You Should Talk To

Helen Piña, VP of Marketing at White Cup on THE BEST DAMN RFP PROCESS THERE EVER WAS!

October 24, 2023 YouShouldTalkTo Season 1 Episode 36
You Should Talk To
Helen Piña, VP of Marketing at White Cup on THE BEST DAMN RFP PROCESS THERE EVER WAS!
Show Notes Transcript

In this episode of You Should Talk To, host Daniel Weiner sits down with Helen Piña, the VP of Marketing at White Cup. Helen dives deep into the world of CRM solutions tailored specifically for distributors. She emphasizes the significance of having a CRM that addresses the unique needs of distributors, given the vast array of generic CRM options available in the market.

Helen passionately shares her belief in the importance of product marketing. She argues that a strong product marketing foundation is essential for any marketing endeavor to succeed. Without understanding the target audience, their problems, and how a solution addresses those problems, other marketing strategies risk falling flat.

The conversation takes a light-hearted turn as they discuss the challenges of defining White Cup's messaging and the humorous moments they shared during the podcast recording. Through it all, the episode offers valuable insights into the marketing landscape and the role of CRM in it.


💡 Guest: Helen Piña, VP of Marketing at White Cup

💡Noteworthy: Helen Piña, VP of Marketing at White Cup, specializes in distributor-tailored CRM solutions.

💡Where to find Helen: LinkedIn 

Key Insights:

The Power of Product Marketing:

Helen Piña underscores the pivotal role of product marketing in any business venture. She passionately believes that without a solid foundation in product marketing, other marketing strategies are bound to falter. Helen emphasizes that understanding the target audience, their challenges, and how a solution addresses those challenges is paramount. Without this understanding, even the most sophisticated digital marketing or demand generation campaigns might not hit the mark. In essence, product marketing lays the groundwork for all other marketing endeavors, ensuring they resonate with the intended audience.

White Cup's Unique CRM Offering:

White Cup stands out in the crowded CRM market by offering solutions tailored specifically for distributors. Helen highlights that while there are numerous generic CRM options available, distributors have unique needs that require specialized solutions. White Cup's CRM not only addresses these specific needs but also empowers distributors with tools to harness their data effectively, driving revenue and ensuring business growth.

The Challenges of Messaging:

During the episode, there's a candid moment where Helen grapples with succinctly defining White Cup's messaging. This moment underscores a broader challenge many companies face: crafting a clear, compelling message that resonates with the target audience. Helen's candidness offers a relatable glimpse into the intricacies of marketing communication and the importance of getting it right.

You Should Talk To - Helen Piña

Helen Pena: [00:00:00] Hill I'm willing to die on is that you need a really good product marketing, product marketing team. Well, however big the company is that that is to lay the foundation of everything that you do within marketing.

Daniel Weiner: Hello and welcome to another episode of the You Should Talk To podcast. I am Daniel Wiener, your host, your sponsor, all the things. You Should Talk To pairs brands and marketers for free with vetted agencies and or freelancers [00:01:00] because it is easy to find an agency. It is very difficult to find the right agency.

Today I am joined by Helen Pina, who is VP of marketing at Whitecup. Helen, thank you so much for joining.

Helen Pena: Hi! Thank you so much for having me.

Daniel Weiner: Yeah, this is a little bit of a different structure. Uh, you're the first person I've interviewed that I've done a full, like, robust RFP process with, so this should be even, uh, even more exciting since we know each other so well and we, we made it through to tell the tale.

Helen Pena: Yes, that's awesome. I didn't realize that.

Daniel Weiner: Yeah. Before we even get started on, uh, the actual questions, what does Whitecup do? Fill us in.

Helen Pena: Yeah, so we are a, um, software provider for, uh, distribution companies. Specifically, we offer CRM for distributors, um, and distributors are, I mean, they help our, they, they do so many great things. They're really running the world, the world, right. Um, and so our CRM is integrated with, uh, with BI. So we're, we're so, so strong believers in having data.

They already have data, but having that data. Help work in their favor and be able to take action on it. Um, I'm going to pause you right there. I'm doing a terrible job. I don't know why I didn't like plan this out. I didn't even, I was like, I planned out like you're, you're like, just throw your questions.

I was like, what the fuck am I doing right now? This is terrible.

Daniel Weiner: Can I keep this whole thing? Can I, can I keep this in? That's great. You're like, I have no clue what

Helen Pena: It's also too long. Like I'm going into it way too detailed. Like what the fuck am I doing? Um,

Daniel Weiner: I don't know either, Helen. I don't know.

