If it Doesn't Close it Doesn't Matter

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

In this episode, we talk to Ryan McCurdy, Vice President of Global Demand Generation at Lacework

Mhm. Hi everyone welcome back to be to be growth. I'm Olivia Hurley and today I'm joined by Ryan mccurdy, who's the vice president of global demand generation at lacework, Ryan, How are you doing today? I'm doing pretty well. Thanks for having me, I'm excited to be here. Oh of course I'm thrilled we get to talk Ryan. You have a philosophy on marketing that someone is going to end up putting on a plaque for you first of all, but it's basically if it doesn't close it doesn't matter. And you shared with me that impacts the way you think about the SDR function A. B. M. And what you've called, which I love your maniacal focus on your I. C. P. I'm curious where did this philosophy develop? Yeah that's a good question. You know I got advice early on in my marketing career is to work your way backwards from a customer. And what I found over time is just like the more you do that, the more what you're saying is gonna resonate and ultimately your, you know, I think we've all probably been part of companies where you're generating things but nothing is happening to them and there's a lot of variables along the way people are following up with your leads, it's like the common thing red and usually that creates a divide and I think you know what everyone wants is to just drive business. So when you stay focused on what actually closes, we're really focused on what ultimately matters in demand job now that doesn't mean brand isn't important and awareness is an important, right? There's things there that you just can't necessarily track to close one. But from a demand gen perspective, Close one is critical. So how has this philosophy impacted the way you've set up your marketing strategy? Sure, it's, well, it's had a huge impact on our business. Like we, I think it all depends on the business and where you're focused. So to have a maniacal focus on like an ideal customer profile or be very specific with who you need to go sell into that's not going to work for everybody only because sometimes maybe you have a really large town that you can talk to you like, you know, I think a lot of, a lot of companies out there will say, okay, well let's just go focus on the VM ware installed base, which is a huge install base, right? Where for us, you know, where our company is selling two in cloud security, so they need to be in the cloud for one and ideally they have a stronger security posture and we want to understanding those people are and if you're selling into any big technology shift, I think you want to be really specific or where you want to sell into. So I've structured my team to do that exactly, is be really specifically with where we want to sell into all of our marketing programs, drive engagement into those accounts who we've done a fairly good dissection...

...of what it takes to be one of those accounts, why those accounts care. And that ranges from what we're saying to analysts to the content we create the campaign to be around down to how we follow up with the accounts, across our sales team, across the channel across our scr team. And then you know ultimately how we train everyone to to the tools were great. So I like to think about it is everyone's grabbing onto the same spear so to speak and pushing in the same direction. I love that. That's such a good visual before seeing results. How did you know or suspect that this this focus on your I. C. P. And it sounds like an A. B. M. Play would really work for lacework. Yeah. When I started I was started early days. Thanks work. I was roughly employee number 25. So we had a lot of things to go and figure out um still. So you know when I first came in I really built up a lot of the inbound and through trial and error. We're getting a good understanding of what worked and what didn't what were the right accounts? And I remember having a conversation with like his name is chris I was probably point number seven. He was like our first S. E. Etcetera and I was like chris if we wanted to go to an enterprise sized deal in this space right? What's the makeup of the account we need to go talk to? And of course I had all this data in front of me based on our inbound accounts etcetera, where I'm seeing traction, what's making it only halfway through the final etcetera. And you know, from that conversation with him, we were able to extract what are the parameters for us to go and focus on. And that was a game changer from that point on. They've been doing three extra years. Oh wow. So yeah, tell me a little bit about that. So before seeing the results, you had all of these indicators that it would be really successful. Now you've put into practice, what results have you seen from again? This intense focus on the top and the A B. M. Play. Yeah. So you know, I think when you compare normal uh inbound results to where we stand most of our SQL to SQL conversion rates are significantly above average. And you know, even if we look at our str team, each person on the team, which is a large team, We've built up scheduling roughly two meetings a day, which is more class. So we figured out a way to go say the right things into the accounts, understand what marketing programs with them getting to drive engagement. And we were able to string those things together. Yeah. So did this philosophy influence how you set up your team internally as well um to a certain extent because so you know, we're probably 90% compass today, right? So everyone just has that focus. So in...

