Startups

Ep 30 | Creating a consistent Pipeline for B2B Marketers: A chat with Nina Church-Adams, SVP of Marketing at Act-On Software

Nina Church-Adams, currently the SVP of Marketing at Act-On Software discusses B2B marketing tactics that global tech leaders and her team at Act-On Software uses to ensure consistent pipeline generation. In this episode she breaks down the upcoming trends in the technology marketing domain and talks about the various ways in which B2B marketing and sales will change in the future. 

About Nina:
Nina is a senior marketing leader with more than 15 years of experience building teams, products and brands. Nina has been successful in leading global cross-functional teams through product launches, go-to-market transformations, and organizational transitions. She is a marketer, and a storyteller who can align a diverse team around a shared vision by harnessing and focusing on a team’s creativity.

About Act-On Software:
Act-On Software is a leading marketing automation / SaaS product that helps sales and marketing teams increase and convert leads faster and more efficiently throughout the buying journey.

Top ten takeaways from the episode:

  1. “From a marketing standpoint, my team is now trying to enable a more agile marketing process.”
  2. “So often people jump ahead into the measurement without any focus on ensuring they have the right kind of data.”
  3. “Paying attention to multiple data sets helps us optimize every campaign.”
  4. “Specifically coming from this space, I’ve seen people think about Demand Gen first when it comes to what they should their martech for. But they don’t think about leveraging marketing technology for activities beyond that and that is a big miss in itself. Often people don’t even think of marketing automation for a Sales use case!”
  5. “With subscription-models becoming more prevalent, it is crucial for Marketing and Sales to stay close to their customer!”
  6. “The role of the Salesperson according to me will continue to be important in the B2B space.”
  7. “Buyers have growing expectations now and this evolution is changing the industry, it is changing how we personalize campaigns.”
  8. “Its all about leveraging multiple technologies and data points to grab the best results today.”
  9. “Marketing and Sales alignment helps get better traction from every campaign and outreach.”
  10. “What our customers need is good technology plus the support to optimally use it.”
About the podcast

Sunny Side Up is a series of 15-minute podcasts. Leaders and innovators share what they’ve learned in the B2B tech sector on topics related to marketing, product management, sales, and leadership.

Ep 29 | Uncovering ROI driven B2B Sales Tactics with Jeremey Donovan, SVP of Sales Strategy at SalesLoft

Jeremey Donovan is SVP of Sales Strategy at SalesLoft, the world’s leading sales engagement platform. Over the past 20+ years, he has had an eclectic career spanning semiconductor engineering to product development/management to sales & marketing leadership at Xilinx, Gartner, AMA, GLG, and CB Insights. Jeremey is the author of five books including the international public speaking bestseller “How to Deliver a TED Talk” as well as “Predictable Prospecting.” He holds a BS and an MS in Electrical Engineering from Cornell University and an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. 

In this episode, Jeremey discusses key B2B sales strategies that help organizations like SalesLoft drive more results. 

Top ten takeaways from the episode:

  1. “My days are highly varied. I try to have these ‘deep work’ periods were I tackle complex projects on some days.”
  2. “Predictive models are only as good as the data that comes in. And too many organizations don’t have super clean data.”
  3. “Picking the ‘right’ contacts or ‘right’ accounts will always remain elusive.”
  4. “Any sort of change in audience behavior requires alignment between people, process and technology to deal with it correctly.”
  5. “Today, we don’t have a technology problem…we have a problem with people and processes, process adherence more specifically.”
  6. “Email and phone remain dominant channels to reach prospects on…social is picking up too in this space. Today, Direct Mail is being used as a differentiator. Though few years ago, it was a dead channel. The one bad thing you can do in B2B Sales is use just a single channel.”
  7. “I follow a retrospective A/B testing, where I can test something on data and make the abstract more concrete.”
  8. “We’ve discovered that one-word subject lines have the best reply rates!”
  9. “The most common best word for prospecting is in fact just a company name!”
  10. “Tools that help you figure out what your next best action is will be big in demand, especially by salespeople.”
About the podcast

Sunny Side Up is a series of 15-minute podcasts. Leaders and innovators share what they’ve learned in the B2B tech sector on topics related to marketing, product management, sales, and leadership.

Ep 28 | Mobile lead capture and Database Marketing with Peter Gillett, CEO at Zuant Mobile Data Capture

Peter Gillett, Founder and CEO of Zuant discusses his professional journey, from being a mechanical engineer to the CEO of a mobile lead data capture company. He talks about his experiences and what gave rise to the idea of Zuant. 

Peter discusses various aspects related to B2B marketing and sales in this episode, with a key focus on lead data management. Key takeaway from Peter: GDPR isn’t necessarily a bad thing for the B2B marketplace. Its actually a good thing! Catch the whole episode to know why he said that.

About Zuant:

Zuant is a platform made for B2B marketing and sales teams with the aim of streamlining the process of mobile lead data capture. 

Top ten takeaways from the episode:

  1. “Some of the basic things in B2B marketing and sales still remain the same despite rapidly changing trends.” 
  2. “Database marketing is especially useful in B2B marketing.”
  3. “Getting constant feedback from my clients is always valuable, I always try to join in on client or sales calls as a result.”
  4. “For salespeople, having an easy to use platform that can be used on-the-go is important. That’s what Zuant helps with!”
  5. “I don’t think many people talk about having easy to use platforms that can help when they are in the field or on-the-go.”
  6. “ABM is great obviously. In B2C its easier to apply. In B2B, it gets a little complicated. Knowing where to find data about your target’s preferences is important here.”
  7. “Large companies like Verizon have applied Zuant’s technology to pull data together in a consistent way.”
  8. “Technology if applied correctly can be a good approach to use to achieve marketing and sales goals.”
  9. “Process flow from web to inside sales is crucial for B2B marketing and sales.”
  10. “Build your customer journey based on how you would like to be treated.”
About the podcast

Sunny Side Up is a series of 15-minute podcasts. Leaders and innovators share what they’ve learned in the B2B tech sector on topics related to marketing, product management, sales, and leadership.

