#004 Mastering Revenue Success with David Kirkdorffer

Demystifying the Sales and Marketing Process

Guest & Host

David Kirkdorffer & Thomas Miltschuh

Welcome to Speak Revenue, the podcast where we emphasize that revenue is not just a goal; it's a result. In this show, we shift our focus from the output to the inputs. We engage in conversations with sales leaders and entrepreneurs about their remarkable journeys. Our mission? To uncover the true root causes of success. Today, our special guest is David Kirkdorffer, a seasoned B2B technology marketer with over 25 years of experience, including stints as VP of Marketing and a fractional CMO (Chief Marketing Officer). David shares his expertise in connecting product teams, sales, and marketing to drive sales opportunities and improve operational efficiency.

September 8th, 2023


Thomas Miltschuh: Welcome to our new episode of Speak Revenue. Remember, revenue is not a goal. It's a result, but a result of what In this show, we turn our eyes from the output towards the inputs. We speak to sales leaders and entrepreneurs about their journeys. Join us on our quest to uncover and learn the root causes of success. Let us unpack what works for them and what didn't today with our guest, David Kirkdorffer.

David Kirkdorffer: Hello everyone. Hello Thomas.

Thomas Miltschuh: Thanks. Great having you here. Thanks for taking your time. Awesome. So let's get started right away. First quick question. Now let us know who you are, what do you do?

David Kirkdorffer: So it's a pleasure to be here. Hello everyone. My name is David Kirkdorffer. I have been a B2B technology marketer for the last 25 or so years. I've been a VP of marketing three times, a director or a senior director of demand generation. Five times. I've seen four acquisitions and one IPO. Over the last several years, I've become a fractional. Marketing leader or a fractional CMO, depending a little bit, and work with a mix of startups and scale ups and some larger organizations too. I think the thing that I do when I enter these organizations is I become a somewhat connective tissue between the product team, the sales team, other parts of marketing that may exist, and the customer base or the prospect base building programs and systems to build more sales opportunities essentially. What else? I play guitar. You can't see it here, but I'll bring it on camera. Here we go. i play guitar. Used to play in rock bands. Used to play up and down the east coast of the United States. Making a big noise. That was fun. . So, and I, I live here in Boston where today it's very warm.

Thomas Miltschuh: Great. Nice. Awesome. So, looks like on, when it comes to marketing, you've seen everything and know all the problems and works well, what works well and maybe doesn't work well. Maybe just a, a, a big picture. What is your current goal? May when we focus on a specific use case for this year and for next year, is there a good example?

David Kirkdorffer: The eternal problem for the customers that I work with, the areas that I'm involved with is demand generation, demand creation, lead generation. People have different words for these same, same basic ideas. Helping build a pipeline for sales reps. A lot of the customers that I have directed have sales reps, so my customers have a motion where there is if you will, leads are generated. Inquiries are generated, they are passed through to an internal sales development rep, or two or three, depending on the size of the organization, who do some kind of outreach and qualification. And then the better situations are, are brought forward to sales reps or account managers, depending. That's the, broadly speaking, most of my customers have that kind of motion. There are challenges within that. Style of, of demand generation and conversion. And it's not what I would necessarily recommend to everyone, but this is often the situation that I'm working within. The things that are on my mind when I'm doing demand generation, of course, is to, is to do it at a, a price point that we can afford focused on the people who make the biggest difference and trying to build In the demand Generation A, a brand impression I'd say that 80% of anyone's interactions with a company begin with the demand generation activity. So the quality of the demand generation activity measured in many different kinds of ways becomes the quality of the brand. So if, if the quality of the demand generation feels as if it's bothering you, pestering you, bugging you, that's not gonna feel good on your brand. Right? Just as a simple example, so demand generation is clearly the key. So I can, I can dive in deeper on, on different considerations if you'd like to jump in. But I, I wanna make sure you,

Thomas Miltschuh: Yeah, may, may, maybe can, we can dive into that. Already. When it comes to demand generation, a lot is happening, in this field it is always probably continuously, but especially during the last few years, things that have worked maybe three years ago are rather not successful. At these times after different crises and different styles of working with a lot of home offices. Input factors for that. So what, what do you think are the main challenges? 

