THE THOUGHTFUL ENTREPRENEUR PODCAST
Mark Osborne is a seasoned expert who has worked with CEOs, founders, and sales leaders in early-stage B2B firms. His focus is on helping these companies build systems for generating revenue.
This includes attracting the right prospects, accelerating deals through the sales pipeline, and activating existing clients for renewals, upsells, referrals, and testimonials.
One of the key points Mark emphasized during our conversation was the importance of understanding the ideal customer and their buying journey.
Mark believes many companies must take the time to truly understand their customers and context, leading to ineffective marketing strategies and wasted ad spending.
Mark suggests a differentiated positioning strategy is crucial for creating awareness and generating demand at the top of the funnel. He advises relying on advertising or content with a clear differentiation from competitors.
Mark's approach to working with clients starts with a diagnostic to identify strengths and weaknesses in their revenue systems. He can create a 90-day plan to accelerate growth by diagnosing the areas of opportunity.
Mark highlighted that his clients often experience a doubling of leads within the first 90 days and offer a 10x ROI guarantee within six months.
Mark emphasized the need to focus on the ideal customer profile and craft messaging that resonates with them rather than trying to be a perfect fit for everyone.
By attracting the right prospects, businesses can move faster through the sales pipeline and achieve more renewals, upsells, and referrals, ultimately dominating the marketplace.
Key Points from the Episode:
- Importance of understanding the ideal customer and their buying journey
- Creating a differentiated positioning strategy
- Challenges of lead generation
- Need for a holistic view of the customer journey
- The changing landscape of B2B marketing accelerated by the pandemic
- Importance of patience and empathy in understanding the customer's experience
- The trend of buyers wanting to distance themselves from vendors
- The importance of focusing on the ideal customer profile and crafting resonating messaging
- Mark's approach to working with clients, including a diagnostic and 90-day plan
About Mark Osborne:
Mark Osborne, recognized as a “Marketing Technology Trailblazer” by AdAge Magazine in 2017, boasts extensive experience crafting Revenue Systems for SaaS, Technology, and B2B Services firms.
Mark's expertise lies in integrating Sales, Marketing, and Customer Success strategies, particularly for organizations navigating complex sales cycles and intricate buying committees to secure substantial contracts.
A seasoned communicator and team leader, Mark excels in researching markets, competitive positioning, and executing creative Go-To-Market strategies. His proficiency extends to Demand Generation, Lead Generation, and Revenue Growth through Account-Based Marketing, Sales, and Customer Advocacy programs.
Mark's accessible insights cater to C-Suite, Marketing, and Sales Leaders adapting to the evolving B2B landscape. Beyond his professional pursuits, he enjoys sport fishing, indulging in Tiki drinks, and catching the latest movies with his wife.
About Modern Revenue Strategies:
Modern Revenue Strategies offers CEOs and Sales Leaders of early-stage SaaS, Tech, and B2B Services firms a sanity-saving approach to business growth. Unlike traditional tactics and fleeting growth hacks, the focus is on proven marketing strategy, delivering predictable growth and often doubling revenue and pipeline within three months.
The system emphasizes scalable processes over ad spending and growth-chasing, with many clients experiencing a remarkable 10X Return on Investment.
The B2B Growth Systems provided by Modern Revenue Strategies liberate businesses from financial uncertainties and campaign prioritization struggles, allowing leaders to concentrate on customer service and product development.
Their #1 Best Selling B2B Marketing Book on Amazon unveils a Proven 5-step Growth Framework, addressing key aspects like attracting the right prospects, accelerating deal pipelines, and activating renewals, upsells, and referrals.
Offering a cost-effective alternative to hiring a full-time marketing executive, Modern Revenue Strategies is designed to guide companies through the $1M to $20M ARR growth phase, delivering top-notch solutions for marketing leadership and propelling them to the next stage of success.
12:40 – “ What happens is when you don't have systems in place to attract the right prospects and then work them through the process, you wind up with sort of the leftovers in the marketplace.”