...fact, part of our training today, it's part of onboarding is like, here's the uncle memorize it. Uh so we know like rather you're in sales marketing, whatever function and go to market, you know, exactly the accounts were selling into and we're selling to all different sizes of companies, but what's the right makeup of those companies and we have everyone focused on that. We're using specific tools to help us prioritize those accounts, one of which is demand base, but formerly was known as engage Geo was really prioritize accounts and that has been huge. You mentioned that, that you have insights and just this, this opinion on where the sDRs should live. I'm curious, you know, have those two things, this philosophy on, if it doesn't close, it doesn't matter. And your thoughts on the str function, do they come together at some point? Yeah, absolutely. So what I found with SDR orders in the past, is there typically mistreated in a sense, it's like the island of misfit toys, which is really unfortunate because if we think about who's actually converting the majority of marketing investment is going to be the SDR team if you have an SDR two. So I think it makes the most sense for them to livin under DG capacity or with marketing. So we can make sure they're properly enabled and that's from knowing the message to helping them craft emails or even crafting emails for them and really giving them every tool necessary to be successful and capitalize on everything that we're providing them and staying really close to the data. I think that's the second part you're able to, when they're part of the team. I think you're able to just get into the weeds warm with that and then ultimately steer them in the right direction, which is, you know, the things that close. So as an example today I built a scoring model around what closes and that's how we Qambar Sdrs were still very focused on that. Oh, that's so fascinating. So not everyone has an SDR function that operates like that. I'm curious is that what you've built in that process. Do you think that works specifically with a company like yours or do you think it's something that man, everybody should take this approach. It could really be successful. I think it must be to be companies write an SDR or will work great. What I found is a lot of people have had bad experiences with the Sdrs, it's hard for them to go and really extract what the tangible value is or the Ri and SDR because it costs something for sure. So people have different experiences and I think that's impacted on whether or not they think an SDR team is a good fit. What I can tell you is, I believe they're critical if you're envy to be trying to...

...make sure your sellers are as successful as possible. I think sellers on their own, they have so many things to go focus on. So if you can help them with pipeline, which is arguably the most one of the, you could argue the most important important thing in business. And the reason I say that is because what I found and I learned this from my current sales leader, we're always focused on the forecast, right? We're not thinking about the bigger picture, which is absolutely true and that's why pipeline is so critical and he's done an incredible job evangelizing that across all of our sellers to make sure that everyone has a pipeline focus. So that way you're thinking a couple quarters out Um and the SDR is really enable that. So, you know, today, our marketing team and the str team jointly and we resource roughly 70% of all closed one. That that's a huge impact to our sellers and just making sure that our company is getting to the places where we want to get to. So if you were going into an organization where they didn't necessarily find the SDR function valuable and they didn't necessarily operate with this, like it's got to close, its gotta close mentality how would you alter the focus of the team or the organization? Yeah, well, it's all in the data. So, you know, I think in demand gen you're typically you should be close to the data and you should be really trying to generate pipeline that closes already. But what I find is most marketers just get to the SQL level there. Like I just got to generate leads and pass them over. I just got to generate pipeline and hopefully sales close it. They're not really following it to the end. And if I was in an order where you know, they were focused on those things, which I've worked out previously, it's just looking at the data and just showing the powers that be, so to speak. Hey, if we do more of this, I can get you this. That's it. It's just if you can track to close, but you can, you can build to that. You can also might build a repeatable business. That's what you want to do that. You can't guess every corner. You should be guessing a little bit on pilots and other things, but largely what you should be doing is forecast double and repeatable. What did that change due to your stress levels. So I can tell you there's a person on my team that always likes to remind, she likes to sometimes just remind me that like, hey, you are right. Because when I first started forecasting in our current business, I was like, hey, here's my initial forecast based on the ice p and all these things. So there's so many variables. And the first time you do, it kind of feels like you put your finger in the air a little bit, right because there's just so many variables and you know, come through our next sale cycle. I did, I gotta, you know, within the bullseye early is really close to, she's like, hey you're right, it's like I was right, that was that was awesome and we've just been able to...

