Sales Pipeline Radio, Episode 79: Q&A with Steve Will at FunnelWise

August 14, 2017 Sheena McKinney

By Matt Heinz, President of Heinz Marketing

Late in 2015 we started producing a bi-weekly radio program called Sales Pipeline Radio, which runs live every other Thursday at 1:00 p.m. Pacific, moving soon to 11:30 a.m. Pacific.  It’s just 30 minutes long, fast-paced and full of actionable advice, best practices and more for B2B sales & marketing professionals.

We’ve already featured some great guests and have a line up of awesome content and special guests into 2016. Our very first guest was Funnelholic author and Topo co-founder Craig Rosenberg.  Next we had Mike Weinberg, incredible writer, speaker, author, followed by Conrad Bayer, CEO & Founder of Tellwise.  Recent Guests: Jim KeenanJoanne BlackAaron RossJosiane FeigonMeagen Eisenberg, and Trish Bertuzzi.

We cover a wide range of topics, with a focus on sales development and inside sales priorities heading into and throughout the year. We’ll publish similar highlights here for upcoming episodes.  You can listen to full recordings of past shows at and subscribe on iTunes.

You’ll love this episode with Steve Will.  Examining the skeleton of the growing sales and marketing disconnect. Pretty hefty topic, but when you break it down to the bare bones, so to speak, it becomes something that can be seen and tackled.

Steve has over twenty-five years’ experience in sales and sales leadership. Currently, Steve leads the partner initiative at FunnelWise which includes working with marketing and sales consulting firms to deliver technology and revenue results to high growth companies. Prior to FunnelWise, he served on the leadership team for Submittal Exchange as Director of Sales, where he led a rapidly-growing sales organization and secured several of the largest new clients in the company’s history. Submittal Exchange was sold to Textura Corporation in 2011, Steve remained with Textura as Director of National Accounts until joining FunnelWise in 2015.

Steve wanted to give you a gift for attending, listening to the replay and sharing this out. Download FunnelWise Revenue Funnel Science Exposed ebook.

Listen in or read our conversation below:

Matt:  Thanks everyone for joining us today on Sales Pipeline Radio. Really appreciate everyone being here, if you’re listening to us live on the Sales Lead Management Radio Network. Thank you for joining us. We are live every Thursday at 2:30 Eastern, 11:30 Pacific. And if you’re joining us through the podcast, thank you very much for joining us as well. I continue to be shocked and awed and humbled by the number of people that are finding us online, through iTunes store and Google Play and checking out what we’ve got in store. Every week we are featuring a new expert in sales and marketing, mostly in the B2B world and we’re talking about what’s new, what’s great, what’s latest to help you hit your number.

As we sit here today recording this show, it is the first Thursday of August 2017. Yeah, we’re only seven months into the year, so we’ve got five months to go, but I can tell you that the echoes of 2018 are already starting to rear their ugly head. People thinking that Q4’s right around the corner. We literally, in our management team meeting earlier this week, started talking about our 2018 planning meeting, which we usually do at the end of September, so we’ve got Q4 to start working on things that we want to gear up for, so it’s all coming together.

Never too early to start thinking about what’s ahead, never too early to evaluate what you’re doing and what’s working and what’s not, which is one reason of many I’m excited to have our guest here today with us. We’re joined today on Sales Pipeline Radio by Steve Will, who’s the vice president of FunnelWise, a fantastic platform providing revenue funnel diagnostics across platforms in B2B. Looking at CRM, looking at marketing, looking at a variety of different platforms, and helping you better understand what’s working, and what’s not.

Steve, first of all, thanks very much for joining us on Sales Pipeline Radio today.

Steve:  Matt, yes, thanks for having me. I’m very excited to join you. I don’t know how often you have guests from the Silicon Prairie, the Midwest, but we’re going to represent today. Thanks for inviting us.

Matt:  Thank you for representing the solid Midwest, I think you guys are in Des Moines, Iowa, I believe?

