The Revenue Engine

Optimizing the Marketing Engine to Accelerate Revenue with Tim Parkin, President of Parkin Consulting

April 29, 2022
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The Revenue Engine

Each week, Revenue Operations expert Rosalyn Santa Elena shines the spotlight on founders, CEOs, and Revenue Leaders from hyper-growth companies and dives deep into the strategies they implement to drive growth and share their learnings. Rosalyn brings you inspirational stories from revenue generators, innovators and disruptors, as well as Revenue Leaders in sales, marketing, and operations.

Marketing is a significant part of revenue growth. But how do you build and optimize the Marketing Engine? In this episode of The Revenue Engine podcast, Tim Parkin, the President of Parkin Consulting, shares how taking an approach of “Marketing Inside Out” with a “testing/ optimization” methodology, and not being afraid to fail, is the best way to accelerate revenue.

With over two decades of experience bringing together behavioral psychology and technology, Tim provides strategic - and practical - advice on how to maximize the impact of your marketing team on revenue growth.

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Connect with Tim on LinkedIn, or at the his website.

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The opinions expressed in this episode are the speaker's own and do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of Sales IQ or any sponsors.

Rosalyn Santa Elena
Host @ Revenue Engine Podcast + Chief RevOps Officer @ Carabiner Group
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Tim Parkin
President @ Parkin Consulting
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[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.

People times process equals performance. You can have great people, but if you don't have solid process, you won't have optimal performance and you can have great process. But if you have average people, you also won't achieve the performance that you're looking for. You have to have both to really optimize revenue performance

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

In this episode of the Revenue Engine podcast, Tim Parkin, the president at Parkin consulting shares his insights and learnings on taking an approach of marketing inside out. Tim is an established consultant advisor, coach, speaker, and author. And helps us to understand how to improve marketing productivity and performance with actionable tips. So please take a listen to this marketing expert to learn how to build a true marketing engine.

So super excited to be here today with Tim Parkin, the president of Parkin consulting. Tim is a long time veteran in marketing and in revenue as a consultant advising. Coach speaker and author. He has over two decades of experience bringing together behavioral psychology and technology to help his clients maximize the impact of their marketing teams on revenue growth.

So welcome Tim, and thank you so much for joining me. I'm excited to learn more about you and just unpack your story.

[00:02:43] Tim Parkin: I am so excited to be here, Rosalyn, thank you so much. I'm also really excited to get into this conversation.

[00:02:49] Rosalyn Santa Elena: It's awesome. Thank you. So let's talk a little bit about your career journey and your backstory, you know, prior to your consulting company, you know, before you launched your own business, you actually spent some time very early in your career as a software engineer.

Can you tell me maybe more about your backstory and the journey that led you from engineering to marketing?

[00:03:07] Tim Parkin: It's not the traditional approach you'd think for most marketers, but yeah, I started in. Yeah. When I was about 10 or 11 years old, I learned how to write code and program and do software. Ever since that time I've been writing code and building software and that's the trajectory my career took.

And I, I loved it. I love writing code. I love solving problems and building products and software, but the more and more I did that, you know, for startups and for large companies, even in military simulation, I realized they don't have a product problem. They don't have a programming problem in technology.

They have a marketing problem. They're building things that are really cool, really exciting, but no one's hearing about it and no one is adopting it. And that's when I realized that my time, my talents, my effort, my interest is probably better spent on the marketing side.

[00:03:53] Rosalyn Santa Elena: Got it. Got it. So, so let's fast forward to Parkin consulting, which I think you found it almost 11 years ago. So it's been some time you know, what was your original vision for the business and maybe how has that changed or evolved over the year?

[00:04:08] Tim Parkin: I thought I'd help companies in their marketing with optimization and testing, which I think are two of the fundamentals to the foundations of marketing that too many companies are overlooking.

And they don't learn enough things by doing more testing. They don't improve enough by optimizing, but the more and more I've worked with companies and the larger and larger companies have been able to work. I've realized their problem also is a little bit different. And this is where I've come up with this idea of marketing inside out that everyone is talking about the customer and focusing on the customer and being customer centric.

But none of that matters if you can't deliver. No, I think about formula one. There's a great Netflix series on formula one. And you know, it's not just a race of going really fast. If you don't have the right engine, if you don't have the right pit crew, if you don't have the process to tune up the car, it doesn't matter how far you can go or how fast you can go.