Ep 27 | Evolving Trends in B2B Sales, Martech adoption and Demand Gen with David Lewis

David Lewis, CEO of DemandGen  is known as an innovator in digital marketing technology and methodologies. He has overseen marketing strategies for some of Silicon Valley’s leading technology firms. 

In this episode, David discusses key issues related to adoption of martech stacks and best practices to ensure maximum output from them besides sharing some interesting thoughts on B2B marketing, B2B sales and Demand Generation.

About David and DemandGen International:

David started DemandGen International, an Inc. 500 global consulting and services company that helps sales and marketing teams achieve alignment, define and operationalize their demand-generation processes to create maximum advantage from marketing technology and sales technology systems. 

DemandGen has developed a reputation of being THE experts in MarTech and trusted advisor to the world’s most innovative and progressive companies including Apple, Dell, American Express, Concur, Siemens, SAP, Medtronic, Citrix, CenturyLink, Workday, and hundreds more. 

Top ten takeaways from the episode:

  1. “As CEO of the company, there’s a pattern every week. But a typical day includes working on blogs, working on books, working on my podcast — I just did my 100th episode at DemandGen Radio!”
  2. “I’m also a bit of a Chief Innovation Officer and that’s important to the company! I spend alot of time researching the marketplace and that’s important too!”
  3. “My first book ‘Manufacturing Demand’ has done incredibly well. It explains the WHY of aligning Sales and Marketing and its the Number 1 book in the category. The working title of my new book is ‘Agents of Change’ and its a story, a tapestry of stories that our clients have gone through so I can share with everyone how to go about Sales and Marketing.”
  4.  “If Sales and Marketing doesn’t focus on Customer Experience, it doesn’t matter if you have the best products or processes.”
  5. “If Sales and Marketing view themselves as #oneteam with a common set of goals it optimizes results.”
  6. “To reduce friction between Sales and Marketing, I would say – walk in the shoes of your colleague!”
  7. “From a trend perspective, we are seeing Sales playing a different role in B2B buying. In every single industry where products and sellers meet, we are seeing less involvement by a person. Companies want less interaction with prospects in the buying process. I wouldn’t say Sales will be completely displaced. There needs to be representation from an individual. But in terms of skill sets and the role itself, it would shift towards more education – educating prospects on technologies and products. You got to be an excellent marketing person to be able to do good in Sales today.”
  8. “Unfortunately, a lot of companies do not align on vision and strategy. This affects the end outcome. It doesn’t align, its basically then random acts of marketing and random acts of selling.”
  9.  “ABM is really hard. Its way easier to buy lists and go the generic email route. Its harder to think of a specific audience and personas within. But is ABM worth it? Absolutely. If people want ABM to be successful, it might make sense to target them through their install base data.” 
  10. “Everything sounds practical and directional, but its hard. It takes the right team, it takes focus and it takes vision to succeed!”
About the podcast

Sunny Side Up is a series of 15-minute podcasts. Leaders and innovators share what they’ve learned in the B2B tech sector on topics related to marketing, product management, sales, and leadership.

Ep 26 | Optimizing B2B and Digital Marketing Strategies with Kelly J Waffle, Head of Digital Strategy at Hinge Marketing

Martech Influencer Kelly J Waffle, currently the Head of Digital Strategy at Hinge Marketing took some time out to speak to us about upcoming B2B and Digital Marketing trends and how marketers can use them to boost ROI and conversions. What are some of the biggest challenges digital marketers face in the industry? Listen to Kelly’s thoughts in this crisp 19-minute episode!

About Kelly:

With more than 15 years of hands-on B2B and digital marketing experience, Kelly guides clients through the complex interplay of technology, processes, research/data, programs, creative and analytics. Over the years, he has built and led teams in the corporate marketing, marketing consulting, vendor and creative agency environments. He always brings an independent, 360-degree view of branding, demand generation and business growth to every engagement.

Kelly is also a well-known practitioner and thought leader in Account-Based Marketing (ABM). Recognized by Onalytica as a Top 50 Martech Global Influencer, Kelly has also won awards with Eloqua (now Oracle) and Marketo (now Adobe) for his marketing automation expertise.

About Hinge Marketing:

Hinge is the world’s leading research-based branding and marketing firm for the professional services. We take a scientific approach to marketing, answering hard questions like:

  • What do high-growth professional services firms do differently?
  • How does a firm increase its marketplace visibility?
  • How do a firm’s experts become industry stars?
  • What tools and techniques deliver the best results?

Top ten takeaways from the episode:

  1. “I now see more of a focus on branding, a few years it was swinging from branding to demand generation and now it’s back to branding.”
  2. “I see quite a big skills gap in digital marketing and B2B marketers are now realizing how much they need to focus on differentiating themselves.”
  3. “I see folks using video marketing in more creative ways and part of this is because it is becoming more search-friendly.”
  4. “I see a lot of B2B Sales people sending personalized videos as opposed to emailing and cold calling.”
  5. “A lot of the skills gap today comes because marketing has transitioned over the last few years. Folks have the traditional skills but may not be as up-to-date with the changing trends and demands.”
  6. “Processing data and turning it into relevant intelligence is a big miss today.”
  7. “When it comes to ABM, I see most people being cautious about it. Personalization has a high adoption rate. They use it for email and even website visits.”
  8. “Right now only 9% of B2B marketers have implemented hypersonalization as a strategy.”
  9. “Its important for B2B marketers to go beyond emailing and cold calling.”
  10. “B2B sales and marketing should tie back to prospect behavior to shorten sales cycles as much as they can.”
About the podcast

Sunny Side Up is a series of 15-minute podcasts. Leaders and innovators share what they’ve learned in the B2B tech sector on topics related to marketing, product management, sales, and leadership.