Steve:  We are, Des Moines, Iowa.

Matt:  That’s fantastic. Yeah, most of my family is from the Midwest. I was out in Des Moines a couple years ago for a wedding. I think Des Moines, Iowa and Spokane, Washington, believe it or not, I feel that have a lot in common for a variety of different reasons. Great town out there. Silicon Prairie, I had not heard of before.

Let’s talk about Revenue Funnel Science. I like this topic. I think you guys have put a lot great content and a lot of good insights into this. If you want to learn more about this topic about what we’re talking about today, definitely check out I think there’s the idea, whether we call it Marketing Performance Management, or Revenue Funnel Science, the idea that we need to look beyond just individual campaign performance is really starting to get momentum. Talk a little bit about what do you guys mean when you use Revenue Funnel Science. Where did that come from, and why do you consider that to be so important.

Steve:  Yeah, that’s a great question. You’ve seen the explosion in marketing and sales technology that’s happened over the last few years. It’s really resulted in a number problem that includes outdated information, or too much data, maybe even lack of visibility in the ever popular misalignment between marketing and sales and other organizations that are operated in silos. We experienced this at our previous organization so most of us here at FunnelWise worked for a company called The Middle Exchange which sold software and service to the commercial construction industry. We were power users of sales force, and used a number of marketing automation tools. Those tools are very, very powerful. They do a great job of answering questions about what’s happening right now, or what’s happening in the past, but they don’t do as good of a job answering the forward looking questions and helping you understand the story your data is telling. That’s why we decided to create Revenue Funnel Science and, of course, it pairs well with the technology.

Matt:  So we’re drowning in data as marketers and sales people today, but we have data all over the place. We’ve got data in our CRM system, we’ve got data in our marketing automation platforms. Making sense of that data together though can be somewhat of a challenge. I want to talk a little bit about some of the, I don’t know if I’d call them objections, but certainly some of the reasons why some marketers and sales executives have not really moved towards more of a Funnel Science, or more advanced marketing performance management approach. Talk a little bit about the gap between having data in silos, in those different tools that you may be using, and being able to manage that data together to tell a more meaningful story.

Steve:  Yeah, absolutely. All too common for quickly growing organizations, or organizations with a lot of pressure on them to grow to operate in silos. What I mean by that is marketing and marketing leaders, they will operate in their marketing automation tool or other technologies that are designed just for marketers. On the flip side, sales leaders, and sales operations leaders, they’ll operate in sales force, or other CRM’s where they’re looking to get the answers. Even though they talk to each other, even though you can have an immediate one to one connection, there’s really not a single place to look at your revenue funnel holistically from the very top to the very bottom. When folks aren’t looking at funnel diagnostics software or to look at their funnel holistically, that’s where some of the problems happen.

For instance, only 57% of their sales reps hit quota and that’s coming from CSO Insights last year. Or 79% of marketing leads never make it to the sales stage. That’s from Marketing Sherpa. There really is a need for marketing and sales and other business leaders to sit down and have a conversation on a regular basis about looking at their funnel holistically.

Matt:  Speaking today on Sales Pipeline Radio is Steve Will. Joining us live from the Silicon Prairie, and specifically at FunnelWise talking about Revenue Funnel Science. I’d love to hear some of the stories that your early adopters are telling. It’s been interesting for me as we talked to companies that are embarking down a path of telling a more sophisticated but more actionable story about what’s happening in their pipeline. Making adjustments throughout the sales and marketing world that are embracing better revenue responsibility.

I like hearing what some of those companies, not only hearing who they are as the innovators in our space, but also why did they buy. What is the story that they’re telling themselves? What’s the story that they’ve told the organization? Not just about why we’re gonna buy and invest in FunnelWise to tell a better story about what’s happening in our pipeline, but what does that say about what those marketers are trying to do in the way that they’re trying to manage sales and marketing. What are some themes that you’ve heard from your customers that might help other companies tell their own story and build a case for implementing tools like this moving forward?

