Our Guest: John Stefek
Company: Enterprise Bank and Trust
Allan Greer: Martha, if you were a CMO with B2C experience brought into a B2B focused organization. What similarities can you leverage and what would you have to modify?
Martha France: Oh, Allan, that's a great question. While there are some similarities, there are a lot of differences to be aware of. Our guest, John Stefek shares his approach at Enterprise Bank and Trust. These are lessons he learned that CMOS in either a B2B or B2C environment should be aware of.
Allan: You're exactly right. John also talks about how to get everyone on board with using a CRM and why knocking out a few tactical items can be the ticket to entry for having a great strategic conversation.
Allan: Hello, and welcome to Bank Marketing Today by Vya. I am Allan Greer and together with Martha France, we are interviewing bank marketing leaders about current trends, new marketing technologies, branding and the overall state of the banking industry. We will be joined from time to time by additional Co-hosts and experts.
Martha: In this episode, we spoke to John Stefek, SVP, Director of Marketing at Enterprise Bank and Trust. We had wide ranging discussions on everything from data and analytics, the similarities between surfing and bank marketing, and even how to apply the wisdom from Formula One legend Mario Andretti into marketing. You do not want to miss this conversation. So let's get to it. We hope this episode of bank marketing today helps simplify your marketing tomorrow.
Martha: Hello, I am Martha France and I am joined today by my co host Allan Greer. We are truly excited to be talking with John Stefek SVP, Director of Marketing at Enterprise Bank and Trust. Welcome to the Bank Marketing Today Podcast, John.
John Stefek: Well, thanks for having me.
Martha: To start off, I noticed that you've been with Enterprise Bank and Trust for over a year and prior to that you were with Citi and Wells Fargo. How did you originally get into banking?
John: I was working in sales at monster.com In the late 90s, when monster was a thing and we had blimps and Superbowl commercials and things like that. It was a really exciting place to be, I realized that I enjoyed having the pressure to produce but I wanted to do so as part of a team versus an individual salesperson. So I made the decision to try my hand at marketing, I was hired by the associates which was ultimately acquired by Citi to help transform the mortgage broker business from fax machines to the internet. And we didn't call it digital transformation at the time, which has been a buzzword for a while. But that's exactly what we did. We evolved it from faxing 1003 mortgage applications to uploading them into our loan origination system via the web. And you know we moved six weeks new broker approvals down to less than 24 hours. So it was a big thing to do back in 2008. It was digital transformation before digital transformation was cool.
Allan: So tell me a little bit more about Enterprise Bank and Trust. What do you think differentiates Enterprise Bank in the marketplace?
John: So probably first and foremost, our associates, our people. You know, people is an extremely difficult thing for a marketer to differentiate relative to all the other banks that say the same thing. But we're committed to doing so. Our mission statement is guiding people to a lifetime of financial success. And I can honestly say, I see our associates doing this every day. They're extremely active in our communities. And while we collectively cite examples of this work in our marketing and corporate communications efforts, it's impossible to share all the work that we do and that the company does. Another big differentiator for us is Enterprise University or EU. EU is a series of 35 to 40 different 90 minute classes that we offer in the spring and in the fall, semesters. And those classes are on topics such as leadership, finance, HR, IT, sales and marketing, personal development. They're virtual classes that are taught by subject matter experts that are often bank clients or are somehow affiliated with the bank. Anyone can attend these classes by signing up on our website and they're free of charge. Next year, we'll be celebrating 20 years of offering Enterprise University and we're really, really proud of providing the education to the business community. EU was started with the idea that if we can help educate the business community at large we will all benefit and the fact that we've been doing it for 20 years is really a testament to the person that conceived the idea and our commitment to helping improve that business community.
Martha: I actually listened to one last night on CRM. And it was great. It was just 90 minutes and I was watching a recorded one. Just 90 minutes and real practical, tactical all in 90 minutes. It was really very well done. And like you said, it was a subject matter expert. I wasn't really sure what to expect, but it was fantastic.
John: Oh, great. Well, thank you for, for taking the course.
Martha: Oh, absolutely. It was really good. So, kind of getting into systems and data, can you tell us a little bit about your vision for data and analytics? I know you talked about having this history of doing digital transformation before it was a thing and so you've kind of got this data perspective, don't you?