Ep23 | Discussing B2B Marketing Trends and Strategies with Jay Gaines, CMO at SiriusDecisions

Jay Gaines, currently CMO at SiriusDecisions talks to us about the Demand Unit Waterfall (the newest, re-architectured version of the Demand Waterfall) changes in B2B marketing trends and the increased use of install tech data and technographics in this space. 

Listen on for some interesting insights and takeaways!

About Jay:

Jay Gaines is passionate about marketing leadership that drives innovation, and measurable results. In his career that spans over 20 years, he has been in a variety of b-to-b industries.  His experience includes organizational design leadership, marketing strategy and planning, marketing budget, operations management, demand creation, sales and marketing alignment, digital strategy. Jay has held executive-level marketing and business development positions at well-established and startup b-to-b companies. 

Prior to SiriusDecisions, Jay was Chief Marketing Officer at EDR, a b-to-b information company, where he led all marketing, communications, market research and events activities across the company’s six business divisions. 

About SiriusDecisions:

SiriusDecisions empowers the world’s leading marketing, sales and product professionals to make better decisions, execute with precision and accelerate growth.
 
SiriusDecisions clients grow 12-15X faster than their peers, and are 34% more profitable.
 

Top ten takeaways from the episode:

  1. “I spend a lot of time with the Field Sales team, which I think is important to any CMO.”
  2. “The primary way I approach Sales and Marketing alignment is to create a common view of the customer.”
  3. “We do a lot of things in terms of structure to create alignment with Sales and Marketing too.”
  4. “The biggest challenge that CMOs can have is their own CEOs and CFOs!”
  5. “Really understanding the nature of your offering is key to driving revenue and planning strategies.”
  6. “Account-based Marketing has been and continues to be all the rage. Every client at SiriusDecisions focuses on it in one form or the other.”
  7. “ABM is best when you want to go after large accounts.”
  8. “In B2B marketing and ABM, engagement metrics are important at every stage.”
  9. “One of the big trends we’ve been tracking for a while now is increased consumption of install tech data, technographics.”
  10. “Technographic data helps create better Customer Experiences. Expectations are being defined by experiences in B2B marketing. Retaining customers is crictical and CX begins before anyone becomes a customer…technographics can help create that experience, to serve  better outcomes.”
About the podcast

Sunny Side Up is a series of 15-minute podcasts. Leaders and innovators share what they’ve learned in the B2B tech sector on topics related to marketing, product management, sales, and leadership.

Ep22 | Transforming B2B Sales Strategies with Ben Simms of MarketSource Inc

If you’re (still!) looking for new ways to disrupt your B2B Sales initiatives, these useful tips and ideas from Ben Simms, Vice President of Commercial Client Services at MarketSource will come handy.

About Ben:

As the leader of delivery for commercial client services at MarketSource, Ben is responsible for deploying and executing a wide range of B2B sales and marketing solutions for Fortune 500 and enterprise clients across several verticals and industries. Ben’s client engagement programs manage inside sales, account development, brand advocacy, and channel sales teams for some of the most iconic brands in the B2B space. He has an insatiable thirst for learning how different industries can most efficiently grow revenue and share knowledge management principles to instigate strategic thinking. The #1 motivating factor throughoutBen’s profession has been growing careers.

Prior to MarketSource he spent 15 years as a leader in admissions, marketing, and operations for higher education institutions to launch careers for graduates and now enjoys growing careers at MarketSource on behalf of his clients. Combining his experience in education and passion for rock music Ben has a “side hustle” as the owner of School of Rock – Johns Creek, inspiring people to rock on stage and in life, which was voted “best music lessons in North Atlanta” by Appen Media. Ben has lived in 13 states calling Georgia home since 2013.

He holds a BBA from Western Michigan University and an MBA from the University of Colorado. Ben lives in Johns Creek with his wife, Christina, and two rock star sons. You can follow him on Twitter  or connect with him on LinkedIn.

Top ten takeaways from the episode:

  1. “I’m a fan of high amount of sales prospecting touchpoints.”
  2. “If you have a high volume of attempts within a timeframe, you get more results.”
  3. “Sales and marketing alignment is an age-old question that I don’t think will ever be solved!.”
  4. “Sales and Marketing conflict can actually help challenge the status quo.”
  5. “The one thing Marketing is responsible for (always) is generating leads.”
  6. “Its never only about impressions and touches and triggers.”
  7. “Sales should have SLAs – how quickly will they respond to a lead, how quickly will they follow up.”
  8. “I believe Marketing should focus on Demand Generation and Inbound leads.”
  9. “Its more common to have BDRs and SDRs report to Sales and this also gives more results.”
  10. “Data is improving dramatically and in a quick way. I’m excited about technographic data which analyses digital signals to see who is using or recently purchased different technologies. ”
About the podcast

Sunny Side Up is a series of 15-minute podcasts. Leaders and innovators share what they’ve learned in the B2B tech sector on topics related to marketing, product management, sales, and leadership.

Ep18 | Creative ways to Gate Content and Get more Leads with Pamela Muldoon, The Pedowitz Group

Pamela Muldoon of The Pedowitz Group returns to our podcast series titled Sunny Side Up to discuss the future of gated content and what leading brands do to gain leads with this strategy.

Key Takeaways from the episode:

  1. A lot of folks in B2B sales are finding it very tough to break through the noise to connect with their target accounts. Having your own podcast gives your team the unique ability and often times the ability for sales too to break in to new accounts starting with the aim of interviewing your ideal clients on your podcast.
  2. The big reason we see audio content  gaining attention is because of the nature of the way that we live and do work these days. 
  3. The timing for podcasting is really really good as we touched upon. But the thing I would encourage folks to think about is this idea of content based networking where you collaborate with your ideal clients and potential referral partners to create content.