Or the crowds you can be. So it really is about processings, about people. It's about getting your house in order on the marketing side so that you can serve your customers so that you can achieve growth and drive revenue. But before you do that, nothing else matters.

[00:05:11] Rosalyn Santa Elena: I love that. You're speaking my, my words.

It's just like music to my ears about people and process and get getting your house in order. That's all, all kind of in my wheelhouse as well around, you know, operations in your business. You know, you talk about marketing. You know, helping marketing executives improve productivity right. And performance in 90 days or less.

So what is that, you know, what is your general approach or maybe framework that you take to really help transform that part of the business?

[00:05:40] Tim Parkin: When you think about marketing inside out again, it's obviously focused on people and process. And so the formula for performance, from my perspective, People times process equals performance.

And so if you have really good people, but you don't have solid process, your performance is going to be lackluster. And likewise, if you have average people, but exceptional process, it doesn't matter. The performance is still going to struggle and be lacking. And so you really have to have the right people, exceptional people, you have to develop your.

And then also you need to develop really solid, repeatable, excellent processes. And only until you do both of those things, can you get the performance, the results of the revenue that you're really after? And so in the first 90 days we diagnose and look at the people's side, who do we need to improve or.

And then also the process side, what processes are not there because surprise, there are no processes in most cases. And how can we create those break, those agreements and those correspondence in collaboration with process to drive actual results.

[00:06:42] Rosalyn Santa Elena: So, you know, you get a chance to work with a lot of different executives, right. And different organizations. So I kind of have a feeling where we're going with this, but what are you seeing organizations doing? Right, right. When it comes to their approach to marketing and what are those things that they're doing wrong?

[00:06:58] Tim Parkin: Let's start with what they're doing wrong because it's a long list, but high level it'd be, over-complicating the process.

I'd say, you know, not having a process at all, or over-complicating the process. A lot of people think that marketing. The driving revenue in needs to be sophisticated or complicated or complex. And that couldn't be further from the truth. In addition, not really having any kind of process or approach to relying on agencies solely and not having any in-house team or process to manage that.

And then also just not having the right people on board. I mean, too often, we think that we just need people in this. And this kind of goes back to the Jim Collins. Good to great idea, but you need to have the right people on the bus and also you need to invest in those people. And so those are some of the main things that I see time and time again, whenever I work with a new company with a new executive is oftentimes they're new in their role and there's no process to have the wrong people and we have to figure out how can we fix both of those, but on the positive side, you know, there's, there are some good things that are happening.

And I would say involving the customer in marketing is a good thing. You know, we think about co-creation and market. I talk about customer proximity. You know, the closer you can be to the customer whoever's closest wins. And so co-creation of marketing is really important involving the customer as much as you can and not just their feedback, but, you know, user generated content, influencers, things like.

And also testing and experimenting. You have to be testing things. You have to be doing experimentation. It's the only way you learn. No one knows what's going to work. And so you have to be experimenting. So the companies who are doing that are learning the fastest, they're seeing real time and they're ahead of the curve and they're getting real results.

And finally, I mentioned influencers, but partners are a key part of, of revenue, generation of marketing, of sales. You need to have solid partners on the marketing side influencers, even in B2B. I mean, I'm seeing now companies hiring influencers to run their marketing in some aspect. I mean, this is going to be the next trend because they have the skills, they have the audience, they know how to connect with customers.

So a lot of positive happening, but still a lot of struggles and a lot of opportunity.

[00:08:55] Rosalyn Santa Elena: Yeah, yeah. A lot of those things around process and people as those are those foundational things that, you know, we all know we need, but they're challenging. Right. Sometimes they're difficult to get to. And I think people sometimes undervalue the importance of those things and how small.

Tweaks. And some of that process and policy and people is going to make a huge difference. So that's great. I love that. Thank you for sharing. You know, we all know that marketing is key to just so many pieces of revenue, right? Whether it's strategic, like brand awareness or thought leadership or content or messaging or it's super tactical, like the actual running of campaigns or running an event or.

You know, pulling together data or do some of those analytics? I think just having that really robust marketing engine is incredibly key. Right? And I think as you touched on a little bit with prospects and buyers, you know, they just, they're smart. Right. We have access to so much information now on our own.

