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 begrowth. I'm Olivia Hurley and today I'm joined by Ryan mccurdy, who's the vicepresident of global demand generation at lacework, Ryan, How are you doingtoday? 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 onmarketing that someone is going to end up putting on a plaque for you first ofall, but it's basically if it doesn't close it doesn't matter. And you sharedwith me that impacts the way you think about the SDR function A. B. M. Andwhat you've called, which I love your maniacal focus on your I. C. P. I'mcurious 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 waybackwards from a customer. And what I found over time is just like the moreyou do that, the more what you're saying is gonna resonate and ultimatelyyour, you know, I think we've all probably been part of companies whereyou're generating things but nothing is happening to them and there's a lot ofvariables along the way people are following up with your leads, it's likethe common thing red and usually that creates a divide and I think you knowwhat everyone wants is to just drive business. So when you stay focused onwhat actually closes, we're really focused on what ultimately matters indemand job now that doesn't mean brand isn't important and awareness is animportant, right? There's things there that you just can't necessarily trackto close one. But from a demand gen perspective, Close one is critical. Sohow has this philosophy impacted the way you've set up your marketingstrategy? Sure, it's, well, it's had a huge impact on our business. Like we, Ithink it all depends on the business and where you're focused. So to have amaniacal focus on like an ideal customer profile or be very specificwith who you need to go sell into that's not going to work for everybodyonly because sometimes maybe you have a really large town that you can talk toyou 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 hugeinstall base, right? Where for us, you know, where our company is selling twoin cloud security, so they need to be in the cloud for one and ideally theyhave a stronger security posture and we want to understanding those people areand if you're selling into any big technology shift, I think you want tobe really specific or where you want to sell into. So I've structured my teamto do that exactly, is be really specifically with where we want to sellinto all of our marketing programs, drive engagement into those accountswho we've done a fairly good dissection...

...of what it takes to be one of thoseaccounts, why those accounts care. And that ranges from what we're saying toanalysts to the content we create the campaign to be around down to how wefollow up with the accounts, across our sales team, across the channel acrossour scr team. And then you know ultimately how we train everyone to tothe tools were great. So I like to think about it is everyone's grabbingonto the same spear so to speak and pushing in the same direction. I lovethat. That's such a good visual before seeing results. How did you know orsuspect 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 startedearly days. Thanks work. I was roughly employee number 25. So we had a lot ofthings to go and figure out um still. So you know when I first came in Ireally built up a lot of the inbound and through trial and error. We'regetting a good understanding of what worked and what didn't what were theright accounts? And I remember having a conversation with like his name ischris I was probably point number seven. He was like our first S. E. Etceteraand I was like chris if we wanted to go to an enterprise sized deal in thisspace right? What's the makeup of the account we need to go talk to? And ofcourse I had all this data in front of me based on our inbound accountsetcetera, where I'm seeing traction, what's making it only halfway throughthe final etcetera. And you know, from that conversation with him, we wereable to extract what are the parameters for us to go and focus on. And that wasa 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 theresults, you had all of these indicators that it would be reallysuccessful. Now you've put into practice, what results have you seenfrom again? This intense focus on the top and the A B. M. Play. Yeah. So youknow, I think when you compare normal uh inbound results to where we standmost of our SQL to SQL conversion rates are significantly above average. Andyou know, even if we look at our str team, each person on the team, which isa large team, We've built up scheduling roughly two meetings a day, which ismore class. So we figured out a way to go say the right things into theaccounts, understand what marketing programs with them getting to driveengagement. And we were able to string those things together. Yeah. So didthis philosophy influence how you set up your team internally as well um to acertain 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'spart of onboarding is like, here's the uncle memorize it. Uh so we know likerather you're in sales marketing, whatever function and go to market, youknow, exactly the accounts were selling into and we're selling to all differentsizes of companies, but what's the right makeup of those companies and wehave everyone focused on that. We're using specific tools to help usprioritize those accounts, one of which is demand base, but formerly was knownas engage Geo was really prioritize accounts and that has been huge. Youmentioned that, that you have insights and just this, this opinion on wherethe sDRs should live. I'm curious, you know, have those two things, thisphilosophy on, if it doesn't close, it doesn't matter. And your thoughts onthe str function, do they come together at some point? Yeah, absolutely. Sowhat I found with SDR orders in the past, is there typically mistreated ina sense, it's like the island of misfit toys, which is really unfortunatebecause if we think about who's actually converting the majority ofmarketing investment is going to be the SDR team if you have an SDR two. So Ithink it makes the most sense for them to livin under DG capacity or withmarketing. So we can make sure they're properly enabled and that's fromknowing the message to helping them craft emails or even crafting emailsfor them and really giving them every tool necessary to be successful andcapitalize on everything that we're providing them and staying really closeto the data. I think that's the second part you're able to, when they're partof the team. I think you're able to just get into the weeds warm with thatand 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 aroundwhat 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 thatoperates like that. I'm curious is that what you've built in that process. Doyou think that works specifically with a company like yours or do you thinkit's something that man, everybody should take this approach. It couldreally be successful. I think it must be to be companies write an SDR or willwork great. What I found is a lot of people have had bad experiences withthe Sdrs, it's hard for them to go and really extract what the tangible valueis or the Ri and SDR because it costs something for sure. So people havedifferent experiences and I think that's impacted on whether or not theythink an SDR team is a good fit. What I can tell you is, I believe they'recritical if you're envy to be trying to...

