LevelUp interview series part IV: The evolving role of content with Matthew Volm

Angela: ? Welcome to LinkedIn Live! Matt, thanks for joining me!

Matt: Thanks for having me, Angela. ?

Angela: I always like to tell people how we got connected. So we got connected through a really active Slack Community—arguably the most active Slack Community I’m a part of. I get so much value from the RevOps Co-Op. Kudos to you for building such an engaged place for, not only RevOps people, but marketers, etc. to get connected. ?

I know its name might not shout “content”, but the subject certainly comes up. Do you want to start by kind of giving the community a plug? And kind of telling everybody who’s listening why someone might join?

Matt: Yeah, for sure. I started RevOps Co-Op as part of the company that we’re building, Funnel IQ. Funnel IQ is an operating system for go-to-market teams that helps and supports people in Revenue Operations.

Initially, I started the community because I saw a need in talking to a lot of people at RevOps. Right now we’ve got a membership base of about 2,000 people from all across the globe. Like you said, people with varying backgrounds—whether it’s marketers or RevOps people or CROs or account executives. The thing that ultimately brings us all together is a passion for Revenue Operations.

We do create a lot of content. We curate a bunch of content within the community. It’s one of the things that people find really valuable. We’re big believers in content at Revops Co-op.

Angela: Nice. I think I learned the acronym AMA courtesy of you and the community. Ask me anything. ?

Matt, there are a couple of questions that I’ve been asking everybody this week: How have you seen the role of content changing in B2B over the past year—or let’s say 2, because this last year was kind of different.

Matt: I think content has become more valuable—or maybe it’s just that people have realized the value. Especially over the last year, with the pandemic, we’ve all had a lot more time and ability to consume content. I think it comes in a variety of forms, but I mean internet access, or usage, has just skyrocketed. Since we’re all been at home. Instead of spending 45 minutes on our commute in the morning and another 45 minutes at night, we can scroll Twitter, we can look at LinkedIn, we can read blog posts and newsletters.

Content—especially digital and online—is a great way to raise awareness to get in front of your audience. And, you know, engage with people. We’ve kind of seen a lot of that. There’s a lot more or content out there. And companies that are producing good content are rising to the top. But, because of all that, it makes it even harder and more challenging to cut through the noise.

Angela: ? I have found that in my own sort of transition into this, working and living from home, that I am consuming so much more. But I’m most effective at consuming it when I get out of my house. I’ll go on a walk. Listen to a podcast. Or go outside and read.

Lots of changes in the way buyers are consuming content and the places they might be consuming content. It’d be interesting—just because I know we’re both data nerds—to see the data on how much is now being consumed on mobile as opposed to 18 months ago. I mean there was already a shift but, has it spiked? I don’t know. Somebody has that information. We’re interested. ?

Matt: ? There’s the whole aspect of mobile versus other platforms. But now, with the rise of things like Clubhouse and audio within the workplace. There’s just tons of different ways that people can now create and consume content. Like, Clubhouse, for example. You can show up and listen. It can kind of be a live version of a podcast you can participate in. You can host your own room, you can create content.

There’s just a lot more, a lot more channels, a lot more opportunities out there.

Angela: I said to someone recently that it’s easier than it ever has been to create content—and harder than it ever has been to get that content noticed. That’s a good segue into my second question: Based on what we see changing, what do you think organizations need to do to prepare themselves specifically around the sales process, for either content or content creation or content delivery?

Matt: One, you need a really strong relationship between marketing and sales.

Ultimately, at the end of the day, sales is going to be the one talking to prospects and understanding buyers.

There’s tons of information in that, in terms of what sort of content should we produce, what sort of content do our salespeople need to support our buyers throughout their journey. The tighter the relationship that you can have there, the better. The more successful you’ll be at creating content.

Two, is looking at some of these new channels that might start out primarily consumer-driven. For example, I think there’s a huge opportunity on the B2B side within Clubhouse. We’ve done a couple of RevOps-related chats within Clubhouse already.

There’s tons of talk of startups, the investing ecosystem, and tons of other stuff going on there. I think that’s just another great channel for content creation. I think there’s going to be more avenues like that created as well.

Being forward thinking in where you’re producing content is one of the other things to do to stay ahead of the game.

