B2B Growth: Your Daily B2B Marketing Podcast
B2B Growth: Your Daily B2B Marketing Podcast

Episode 1670 · 1 month ago

Alignment Under Construction, with Lisa Smith

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

In this episode, Benji talks to Lisa Smith, VP, Integrated Marketing at Demandbase.

In a season of rapid growth, how do organizations maintain synergy and alignment? That's the question Lisa helps us tackle today. Demandbase recently acquired three companies, so cultivating teamwork and providing systems for continued top-level execution is top of mind for Lisa and we get to glean from that wisdom in this episode. 

Conversations from the front lines of marketing. This is be tob growth. Welcome back to be tob growth. Today I am joined by Lisa Smith. She is the VP of integrated marketing at demand base. Lisa, were thrilled to have you here on B Tob Growth. Thanks for joining us. Yeah, thanks, I'm glad to be here too. So it's fun to have you in this season here on the show, because demand base actually has hit quite a growth spurt, I would say, as of late. Maybe give us a run down for those that are unfamiliar with the expansion you guys are experiencing. Tell us some of the season you find yourself in. Yeah, absolutely so, in the space of just just under a year, from summer of two thousand and twenty two summer of two thousand and twenty one, and demand base made three acquisitions. One was engage Oh, founded by John Miller, the cofounder of Marquetto one was inside view, the company that I work for, and the third one was called demand Matrix, and so we have had a lot of rapid growth in terms of products, capabilities, team people, you know, and really finding the synergies between those, you know kind of all the entities come together. That's where we find ourselves right now. Okay, so, I mean it's fantastic from an acquisition standpoint, but that also means you're navigating team growth, your navigating all processes. Everything internal sort of get thrown not one curveball but three. So what are the main sort of growing pains or obstacles that this season has has brought? With great growth, right, comes some things that become challenges as well. So one aspect I would say that happened kind of in the latter half of two thousand and twenty one was trying to just merge all the systems, primary one as a marketer being the CRM and the marketing automation systems, and so that was big because and and for sales people as well. Right, how do you how are you tracking your revenue? How are you measuring against the your goals, all of that? What's your data look like? Your data says this, but my data says that. Whose data is right? So the latter half of two thousand and twenty one, that was a massive project that we focused on, and then in this year the focus. Well, first of all we had a rebranding effort. So on February eight we launched a whole new brand, a new tone of voice, new website, a lot of different efforts related to that. But be big launch, there's also the teams coming together and and processes and rapid growth in that arena. HMM. So with that comes all sorts of alignment conversations and changes. Give us an understanding a little bit of from a marketing vantage point, like what did marketing look like a year ago versus what marketing looks like now? Sure, yeah, well, John Miller, the guy from engageo and formerly Marquetto, is our chief marketing officer and as we had our first marketing team meeting in January of this year, he took a pause and he said, do you know, a year ago, January two thousand and twenty one, there were ten people on the team and now we are more than fifty people on the team. And in the course of the acquisitions that I mentioned before from engage, you know, there were a variety of people. But then from the two time frames that he was mentioning, only three of US joined the marketing team through the acquisitions.

So the red through inorganic growth. You know, some some folks will say right. So everybody else was hired new. So just a massive difference in people, a massive build out of the marketing organization, which really gave rise to to somebody like me to even have a position called integrated marketing. We, I'm sure enough, need integrated marketing. And so, yes, a lot of questions are on alignment. Who's doing what to whom, and didn't you use to do that? And how come you're doing this over here? And what legacy thing still sits over there that we ought to, you know, rationalize within the organization or at least make sure we're all singing from the same song book, so to speak. That's a good way to put it. What is it look like to intentionally change some of those internal communication strategies? I'm sure there's a lot of shifts that you're alluding to, but I wonder if you could let us like behind the curtain in a sense, maybe some of those strategic conversations that are happening or actual shifts that occurred. Yeah, so we realized fairly quickly this year that some of the old structures were no longer working in terms of us all, even at a basic point, remaining aware of what everybody was doing, and so we did start a new meeting that happens every week called the campaign information meeting, and all the great title Ram Program Owners Come On. They look ahead at it. We keep a common calendar. It's just an excel spreadchee. It is not, you know, no fancy tools or anything like that. We get on the call together, there's probably about twenty of us on the call, and just say what's coming up in the next two to four weeks that we want to make sure other people know about, where we ask for help, cross functionally, raise blockers or issues you know, that we may have and just sort of make people aware. And so the within that framework, the organic thing that happens within the framework is somebody to say, oh, that would be awesome to include in my thing. That's happening two weeks later. So could I take the on demand version of that Webinar and then put it into my nurture email flow that I'm putting together to reach such and such an audience, because there's a great overlap between this and that. And so that's the that's this sort of organic thing that happens when you set up that structure for information sharing. I like that. Who always involved in that? That meeting. So primarily it's the revenue marketing team and they are the campaign program owners. But our corporate marketing colleagues are there too, our content marketing colleagues are there too, our social media colleagues are there too. Write, and our product marketing colleagues are there as well, right, because they the product releases that they're sort of managing. Those go on to the calendar. The big content pieces go on to the calendar, the big social initiatives go on to the social media initiatives go on to the calendar. Right, so everybody sort of has a chance to say a little bit about what they're doing really across the whole marketing team. Not all, not all the members of the team are on the meeting, but more of the people who are, who are driving programs. Okay, I'm adding. A meeting can be helpful. Also can be like, Oh man, another thing on our calendar. But I love that as a starting place because I think just going through campaigns and keeping in front of people, the faster your organization is moving, we all know, like, the more complex and we're trying all these different things and people have all these ideas, and so I love that that was an easy in road for better alignment. I wonder, are there any other systems, things that you guys have implemented leasta that you're going in? This has been really helpful...

