#Marketing: Coffee With a CMO - Mike Volpe

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This is a podcast episode titled, #Marketing: Coffee With a CMO - Mike Volpe. The summary for this episode is: Mike Volpe is now a CEO, so what’s he doing on Coffee With a CMO? Well, Mike has a long history in marketing, and at the time of this recording, he still had a few hours left as CMO before he transitioned into the big chair. So technically, we didn’t cheat. In this one, Mike talks about how your PR focus should change as your company grows, why you should associate with big-name brands, and why you should hire people who are better than you. Use the promo code SEEKINGWISDOM when you get your tickets to HYPERGROWTH 2018 and save $500 today (just $199 for your ticket). Visit https://hypergrowth.drift.com/ to get your tickets today and come see speakers like Jocko Willink, Molly Graham, Chaka Pilgrim, Amelia Boone, Grant Cardone, and more in September. PS. The Seeking Wisdom Official Facebook Group is live! One place, finally, for all of us to hang out, get updates on the podcast, and share what we’re learning (plus some exclusives). Just search for the Seeking Wisdom Official group on Facebook. On Twitter: @davegerhardt and @seekingwisdomio

Speaker 1: All right. On this episode of coffee with the CMO, we're actually going to break the rules a little bit and have a CEO, he's here right now. It's Mike Volpe. Mike was a CMO at HubSpot CMO at Cybereason, and he's now going to be the CEO of Lola, but we figured we'd get him in real quick to do one last CMO party with him before he moves on. Mike's a good friend of mine, a mentor and advisor. He beats me up a lot, and he helps us out a lot at Drift, so I'm super excited to have this conversation and go get a coffee with Mike. I have a funny question. Why is Mac versus PC such a big thing?

Mike Volpe: We're going to start with that? crosstalk

Speaker 1: It's the last thing you texted me. You said,"I'm starting a new job," which we're going to talk about, but you said," I feel I need to switch over to Mac."

Mike Volpe: Well, there's zero PC users at Lola. com, my new company. Zero. I've just always used a PC, I don't know why. It's funny because I used a Mac in college, and then my first job-

Speaker 1: Hold on. What year was that?

Mike Volpe: Back in the'80s.

Speaker 1: You had the new Mac book air at college.

Mike Volpe: I got the first, it was a Mac book, I think it was called a 165C. It was the first Mac laptop that had a color screen. It was funny because the thing was this big, but the screen was this big because they couldn't afford to put a big color. I had the first color screen Mac laptop, which you don't remember this, but now you have the Air, it's really thin. A laptop was an inch and a half thick back then. It was like a brick that you carried around in your backpack. So I used a Mac in college. My first job was in investment banking and I lived in Excel for 60 to 80 hours a week. The reality is, today 90% of what I do is in a browser. I almost went Chromebook.

Speaker 1: But did you feel, I'm going to be CEO of this new company. It can't be 49 max in one PC.

Mike Volpe: Yeah. Literally all the technology in the entire office is completely set up to be PC. I would be speaking a different language, and the reality is, I almost went Chromebook. That actually literally, that was a very solid runner- up. But I think occasionally there's going to need to be an Excel file or something that crosstalk

Speaker 1: That I'm proud of you. I'm proud that you got a Mac.

Mike Volpe: We'll see if I like it in a couple months.

Speaker 1: Let's talk about PR.

Mike Volpe: Yeah, PR. PR is hard.

Speaker 1: PR is hard.

Mike Volpe: It's really hard.

Speaker 1: We talk about PR a lot.

Mike Volpe: We do.

Speaker 1: I actually think the reason I like to talk to you about PR is because I actually don't think, so forget that it's hard, but I think people don't care about PR enough. One lesson that I learned from you early on was, I think I texted you one day because I just felt like you were winning, your company was just winning every freaking award. It was best pens, best mugs, best culture, best recruiting. There's an important lesson I learned from that, which is you said to me," Dude, I want to win every award under the sun. Why would you not?" And that was," Oh yeah," because it can all be PR.

