executive briefings and updates on our road.
So be the person that's advising them on what's next? What else could we be doing where you're not getting the return? How can we help give you more advice, help push you down the path, learning from others? What could you change to get a better outcome? And so philosophically it's just build great rapport, understand how our clients operate, what value they're trying to create.
And then be their advisor along the path to help them deliver that ROI. So it doesn't feel revolutionary to me, but it's a increasingly important to make sure that we're not leaving customers behind to fend for themselves.
[00:17:12] Rosalyn Santa Elena: Love that quite a bit. So let's pivot a bit to an area of passion for me. So selfishly, you know, I think right revenue, revenue, operations, you know, the.
Especially the rev ops leader, right. Is that powerful secret weapon for the revenue team and for the CRO? I, I kind of don't think it's a secret anymore. People are talking about it so much now. It's become almost like just a buzzword. But you know, we've talked about how critical that partnership is, right between your role and my role, how the rev ops leader is sort of the eyes and the ears.
You know, the chief of staff, the right-hand person to the CRO, really helping to identify those blind spots help see around. Right. So I guess for other CRS and maybe revenue leaders who aren't leveraging this sort of secret weapon yet, you know, what would you tell them? And, and I guess, how do you best leverage, you know, your ops leader to really help you enable and optimize your business?
[00:18:08] Mike Weir: Yeah. The key thing I would say is you got to get comfortable moving into a data-driven revenue organization, the gut instinct. The quote, unquote, knowledge of the market, which tends to be you know, too small of sample size ad hoc, single customer meeting that, you know, creates a whole new go-to-market idea.
Like, whoa, let's work on some more marketing here. Actually let's learn from the CMO and the marketing operations team, and let's put more diligence. Let's put more data behind making what usually are very important decisions. And potentially big ramifications if you make the wrong decision based on that gut instinct.
So the leader of revenue operations and the entire team. Are the key ally for the revenue organization in really understanding and building a predictable long-term revenue strategy. And that's that's, to me is the biggest pivot of like, why are, you know, heads of revenue, operations teams, the secret weapon, the.
The best kind of folks that you should be thinking about hiring and really empowering. I think that's where rev ops has changed tremendously from what would historically be branded as sales operations, which was more of like run the core processes to revenue operations, which is, Hey, let's think bigger, let's connect a long-term strategy to short-term operations.
Capabilities and really be a part of building that multi-year plan that sets the business up for where they want to be three years from now. And I think the predictive analytics that data-driven decision-making is the most material change. And frankly not everybody that comes from being in sales leadership is ready for that pivot yet, but we got to get comfortable with it.
[00:20:06] Rosalyn Santa Elena: I love that, I love that. You know, do you have any predictions, I guess for maybe where the rev ops role is headed?
[00:20:12] Mike Weir: I think it only grows in importance within the companies. I believe that the revenue operations team is, you know, it's going to continue looking. And adding role types that help bring insights to the data that the business has and the external data that's available to help drive the decision engine of the business.
And it to kind of depends on what model you, and are you a marketing led model? Are you a sales oriented culture, you know, for a culture? You know, a mix of both at G2. You know, I want to make sure that we're looking at bringing in, you know, data scientists and others that are just a different skill set that add a different capability, a different way of thinking to not just give us the basics of what the data says, but to start doing a lot more modeling, a lot more predictive analytics and utilizing the tech that's now available, which.
As somebody that works at G2, I know full well, the proliferation of tech that you could buy as a CRO is amazing. Like scary. There's so much. We're, we're currently doing a full top to bottom assessment of our tech staff. And it's a multi-hour month to just get our arms around just to get your arms and then under.
And so you're going to have like this need for the rev ops team to be an amazing kind of data science, predictive analytics team. They're going to have to be tech savvy to then connect the dots on how all the systems operationalize, the ideas that come from those insights. And then the duty, like the day job, like, Hey, let's just keep our Salesforce instance or other technology platform that you're using, make sure the data's structured accessible so that, you know, we can keep track of whether or not we're actually going to get where we say we're going.