...and strategic for our team to continue to foster alignment. So we're using a sauna right now as today kind of workflow, you know, workflow process, and that's been very helpful. The creative team uses a sauna, the marketing operations team uses a sauna, the content team uses a sauna and I was just on a call today where the customer marketing group is also now using a sauna. So that's been very helpful, particularly when we have a major launch going out. We recently won a gardener magic quadrant award, or, sorry, we were named a leader. That's the that's the official language for any any other there's who have been through it in the leader in a gardener magic quadrant for account base marketing. But there was a lot of creative requests that had to be, you know, completed at the same time so that we could launch on a particular day and as sauna was really helpful in terms of grouping all of those, understanding the flows, you know, understanding of the project process and things like that. Where we are now is that we may need an umbrella layer above all those siload, a sauna pieces, right. Cause, for example, if we take the Gartner thing again, it's not only creative but there's also ops, marketing ops, there's also content, somebody's going to write a blog about it and there's a customer marketing component. And right, so we almost need the umbrella that says, here's the thing, and if you do this piece of content, do you also need display ads to promote that piece of content? You need a social caution me, an email header, right, like, okay, you did the thing, but how's anybody going to know about it if you don't have all the other you know, then you need the mops one to kick off the email campaign associated with it. So that's a little where my brain is now is thinking about how we make sure that we connect the dots across those as sauna silos as as they exist today. And really it's a part of a broader conversation around how do we stitch together the efforts across the different not silos, but who called them pillars, the pillars of the market team, you know, to make sure that we are getting the most bang for the buck for everybody's effort, because everybody's working really, really hard. That's what creates silo's, right is it's not that you want to end up in one, it's that you work hard with your head down. Like I find a lot of passionate people, without realizing it, end up in a silo because they love their work and then they look up and they go, oh shoot, where's everybody else? So that's a great point. Well, you had mentioned to me. I think it's an email as well, and I could be wrong on this, so correct me if I'm wrong, but like a way of sharing resources that are important right now. Is that something you guys are still doing? And maybe explain that as well, because I loved that idea. Yeah, sure, so that one is going from the marketing team out primarily to the whole revenue team. So the same folks who attend that campaign information sharing meeting, m the the people who are the program owners, the campaign owners, they get together and aggregate the list of the most important things for the coming week and we send out that email. We get aggregate it on Monday and send it out on Tuesday mornings. It has the most recent events that you could follow up on. It has the juiciest pieces of content that have just been produced. It has if there's a direct mail offer that we'd love for the, you know, customer and prospect facing teams to take advantage of. You know, we highlight that. If there are some special bespoke invitations for accounts in our top thirty five tier, you know, then we'll highlight that...