Here’s the complete transcription:

Paroma (00:13): Hi, Pamela, Welcome back to the DemandMatrix podcast series. We are  really happy to have you here for the second time. How do you feel?

Pamela(00:21): Hello. Hello. It is so good to be back. Thank you so much for having me. 

Paroma(00:31): You’re most welcome. And this time we basically wanted to try and touch base on creative ways to make content gating an interesting venture. So that’s the main aim of this episode and the last time I think we touched base on a lot of content marketing strategies and we touched a lot about content gating as well and this time we hope to share a lot more creative ideas with our audience.

Pamela (00:56): Perfect. It’s a hot topic right.It’s one that I think every marketing team continues to have internally and kind of monitor externally what other companies are doing and what works and what doesn’t work. So I don’t know if this is ever going to become an old topic anytime soon. Right. It’s just it’s something we’re all dealing with every single week.

Paroma(1:17): Yeah let’s just discuss some of the most common and basic factors here.What are some of the hits and misses when it comes to promoting gated content assets according to you.

Pamela (1:27): I think there’s a couple of things. The whole intent here is to get your content  in front of the right person at the right time. Right. And so the challenge with that is we have a lot of platforms you know between our social media platforms and our own website and email right. Different platforms so we can get things in front of our folks. I think one of the misses we have is not taking into consideration how these different platforms play into the audience journey. I’m sure anyone listening to this feels that way. And so sometimes you know trying to find the generality is what gets us into trouble. And so really understanding if I’m putting a piece of gated content out on say Facebook or Twitter, how  I’m positioning that, how am I teeing that up in terms of the messaging, in terms of the headline, just really being cognizant and then aware that even though I might be the same buyer that comes in and touches your information through various platforms how I receive it needs to work with that platform. So I think that’s one area we could all use some improvement on. And I think one of the reasons we are challenged with that is because of resource constraint, it does take time to do that. And then I think another mess for us especially in B2B (and I hate to say it), the B2B tech space but especially in the B2B space we still see forms that are just super long, just way too much information especially when it’s from an awareness lead generation capacity.  And asking for the e-mail address, the name, the phone number, what part of the country or perhaps world, all of those questions actually tend to turn folks off initially and that’s part of the “building the trust process” to ask me those questions…. So I think there’s still some room for improvement with how we reach out and do this promotion, but at the same time one of the wonderful things we have is so many different ways to do it now versus even say five years ago.

Paroma(03:44): Absolutely that’s true. So what have you been seeing in terms of the ills when it comes to gating too many content assets? Everybody has a whole bunch of e-books and whitepapers through which they like to indirectly reach out to their target audience but oftentimes we see a lot of small and medium sized brands geared to have many assets. And you know when you’re a smaller company what we also observe is that not many of the audience base would want to share their details to see what you’ve written because there’s a lot of information that’s already free and they probably want to rely on big brands or established brands to read the information. So what are your thoughts on this aspect, the ills of gating too many of your content assets.

Pamela(04:27): You know it’s such a catch 22 scenario isn’t it when you have a small team. For example if your resources are constrained. One of the beautiful things about marketing automation and the ability to ask for gated information is really that automation process can really be almost an outsourced extra marketing team member right. And I think that’s where the danger also lies, is when we have such a reliance on the expectation that if we can get them to download this and then download the next piece and the next piece they can do this progressive profiling faster. Right. But the danger in that is that we’re doing it from a very selfish place. We were kind of being I guess controlled by our own lead management process right. If my audience is one that’s really hesitant to provide the information then you have to come back to the trust factor and this is where I do think it’s really making sure your social media presence and your content marketing presence are aligned very strongly that you know it’s kind of interesting with smaller organizations. I think they do that well or do it better because you’re just more agile. But these larger organizations, the irony is that in our ability to break down silos we actually created more silos in the marketing department. So we now have a social media person and often I’ve worked with organizations from an enterprise level where they’re not even involved in the content ideation process. They’re not involved. These areas that you would assume a social media presence would automatically be involved. You know the messaging and how it’s going to be teed up for getting them to follow through on the gated content. So I think when you’re feeling that you’re actually getting in the way it’s time to take a step back and ask yourself- How can I better build trust with the audience that I’m looking to build trust with. And what are ways we can do that. Again you have these amazing platforms. Maybe it’s an opportunity to adjust how you’re sharing your information and where you’re sharing it. So that when I am coming into something gated I feel like I do know and trust you which is so critical in today’s world.

Paroma(06:44): Right, Okay, so at this point what have you seen some of the leading brands do?

Pamela(06:50): Yeah. Since I knew we were going to be talking about this I was doing a little bit of research and it’s funny because a lot of the larger brands and you and I, we work in the marketing of a lot of technology in the B2B space right. So the challenge with that is we kinda know the brands well from our own personal selfish needs. So I say that from like some brands like say Salesforce or Oracle or these larger technology marketing brands there are so many things they do well with in terms of gating or providing valuable information and they also do a nice job. They also do a nice job of providing even something as robust as an e-book or a whitepaper like you mentioned free at certain stages so that we’re not feeling like we have to give our information for everything. However on the flip side to this sometimes the larger companies also are challenged. They might be great at getting you to come in but I think they jump on the sales conversation still too quickly right. It’s very challenging to find a large brand that is doing all aspects of this well there’s pieces they do well. They think that you know what I just downloaded a whitepaper to get information that you sent me in an email. Now you’re already calling me on a telephone. Right. I think of digital marketers and sometimes they do a really nice job of balancing the free information along with the gated information. And here’s the key to this-> when I do take in something that’s gated all the other information you share with me especially when you’re sending me additional emails, will it continue to fulfill that same level of quality? This is where I think some of the larger brands kind of fall flat. They start off really strong but then they kind of fall into their old routines. Right. And so then of course the challenges are in unsubscribing – are you going to continue to give me the quality that I expected from the first touch. And eventually if it feels like you’re gating too much that isn’t good  so we unsubscribe. So this is a never ending process right. For all of us in terms of putting out quality information not just at the initial gate but even afterwards and moving forward.