Mike Volpe: It's just one more piece of exposure, right? I think that you kind of go through phases. I felt in building HubSpot early on.

Speaker 1: You were at HubSpot?

Mike Volpe: A short while, just eight and a half short years. Day one, you're literally," Oh, if four people will stand in the middle of Harvard Square and listen to our pitch, I'm there." If somebody would give me an award for best pen, I'm there. I want it. Then as you start to become legit and have more of a brand, you're a much bigger company, then you don't want to win the best award for best pen, because," Well, why are they winning the award for best pen? I thought they were so much bigger than best pen." You know? You go through the phase so early on, I mean literally any tiny little thing, just do it.

Speaker 1: On the best pen thing, I just finished reading this book right now about this guy, Shep Gordon. He was the manager of Alice Cooper and he found Emeril Lagasse and all these people. He was the biggest rock and roll manager back in the day. Insane. The whole book is basically a PR thing. He said that when he had all these up and coming acts, what he would do is he would try to get them seen with other people who are already big. He called it the flashbulb effect because they're," I don't know who the hell that guy is, but he just walked in with Mick Jagger. So that person must be important."

Mike Volpe: Totally true.

Speaker 1: I shared that with our team at Drift because I think that's really important. It's," Who are the brands we want to be up with?" So if you win an award with Joe Schmoe and those three other companies, people associate with you with that group, versus putting yourself in those conversations.

Mike Volpe: And it's even more than awards. We did this a lot at HubSpot as well, where we would try to do co- marketing, but we always called it dating up, dating above your social class.

Speaker 1: One of your co- marketing was with Twitter in the early days, you guys did a huge webinar with them.

Mike Volpe: We did a giant thing with Facebook. I mean a giant, a huge amount of stuff with Facebook. Literally Facebook was a thousand times bigger than we were, and just the two logos together, it instantly confers credibility on your smaller brands because you're," Oh, Facebook's doing something with them. They must be legit." It's the same thing as that celebrity thing. And by the way, it's not just music. All celebrities do that. They try to get," Oh, I just want a couple of lines on your new track," or" I want to just be whatever." And fashion brands do it. They should basically pay celebrities to just do an Instagram photo with whatever handbag or whatever.

Speaker 1: We're big Hip hop fans. One thing happens in that world is, you can pay for a verse from a very famous rapper on your album. That's how you do that. You get inserted.

Mike Volpe: You have to do the opposite.

Speaker 1: But how did you reach out? What was the pitch? Because you're reaching out to LinkedIn and say, for example, you're growing and you have a bunch of email, just how do you get that? How do you get them to do that?

Mike Volpe: You've got to find an angle. It's any type of selling. One of the things that we found was with most of these businesses, like Facebook, they typically had a very high churn rate with their small businesses, because they would go on and try some Facebook ads, they would get more web traffic, but it wouldn't convert. The pitch we made to them was," Hey, we're going to do a lot of education around how you can actually turn that Facebook traffic into real business. And if they do that, they're going to spend more with you and stick around longer." crosstalk

Speaker 1: So they didn't care that you didn't have 10 million people in your database at the time?

Mike Volpe: Well, I'd say the other thing is, even though we were a much smaller brand, because we had done so much online and built such a brand that had so much great content, we actually had numbers that they were surprised at. It was still a couple million, but they were," Oh, you have millions?" And, by the way, then you sell it," Well, by the way, these are a hundred times more valuable than consumer email addresses because they're businesses." They were,"Oh," and I was," Well, how big is your business database?" It was definitely way bigger, but it wasn't like, you know, and ours was much more engaged too. We did a webinar with them. We actually drove more attendees to the webinar than they did. Now, once we started to talk about that, then they were," Oh, well, we're going to crush you."

Speaker 1: We'll do more.

Mike Volpe: Which is great. They basically just gave themselves a bunch of free Facebook ads and then crushed it. Anything you can do something with other brands, and it doesn't have to be companies that are in your same industry. We tried to do stuff with MIT. So you try to get an MIT professor to do whatever. It's," Oh, HubSpot's doing something with MIT." Things like that. You just try to do things like that. At Cybereason we've launched a couple of integrations and tried to do a bunch of co- marketing with Splunk. Splunk is huge, especially in the IT and security space, so do stuff with them. Anything that you can do like that is interesting. We did a movie, we actually made a documentary.