John: Oh, absolutely. So most of my career prior to getting here to Enterprise was within consumer digital marketing. And it's relatively straightforward. You know, the sales funnel is very linear, you know, impressions turn to clicks, turns to app starts, turns to submits. And oftentimes, you're done there. And oftentimes, that happens in one website visit or visit to the branch or something like that. So the job of a consumer oriented marketers is just to get more people into the funnel, and then optimize each step of the way. In a B2B oriented marketplace, such as we have here at Enterprise, the sales funnel is anything but linear. Marketing dripping on prospects, handing it off to a banker, you know them having on site visits, lunches, dinners, things along those lines, they all take time. And the impact or value of each interaction completely varies from client to client, deal to deal and even down to person to person. Aggregating all of this disparate data into one usable data set is no easy task. And once you do, drawing the lines of attribution requires art, science, transparency, and patience. At Enterprise, we're on this journey and we have tremendous support from key partners like our IT partners, product, and then all the way up to our executive team.
Martha: So given this focus on private business, and going after the business market, it seems like that would really increase the importance of the alignment of your marketing team with sales. I'm curious as far as what you're doing to really support those people in the field, help them be relevant in their local markets and be able to do really personalized outreach. So all those things that you just talked about, it's really very much a one to one interaction.
John: Yeah, no question about it. And you know, I've worked in environments where sales and marketing pointed fingers at each other, right? Sales would say, “These leads are terrible”. And the marketers would say, “Well, you can't close”. It's pretty typical. Yeah, and no one wins in that type of environment, especially the customer. So when I was interviewing at Enterprise, I asked a number of questions about the relationship between sales and marketing. And it was obvious that there's a healthy relationship. Our sales partners have access to some great content and tools via a self service marketing portal, that we continue to promote internally and expand on the offering for those needs that can't be cared for in self service fashion. We have an efficient intake and production shop that includes an incredibly smart and talented team. So being able to efficiently care for those tactical things, frees up time and energy for both salespeople and marketing people to have more strategic conversations. You know, much of this foundation was set when I joined the team. So I've had a lot of solid ground to build upon. It's been a great 18 months.
Martha: That sounds awesome. I know that, so often, you really can get caught up in the day to day, and the minutia where you don't have the time to really be strategic. And that's so important that it should never be left at the wayside, but so often, it really is.
John: Yeah, knocking out those tactical things, that’s the ticket to entry to have the strategic conversation. So we've gotten really good at executing the tactics and doing so in an efficient manner.
Martha: So when you talked earlier about your data and analytics background, and it seems like a lot of your experience prior to coming to Enterprise was more consumer oriented. So what are you finding now in terms of trying to adjust and apply your previous experience and expertise to the business market? Can you tell me about that journey? What from your past still works in the B2B environment and where have you had to adjust?
John: Like I mentioned, the majority of my focus was in digital marketing for consumer banking, very linear. Developing a new relationship with a commercial banking client looking for millions and millions of dollars requires all those things like I mentioned earlier, on site meetings, lunches, factory tours, board meetings all go into creating that relationship. We're very dependent on our client facing team to document those interactions, we've spent a lot more time digging into the CRM system, identifying opportunities to make it easier for our sales team to document what happened. And then making sure that we can extract that information to use it for marketing, kind of next steps types of things. So I'd say the difference between the consumer and the B2B environment really starts with the CRM, because we're so reliant on that system being kind of the system of record of those interactions.
Martha: And what you said too, about making sure you're making it easy for the salespeople to enter it. Because when you become so dependent on the information that's in that CRM, you're really reliant on them to be doing their part.
John: Yeah. 100%, our team needs to be just as invested as the sales team and making that CRM efficient, consistent, and more of a value add rather than, you know, a sales team looking at it like, Oh, I've got to put stuff in there to get paid. It's no, you put an hour in, you're gonna get an hour of value or more back.
Allan: John, that makes total sense. Yeah, it really need to show them what the benefit is in order to get them on board with doing anything like that. Enterprise has your own podcast, which I find interesting. It's called Enterprising. How involved is your marketing team with the podcast initiative? And how do you promote that and how does that fit into your overall plan?
John: The marketing team produces the Enterprising Podcast and it includes a wonderfully talented host that is a friend of the bank and a subject matter expert on networking. Our success relies heavily on networking and relationships. So producing a podcast on networking just feels natural. So most of our podcast guests are clients, and each have shared some very unique thoughts and tactics when it comes to networking. So like the other content we produce, such as Enterprise University, our podcast is used to promote our brand, generate leads, and really give our sales partners an opportunity to share it with their clients and prospects. You know, they know that a podcast episode may pertain to a particular client or prospect, they'll reach out and share it with them and say, “Hey, I thought of you when I was interacting with this piece of content”. It's a meant to be value added content to share with clients and prospects and our sales partners look at it that way.
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Allan: John, I have a question about your marketing team. What does it look like overall?