Three, is understanding why content in the first place. A lot of times people will skip that whole step of asking themselves, “Why are we doing this” or “How are we going to measure success there” or “What’s the ultimate outcome that I’m trying to drive with this”. Instead, they’re just doing things for the sake of doing things.

So having a clear understanding of what the goal of this piece of content is. For example, did we hear this problem from our prospect and we want to produce more content around that to drive some top of funnel demand generation?

Or do we want to create some content to address that challenge throughout the sales process?

Or is there some secret option number three, right?

But like, understanding like, why are we going to do something rather than just like, “Well, gotta get the blog post out this week” or “We’ve got to get some collateral to the sales team” or “We’ve got to do some long-form article and put it behind a form fill to generate some MQLs”.

Angela: ? That “why” question is a good segue to my question specifically for you. There’s this ongoing debate amongst marketers—and probably salespeople have an opinion on it as well. We’re divided on should we gate content or not.

I think that comes down to how the content is being consumed, what channels, and—ultimately—implications on both the data around your content and the tracking. Do you have any opinions on that?

Matt: Again, I go back to asking yourself the question of: Why? Why are we considering creating content for this reason?

If the reason is, “Hey, we want to support demand generation efforts top of funnel and drive some more leads”, then putting some long-form content behind a form-fill to generate some email addresses might make sense.

But then also have some sort of target in mind. For example, “I wanna generate 50 MQLs from this content, within the first 2 weeks of it going live”. But have some way to measure success, so you can at least get to the end of that time period.

And then be like, did this achieve the goal or the outcome that I wanted to?

I’m very big on measuring success and being outcome-driven rather than just getting things for the sake of doing things.

But not all content needs to be gated. There are a lot of reasons to create content outside of generating leads. We talked about supporting the sales team and providing them with some collateral and some pieces to provide to their buyers throughout the buying process. If that’s the case, create content with that specific use case in mind.

But then also still ask yourself, How am I going to track that? How am I going to measure success? Ultimately, your goal is that those pieces of content are going to support the sales journey and you should have some better outcomes on the other side. Those deals should close faster or have a higher win rate than deals where content is not introduced. Then figure out how to track that.

We always have this tendency to be like, how can we track that? How can we automate it? What systems do I need to integrate to? Do I need a new tool? A new piece of software? But just start tracking in a spreadsheet or manually. Just start, and then figure out what you need to automate. But still have the outcome in mind.

Then there are other things right around increasing awareness or just delivering value to your prospects. The answer to the question of “to gate or not to gate”, is ultimately like, “Well, why are you creating content in the first place?” In some instances, gate the content, if it makes sense. In other cases, don’t.

Don’t collect data just for the sake of collecting data.

It’s all about understanding why you’re doing things. If you’re doing something for the sake of supporting your sales team, then you don’t need to put that on your website behind a form. Don’t collect email addresses if you’re not even going to be able to do anything with the data.

We have this tendency to overly complicate unnecessarily. I would much rather have us focus and do something really, really, well, than have us do a whole bunch of different things poorly.

Angela: ? ? ? Is it okay to clap on LinkedIn Live? That should be a mantra in operations, right? Just get started. Don’t over complicate it. Don’t hoard data. The three tenets of good ops. ?

I’m going to shout out to my friend Casey Trisha because we’ve recently debated ‘The gate or not to gate’ question.

I think yours is the most diplomatic response to the question that I’ve heard—the answer is “both”.

I don’t know if that counts as a really good answer—or avoiding the question entirely—but it’s been really fun to talk to you. ?

I’m sure people would want to continue the conversation on content, connect with you, maybe on Funnel IQ or even join the RevOps community. Do you want to direct them to any particular place to keep the conversation going?

Matt: You can connect with me on LinkedIn. Send me an InMail or a connection request. You can email me at [email protected]. You can check out Funnel IQ at https://www.funneliq.com/ and if you want to learn more and sign up for RevOps Co-Op, it’s https://www.revopscoop.com/.

Angela: Awesome. Thanks again for being here. And thanks to everyone else for joining us for the fourth in our LevelUp Interview Series. Today we spoke with Matt Volm, Co-Founder and CEO at Funnel IQ.