...those folks get invited to cool basketball games. So that makes me want to be a field event marketer right there. But but say so, we package that all up in a weekly email and send it out to the whole revenue team, which includes, obviously, you know, sales marketing and the related OPS team, sales, sales ops and marketing ops, right, so that everybody hasn't has a say in it. Also CSM. Sorry, don't mean to leave them out, but anybody who's customer facing. So where does that information like? WHO's gathering that? Like is it? I would love to know like the behind the scenes just it's such a practical system, but like where does that sit for you guys? So so, somebody who works for me named Jodes NUSS. She she puts it together and she shows slack. So we have a slack channel for all the program owners of people who, you know, put their things into this email. She set up an automated slack reminder that goes out on Friday's at three o'clock or Friday's at ten am, right to ten am Pacific, to account for all the time zones, right. But it goes out and it kings everybody and it says hey, channel, provide your inputs to this link and it goes into a WORKDOC and everybody pressed in the word doc and we just kind of add the new section for each next week, copy paste, put it into an email. Now I am way over simplifying it and Joe Does a little Jos and that does a little bit of of rallying the troops here and there, little nudge nudge, you know, like context gathering, like just to help figure out what are the top three things we should be talking about. So it's not it's not all automated, but it's Google docs and a slack channel and, you know, a regular process and having the automated thing, the automated reminder, really helps keep people on task. Without Joe Having to do that with the without her having to go she can then just go sort of figure out the extra what makes it special, what makes it important, how to how do we order these things for our team? I think the communication there. This is something I think a lot about because so much of our breakdowns internally in teams is really just really simple lack of communication. But exactly what you're alluding to right there, Lisa, where it's like if it was just even a simple automated for me it's a sawn or reminders where I just make sure weekly, especially on Fridays, like what do I want to highlight to our team? Maybe it's a win, maybe it's updating our progress doc or our goals or our rocks right for the quarter, but some of those quick things. And then, from a communication standpoint, what you're alluding to there is it triggers something that then is becoming a resource that you guys can go back to consistently, and those are a lot of times for newcomer specifically as you're scaling right, where do I go to find out what I need to know right now? And that's what I think. I it really stood out to me about that example is it's something anyone could do. It's quick, it's easy to access and we want to highlight those types of resources here. So anybody can do that. Bar is kind of low. But yet he still need somebody to do the follow up. There's still parts to it that it. You know, they're strategic thinking, they're so it's good any success stories you've seen from the things we've highlighted so far, what you've implemented, ways you've seen it really create alignment in your team. So a funny one is again I'll use this gardner M Q as a as an example. It was it, let's say, a protracted process to get to the actual publication of the report. And the report initially had been supposed to come out in two thousand and twenty one and we then caught wind, you know, there were delay, delay, delay, and then they said well, we're actually going to produce it and publish it in January of twenty two. And so we had asked like, okay, is it going to be called the two thousand and...

...twenty one gartener magic quadant report for account based platforms, or is it going to be two thousand and twenty two? And we had asked the explicit question and they said two thousand and twenty one because it was research was done, and then two thousand and twenty one and Blah, blah, blah, two hours, two hours before the go live date. I kid you not, some of those people wrote to us and said, actually, we would prefer that you use two thousand and two, empty two for them, of course right. Can't be easy. We had sent eighty four pages of assets, emails, landing pages, auto responder emails, Social Media Post all this to their citations team for approval. Eighty four pages of stuff, just to give you a sense of like assets and things. Two hours before they're like, could you change the date on everything please? And it's truly a hair on fire moment. But because we had the assauna tasks, we had spreadsheets where we listed everything that we were working on because, you know, the team was tightly coordinated, because I have awesome partners in our design team and our social media team and like across the board, right in our MOPS team. Like the email was about to go out to several hundredzero people, you know goodness, and everybody said, okay, we're on it. We were using a live slack channel and, you know, just firing messages people from literally around the world and across many different time zones were engaged and we got it done. We published on time with the new day, you know. So I think all of those processes and developing the communication muscle, as we've been off about, really paid off that we we had the slack channel where we could talk in real time to each other and and just say like Oh, like a buckle up, everybody, change it to two thousand and twenty two, you know. Yeah, that's a good example of communication. And let's let's hit on one more example. I am a sucker for shark week, so when you mentioned this example to me, I was like, well, we got to throw it in there. It's another great way of forcing alignment. Will Make Lisa expand on this one in the podcast to but you guys do something once a quarter. Is that right, to really kind of rally the team and also drives business as well. Explain Shark Shark Week to us, Lisa. Sure thing. So it's a really focused week between marketing and the STR team and this time we got the account exacts, who are new logo hunters, involved as well, and marketing puts together a just a rallying slide deck with all kinds of goodness in it. So if you take that campaign priorities email that we do on a weekly basis to send out to the whole revenue team and say, you know, here's, here's all the great things you could talk about or promote or share with prospects this week, we really blow that out into, you know, a twenty page or twenty slide deck and we have special promos on and swag to give away or coffee gift cards, like they're things we we do, but we just we goose it up a little bit, like we just make it bigger, better, more. The R team in the sales team, they get super excited. They come on the shark week prep call in costume like this. We like the Sharkhead, you know, the whole thing, and so they get fired up. They have all kinds of different prizes and eve, I mean sales people are competitive people, right. So you say you can be in a prize...

