Evolve Your Marketing Team with Kyle Lacy

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

In this episode Benji talks to Kyle Lacy, SVP of Marketing at Seismic.

What levers can we pull to evolve our marketing teams? How can we best utilize our tools and align our teams as we scale? Kyle provides the questions and framework necessary to move your marketing team forward.

Kyle acy, welcome in too be to be growth. It's a pleasure to get to chat with you to day. Many thanks for having me. Absolutely so many are going to be aware of you and your work, maybe your books. You have experience dating back to time. It sales force open view. You have been the CMO at lessonly for what close to five years, and then recently you've made a transition. Tell us a little bit about kind of what you're up to now. Yeah, so lessonly, we are. We are part of the Lucky Group of companies that were acquired last year. We were acquired by a much larger company called seismic in the sales enablement space in August of last year and that was basically acquiring a sales and coaching platform like lessonly and building it into the enablement platform that seismic sells. Seize mix around one thousand five hundred employees with lessonly. So it's just a much larger entity and I currently serve the marketing team at seismic. Great. Tell me what, what kind of excites you about this new role in this new season? I mean it's a different I always get excited about different opportunities, especially in a career. Yes, and this gives me a different opportunity. It's not something that I have not done in my career and it gives me a different view into how how a much larger entity works, how a different investment strategy works, in terms of it just being a different path to growth than lessonly was because lesslie was venture backed right BEC firms. So what makes me most excited is that enablement as a category is is just I mean, we've talked about it a lot sales there. ENABLEMENT is a title that people have enablements. The conversation that's been happening over, you know, size. It's been around for ten years, but really around the past five, four to five years, and it's finally starting to grow into a category creating type machine. Yeah, and that's what's so exciting about is that a lot more people are talking about the value of enablement, not just because seismiccel it sells, it because it's so valuable, and that's what I'm most excited about. If someone's like a little bit newer to enablement, give us like a broad kind of like definition of what you're talking about there. Yeah, I mean it has a lot of different components, but ultimately it's about how do you enable? So how do you support a frontline team, whether that's customer support, customer service, sales? How do you support them through the sales process, through the personal development process, giving them the right pieces of content, giving them the right coaching, giving them the right training in order to be the best sales reps possible. So you know, peep will experience decrease in Chern in terms of you know, for Reps and people, an increase in productivity from the reps as well. It's great. It kind of leads us right into where I want to start our conversation today. So want to spend the next twenty thirty minutes with you talking strategically. First, on something I've heard. Actually listen to a talk you gave on Youtube called wide. You moved SDRs to report to marketing and a lot of what you're experiencing, what you were talking about in that video is what you just mentioned. You were experiencing a lot of churn on your SDR team and it led to some strategic thinking in Studs, some strategic movement right in the ORC. So set up that scene for us a little bit. And what you're experiencing this is few years back. That kind of led to those strategic conversations. Yeah, and I think it's important to set the stage on what we're actually talking about in terms of this. The type of company. Seismic much larger organization. The SDRs and beat ours are the the outbound bedrs live in sales and bound strs live in marketing. My Org at seismic lessonly at the time. This is two...