David Kirkdorffer: So the big challenge today is to go to the market that I just mentioned, where it is . Outreach by sales development reps or business development reps going to AEs is working less well than it ever has before Covid, it was already starting to not work so well, and then Covid came along and just accelerated the trend in it not working so well. We became overwhelmed as individuals sitting at our desks. Our email boxes blew up with emails. All of a sudden, . Companies in the tech space that were trying to reach their customers could not go to trade shows and sales reps going like, well, we have to take our fate into our own hands. And tools like outreach and various other types of sales enablement tools which gave to salespeople the ability of doing campaigns, essentially just like marketing. So marketing campaigns, you'd use marketing to send emails from HubSpot or Marketo or various different systems. There are many. And sales were like, huh, that's a good idea. Let's do that. And so along comes outreach and provides much of the same functionality as far as as far as the sales rep is concerned. So all of a sudden they had a tool so they could send out a lot of email and that, you know, whenever anything becomes very popular, it becomes abused. I. And then everyone, it starts to fail.

Thomas Miltschuh: Yeah.

David Kirkdorffer: me, let me step back. I've been doing marketing, as I say, for a long time, for technology companies.

TThomas Miltschuh: Yep.

David Kirkdorffer: Things changed in 2006 specifically, and I would suggest that the big, the thing that changed is that's when Google Analytics became generally available. I think it was 2006 or 2009. I always make my sixes and nines mixed up. What would Jimi Hendrix think? So that offered an ability to, we thought, track what was making a difference, and provide attribution. Because we wanted to know if our money is being well spent and from that point forward. Electronic attribution has become very popular because we tend to think of it as being infallible. We tend to think of it as being the truth accurate. It's digital. It's either yes or no. Right on off. Digital. What? Yeah. Right. And so if you are trying to say to someone, well, if I'm spending money, if I've got an extra $10,000 to my marketing promotion budget, where would I put it? Well, you would want to put it where it's making a difference, and we are receiving signals back from electronic attribution that seems to indicate this is what's working best and this is not working so well and so forth. What people have started to realize is that electronic attribution is good at what it does, but what it does is it picks up where the prospect is being captured. Not where the prospect is first, coming into contact with who you are, what you do, and why you might be interesting. So for example, you might take a look at David Kirkdorffer or think of me as a company perhaps after listening to this podcast. You say, Hmm, that David Guy, he was kind of interesting, right? Maybe. And imagine I had a website and you went to my website, my s e o. You were probably going like, I'm not sure, how do you spell his last name again? I just heard it said, so you type at Google Query to try and figure out what's David Kirkdorffer, URL. Now we have a lot of B2B company tech companies that have got very creative names, and so we're often typing, I don't know how to spell their name. URL. Let me see if I can find them. So I do a query. I click on a link that I see. Oh, that's the guy? Yep. Oh, that's the company. And then you go to the website. My electronic attribution would say, the way you came to me was because of s e o, but actually really the way you came to me was because you heard this podcast. So the idea was created in a podcast, but captured in the SEO, and so now we recognize that distinction, which is an important distinction. We can say, okay, well we can use the electronic attribution. For what it's good at, where are things being captured, but it's not necessarily telling us where things are being created. And so that's an interesting point. I just want to kind of highlight it because it influences a lot of our marketing. Why? Well, we're still budgeting to do things, but if we are, and, and what I'm describing here is essentially I'm revealing this notion of dark social. There isn't a link that you can press on. While you are listening to this podcast, in the podcast to a word that I say, but you, you hear this podcast or maybe it's a reference in a, in a Slack community or another community, or maybe you went to a trade show and bumped into someone while you were in lying to register and you were talking about your situation and they said, gosh, you should really check out this company. And so you heard about something there, and then you do the Google query kind of thing that I've just described. The main point here I'm trying to get at is our budgeting is affected by our attribution, but our, our attribution, it's lopsided, unbalanced, and only picking up where we capture. We're not doing the full marketing that we should be doing or could be doing. And so this implies, this has implications to your budget, to your headcount, to your, to your workflow. Just to recognize this difference, so I just wanted to kind of bring that into the conversation quickly.

Thomas Miltschuh: Yeah, that's right. It's a very important thought regarding demand generation and the first contact with any person or potential client. If you don't know where the first contact happened, it's really hard to create a go to market, go to market strategy. 