Helen Pena: Give me, give me a, give me a second, Daniel. Hold

Daniel Weiner: so I didn't know that that was going to be such a, such a fastball. I thought, thought, I have a good answer for what you do. That should be the easy

Helen Pena: I typically do. I just don't know why I went in that, in that direction.

Daniel Weiner: you going to, are going to do when I ask the hard questions? You're, when I ask you your final meal, is it like a 45 minute, uh, answer? I don't

Helen Pena: That actually has been, um, that's been a really hard one.

Daniel Weiner: Okay, I'm, I'm glad. This is good. If I ever do a blooper reel, we can have this whole thing in here.

Helen Pena: Oh my God. Yeah. It's like, well, how do I say that? Um, as you can tell, as you can imagine, our messaging has been a problem for us.

Daniel Weiner: I can.

Helen Pena: Oh my God. Okay. No, um, we can, um, we can start over again.

Daniel Weiner: You want me to do the whole thing, over? Just the intro and then ask you that?

Helen Pena: Um,

Daniel Weiner: I'll just ask it, I'll just ask, no. I'll just ask you. Let me just make a note. I'm gonna ask you in ten seconds at the three minute mark.

Helen, what is White Cup? Fill us in in your words.

Helen Pena: Yeah. Um, so we've been helped. We, we are. Oh my God. Let's do it again.

Daniel Weiner: Helen, I've got dinner four hours. Am I gonna be able to make it?

Helen Pena: Yes. All right. Where are you? It's because I lost you. I can't see you.

Daniel Weiner: What do you mean you can't see me?

Helen Pena: I don't know. I lost the screen. Hold on. Where's.

Daniel Weiner: It's actually easier to look at yourself and me during this. I find it's harder to just have like a blank screen up or something.

Helen Pena: Yeah, exactly. It really threw me off. There we go. Um,

Daniel Weiner: Alright, we to go?

Helen Pena: Yeah.

Daniel Weiner: I'll ask in five seconds.

Helen, what is White Cup?

Helen Pena: Oh, great question. We are a CRM company for distributors specifically. Um, so there are so many CRMs out there. Um, but we believe that it's just so important. Great. For distributors who have very specific needs to have a CRM that's tailored specifically for them.

Daniel Weiner: Yeah, makes total sense. They, Hmm.

Helen Pena: They really do. Yes, absolutely. And they have so much data, um, already that on, um,

well. [00:02:00] And so we give them the tools that they need to be able to take action on that, on that, on that data. And really be able to drive that revenue.

Daniel Weiner: That's awesome. What's an unpopular or spicy opinion you have in the marketing world in general, or a hill you're willing to die on?

Helen Pena: A hill I'm willing to die on. Um.

Daniel Weiner: How do I get, how do I get some White Cup swag as well? I just noticed you had a White Cup shirt on. I will, we can talk about that off

Helen Pena: sip of my water here,

Daniel Weiner: I was gonna say, hey, we love a shameless plug here, so, uh, yeah, what.

Helen Pena: white cup, or a white, white cup, cup, or a

Daniel Weiner: That's, that's marketing, you 

Helen Pena: It gets real fun. Um, so I fell in love with Iowa. You know, I didn't think this was an unpopular opinion.

Just one that I felt really strongly about, but I actually told this to a peer of mine and she was like, what, really? I, I believe very strongly that if I were to have a brand new marketing team, I don't even care what size of the company it is. Well, actually it makes the matters like earlier on would be very critical.

I think that having the right or just a strong [00:03:00] product marketer. As like that could even be like the first employee, the first marketing team member that is like, I think the most critical. Um, I strongly believe that without product marketing, nothing else matters. Like digital, digital marketing is going to fail.

Demand generation is not going to be unless they get lucky and they're good product marketers. And lately it's nothing is going to actually. Work out well, if you don't know who you're marketing to, if you don't understand their solution, their problems, how your solutions actually solve their problems, what that right message is, um, nothing, nothing really like all of through.

Well, so the hill I'm willing to die on is that you need a really good product marketing, product marketing team. Well, however big the company is that that is the, to lay the foundation of everything that you do within marketing.

Daniel Weiner: I like it. A good, uh, unintentional segue to, to the meat podcast, which leads me

Helen Pena: Ah,

Daniel Weiner: next question. We did a, uh, a pretty robust in, in my world, at least, uh, search slash RFP [00:04:00] process for you as well as a fractional product marketing, um, Search as well. Let's talk about it. We're now, I think you said 60 days removed from actually kicking off and stuff.

How do you feel? How'd we do? I'm, I'm particularly curious. I don't, uh, always get this level of like, um, visibility, like post opportunity from the brand. I'm When we got first introduced, let's start there. Uh, what'd you Do you think I was entirely full of shit? Were you nervous? You're like, who is this guy?