Steve:  I think it ties in nicely with a comment that one of your previous guests made a few weeks ago. I was listening to the podcast with Shari Johnston from Radius, and she made a number of really good comments. One that really stood out to me is, not only is marketing changing from awareness and corporate marketing, they’re now starting to be more responsible for revenue generation and moving deals, not only for MQL’s but through the pipeline. For the marketing organizations that understand that desire and that need and are getting out in front of that, that’s really where we’re able to hear the great story. They’ve brought their sales counterparts to the table. They’ve sat down and mapped out a blueprint. They’ve started to mature on the Revenue Funnel Science maturity mod a little bit.

Here’s a story from a previous organization. A while ago there was an organization that measured their success by how fast they were going, and they put speedometers up on the wall, and then they used numbers to calculate how many MQL’s were being created and if they were hitting their goal, they were going 100 miles an hour. For the sales team, if they were making their revenue number they were going 100 miles an hour. But what ended up happening is the marketing team was celebrating and popping the champagne and riding around on roller blades, because they were going 120 miles an hour, but on the flip side, the sales team, they were struggling. They were at 60 and 70% of goal, so although they wanted to be excited for their marketing counterparts, there was obviously a disconnect there. They needed to sit down and have a great conversation about how they can mature with their maturity model and come together to drive revenue.

Matt:  You mentioned some of those conversations that are happening internally between sales marketing, independent of having an initiative, independent of having the technology, yet simply asking the right questions sometimes can help generate some organic demand. You get your CFO to start saying, “Well, maybe I shouldn’t just manage marketing based on leads and MQL’s. Maybe I should be looking at a deeper, more sophisticated metric. Maybe I shouldn’t assume that this six figure deal was closed because of the white paper download. Maybe there are more touches than that. How do I figure that out?”

So sometimes by asking those questions, you start to generate that organic internal need. Talk a little bit about the maturity model. I know you guys have been really smart in the way you’ve thought about this. This is not a black or white thing. You don’t go from not doing this to having a super bleeding edge type of system. What is the maturity model you think about with Revenue Funnel Science and how does that make it easier for companies interested in this to start to get their feet wet?

Steve:  Yeah, the maturity model is something that we’ve definitely put some effort into. I do have a couple comments on that. As far as the questions that organizations are asked to understand if they need to start looking at something like this, the marketing team should be asking themselves, “Do they know what happens to leads after they’re handed off to sales? Is there a formal handshake process between sales and marketing?” And of course the questions the sales team can be asking themselves and even the finance team can be asking. Does your finance team keep a close watch over the number of paying customers only, or do they know exactly how the customers journey they go through to get there? Those are some of the questions that the individual organizations can ask to see if they have a challenge.

As far as the maturity model, we really see it that there’s really maybe six or seven levels. The first level is what we talked about already, that desire in need to change so marketing is changing. Sales needs more from marketing. Marketing’s budget is growing, they’re being held responsible for revenue. That’s the first thing that an organization needs is to understand that they do need to change and have that desire to change.

The second step is implementing the technology and establishing a blueprint so your CRM and your marketing automation tools and then establishing a formal blueprint. Which means sitting down with all the stake holders of the organization and clearly defining how leads and opportunities move through each stage of the funnel. Interestingly enough, when we start talking to folks, if we start talking to sales first, of course, they can always name off their sales stages and what it means to move opportunities through, but very rarely do they know what’s happening farther up the funnel and the definition of those marketing stages. So again, sitting down with all their parties and establishing their blueprint.

Then it kind of moves on to capturing and measuring the key metrics, goal planning and analysis, and eventually you can get to forecasting and attribution. The very top is bench marking and optimization. We’ve got detailed thoughts on each one of those stages, Matt. I didn’t want to talk too long here, but that’s how we see organizations mature through Revenue Funnel Science.

