Your ideal B2B customers are inundated with marketing material.

You’re tired of wasting resources on spray-and-pray marketing.

How do you cut through the clutter and get in front of the right people at the right time with the right message?

Miguel Adao joins us on this episode to explain how you can revamp your marketing to better connect with your ideal customers. The Senior Vice President of Marketing at KloudGin is on a mission to bring the emotional power of B2C marketing into the B2B sphere. Our conversation with Miguel goes in depth on a number of actionable steps you can take right now to improve your marketing ROI, including: 

  • Messaging efficiently with cluster marketing 
  • Leveraging success with lookalike customers 
  • Elevating the ecosystem to amplify your message for you 
  • And much more

Listen now and change your marketing strategy from a volume game into a value game.

Mentioned in this episode:


Voiceover: This is Performance Delivered. Insider secrets for digital marketing success with Steffen Horst and Dave Antil.

Steffen Horst: Welcome to the Performance Delivered Insider Secrets for Digital Marketing Success Podcast, where we talk with marketing and agency executives and learn how they build successful businesses and their personal brand. I’m your host, Steffen Horst. And the topic for today’s episode is how to break through the clutter and connect with your target audiences. Here to speak with me is Miguel Adao, who is the SVP of Marketing at KloudGin. 

A leading provider of AI cloud based field service and asset management solutions. Miguel has nearly 30 years of experience in organizational transformation, digital and omni channel marketing and demand generation program development. Previously, Miguel led marketing operations for b2b organizations such as freshworks, VMware and Hewlett Packard and b2b companies, such as Procter and Gamble and Pepsi. I’m very excited to talk to him today. Welcome, Miguel.

Miguel Adao: Yeah, thank you so much, Steffen. I’m pleased to be here with you today.

Steffen: Well, Miguel, before we explore today’s topics, I’d love to find out more about you. Tell our listeners about how you get started in marketing. 

Miguel: It’s funny because I went to college in Florida. I went to high school in Italy. I’m Portuguese, originally, but I moved around a lot. I’ve lived in 9 countries. And I did high school in Italy, my dad was working for an American company in Rome. Fantastic time and then decided to go to college and in US in the East Coast, so close enough to Europe. And I got a degree in Computer Engineering. But halfway through the program, I realized I don’t want to be an engineer. This is not really my forte or my passion. And my dad just insisted that at least get your degree and then figure it out. 

I immediately got an MBA in marketing. I fell in love with Marketing and Communications. At the end of the day, Steffen, marketing is all about storytelling. And I love that aspect of connecting with folks on that narrative and that storytelling and help them move along in that journey with you. So yeah, it’s been close to 30 years across multiple industries and companies, as you said, and just started a new job at KloudGin four weeks ago, very early on just getting acquainted to this industry and the competitive landscape. But yeah, it’s an exciting time to be in software as a service. And then in cloud solutions.

Steffen: Yeah. Well, what do you see in regards to differences between b2b and b2c marketing?

Miguel: Ah, that’s the holy grail for me. I’ve been on a mission for most of my career to bring b2c emotional values to b2b. I believe I started at Procter and Gamble and Pepsi Cola, British American Tobacco, great b2c schools. And were really fundamentally it’s all about emotional values. Independence and sex appeal and coolness, right? When you’re selling a soft drink or a bottle of shampoo. It’s fundamentally about how you’re going to look and how you’re going to feel. And so b2b, I find still today is still very much about the rational benefits. Well, we used to go into Hewlett Packard, the speeds and feeds. But if we can bring those kind of emotional connections about the humanity, the empathy via the sense of meaning and purpose, that’s something that b2b I think we’ve learned from b2c and, and so that’s, that’s been something that I’ve been really focused for the second half of my career, which has been b2b focused.

Steffen: It’s interesting that you say that, in last week’s episode, I had a conversation with someone and he mentioned that he is looking into injecting humor into their messaging. 

Miguel: I love that.

Steffen: He said, something similar. And you said, you know, it’s like, a little bit too serious. You know, it just needs to be more personal at the end of the day. Have you thought about that? Have you used that in the past?