What's he going to do for us? All that sort of stuff. Or

Helen Pena: so I'll, I'll talk about it before I even met you, Daniel. Um, I knew that I was, I needed to, I was going to be hiring an agency. And so immediately you're like, okay, well, who am I going to even give this RFP to? Right. So I've got a big, you know, network of CMOs. And so I went and tapped into my network and, um, everyone that I.

Looked into just everyone's like you got it. You got to talk to Daniel. You got to talk to Daniel You got to talk to them. I wasn't getting list of agencies. I was just getting you got to talk to Daniel It sounds like okay. Well, I got it. I got to talk Daniel. Uh, [00:05:00] I Went to your website. I was like, okay.

Okay. Yeah, I didn't know that this existed This is like, you know, like almost like a recruiter for agencies cool that that that helps me out And so then we talked and at first, since you're asking, like, what did you think? Um, I was like, well, he's making it just seem like very, like, like this is a simple thing.

It's very casual, like, sure. You'll, you'll help provide some agencies. And I, I was just like, okay, well, this, I thought it was going to be like a really serious thing and going to be intense and it did get right. It did get very intense, but I think your vibe is just not to be very intense, which was very helpful throughout the entire process, to be honest.


Daniel Weiner: It gets intense at the end when you eventually have to make a selection, I do it should be like, I guess my overall thesis is RFPs suck in general, but they don't have to, right? Like, in their, uh, Simplest form, it's talking to some people and going through a process. I think they get, um, You guys were easier too, [00:06:00] because there were two decision makers.

Um, which makes it easier. There wasn't necessarily like a committee, so calendaring, and it was straightforward. You defined the ask really well, so it made it easier. But, uh, no, I'm glad to hear, uh, that the first impression was, uh, was so good and all that stuff.

Helen Pena: Yeah. Of course.

Daniel Weiner: Let's talk about the process a little bit more.

Like we ran in general, I introduced you to five agencies, agencies to start. You had kind of like an slash vibe, check calls. You ended up shortlisting to roughly three agencies during that process. Did that feel like enough? Like what's your advice to, you know, another head of marketing, VP of marketing, CMO at you know, similar company on how to, how to run this process.

Did that feel like a good number to start?

Helen Pena: Yeah. It really did. And honestly, at first I, before I, I started talking to Daniel in my head, I was like 20 agencies. I didn't even know who they were yet. Right. But I thought that the more, the better. And through your guidance, Daniel, it was like, well, you know, maybe two or three hours. That's not enough.

Right. [00:07:00] But like, I think the number that we did, the five to six, maybe it was even up to seven at one point. They start swindled on. Right. Right. Like. You send the RFP to them and not, there's going to be like one or two that it's like, no, not for me to even respond. Right. And then you get the responses and then a couple are like, no, those are, let's not do this.

So it, it's a good number. I would say to have like that six to seven agencies, anything more. Would be overwhelming and because you end up getting too many options and you end up almost not knowing how to move forward.

Daniel Weiner: It's also about relevancy too. Like it would be hard to find 20 agencies on your own. Even through me. Like if you asked me for 20 intros, I would've said that A, that's too many. And b, I don't have 20 agencies. I recommend it like fit the, uh, the needs of this R F P. But yeah, if you, if you talked to five agencies and four of them weren't relevant, like then you'd be like, shit.

Like we gotta go find some more agencies to have

Helen Pena: Right. Exactly.

Daniel Weiner: I would say too.

Helen Pena: Yeah. And that is that, that, that was, that's what was key because [00:08:00] when I was off on my own asking for agency recommendations, I was like, we're this size company. We are looking for this kind of, you know, uh, service and very, very high level. Not enough about. Me as my organization, that as it would be at an RP and working with you, Daniel, you are able to, like, I created the RP and then I handed it over to you.

And from the RFP and our conversations together, you then, which you have way more than 20 agencies that you even know. Right. But then you were able to say like, well, for this specific need, these are the right agencies to consider even so that that's, what's important is to actually. Be considering agencies that are even relevant enough for what you're looking for begin with?

Daniel Weiner: Talk me through the evaluation process. You know, did you think, um, from the beginning to the end, did your perspective change about how you all were evaluating? Like, after the first round of calls, did your perspective change at all from, like, how you were picking and what you thought you needed and all that sort of stuff?

[00:09:00] And kind of, like, what ultimately led you to, you know, the final round of two agencies and picking between them? was super important to you all as you were making this selection?

Helen Pena: it was a board, uh, really dependent on our, on our R F P. Right. But I created a, like a, a scoring, um, scorecard. Really a scorecard. Um, and with the scorecard, I waited. The different elements, right? So agencies are agents, right? So there's going to be some, usually there's going to be like some element of demand generation or creative or, you know, content creation, et cetera.