[00:22:19] Rosalyn Santa Elena: Yep. Love that. Love that. So now, as I think about the revenue engine and this podcast, I always hope that, you know, others will be able to learn, right. How to accelerate revenue growth and really power the revenue engine. What are the, I, maybe from your perspective, what are the top couple of things, maybe two or three things that you think, you know, Hey, all CRS or revenue leaders should really be thinking about today that will really make that difference in driving revenue growth.
[00:22:44] Mike Weir: It may feel a bit weird, but one of the things we've actually thought about is for new customers, are we bringing them in on the right level of products or are we bringing them in too high? Like there's too much to think about there's too much to accomplish and there's not enough internal buy-in from all the stakeholders that would be needed to use everything that you're buying up.
Which then creates months and months of you and your primary stakeholder trying to get, you know, in our case, a marketing operations team involved, e-commerce or a website team involved, and then a product marketing and a demand gen marketing and so forth. And so it's like, Hey, you know, we're kind of setting some of these relationships up for a quarter or two quarters of battles, right?
Like, why don't we just start small. And it sounds contrary as a CRO, but it's like, Hey, maybe we start with a smaller first sale start building that relationship, build around that core partner. And then as you're organically building that relationship, you're going to get introduced or asked to be introduced to others.
So for us, it's like, Hey, let's, let's start on a sentence. Let's build out your presence. Let's increase your discoverability. Let's increase the call to actions that you're utilizing to start finding buyers that are willing to raise their hand and engage with you on, on G2. Okay, now that we're getting that started, let's start talking with the product marketing demand gen teams, the media teams about how would we use a buyer intent to start.
Going to market together to start reaching out to those in-market buyers to start flowing this into your sales outreach programs, to prioritize and increase the productivity of your sales team of reach out to the people who are in market right now. And so it's like, let's not jump too far ahead. So that's one which is, you know, ultimately going to be about retention.
Yup. Start with great relationships and expand from there. I think the second one is obviously very well known in the SAS world, but it's not maybe done as well as just having a really strong add on product strategy. Right. I feel like it's not unwell in some instances where people are in absence of having good additional products that add more value.
Cutting up the core of what you're buying and just trying to charge you more for like little things that oftentimes should come with the purchase. And I think that just also creates really frustrated clients. I've been in this instance with a relatively recent purchase where, you know, once it got time for contract signature, all of a sudden like, well, what are these additional fees?
All of a sudden that are on this invoice. Well, this is standard and oh, this, you know, customer service doesn't come with this. I'm like, you're selling me a product that nobody's gonna use. It's like this, it's not the best way. Like add on to me would be the core, like that should come with it. And then, you know, build out on products.
Help me do more with this over time that helped me get even more value as I get more and more sophisticated at using your tech. And so those are two basics right now. Like again, Not crazy different, but really overlooked. As you know, I look at stuff we're purchasing as I talk to customers that there's not as well thought out of an add on strategy that says, all right, you're one, this is what you start with.
Year two. Here's additional things you can buy to enhance. And be like pro level, expert level and utilize this to, to grow with your organization.
[00:26:32] Rosalyn Santa Elena: Yeah, that makes a lot of sense because a lot of times we as buyers, right, we purchase more than what we really need. Initially. We can kind of buy all the bells and whistles, but you don't really gain the value of that.
And to your point, it takes a while for users to get up to speed on different technology and become really, you know, an, an expert at using the tech and then you're ready for sort of the next level. And then.
[00:26:55] Mike Weir: Yeah, it's interesting. We see this on the G2 marketplace in the feedback. We see this in reviews a lot where people will call out they're like I got overcharged because they're thinking about all these features as ad-ons. And they're like, man, I, I bought, I bought the Rolls Royce, but I was really only ready. And that's a big mistake. Now, if I'm on, if I'm a sales and you're on the other side, That's a quiet that's about. And they're going to go to a competitor or they're going to massively downgrade with me and, you know, probably turn out after year two.