Speaker 1: A movie.

Mike Volpe: Yeah. We should talk about that.

Speaker 1: This is what we want to do. I'm telling you. The big we want to do is, imagine we changed the playbook for video where we do three movies a year. Or two movies a year, and we're working on that stuff all year round. I love the movie idea. That was another one where I saw the movie and I got a message from DC instantly," Where's our movie?" Thanks for that.

Mike Volpe: So I stole that idea. I don't have crosstalk

Speaker 1: Envision did that.

Mike Volpe: Envision. I stole it from Envision. I copied a lot of the playbook. Jess Mayer, who worked at HubSpot, she was at Envision app and was part of that whole campaign. They did an amazing movie, and we took a very similar idea. It's called the- defenders- movie. com. The cool thing about that though, is if you're doing a movie, we got our filming crew into the Department of Homeland Security, DHS, their security operation center. The computers that monitor everything that's happening nationally in terms of-

Speaker 1: How did you get in there?

Mike Volpe: We just told them," We're making a movie,"

Speaker 1: And they're,"Sure." Come on!

Mike Volpe: The funny thing is that you can call them up," Hey, this company, we're doing a video for our podcast," or whatever. They'd be," Slam the door. Won't even talk to you." We're," No, no, we're doing a documentary," and they just invited us in. New York Times, we interviewed their head of security. Thinking about content in new ways is basically what we need to think about.

Speaker 1: You said something in there that was really important that I don't think marketers do enough. I think everybody would say," Oh man, you're so creative. You have all these good ideas." You don't have-

Mike Volpe: What's up man.

Speaker 1: We're getting more, we're getting leads. inaudible We're getting leads. See? Only a marketer can relate. [ crosstalk 00:09: 20 ]

Mike Volpe: It's so funny how the salespeople forget that the company they were at before they got zero leads, and then all of a sudden," Oh, I only got 10, 000 leads this month. How am I supposed to hit my numbers?" crosstalk You know what you need? You need to have a phone book on your desk. Anytime anybody in sales complaints about leads, you're," You want more leads? Here are the leads your last company gave you. This is your last company's leads. Here's a fucking phone book. There're names in here. Go fucking call them." Or if you want the primo shit," That's why you're here." crosstalk I used to do that sometimes because they just forget.

Speaker 1: My favorite sales rep. I love all our sales reps here at Drift. My favorite ones are the ones that come from companies where they had no brand, had no leads, because they come here and they're," This is incredible!" You know?

Mike Volpe: And you can use that in recruiting. We use that in hubs that are recruiting. The sales reps wish, you wouldn't believe it. It was after the two or three months in the job, a lot of them would come over and find me. They'd be," So, when you guys were recruiting me, you told me I wasn't going to have to cold call, and I actually didn't believe it. I hit my number this month and I haven't cold called." And I was," You're welcome."

Speaker 1: Is this is why you've moved on from marketing because you have to deal with this?

Mike Volpe: What do you mean? No, no. I have to deal with it on both sides now.

Speaker 1: You said something important. I think everybody thinks," Man, you've got all these crazy ideas, you're super creative." You said," I don't have any original ideas." And I think that's really important because-

Mike Volpe: We're both hip hop fans.

Speaker 1: Right.

Mike Volpe: Hip hop is, there's originality in every new track that comes out. But most of that originality comes from remixing a lot of old things.

Speaker 1: Most of the beats are from'70s soul. There's something there.

Mike Volpe: Right. Or that was then taken and then put into a Public Enemy track in the late'80s that somebody else is using now. On Nas' new album, he is heavy sampling from a track that Slick Rick did back in 90 or something like that. It's about either taking an idea that someone has done a long time ago and recycling it, or something somebody has done in a different industry, looking at consumer and being," How could I adapt that for B2B?" is huge.