Right. So I waited those different sections based on what my needs were, which were at ours or demand generation. Right. So like they were weighted differently so that I could put everything into perspective. Literally on paper, right? Like, oh, like this agency looks great, but technically with what I'm looking for, it actually falls short on these really important things, right?

It's hard to see [00:10:00] that through like a shiny RFP response, a proposal, when you're not actually looking at what, like, measuring very specific things. So that was really helpful for us.

Daniel Weiner: Nice. What's your, um, what was the ultimate thing though that like led to the selection? Like when you got towards the end and stuff, what was, I'll phrase it in two different ways. Like what's something that led you to not move certain agencies forward? Was it just a gut? I, I send people scorecards all the time.

In fact, right before sent a scorecard and I depends on the person. Like it makes it more scientific and more,

Helen Pena: hmm.

Daniel Weiner: Objective, I would say, but I also feel like for some folks, it's easier to pick just based on, Hey, like, everybody seems reasonably smart and like they're and all that stuff. And you go by gut.

How did what? What led you to rule out some of the agencies?

Helen Pena: Mm hmm. Yeah. Yeah. For me, what was important... And what stood out were the proposals where it was clear that they had read our [00:11:00] proposal like clearly, right, that they had actually read it, understood us, understood our situation and was able to, at some level, not like perfectly planned, but, um, gave a shot at explaining.

Yes, I know who, I know what you're, I know what you do. I know what problems you're trying to get us to solve. Here's how I would go about solving those problems. Um, and not all the proposals did that, um, and I'm not about to choose an agency and wait until I've cut that first check to see if they can bring it to the table.

Right? Like I do need to be able to see like, what, what is your approach? How would you handle our specific situation and not just, you know, how you would handle any client, but specifically me, because I am everyone, every client's unique. They're all in different situations. They're all, they're all trying to solve very specific things.

Daniel Weiner: No, that's awesome. What's your, your, your 60 days in? It sounds like things are going pretty well so far. Still in the honeymoon phase. I would say, uh, things are going well with the product marketers to what's your [00:12:00] advice to other, uh, marketing leaders on how to get the most out of their agency relationships.

You guys have, you know, seemingly done that super well so far.

Helen Pena: Um, I, this is beyond, uh, agency vendor, uh, realm, but basically expectations, setting expectations very clearly from both sides, right? Like one of the, as we got, as I was closer and towards the end of the RFP process, there was an entire conversation with my top agencies on what, for you to do what you are saying that you're going to do, what will you need from us?

White. Right. Because the last thing I want is it's day one and they're like, Oh yeah, I could do all of that, but you're going to need to, you know, we're going to need these types of people from your team. We're going to need this kind of extra budget. I want it to lay it all on the table. Um, and I think another thing that has also helped is, and this might not be exactly what you're asking, but I partnered really closely with my CEO for this RFP process.

Um, and I think bringing in. Key [00:13:00] stakeholders in the RFP process is important. Not everyone. I didn't bring in the entire SLT, right? I, I, um, I didn't involve myself either very much on it, right? Um, he just wants me to drive pipeline. So I'll do that, right? Um, but then what was really great is that when I did make the selection, My CEO was already very comfortable with it.

So I didn't make the selection. Launch them, kick them off from day one and then start convincing my internal stakeholders, especially my CEO, that they were the right choice. Instead, I had my CEO as an advocate for me, my decision and the agency who could also be, you know, speaking about the agency within the organization to other leaders, to other, uh, as he's in his own meetings.

Um, so that was really helpful because that helped me be able to start running on day one with the agency with confidence.

Daniel Weiner: Yeah, outside of working with me, of course, what do you think the overall key to a successful RFP processes? Um, I will say I'll give you my opinion. I'm curious You all are truthfully, uh, not just [00:14:00] because you're here like such a wonderful case study because it was such a linear Well run process in my opinion and it was start to finish six weeks, you know, and it was a

Helen Pena: it really was.

Daniel Weiner: a very thorough process.

In my opinion, didn't feel rushed. It was a fair fight, in my opinion, between all the agencies. There was no like, Oh, we're probably going to work with these people, but we want to, you know, chat with some more and stuff like that. What do think led to, to say all that? I think it was because you all prioritized it so much is what I think the There's a lot of people who do robust RFP processes in the middle of 20 other things, and they're not giving it the attention it deserves. And you all for six straight weeks gave it. An obscene amount of attention, which it deserves and requires. What do you think was the to running such a successful process?