So it's really difficult, I think, to know even like where to focus. So what advice, I guess, do you have for marketing executives to really help you know, kind of cut through that noise and really reach their prospects where they are?

[00:10:04] Tim Parkin: I would say first is ignoring best practices, which I've talked about, about.

But still too many marketing leaders are focused on the competition and best practice and all this nonsense. Right. And Seth Godin has a long time talked about, you know, the status quo and average, no one wants average, and yet we're still not listening as marketers. And so we really have to stop following best practices.

And I can't tell you I'm sure is the same, how many meetings I've been in, where we say what's the competitor doing? Let's go look at their campaigns and copy that or get inspiration. We have to jettison that completely. When you look at companies like apple and Nike and Coca-Cola, and even taco bell, the things that they're doing are just so different.

So out of there, you know, so stand out from the competition and it's because they're willing to ignore best practices and create the new best practices. And this is a really big thing that you can do to cut through the noise. And it's not hard to do, but it requires being bold and being brave and not being afraid of failing.

And unfortunately how CMOs in particular positioned is, you know, that failure is not an option and we have to change that mindset. That marketing is about failing. It's about testing. It's about figuring out what will work for our company, for our products and services and for our customers. In addition to that, though, I'd say hiring your best.

Is one of the best things you can do to cut through the noise and reach your prospects because you can't get closer to the customer than actually hiring them and having them run your company. And so I mentioned, you know, influencers and partnering with them and hiring them. But if you can hire customers, they can be a representative of the customers for you within your company internally.

And so one of my clients is a pet company and most of the people who work there have pets. No. And so when they create products, when they do marketing, they are the target audience, they are the customer. And so it makes a world of difference because they can get feedback and they can just understand and live in the customer's shoes in a totally different way than most companies can.

[00:12:04] Rosalyn Santa Elena: Yup. Yup. I love that. I love that. I think it's I had a past experience where I worked for a company where I was the target persona, which is amazing, right. Cause you're really like customer zero and you get to use the product and, you know, and help influence the product every day. And you get a. Do exactly that is talk to your customers, help your marketing kind of understand the messaging and it is it's, that's just incredibly, really good advice.

Are there maybe a few things that you think marketing leaders can do? Like today that can really make a difference right away?

[00:12:36] Tim Parkin: Absolutely. The first thing is to mystery. Shop your business. Now whether you're a B2C or B2B, it doesn't matter. But pretend you're a prospect and go to the website, go to the campaigns, read the emails, click the links, and try to get some information or try to make a sale.

Try to make a purchase. You will be shocked at what you find just by doing that. It takes 15 minutes, maybe a little bit longer, but I guarantee you'll find things that don't. You'll find messaging that's confusing. You'll find, you know, a dead ends that you run into and those things need to be addressed immediately, and that can make a difference, you know, day one.

In addition, we talked about it, talking to your customers and I drove an article for MarTech called the lost art of talking to your customers. We don't talk to our customers. You know, when all these executives say, oh, we surveyed our customers. We had some customer interviews. Yeah. A year ago, you know, the pandemic, you know, Sony, the sunlight of everything.

You need to talk to your customers every week, you know, every month, every quarter, at least. And so you really have to talk to customers because again, what you're going to hear are things you can do today. The things you can do tomorrow to fix things, to improve things, to change things. But I mean, general advice here is stop doing what doesn't work and do more of a.

And that sounds so simple and so simplistic, but, but you wouldn't believe, and I'm sure Roslyn, you've seen this too, you know, companies that just do stuff that doesn't work and expect that if we do enough of it, eventually it'll start to work. And that's not the case. This is why testing is so. We have to keep trying new things and find out what works and double down there, but don't expect something to turn around, you know, try it, stop it and move on.

But we have to be testing and trying new things.

[00:14:15] Rosalyn Santa Elena: I love that. I love that so much because I do think a lot of companies and organizations get stuck in, they just continue to do more of whatever they're doing and expect a different outcome. So that's, that's super refreshing. I love that. You know, as a rev ops leader, right?

Part of my role is to ensure that there's sort of this alignment right across the revenue teams and that's marketing sales customer success services, support everyone. Who's sort of touching the customer. And then the past, you know, there's often those deeply rooted silos, right? Between marketing and sales and even still, I think there's still, there's still some of that in different organizations, but in today's world of, you know, recurring revenue, more and more, these teams have to be super tightly aligned with this sort of increasing need for everyone playing as one team right across the buyer journey.