Speaker 1: 100%.

Mike Volpe: Or take two ideas and put them together in a new way.

Speaker 1: I was on a panel yesterday with somebody, she runs digital marketing at Puma and it was amazing. They just launched a new campaign with Carmelo Anthony and LeBron, and that's the stuff that I'm interested in. I think everybody else in our space, I'm a B2B marketer, I think most people are going to look at what other B2B companies do. I want to study this guy, Shep Gordon for example, or Steve Jobs and Apple is cliche, but I don't think a lot of people copy what they have done or what's happening in music and consumer. I think there's so much to draw from inspiration because everything is all about people. It's about getting people to do something. Same in B2B. B2B is no different. I just think people don't copy enough.

Mike Volpe: Yeah.

Speaker 1: Copy. This series is copied.

Mike Volpe: Has anyone done videos before? Is this a unique idea? There's how many billions of videos that have been created?

Speaker 1: Billions.

Mike Volpe: It's about tweaking things and then just executing really well. That's the other thing, is 97% of the videos out there, they suck. Because they're not fun, they're not exciting, they're not well edited. The audio sucks. Just doing something really well is actually also a differentiation.

Speaker 1: Something we say a lot, we say," Innovate, don't invent". Which is, find something that already exists, innovate on top of that and make it better.

Mike Volpe: Yeah.

Speaker 1: Back to PR. Funny experience that I told you about and you reflected back on me, which is when we were out there raising our Series C, which was$ 60 million, Sequoia led, strong brand, whatever. I had a hard time pitching that as news. I actually got three responses. I won't say the publications, but three responses from reporters that said," Sorry, we don't cover anything under a hundred million." I was,"Wait, what?"

Mike Volpe: It's funny because-

Speaker 1: I texted you because I was," I can't get anybody respond to me."

Mike Volpe: I know. I told you that we did a hundred million dollar round at Cybereason, which we got a ton of coverage for, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, just great. But, there was a top tier tech industry publication that didn't cover it.

Speaker 1: I got them to cover us.

Mike Volpe: I know. But did you get New York Times and Wall Street Journal?

Speaker 1: Damn.

Mike Volpe: Yeah. All right.

Speaker 1: Edit that out!

Mike Volpe: inaudible going to text you now crosstalk.

Speaker 1: Time out, time out, time out.

Mike Volpe: Yeah, I know, dude. Yeah, no, you should. Yeah. I know.

Speaker 1: What was that?

Mike Volpe: I haven't gotten that yet.

Speaker 1: What was the question?

Mike Volpe: That was good. You know what was great about this is this column that he was in, this is the corner office column. He was one of the last three people and then they stopped doing it.

Speaker 1: They ended it.

Mike Volpe: Yeah. I think they just restarted it. So we crosstalk

Speaker 1: Go on record that Mike Volpe said," I didn't help us get in the New York Times."

Mike Volpe: crosstalk fundraiser. It's really good.

Speaker 1: The worst part about this, the night before we go down to New York, we go down to New York. I'm in a hotel room. DC's in another hotel room. Got to dinner and I started to feel," Oh oh, something's not right."

Mike Volpe: Okay. It wasn't just nerves?

Speaker 1: It wasn't just nerves. I wasn't nervous. I'd have to do anything. I get to Instagram, the whole thing, and hang out with DC at the New York times. I didn't have to do anything.

Mike Volpe: Yeah, but here's the thing. If you're the marketing guy and the executive you booked for that interview, if they screw it up? It sets you way back because it means it's much harder to get future stuff.

Speaker 1: That, or if this reporter flakes, I didn't believe that it was going to be real until, you know, because so many people flake. It happens.

Mike Volpe: Oh, that guy's not going to flake. The New York Times is not going to flake.

Speaker 1: So we go to New York, we get down in-

Mike Volpe: The article might not happen, but they won't flake.