Helen Pena: I, I would say it's exactly that. Almost like I was obsessed with finding the right agency. I was also trying to be very fair about it. And you actually made a joke about it originally, Daniel. You're like, whoever, whoever your gut tells you is the right [00:15:00] agency at like the very beginning. That's who you'll probably end up picking.

And I did it in

Daniel Weiner: did not. You were an outlier. I stand corrected. first time I've been wrong in my entire life. It was a very,  

Helen Pena: bet, yeah. 

Daniel Weiner: for me to, uh, you know, reconcile.

Helen Pena: Um, no, it's just, in the end. It's about overall goal, right? There's no ego in this. It's like do the work to get the rights, RFP, and in the RFP I was, hell, I was just super honest, right? About how we, the things we didn't do well, the things that are, are well, like what our expectations are. So there's no needing to like sugarcoat.

And that's another thing throughout all the conversations. I was like, look, do not tiptoe around things. We are here having this conversation because I need help on certain things. So if you're saying something is not good enough, say it, get it all out there so we can talk about it and move on. There's no reason to have like an ego, a big ego in any of this, uh, RP process.

Um, and, but yeah, absolutely prioritizing it. I [00:16:00] needed to get it moving fast and I did, and the agencies moved quickly with me, which was great. Right. Um, but prioritizing it definitely was. And just keeping in perspective what you're trying to achieve, which is, you know, whatever your goal is within the RFP, that was my goal the entire time, which is how I wrote the RFP, um, which is what I was grading all the proposals against.

And in the end, that's what helped me make my decision.

Daniel Weiner: It's awesome. Now RFP process. So you get to the finals with two agencies. What do you think separated them from the others? And then what ultimately, like, I wasn't, you know, I didn't talk to you guys during the like, true, true, you being locked a room deciding who you're gonna pick. Like, what do you think ultimately led you, if there was, it might have been like, hey, both of them seem great, but like, you know, the two part question is, what separated those two, and then what ultimately in your mind, like, led to your final choice?

Helen Pena: Yeah, I think what's, and I kind of said this earlier, but what separated them was they, they [00:17:00] really seemed to understand us, um, understand our situation and more importantly. They had actually solved this before for other companies like us. And that's just so important, you know, but the fact that they, and I mean, I, I did reference checks, right?

Like I called four more or existing clients of theirs, um, for all the top agencies, and that was just so important to, to be able for them to be a proven agency, a proven to solve the problems that we're trying to get their help to solve for us. Um, so that was key. And then ultimately, why did I choose the one that I chose?

I think that both agencies were fantastic. I think that for us, for us, White Cup, right now, at the time that we were making this decision, the one that we chose... Was the right one. That does not mean that the other agency might not be the right agency at another company that it might be at, or maybe at White Cup two years from now, because timing also matters, right?

It's not just about [00:18:00] it being a great eight, like this agency that I'm working with might not be the right agency for another vendor today, right? It's just, it's about what you need. And what your situation is at that, at that moment,

Daniel Weiner: That's why I think it's always interesting. And I'm it's I'm humbling and I'm flattered that you know, when you asked a bunch of CMOs, they said, chat with me. It's interesting to hear that. I talk about that all the time. Like if you post on LinkedIn or in a community or something, oftentimes you'll say like, Hey, does anybody have a great agency for X and you'll get inundated with recommendations, but nobody asks a single question.

If you, if, if I did this exact process with the exact size company, exact budget, exact everything, even then, the agency you chose is not necessarily right for them. It's so personality driven, so yeah, I always it's interesting when people blindly are just like throwing out recommendations. Uh, obviously I'm biased, but like, I want to go through such a robust process of getting to know just the people on the other end as well as the company.

Because it's as much personality matching as it is, [00:19:00] um, you know, capability and relevancy and all that sort of stuff.

Helen Pena: Totally. Absolutely. I completely agree with that as well.

Daniel Weiner: What's something in general, not necessarily pertaining to the RFP, that you think agencies oftentimes get wrong?

Helen Pena: I'd say it's, so there are a lot of an agency becomes an agency for a reason, right? they were doing, whomever founded that agency was doing something really well to where they were like really confident about themselves. And they're like, I could do more of this on my own. And just spread out my services to everyone.

Right. But it's not as simple as just doing the same thing, however great it is for any client that you have. Um, I think what sticks, what stands, what makes an agent stand out is whether or not they're capable of understanding who your customer is, and then having that right message as part of the, their efforts with your, um.

With your, with your prospects, with your customers, whoever it is that you're having those targets. Um, and I think that [00:20:00] agencies don't always do that. Some agencies are like, yeah, I can, I can do that. Here's my template for that. Or like, here's my, you know, here's, um, here's how we would handle that. Uh, pick from eight through these options.

Right. And it's, it's just not that simple.