Miguel: Yes. And in fact, we’re starting here at KloudGin. We’re revamping our entire marketing collateral library. And we’re injecting a little bit of humor and wit and insight, because we are and we’re going to talk about this in a little bit. It’s, we’re all inundated with emails and LinkedIn, in mails and phone calls and approaches that are just dry as bone and have no insight, no relevance or no intrigue to it. We need to really connect at the human level and humor, we know is one of the best ways to connect and to break through that and break the ice and break through that initial shields. Yeah,

Steffen: I think also to set yourself apart because I don’t think a lot of companies are currently going that route. I mean, you know, once, someone bigger starts doing it and sees success in it. I’m pretty sure there will be a trail of followers at the end of the day. You can kind of lead that pack, you know that that makes you stand out very early on.

Miguel: Yeah, that’s a good point. Yeah, it’s something makes me think that maybe it’s something we should even kind of double down on. Because it’s true. On the b2c side, you see it on TV commercials all the time. Humor, when you look at the Superbowl ads, for instance, the best rated ones, tend to be either the ones that appeal to the heart, like the Anheuser Busch, horses or something like that, but also the ones that are humorous. In GoDaddy, to give an example, just comes to mind. I’m improvising with you here, Steffen. 

But GoDaddy made a brand by being humorous, sometimes even provocative. With its humor. It’s not for everyone, but it’s true on the b2b side, it’s definitely an opportunity, because we tend to think that our target audiences, the CEO, CIO, COO, and the heads of department tend to be more conservative and perhaps just the business side. But even they have a humorous side and, and so it’s something that is definitely not been explored enough, and on the b2b side of the house.

Steffen: So obviously, messaging is one part of engaging with with your audience. I mean, that’s what they see. That’s what they read, that’s what they react on. But before before they see the the ad message, it’s about identifying your right audience and targeting them through a number of channels. Now, we’re currently in a pandemic we have been was now two years, one and a half years, there’s currently no end in sight, but how has the dimension landscape changed over the last one half, two years, as as kind of the entire world is kind of trying to handle and manage and go through this pandemic situation? 

Miguel: Yeah, it’s, I think about this a lot as do your listeners, I’m sure as do yourself and your your team. The pandemic has been awful, right. It’s been awful for the planet for mankind for so many lives in so many livelihoods lost. It’s been so traumatic in many respects, because human beings are sociable by nature. And, and and we’ve been stuck for a year and a half. And we’ve seen folks get sick and perhaps even die, it’s been so sad. But hopefully indeed, in the next few months here will finally turn the corner and it becomes something manageable becomes like the flu, you get your shot. If you believe in that. I happen to believe that you need to treat it like the flu or diseases that are endemic, not pandemic. 

But and the business side, Steffen, what I’m seeing is, I think the jury’s still out there in terms of what changes that are that we’ve had to adapt to now will be permanent. Some things will go back, we’re already seeing air traffic going back to pre pandemic levels. We’re seeing I’m up here in the Bay Area today, visiting for some customer meetings and some internal meetings. Traffic in the highways is back to what it used to be. So some things will go back and bounce back. But I think fundamentally, some things will change forever, I think for instance of physical events, trade shows and conferences and, and summits. Yeah, they’ll come back, because we do want to have that human touch with with our customers and prospects and partners and colleagues. 

But I don’t think it’ll be the same way you used to be, I think the future will be more of a hybrid kind of situation where video conferencing, whether it’s zoom, or Google meets or whatever solution WebEx. Video conferencing will be here. Equally working from home will be a part of the the model, I don’t think we’ll go typically some organization, some industries and some specific functions, you need to go into the office or into your work environment on a daily basis. But I think in the future, we’ll find that happy equilibrium. And people will have more choice between working from home working in the office or something in between. So that’s already something that I think will impact the way we work and we go exist with our colleagues in our organizations. And that will inevitably have an impact also in the way we try to reach to our various target audiences.