Paroma(09:45): Right. So here’s a slightly more tricky question. As a content marketer we as content marketers rather would focus on a blog primarily to get relevant traffic to the website. What do you think is better as a strategy to just have one type of content format for example like video, audio or text and continuously use that to increase volumes as well as traffic to the site. Or should they still be focused on different forms. Gated content or philosophy is something you often say will never go away.

Pamela(10:30) : It’s really a great question. I think there are certain formats that just lend itself naturally to being better unjaded. And what I’m automatically thinking of is say awareness level content for podcasting, for audio for example when you think it’s a very challenging medium to get right so it can be a wonderful medium if you’re building a nice solid audience and listenership to drive that loyalty and trust right into your website and into other information into the score in a lead score process. And part of the reason of this is because when you think about YouTube or the different podcast subscribe apps like Apple you know their Apple podcast app. There’s such a high expectation that it’s just available with one or two clicks. Right now it’s really challenging to gate it. You have to be very very cognizant that what you’re getting is truly valuable and that you can truly only find it here. So that’s where to kind of answer your question. I think we’re seeing generally some really good success with lead gen video and audio because it’s such a great trust building platform right. You see me you hear me. This is the real deal here. At the same time when you do start to drive more of a gating conversation it really comes back to what is it that I can do to provide value. And I don’t have specific statistics around like mediums like whitepaper versus e-book but I do believe that when you’re giving me something that I can truly take action on easily that becomes more valuable. So I think our checklists are resources those types of things are great lead gen gates because you’re fulfilling on an immediate promise. And then of course you need to fulfill it along the line. So it’s a really interesting question I think I would lean toward some of these more trustworthy mediums, audio-video to be great generators and necessarily not gate them until you feel that you’ve already developed some kind of rapport with them.  If we were to transcribe this and then type it all out it’s just not the same .(Some of the value would get lost ) as it does the emotion, the wow she seems to sound like a nice person. Right. Right. They all come into play and then you throw a video on top. And now I get to actually look at you and see you and know your smile and and all those little nuances on a very subconscious level. Build this trust in rapport so that when you do get something of value that might be a little more text based. I feel a sense of loyalty, I feel a sense of trust. So it’s a great question. I think it’s one of the reasons we see those mediums not gated as much especially in the awareness stages.

Paroma(13:40): Right, when it comes back to smaller and smaller companies and maybe even mid-sized companies they may not necessarily have an entire content marketing or a content team either. So when it comes to posting content regularly on their pages on their websites and when it comes to content gating, how would you divide the efforts so that is a priority for both. Or should they be dividing the effort if at all.

Pamela(14:01): It’s a really great question. I think there has to be some dividing up of efforts because as we mentioned earlier it’s still such a prevalent part to their lead management process right. I don’t know that you will ever see gating totally go away because it’s so vital to B2B, to be able to segment people right or to be able to allow your internal sales team or your sales staff to start gaining insights. And what a great way for marketing and sales. I mean we struggled for so many years for marketing and sales to align and work together. Now we’re seeing that much more today and partly in play because we’re developing content that’s gated based on what sales is telling us is important to the audience right. So it’s really kind of a delicate relationship. So if you’re on a small team I think you do need to take into consideration maybe even a 50/50 or possibly a 60/40. And what I mean by 60/40 is 60 percent free-40 percent gated. Or maybe even 70-30. I think the majority of your valuable content for free is still extremely powerful and important because it is the best awareness tool you have and that is the best differentiator you have in terms of your brand and companies value proposition and your ability to put your voice out there so you do want to make sure that you have solid content that’s in front of them whether it’s a consistent blog, a consistent podcast, a combination of these things but you still will need to consider some type of gating methodology. I believe just simply because it makes it efficient right. It makes the efficiency of our small teams to be able to provide data and information to our executive teams or to our leadership that keeps this motor running and all of those moving parts become part of a bigger whole. But I do think perhaps a little more on the free but making sure that you have something in parallel that’s working with your campaigns so you can track your data there as well for sure.

Paroma(16:06): Right. So let’s go to another another point. There’s always access to free information and if teams get their content and readers not really  interested in sharing their contact information in exchange for that content, they’ll still find a way to find what they’re looking for. You know even if it’s like reports or an old statistic or any kind of information, it’s not for certain that they’re going to share that idea because they will find what they want online. The online space is really vast. So what content marketers started doing is focusing on adding value to the content that they get in exchange for this contact information that they wanted. This is my question here. Is this enough of a strategy to draw people to exchange this valuable information, you know, like their email ids. Brett Yeah yeah yeah. Is there another way for them to maybe lock an offer behind this gated content, this gated form, or another way to create or portray this kind of content. Because it seems to be getting a little more competitive and stagnant now that we look at.