John: So currently we have 12 people and they fall into three different groups. We have a demand generation team that builds out campaigns and strategies, and also manages programs like Enterprise University, our podcast, as well as our self service marketing portal. We have a marketing operations and analytics team that executes our campaigns and then analyzes the sales funnel from bottom to top. And I specifically said bottom to top because that's where we're starting. We really want to know what booked yesterday. And then what led to that. You know, sometimes maybe there was a marketing interaction in there somewhere. Other times, it might have been some other kind of referral that came into the bank that led to that piece of business, but as a marketing organization, we need to understand how all of it happens. And then we can kind of work our way up and see what, if any, influence we had. So that's the marketing operations and analytics team. And then last, but certainly not least, we have a sales enablement team. And they're the eyes and ears of the marketing department with our sales partners. So they go to their sales meetings and things like that and share, here's what is going on in marketing, what's hot with you guys. And then they bring it back to the team to make sure that there's connectivity.
Allan: So really building that alignment that we talked about earlier.
John: Yep. 100%.
Allan: What are your biggest marketing challenges, and the second part of that is how are you addressing them?
John: I probably sound like a broken record throughout my entire marketing career, but really measuring the contribution that the department makes to the organization. I kind of feel like it's similar to a surfer, eternally searching for that perfect wave, but a lot less cool. Well, you know, like I mentioned, it's often more art than science to draw those lines of attribution. I think that's just going to be an eternal challenge that I have throughout my career as a marketer.
Martha: What technologies are you excited about in the banking industry, not in the surfing realm.
John: Data visualization technologies are top of mind right now. So our marketing operations and analytics team has been hard at work with looking to better understand our sales funnel. And we're now at a stage where we're planning on rolling this out more broadly, dashboards for all of our sales teams to use and building an elegantly simple interface for this very complex data is a huge challenge, but one that we're really excited about taking on.
Martha: Can you say a little bit more about how you're rolling that out? Like is like within another system that they're already in or is it separate?
John: We plan on delivering it through our CRM, but we're using a different platform for the analytics, but it'll all be integrated, and very much as one. Our rollout plans we are working on now, I think what we'll end up doing is as that we roll it out to individual markets. We’re going to have people go on site, deliver some training, and then stay there all day, and maybe even the next day in a conference room and say, “Okay, guys, here's how it works. Go back and get back to your day. If you have questions, issues, problems, something like that, come back into the conference room, we will be here and be able to look at it face to face and address anything that comes”. I expect to maybe find some bugs, even though we've done a lot of QA and we're confident in the data that we're going to roll out or the reporting we're going to roll out, but I'm equally excited about hearing enhancements, right? What should be up next, or what should be in a parking lot somewhere that we can address someday. I think in the past, I've seen Hey, we have a new dashboard, here's a link. And then you kind of leave it up to others to you know, determine what am I getting out of this. We want to be much more prescriptive, much more helpful, because it's a big deal for our team and a big deal for the organization.
Martha: I think that's a great idea that you're actually sending people on site. Certainly coming out of the pandemic, everybody's really used to and comfortable with video. And you could provide that same kind of support virtually I'm sure. I guess having somebody there on site is more of a physical reminder of I'm here use it and come see me is that some of the thinking there?
John: You got it. And again, our culture, we're a very relationship focused bank. We do a lot of on site visits and handshakes and things like that with our clients. And so, as a marketing team, I think we need to reflect that same type of relationship with our sales partners and others within the culture. So we're gonna make that investment and send people out.
Martha: What slows you down? Well, I guess we did talk earlier about the fact that you're already kind of have a process for tackling the tactical so that you can still do the strategic efforts, but are there other things that slow you down? And how have you addressed that?
John: You know, like you mentioned, we do have that self service marketing portal and the pretty tight execution process for things that don't fall in there. So really, relative to other stops in my career, we move very swiftly as a team and really as a company overall. It reminds me of a quote I've heard before from Mario Andretti, it's amazing how many drivers even at the Formula One level, think that the brakes are for slowing the car down. And we have good brakes, lots of financial services, companies do have controls, you know, checks, reviews, approvals, things along those lines. And so if you have good relationships with those partners, that you have to gain approvals for like a marketing team often does, then you can move pretty quickly. And I think we have an efficient system set up here at Enterprise. So we're able to move pretty quickly. There's not a lot that slows us down.
Martha: Would you have any advice? Because I think that is a challenge for marketing teams. They don't have those relationships.
John: Being proactive in building those relationships with the leaders and the line people in a compliance or a legal team. Taking them out to lunch, you get so much out of that. Not, “Oh, well now I can get things through” but when there are issues, you can work through them. And there's that relationship established there. You know, again, this quote really resonated with me, it's that they're not there to slow you down. They're there to hit the brakes when you might be going down a bad place. And the next thing you know, you're on the front page of the Wall Street Journal or something. So having that reminder of why they're there and knowing that they're there to help and kind of understand that dynamic of the relationship is really, really important. And it's really easy for us to say, “Oh, it's the Department of No”, or you know, these guys just are looking for nitpicky things. It's like, no, they're trying to keep us out of trouble. And so once you kind of make that switch philosophically, it makes it a lot easier. And then again, lunch. The other thing that helps is swag. It’s always nice to give those guys a shirt, or I just received a giant box of Enterprise socks. So I plan on sharing those with my key partners as well. I never realized that socks were such a big deal.
