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Vladimir Blagojević

Co-Founder of fullfunnel.io

21 Insights · 7 Questions · 15min Read · 23min Listen · Connect with Vlad on LinkedIn

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80/20. Thinking long-term. Account-based demand generation on LinkedIn. Frequent and regular marketing activities. Consistency. Co-creation. Continuously iterating on our offering. Making sure that people actually do the stuff that's important. Entering the US market. The most important skill that you should develop as a marketer is asking questions of your customers.

Here’s what Dani Woolf said about Vlad:

Vladimir Blagojević. First, I definitely recommend Vladimir Blagojević. He's the co-founder of fullfunnel.io. I actually follow him on LinkedIn and he's helping B2B marketers who market to people in accounts that have a long sale cycles, like me. Helping us do things a little bit more strategically and methodically. I think the way he educates B2B marketers with his smart playbooks is awesome. It's so useful. And he's one of those people who understands the value of simplicity and practicality. And again, people who do that are going to win. —Dani Woolf, Director of Demand Generation at Cybersixgill → Listen

What are 3 ways that your team converts your market into revenue?

1) We have a calendar of what we call frequent and regular marketing activities. So for example, both Andrei my co-founder, and myself, will write and post LinkedIn posts and engage with our audience. We have our own community, the Trenches, which is a B2B marketing community, where we also engage every day. Every week, we run our own podcast, the Full Funnel B2B Marketing podcast actually live, with B2B marketing leaders, where people from our community come can ask live questions and engage with some of the best minds in the market. We run a weekly, I forgot to mention, we have actually two newsletters. We have monthly webinars. Two times a year, we also run a B2B marketing summit, a Full Funnel B2B Marketing Summit. The last one, I think, had more than 5,000 subscribers. If I reflect, we only really started a little bit more than a year ago, working together with Full Funnel. Thanks to all these activities, we grew our newsletter to more than 12,000 people, got LinkedIn following right now is about 25k between the two of us. We had probably more than 10,000 people subscribe and attend our events. Just in 2021, from these activities, we generated 61 inbound opportunities. This frequent, consistent communication works really well for us.

2) So how do we convert, let's say, all that attention, and all that awareness and demand, into revenue? What we basically do is we help B2B tech brands with six figure deals implement proven playbooks to drive awareness and demand and land six figure opportunities with, let's say, 20% plus of target accounts. So when you're in that situation where you need to land large deals, you don't need a lot of clients, but you need the right ones, how do you maximize that? How do you actually get opportunities with, let's say 20-40% of targeted accounts? And we like to use those playbooks. They're tried and tested. We’ve implemented them so many times. We have them implemented as a digital on-demand course. We have cohort courses where we go work with group of companies implementing those. We have one-on-one consulting as well, and that's how we actually help our clients and earn our revenue.

3) So, how does that happen? So normally, most of our consulting clients are inbound or referrals, so people who are just coming to us, and we actually almost always have to say no a lot of times. Digital products, we sell, usually, during launches and from our email list, while the cohort courses, actually, the group courses and coaching, mostly come via one-on-one chats and engagement on LinkedIn email, our slack group, et cetera.

What are 3 hard problems that you recently overcame?

1) The problem that had the biggest impact was when we started Full Funnel, Andrei and myself decided that we are never going to do any execution. We're not going to work as an agency. We just want to be purely advice, courses, et cetera. So that wasn't easy, but it is something that we managed to build.

2) Changing the way that we work, and for myself, changing the way that I work. So that, instead of like being busy, busy, busy, I can devote maybe 50%, to maybe sometimes even 70%, on really high-leverage activities. I mentioned all the activities that we do online. I mean, it's just the two of us, and we have the client work, and we are building the products. And so, the way that this works is by being able to focus on the 20% of activities that generate the 80% of results.

3) Making sure that people actually do the stuff that's important. We started by selling, other than one-on-one consulting, those digital courses, and we saw that people are not really implementing stuff. That's a problem with courses. When we launched, and decided to launch the group course, this was one of the reasons. We, again, applied the 20/80 principle to really focus on making sure that people actually do the stuff that's important and make all this experience, very interactive and immersive so that people actually, during the sessions are engaged, are listening, doing stuff, and actually implementing and getting results. This is working and I'm super, super happy about it.

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What are 3 roadblocks that you’re working on now?

1) We are continuously iterating on our offering, on our products, and how we monetize or help our clients. Currently, we are working on a program. We have all these playbooks, but what we want to offer our customers is a program where they can go from zero to account-based marketing, which is one of the things that we help our clients implement in a quarter or two. So, we are creating these larger programs and combining the different pieces of the puzzle that we have created so far.