...make sure your sellers are assuccessful as possible. I think sellers on their own, they have so many thingsto go focus on. So if you can help them with pipeline, which is arguably themost one of the, you could argue the most important important thing inbusiness. And the reason I say that is because what I found and I learned thisfrom my current sales leader, we're always focused on the forecast, right?We're not thinking about the bigger picture, which is absolutely true andthat's why pipeline is so critical and he's done an incredible jobevangelizing that across all of our sellers to make sure that everyone hasa pipeline focus. So that way you're thinking a couple quarters out Um andthe SDR is really enable that. So, you know, today, our marketing team and thestr team jointly and we resource roughly 70% of all closed one. Thatthat's a huge impact to our sellers and just making sure that our company isgetting to the places where we want to get to. So if you were going into anorganization where they didn't necessarily find the SDR functionvaluable and they didn't necessarily operate with this, like it's got toclose, its gotta close mentality how would you alter the focus of the teamor the organization? Yeah, well, it's all in the data. So, you know, I thinkin demand gen you're typically you should be close to the data and youshould be really trying to generate pipeline that closes already. But whatI find is most marketers just get to the SQL level there. Like I just got togenerate leads and pass them over. I just got to generate pipeline andhopefully sales close it. They're not really following it to the end. And ifI was in an order where you know, they were focused on those things, whichI've worked out previously, it's just looking at the data and just showingthe powers that be, so to speak. Hey, if we do more of this, I can get youthis. That's it. It's just if you can track to close, but you can, you canbuild to that. You can also might build a repeatable business. That's what youwant to do that. You can't guess every corner. You should be guessing a littlebit on pilots and other things, but largely what you should be doing isforecast double and repeatable. What did that change due to your stresslevels. So I can tell you there's a person on my team that always likes toremind, she likes to sometimes just remind me that like, hey, you are right.Because when I first started forecasting in our current business, Iwas like, hey, here's my initial forecast based on the ice p and allthese 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, rightbecause there's just so many variables and you know, come through our nextsale cycle. I did, I gotta, you know, within the bullseye early is reallyclose to, she's like, hey you're right, it's like I was right, that was thatwas awesome and we've just been able to...

...write and you're not always right. Ithere's five times what happened, right? So you know, it's just trying to get asclose to that bull's eye as possible. So I think that that definitely helpswith 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, changingmessaging is changing, it keeps changing. I can tell you we've refinedit multiple times over the last 2.5 years I've been here, so a lot ofvariables. But I think when you, you know, just the closer you stay to it, Ican tell you every time I go into our end of quarter reporting and into thenext quarter planning or six month planning, I always feel much betterafter that exercise is done. We have stepped in to attract you. That's theone thing that is really challenging. I've worked at other companies wherethere 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 onplan brilliant. That just that thought occurred to me of you know how itaffects your stress level so much because of that exact part. Like youknow where you're going, you know what you're shooting for And then at the endyou 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 youdo know you went exactly what you're going for and our colleagues in salesreally appreciate it too. We could say, alright, head of America sales areahead of me, a sales or whoever that might be like hey this is what I'mgoing to deliver for you. I mean we're down to like hey if we know we get thisice type of I. C. P. Account I will have a certain sp attached to it. So wehave a, we have a pretty good understanding of like they can't makeup and what they will typically generate. And for for us early for meI'm doing a reverse waterfall into the number starting from leads to coalesceto close. And then we also know the accounts we need to penetrate etceteraand 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 Whatyou've been doing and what you've seen work so well if they wanted toreplicate bringing in 70% of the closed one deals up there, B2B company, whatwould 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 gosell to, you'll be in a really good position. Most companies are justpretty general like, hey, this is who we need to go sell too. So if you cando that again, it's working backwards from the customer, talking to the realsmart people in your company who are really close to customers, who are outthere in the field, in the trenches, talking to customers, what they careabout. If you can get to that point,...