Daniel Weiner: No, it makes sense. Um, since I presume this is now your positive agency experience, can you think of a negative agency experience you've had in the past and what made it negative?

Helen Pena: Um, I don't know if it's specifically their fault, but I think it was a bit of what I was just saying, where they were just. It's, it's, um, so first of all, I was saying it's maybe not all that far because they were very siloed. They weren't, um, and of course you're not always going to have just like the agency that does everything right.

But they were too siloed within the organization. And so in the end, it was like, they were very expensive, creative designers, right? With some ideas, but unless they're actually entrenched in the messaging with the product marketing team with, um, you know, with, with stakeholders from across the organization, not just marketing.

The work's going to fall [00:21:00] flat. It's going to look good, but is it really going to be delivering the results that you need them to deliver? Probably not.

Daniel Weiner: Yeah, no, that's a good point. I'm curious, I ask this to most CMOs these days, like, especially now more than ever. You had mentioned like, oh, they ended up being, um, it sounds like not really like outcome driven. It was like, hey, we're just paying you a lot of money to like design some stuff. Uh, with economy where it's at, which is a weird spot, I would say, still layoffs and recession being floated around.

What's your advice to... Leaders in general on how to get the most out of their agency bets. Like, you kind of need your agency bets to pan out now more than ever, I would say. How are you looking at testing and performance and all of that when, like, you need a more bull no bullshit approach, I would say, to, like, spending.

Helen Pena: Yeah, I would say, and this is something that I just learned myself actually with this agency, um, trust your own gut as well. Don't just expect your agency to bring it a hundred percent. Right. Um, so, um, [00:22:00] just yesterday I created like, uh, like. A campaign brief template that I want them to follow because I was like missing some things.

Things weren't consistent enough. And I just kept asking for, I was the one that was causing a lot of, you know, cycles just in the draft of this campaign template. I was like, this is ridiculous. Like, what are we doing here? So then I just like, look, let's, I spent a couple of some little bit of time in the morning and I was like, let's just use this.

Right. And I would have expected like that they would just always have their own, like. Formal template that they always follow, but it was always a little bit different. And so I go back to the beginning where I was like, just trust your own gut. Don't, don't just hand everything off to the agency and expect them to do it all.

You know, because they have that experience. Um, a CMO also has a lot of experience and can provide guidance, um, and reset expectations if needed, um, for their agency. So you've got to stay in there. You've got to stay in it with them. Uh, you can't just go off, hire them, cut the check and then let them like run free.

You've got to be, um, really managing them

Daniel Weiner: Yeah, and I

Helen Pena: and being a [00:23:00] partner to them

Daniel Weiner: Yeah, absolutely. I think it's also important for agencies in that vein to remember, like, know your audience and like the template that works for you right now may not work for the other. Like you have to ebb and flow to the needs person. Every single person has different needs and expectations, which is usually boiled down to just like.

Communicate more, you know, like, Hey, Helen, we X, Y, and Z. Does that work for you? And you're like, yeah, kind of, let's try it out. And then you go from there. There's just so many people who are like, I talked to on both sides, uh, marketing leaders, agencies, they'll tell me stuff. And I'm like, did you guys talk to each other?

And they're like, no, should we? I'm like, yeah, you guys should, you guys should tell each other those things. Like I you're telling the wrong person. I'm not the right person to tell, like I'm done now.

Helen Pena: Having that good communication. That's something that I love about my agency. We've been doing that since, you know, since day one, very open on both sides. You know, if you need to pick up the phone, pick up the phone or, uh, you know. About whatever, but, um, having that open communication on expectations, both ways, right?

We [00:24:00] actually had a. Gosh, this was maybe two weeks ago. Uh, it had been six weeks at that point. So we had a meeting with our account owners and just like, Hey, it's been six weeks. Let's talk about it. Um, how, how are we as clients? Is there anything that you need us to do differently? Um, you know, uh, here's one, here's a couple of things we would like differently from you.


Daniel Weiner: Did they all start crying? they all start crying? No one does that. Were they like, thank you so much for asking us.

Helen Pena: They did love it though. They did. They're like, Oh my God, I'm so glad that you, you put this together, but. Yeah, and I even like, Hey, what, what, what could we have done differently? Here's something that I think we could have done differently. Like anything else. Um, because like I said earlier, like there's no ego in this and ego is not going to help you in any way.

It's only going to hold you back. So if there's something that they think we should be doing differently in order for them to be able to help us, I want to know that so that we can, if reasonable, make it happen, right?

