Keepin’ it 100 with Kevin Marasco, Zenefits

Keepin’ It 100 offers bite-sized tips and encouragement for revenue practitioners.

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The hosts:
Trinity Nguyen
Trinity Nguyen
Co-host
A profile photo of Christian Kletzl
Christian Kletzl
Co-host

On this Keepin’ it 100, Trinity is joined by Kevin Marasco, the Chief Marketing Officer at Zenefits, a human capital management software.

“I think of it less as a product-market fit, but more like a product-market-go-to-market fit because the market is fluid and changing. As marketing, sales, and revenue leaders, we have to be evolving continuously -- who we target, how we target them, and what products we're building for them.”

Kevin built a career on successful go-to-market strategies. He shares his thoughts on crossing-the-chasms to reach your next business stage.

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Kevin's passion for learning is embodied in his unconventional path to CMO. For the past 20 years, his focus has been sales and marketing, specifically the go-to-market side, in leadership roles at various high-growth public and private B2B SaaS firms. With 10 capital raises, an S1 process, and 12 M&A deals behind him, you might say he’s done it all.

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Trinity: Welcome to the First 100 Days, a show for revenue practitioners by revenue practitioners, giving you unscripted access and exclusive resources to help you navigate any new transition or initiative. I'm your host, Trinity Nguyen from User Gems. In today's episode, Kevin Marasco, the Chief Marketing Officer at Zenefits, shares his thoughts and cautionary advice for companies trying to cross the chasm into a new stage of technology adoption.

For example, if your company is trying to cross from early adopters markets to early majority market, and so on. Kevin has helped many companies crossing barriers, chasms, from being an early stage startup through mergers and acquisitions and IPO. So you definitely don't want to miss this episode. And if you want more, check out the full interview we did with Kevin that we released last week.

Enjoy. When it were at different companies, I compare it to the Chasm book and it's exactly like that.

And it feels like... One of the VCs on Twitter mentioned that there's a certain series when you transition from like B to C, it's usually a lot harder. Like from C to A's, it's usually a bit more smooth 

Kevin:I love the Crossing the Chasm concept and book.

I think it's one of the most timeless and best business books, honestly. It complied to every area of the business, literally like every function. It's so often overlooked. It's honestly like one of the first books I recommend to founders and like early stage CEOs, especially, but I think it applies to companies at every stage because it's a journey, right?

Like product market fit. I think of it, less product market fit, but more product market go-to-market fit, because think about it. The market is fluid and changing. Twenty years ago, what did we buy online? Not a lot. Right? Like, okay. Maybe just a couple of things, but twenty years ago you would've said, Hey, you know what?

People are going to be buying groceries online. You'd say that's crazy! People aren't gonna buy groceries. Or cars. Oh yeah. We buy all that online. The point is that the market changed. So you have to consider the market fluid. Of course, your product is fluid. So those things are changing, which means your ideal customer profile is changing and evolving.

Your market segments are changing, and then how you reach them, how you go-to-market is changing. Buyers are wanting to buy everything online, self-service, especially in a post pandemic world. They're willing to spend over half a million dollars online without ever seeing anyone. As marketing, sales, and revenue leaders, we have to be evolving, continuously, who we target, how we target them and what products we're building for them.

It's so fluid. It's important. We're able to prioritize that and take a more agile approach. So those Chasm concepts, they apply to companies at every stage. I don't care if you're ABC. Another thing to think about, these historic stages are changing too, right? There's companies now that are bootstrapping, and then they're doing a company just like a series A, at like close to a hundred million in revenue. And then there's companies that are doing series E, pre-revenue, in some cases, even pre-product, right. And it's amazing. But in all cases, if you take some of the Chasm concepts and apply them as, like, a revenue leader, that'll help you evolve in a way that scales more effectively. It's easy to get distracted.

I think one of the easiest traps to fall into is having too wide of a service area, trying to do too many things not good enough. As marketers, we're like, Hey, here's our ideal customer profile and it's all these leads and that drives up the lead volume, right. And you have work UL's, et cetera, but what about focus? Like how profitable, what's their actual LTV? How good of customers are they? Even at early stage... Early stage is super important because you're really finite on your resources. So it's really understanding, following customers through the customer journey to understand the value creation to them, into your company and being more targeted so that you can prioritize your scarce resources, especially at an early stage.

It's easy to fall into the trap of chasing the wrong revenue, the wrong leads, but if you're more deliberate about it, it'll help. So that's where I think the Crossing the Chasm concepts are really helpful to help focus and prioritize. 

Trinity: Do you have a note of encouragement or insights to share? Email me and we'll get you on the show at podcast@usergems.com. Thanks for listening.