14:20 – “The default of the lazy marketer or the lazy PR person is just spray and pray.”
16:26 – “You're better than your competitors yet just talk about why your way is the right way to solve it, and move them through that stage of the informational journey.”
Links Mentioned in this Episode:
Want to learn more? Check out Modern Revenue Strategies website at
Check out Modern Revenue Strategies on LinkedIn at
Check out Modern Revenue Strategies on Facebook at
Check out Mark Osborne on LinkedIn at
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Josh (00:00:05) - Hey there, thoughtful listener. Would you like consistent and predictable sales activity with no spam and no ads? I'll teach you step by step how to do this, particularly if you're an agency owner, consultant, coach, or B2B service provider. What I teach has worked for me for more than 15 years and has helped me create more than $10 million in revenue. Just head to up my influence and watch my free class on how to create endless high ticket sales appointments. You can even chat with me live and I'll see and reply to your messages. Also, don't forget the thoughtful entrepreneur is always looking for guests. Go to up my influence and click on podcast. We'd love to have you. With us right now. Mark Osborne. Mark, you are the founder of Modern Revenue Strategies. You're found on the web at Modern Revenue Strategies. Mark, it's great to have you.
Mark (00:01:09) - It's a pleasure to be here. Josh, thanks so much for having me.
Josh (00:01:12) - Absolutely. You're also the author of the book are Your Leads Killing Your Business? We're going to talk about that.
Josh (00:01:19) - So Mark, I'll, I'll just kind of have you share just a bit about your superpowers, the work that you do and impact that you have in the world today.
Mark (00:01:28) - Absolutely. So I work with CEOs, founders and even sales leaders, typically at early stage B2B firms. So in the SaaS, B2B services technology companies, and really where I add the most value and have the most expertise is companies that are dealing with really long sales cycles and complex buying committees, lots of different influencers on that by for large average contract value. And I really work to help them build systems for generating revenue. And those systems include attracting the right prospects. So they're really bringing the right people into the orbit, accelerating those deals through their sales pipeline so that they can close more deals faster without having to lower price, and then activating their existing clients for more renewals, upsells, referrals and testimonials.
Josh (00:02:18) - Yeah. So, Mark, I suspect that you've got some strong opinions about where a lot of B2B marketing is today. Either this is because, you know, maybe this is an SMB founder, maybe there are only a year or two into this.
Josh (00:02:33) - And, you know, there's a lot of competing ideas on what that should look like. But I think you and I both agree that there are some foundational things that if you don't have these things in place, you're just asking for a world of, I won't say hurt, but I mean, it's just, you know, you end up really giving a subpar experience to potential customers and or existing customers, and you end up losing a lot of revenue. Let me just kind of hand the stage over to you and give your mini Ted talk here, if you will.
Mark (00:03:06) - Sure. Yeah. And you're right, Josh, it's funny. You know, I've been in this space for more than 20 years, but the pandemic, sort of lockdowns and the B2B space, they I think it's McKinsey said that it accelerated trends by more than ten years in less than ten months. So some things that were happening really accelerated. And a lot of businesses sort of put things on pause, but then went back to what they had always been doing, and they're finding that it just isn't working at all.
Mark (00:03:34) - And so actually, the whole premise of the book is on really sort of creating a framework for real success in approaching the B2B landscape. And like all marketing, marketing begins with the market. So what we see is a big myth that a lot of companies have is they don't really take the time to understand their ideal customer and not just, well, who are their customers, but who's their ideal customer? Who are the ones that buy into their product and buying vision? Where the market is heading, who you want to be building solutions for, and when you start to isolate on that tier one ideal customer, and then go layer deeper and think about what's the persona or avatar of those decision makers, the champions, the influencers against that decision? How do they go about becoming aware of problems that they have? What are the information sources that they seek for evaluating different options? And then how do you sort of influence that buying decision? That's what really sort of leads to really innovative solutions that allows you to grow your marketplace without just spending more money on ads, and oftentimes ads that don't work if you haven't taken the time to understand the customer and their context and why, they are sort of evaluating different solutions and what they're looking for in those solutions, you oftentimes will just sort of throw money after money when it comes to buying ads, but there's oftentimes much more efficient and effective ways to do that.