Daniel Weiner: It's also because, and like, I'm just super honest. I think more so than other people. You as a marketer, I presume, want [00:25:00] RFP context, because you probably don't want to do that again. You don't want to go through that process for six weeks, and want, they want to be successful because they want to retain your business for life, because they money, because they want your money, know, and they want, of course, to have good clients and stuff like that, but like, I think the more people are honest about those things, like, the better off we'll be, like, yeah, we, we should want each other to be wildly successful, so we don't have to go through this RFPs are That was a, I didn't even do it, and now I was stressed for those six weeks, making sure everybody was doing what they were supposed to. A lot of moving so. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

Helen Pena: Yeah.

Daniel Weiner: What are you most excited about in the marketing space in general at the moment?

Helen Pena: Oh, I'm not going to say AI because you're going to get that from everyone. Although it 

Daniel Weiner: too much,

Helen Pena: It really

Daniel Weiner: need something, I need something different.

Helen Pena: it is exciting though. You know, what's exciting for me is, and this might just be not what you're expecting, but I've been doing this now for like 20 plus years and. [00:26:00] I'm really enjoying, and I remember when I was younger and, you know, in marketing, you know, people would say, Oh my God, it's such a small world.

So and so is now doing this. And so and so is now doing that. And Oh, we used to work and I was like, Oh, wow. Like. You must just, it must just be a coincidence, but the world does get smaller and smaller as you've been doing this longer, right? Like people that you used to work at, start to work at a different organization that you used to work at, et cetera.

Um, and I, I'm really enjoying seeing other fellow marketers. You know, race, you know, go up the ranks and do new things and stay connected with them. And, um, all those relationships, um, throughout my career, I really value them. And just seeing what everyone's doing and me myself, right? Like I'm always, um, trying to grow and be better.

I like that. I like that a lot. So it's probably not the AI answer you're expecting, Daniel, but it's a very people oriented answer that I think is makes it exciting for me.

Daniel Weiner: I wasn't expecting anything. I agree. Like, the thing I'm most excited about, [00:27:00] truthfully, is like, I host dinners, uh, for CMOs and VPs of Marketing, which, of course, is my way of getting in front of more CMOs and VPs of Marketing. But, uh, I host I hosted one last week, and truthfully, it was 25 And to your point, like so many people were like, Oh my God, like the feedback we would get is like, I hadn't seen so and so in 10 years since we worked such and such brand or I've talked to this person 20 times on LinkedIn, but like never met them.

So I think it's like everybody's craving more community, but also like the right community as well, not like wasting time and all that

Helen Pena: yes, yes, absolutely. I agree with that totally.

Daniel Weiner: On the flip side, what keeps you up at night from a marketing or business standpoint or stresses you out at the moment? It can't be your agencies anymore because we got that

Helen Pena: Well, no, but you know, the answer is always, it's always pipeline. Cause the, I mean, a marketer that's doing marketing, like that's what you're doing. Right. Is you're bringing in pipeline to sell and to grow the organization. So [00:28:00] it's, it's always pipelined for me every single time,

Daniel Weiner: Well, hopefully, uh, the pipeline is full and becoming more full while we're on this

Helen Pena: even when it gets fuller and grows, it's always, this needs to be going up. So

Daniel Weiner: gonna, I'm gonna submit a form, fill this weekend. I'm gonna, I think I'm in the market for some manufacturing and, uh, solutions for, uh, for you should talk to. So I'll see if I can, uh, give you an MQL, uh, this weekend.

Helen Pena: No, no, no. It's viable

Daniel Weiner: That's what I'm saying about, it's about relevancy, right? I'm kidding. No, this is great. We'll, uh, we'll finish with some fun ones so you can get back to, uh, generating more demand. Uh, what was your very first job? That's

Helen Pena: Okay. So I mean, technically it's Dairy Queen, but I'm not going to say that that was the first job because I only did it for like a month or

Daniel Weiner: That counts.

Helen Pena: They hired me at 15 and I just needed, I, no one can hire you until you're

Daniel Weiner: maybe ale, maybe a, maybe ale, maybe illegal. We, I don't, we're not an employment lawyer here. We'll, we'll, we'll, we'll, we will bleep that out.

Helen Pena: As soon as I went to six, as [00:29:00] soon as I became 16 that same summer, I went to the Gallup poll. And I worked at the Gallup poll for like six years. that long time? The Gallup poll, it's, it's, they do surveys

Daniel Weiner: Oh, the surveys of Gallup.

Helen Pena: The Gallup poll.

Daniel Weiner: Gotcha. Yeah. Gallup. thought you were saying Gallup. I was like, what's a Gallup? Yeah, it's Gallup

Helen Pena: A L L U P yeah, no, I did, um, surveys over the phone for years.