...thousand and eighteen and we continued it throughout our growth. But this was sub five millionaire are we were growing. We had just raised series be. It was definitely a much different it's a different scenario than what I'm experiencing today. Just yet the stage. But Yep, for us it was. It was mostly just around the fact that we wanted to unite the tip of the speed here. We wanted messaging to be similar, we wanted to make sure there was deep alignment between sales and marketing. So when you are a sales led type go to market model right where it's very much dependent on your head count capacity to grow revenue right, for every ae you're at account executive, you're adding equals a certain amount of pipeline, equals a certain amount of revenue. Hmm Leslie was very lucky that we had a very strong inbound strategy which kept US growing exponentially while we were figuring out the outbound model. So for us it was looking at the outbound model and saying, Hey, it makes sense that marketing would control and support a lot of pipeline development as well as revenue creation. Seismic is different. Enterprise sales motion lessonly more commercial model where you're experiencing like a sixteen and Ninety Day sales cycle. So it's again, I'm kind of all over the board right now, but it's very much dependent on business model. But for me it's how do you unite the message across all your go to market channels? Right, okay. So what starts that kind of conversation for you guys to go? Okay, we should bring them this under marketing because I think some of those strategic conversations when your hair's on fire, evolutions necessary. Right. So, if you were experiencing the chaos that we're going to just start talking about it, well, it isn't working. You don't when your hair is on fire, you're not looking at things that are working to fix right when your hair is on fire, you're looking at where is the fire, not the bucket of water that's down the hallway that's working really well. Like our in like we're not going to break our inbound strategy lessonly because it was working. Our organic search is very strong that type of stuff. So for us it was the outbound model was not working. I'll know beat our model and in order for us to scale at the time past five million, ten million, thirty million, we had to figure out how to while we're increasing the mbound contribution, we had to figure out different levers to pull to increase other revenue contribution channels, altbound bed ours or one of those. And it just so happened that I had an inbound strategy that works. So I raised my hand and said I will take them now. The selfish side of me at the time was thinking I want marketing should always have the seat at the table at the board level, and the only way that we can really have a true seat at the table is if we own a revenue number or a pipeline number in two thousand and seventeen, two thousand and eighteen. That was not a normal thing to discuss as marketing teams. It wasn't like we wanted to own the content revenue for the sales team and lessonly. We just had a situation where marketing had the opportunity to source seventy percent and that new revenue. Now sales team closed it. Got To give them props for that, but marketing was source of a lot of it. Okay. So here's the thing is, when you think about orgs where their hair is on fire right where it's like we have to think of a solution, that's when a lot of innovation, a lot of evolution within organizations happens because something has to give. But something strategic that you see a lot of those on the forefront doing is we're also thinking with vision, going okay, this is working right now, but we should be tweaking as we go. We should be looking at what could we brave up moved shift? Obviously, if something's working great for you, you're going to keep doing it, but you also want to be thinking how are we strategically evolving? And I feel like that's kind of where I want to go with you. is going.

Okay, you're in a new role, you're in a new place. I wonder, as you see maybe scale at a different level, as you have a bit of a different vantage point right now. What are you looking at going this is short of maybe the next evolution. This is some things we could be trying, some questions we should be asking, and so let's go there a little bit. Let's look forward in marketing and I'd love to get your take on on some of what you see coming maybe here in the next the next couple years of evolution that you want to maybe be involved in. Yeah, I think that there's you know, I I we always love to talk about the next evolution and we always like to talk about trends and how do we shift perspective and change and all that stuff. In the reality is a lot of the tools that we have just need to be utilized appropriately. Right like I am still, I would say, I would say this, at exact target, and this was in two thousand and ten, where enablement was highly, highly, highly effective. For me as as somebody running a thought leadership team, I had to enable a thousand account executives, Yep, on what the content was. That was driving a lot of these leads that they were working right. So for me, looking at the future, it is how do you create better alignment across an org that's scaling rapidly. HMM. One thing that I have realized moving from a scaling from fifty employees to two hundred and fifty, getting acquired and then dealing with how do you move, how do you shift perspective from two hundred and fifty employees two thousand and fifteen hundred and a global entity? What I have realized is that the the issues and the challenges and the opportunities for improvement are the same, they're just different scale. Right, there's people, there's a processes and there's investment. Right. And so when we're thinking about the future, it really is dependent on are you part the questions you should be asking yourself or first what is your Goto market model? Are you sales let or you product led? You know, for speaking specifically for software? Right, if your sales led, you have to constantly be thinking about how do you how do you make a headcount capacity model more efficient so you could drive more revenue in the cheapest way possible for the product led. That could be a component of the future of demand Jin and my opinion, it is how do you make sure that the product is driving the growth of a company? Right, and as you get bigger net dollar retension or gross dollar Retenson is going to be a more important metric for you then maybe when lessonly was at five month, if that makes sense, because you got to get companies in the door. But at the seismic level we have huge customers and it could be that, you know, we focus primarily on customer up cell. So for me, if I look at trends, it is how do I make the current model more efficient? How do I still pull the levers of organic search? How do I get paid more efficient? But as you move up market, which all companies basically do, it's how do you utilize the product to drive growth and then how do you build, as you build the demand gend model consistently and as you have repeatability across different segments, how do you focus on a named account strategy that makes sense, and I think for me that's the future of how do you upsell and then how do you actually build a named account strategy that that makes sense and that and I'm and I'm specifically not saying ABM for a reason because and I won't say either. Yeah, well, that's sorry. That was a really long answer. To know, it's very short question. There's so many kind of rabbit trails we could take with that that I I'd like...