...write and you're not always right. I there's five times what happened, right? So you know, it's just trying to get as close to that bull's eye as possible. So I think that that definitely helps with your stress level. But you know when you're at a hyper growth company, you never know there's, there's changes all the time markets, changing messaging is changing, it keeps changing. I can tell you we've refined it multiple times over the last 2.5 years I've been here, so a lot of variables. But I think when you, you know, just the closer you stay to it, I can tell you every time I go into our end of quarter reporting and into the next quarter planning or six month planning, I always feel much better after that exercise is done. We have stepped in to attract you. That's the one thing that is really challenging. I've worked at other companies where there is no plan. Um So always trying to make sure like hey we have a plan, everyone's routed around the plan, we have the resources to go deliver on plan brilliant. That just that thought occurred to me of you know how it affects your stress level so much because of that exact part. Like you know where you're going, you know what you're shooting for And then at the end you can say I hit the bull's eye which you can say if you were successful, even if you didn't have a plan went so much more rewarding when you when you do know you went exactly what you're going for and our colleagues in sales really appreciate it too. We could say, alright, head of America sales are ahead of me, a sales or whoever that might be like hey this is what I'm going to deliver for you. I mean we're down to like hey if we know we get this ice type of I. C. P. Account I will have a certain sp attached to it. So we have a, we have a pretty good understanding of like they can't make up and what they will typically generate. And for for us early for me I'm doing a reverse waterfall into the number starting from leads to coalesce to close. And then we also know the accounts we need to penetrate etcetera and then every functional demand gen piece around that has their own goal. So I would say it's pretty detailed so if somebody wanted to replicate What you've been doing and what you've seen work so well if they wanted to replicate bringing in 70% of the closed one deals up there, B2B company, what would be step one for them? You have to understand what's closing and why, Because if you understand that, then you can formulate who you need to go sell to, you'll be in a really good position. Most companies are just pretty general like, hey, this is who we need to go sell too. So if you can do that again, it's working backwards from the customer, talking to the real smart people in your company who are really close to customers, who are out there in the field, in the trenches, talking to customers, what they care about. If you can get to that point,...

...extract all that and then really build kind of an operational mechanism around that all based on data, basically, usually, like what's the makeup of an account and who in the buying team would care and what should we say? You know, I think you'll be in a really, really good place and then it's just making sure you're staying close to the field close to sales and understanding like what makes an impact and, you know, lacework, we haven't uh we product marketing hasn't always been at lacework and their chops are so critical and I think the closer, you know, you can work with product marketing and just have a great working relationship between product marketing and sales? It's hard to be, were there warning signs along the way or was there, were there, you know an experience of failure that you think you might want to warn people as they go down this this avenue? Yeah. So there's uh well a B. M. Is a buzzword. So I try and stay away from it. For the most part. Target accounts have been around forever though and I think there's some ways to position this. It comes down to a time conversation because ultimately you're gonna have to sell this idea to somebody. So I know executive sales executives today, marketing executives today that are burnt out on a VM. The investment in work or whatever. It didn't work. And usually that's largely because they're just not buying across the aisle or you're not staying close to it enough. I mean I can tell you, we evangelize R. I. C. P. So much in our current company. It's like a religion and we know he's not focused on it and who is because it shows up in the numbers. So it's getting that by and initially and making sure all the right parties agreed or region will make it happen. So if you can do that then I think you're in a really good place. I think that's usually the biggest blocker that people run into is like, hey what are we gonna align on? And I think positioning it as uh either focusing on the I. C. P. You're focusing on things that close? It's hard to argue with that. Like who doesn't want more things to close. You know marketing has gotten that there's kind of been that perception that maybe marketing only just cares about leads and MQ LZ. And I know a lot of marketers do and I fundamentally disagree with just focusing on those things and I can tell you sales does too. So I think yeah, focusing on closed one is the right conversation have I'm curious about what are instances of scenarios organizations where it wouldn't work. Yeah. So I think for organizations that have a really broad tam right, it's not that it won't work, it's just probably not need it. Although I think everyone can probably agree if you're a salesperson, you can only do so many calls in a day. So I've never I've never met someone in marketing or sales...