How have you seen marketing's role changed? And I guess what predictions if any, do you have, maybe for the role of marketing in the next, you know, three to five years.

[00:15:12] Tim Parkin: This is a really fascinating question. Roslyn, because something needs to change. It needs to change soon. And I think it's going to change as a function.

How companies have been performing I wrote in MarTech about the need for radical transparency. And I think that transparency is the key here for marketing organizations, for revenue organizations, because marketing doesn't get the focus, the priority, the support it needs. And often sales is seen as the engine and not mark.

And I don't want to knock sales here. They have an important role to play, but marketers and marketing executives need to do a better job of being transparent about what's happening inside the marketing black box. And the more we can do that, the more we can get credit for what we're doing, but also the more support we can get in collaborating with other parts of the organization, other functions.

So transparency is huge. And I think that marketing right now is still seen as this black box. And people don't really know what happens in marketing when we send demands and requests to marketing. And we hope that we quote unquote, do marketing. But that's not enough. We need to be clear about what is the role of marketing?

What are we doing and how are we really contributing? And we talk about ROI. I think that's important. I think more about contribution of marketing. The marketing is a fundamental part of an organization. It's not something you add on or tack on. And if you look at companies like apple and Nike and Coca Cola, You know, marketing, isn't something you do.

It's who you are. As an organization, apple could come out with a car, a toaster oven you know, a bed sheets, anything, and people would buy it because they're a marketing organization. They're not a products organization. You know, they make wonderful products. But they're a marketing genius engine. And Coca-Cola same thing.

You know, they could release a new drink tomorrow and people would buy it. So I think that marketing really needs to be a fundamental part of the organization. And I think hopefully in the future, we'll see more CEOs and founders who are true marketers and not trying to run a sales organization and then tack on marketing.

[00:17:07] Rosalyn Santa Elena: Yeah. Yep. I love that. I love that. I do think that. You know, that approach and some of those brands that you mentioned, right? Those are ones that you think of immediately when you think about who does really good marketing and has a really strong marketing engine and just a really strong brand overall.

So as I think about. You know, the revenue engine and this podcast, I'm always hoping that others will be able to learn how to accelerate revenue growth, right. And power that revenue engine. So from your perspective, you know, what are the top, maybe two or three things that all revenue leaders should really be thinking about today to help accelerate revenue growth?

[00:17:45] Tim Parkin: Well, my mentor Alan Wise always says to think of the fourth sale first. And obviously what that means is don't think of just this sale. Think about what's coming next and how you can add. And the longterm relationship and value can create. I think that's really important. It's always stuck with me because too often in marketing and sales, we're trying to drive revenue.

We think about revenue, right? We think about how can we get the money now as fast as possible. And we need to think about, remember the golden rule of marketing or of anything, which is, you know, treat the customer as you would want to be treated. If you were in their shoes. And if we do that, two things really stand out.

It's about trust and it's about time. And if we can earn enough trust over a long enough period of time, we'll have all the revenue we want. And so we really have to embody this golden rule and remember that it's about relationships. It's about trust. It's about time. It's not just about revenue. Revenue is the by-product of doing this well and doing it correctly and treating people how they deserve to be treated and how we would wanna be.

But the second part of that, which is also important is that we have to create urgency and have often heard this called the bleeding neck problem. You know, what is someone's bleeding neck problem that they have to have fixed right now. And the more you can make that apparent and obvious to them and you can make it easier for them to say, yeah, Then for them to say no, and if you do that and you do it well, you have no problem whatsoever getting the sale, driving revenue, increasing conversions, whatever you're trying to do.

So really thinking about that and figuring out and solving for what is the urgent part of our product, of our service, of what we're trying to. And too often, not enough time is spent figuring out the urgency aspect and how we can create or add urgency to our offerings.

[00:19:27] Rosalyn Santa Elena: Yeah. I love that. D I don't know about the bleeding neck analogy, but I do love that the sense of urgency, but it's true.

Right? It's like, you know, when we talk about trying to fix a problem, we always kind of like stop the bleeding first. Right? So these, I guess the opposite of that is to try to figure out how do we stop that, or how do we drive that urgency? That's a really important part of the revenue, you know, sort of that cycle, right?