Speaker 1: We get down to New York, go out to dinner, I'm feeling real weird. I'm up all night puking, every hour puking, and I have to be at the New York Times with DC at 9: 00 AM. My body's cramping. It was horrendous food poisoning. I walk out on the New York streets, I go to a Rite Aid to get Pedialyte at seven in the morning. I kid you not, I am sitting at a desk. I finally felt better. It was not good though. I'm sitting at a desk with Adam Bryant, the New York Times reporter, DC, and me and below me is a glass of Pedialyte that I keep sipping the entire time at the New York Times. I'm," I can't believe this is happening." Luckily it worked out, the interview was crosstalk

Mike Volpe: The other thing that happens when you do that, you're a parent, then you get home and the other parent is," Oh, well you must be really well rested from your business trip, where the kid didn't keep you up all night." You're," Actually it was, completely the opposite." And then you get it when you get home too.

Speaker 1: I remember, it was three months after Annie was born. I had to do a bunch of travel for Drift. I was in San Francisco for two weeks at different times. Annie was two months old, so we were not sleeping. It was the best week ever. I missed Annie and my wife so bad, but I'm sleeping in the middle of a king size bed in a hotel getting eight hours of sleep every night.

Mike Volpe: No one kicking you in the face.

Speaker 1: Okay. What else did I want to talk about? So PR, hard to get-

Mike Volpe: The big thing with the fundraising driven PR, is that has jumped the shark.

Speaker 1: That era is over.

Mike Volpe: Literally, when you have trouble getting coverage for a hundred million dollar round. The month we announced ours, there were five other hundred million dollar plus rounds.

Speaker 1: You can't control that.

Mike Volpe: It used to be a benefit or fundraising was you got a PR boost. It's much less so. Not that that's ever a good reason just to raise money. crosstalk you got to wrap it up.

Speaker 1: I was going to tie it around something else crosstalk there's maybe there's a big hire you're making or a product you're launching.

Mike Volpe: A new CEO.

Speaker 1: A new CEO. That was pretty good. You did a good job with that. But I actually think crosstalk something I talk about a lot is, I actually think the landscape for what PR is has changed also. Of course there's a logo, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, but for us, we sell to sales and marketing people. For me, PR is, everybody who has a podcast about marketing, I want to be on that person's podcast.

Mike Volpe: There's more of a micro strategy, and also it's kind of tied into social media too. If you publish your own thing and then tons of people promote that and share it on LinkedIn or Twitter, whatever, then that's also PR. How is it not PR? It's just, what the media is has changed.

Speaker 1: For sure. Let's go inside our text messages a little bit, crosstalk

Mike Volpe: We're going to do some deep cuts here?

Speaker 1: We've been talking a lot about,

Mike Volpe: Don't, did you give away the idea?

Speaker 1: We're thinking about launching now. Hell no. We've been thinking of launching a series called Texts with Volpe. I don't know if anybody would watch that. We've been talking all about hiring.

Mike Volpe: Yeah.

Speaker 1: And one of the things you've been helping me work on is, we talked a lot about as a first time leader or manager, it can be easy to default, to hiring people who are more junior and you have more experience. That's just a natural thing. I think something you learned, which you taught me a lot about was hiring up, hiring people with more experience than you who are better than you. How do you do that though?

Mike Volpe: New managers often, they come in and," I'm a manager." It's easier to hire people that are way more junior than you because they're more likely to look up to you and you can tell them what to do more. It's an easier management job to do that. It's an easier hiring job. It's an easier recruiting job. It's all those things. But if you really want to be an exceptional manager, you want to try to hire people that are actually better than you. You need to embrace that as a company culture and as a manager. And as a CEO, you would hopefully want to have people in every functional role that are the world's most amazing people at that, that even have some runway ahead of them. That could be CEO someday. crosstalk.

Speaker 1: That's a great way to flip that. If you run marketing, changing your mindset from," I am the CEO of this marketing thing." It wouldn't be a good strategy if, as the CEO of Drift, DC hired. If he was the best person at sales, if he was the best person at marketing, if he was the best person for customer success. So, that's a really interesting way-

Mike Volpe: If you're running a whole marketing team, you've got a demand gen person, you get a content person, brands, product, marketing, whatever, each of them should be far better at you at that thing for sure. And frankly, hopefully more experienced than you, and brings more to the table and it kind of rounds out this whole team.