David Kirkdorffer: Well, so I start by trying to work with my clients to really nail down what an ideal customer profile is. I. We always have a limited budget, and I can't boil the ocean as the expression goes, right? So I wanna make sure that I'm, I'm focused on really who is the ideal customer profile. And sometimes it happens that when you write it down and put it in front of people, this is what you said, right? This is what you wanted it to be. These are the firmographics, these are some of the information, different information about who you would like, and you share it. people didn't know that or they might not agree. So it's really important to get both sales and marketing and senior management, ELT focused. Are we clear that this is our ideal customer profile? And what is the ideal customer profile? So there TAM - Total addressable market. . SAM - Sam service addressable market and SOM service obtainable market. And then I, after that, put an ICP ideal customer profile. So I wanted to make those distinguish, just those terms distinguish as well. So step one is let's make sure we agree on what is our ideal customer profile, because that's what everything's gonna focus on now within the ideal customer profile, which I think of as a . Type of company I want to work with. I then also want to know and define who are the personas that we believe are part of the buying process for this solution. Okay. There are we, we, and, and there are so many sales systems and, and, and books written about this. And it's not as if any of them are really wrong. It's trying to find the thing that works for you. So what we do know is that buying groups the more expensive the product. The more the product has a business impact that touches many people, the more people are involved in the buying process, which is natural. So we wanna identify who are the constituents of a buying group. May not always be present in every purchase, but generally we see these people, what do they care about? And so I try to do a job to be done in a personal style. So I'm not so interested, David has a dog and he likes to go to the movies or something like this. I want to know, here's his job title, here's what success looks like. Here's his struggles. Here's the things that he wishes he could do. Here's what he likes as far as working with good tech. What does good tech look like to him and so forth. So I'll just stop there 'cause I wanted to let you kind of jump in on the question if you have something.

Thomas Miltschuh: Yeah, it's great. Thank you for, for those insights and for, for your explanations. Do you see when it comes to misunderstanding of ICP? Do you see different patterns? Is it significantly different from startups compared to series A or series B companies? Or is it throughout the stages? Maybe the same misunderstanding.

David Kirkdorffer: Every company's a little different based on the in my, in my field, every company's. So where it gets companies go through different phases of growth. The first phase, founder led sales, if you will, maybe. Anything to keep the lights on. Your ICP might be a little wide . Okay? You might say, great, excellent. You know, I'll thank you for your business and we're here to serve you and make you successful. And over time you might say, okay, but I really prefer to focus on this. Perhaps in this, in that sales process, in that product design phase, you start to realize this is actually where we're making the most impact. With these types of customers. And if we make an impact with these types of customers, then that makes it easier for us to have a value conversation. You may say, pragmatically speaking, we're going to focus on smaller enterprises because we could never support a big one. Their X department is bigger than our entire company, So they could kill us just trying to keep them happy and, and all of a sudden we're off base. So every company stage might do just something different. Back to your, back to your initial question. So if you're in a growth phase, just in that first, get the first 5 million your ICP may not be as tight as you would wish it because you're being a little opportunistic and you may have at that point what I, I call sales reps who are trailblazers. Trail sales reps are very valuable for a startup. They take the raw capabilities of your solution. And they're very good at finding ways that the capabilities can be combined and spoken about. They're like, you know, rock stars in, in my world, if you will, right? And marketing people generally don't like them because these trailblazing sales reps go off and do their own thing a little bit, which is important to be able to have happen in an early stage later on. Lots of trailblazing sales reps, and it's a complete mess. So you just have to recognize the difference. Exactly. So if you, if you understand what phase you're in, you say, okay, I'm a marketing guy. In a startup environment where we have some trailblazing sales rep who are making 80% of our sales and they're not following the method, I'm here to support their success because their success keeps us in business. As you get bigger. As you have more repeat situations where you've sold, you can establish a tighter ICP. And then what often happens is you say, we think we've maxed out with this ICP. Maybe we should change our ICP. And oftentimes what will happen is the companies that focus on the small and medium sized businesses want to go up market and then their product market fit may not be so strong as they go to a different ICP. That's an interesting problem. That many companies don't recognize as they do that transmission. They think it's going to work and then they discover it's much harder or more complicated. Big companies tend to go down in the market. They take their big, big company's success and they say, well, we've saturated our Fortune 5,000. Let's see if we can go down the market. And you see that happen. And again, the same problem with product market fit. It doesn't quite, you know, feel right. Selling is more complicated than initially thought. So anyway, I'll stop there.