Because oftentimes, yes, you've talked about the product. We understand the value. We know we want to buy, but it's the win, right? It's the, when do we want to buy? Oh, after I do all of these other things, then I'll come back to you to buy, but, and we want to drive that or didn't see. I love that. That's great.

You know, as a revenue expert in the owner of your own consulting firm, you know, are there things that maybe you wish you knew earlier, or maybe, you know, you would do differently if you could, you know, hit the reset button and just do it all over again?

[00:20:18] Tim Parkin: There's so many things, but if I had to pick just a couple of years I would say first, nobody has any clue.

No one knows what they're doing or what they're talking about, how things work or how things should work. I mean, really everyone is completely clueless. You know, myself included. And I think what that's led me to realize is that, you know, we're all in this together and the more we can share, the more we can learn the better, but also it's a level playing field out there.

Don't think that just because your competitor is 10 times more revenue, that you can't compete with them just don't think that just because someone has more experience or a better background, that you are not equally, if not more valuable or skilled. And so really no one has any clue what they're doing and how things are operating.

And the more I look into these big organizations as I work with. I'm constantly shocked and surprised at how little they have in place, how little they have figured out. And so really it's, I've become numb to it now, but early on, that was a huge revelation for me. The second I'd say is there's just so much opportunity for improvement everywhere.

And oftentimes small things can have big impacts, you know, small hinges, swing, big doors. So there's so much opportunity. So don't get discouraged about that. I know that we're, you know, hopefully at the end of opinion, And there's, you know, talks of a coming recession and things like that. But none of that matters in my opinion, because there's so much opportunity for improvement and for revenue and for growth.

You just have to look for it. I mean, if you look, you'll find it and finally I'd say there's two things that matter in marketing and only two things. And I would fight anyone on this is testing and optimization. If you're not testing, you're not learning. And if you're not optimizing and you're not approving. And if we're not improving, then you're only going downhill.

[00:21:52] Rosalyn Santa Elena: Yep. I love that. I love that testing and optimizing, I'm actually going to write that down because it is true. So thank you so much, Tim, for joining me, but as we wrap up and before I let you go, I always love to know two things. One, what is the one thing about Tim Parkin and that others would be surprised to learn? And two, what is the one thing that you really want everyone to know about you?

[00:22:14] Tim Parkin: That's a great question. I love this question. I've listened many episodes on this podcast is to hear people's responses to them. I think first, you know, many people are surprised to find out that my career started, I thought it'd be a professional magician.

And so when I was 10 years old, I was in a magic club and I thought I'm gonna be professional magician until I realized that if you do that, you work nights and weekends, because that's when all the things. So, so he gave up that career. But I still, to this day, I'm a professional level, amateur magician.

And so if you see me at a conference and event or client meeting, I always have a deck of cards. I just met with a client who flew into Orlando yesterday and showed some magic to them. So I love magic. It led me to my fascination with people and how they think about. As an introvert, you know, it's allowed me to connect with people so much easier.

But marketing really has so many ties to, to magic in terms of controlling where people are focused and understanding how to communicate with them and also driving intrigue and interest in telling a story there's so many similarities to marketing and magic. So I really love it. But if there's one thing I could tell everyone to know about me, it's that I'm a connector at heart and I'm a complete open book.

So whether you're new or a veteran or CEOs, CMOs, CRO doesn't matter. I love meeting new people. I love sharing what I've learned. That'd be more than happy to make valuable introductions and connections. So please reach out to me on LinkedIn, shoot me an email, visit my website. I would love to connect with you.

[00:23:38] Rosalyn Santa Elena: That's awesome.

Thank you. And I'm sure after folks listen to this, you'll be getting a lot of connections and requests for help, because I think you've just shared so many incredible insights and just really good advice. And I think that things that people can actually take with them and go put into practice today.

And I think, you know, some of those comments about people and process, it's just, it's such a great reminder. To really focus in on those things, because this, those little changes like you were talking about that can really, really make a big difference. So thank you so much for joining us, Tim, super excited to meet you and just share your story and very, very grateful for your time.

Thank you.

[00:24:15] Tim Parkin: Thanks Rosalyn, it was a real pleasure.

[00:24:16] Rosalyn Santa Elena: Thank you.

This episode was digitally transcribed.

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