Steffen: So as it as it relates to dimension landscape, I mean, for my own observation, obviously, the last 100 years, a lot of companies had to either figure out how to go online and promote their business because not people for a long period of time went outside and weren’t able to consume or or engage with with the products there. And other companies had to basically increase the activities to levels probably hadn’t done before. Do you see that similarly?

Miguel: Yeah, it’s interesting. The pandemic is, in my experience, and and folks I’ve interacted with I see three chapters of this Shakespearean play, right. The first chapter is we were all deers in headlights. Right. We were all frozen. And it was back in March 2019, where this can’t be happening, it’s going to go away, and it didn’t go away. And then all of a sudden, he was real. And we didn’t know what to do both as parents as, as individuals, and as marketers, or business people. That then changed. All of a sudden, we had this brave new world that some industries, some companies that embrace, but now it became pervasive. All of a sudden, we realize that there’s no option to video conferencing or to digital and social conversations, because you no longer have that physical contact. 

But now I think we’re in that third kind of awkward phase of, we’re all what I call zoom fatigue, right? We’re all tired of just sitting in front of a laptop, and interacting with the world that way. So we’re all eager to get out there. And hopefully soon enough, we will. But we’ve gone through this kind of the typical stages of denial, anger, fear, and ultimately acceptance. I believe that in the end, organizations need to become a lot savvier about how to approach their target audiences. Identify to your point, the true ICP. What’s your ideal customer profile, because this notion of spraying and praying is not working. It’s too much noise in the system, you need to be very selective in who you’re approaching and how you’re approaching. It needs to be relevant and compelling. Otherwise, it’s just a waste of time and money and effort.

Steffen: Yeah, I couldn’t agree more now, because it’s gotten more crowded out there. Right? What are additional hurdles to connect with prospects these days?

Miguel: That’s a good one. Let me think about that for a second. We need to figure out we as marketers, and as organizations seeking out contacts and leads and QLs, marketing qualified leads, and hopefully those will convert to sales accepted and opportunities and that goes into your pipeline, and ultimately a percentage of those convert into into closed deals. Right. That’s the that’s the the journey. And in order to get in front of the right audiences with the right message at the right time. You really need to, first of all, know what you stand for and know how what sets you apart. You mentioned humor as one tactic. But fundamentally, what does your brand? What does your solution stand for? 

How is it different from the 1000s of other solutions out there, they’re competing with the same eyeballs in the same attention spans that you are. And then figure out ways to reach to those folks overcome these hurdles, which are real or imaginary. The hurdles that we cannot see each other in person today. The hurdles that we’re all drowning in content and unrequested solicitations of meetings and and just this kind of vanilla approach? Do you have 30 minutes to talk to me? So really, we need to think about I’m a big proponent, Steffen of ABM account based marketing. And I know that ABM it can be very expensive and the ROIs, marketing ROIs have been elusive for my entire career right. 

Attribution and how do you measure return. But certainly ABM at the enterprise level. So large organizations where it’s not so much a volume game like an SMB, it’s more a value game. Or a value conversation where you don’t need tons of new accounts are new deals to make your numbers and to grow. So account based marketing in my particular work, that KloudGin, we’re working with large manufacturing and utilities and industrial types of organization with our one cloud solution for asset management and field service type of solutions. 

And ABM is essentially one to one marketing, if you cannot do one to one, then do what I call cluster marketing. Which can be verticalized. So you target like minded individuals and organizations and say, the water utility space. And by leveraging the power of that one to one conversation, or one to few, rather than the broadcast of one to many, which again works very well in the SMB space now, certainly in the b2c space. That’s how I’m finding that I’m getting that audience and I’m finally I’m breaking through that clutter, pandemic or no pandemic, and at least having the opportunity to have a conversation and pass that over to our sales development reps in our account executives.

Steffen: So how do you go about you identify your ICPs on your end?