2) We want to replace all our one-to-one consulting income with courses and digital products. And we really want to focus even more on the things that we enjoy and we know bring a lot of impact and results. We want to publish more books. We want to do more events. We want to create more content and just focus on content creation, creating those courses. And eventually also hiring a course manager. Being able to just focus on creation of knowledge and just promotion of what we do.

3) Entering the US market. If you look at our sales, just pure digital sales last year, probably 80% of our market, in terms of our audience, is in Europe, while maybe 50% of sales, digital sales, came from the US. So, definitely, it's a growth market for us. But, when it comes to like group courses, when it comes to one-on-one consulting, we do have US-based clients, but they always say like, “Oh, wow. What you guys are doing is so in depth. We never really expected that.” They're always surprised at the level of detail, at how practical this is, and how effective it is, what we're teaching them, and what we're doing with them. But somehow, they get surprised by it. So in other words, it's not what they expect. And I think there is some perception issues that we might need to solve, or the way that we communicate is just different. There's a lot of competition as well, especially in our space, marketing and sales space, that's probably the most competitive space and the most of the eexperts are US-based and people tend to work with their let's say people from the United States.

What are 3 mental models that you use to do your best work?

1) 80/20. So I already spoke a lot about the 80/20. We try to look at 80/20 everywhere. We are already ruthless about, we have inbound leads, like which leads are we going to spend time with? Every week, we disqualify a lot of people who are asking to talk to us. In the way that we prioritize and plan. There's so many ideas. There's so many things that we could be doing, but we spent a lot of time thinking. Thinking about what we should be doing and what are those, let's say, the 20% of activities that will make 80% of impact. So this is like the model that has been the most successful for me and for our company.

2) Thinking long-term. They're all related, but the second one is thinking long-term. If you look at all the marketing activities that we are doing. Being there, everyday, posting on LinkedIn and doing all of these things. It's not like you're going to start posting on LinkedIn and you're going to get an avalanche of leads, or you're going to run a webinar and you're going to close like five deals. That's not how it works. It takes time. And especially, it takes time to build authority, to build thought leadership, to build an audience that actually knows, likes, and trusts you. People give up too early, usually, because they expect this to be linear, but the good news is that there is a compounding effect. Really. It' like with investment. At the beginning, was it Warren Buffett who said that the vast majority of his wealth he made after he was 60. That's exactly because of that. But, he wouldn't have made it hadn't he invested continuously over time before that, and hadn't he thought long-term, and it's exactly the same thing in business. I see this everywhere. A lot of bad decisions are made because people don't think long-term.

3) Consistency. Related again, it's about consistency. It's really, really important. Whatever it is that you're doing, especially when it comes to like demand generation, audience building to be consistent. Always thinking, “Done is better than perfect.” Let's make sure that we get, like I said, get this out daily, weekly, whatever. And that means that, sometimes, instead of making it super nice, and super good, and pretty, or whatever. You need to get it out there. Actually, it's a good thing, because while you're iterating, and thinking about it, you're not really learning. You're really learning when it's out there in the market. Your first version of anything is not going to be good, one way or another. It doesn't matter how hard you try to make it good, it's still going to suck. So the only way to make it better is to get it out there. Get the feedback from the real people and then do it again and again, and bring the next version, the next version out there.

What are 3 techniques that GTM teams need to try?

1) Co-creation. Definitely co-creation. Like you and I are now doing. You're co-creating content together with me. So, you can co-create with your buyers. This is something that we have been doing for ourselves and with our clients. We have been seeing like amazing results. For example, I decided to build relationships with top marketers, and you know this right, with top marketers in my home market. Just wanting to start talking to Heads, VPs, Directors, and CMOs in the largest B2B tech companies. And I started and I built a list of 20 accounts that I wanted to build a relationship with and engage and activate. And actually, I had to stop the outreach after 11. I was inviting them to podcasts, that was one of the main plays that I used, and I had to stop at 11 because 8 of them said yes. And I'm not talking about people who are used to appearing on podcasts, and people maybe who are very active online and sharing and creating content, but people who are working, simply, in enterprise as executives, they're busy, they're maybe not used to appear in public, and it's just an amazing way to not only create these relationships, but also like learn a lot about target accounts. You have a conversation, and you're learning. Just unbelievable. We see that over and over again with our clients. It doesn't have to be a podcast. It can be a market research report. It can be a write-up post. It can be whatever. And in weird industries, like we did a play like that in the HVAC industry, the manufacturers of HVAC equipment, and again, out of 30 accounts, we have conversations with 11 of them. It's just amazing. I mean, no way, had we like done other things, like send cold email, run some ads, that we would have so many conversations, so much insight into target accounts. So co-creation, from that perspective, with buyers, but also just co-creation with, what I like to say, with people who your buyers trust. So this would be influencers, their peers in other companies, niche media owners, like podcasts, but also, maybe in some cases, associations depending on the industry, it can be different things, but co-creating with them. It’s probably what they know in the music business, and the movie businesses, the fastest way for you to grow your audience is to tap into existing audience. Like, the warmup act, or the opening act on a rock concert. They get the audience of the bigger band. And it's exactly the same thing that you're doing here.