Pamela(17:14): It kind of goes to that idea too. It’s not always about more right. It’s about the quality. Kind of equates to this value right. What is the value. What is it that we really want to provide our audience that is valuable to them. And then on top of this Paroma we can put our customer journey down on paper right and we can put it in a circle we can put it in a line. It doesn’t matter. I still am going to come at my own pace based on who and what I am and what I know right. So it’s just a mess out there. And you’re absolutely right. So I think a couple things that we have to take into consideration in today’s world is this- the strength and opportunity for these content hubs. And when I say content hubs obviously there are some platforms I think of, there’s UberFlip that has a content hub methodology, these content hubs I think are going to be more of the future of where content needs to go to kind of answer your question as to how do we keep our audience engaged when they are free but can go anywhere. But also we still need to drive them to some downloads so that we can track them. I think even taking a step back and saying how do we keep them engaged for as long as possible on our site. Right. And so this requires two things. It requires 1) a platform where all of our content is very easily within one click. I can go through my own journey one click at a time through the information you provide and that’s what content hubs tend to be able to do well. So there’s that platform and then the flip side to this is in resources and this is where we always get a little hung up especially if we’re a small team. How do I develop an entire juries worth of content for the what if scenario. Right. And this is not easy but it really is doing the foundational work well on your buying journey stages as well as your personas so that you’re developing all of this great trust value content and it’s going to happen or going to  feed your audience when they want it. Keeping them there, keeping them on your space because you’re absolutely right. There is no such thing, we are all a commodity today right. Services are products that are so special and unique. They’re the only one who does it. So it’s very easy for us as searchers on the Web to find it from multiple sources. I think the other piece to this is building trust and building relationship. And we hear those words quite a bit but when you think about it once I feel like I’m very aligned to a brand or person within a brand, it changes the conversation. It changes my search and the other piece to this is as we move in to more voice controlled search right with your Alexa’s and your Siris right. We need to really understand how search is being done moving forward and creating our content so it aligns with that because unlike Google, our search and voice is the most popular, it is going to rise to the top. So it’s going to be a very interesting mix here in the coming. You know shortly in problem what two three four years to see how that plays out. But I think content hubs and keeping them on for as long as possible is where we want to start focusing to be able to handle some of these other challenges better.  

Paroma(20:37): So I just have another question, tell me when it  comes to  smaller and medium size of companies, would you even advice them to avoid creating gated content assets, is that a better way for smaller teams to drive traffic, using free content?

Pamela(21:01): I’m probably a little on the fence here. When I think through that question because here’s the challenge when we talk about small teams we talked about lack of resources.Right or the inability to create more, we’d have to be really focused for our efficiency. And this is where I think content gating, marketing automation technology platforms are super helpful for small teams. The challenge of course is that we don’t want to feel like there isn’t the emotion behind the content. So I would still encourage. I think what it is is about streamlining really, looking at your buying, turning your personas in your content ideation as kind of a Venn diagram right and deciding where based on your business objectives, where my gaps what’s going to drive the best results for our business and start to decide there are developing perhaps a campaign or two that includes some gated content that’s very specific to those objectives so that it’s working somewhat in an automated sense that you’re still tracking and tweaking if you have to. But there’s an automated element to it so that when you have those up and running you can spend more time developing these free resources for consistency purposes and to keep some fresh content out there so I really think it still has to be a balance. But when you’re using the automation on a small team use it as smart as you possibly can and be very cognizant that you’re using it as almost an additional team member right. Not just to make your life easier but let’s have this team member actually work with you on the  business.

Paroma(22:35): I think this was an interesting take on content gating and how people can do it a little more effectively or optimally. And you as a content  marketer don’t see it going away anytime soon. Me as a content marketer, I do hope it does because you always have this. I have this opinion that there’s a lot of content out there and you know gating things is not necessarily the best way to get people out or filter leads if I can find another way to do it and find another way to engage with my audience of course by using content in creative ways. I’d rather go for something like that because what I see is people struggle to promote that gated asset as well. Yeah. Yes. And you know there’s a lag there it’s not as simple as OK I’m going to create a 10 page, 23 page e-book and I’m going to publish it here and I’m going to hope people know. No, you have to promote it and re-promote it and redistribute it. And I think what’s required in this space is creativity so so yes it’s interesting to see how fellow content marketers like you and many others do believe in how gated content will stay. What might change is the way we do it but hiding things behind a lead form is not going to go away anytime soon. Yes so I guess this conversation was interesting and I hope you return for something else.

Pamela(23:53): I’m right there with you Paroma. I hope that we can move away from this. You know I think one of the challenges we have is that it took us a long time to get our sales and marketing teams aligned and we used gating and marketing automation and tracked how content is engaged through these platforms as a way to make that alignment happen. And just as it took that long to get to this point, to your point, I would love to also see gating eventually move to the wayside because I believe there is enough quality content. We have to. It’s promotion is critical critical critical but it will take some time I think to now kind of re-educate all of those people because this moves so fast right. And then I kind of equate it to be over if you’ve ever worked inside of a really large enterprise and you have new software that’s going to be implemented throughout the entire organization. It can take like two to three years from the first computer that gets the software to the last computer right around the company. I kind of equate that with some of our marketing challenges. It changes quicker or more quickly than we can actually implement. But I’m with you. I have hope that we’ll move to less gating. I just think it will take some time. Yeah.

Paroma(25:08): I’ll see you soon and maybe next time we’ll have a video interview because I remember you mentioned the audience would probably have a better connect when they see video content so yeah.

Pamela(25:18): Yeah that would be great. That would be fantastic. Yeah I’d love that.

Paroma(25:21): So thank you so much again for participating, have an awesome day ahead.Thank you.

Pamela(25:26): You too.

Pamela Muldoon Sunny Side Up Podcast episodePamela Muldoon is a Revenue Marketing Coach with The Pedowitz Group and comes to TPG with over two decades of traditional and digital marketing experience. She specializes in campaign and content strategy with a passion for helping clients develop a content marketing culture across the organization. 

About the podcast

Sunny Side Up is a series of 15-minute podcasts. Leaders and innovators share what they’ve learned in the B2B tech sector on topics related to marketing, product management, sales, and leadership.














 

Ep16 | B2B Marketing and Data with Paroma Sen of SAP

Data drives all of marketing today. But how can marketers and companies use it optimally to plan their B2B marketing efforts? Paroma Sen, the Innovation and Industry Marketing Lead at SAP India  shares her views in this podcast episode.