Miguel: You have to really, that’s a good question. We’re going through that right now. My first four weeks here at KloudGin and you really need to know what you stand for and who you want to engage with, because otherwise it becomes an old cliche of a term, but spray and pray right. And that that’s painful. In all respects, it’s a waste of time, money, people resources, and a waste of your soul as well, because you get rejected all the time. So really understand, what is that ICP that ideal customer profile, the size of the company both in revenue or in size of number of employees. The type of personas you want to target. And you know, especially as you get to high mid market and enterprise, you’re not talking to one individual, you need to talk to six or 10. 

Because there are it’s a committee, it’s a group of decision makers, influencers, thought leaders, ultimate users of the solution, that all play a role in that purchase decision. And so you need to spread your reach through a variety of channels, we can talk about that in a second. But you need to make sure you understand, for instance, here just to give an example at KloudGin, we want to primarily target the COO, Chief operations officer. Yeah, the CIO, CTO, CFO, that’s also nice. We don’t want to go to the CEO because this he’ll delegate anyway. But if we can reach the operations team, the head of operations, head of infrastructure, head of asset management, then I am reaching the sweet spot of my target audience. 

And then so you have the title focus, you have the vertical focus, utilities, manufacturing industrial for us. The size of the company. And then you look for those look alikes, right. You look at your installed base, and you see what, what were the companies where we had our highest success ratio? And what was it and you ask them, what was it that moved the needle for you that allowed you to, that prompted you to talk to us and ultimately buy from us? And you try to emulate that in our various tactics and initiatives across our marketing mix. That saves a lot of pain and ultimately, money in your approach.

Steffen: Yeah. You know, you mentioned obviously, that there are different groups of people in an organization that take part in the decision making you have the users, they have the people that sign it at the end of the day. And each of them, you know, you reach in different channels with different messages. How much are you changing up messaging as it relates to the individual groups within the company that you need to talk to?

Miguel: Well, it’s crucial, it’s absolutely crucial. If you’re not doing that, it’s just a cold email, cold call, cold in mail out of the blue. With no relevance, we decide within 3.2 seconds, if we’re going to read this, if we’re going to want to talk to these people. If we want to hire somebody who sent us a resume, if the CV the resume is not tailored to my particular needs, then I’m not saying you have to be rewriting everything about your career, if you’re interviewing or about your company’s strengths, if you’re looking for new customers, but you do need to fine tune it in those first two lines, two sentences, the headline needs to be relevant to my industry to my pain point, at least as you perceive it to be. 

And so we also know that it’s not going to be a one off, right? Nobody’s, it’s very rare that somebody but I don’t care if you send them a bottle of wine, we also try that, but they’re not going to really pick up the phone and say, yeah, sure, I’ll give you 30 minutes of my time. So it takes time. And that’s where nurturing campaigns take place. In our case, we use a sequence of 10 touch points, Steffen, between sales and phone calls and sales navigator outreaches. And you build that relationship slowly and in a relevant way. And eventually the right individual and company will indeed take your take your call.

Steffen: Yeah, how close do you usually work together with your sales counterpart? Because, you know, usually, marketing and sales have different objectives, right. Marketing, and we talked about before we we started recording, you know, a lot of companies think about, let’s get as many leads as possible, right? And then something will trickle down. Sales will say, I don’t want to have as many leads as possible, because that means I have to most likely increase my sales number or my sales staff better. But it doesn’t necessarily mean we get more sales out of it. So how do you approach that? How do you work together with your sales counterpart in making sure that you’re both aligned in regards to who you target who you push through? And then also the feedback that the sales team gives your team?

Miguel: Yeah, I’m chuckling here, because I have the scars. And many of the listeners will as well, of misaligned and well meaning but completely unproductive marketing approaches. And I’ve made those mistakes myself and I’ve learned from I hope I’ve learned from them. Because there’s this thing indeed that marketing we think we’re God’s gift to mankind and we look at us, we do all these sexy campaigns and we bring all these interesting leads, and aren’t we special? And then sales look at us and say no, and none of those have converted. At the end of the day. All that matters is are we growing as a company? Are we adding revenue? Are we adding pipeline? 