2) Account-based demand generation. There's a lot of talk about account based marketing on the one hand, and there's a lot of talk about demand generation on the other hand. A lot of times, when people talk about demand generation, unfortunately, what they really mean is like running some ads, and maybe doing lead generation, et cetera, but what we saw works really well, especially for companies with large deal sizes, is being very strategic about who you're targeting, as you were doing account-based marketing, but then, running these different plays like co-creation and doing stuff for example, on LinkedIn, et cetera. to really create awareness with the right people. Because, at the end, you don't need a lot of clients, you need the right clients. That's why this works. What a lot of companies do, unfortunately, when they do account based marketing, they maybe run some display ads, or create some awareness there, but not really really at the level, I mean, that's not very effective, and then they run basically some sort of cold outreach. And cold outreach doesn't really work because people don't know you. They don't trust you. There's lack of awareness. You also don't know them. You don't know a lot about them. You don't know whether they're good fits. You don't know whether they are searching for a solution right now, at what stage they are, et cetera. So if you do account-based demand generation the right way, you can get the best of both worlds. Let's say the inbound and outbound, we call it sometimes the all-bound marketing.

3) Really, again, account based marketing account based demand generation, specifically on LinkedIn. For B2B companies with six-figure deals, it's probably the best platform, not for all industries, but for a lot of industries. That is the platform that makes this, let's say, all-bound account based demand generation, really, really easy and effective because not only that you can create and distribute content in a very targeted way, but you can also engage with your buyers and the people that are connected to. We talk about this like four different audiences, proxy audiences, that you can get on the buyers radar, but also you can just directly engage with them. You can post thoughtful comments, you can have non-sales conversations. There are so many things it can do on LinkedIn. It’s just amazing that not many, many more companies are doing that.

What are 3 questions that you love to ask and why?

So really, If I'm thinking about my prospects or my customers, I mean, that's probably the best invested time is talking to your customers, interviewing your customers, and understanding not only like the demographics, firmographics, who they are, but really understanding why or maybe better said, when, so,

1) What are the things that are happening in their business that made them search for a solution like ours?

2) Did something specific happen to trigger that research? What kind of problems were you trying to solve? et cetera. Really understanding the triggers, but also understanding how they buy, like what the steps they go through, who is involved, what kind of criteria, purchase criteria, they have, what kind of objections they have.

3) Why they chose you instead of your competitors? Really zooming in, into the whole buying journey, understanding in the buying journey, why they buy from you, what kind of value they're getting, is probably the best time you can spend. It’s probably the most important skill that you should develop as a marketer is asking questions of your customers and understanding your customers.

Who are 3 operators that should be our next guests and why?

1) Andrei Zinkevich. I know that I can only mention one from my company, but whether I worked with him or not, I would definitely, definitely recommend you spoke to {}, which is really the man that I learned most of my B2B marketing knowledge from. He's my co-founder, but he was also kind of a mentor and a teacher to me.

2) Peep Laja. Another person that I would definitely recommend you reach out if you haven't already is Peep Laja, the CEO and founder of Wynter and CXL. He’s probably, in my opinion, one of the best experts when it comes to B2B marketing strategy and messaging, and just a really, really good guests. He would be an amazing guest for your podcast.

3) Corrina Owens. Senior ABM Manager at Gong. And she's just such a lovely person and such a good marketing leader. I love her advice and tips. It's always so practical and it's also in a way non-conventional. When she talks about marketing, when she talks about, for example, ABM and marketing for enterprise buyers. I mean, I learn in every conversation, and the stuff that you can actually put in practice and apply.

Connect with Vlad on Linkedin → Vladimir Blagojević

May 2022 · Interview by Chris Morgan, Host of Market-to-Revenue

Market-to-Revenue Podcast ⚡️ Lightning-fast interviews with GTM operators in sales, success, product, and marketing.

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