Thomas Miltschuh: Yes. Yeah, that's really interesting. Yeah, I'm just asking because I've seen really established companies as well who weren't really aware of the ICP. And have already grown, but at some point of time it seems like it's just amazing, you are growing inefficiencies as you are trying to scale. Or assume you're able to scale, but it produces more, more and more myths. That, that, that's some impressions I got from some examples. Looks like you've got a very standardized or a process oriented view and, and Style of work maybe could you please step me through a, a sales or a marketing process in, in your case like a, a current one,

David Kirkdorffer: Okay, sure. So imagine I'm starting with a new client. I might have some familiarity with the market, maybe. Maybe not. But I don't want my assumptions to be the truth. So what often is very valuable and important if I'm able to do it, is to be able to speak with actual customers. What do they like? What do they not like? Why did they decide? I'm trying to learn from the customer's perspective where they're finding impact, where the promise has been made and kept, why they decided to do this, what it took for them to be successful. I'm trying to learn from the customer so I can catch up with maybe the rest of the company who have over a period of months or years gathered in, you know, all the conversations they've had over the water cooler. At the bar in Slack messages, all those types of things. So I need to kind of catch up and the best way to speak to the customer as much as I can quickly. Often I, when I'm brought in, it's with a demand generation kind of focus. They may have a particular motion that they like to run, so sometimes I'm running that motion for them. One of the things that I try to introduce to my clients is trying to be transparent. To answer the questions the buyers typically have. Let me, let me kind of, and this influences the content I want to build for the website, the way in which I discover if we have the content even available. I find that there are four questions the buyers will pretty much ask all the time, even if they don't really ask them. It's what's underneath their thinking. And the first question. Right. So here's the first question they ask: gosh, there's so many technologies out there. Am I looking at the right category of technology to address my situation? There's a lot of technology now and there's a lot of overlap, and so the first thing you might ask is, you know, you're looking at cybersecurity perhaps, right? It's like, do I need this type of category or this kind of category? Do I already get some of what these guys are providing by what I already have? So you're trying to figure out. What category? If you're a marketing leader or a sales leader, there's something like 10,000 marketing solutions out there. It's just mind blowing . It's like, so it's a legitimate question. They all tell us we're gonna get more leads and be more efficient. Yeah. But so which category? Great. Second question we ask is, well within this category, am I looking at the right vendors for me? Is this a contender vendor? So this is where Gartner Magic Quadrants and Forrester Wave reports, if you're in, in technology spaces that they cover that way, can be very helpful to a buyer, very helpful, because they identify the characteristics of a category. They say This is what it is, this is what it's not. If you're looking for these things that's in a different category over here, so forth. And then here are some of the players who are in this category, and they of course all say . Just because a company is at the top corner in Allo Report doesn't mean that they are the right company for you. Which brings us to the third question, by the way. I should say oftentimes when we're shopping for something, we bounce around between question one and question two as we learn about a company. Oh, I didn't know that that category even exists. Who else is in that category? So we kind of play a little, you know, kind of in our research we go through back and forth. Right. The third we ask is, gosh, okay, would I, the buyer be successful implementing this technology, their systems, their processes, their workflows, their integrations that are required with my systems, my people, my workflows, my integrations, what I've got going, right? So can I take this and integrate it well with mine? Would I be successful? Because I don't wanna buy something that's too big. And, and we'll come back to this point because it's rather important. And then the fourth question we ask is, is it worth it? , is it going to be worth the upheaval of changing processes depending on, you know, taking something out, putting something in. Maybe that's the kind of purchase or blending or, you know, training our people onboarding that, the whole onboarding, getting going. And maintenance and then the initial cost. Is it gonna, are we gonna get an economic benefit? Can we measure it? How is it measured? How much will we get? When could we expect it? All kinds of financial types of value type of stuff. A little bit. So you say, okay, David, that makes sense. This is all very obvious. So how does this change your marketing? Well, if these are the questions that people are asking as they look at my website, I need to make it easy for them to find the answers to those questions because I, I know that…

Thomas Miltschuh: Yeah, that's right.