Matt:  I think it’s a smart way to think about it, and if you want to learn more about the Revenue Funnel Science maturity model, definitely encourage you to check out Scroll down to the bottom of the homepage and you’re going to see some great downloads. You’re going to see a guide to Revenue Funnel Science over all and then step by step guide to this maturity model that Steve’s been talking about here. Steve, we’re going to have to take a break here in a second, but tell me a little more about how you guys have sort of eaten your own dog food. What are some of the things, the insights, that you’ve been able to identify through your own sales and marketing efforts that you might not have been able to achieve without this kind of a discipline.

Steve:  That’s absolutely a great question. It wouldn’t be fair to say that there’s no friction between the organizations at FunnelWise. There’s a healthy amount of friction no matter what your organization is. Sometimes it can be good, sometimes it can be bad. I think we have a good level of friction. When we first sat down and mapped out our process, we talked a lot about the funnel stages. Should there be maybe a sales accepted stage, or what exactly are we going to count as our target market, and who are the personas we want to go through. It was great to have sales and marketing sit down and do that together.

Matt:  That’s great. We’re going to have to take a quick break here. Pay some bills. We’ll be right back with a lot more with Steve Will from FunnelWise talking about Revenue Funnel Science. Take a couple minutes, we’ll be right back at Sales Pipeline Radio.


Paul:  After you look at the tuning up your sales engine, you might look at the whole machine here with Matt and his team as well here. The mad scientist who can help you master this Revenue Funnel Science that they’re talking about today here.

Matt:  When you think of mad scientist, I always think about crazy hair, right? Which if any of you have seen a picture of me or met me, you know that that’s not possible anymore for me. But I appreciate the effort Paul, as always.

Paul:  You know what I’m wondering is, I’m a child. I came of age in the ’80s here, so I saw the movie “Weird Science” so that’s what I picture. Some beautiful girl being made by a couple of kids in a science experiment or something.

Matt:  That’s just a classic ’80s movie. My goodness. We should do a whole episode on terribly stereotypical ’80s music. That would just be awesome. To take a total left turn from Sales Pipeline Radio and talk about just Molly Ringwald for 30 minutes.

Paul:  Let’s do it. Oh my goodness. I love Molly Ringwald.

Matt:  Let’s get back to Sales Pipeline Radio. Thanks again for joining us. We’ve got more here with Steve Will from FunnelWise. If you like what you’re hearing today, you want to share this conversation with others in your organization, make sure to subscribe to our Podcast at iTunes store and the Google Play store. You can also find every single episode of Sales Pipeline Radio available on demand any time at Coming up in the next couple weeks, next week we’re going to be featuring Mark Granovsky, he’s the President CEO of G2Planet. We’re going to be talking about event management, event marketing, and a smarter, better way of managing your events. Very much tied to our conversation today. Not letting any of your marketing and sales efforts go, be managed in a silo, but insuring you’re doing that in a way that you increase yield and throughputs. The following week, we’ve got James Thomas, who’s the CMO of Allocadia Software, another player in this space doing a lot of great work around marketing performance management and especially tied into accounting and measuring where your dollars are going.

We want to continue today with Steve Will who’s the Vice President for FunnelWise. Doing some great work in Revenue Funnel Diagnostics. Steve, before the break we were talking about where the rubber meets the road on this as companies start to implement. You touched on something I want to cover a little further. The fact that best laid plans don’t always derive first contact with the battle field. Even if you’ve got a great strategy and a great idea around better managing your pipeline, that’s not always going to be easy. There’s probably still going to be friction and challenges within the organization. You referenced a little inside your own organization, which we certainly see as well, but with your clients, what are some of the common challenges that people see that others should be aware of as they go down this path? Knowing that those challenges may come up, so they’re better prepared to address some of those to continue the momentum forward.