...extract all that and then really buildkind 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 teamwould 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 thefield 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 atlacework and their chops are so critical and I think the closer, youknow, you can work with product marketing and just have a great workingrelationship between product marketing and sales? It's hard to be, were therewarning signs along the way or was there, were there, you know anexperience of failure that you think you might want to warn people as theygo 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 beenaround forever though and I think there's some ways to position this. Itcomes down to a time conversation because ultimately you're gonna have tosell this idea to somebody. So I know executive sales executives today,marketing executives today that are burnt out on a VM. The investment inwork or whatever. It didn't work. And usually that's largely because they'rejust 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 itshows up in the numbers. So it's getting that by and initially andmaking 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 thinkthat's usually the biggest blocker that people run into is like, hey what arewe gonna align on? And I think positioning it as uh either focusing onthe I. C. P. You're focusing on things that close? It's hard to argue withthat. Like who doesn't want more things to close. You know marketing has gottenthat there's kind of been that perception that maybe marketing onlyjust cares about leads and MQ LZ. And I know a lot of marketers do and Ifundamentally disagree with just focusing on those things and I can tellyou sales does too. So I think yeah, focusing on closed one is the rightconversation have I'm curious about what are instances of scenariosorganizations where it wouldn't work. Yeah. So I think for organizations thathave a really broad tam right, it's not that it won't work, it's just probablynot need it. Although I think everyone can probably agree if you're asalesperson, you can only do so many calls in a day. So I've never I'venever met someone in marketing or sales...

...or if you're just looking at yourfunnel and they're like, well no meetings a bad meeting. Well there's nojunk in our funnel, like it's not true. There is. So the more you can removethat stuff and just optimized for everyone's time, the better. I mean, Ithink it's it's that conversation and I think a lot of companies b two Bdimension or whatever you want to call it are are leveraging account basedthings for enterprise largely right? I don't think it always has to be forenterprise too. So it's all depending on how you want to use it. I've chosento use it because we have to be very specific on space and you know, weevangelize that from the way we train to enable people from like day 12, youknow where we what we mark in sales horses and I speak out and how we'rearticulating all this, all the winds from it back to go to market andeverything else because there's also kind of you know, I think there's gotto market your marketing a little bit with this and just make sure everyone'sbody because the truth is people will come into your company. We have neverseen this model work before. I'm like hold on time out, I need to go sell thebiggest company that everyone's ever heard of and like, well no, there'sactually these 10 accounts in your backyard that you can do 500 K. Dealswith that you've never heard of. And I think some people just sometimessurprising but you know, the team here is where our revenue operations teamspecifically done an incredible job building. The system is necessary to goget this data being fantastic partners. We've had fantastic executive supportand even report support. Just go blow the doors off this thing, do whateverit takes and they're believers and what we're doing, man that must feel likejust the greatest pat on the back, getting that kind of support. That'sawesome. Yeah, Ryan, if there was like for me the thickest thread of thisconversation has been know thy seller. I mean buyer, no nobody seller to. Itwas good but man I tried to add in a little old english or something in agot it wrong so no your buyer. But if there was something else that youwanted listeners to take away from this, what would it be? I think it is a thebuyer is uh probably hard to operationalize because there's so muchthere to unpack. It's almost like where do I start? And I think it really juststarts like go dig into you know the closed one in salesforce and then goenrich all those accounts and just see what transpires in. I think we have adiscussion about it, run that run what you're seeing past your sc team or pastyour CTO s or pass your product manager of people just get your thoughts andlike hey why do you think this kind of...

...stuff from us? I think that's a greatplace to start a conversation. The other thing. I I just think it's greattake away from his. Maybe you don't need to go focus on the A. C. P. Butyou should be best friends with your sales team and make sure they have thesupport that they need. So whatever that looks like. Maybe it's differentmessaging because maybe that's all you need to go fix. Maybe it's just themessaging, 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 orthe we're not calling into the right person. So I think it's just reallyworking with your sellers to understand just like where should we go and focusand not letting that game of telephone get back to you and said like being theweeds with them, just trying to extract all those gold nuggets for you to gobuild knots and plan around. Oh wow. Well that was a gold nugget in and ofitself. Ryan. How can listeners connect with you if they want to dig in andlearn more? Yeah, you can find me on linkedin, Ryan mccurdy at lacework andthat's probably that's probably the best way. The best way. And how canthey find out a bit more about lacework? Yeah, just lacework dot com. If youtype in cloud security, we should come up. If we don't come up, I need, I needto go talk to people. But yeah, www at least work dot com or the leader incloud security, multi cloud environments work most containers,kubernetes, single platform scale with. So yeah, we're doing some reallydifferent things in the market that I think people appreciate. Well everybodydefinitely go check out Ryan at lacework Ryan. Thank you so much forjoining me today. No problem. Thanks for having me. It's been fun. Yeah,I've had a blast for the longest time. I was askingpeople to leave a review of GDP growth in apple podcasts but I realized thatwas kind of stupid because leaving a review is way harder than just leavinga simple rating. So I'm changing my tune a bit instead of asking you toleave 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 thenumber of stars you want to give us no review necessary. Super easy. And Ipromise it will help us out a ton. If you want a copy of my book, contentbased networking, just shoot me a text after you leave the rating and I'llsend on your way, text Me at 407, 4 and I know 3, 3 - eight. Yeah.

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