Speaker 1: What was your pitch? What was your pitch for selling somebody on that?

Mike Volpe: The way to think about it is that everyone in the world, I had coffee yesterday with somebody who was really junior. Three years of marketing experience, and most people on paper would be," Oh, well that entire coffee was about you teaching them something." Or maybe you're recruiting them inaudible But in almost every conversation, there's something that person knows that I don't know, because he's deeper in the weeds with a bunch of tools, or seen different things, worked in different companies, whatever. There was something in his head that I don't know. And so, I can learn from literally anyone about something. I know you guys are big on the learning mindset here at Drift. I think that makes sense. It's the same thing when you're recruiting. So even if this person has 20 more years of marketing experience than you have, there's something that you know, that they don't know, and they can learn about that stuff from you. Depending on which company I've been at and which job, it's always you're pitching the person. There's things that I know that you don't know, and also not going to micromanage you and the things that you more about than I do. And by the way, this is about putting together a tremendously awesome and amazing team, and just selling them on the opportunity of the company.

Speaker 1: I love that. That's the best lesson in that. we've talked about it so I'm not reacting the same way, but that's the eye opening thing. How can you put the right pieces of the puzzle together where one plus one is going to equal three, as opposed to continuing to hire that way.

Mike Volpe: Yeah. It's like a little bit in sports, there's sometimes these stars that want to be the center of attention, and by far the best person on the team. And then there's the other ones that take maybe a little bit of a discount to make some room in the salary cap, and there's going to be other people that might share the spotlight with them. But the whole team is better and that's the mentality you need to have.

Speaker 1: Look at what Kevin Durant said," I could continue to be the star in Oklahoma City and never win anything, or go join this group where there's five stars," and what happened? They won back to back. But obviously that's also not the right fit for some people. You have to get that person to buy in and want to be part of the bigger thing. If they don't want to be part of the bigger vision, that's not going to work either.

Mike Volpe: Yeah. It's only going to work in both cases if both the leader and the person you're hiring have a lot of humility. If you're not humble, that's absolutely not going to work.

Speaker 1: For sure.

Mike Volpe: Again, humility, I think, is an important quality and most of the most successful teams.

Speaker 1: All right, we've got to wrap. I want to wrap with the last topic. Actually, as we're filming this, today's your last official day as CMO.

Mike Volpe: I'm officially a CMO for only six more hours.

Speaker 1: Gonzal and I were talking about this. We were," Is this going to break? Do we want to do this?"

Mike Volpe: What do you mean? crosstalk I am a CMO.

Speaker 1: It's a fundamental thing.

Mike Volpe: I am a CMO. I mean, you can put it up for six hours and take it down. But currently, at filming, legally I am a CMO. So just under the wire.

Speaker 1: It's 10:56.

Mike Volpe: 11:00, so it's 5: 00 PM, call it whatever. So for six more hours, I'm a CMO.

Speaker 1: In all seriousness, what-

Mike Volpe: It will be hard for me not to be a CMO, even five years from now.

Speaker 1: But I also think-

Mike Volpe: I think it was, who was it? Was it inaudible that tweeted something recently about the best CMOs know that the CEO is actually the CMO and they need to embrace that?

Speaker 1: I retweeted that.

Mike Volpe: You retweeted that. I think I retreated a comment on it. It's very true. Take Marc Benioff. News alert, the CMO of salesforce. com for the past 18 years is actually Marc Benioff.

Speaker 1: 100%.

Mike Volpe: I know a lot of people that had gone through and had that CMO title there, and they're phenomenal people, but Benioff is the CMO of salesforce. com

Speaker 1: Do you know who has never had a CMO?

Mike Volpe: Who?

Speaker 1: Apple.

Mike Volpe: Apple has never had a CMO.

Speaker 1: There has always been a VP of marketing crosstalk.

Mike Volpe: Jobs was the CMO of Apple.