Steve:  It definitely happens. Things can be going great and you’re cruising along, going to make your revenue number, but that’s not always the case. A lot of times there are bumps in the road where it appears that there’s going to be challenges ahead. Even the most aligned organization, that’s going to start causing some additional friction, possible finger pointing and such. I think what’s important is to, again this is a common theme, sitting down together on a regular basis. The fact as you mature though Revenue Funnel Science, we talk about meeting cadences and who should sit down in the meetings, and who should be involved in that, and what the topics are that should be discussed. So we do talk about that in the complete Revenue Funnel Science book that you’ve mentioned it can be downloaded from FunnelWise.

What it really comes down to is sitting down and pinpointing the strategies that sales and marketing need to take together. For example, maybe the sales should sit down and pinpoint their top sales reps, and again what they’re doing differently, and compare their actions to what the average to low performing reps are doing. Look at things like conversion, velocity, and volume at each stage for reps who might be falling behind. Sometimes it can be they have too much work, or maybe not enough. For marketing, they should track marketing leads through every touch that they have through the entire funnel, and that includes the sales stages. Identify where they exit and why, and then identify the marketing sourced leads that convert to closed deals, and then put more resources behind that.

Also, something that folks don’t think about is, look at what’s not working. Often times, we’re focused on what’s working and trying to repeat that, which is important, but look at what’s not working. Make sure you have some sort of process or diagnostic in place where you can look and see where leads are falling out of your funnel, where they’re leaking out of your funnel. Then how they’re being nurtured and what’s happening to them after they’re nurtured. I think a lot of people miss that because there’s so much pressure for new revenue and just what’s working well.

Matt:  Let’s talk a little bit about the tools required to make this possible. Clearly, a tool like FunnelWise can sit atop other systems to make better sense of what’s working, but what are some of the common platforms that FunnelWise is pulling from that are helping marketers and sales professionals manage their sales and marketing better and provide for better data and insights to move the needle forward?

Steve:  You mentioned a couple earlier, and we’ve talked about them throughout the show today too. Absolutely, marketing, automation, and CRM are probably the two biggest tools. I would say that any organization that’s looking to make some impact or growth, they definitely have those tools in place. Business intelligence is nice to have as well. BI provides information that is helpful to Revenue Funnel Science, but it’s not a one stop solution when it comes to managing your funnel. Typically its just looking at a snap shot in visibility only is what BI offers. Of course there’s Excel, and PowerPoint. Those are regular tools that almost every organization uses.

Then you hit the nail on the head Matt, there’s definitely Funnel Diagnostics and intelligence software out there as well. That needs to be implemented. There is one thing that I’d like to comment as well. Lots of places to get visibility, including all the tools that we just mentioned with the Funnel Diagnostics software, and we have found that that is not enough. Visibility into this information is not enough. Again, there’s stories that your data tells, good and bad. We need to be able to understand the story that the data is telling, and then take action on it, and then measure that action to make sure you’re getting the results that you’re talking about. A good Funnel Diagnostics software organization should help with those process as well. Not just visibility.

Matt:  Awesome. We’re rapping up today in the next few minutes with Steve Will from FunnelWise. Steve, this next question is the Paul the Producer question. The Mount Rushmore of sales. Every guest now, we get to ask this question. If you were to decide which four faces are going to sit on top of the Mount Rushmore of sales, who goes up there? Who are the people that you believe have had the biggest impact on sales? Who are the people that have had the biggest impact, perhaps, even on you as well?

Steve:  Oh, wow. I should have listened to more podcasts to be better prepared for that question. Sorry about that. The four faces on Mount Rushmore. Well, you know there’s definitely the organization we partner with with FunnelWise that are sales and marketing related. Let’s see. I should have been more prepared for this question. I’m going to have to say the leader of our organization, Matt Ostanik. He’s obviously been pretty influential. I would say that building out a sales organization, an inside sales team would be Trish Bertuzzi from The Bridge Group. I think she’s got a lot of great content and just a very valued speaker. I would also probably put Aaron Ross in that category when it comes to driving organic demand from the sales organization. I’m going to go with those three, and then you’ve got to stay with George Washington. I’m not going to replace him as the founder of our nation.