Martha: But more and more, so my nephew asked for socks for Christmas. So what's important in terms of getting buy in for your ideas, actually, I'm kind of guessing that we're just building on this, this building of relationships, but whether that's in getting general approval, or just securing budget, what's your advice, as far as that goes?
John: The same things that I just mentioned, have also been important throughout my career involving those key partners early and often. I'd say, our executive team, and really, each of the teams within the company do understand the value of marketing and our role in the organization. And I'd say we have a really strong shared vision of where the company is going. Our key partners are really willing to share our history with me, having only been here for 18 months. They’re really good about embracing new ideas, and then partnering to get stuff done. You know, I've kind of decided that Enterprise is my Goldilocks type company. It's just the right size, the right culture, and kind of the right growth trajectory for what I want to do.
Martha: I think one of the things you said there, is that they do appreciate the value of marketing. And I think you said early on that that was something that you were looking for, because it really can be challenging when you're in a situation where there's not that appreciation for the value of marketing, it's really hard to create that if it's not already there.
John: When I joined, I was told I would be inheriting a fantastic team and no question about it, I have a really, really talented group. Now I give a lot of credit to the people that preceded me in the marketing team for kind of building up that foundation. I think, like most marketing teams within companies that have grown like we have over the years, they started with, hey, we need logos on a shirt, or golf balls or something like that. The team has really evolved into more of a modern marketing organization. And I think the company really understands it and gets it.
Martha: It's nice that the swag has evolved, right? You're not just swag, but you're just using the swag for the internal relationship building.
John: You cannot forget the swag now.
Martha: John, where do you see your bank and the banking industry going?
John: I see Enterprise continuing on with our mission. It's guiding people to a lifetime of financial success. And it's really been the foundation for building and growing relationships with our clients and our associates for the last 35 years. You know, as far as the industry is concerned, I love to see the vibrant, very creative FinTech community pushing the industry forward. Many of the offerings in the FinTech world are focused on enhancing customer experience, right, making it easier to bank making banking attainable to the underbanked or just strengthening and connecting the overall system. It's a great proving ground for new products and services with you know, some hit and some miss, but it's really kind of fun to see. I think there's a lot of opportunity to advance the financial services industry. So I love kind of watching the FinTech stuff.
Allan: Yeah, it's good to see it all evolving and advancing. Where do you go to learn and expand your knowledge, both in terms of the industry itself and in terms of just marketing in general?
John: I'm a huge fan of a guy named Dr. Flint McLaughlin. It's an amazing name, but he's the founder of Meclabs, and Marketing Sherpa. So he has a video called 15 minutes of marketing research in 11 minutes, that should be a requirement, should almost be an annual requirement for anybody involved in sales and marketing. And I've gone to some of his classes in person. He's fantastic. That's specific to marketing. I'm pretty picky to what newsletters I've subscribed to. I'm a big fan of American Banker, they sent out a daily newsletter that's really helpful. And then, as a manager, I love the Harvard Business Review daily management tip. There are some great reminders that come out every day from them. So that's probably where I spend most of my time.
Martha: It's like you've got each of the bases covered there.
John: I'd like to think so, yeah.
Martha: Thank you, John, for taking the time to speak with us today. Allan and I both enjoy the discussion, and we wish you continued success at Enterprise Bank and Trust.
John: Well, thank you very much. It was great. Thanks.
Martha: Allan, I really enjoyed the discussion with John. I especially loved when he said the B2B sales funnel is anything but linear.
Allan: I agree. I also liked his approach of sending people on site when rolling out a new platform. The idea of having the marketing team at the ready to make improvements is music to my ears, being in the sales side of things.
Martha: That is a fantastic insight, as well as his perspective of viewing compliance and regulatory colleagues as allies and not the brakes. Wait, why are you wearing a helmet and racing goggles Allan?
Allan: Well, I didn't want to mention it, but I'm getting ready to go practice my Formula One marketing skills. The only issue is this time of year I think I'm going to need snow tires. Thanks to our listeners for joining us. We'd like to invite you to connect with Martha, France and myself Allan Greer on LinkedIn. Be sure to subscribe and give us a review. We would love to hear from you. If you have any ideas for topics or questions you'd like us to cover in the future, just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Again that’s email@example.com. Thank you so much.
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