David Kirkdorffer: …of the relationship I have with all of my prospects happens before they reveal themselves to me. I don't know who they are. They've come to my websites using a browser that doesn't allow cookies, so they're just another web hit that came. But they're looking at my website trying to get answers to these questions, so I want to make sure that I'm presenting information. I. My third question, the buyer says, would I be successful implementing this, onboarding it, using it, integrating it, getting going? Right. Okay. A lot of the answers to that question is often put inside of what we call sales enablement and is given to the prospect by a sales rep as they are part of the buying process, which is fine, except. A lot of buyers want that information before they even reveal themselves. So there's a gap. I have it available, the sales rep is ready to give it to you as soon as you register for a, a white paper and, and da da da da, and go into a sales opportunity, right? And I'm saying, let's take that information and expose it on the website in a way that's easy to find and easy to access.

Thomas Miltschuh: Mm-hmm.

David Kirkdorffer: So that we're helping answer the question. Should we have pricing on our website becomes a question. Interesting. A lot of, a lot of energy goes into how people feel about that. I would argue that you should show pricing, or at least the dimensions of how pricing is calculated. We do pricing based on the volume of data that passes through our thing. Broadly speaking, most of our customers pay between this much and this much. I haven't nailed down something, but I've given an indication. Perhaps that could be a way to square the circle if you don't want to give away pricing because you're afraid of your competitors or underselling or something. But if giving some kind of indication is, it is going to be helpful. I'll go one step further.

Thomas Miltschuh: Oh.

David Kirkdorffer: The quality of the experience that a prospect has as they are learning about you is a strategic differentiator among your competitors and yourself. So if I'm a prospect and I come to your website and it's really hard to get the information I want to answer my four questions or any other questions I might have, and I go to one of your competitors in the same category on the magic quadrant maybe, and all of a sudden I can find the answers and it's much easier.

Thomas Miltschuh: Yeah.

David Kirkdorffer: I'm leaning towards the other company that's made it easy for me. Now their product could be really bad. It may not work nearly as well. It might cost three times as much money and I get less value, but I don't know that yet. I'm just,

Thomas Miltschuh: Yeah. 

David Kirkdorffer: That's it. So,

Thomas Miltschuh: available?

David Kirkdorffer: yes. Right. 

Thomas Miltschuh: I do the same way. 

David Kirkdorffer: we're, we're in a hurry. We don't wanna waste too much time. We're impatient. We could ask ourselves, why is all that happening in our world? That's great . For a different podcast, . But the quality of the experience that people have with your information, with your promotion, with your, it's, it's kind of the brand. We used to use the term brand. I'm trying to narrow it down into this notion of learning about me, learning about this vendor, learning about their solution. If this experience is easy, fun, even. Fulfilling. I get what I need. In that respect, then that is a strategic differentiator. So if two of your competitors give pricing and you don't, you are at a disadvantage, it seems to me. So

Thomas Miltschuh: Yeah. Totally understandable. Yeah, I. Yes, it's hard to find out the right way. Yeah. It can really take some time. If you see it as if you see a good example it will be like it. That's a logical course. Makes sense. You should do it like that.

David Kirkdorffer: This is it. These four are very interesting because then I can do an information audit of the website, for example. 'cause all of my serious prospects are going to come to my website. So I might classify it. The information that's available kind of helps answer question one, answer question two, answer question three, and I, broadly speaking, try to categorize the content that I have, and I often discover that we don't have a lot of information on the website about question three. So I try to expose what might already exist. You've already got it. Maybe there's a way to, to have something in the, in, in one of the menus or on the homepage that says, here's what it takes to, you know, to succeed or something. 

Thomas Miltschuh: Yeah. Cool. I think this is already great advice. I'm already very thankful to have you here as my partner. Maybe if you switch a little bit when you're going towards the end Is there something you would like to highlight and, and mention that it has not worked recently in a specific case?

David Kirkdorffer: Yes. He says, careful carefully. Something I tried that didn't work.