Matt:  George Washington, he gets a permanent spot on the Mount Rushmore, I don’t care the topic. The Mount Rushmore for manufacturing. Mount Rushmore for podcasting technology. George Washington stays on Mount Rushmore. That’s very important. I think those are great. It’s amazing. At some point we should probably start counting, right Paul?

Paul:  Exactly.

Matt:  We should probably start keeping track of who comes up most often.

Paul:  We’re going to have to find some more mountains nearby there and carve more faces.

Matt:  We’ve got all kinds of granite. We’ve got granite everywhere so we’re going to be good. People like Trish Bertuzzi, certainly seem to come up a lot. Last question for you Steve, as you think about your career as you continue to learn and continue to move up the food chain, what are the things that you are prioritizing from a learning perspective? What are you doing to keep yourself on the leading edge, to keep yourself abreast of new best practices in what’s happening in the market?

Steve:  That’s not hard, because our industry is moving so quickly that you can jump in and learn from just about anywhere and any topic. I think account based marketing is definitely something that’s on a lot of folks minds. Marketing attribution comes up quite a bit, but it’s more about what’s coming next, and how artificial intelligence is going to play a role in sales and marketing. I think the best way to do that is to learn from your peers. Make sure you network when you go to different events. Most importantly, learn from your friends, your foes, your competitors, and the people that maybe are in a role that you manage, because there’s great ideas from up on top of the organization and coming from underneath as well.

Matt:  I said that was going to be the last question, but I have one final question. For our episode next week, which we’re just going to make up and do about ’80s movies, do you have a favorite movie from the ’80s? Does something pop out? Even if you get like late ’70s early ’90s that’s okay too. General ’80s genre. There’s a clear genre there? Do you have an ’80s movie that pops out as one of your favorites?

Steve:  Well, this would be no surprise to anybody that knows me, but I was born in the late ’60s, grew up in the ’70s and ’80s, and Star Wars is the way to go. The original Star Wars, of course. The first three. Episode four, five, and six. Those were the ones that I will sit down and watch anytime.

Matt:  I think that’s fantastic. Clearly, the first Star Wars ’77, but then you’ve got early and mid ’80s for the “Empire Strikes Back,” and “Return of the Jedi.” Someone told me once that they had read that there was an individual on a blog who had recommended how to watch the movies in chronological sequence, that isn’t based on the episodes. It was actually based on what things happen and when things get discovered so you don’t learn any secrets too early.

What I thought was funny about that was “Episode I” was not part of the list at all. Just forgot that “Episode I” existed and just move on to the other six that at least exist so far.

Thanks very much. Joining us today, Steve Will, from FunnelWise. Some great insights on Revenue Funnel Science. If you like what you heard today, definitely check them out. They’ve got a lot of great resources you can download, a lot of great information to help you think more and better understand the potential Revenue Funnel Diagnostics in your organization.

You can get any of these past episodes from Sales Pipeline Radio at Make sure you subscribe to us. Don’t miss a single episode. Even if you can’t, check us out live at the iTunes store and the Google Play. Next week, we haven’t decided. We’re either going to have Mark Granovsky talking about event management, or we just might go rogue, and just do ’80s movies. Maybe we should take a vote. Don’t have time for a vote now. We’ve got to take off. Thanks very much from my great producer Paul. This is Matt Heinz. Thanks for joining us. Take care. Sales Pipeline Radio.

Paul:  Once again, you’ve been flying with the force. The force that is Matt Heinz from Heinz Marketing on Sales Pipeline Radio.


The post Sales Pipeline Radio, Episode 79: Q&A with Steve Will at FunnelWise appeared first on Heinz Marketing.

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