...to I love the conversation piece of it and I love the thought process because I can I can totally track with where you're going there. I want to take you back to the beginning of one of the things you said and just say to utilize the tools that you already have. But to do that, I mean we geek out about our text AC, we geek out about all of the things that are available to us. So what are ways that you guys are making sure you are using your tools the most efficiently you can and you have the right ones? Is that I would love to hear kind of your thought there. So the way we think about tool usage is dependent on the goals that we have as a marketing team, and for us it's how do you expand the customer base, how do you drive pipeline in a efficient way, and then how do you tell the brand story more effectively? Right, and we aligned tools and spend across all of those different those three different goals. Right. So for us it's I don't care, I could care less what the tool is, hmm, as long as it is driving towards one of those main goals. So the reason I bring that up is I think too many times people go out and look at tools. I mean, let's use seismic as an example. Go look at seismic for Content Management, for coaching and enablement, and you're looking at the different features and functionalities and how cool would be to use it and a lot of times you've got to have a conversation on how does it aligned to the main the main company adjectives? Our buyers and our customers are very good at aligning that, honestly. But I think a lot of times marketers will go out there and just buy a new product because a peer was using it or because they're going to try to retro fit it into their strategy. But I think you need to do the strategy work first. That's the problem that I have with a lot of ABM vendors is that you go by the technology and you haven't done the word to try to understand the strategy around using the technology. You cannot buy the technology first. You have to understand the strategy behind and I can say that because I've failed at it three times. Tell us about one of those failures. Really bad tools. Well, it's all. It's all. It's mostly around ABM and it's exactly I finally got to the point where we got to define a strategy before we go buy tools. Right, and you can buy any tool you want, but it needs to align to the strategic direction of the team. And I don't care if you're one million of revenue or two hundred and fifty million. And if you're selling it, then you need to be aware of how it fits into who you're selling to. Right, like value selling its best, like what seismic is great at is value self and the prospects in the customers understanding how it fits into their objectives and their goals. Right, and I could say that that lessone was getting there, because as you move up market, that's way more important the value model. But again, going back to tools, I think we could talk a lot about tools, but usually marketers don't spend the time doing the strategic work before they buy the tool. Hey, everyone, emily brady with sweet fish here. If you've been listening to be to be growth for a while, you know we are big proponents of putting out original organic content on Linkedin. But one thing that has always been a struggle for it seemed like ours, is easily tracking the reach of that linkedin content. That is why we are really excited about shield analytics. Since our team started using shield, we've been able to easily track the reaching performance of our linkedin content without having to manually log it ourselves. It automatically creates reports and generates dash boards that are incredibly useful to determining things like what content has been performing the best, what days of the week we're getting the most engagement and our average fuse. proposed. Shield has been a game changer for our entire team's productivity and performance on linked in. I highly suggest checking out this tool if you're publishing content on Linkedin for yourself or your company. You can get a ten day free trial at shield up dot AI, or you can get a twenty five percent discount with our Promo...