Thomas Miltschuh: Yeah. Something you would, yeah. And you, you would like

David Kirkdorffer: It's always going to be harder to get anyone's attention. I. If you haven't got some kind of differentiation that you can share, and then explain why the differentiation is helpful to the prospect. So a lot of us work with products that don't have adequate differentiation, or the differentiation isn't being articulated in a clear manner. So what hasn't worked is when I . When I'm in a situation where I'm using language that is a bit generic to the category where it sounds a lot like everyone else, so I'm keeping up with the Joneses, but the, as the expression goes in English, keeping up with the Joneses, right? But the Joneses aren't doing very well , so I'm keeping up with not doing well, which isn't a good place. So what's not working is when I'm doing any kind of activity that's paid for where I'm not able to show . How the differentiation brings impact and the impact is, is the promise of what we're, what you would get if you were to be our customer a little bit. So it's hard.

Thomas Miltschuh: Yeah. Right. Maybe, maybe especially hard in rising markets when there's something new, a new niche coming up, and maybe you are one of the first.

David Kirkdorffer: So interesting. That's a really great call. So our marketing needs to acknowledge many different contexts that we exist in. So if we are an unknown brand with an emerging category, an emerging classification of something that's done. That hasn't been done before and isn't being, hasn't, isn't understood. We have an awful lot of education to do and it's an opportunity through being educational, informational, inspirational, , right, to help evangelize the category. With a very tight ICP because we can't boil the ocean 'cause we obviously don't have a lot of money and we never know if we're going to get another funding round in today's climate. So in that context, you have to educate a lot. If you are a well-known brand marketing and emerging category, it's different. People know who you are, but they didn't know you were in this category. So that's a different context. If you are an unknown brand, trying to break into a very well established category, again, that's a different problem. Everyone knows what the category is, but we've just never heard of you, and so you end up needing to…

Thomas Miltschuh: Right.

David Kirkdorffer: …answer all the four questions, but maybe the question about, well, are you a contender? Why are you a contender? I mean, I know all about relational databases, but I've never heard of your company before. Why are, why would you maybe be a good one?  Or should I just go with one of the, the, the relational database vendors I've heard from a thousand times before. So that's, each of those different contexts, shapes the communication challenge we have. And as a sales rep, we all know this as well because let's link it to sales a little bit. If everyone's heard of my brand and you are already a customer of my brand, you might See an email from me, the company and go like, okay, what's this? I'm already a customer of theirs. What's that about? Even though you're selling a different line or a different, different from a different business unit or a different kind of technology and so forth. These contexts are important. And, and as I say, shape the information we want to communicate because you have a different question as a buyer about, well, you know, is this a fit? And so back to what didn't work. What doesn't work is not having a tight ICP. If I, if I don't have a tight ICP, then I, then it's, it's hard to know who I'm trying to really make happy. It's, I, I don't know if I could, I, if I had a tight ICP, perhaps my examples could be more relevant to them. If I have case studies to share I could

Thomas Miltschuh: Hmm. Yeah. Yeah. It's important to start with it.

David Kirkdorffer: That, that exactly, I've really come to, in recent years, how do I put this? I've worked in many startups and not all of them succeed, unfortunately. And part of the problem is not knowing who your I C P really is and not having a certain kind of fit. So your idea is a good fit. Your engineering is working great. You've got an engineering fit, but your messaging is wrong 'cause you think you've got certain benefits, but they're not the right benefits. And your message around value and the impact…

Thomas Miltschuh: Right. 

David Kirkdorffer: …and the impact being made isn't coming through. So to me, ideal customer profile and product market fit go together very, very very closely. And anytime you change your ICP, you are by definition . Changing your product market fit and sometimes, and I've, I've come to really appreciate how valuable that is. It sounds obvious, but we change our ICP all the time.

Thomas Miltschuh: Yeah. It sounds obvious. Yeah, but it looks like it's not obvious for really a lot of companies, a lot of people. So it feels like we could do or, or should do an next podcast episode in future as well. Because there, there's so many nice insights questions. If you, or, or, or maybe you could have so much experience and in so many different com companies obviously maybe you could highlight three lessons you learned and you would like to share with the audience. I think a few are, are already mentioned or maybe they're already mentioned, but maybe just a summary or something

David Kirkdorffer: You are joining a company. As an individual person, you like to know that you're gonna make an impact. And the more senior you are in an organization, of course, the more potential you have to make a greater impact overall. Generally not, which is not to say that other people, everyone, everyone's work is important, but if you join a company that doesn't have product market fit, It is, it's like rowing against the tide. It's like running uphill . So know what you're getting involved with. A, if you're joining a startup that doesn't have pro product market fit, I'm, I'm gonna make a number 80 20 rule. 80% of startups fail.