...if you do the most of this, of that, you know, the most social media shares of you know something new. We have whoever uses the swag off or the most whoever, obviously we're driving from meetings from the strs, right, so whoever gets the most meetings or anyway. So there's all these different contests and the sales team comes up with those, marketing team comes up with a ton of content and then for a solid week we just like focus on the activities. Marketing is sitting on the slack channels like ready to help with anything if any of the sales folks have questions or, you know, hey, this isn't working or what was I supposed to do with this, or needs more, and they just they're on the phones, on the email, they're just they're hammering it and really proud of the team. We had a hundred and nine percent of our goal. Yeah, it's recent shark week that that we just had. It was on Valentine's Day, so there was a lot of like fun, you know, themed kind of stuff around. It's the week starting Valentine's Day. So a lot of Thun Fun themed stuff around Valentine's Day and Shark Week and like putting Shark mashup of sharks and hearts and all kinds of craziness, you know. But but it was fun right in the end. To your point earlier, it drives business and was the spillover effect for the week after is also there because, you know, maybe somebody didn't respond to your outreach in the week of Shark Week, but they did afterwards. And the other thing that I'll put in there is we drink our own champagne, use our own product to get people focused on the most engaged accounts, the marketing qualified accounts, the ones who were showing either multiple people, you know many, many people across a buying committee, who are really on our website engaging with this and in different ways, opening emails, you know, downloading content, or there are a few key people who are really going deep right. So we use the people's behavior plus the account characteristics to kind of bring that all together to put the list of not only the best accounts but the right people within the accounts in front of our sales team so that they know very clearly how to prioritize their work and go after the most engaged people who are the most likely to respond. So really a win win. It's one of my favorite things about working at this company relative to other ones that I've worked for in the past, where sales and marketing alignment really is underpinned by this common set of data abroad, based awareness what different accounts are doing so it's not. It's not like just the old lead scoring or stuff like that. Lead scoring and chuck it over the transom right. It's really like no, across this whole account there there's various different things and you, sales can see it too and believe in it and if you don't like poke holes in it, tell us what is something wrong with how we're looking at it all, and so it's a very collaborative effort. Love the collaboration, love what you guys are doing, and I think Shark Week is a good example of alignment meeting multiple goals in a sense, because sometimes I think alignment gets not that it should ever be looked over intentionally, but it's like well, if we're driving key business results like that ends up being it. Shark Week, to me, goes okay. It creates a certain level of alignment between marketing and sales, while also obviously focusing on the numbers that are most important and what's driving the business, and so that's a great way to sort of wrap this conversation and thank you so much, least for breaking this down. I think this episode will be called alignment under construction,...

...because the truth is that it's this constant thing we're thinking about. It's alignment becomes what a buzzword and the BEOB space. For sure, it's something we know we need to talk about. I see linkedin post about it all the time. But how are we actually doing it? And so I think you're giving us some practical advice to day as to how to do that. As we wrap up, Lisa, tell us a little bit more about demand base and then we're people can connect with the business and with you online. Sure, yeah, thanks now. I think you're absolutely right. Alignment is a journey. It's not a destination and they're small steps that you take and and motions that you make every day, every week to make it better. So demand base, in its most recent rebrand is really a go to market companies. So we can help you across your account based advertising. We can help you understand the engagement that accounts are having with you as a company. We can provide you the data to help pick your target accounts and know the people who are in those accounts who are most important and most likely to be your buyers. And then at one of the key things is we can connect our products to your crm and keep that data on both the companies and the people continuously refreshed, and then this time of the e shuffle, the great resignation, you know like that becomes even more crucial so that nobody spending their time reaching up somebody who's no longer at that company. So those are some of the key things that we that demand base can do for and does do for our clients. You could find us at demand Bascom and you can find me on Linkedin. My name is Lisa Smith, so there are a few of us with this, as my father in law used to say, most popular name, but if you look up Lisa Smith and demand base, I think you'd be able to find me on Linkedin. Benjing. Thanks so much. Yeah, for sure. We've loved having you on the show and love what demand base is doing. Excited for you guys in the growth that you're seeing through this season. Thanks for sharing your wisdom with us today on BB growth now. It's been really a pleasure. Thanks so much, Benjie. If you're listening to this and you've loved the conversation Lisa and I just had make sure that you subscribe for future episodes. You can do that on any platform. You're listening to this on right now. If you want to connect with me, you can do that over on Linkedin. Just Search Benjie Block. I'm talking marketing, business in life over there all the time and would love to hear from you and keep doing work that matters. Will be back real soon with another episode. Be Tob growth is brought to you by the team at sweet fish media. Here at sweet fish, we produce podcasts for some of the most innovative brands in the world and we help them turn those podcasts into Microvideos, linkedin content, blog posts and more. We're on a mission to produce every leader's favorite show. Want more information, visit Sweet Fish Mediacom.

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