Key Takeaways from the episode:

  1. Demand is like energy, you cannot create it from zero from nothingness you can only convert it from one form to the other, like you can convert potential energy into kinetic energy if you remember you know  high school physics. Demand today exists in the world in the form of customer pain points and when we take that, harness it, articulate it and contextualize it, then we can work those pain points into demand.
  2. But marketing is ultimately any form of marketing going back to basics, it’s about putting your message where the customer eyeballs are and data helps us fine tune that approach, data tells us where to go where to make best use of our budget to put our message where.
  3. Having intent data, being able to tell what the context and the behavior of a person is…with respect to a certain product or service that you’re trying to put out there. Which is great. I mean that’s the gold mine right. That’s what we all want, we all love. But the other side of that now is GDPR, where the lines are being drawn, where we are seeing consent and privacy being a priority.

Here’s the complete transcription:

Host: (0:06) Hi Paroma, welcome to the DemandMatrix podcast series titled Sunny Side Up. We’re so happy to have you here today. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself.

Speaker: (0:23) Sure Paroma, and its a funny coincidence that we are both called Paroma Sen. But yeah. Thanks for having me here. Happy to be able to speak to your audience through this opportunity. Telling you a little bit about myself. My name is Paroma Sen. I lead Innovation and Industries Marketing at SAP in India. I’ve been in this role for about two years now. And yeah my primary responsibilities are around demand generation. We are responsible for pipeline generation so sales can take it forward, which ultimately leads to revenue.

Host: (1:00) Great! So what led you to this current position at SAP India. Can you tell us a little bit about your past experiences. Have you always been in a similar field.

Speaker: (1:08) Anything but that! My background actually was in engineering and so I did my Masters in Computer Engineering and by the time I realized that if I had to do a job writing code from 9 to 5, I might as well put a bullet in my head. So then I went ahead and did a masters in advertising and then I thought hey I have a degree in advertising, a degree in engineering. What the hell do I do from a shop front. Thankfully marketing found me or rather I found marketing and I started working in technology marketing. I’ve worked in semiconductor companies selling chips. After that I came back to India in 2013. And I worked in NDTV heading marketing and content for one of their verticals called NDTV ethnic. And then I came to SAP here. This is my first time working for an “I.T” kind of a company. I’ve always been in technology but this is the first time in information technology. And it’s been a fun journey learning everything.

Host: (2:14) So I’m going to ask you a trick question next. What did you like more, your role at NDTV or what you do at SAP?

Speaker: (2:21) Oh I love what I do at SAP, I think B2B marketing has so much depth to it. B2C was fun. That’s what I did at NDTV and I really honed my digital marketing skills there. But when it comes to strategy and really big deals, a big difference to the world, that would be B2B in a large company like this, I love it here. Yeah.

Host: (2:42) Great! So do you want to elaborate on the problem that your company or your department solves?

Speaker: (2:46) Sure, so SAP has been around for all of what 45 years now. We help companies, businesses, governments run better. We are on the side of things that runs operational efficiencies. And so on, so forth…we say that when our customers run better that’s when we feel that we’ve done our job. That’s our purpose in the world. In terms of what the core problem is that we solve here, we are looking now at making enterprises intelligent. Right. So the world is sitting on tons and tons of data. An intelligent enterprise is one that makes use of that data to generate insights. So what would they be able to do with those insights? They would be able to do more with less resources. They’ll be able to empower their employees. They’ll be able to give a best-in-class experience to their customers and they will be able to be future-proof by creating new revenue streams, new business models and so on. So that’s where we were. That’s the value we give the world.

Host: (3:45) You’ve been pretty heavily involved with demand generation activities, do you want to share some thoughts about that?

Speaker: (3:51) Sure Paroma, So you know,  Demand Generation, we use the word demand creation demand generation. But I always think that demand is like energy, you cannot create it from zero from nothingness you can only convert it from one form to the other, like you can convert potential energy into kinetic energy if you remember you know  high school physics. Demand today exists in the world in the form of customer pain points and when we take that, harness it, articulate it and contextualize it, then we can work those pain points into demand. Right. That’s the way I think about demand generation from a B2B perspective. What becomes critical then is the value proposition and how you message the story. Because unless that is there you’re constantly creating and reaching the same leads.

Host: (4:39) Right. So in this entire digital marketing spectrum and social selling space which are again functions you’ve been part of. How have you seen it evolve over the past couple of years. Also given this martech boom and of course love for data that you mentioned, everything’s data driven and we are sitting on a pile of data. 

Speaker: (4:58) I remember when I was in University pursuing Advertising- At that point we used to talk about the world of digital being pop ups and banners and very very in your face advertising. Today its much more sophisticated, we have search engine marketing, we have content syndication. We have optimization techniques of websites. And then we have social selling. So I happen to be a gold level social selling trainer. But marketing is ultimately any form of marketing going back to basics, it’s about putting your message where the customer eyeballs are and data helps us fine tune that approach, data tells us where to go where to make best use of our budget to put our message where. Where that audience of one is, I’d use the term audience of one very, very closely because ultimately every individual in the world wants a very very personalized, relevant, contextualized message which makes him or her an audience of one. The data is out there which allows us to give that very very unique experience.

Host: (6:03) So I will dig little bit deeper here, how effective do you think intent data is in all of this and in B2B marketing specifically.

Speaker: (6:09) Intent data, again there are two sides to this right. So obviously from a marketer’s point of view this is awesome. Having intent data, being able to tell what the context and the behavior of a person is…with respect to a certain product or service that you’re trying to put out there. Which is great. I mean that’s the gold mine right. That’s what we all want, we all love. But the other side of that now is GDPR, where the lines are being drawn, where we are seeing consent and privacy being a priority. And if we have a perfect way to reach out to a person but that person says hey I don’t want to be contacted by you then that falls flat. So I think that itself is evolving as well and will continue to evolve. I don’t think we’ve hit the answer by any means. We are prioritizing privacy as a community today. But there has to be a balance in there. Right. Where I mean at what point do you say that technology I want to use it for convenience and therefore if I’m in the market to buy a bed, I want to see ads for a bed. And there I will compromise on my privacy to be reached. So that balance – we are still reaching… it’s an evolving road. And I think intent data is important here. There will be changes down the road because of GDPR. But it’s certainly evolving and we are not at the motherload yet.

