Samantha Stone, author of Unleash Possible, is a revenue catalyst who helps unleash the possible in organizations that have complex selling processes. She’s a fast-growth, B2B marketing junkie, speaker, consultant and persona coach who has also managed to find time to raise four boys with her husband, David.
Throughout her career she has launched go-to-market initiatives and led marketing strategies for award-winning, high-growth companies including Netezza, SAP, Ascential Software and Powersoft. In 2012 she founded The Marketing Advisory Network to help savvy business leaders unleash the possible within their enterprises. This year she was nominated one of our 2017 People to Watch.
- How would you best describe what you do?
Put simply, my job is to help organizations that sell high consideration products and services to grow. Together with clients, I’ve supported hundreds of millions in revenue generation.
The specific work comes in many forms – from strategic marketing plans, to content strategy and research of all kinds. I support organizations that are preparing for a new product introduction, but also mature businesses that are looking for ways to build a durable bridge between sales and marketing aligned around growth.
I started my career as a sales person. Although it was many years ago, that frame of reference makes me very attuned to both the perspective of buyers, and also sales teams. I bring that understanding to the discipline of marketing.
I’m also insatiably curious. My quest for understanding helps me break through organizational blocks and misperceptions about buyers, to uncover insight that is actionable.
- What is the premise of Unleash Possible? What inspired you to write the book?
Unleash Possible is a practical how to guide for building a marketing plan that measures the right things, deeply understands buyers, and leverages the most effective mix of marketing tactics. While it has been written with how-to guidance for marketers, it’s an important read for any business leader or sales person who wants to the most impact from their marketing efforts.
Each chapter tackles a different aspect of marketing with lessons learned, case study examples, and how-to tips.
I was inspired to write “Unleash Possible” as my consulting practice grew. Meeting after meeting, I found clients struggling with similar challenges. “Unleash Possible” was my way of addressing these common challenges for more businesses than I could serve from a consulting basis alone.
The feedback from readers has been exactly what I hoped. They view the book as a guidebook for aligning the entire organization around growth. In fact, I was honored just last week when LinkedIn included “Unleash Possible” on its must-read marketing book list.
- How would you best describe what MAN does?
The Marketing Advisory Network was founded to help unleash new possibilities for organizations that have complex sales processes.
This past year we’re seeing a growth in account based marketing pilots and technology selection projects, but we continue to serve five clients in many ways:
- Workshops and Assessments – Strategic planning, new market segmentation, message and positioning alignment
- Demand Generation Program Development
- Sales and Marketing Alignment
- Market Research
- Marketing and Content Strategy
- What do you find are some of the biggest mistakes your clients have made, prior to meeting/hiring you?
I’m so glad you asked because the most impactful mistake businesses make is totally avoidable. Organizations are too quick to succumb to “internal think”. For example, we make decisions not on what we’ve learned talking to buyers, but by what our sales team says buyers want. Or we measure what’s easy to track versus what’s really impacting the business.
The biggest value I bring clients is an outside perspective.
- With 20 years of experience in the industry, what’s the best career or industry advice you’ve been given? And from whom?
I’ve been fortunate to collaborate with many smart, curious, talented business leaders during my professional career. Along the way I received lots of great advice.
One piece of advice was particularly impactful. It came from an internal survey of my direct reports while I was working for a software company many years ago. In the report one of my employees said “I should trust the team more.” At first I was shocked, because I had tremendous respect and trust for my team mates. Once the surprise wore off, I dug deeper, and realized that while I trusted the team, I didn’t show it enough. I edited almost every piece of content before it went out. I approved every budget dollar being spent. I attended far too many meetings. While my intentions were to be supportive, I realized that if I was going to scale, I needed to let go and trust the people around me to do their job. It was a big learning moment for me as a type A personality! I’ve never regretted acting on that feedback.
- As a corollary, what’s some business advice you’d like to impart?
Half the battle of making progress is believing you can. Far too many meetings are focused around why we can’t do something. By changing our reference from “why not”, to “how”, we have the opportunity to unlock incredible possibilities. But that doesn’t mean we should work in a vacuum. Healthy organizations constantly question assumptions and work hard to keep a pulse of their audience –not just in relation to their company, but in the full context of those they serve.