Code. Be To be growth. Again, that shield up got ai and the Promo Code is be the numbers. Two feet gross all one word for it, twenty five percent discount. All right, let's get back to the show. One of the other things you mentioned was how to better create alignment at scale. Obviously, in any organization you want to unite the tip of the spear, which is something that you mentioned when back to your lessonly days. I wonder what you're learning because of the scale here, more people, right, it's more I mean it's just kind of more of everything. So you're going to have also more problems. So, but what is that going on there? Well, so early on we forced alignment when we moved BDR's over to marketing because the lessonly sales team seventy percent of their pipeline or their revenue, like their quota, had to come from marketing. So there's no way in hell that we would be ignoring each other, because we had to. We had to be lock step constantly. Now, as we grew and as we expanded and as we were hiring at people quarter, we had to rely on somebody else, and it turned into that it was operations and enablement. Okay, so are at Leslie, our enablement team was like the hub with spokes, with all the revenue spokes coming out of it. Surprisingly, it's the same at seismic. Honestly, they've got enablement, sales ops, marketing ops and there the hub to all the different revenue creating teams. And you, I think a lot of times, as business is scale they fail to think about the product marketer, the enablement people, the operations people, the the sales force admins. That could be that that hub and kind of unite all the teams together, and they just keep hiring sales and marketing people. But eventually I think we hit, I want to be a little bit more prescriptive here, at around twenty account executives. We hired an enablement person. Okay, we ended with forty five reps and we had for enablement people. So it is almost an enablement person per ten a's, because they were the glue we had. Product Marketing lived in enablement. Yeah, less only, and that's not normal at all. I've never actually seen that happen. It just made sense. Not such a big part of it. Right. It's like what makes sense for you where you are, and that's and don't be afraid of just doing it because and just because all the templates and playbooks say it's wrong doesn't mean it's wrong for you. Okay, because you're in a bigger Oregan. Now, does it make your internal like because you you're pretty prone to changing things, to evolving. I just saw the post that you put on linkedin where you kind of talking about some of that in the need to just kind of be so it's it's a personality thing, but it's also what makes a lot of marketers thrive, right, is this ability to kind of look and do new things. So is it different how fluid you can be? Do you feel any of that or do you still you're able to change pretty quick in this model? Yeah, yeah, I still feel the fluidity. I think it's a different type of change. At lessonly you would have to slack messages and you could shift an entire team sure to between like three people. Right, because we could move, like if we needed a competitive campaign rolled out, we could do it in a week because everybody was sitting in the same room and you could just raise your hand and say I approve. that. FIT lessonly that should not fit and does not fit a large organization, right, because you have more people that have responsibilities, that have opinions on what should be done, and not necessarily wrong opinions. Right, I want everybody to hear me. Most of the time the opinions...

...and feedback that you get on strategic direction in a large organization is correct. Like everybody has their own opinions, but usually it's good to hear from other people. At smaller orgs you can move more nimbly because you don't have that many people to ask. So there's still fluidity because we have the ability to move quickly. It's just a different type of movement where I just there's more people that you're involving in the process, but we haven't slowed down at all. I experience more issues with fluidity at sales force and at the exact target than I did that I experiencing here at Sizwick. When you look at the future of marketing, is there anything I'm obviously that's pretty broad, but for you specifically, maybe in your role, are there any questions that you're asking right now as you look at two thousand and twenty two strategic things you're thinking through that you think could be good takeaways for us? Yeah, I mean there's the couple things. How can the internal team play more of a role in the external activation of brand? I firmly believe, because I've seen it twice at exact target and a lessonly, and even sales course you could argue. I firmly believe that an internal team has to believe in the brand message and positioning and mission vision values before it will ever make any sense and to the external market. Most brand launches and brand mission shifts or brands in general fail because the internal team doesn't believe it. So I'm very interested in how you can scale something like that, which I've seen a couple times, but that's from a shift, from a marketing strategic direction. I think marketers a need to be focused on pipeline in be focused on how do you build a story that's not just another regurgitation of what the market saying. You know, if you put up five of your competitors to pretty much all saying the same thing with different words, right, how do you tell a story that's a little bit different? So for me it's marketing. It is generate pipeline, generate revenue and generate a story that's different than your competitors, like, actually different, not like hey, I just use a different word in the headline of my in the h one on my website. Easier said than done. Yeah, and that's but that's like talking to customers. Marketers, you should probably talk to customers, Yep, not just ignore them. You need to tell a story. That's you need to you stuff like that. Okay, let's go back to that question. So how can the internal team played deeper role in external branding? What would that like perfect world? What does that look like to you, kyle? What would this team is operating at all cylinders. You're able to create it at scale. What does that look like? I think it's seeing employees, teammates, sharing stories about their job and what they love about their job and what they love about their brand, using the values in the mission of seismic in in their daily routine. Right. I think a lot of times people think of values as a word like intake, herity, whatever, productivity, whatever the hell everybody talks about. But for us it's more of a value statement, like a lessonly it was we share before ready. We have difficult conversations and if you're using values in a sentence like hey, I'm sharing before ready, you have done I saw it at exact target where they had something. We had something called Orange Culture, right, and the brand was orange, but that wasn't the reason why it was powerful. It's because our customers started talking about this idea of being orange and the orange culture. And when your customers start talking about it, you know your employees believe in it. Yep, same thing happened at lessonly would do better work, right, our customers were talking about do better work,...