Host: (7:21) A lot of B2B marketers run data driven campaigns, they rely on data and  you know it’s a data driven environment today but it’s also a very Account-based Marketing inspired environment I think. Half of the B2B segment seems to support the idea of Account- based Marketing. How would you tell people to align their digital marketing and ABM efforts.

Speaker: (7:42) Great great question! ABM (Account-based marketing) is usually obviously done for the larger accounts and when you have a large account, you require a lot of depth of marketing rather than breadth. You have to think about all the levels of stakeholders in that particular organization that needs to be influenced. So I would go about thinking through an ABM strategy is how to position oneself from a thought leadership perspective and it connects toward you mentioned earlier about social selling.Right So. Rather than doing product pitches…position yourself whether you’re a salesperson or a marketing person. You’re an individual and you’re positioning yourself as a person with some expertise who can provide a customer an idea, thought about something a leadership position. So it’s very important for people who are selling to create their own social brand and to engage socially with their customer base. And build that equity in oneself. So ABM rather than  a generic one size fits all approach has to be very very specific and that thought leadership has to be an integral part of the strategy getting to that market.

Host: (8:49)  Right, So yes we all know how content and personalized content and data play a heavy role in ABM efforts. So where do you see (I think I’m sure you guys use content as a core marketing strategy SAP as well.) Right. So where do you see this changing and how do you see this changing in the next couple of years. There are changes in consumption patterns as well. So how would you tell people to align all of this together.

Speaker: (9:15) So absolutely, content consumption is changing by the day, by the second in some cases. Right. Artificial intelligence, brand intelligence we’re using a lot of these techniques to understand more on what is happening and how we make our investments more measurable. For example even in India, today people are still so heavily spending their marketing money on television which has least measurability among many many other mediums. But here people still invest in TV. So there are ways of using image recognition to see how much your logo is visible in a certain campaign and for how long it has been visible and how does that compare with competitors. So there’s a lot of that crossover happening. Another example- IoT and I talked about data. I hear IoT a shit load (excuse my language!). It will give another spin to intent data. For example if my fridge tells a marketing organization that the milk is running out or if my pollution meter is telling somebody that the pollution is high, would I want to be contacted for replenishment of milk or for air purifier, maybe yes. So, again…yeah there’s a lot happening with the data, with how data is being generated and consumed, all of that is changing and involving. We don’t know where it’s going but. The journey is ON.

Host: (10:41) Everything is a lot of more convenient for the end user.They just have to do less of everything to get more of everything. Its an interesting journey and following all of this digital marketing,content marketing,ABM as well.As a marketer who is planning a strategy what would you put most emphasis on, especially when it comes to B2B lead generation.

Speaker: (11:03) So yes. So it depends on which market segment we’re going after. what is our (Targeting) base. You’re right. No market is complete, your marketing strategy cannot even start without the First basic market segmentation. If I have to segment my customer base by size of customer, there’s a very simplistic way of doing it. Largest customer and midsize customers and smaller customers obviously, you’ll have a pyramid shape there with the largest customers fewest in number would be on top, for them I would do more Account-based marketing, more in-depth reaching out to as many stakeholders as possible then by the time I get to the bottom of the pyramid there are hundreds and thousands of customers at the bottom. Maybe tens and hundreds of thousands of customers as well. I would have a much more digital presence there because they are the ones looking for information. They’re the ones hungry out there looking for information. They don’t have sales and accounting  teams knocking at their door with  full fledged plans, but they’re looking at using the right keywords. Being able to pull in their search search is to our benefit. That would be the core of the strategy. Right.

Host: (12:04) So I think you’ve shared some pretty interesting insights and I thank you for spending this time with us today. Are there any other key takeaways you’d like to share with our audience?

Speaker: (12:12) Sure. I think if I had to take a step back, why is it that all of us do what we do in marketing. I think I was attracted to marketing. Given my background because it is the one field I see which is such a beautiful blend of art and science. I mean we use data so much, that’s the science part of it. But then there comes the art part of it where you have to create a unique, delightful experience for a customer, for an audience of one. And that beautiful balance is why I do marketing right. People are afraid of artificial intelligence coming and taking away their jobs. Through my career I’ve seen that I have evolved from every job I’ve never held two jobs that have been similar. And there’s been constant learning. I mean I personally see one of my biggest flaws in me is that I get bored very very easily. It’s my job and my work that keep me mentally stimulated, active and striving to learn. That learning, that constant upskilling, that constant desire, that hunger for knowledge is what will keep an individual out there from losing their job or from losing their job to an AI or bots. So that’s my takeaway for myself, for everyone out there. Learn, keep yourself on the edge  because that spot will make sure that you stay unique as someone who will continue to deliver value for an organization.

Host:   That’s great that’s a wonderful a piece of advice! Thank you so much Paroma for spending this time with us and I look forward to speaking with you again!

Paroma Sen is the innovation & Industry Marketing Lead at SAP India. As market leader in enterprise application software, SAP (NYSE: SAP) helps companies of all sizes and industries run better. From back office to boardroom, warehouse to storefront, desktop to mobile device – SAP empowers people and organizations to work together more efficiently and use business insight more effectively to stay ahead of the competition. SAP applications and services enable more than 404,000 business and public-sector customers to operate profitably, adapt continuously, and grow sustainably.

About the podcast

Sunny Side Up is a series of 15-minute podcasts. Leaders and innovators share what they’ve learned in the B2B tech sector on topics related to marketing, product management, sales, and leadership.

Ep11 | Kira Mondrus of QA Symphony shares her views on content gating

Kira Mondrus, the Chief Marketing Officer at QASymphony shares her views on the most debated topic of webforms, content gating and ungating.