Speaker 1: That's different. There's different types crosstalk

Mike Volpe: And it doesn't mean you're doing all the tactical stuff. But the visionary that out there kind of thing. Yeah. Totally.

Speaker 1: That's good. Well, there're different types of CEOs-

Mike Volpe: The people also over there, do you know what they're doing?

Speaker 1: Smashing the gong.

Mike Volpe: Making me money.

Speaker 1: They're making you money?

Mike Volpe: Me money.

Speaker 1: You?

Mike Volpe: I got shares, man. I'm all up in this.

Speaker 1: Shut up. What do you think prepared you as a CEO? That's a good sound. As a CMO what prepared you most to be a CEO? Or what are the most transferable things outside of brand.

Mike Volpe: It's interesting because I think becoming the world's best CMO, that alone will not make you a CEO. Let's pause on that for a minute because that's important to know. You're going to need more experience with other parts of the business, and I'll point out two things. Some experience with sales. First of all at HubSpot I worked very closely with Roberge, over all the years, in the trenches with the sales reps, didn't report to me, but a lot of detailed experience.

Speaker 1: Fun fact about him by the way. aLooks great on the golf course.

Mike Volpe: About Mark Roberge?

Speaker 1: Great dress, great outfit. Average golfer, but looks tremendous in a golf outfit.

Mike Volpe: Wonderful to play with him, but he's not the ringer you bring in to win the tournament.

Speaker 1: Looks like the ringer.

Mike Volpe: Yeah, totally. Okay. So, a lot of detailed experience with sales, I had an opportunity at Cybereason where I ran the BDR team. We had about 20 BDRs, she had a small number, four inside sales closers as well. I got more experience managing on the sales side there. That was valuable. The other thing that I'll point out that I think helped me over time go from CMO to CEO is a deep understanding of the finances of the business and all the metrics. I actually put that way back to my first job out of college, doing two years of investment banking, living Excel, taking accounting classes as part of the training for the job, breaking down. During that two year period, that's a hundred weeks, I probably read 500 plus either prospectuses or 10 K annual reports. Going through all the financial statements, really understanding the business, understanding how do investors value business, understanding the capital structure of a business. Do I want to raise equity? Do I want to raise debt? All those things are super important as a CEO of a growing business to understand all those things. crosstalk If you're working your way up on the marketing side, and you want to be CEO someday, you need to make sure you dig in on the sales side and on the finance side. Finance is the operational language of the business and understanding all of that, understanding how was the stock value? And if I sell stock now to these investors or these people-

Speaker 1: It also makes you a better CMO because you have a full understanding of the business.

Mike Volpe: Yeah, that's exactly right. It makes you better at your job at any time to understand all that stuff. I would argue every employee should have that understanding and work on it. You need to be broader than your individual role to rise to the next level. And that's helpful. It's really interesting that I actually think a lot of my hopefully ability to be a great CEO now goes way, way back 20 plus years to my first job.

Speaker 1: I hope so.

Mike Volpe: Yeah. Cool.

Speaker 1: All right. Thank you. Always a pleasure. We're out of here.


Mike Volpe is now a CEO, so what’s he doing on Coffee With a CMO? Well, Mike has a long history in marketing, and at the time of this recording, he still had a few hours left as CMO before he transitioned into the big chair. So technically, we didn’t cheat. In this one, Mike talks about how your PR focus should change as your company grows, why you should associate with big-name brands, and why you should hire people who are better than you. Use the promo code SEEKINGWISDOM when you get your tickets to HYPERGROWTH 2018 and save $500 today (just $199 for your ticket). Visit https://hypergrowth.drift.com/ to get your tickets today and come see speakers like Jocko Willink, Molly Graham, Chaka Pilgrim, Amelia Boone, Grant Cardone, and more in September. PS. The Seeking Wisdom Official Facebook Group is live! One place, finally, for all of us to hang out, get updates on the podcast, and share what we’re learning (plus some exclusives). Just search for the Seeking Wisdom Official group on Facebook. On Twitter: @davegerhardt and @seekingwisdomio