...is because our employees believed in it. So the internal team sharing about it, using it, you will know it's working when it organically spreads to the customer base. Yeah, and that's where you're saying too, and think this is really strategic. I mean I would say this for us, that's sweet fish our team, those that aren't in marketing, aren't in sales, them sharing things, whether it's on left in or whatever. That's I that's definitely when it's caught on in the culture enough so it's okay, this is expanding in it. Yeah, clearly, if you share something we are. We're talking a lot about commodity content right now and if you know, those that aren't in our org are now saying that and they're you know, they're aware of it. Yeah, it's caught on and obviously you can take that to scale in a lot of different ways and you're going to see a lot of sports as another example, right, where people talk about being a trailblazer. HMM, it's a great example, right, and they perfected it over the year. So, you know, I do think that there is a lot of conversation right now around tactical marketing place, right, ABM and search and organic and all these different channels. But ultimately it's it. You got to start with the story first, which is why the strategy before the tool. HMM. You know, it's why you're spend time trying to to build an outline before you jump on a podcast, right, like you're not just going to go create a podcast for the hell of it and go interview a bunch of people. Right. You've got to spend the time understanding the why before you move to the how. And I think a lot of times people, marketers, because I am guilty of this, moved to the how too quickly. HMM. Yeah, it's so much about mindset. Marketing is in the mindset and when you get the mindset right, and I think this is something I'm learning in podcasting right now. I'm not, definitely not perfect in it at all, but if we're asking better questions and we're focused more on the like what questions should we be asking, then the results follow. If our if our why, is locked in, then we can create a how that's better. But yeah, so many people for just like locked in on what tool how do we do it? What's the quick tip? Like how do we rank higher in Seo? And no one's worried about the content, no one's worried about the like. What's the mindset behind this? And you get, if you get that right, all the brands that we like, no like and trust that all is generated from the why behind it. So I love that. It's different for it. It's different for everybody and I'm not going to Simon cynic you like. I'm not going to be you know, the power of why or whatever the hell we're talking about. Everybody's different. You still need the revenue, but for me, what I have seen across exact target sales, sports lesslie now seismic. HMM. You have tactics will grow you, but the strategy behind the growth it will break. You've got to have that foundation because each growth stage you're going to break, like you're going to marquis. Strategy is going to break. You're going to have to shift and it without the foundation it's going to be really hard to shift appropriately to grow. HMM. That's good. There's a lot of them taken away. I love that. That question at the end. How can the internal team play deeper role in the external branding. I think that's a big one for me. How are we utilizing tools appropriately? Like just taking if I'm going, what's a good takeaway after this? If you're listening, take like a little bit of time to go, like, are we really utilizing all the tools that we have access to? And have we told everyone on our team if you've on board a new people here early in two thousand and twenty two and they don't know how to use your full set of tools, and like you're all not all on the same page. Man, that's a great place to start. Just getting up possible there, like why do you? Why do you have the tool? Exactly, answer that, yes, first, yes, and then you do the how, how to use them? Awesome. I love it. Cow, this is a great conversation, man, for those that want to stay connected with you, how can they do that? Where you most active and where can people reach out? A twitter, Kyle P lacy, or Linkedin? I'm pretty active on linked in as...

...well. Thanks so much for spending time with us here on BB growth. Thank you for having me. Appreciate it absolutely well. We're always having insightful conversations here. We're trying to help you continue to grow and innovate. Subscribe to the show, never miss an episode, and you can do that on whatever your favorite subscription service kind of is. Connect with me on Linkedin to search Benjie box and keep doing work that matters. Talking. Gary v says it all the time and we agree. Every company should think of themselves as a media company first, then whatever it is they actually do. If you know this is true, but your team is already maxed out and you can't produce any more content in house, we can help. We produce podcast for some of the most innovative bb brands in the world, and we also help them turn the content from the podcast into blog posts, micro videos and slide decks that work really well on Linkedin. If you want to learn more, go to sweet fish Mediacom launch or email logan at sweet fish mediacom.

In-Stream Audio Search

NEW

Search across all episodes within this podcast

Episodes (1705)