No Forms No Spam No Cold Calls

Latene Conant, CMO @ 6sense

Sales & Marketing Stage
Ascent Conference 2020

[00:00:00] All right, I believe we’re live. It’s the top of the hour, and that’s when they told me to get started.

[00:00:07] So I am Latene Conant and I’m so excited to be a part of this conference and all of the wonderful content. And today I’m going to share my manifesto for the future of account engagement. So a little bit of a Jerry Maguire moment that I had and actually wrote a book all about it.

[00:00:28] But today is the total Cliff Note version of that book over the next twenty five minutes. And I’m going to be asking you six questions throughout this presentation. So look out for that little bit about myself. I am a recovering software saleswoman turned into CMO and about two years ago I took on running marketing at a company called Sixth Sense. Sixth Sense is in the Martek industry. So I was thrown into the Martek industry and everything eat, sleep, breathe, account based, account based marketing and account based technology. And I’ve got to be honest, guys, it was a pretty big shock to the system. I felt completely inadequate. There’s eight thousand technologies on that Martek stack. And two years ago, if you asked me to name five to save my life, it would have been a real challenge. So I was really feeling pretty inferior. And I remember like crying to my husband, like, why am I doing this? This is such a bad bet. And he said, babe, you’ve got to you’ve got to play to your strengths. And I remember thinking, oh, my God, I have no strengths. What are my strengths? And I have this moment of truth thinking back on kind of my strengths and what I’ve done. And before I was at success, I was at a company called Aperio and we were all about customer experience. So I don’t know if you guys have ever seen this Forrester report on the age of the customer. It’s amazing. It basically talks about how if you want to compete and win today, you do it through customer experience. This was our first slide in our pitch deck at Aperio. I believe it. I still believe it. And so that’s why I love this quote from Steve Jobs. You got to start with the customer experience and work backwards to the technology, not the other way around. And I guess that’s my first question. Who here believes in that? He’s Steve Jobs, right? We all believe that probably, but then there’s another like kind of captain of industry, Richard Branson, and he says clients don’t come first, employees come first. You take care of your employees. They’ll take care of your clients. Who believes that? I believe that. I believe that, too. I actually believe that you have to look at both. But if you look at customer and employee experience together and you design your your whole motion around that, all of a sudden really magic things happen. And so that’s where I come from. That’s what we believed it Aperio. And so I look back and I said, I’m going to apply that thinking to Martek. And that’s where this next question comes from. So if we’re thinking about the experience we’re delivering to that, our salespeople have to go through and our leaders have to go through every day and then work, we’re thinking about the experience that we give to customers prospects who are future customers. My next question is why do we treat prospects or future customers like Dirk? Why, what do I mean by that when you go to buy, so when you go to make a purchase, what do you want to do? I want to research. I am an overprepare. I am not marching into my CFO office and trying to buy something unless I’ve done a lot of research. I want to educate myself. What do we do? As soon as someone wants to do research, build note or don’t do research, don’t learn from me. The next thing we do is we. The whole reason for the form is to get someone’s email right. So whether I want to hear from you, I don’t want to hear from you. Whether it’s relevant or not. We’re sending you emails. We actually send three hundred billion emails a day. Collectively, there’s only seven point seven billion people on the planet. That is crazy. No one’s reading those emails. And so the forums aren’t working. The emails aren’t working. So sales is still staring at a huge number. So they’ve got to go make cold calls. And I don’t know about you, but when someone spoofs the area code of my kids, school calls me. My heart stops, it’s awful, I hate that I don’t like that, but that’s like our motion form spam and cold calls. So no wonder buyers and buying teams that we want to engage are trying to be more and more anonymous. They’re trying to do more and more research without us knowing and filling out less forms. They’re having to get more people engaged. A whole buying team, Gartner says nine point six people on a buying team. They’re having to get all these people involved in the decision because it’s hard. There’s all this. They’re getting all these emails and all the information’s conflicting and they’re resistant. So, you know, we’re sitting there sending our emails and making our calls and they’re not having it. So we have to do more and more and more. And this phenomenon of the way biased by them being anonymous, fragmented and resistant, we’ve created we have created for ourselves what I call and we at six cents call a dark funnel. You think you have a sales funnel? You think you have a marketing funnel. You know, you have a dark funnel and it is evil. It is where all of your prospects are hanging out doing rich. Research may be there on your website. If you’re lucky, they’re probably on your competitors website and you have no idea. And so because of this, because majority of the time we’re in the dark, we have to work so hard. We’re working so hard, more hours, more content, more tech, more emails of Maury’s All for what? And again, I’m a recovering software salesperson. I love club. When we get it back, hopefully I love fancy shoes again. Not not a lot of point in wearing them, but at some point we’ll be back. I love those things and we are working so hard with our emails and our forms and our content for Maxwells. And I’m telling you, Maxwells don’t get you to club and they don’t buy fancy shoes. So my fourth question is why why are we working so hard for these inkwells when we know they’re fraught with issue? They’re either too early, so somebody really does just want that darn book, they are not ready to buy, but they do want that Darney book. Stabat And so that’s Nemko or they’re too late. They got around and maybe they do want a demo and we’re so stoked. But guess what, if they’re hot inbounding with you, they’re hot and bouncy with six other people that’s too late. They’re about one person. And I just said, according to Gartner, it’s nine point six people on a buying team. So we need to be