Mark (00:05:02) - When you take the time to use some systems to really understand those customers.
Josh (00:05:08) - So, Mark, let's talk maybe a little bit about the very, very top of the funnel. Right. And so, you know, some people would kind of put that under the lead gen bucket, which I don't really like that term for a number of reasons. I think it just, you know, I think if we're empathic to where consumers brains are and everyone's a consumer today. You know, I think that there's been historically some systems that used to work that maybe don't work by default the way that they used to. Would you mind maybe just kind of addressing that very, very top initial awareness of like what you see working well, and what would you advise to be a little skeptical of if some gurus telling you to do this, if you just want to drum up more business? Sure. I see you smiling, by the way, as I'm talking.
Mark (00:05:55) - That's right, that's right.
Josh (00:05:56) - Well, can I just tell you like.
Josh (00:05:58) - Some of my favorite conversations on this podcast are like, true, like, you know, B2B leaders, marketing leaders who get it like they're and they've been there, done that. They're adults. They're not the, you know, the flashy gurus that are just trying to enrich themselves. But when someone truly understands trends in a very, very honest like these are my some of my favorite because this is where I really geek out on. So I just wanted Mark. I just that's a compliment. I just want to say thank you so much and just your reactions like, oh yeah, do we need to grab a drink together and like talk about the industry?
Mark (00:06:32) - That's right. Well, and that's also why we put a lot of focus on building systems because, you know, gurus will sort of keep you dependent on them for that next morsel or that next silver bullet idea, that next algorithm they're going to game or whatever it might be, the next growth hack. And oftentimes even agencies don't really take that strategic systems approach.
Mark (00:06:54) - They just say buy more ads. And so we really sort of take more ownership of our clients success by helping them build and install systems in their business that can take them to that next level. But you talked about the very top of the funnel. One of the things that we see as a real challenge is that many companies will sort of either rely on advertising, or it might be content or whatever their go to market strategy is to sort of say, like we exist, but they haven't taken the time to understand a really differentiated positioning strategy. And it's with that differentiated positioning strategy that says we are different from our competitors in these meaningful ways. And here are the reasons to believe that those ways matter. And they will sort of change the outcomes that you'll get from choosing us as a partner, as opposed to choosing some other provider. When you really understand that through the lens of your customer and the context that they're living in, then you're creating awareness while generating demand. And that's what we see is the sort of most powerful way to generate leads at the top of the funnel in a way that's really efficient and effective instead of just, you know, kind of taking a shotgun blast approach.
Mark (00:08:09) - And of course, building in systems to measure the response rates and to measure the effectiveness of different channels and to maximize different channels, all of that's important. And all of those sort of mechanisms have to be in place, too. But no amount of growth hacks or mechanisms or gaming and algorithm is going to make a difference if you're not telling the right story. That's absolutely.
Josh (00:08:32) - Correct. Yeah.
Mark (00:08:32) - Wait, a line on that story is really thinking through from the lens of your customer how to create a differentiated positioning strategy.
Josh (00:08:40) - Yeah. You know, I love this idea of having patience and empathy for what's going on in our clients lives and what is their experience right now. They might be if they're shopping around for something right now, they are likely getting bombarded with ads and, you know, all sorts of things. If they're a decision maker within a particular. You know, I was just talking with someone who's an administrator with a health care system. She oversees over 20,000 employees. And she said, you would not believe the crappy stuff that these salespeople do to me, where they'll just put events somehow they will find my calendar, just put events on my calendar without my permission.
Josh (00:09:17) - It's so maddening that I now am just so unguarded, and I keep myself so protected. And I feel badly about that. But it just, you know, it's kind of this idea that that marketers ruin everything. Um, so again, I think it's very smart, like what you're talking about is, you know, having this holistic view of the customer journey. Right. Any other tips on that concept about, you know, maybe just the where the general environment is right now?