I did them in Spanish, um, and it was an ama it was an amazing job for a 16 year old. Like, I, it was 100 percent commission. It was, you had, I guess, that 15 to 20 hours that I had to get in per week. You go in at any point. So it does not matter. I didn't, I didn't have a schedule, so I had to really be responsible enough to go and get my hours and then also be driven enough to keep coming back if I had a bad day and I got like zero surveys that day.

Right. And, um, so it, it was salary. It was, I'm sorry. It was commissioned at 16, um, through to college to where it was amazing. I loved it. And I made such good friends,[00:30:00] 

Daniel Weiner: I was going to say, I, I, normally my follow up to that is like, is there anything you're doing, uh, today that you, you know, take from that first job still, uh, I'm guessing there's, I'm guessing there's a good, well, I'm guessing with that you learn, you learn to move on from rejection of, uh, cold calling and people hanging up on you.

Helen Pena: Yeah, and I also learned how easy it was to get people to do what you wanted, even over the phone. Like, I mean, it was, it was, it was fun. It was exciting. Surveys the phone. Yeah.

Daniel Weiner: what would your, what would your final meal be? I presume the dessert is Dairy Queen, but what would your final meal be?

Helen Pena: My final meal. Gosh. So this is actually the hardest question you've asked me because gosh, do I like food? Um, I'll say that it's gonna, the drink would be a freshly squeezed lemonade. With a cocktail besides a margarita, uh, with tajin and not, uh, not salt, of course, the meal will be Mexican, probably, oh my gosh, um, today I'll say it's arroz con pollo, um, and

Daniel Weiner: From any [00:31:00] home, homemade or anywhere specific?

Helen Pena: my mom's, I mean, mom's, like, I wish I could make now, so my own, my own, my arroz con

Daniel Weiner: Your mom's is, your mom's is a, your mom's is 100 percent better though I would imagine just cause she's the one making 

Helen Pena: That's what she would say. But I would say my Mexican rice now is probably my favorite Mexican rice out of all of them. Um, yeah. And then dessert would be, oh gosh. So these maybe something with guava, guava empanadas.

Daniel Weiner: Okay. Very specific, we like And then my final question, maybe the answer is your mother, who knows? Who is somebody who inspires you, personally, professionally, or both?

Helen Pena: it is my mom. And not just because of her great

Daniel Weiner: I was gonna say, that's a good answer.

Helen Pena: she is the hardest work. She taught me my work ethic. Um, and she is just such a hard worker. She's, She's very bright and also very caring. Um, I didn't realize how, how I was just my, my mom's person, my mom being her own person until I was like an adult.

And [00:32:00] I realized that not all moms were like my mom. I was like, she's just being a mom. No, she's funny and caring and, um, learned so fast. And, um, it's, yeah, I just have learned so much from her about resilience and, Trying hard from like the very get go of like doing a school project, right? She would just be like you got to give it your all, you know, and so that's how I am

Daniel Weiner: That's awesome. That's why the RFP process went so well. We'll thank, thank.

Helen Pena: Thanks mom

Daniel Weiner: yeah, no, this was awesome. I appreciate it. I'll give you a plug of all of the marketers that I help, but you know, which is at this stage for doing this for three years, like thousands of opportunities, some big, some small, some in between, uh, you were, I think if I had to like rank it, uh, I would, I would give you my favorite for one main reason.

You were just so communicative with everybody, RFPs and those processes, oftentimes not everybody is like thoughtful with the agencies and they don't realize how much work they are putting in and like, Not that, like, you changed people's lives, but, like, you're giving people budget so [00:33:00] they can hire and they can continue their business and stuff, and I was just really impressed with how you, uh, handled even the agencies that lost, that did not win.

Like, everybody was wildly, uh, Nobody could be mad. It was, yeah, like, we got great feedback, you know, that we can get better on, and some of the things that they told us, like, will make us better for the next one. It wasn't like you kept anybody in the dark. You gave me just a million pieces of feedback and even, um, certain things that I've taken to other RFPs that have made those better than the process I did with you all and stuff like that.

So, no, I appreciate everything you did and, uh, no, it was an awesome process. It was super fun to work with you guys.

Helen Pena: Awesome. Well, thanks. I really appreciate that

Daniel Weiner: Where does every, if you're in manufacturing, distribution, and you need a data driven CRM, where are they going? WhiteCupSolutions. com, correct?

Helen Pena: white cup. Yeah, exactly Love

Daniel Weiner: It's, it's solutions though, correct? We just talked about WhiteCupSolutions! And if you own WhiteCup. com, please contact Helen. We want the URL.

Helen Pena: I Would love that please that's present[00:34:00] 

Daniel Weiner: thank you very much, Helen.

I appreciate it, and we will chat with you soon.

Helen Pena: you so much.