...or if you're just looking at your funnel and they're like, well no meetings a bad meeting. Well there's no junk in our funnel, like it's not true. There is. So the more you can remove that stuff and just optimized for everyone's time, the better. I mean, I think it's it's that conversation and I think a lot of companies b two B dimension or whatever you want to call it are are leveraging account based things for enterprise largely right? I don't think it always has to be for enterprise too. So it's all depending on how you want to use it. I've chosen to use it because we have to be very specific on space and you know, we evangelize that from the way we train to enable people from like day 12, you know where we what we mark in sales horses and I speak out and how we're articulating all this, all the winds from it back to go to market and everything else because there's also kind of you know, I think there's got to market your marketing a little bit with this and just make sure everyone's body because the truth is people will come into your company. We have never seen this model work before. I'm like hold on time out, I need to go sell the biggest company that everyone's ever heard of and like, well no, there's actually these 10 accounts in your backyard that you can do 500 K. Deals with that you've never heard of. And I think some people just sometimes surprising but you know, the team here is where our revenue operations team specifically done an incredible job building. The system is necessary to go get this data being fantastic partners. We've had fantastic executive support and even report support. Just go blow the doors off this thing, do whatever it takes and they're believers and what we're doing, man that must feel like just the greatest pat on the back, getting that kind of support. That's awesome. Yeah, Ryan, if there was like for me the thickest thread of this conversation has been know thy seller. I mean buyer, no nobody seller to. It was good but man I tried to add in a little old english or something in a got it wrong so no your buyer. But if there was something else that you wanted listeners to take away from this, what would it be? I think it is a the buyer is uh probably hard to operationalize because there's so much there to unpack. It's almost like where do I start? And I think it really just starts like go dig into you know the closed one in salesforce and then go enrich all those accounts and just see what transpires in. I think we have a discussion about it, run that run what you're seeing past your sc team or past your CTO s or pass your product manager of people just get your thoughts and like hey why do you think this kind of...

...stuff from us? I think that's a great place to start a conversation. The other thing. I I just think it's great take away from his. Maybe you don't need to go focus on the A. C. P. But you should be best friends with your sales team and make sure they have the support that they need. So whatever that looks like. Maybe it's different messaging because maybe that's all you need to go fix. Maybe it's just the messaging, it's not resonating. Maybe you are calling into the right accounts. Maybe you can call into every account and everyone's relevant your message or the we're not calling into the right person. So I think it's just really working with your sellers to understand just like where should we go and focus and not letting that game of telephone get back to you and said like being the weeds with them, just trying to extract all those gold nuggets for you to go build knots and plan around. Oh wow. Well that was a gold nugget in and of itself. Ryan. How can listeners connect with you if they want to dig in and learn more? Yeah, you can find me on linkedin, Ryan mccurdy at lacework and that's probably that's probably the best way. The best way. And how can they find out a bit more about lacework? Yeah, just lacework dot com. If you type in cloud security, we should come up. If we don't come up, I need, I need to go talk to people. But yeah, www at least work dot com or the leader in cloud security, multi cloud environments work most containers, kubernetes, single platform scale with. So yeah, we're doing some really different things in the market that I think people appreciate. Well everybody definitely go check out Ryan at lacework Ryan. Thank you so much for joining me today. No problem. Thanks for having me. It's been fun. Yeah, I've had a blast for the longest time. I was asking people to leave a review of GDP growth in apple podcasts but I realized that was kind of stupid because leaving a review is way harder than just leaving a simple rating. So I'm changing my tune a bit instead of asking you to leave a review, I'm just gonna ask you to go to BBB Growth in apple podcasts, scroll down until you see the ratings and reviews section and just tap the number of stars you want to give us no review necessary. Super easy. And I promise it will help us out a ton. If you want a copy of my book, content based networking, just shoot me a text after you leave the rating and I'll send on your way, text Me at 407, 4 and I know 3, 3 - eight. Yeah.

In-Stream Audio Search

NEW

Search across all episodes within this podcast

Episodes (1705)