multithreaded. We need to be looking at an entire buying team. Why are we focusing on it, which is only one person? And typically, I don’t know how many marketers are on here. And maybe they’re upset with me telling this, but we all know it. The scoring for empty is pretty arbitrary. They came to website, they went to the pricing page. They did this. They did that here, here, here, here, fraught with issues. So what if I told you I am I’m I’m sitting on some magic, which is AI and big data. And you don’t need to do ampules anymore. I can give you a new way, and I found this was my AHA at six. I don’t need to worry about inkwells. I’m the freaking kmo of six months. I’m sitting on all of this rich data. I can put this rich data together and I can start to understand a qualified account. I can start to understand how the bias that I want to sell to my ideal customers are engaging in that dark funnel. I can see the ones that are most likely to be great pipeline and great revenue for me. Let me explain how this works, so you have a limited engagement window, so I told you about that dark funnel, it’s evil, it’s terrible. But the reality is that, you know, there is gold in there, right? There’s prospects that are under a rock, they’re doing nothing, we don’t want to spend any time with them, they’re great account for us to sell to, but they’re not ready. There’s prospects that are starting to realize that they have a problem. This is great. I want them to know sixth sense we want to earn. You want them to attach your brand to their problem. There’s accounts that are out there in consideration, they’re starting to learn we want them consuming your content so they learn from you, not your competitor. There’s accounts out there that are in decision, meaning they might engage not with every vendor, but maybe one vendor. And there’s a out there that are in purchase, meaning they’re actively taking meetings today. For most of us, we’re in the dark. And so we’re waiting for this hot inbound, which is too late. But the reality is with AI and Big Data, we can uncover your dark funnel. We can shed a light on your dark funnel and we can show you for ideal accounts where they are in their buying journey. So there are seven thousand right now that are an ideal account for me to sell to that are in awareness. And we can start to timestamp when the ideal time to engage is the sweet spot between when they want to learn and when they’re open to engaging. So we’re at timestamp that and that’s when where we’re going to focus our sales and marketing energy. This gave me a huge epiphany. I love the six Kuai. It has changed my life and I remember one of my first sales managers was a guy named Chris Heineken and he used to always show me this picture of these dogs and he used to say, Latani, see these dogs if you want this first dog, this lead dog, guess what? The view is all the same. I want to be the lead dog, I want more of you out there to be that lead dog and that’s what this six Kuai is guaranteeing, that you’re getting in to deals early and at the right time. So let’s say you’re free from inkwells, I free you from the inkwells, we give you the six kuai you know the timing, you know, the end market accounts. And let’s say you also know every action that these prospects are taking. You know, their top keywords. You know what they’re researching. You know what they really care about. You know exactly who’s on that buying team and how engaged they are. And you know, things like demographic, technocratic, if you know and you have all that rich data at your fingertips as a marketer or a seller. Here’s question five, what prospect or future customer experience do you create? Do you need forms? Do you need spam? Do you need cold calls? My epiphany. About a year ago. Is you don’t. It’s possible if you have this data, you can put prospects or future customers at the center of your process and create an experience with no forms of spam. That is what I set out to do. I called it Project Bold Moves, and that’s what the book is about. I declared to my team they thought I was crazy. This is what we’re going to do and we’re going to prove that we can actually have better financial performance with this new experience. And so I want to shed just a little light on how how we did that. Again, the book has a lot more detail, but I’ll give you a few nuggets now. So no forms for us means all of our educational product related content is unjaded. Why? I want people to learn from me. That’s the whole lead dog thing. That’s marketing’s job is to help people learn. So again, back to that buying journey. As I see it counts as marketing seize accounts on that buying journey. And we know the key word that they care about in this case that I’m showing you right now, the key word that this set of accounts cares about their top research keyword is predictive analytics. So I am going to be highly relevant with how I engage them. I’m going to be so relevant, I’m going to engage them with what I know they care about the topic. I know they care about and based on their timing. So if they’re in awareness, I want them to know my brand, I want them to attach their problem and what they’re looking to solve predictive analytics with me. Want to send an ad with a video? Hey, check it out. Check out predictive. You know, let us help you educate. Then they’re going to move to consideration. What do I want them to learn? So I’m going to I mean, send them a case study or get them to a webinar, then they’re in decision. OK, now that that’s a critical place, I want them to start to engage. So I’m going to be more forward. Come see how we can help you. Contest us and then when they’re purchased, we want to make sure they’re taking a demo. So it’s based on keyword and based on timing, I am systematically across all channels, warming accounts up to get them through the process. Now, that’s not enough. You know, it’s not just about ads. We want to we want them engaging on our website. So we use Dreft for our chat bot. There’s lots of great chat bots out there and the bot is not going to talk randomly. The bot is going to talk to them about what we know they care about. We know they care about predictive analytics. So why wouldn’t we ask about that? Why wouldn’t we offer up some great content about that? And we know if their early stage, it should be one set of predictive content. If they’re later stage, it should be another. So right in the flow with them, what they care about, how their timing is progressing, moving them along their cycle. Same thing with our content hub. It’s going to dynamically change. Accounts are caring about different things and moving all the time. We’re going to be right there with them dynamically changing our hub based on what they care about and their timing.