So it's just, you know, we really have to understand what a client is ready for. And just think from that point of view, as we work with product to build what we're selling and ultimately think about it from a customer success and support process to.
[00:27:47] Rosalyn Santa Elena: Love that. Are there things that maybe you wish you knew earlier in your career, or maybe you might do differently? If you could do it all over again.
[00:27:57] Mike Weir: One thing one thing is she's hard to narrow in on that. You know, I'll take a slightly different approach to this but I think it's, it's really relevant for any leaders that are listening in. If you know, any of grams as like one of those ways to like, learn about your personality, I'm a type three Enneagram, which is achiever.
And so it's like the person that's just always driving forward. And I think there's a pro and con of that, that con that took me too long to learn about was because I'm always driving forward one. I'm not celebrating the success of the team enough. And too, we can take on too much. And I think in a world where you're partnering more and more with the revenue operations team, you can have a lot of questions.
You can have a lot of ideas that you want to analyze, but you got to bring extreme focus and prioritization. I think LinkedIn was an example of a company that I worked at where, you know, Jeff Wiener, the former CEO. Extremely good about just preaching focus and truly living that. And so it was a great example to learn from.
It helped me get more focused and with focus, my team felt more buy-in they were not overworked as much as well. And I think even to this day, there's still examples where, where I'm learning from trying to create more focus and need really strong leaders around me to be like, Hey. We're getting, we've got too much going on right now.
Like let's slow it down. Can we hold on a few of these things, let's not move too fast on everything. And so that's, to me, one of the things I wish I would have learned earlier, And I'm constantly trying to get,
[00:29:51] Rosalyn Santa Elena: Got it. Got it. That's good feedback too. I like that one. I think a lot of us are trying, we try to boil the ocean. We try to do everything because everything is important. Right. And I think that's one of the questions I get quite a bit is around. How do you prioritize when everything is important? Right. And I think being. Practice makes perfect in that sense, right. Just really getting really focused and really good at it is really important.
Well, so thank you so much for joining me. Mike, but as we wrap up and before I let you go, I always ask two things. One, you know, what is the one thing about Mike that others would be surprised to learn and to what is that one thing that you really want everyone to know about? And just so you know, a lot of times guests will say it's the same thing. Sometimes it's the same thing.
[00:30:32] Mike Weir: If you know
me, well, people are surprised to learn that I have an introvert side to me. As a sales leader, you tend to be very tend to be I'm stereotyping, but you usually are a little bit more outspoken. You're very comfortable in crowds and yes I am, but I also really need that time to myself.
I need the me time. I need the recharge time. I need the time to think and process. And so that's one thing many people are surprised to learn about me. The thing I would want everybody to know is that. There's never a perfection. I don't ever feel like I have perfection as I was just sharing on the focus part.
Like I had a learning moment recently about, you know, how, how to keep creating really transparent conversations at all levels of my team as it's scaling up. So no sooner when people are hitting the wall when people are feeling overworked or just stressed out. And so to know about, you know, to know about me is that I'm, I'm trying to become even better at active listening and just having a strong pulse and continuing to support people and just balance.
I think it's so tough when we're used to working at our little home offices. Now that we're just working all the time. Everybody takes a step back myself, included to enjoy some of the sunshine that's coming here in the Chicago area.
[00:32:05] Rosalyn Santa Elena: I love that. Well thank you so much, Mike, this has been really great. I can't wait to kind of go back and listen to a lot of this. I think you've given a lot of really great insights, just a lot of great tips. I think people can really apply even your take today and apply to their sort of real life examples of things that they can do. So really appreciate your time. Thank you so much for being a guest.
[00:32:25] Mike Weir: Thank you as well.
[00:32:26] Rosalyn Santa Elena: Thank you.
This episode was digitally transcribed.