I was recently speaking with a colleague at Forrester who observed that marketers in 2021 are “going back to basics.” As businesses are semi-emerging from the survival mode that 2020 forced upon us, I resonate with the concept of taking a pause and making sure the infrastructure of your target market, campaigns, and KPIs are in place before scaling new efforts.
PFL has spent the last several months doing just that. While 2020 reinforced our focus on the correct ideal client profile (ICP), we identified a gap in knowing who our target buyer is within those orgs, as well as how to engage her and her buying group with account-based strategies.
I cannot tell you how many customer interviews, Gong calls, LinkedIn profiles, and other data points we waded through to draft our deal story, but it was worth it. Ultimately, we emerged with a blueprint our sales team could use to bring the right champion to the table and influence her key stakeholders. Better yet, PFL president Nick Runyon and I recorded our process for B2BMX. Video below!
Questions on how to put a deal blueprint into action at your organization? Message me on Linkedin.
Thanks for reading,
Hi there! It’s been a minute since my last post on here. Actually, it’s been 925,920 minutes and some change, and those minutes have been frankly exhausting.
In previous posts, I’ve shared my methodologies for annual and quarterly goal setting. In short, I love entering a new year with a one-page list of personal and professional goals, which I then revisit monthly and weekly. Needless to say, my 2020 list of goals went out the window the day after my company went remote on March 14. I grew in a lot of ways last year - I won a notable local technology award, my husband and I made huge improvements to our home (and got a dog!), and my team managed to generate record numbers from our marketing campaigns in the middle of a pandemic. But I, like many others, focused heavily on self-care and survival in 2020, and my annual goals were revised to reflect that.
In 2021, my business partner, Muhammad Yasin, and I have found a renewed energy and focus around our podcast, Agile Marketing. We share a mission to help marketers get shit done, and the platform provided by a podcast allows us to connect with more like-minded professionals than our Indy network. We recently launched season three of the pod, starting with a few episodes where Muhammad and I unpack questions sourced from our Slack community and LinkedIn. I wanted to share these episodes here along with ways to engage with our content in the future:
Like what you’re hearing? The best way to boost visibility around our podcast is by subscribing and leaving a review. We’d be super grateful if you’d hit that subscribe button and promise to make it worth your time.
As always, thanks for reading. Here’s a pic of our new dog.
May is Mental Health Awareness Month, but changing the stigma around mental health requires year-round advocacy. That being said, dedicated months (like May) or days (like World Mental Health Awareness Day in October) are an easy way to spur conversation around mental health in environments where there may be silence.
As someone who is vocal about my own struggles with mental health, I was honored to help plan a Mental Health Week at PFL to tie in with the monthly theme. For those inspired to do this at their own offices, you can drive impactful awareness around mental health without much overhead or effort. All of our activities required less than an hour of planning, occurred during our lunch hour, and cost PFL around $300 total.
Each day centered around one of 6 key elements for personal mental wellness. Below are simple ideas you can put into practice at work today, organized into five of those themes (the sixth is quality sleep, which is arguably the most important element). I’ve bolded the activities we planned for PFL’s Mental Health Week, although many of the ideas are existing initiatives.
Meaning and Purpose
What does your workplace do to promote mental health? Would love to generate more ideas in the comments.
From a young age, we’ve been bombarded with the philosophy that, “if you love what you do, you won’t work a day in your life.” (Barf.) If you work in the tech industry, it may feel like the culture at your business creates an extremely blurry line between work and life. More and more tech companies are creating organizational norms like self-managed PTO, catered meals, and company-sponsored outings. All of these initiatives are created with the goal of people loving their time at work.
But what if you don’t love going to work? Worse yet, what if you don’t love doing ANYTHING? What if you can’t seem to find the drive to even get out of bed, let alone make it to work for that free lunch?
I’ve worked more than six years in technology. It’s the only industry I know, and I love tech in many ways. I love that I live in a city with an intimate, yet growing, startup scene. I love how technology companies harness data (often mined from other softwares) to set and achieve aggressive goals. I love being able to quickly test and evolve new ideas without red tape or bureaucracy.
But working in the startup industry has also led to hundreds of sleepless nights, worrying about how to solve that complex problem that’s holding up productivity. It’s led to panic attacks in the bathroom over missed deadlines, and mornings where I’d rather cancel those coffee plans again than get up and face the world. I know that tech isn’t the only industry that takes a toll on mental health, but for one of the most digitally-mature sectors in our society, we sure do stay pretty quiet about it.
Fellow tech and startup employees: if you’re reading this and struggling with mental health issues, you’re not alone.
In a 2016 survey conducted by Open Sourcing Mental Illness (a group that promotes conversation around mental wellness in tech), 52 percent of respondents stated that they’ve struggled with a mental health disorder in the past. This is twice as high as the national average of one in five people. Seventy-one percent of participants reported that mental health issues have compromised their productivity at work, with depression, anxiety, and ADHD being the most common disorders among respondents.
Yet, when asked if being open about mental health would hurt their career, more than 80 percent of survey takers thought that it might. This. Is. Not. Okay.
Being vulnerable about your mental health proves that you are working toward becoming a more effective person. In fact, I work at a startup that preaches capacity as a key condition of employee engagement. If you are overcapacity or unable to take time for yourself, your productivity and engagement suffers.
Self-care is badass.
In September, I intentionally put my mental health first after suffering a panic attack during a meeting with colleagues. I had been working 60+ hour weeks and neglecting relationships, health, and sleep. Since then, I’ve started regularly seeing a counselor, taking an antidepressant medication, exercising daily, and minimizing work outside of the office.
While I still don’t wake up every day with a smile on my face, some of my best work at my current job has been produced since prioritizing my mental health. I’m more comfortable around my colleagues, I’ve lost weight, and I’ve been drinking less alcohol. I’m more attentive with my husband and honestly, just a better person.
That being said, I know I’m not the only one struggling with mental illness in the technology or startup space. I’ve had countless one-on-one conversations with colleagues and friends who see therapists, take medication, and practice self-care to alleviate the overwhelm caused (or at least inflated) by working in this sector. However, these discussions have always been discreet and often are among people with whom I have a great level of trust. And they always seem to be brushed off by the quip “well, that’s just what you expect when you work at a startup!” There’s a difference between being immersed in the success of a business and achieving hard, meaningful work and being burnt out because you’re over-utilized.
Speak up and get help.
No matter the industry, if you’re struggling with mental illness, there is help available. Here are a few ways to begin exploring options for your health:
As massive as it is now, the tech industry is only going to expand even more in the coming decades. We are the precedent for how mental illness will be perceived in tech.
Thanks for reading,