And so yes, there is this dichotomy that I’ve seen that many of us have seen throughout our careers that marketing thinks sales doesn’t respect marketing, or doesn’t really listen to us or just doing their organic pursuits or not following through on our leads and MQLs. Sales thinks that marketing is just a bunch of creative types that are good for us to contact if we need some merchandising or some swag, but they’re not really going to help us grow that pipeline. So we need to connect those two worlds. And the best way to do that is by communication and collaboration. I talk with sales all the time, Steffen all the time. Now, it’s not just sales, the SDR some companies called BDR. It’s that bridge between the marketing demand generation engine and the sales acceleration bottom of the funnel, piece of the puzzle. 

And the the BDRs or SDRs, business development reps or sales development reps. They help grab all those MQLs and separate what’s really worthwhile versus what’s rubbish. To use my wife’s word, and then they can then set up that meeting, perhaps even set up a demo workshop with ESE with a solutions engineer. And that that makes, then the account execs much more excited about entertaining marketing leads and and MQLs because marketing qualified leads, are a higher type of warmer type of lead, because then yeah, they’re seeing all of a sudden lo and behold, there’s a good conversion rate right here. So this sales/BDR/marketing trio is trifecta is essential. And I always say it’s a three legged stool. If one of the legs of that stool is broken or not there, then the stool falls down. Yeah.

Steffen: So do you use software for your sales team to provide feedback to the marketing team? Or is it more anecdotal?

Miguel: No, we live and die by our CRM system. And there are many there’s Salesforce and Marketo, HubSpot, Bardot. But we live, that’s our Bible, right? That’s certainly our single hymn sheet that we all sing from. So when I go in the morning, I can look at all the leads and contacts and what has now been considered based on lead scoring a qualified IE a warm or even hot lead. What is then converting to a sales qualified, sales accepted. When it becomes an opportunity with a dollar amount tied to it, which then enters our pipeline number, we know that we want 10x pipeline to sales. I mean, that’s a very ambitious goal. 

But if we can get, we’re not there. But if we can get to 10 times the pipeline number to our sales goal, then we have a high chance of getting there. And we all look at it together. I mean, not together, they have their own agenda, their own timings, etc. But we all go to the same page. And we have a dashboard that we can all visit at our different times and see the same thing across the entire spectrum.

Steffen: Yeah. Now, a few minutes ago, we when we talked about target audience, and segmenting them and developing messaging for each of the individual segments to to be relevant when you reach out. You also threw out a word channels. Right? So as it relates to channels, how, what channels do you usually use? And do you use channels differently for different segments of your ICP?

Miguel: Absolutely, yes. That’s a really good question. And here just to to make sure we’re on the same page with everybody. By channels, I mean, the avenues right. The different media or the different lines of communication with our target audiences, as opposed to partner channel partners, right. Which we have great partnerships there with vars and, and the kind of software partners like AWS, etc. But yeah, in terms of the different elements of our marketing mix, we do tailor it depending on who we’re trying to target. So for instance, if I want to reach the C suite, there will probably be more you always want to be careful not to over stereotype or generalize, but in in general, there will be more digital savvy, they’ll probably have a LinkedIn profile, for instance. 

So we’ll, we’ll have a way of retargeting them of doing display advertising, of doing social media and paid search, etc. Because you’re consuming content. Online content syndication by being present with white papers or ebooks or videos or infographics and the websites that they visit. Nobody comes necessarily sometimes when you’re a start up to your own destination. They don’t know who you are. So you go where they are and where they consume. But also other important individuals in this decision buying group that we talked about the influencers, tend to be the folks that will actually use the solution on their iPhone or Android or mobile device. And these are folks that work for, in my particular world world utility company, or a trucking company, or a commercial company, climbing telephone poles, or fixing water pipes, or fighting fires, like we have wildfires in California. 

Those folks probably don’t have the appetite, or even the ability in their day to day driving around with their hard hats and their high visibility jackets, to reach out and consume content that way. So we have to approach different folks. And there will be an important part of the equation because there’ll be the ultimate users of our software, I’m giving a specific example, related to my current company. But in different industries and different types of environments, folks should really pay attention to if they’re reaching the C suite, or if they’re reaching more the user on the ground, that person can be in the back office in a physical office space, or could be actually out there driving a crane, a truck or a van, right. And so perhaps even I’ll give you a very tactical example. 