Mark (00:09:45) - Yeah. So that's one of those big trends that the Covid lockdowns accelerated. Was buyers of B2B services really wanting to distance themselves more and more from the vendors or providers of those services. In fact, the statistic I heard the other day is 70% of the buyer's journey is now completed before a buyer will even contact a provider in the space. Whereas it used to be once upon a time, just even a few years ago, when a buyer was looking to evaluate something, they'd call the top three providers, talk to them about what they were looking for, or look to them for suggestions on what they should evaluate.
Mark (00:10:22) - And so that makes it all the more important that you use just what you said, that empathy to understand what is the context that is sending them to market, what is their business context? And when you look at your ideal customer profile and that tier one customer that really represents 80% of your revenues, what is the context that is similar among all of those different customers that in what sent them to market and what they were looking for for solutions, so that you can then craft messaging that really brings that out so that you're not trying to be a perfect fit for everyone. And in the category, you're trying to be a perfect fit for your tier one customers, those customers that really get your approach and why your difference is meaningful and valuable. And by putting that into the marketplace, that's what really sort of attracts those right prospects for you so that you get the right leads, then move faster through the sales pipeline and then do more renewals, upsells and referrals, which is how you really dominate a marketplace.
Josh (00:11:23) - Yeah. So, Mark, how do you work with your clients? Like what does that look like?
Mark (00:11:28) - Yeah. So, you know, the first thing that we do is kind of a diagnostic. And we I talked earlier about these sort of three revenue systems of attracting the right prospects, accelerating them through the sales pipeline or sort of activating existing clients for renewals, upsells and referrals. And having worked with hundreds of brands and advertisers over the years, we have some benchmarks that we use to sort of diagnose where are your strengths, where are your weaknesses, so that we can see where is your biggest opportunity for growth in the next 90 days? And through diagnosing where you are today, we can then identify where those gaps are and then come up with that initial 90 day plan that's going to really accelerate growth. Oftentimes, we see our clients experience double their leads within those first 90 days, and we actually offer our ten x ROI B2B growth guarantee, where our clients experience ten x return on their investment with us within six months or less.
Mark (00:12:25) - And so it's by diagnosing that first area of opportunity and then diving in there, that we can really make that immediate impact for our clients.
Josh (00:12:34) - Now your book is called Are Your Leads Killing Your Business? Do you mind describing what you mean by how your leads could be killing your business?
Mark (00:12:42) - That's right. So there's so much of a focus on quantity of leads that a lot of customers are really sort of B2B providers get sort of swamped in quantity and they aren't focused on the right quality. And what happens is when you don't have systems in place to attract the right prospects and then work them through the process, you wind up with sort of the leftovers in the marketplace. Well, those leftovers are people that are never really convinced that your approach is right. So they ask you to customize your solution for them. They don't really understand the value you provide, so they want lower pricing than everyone else. And in the end, they ultimately churn out of your business and don't make renewals, upsells, and referrals.
Mark (00:13:23) - Those types of customers create a death spiral for your business and in fact, lead to distracting you from building the products that the rest of the market wants. And when you're not building those products, well, then you're getting further and further behind your competitors. And your competitors that are winning the market are those that are using data and technology to build the systems that attract the right prospects, move them through the sales pipeline, and then really activate them for renewals, upsells and referrals. Without that, we've really seen a number of businesses get into that death spiral where they chase the quantity, they miss the quality. That's hidden within that because they're chasing that quantity. And so then they don't wind up really closing the deals that leads to the market domination.
Josh (00:14:07) - Yeah. You know, that same principle I think is applicable in a lot of different areas. You know, my background is a media consultant PR that was one of the very first things that clients would come in and say, okay, so we're going to pitch to a thousand different producers.