[00:15:16] So we went from forms to a customer led digital experience. What about spam?

[00:15:25] Oh, my gosh, how do you do you not send e-mail? No, we send email. We send email, but we’re not going to send an email unless we know what a prospect cares about. We feel like we can connect and be relevant. We know the key persona, we know how to connect that pain or that keyword to the persona. And again, we know their timing. So our leaders don’t come in every day and wonder and just be staring down a list of accounts and not know where to prioritize and not know where to start their day. They’re going to come in and every day they’re going to know these are accounts that are in recently secured, they’re ready. They’re ready for you to engage. And they’re going to be able to have to work down a list of accounts, ideal ideal for us to sell to and at the perfect time they’re going to be able to see exactly what happened. Why why is this account in market? How can I be relevant? We then make something called a value card. This is a really important concept for us. I want to attach if I know they’re researching predictive analytics, that can mean something very different based on the personas we sell to. We sell to many personas. And so I don’t want to just reach out randomly about predictive analytics. I want to reach out and really customize my message about predictive analytics. If I’m a marketing ops leader, I’m probably wanting to know how to improve lead scoring. Demand and maybe it’s right by right time, maybe moving to account based, but head of sales, if they’re researching predictive, it’s probably around like accurate forecasting or something completely different. So we create these value cards to make sure that we can connect the dots. And so when we do do our outbound, we do send an email. It’s very relevant, the keywords right there in the subject line, and we’re really connecting to the person and the timing. And so, boom. We’re able to get much better engagement, and that’s our North Star throughout this whole process. We just want to increase an accounts engagement throughout that journey.

[00:17:34] So from spam to customer led engagement, still using email right now, the most controversial one, at least this one was the most controversial for our sales leader.

[00:17:47] He looked at me like I had five heads when I said we were going to have a process with no kolkhoz. Does it mean we don’t call? No, we still call. It’s not like I’ve, like banned phones in our office. We still call. But I don’t want our ADR providers to be making cold calls. It is my job to warm those accounts up for them. They need to be making more outreach and have warm territories. So what that means is my team runs 100 percent EBM and we have a very robust calendar of activities that we’re doing to target these key accounts and systematically warm them up for sales. The other key to this strategy is, is if you are out using A.I. and big data appropriately. And finding all of these accounts that are in your ICP. That are in market. And you know, all this information about him that’s happening all the time and our marketing team is working on this all the time, whoring up all these different accounts. Well, for the sales leaders out out there, how do you guys do territory design? Territory design is beginning of the year. Let’s set those target accounts, right, that does not work. And we found that to be a real problem. So part of this project, what we found was that we were warming up all of these accounts and they were becoming in market. And that’s that is the orange. But because our territories were static, we were leaving opportunities on the floor. And so part of this project was to collaborate with sales and say part of no code calls, no cold territories, and so our territories dynamically adjust to make sure that every sales person is put in the best position to win. Because every night they are getting an influx of accounts that we know are warm and ready, so that was another big part of kind of our our transformation. So we went from sellers having, again, a list of accounts that maybe were ready and not ready and static to ask every single seller having like in market accounts and insights to be able to to make real meaningful connections throughout the buying journey. So why are we doing this with it’s not for our health. We’re doing this for, you know, because we want to be a leading company. And I’m sure that’s why you guys are all at this conference is to learn so you two can be a leading company. And we have been able to consistently grow our IRR every single quarter, even during covid. We have industry leading Sarsae metrics. So, you know, it’s one thing to talk about having a great experience and then think you need to pour money on it. I don’t have an unlimited budget. So what we’ve seen with this process is it allows us to drive growth, but in a very, very, very efficient manner. And while I’m proud of that, I would say what I’m most proud of is pretty much every single quarter our CEO, Jason Zantac. Gets an email from a prospect who says, I had the reason I bought it was because I had such a great experience with your team. And in these emails, often they proactively call out the stars, I don’t know how many of you got leaders have run star teams, but it’s pretty rare that they get called out in a positive way. Usually it’s like this person is annoying me. I want a restraining order. So for us to get called out for our process and not really leading in that just means so much to me. Again, we’re growing. We continue to grow. And then the other thing that’s really meaningful to me is every single every other week we do something called the fun factor across our team. So across the entire team, we see how many days out of ten working days are you having fun and do you feel empowered? You feel you can do your job and it’s eight. So this to me is the culmination of. Of what? This whole process means an amazing customer or future customer experience and an amazing, amazing employee go to market team experience. So that’s my manifesto or little snapshot of it. There’s a lot more in the book, so please check it out. You can go to six cents dot com back, slash the book or send me a LinkedIn. I’m happy to get whoever would like a copy of the book, a copy of the book. Thanks for having me.

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