But just to illustrate, Steffen, we know that for a large chunk of our target audience, sports and outdoor activities are very popular. So why not do a promotion around baseball, or around fishing prizes, or around the ability to meet even a celebrity that they might want. And we’ve done this in recent past, for instance, where we organized a meet and greet. And this was before the pandemic, with a famous football player. So there are different ways to reach the different personas within your target audience. And you need to be mindful of how they consume content, how they interact with you and and plan accordingly. 

Steffen: Now, Miguel, before we come to the end of today’s podcast episode, are there any additional thoughts on or tips and tricks on breaking through the clutter and connecting with with a company’s target audience that we haven’t talked about yet? 

Miguel: Yeah, I’ll end with three thoughts which have weaved into our conversation, but I actually jotted them down because I think they kind of permeate through everything I do. And they are essentially strong, kind of mantras personal and for my team. One is I believe strongly that less is more. Simplified, the world is complicated, especially today. And we are all overwhelmed. We are all drowning in information and data, regardless of job level, industry segment company says we’re all drowning, not to mention the preoccupations in our lives as as spouses and parents and children and, and friends, etc. So less is more, keep it simple. Keep it really, really relevant and compelling and intriguing. 

And that leads me to second point. Lead with empathy. Put yourself in the other’s shoes. Don’t toot your own horn. Yes, you have the best solution, whether it’s software or hardware or service, whatever. But it’s not about you, it’s about them. How are you going to help them solve their pain point become more agile, nimbler, more cost efficient, more successful in managing their own customer satisfaction, struggles and hurdles. So empathy, less is more. And then fundamentally, something also that has worked really well is also with this point about not talking about yourself all the time. 

There’s a lot of power in letting others amplify your message. And I’m thinking for instance, Steffen, of peer review sites like g two, or capterra. Right? These are sites we’re starting to invest more and more in, because the Amazon and the Yelp kind of review world as really given us an opportunity to listen to others that we respect, we don’t even know them, but we respect their opinion, and much more than perhaps you as the the seller of some wares. So believe very much in the power of elevating your ecosystem. 

Also through case studies and success stories. Have your customers your most avid fans and advocates talk about how you made their lives better. Not you always at webinars or events. Just saying how you can be so good. Don’t rely just on your own word, which to be honest, not everybody, everybody will take with a grain of salt. Lean on the ecosystem to to elevate that. So yeah, less is more, empathy, and focus on on the ecosystem to help amplify your message.

Steffen: Love the last point to be honest. I mean, that’s obviously something that ecommerce world is kind of, you know, there’s normal, use the reviews, whether it’s on your website, in your ads, etc, that you collect on on all those different review platforms. And I think there’s a big opportunity, especially for b2b brands to, to pull that into their marketing. And then as you said, let let the customers, you know, do the selling almost like.

Miguel: Absolutely 

Steffen: Referral way. Miguel, thank you so much for joining me on the Performance Delivered podcast and sharing your thoughts on how to successfully connect with your target audience. If people want to find out more about you and KloudGin, how can they get in touch?

Miguel: Yes, thanks for that. So by all means, reach out to me. Email is madao, m a d a o at KloudGin and cloud is a unusual spelling cloud with a K l o u d g i n. You can also check out our website with a K l o u d g i n. And yeah, I I really appreciated this opportunity, Steffen. I think we should do it again.

Steffen: Let’s find another topic. Thanks, everyone for listening. If you like the Performance Delivered podcast, please subscribe to us and leave us a review on iTunes or your favorite podcast application. If you want to find out more about Symphonic Digital, you can visit us at or follow us on Twitter at symphonic HQ. Thanks again and see you next time.

Voiceover: Performance Delivered is sponsored by Symphonic Digital. Discover audience focused and data driven digital marketing solutions for small and medium businesses at