Josh (00:14:20) - I'm like, nope, we're going to spend way more time with far fewer people, and we're we're going to really focus on human connection and relationship in this case, because guess what? The default of the lazy marketer or the lazy PR person is just spray and pray. And I think that we've all received what clearly is just some spray and pray campaign. How much do you feel like that other person cares about you, or does it really just feel like it's all about them? And I think all of us could answer that question is we don't feel very cared for. We feel like, okay, great. I get that you're just trying to pitch your thing or sell your thing, and that's not real attractive, by the way.
Mark (00:15:07) - That's right. Well, you know, the old phrase is people do business with people they know, like and trust. And even in the B2B space, although it's a business decision, it's a human on the other end of that phone making a business decision. And so they, of course will use logic and they'll use reasoning to make those decisions.
Mark (00:15:27) - And they're not going to do anything that doesn't make sense from that perspective. However, they want to do business with other humans that they know, like and trust. So building that rapport is really important.
Josh (00:15:36) - Yeah. And talk about the role of content. Like how do you see that fitting in whether it's demand gen or, you know, again, just being empathic throughout the customer journey, I suspect that there are things that many of us may not be doing that might be some low hanging fruit here.
Mark (00:15:54) - Yeah. So one of the main things is really understood. The job to be done by each piece of content. And so if you think through that customer journey and what we guide our clients to do, and again, as part of a system is we really map out in both a visual and descriptive way, what is what are the informational needs at each stage. So being aware that this is a problem that they could tackle, deciding this is a prioritized problem, we should tackle evaluating well what are the different ways to tackle it.
Mark (00:16:26) - And then what are the different vendors that work within those different ways. You never want to sort of jump ahead of the process. And oftentimes what we see companies do with their content is they try to answer every question in one piece of content, knowing that it's a three month long decision cycle for our average customer to decide to solve this problem, evaluate different ways of solving it, evaluate different vendors that do it in those different ways. Focus on just that next gate that they have to get to. They've got to decide to solve this problem. So focus on the ROI of solving the problem, not different ways to solve it, not different vendors that are available, but the importance of solving the problem and how it's going to make an impact to their business once they've moved through that stage. Now advocate for the three different ways to solve it. Here's why this is the right way to solve it. Don't talk about AI. You're better than your competitors yet just talk about why your way is the right way to solve it, and move them through that stage of the informational journey.
Mark (00:17:25) - And then they'll build trust and familiarity with you along the way and understand that you're really sort of advocating for their best outcomes by, again, focusing on what they need at that stage of the journey, not what you want to do, which ultimately what you want to do is get them to buy from you. But jumping ahead those steps isn't doing anyone any good.
Josh (00:17:45) - Yeah. So mark your website. Let me I understand like you're going to hook people up here. That's right. And this is nice of you by the way. So I think you were going to share your book or you're going to share some resources here. Yeah.
Mark (00:17:59) - For the first 50 listeners to your podcast that go to Modern Revenue strategies.com/free download all one word no caps, nothing to worry about. They're pretty easy to find. They'll get a free download of the book. And with that will come templates, calculators, all the materials to build these systems in your own business so that you can start to build these attraction acceleration and activation systems for revenues.
Mark (00:18:26) - And with that I'll actually send hours of free training. So I've done videos on how to build this differentiated positioning strategy that creates demand while generating awareness, how to build these systems that bring together marketing, sales and customer success so that you're aligned on shared KPIs and really sort of growing the business overall to create a lot of that harmony in the business. All of that training comes free with it.
Josh (00:18:51) - Yeah. Again, the URL, I had just pulled it up here. Oh gosh, now I lost it. What what was the URL? One more time. So sorry. Am I lost my tab.
Mark (00:19:00) - Modern Revenue strategies.com/free download.
Josh (00:19:06) - Got it, got it, got it, got it. Awesome. Well, Mark Osborne again, you're the founder of Modern Revenue Strategies. Again, that website modern revenue strategies.com/free download. Grab the book for free. Are your leads killing your business. And Mark listen it's been a great conversation. Thank you so much for joining us.
Mark (00:19:24) - Thank you Josh, it's been a real pleasure.
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