Thomas Miltschuh: Mm-hmm.

David Kirkdorffer: Because they maybe don't establish product market fit because they run out of money before they can establish it. Many, many, many reasons, right? And let's not go into them. But if you're, if you're currently listening to this and you're, you're thinking about your next job either joining another organization for one reason or another to investigate product, market fit, investigate the four, four key ways that a product works. Market fit is measured by the idea fit by the engineering fit. It works. The idea's a good idea. The engineering, it actually delivers what it's supposed to deliver, that the messaging is clear and understood, and that the value impact is present, is really there. It's tough when you're interviewing to do that. So one thing I've learned is unfortunately, I've joined companies where it's . Product market fit wasn't established. The exact same work done at another company where it is established and all of a sudden it's like running downhill . It's like, you know, it's, it's like rowing the boat and you are going with the tide. Everything's faster, everything's more fun, it's less energy. It's much easier. So product market fit is really, it's, it's just one key thing. don't have to, I can, I can.

Thomas Miltschuh: Awesome advice. I think the audience, or, or many listeners

David Kirkdorffer: we all recognize it after the fact. So the question becomes how do we measure it before we're in, can we speak to customers? What, but if we're, if we know we're looking for this, then maybe we can be, we can become inspired and, and find ways to, to kind of poke at it, ask about it in the interview process and try and get confirmation. How do that, how does the company establish product market fit? How have you measured it? Hey, I'm just curious, do you have product market fit? Oh, yes, we have product market fit. Oh, good. Huh. Great. How are you establishing that? How have you measured that? 

Thomas Miltschuh: Yeah. Yeah. I, I think you can really be confident in, in calls like that, or, or, yeah, evaluating the current situation of a company, especially when it comes to, 

David Kirkdorffer: It's, it, well, you know, we sometimes you, you, there's, there's a lot goes on. The other thing I'd, I'd also recommend, or or is we're right now at a very major inflection point in the tech business as AI comes on and in some ways takes the last 30 years of technology companies and throws the cards in the air, everything's going to be different. Everything's gonna be, and, and we don't know quite exactly how it's going to be different. And so it's a very interesting time as AI becomes applied to every piece of technology in different ways. Sometimes to help make it, sometimes to help explain it, sometimes to help provide support, sometimes in lots of different ways. That's gonna change how . Companies buy technology, what's even offered? So AI is disruptive in the same way as the internet was disruptive. You know, the internet is like the wiring…

Thomas Miltschuh: Right. 

David Kirkdorffer: …house and AI is like the light. 

Thomas Miltschuh: That's right. Yeah. So many frequent changes. I'm wondering how, what, what we are gonna in one year, in maybe the exact same podcast, probably.

David Kirkdorffer: Well, know, these, these are challenges that are eternal. How do we appeal to our customers? How do we provide impact, show impact? These are eternal. The context changes. People working from home make certain things easier and certain things harder, and that is different, we're in a different context, so we'll have a different context. We'll have, you know, things going on. There'll always be something to talk about. We're people, after all.

Thomas Miltschuh: Yeah. Yeah. Right. I think this is the perfect sentence to finalize the podcast. We are all people by the way quoting David Kirkdorffer. So I. I think it, it, it was fun talking to you. Let's come to the end of this one. Hope we are gonna talk again in the future. So, alright, everyone, that brings us to the end of the episode of Sprick Revenue. I want to thank our guest, David Kirkdorffer for joining us today, sharing such valuable insights. A huge shout out to all of our listeners. Your support means to work for us. Remember to check out our website at speakerrevenue.com for a full transcript or additional resources. And if you enjoyed the show, please leave us a review on Apple Podcasts or wherever you go for your listening needs. It really helps to get the word out. Also, follow us on LinkedIn and Instagram or YouTube, so we'll be back soon with another great guest. Until then, stay curious and keep listening.​

Copyrighted © 2022-23 Jaxx Technologies, Inc.

Copyrighted © 2022-23 Jaxx Technologies, Inc.