The Key to Achieving Sales and Marketing Alignment in B2B
As the marketer of a software service product, Meagen Eisenberg isn’t just a CMO. She is also a salesperson, which is why her alignment with MongoDB’s sales team proves critical to the company’s rapid success. Through her influential roles at multiple B2C and B2B tech companies, Meagen can attest to the fact that any company, no matter its audience, can create a pattern of collaboration and success in creating a unified buying path.
From insights about demand generation, to Martech, to work-life balance, Meagen’s marketing insights apply to CMOs everywhere, whether you’re B2B, B2C, or even B2D. When reflecting on her career, Meagen shares that the alignment of sales and marketing teams has transformed companies that she has worked for, including MongoDB. On this episode, you’ll hear Meagen’s top 5 ways to increase your company’s internal collaboration, as well as discover the engaging marketing strategies MongoDB uses to attract developers. She also explains why the marketing and sales funnel strategy isn’t dead, and how it can be used in innovative new ways.
Learn why collaboration is the future of marketing by listening here.
What You’ll Learn
Meagen’s top 5 ways to increase your company’s sales and marketing alignment
Just like countless other companies, MongoDB has struggled with sales and marketing alignment, as well as collaboration between teams. As a tech company that offers a database as a service, Meagen has learned to overcome the challenges of managing teams made up of employees with varied skill sets. Developers, salespeople, marketers, and more all want MongoDB to succeed, but approach it in different ways.
From her years in both engineering and marketing, Meagen has learned how to create the ultimate environment of collaboration. Check out all the details behind her top 5 strategies for alignment on this episode.
- Understand your sales funnel and how it converts leads into customers
- Intentionally build all of your systems together
- Focus on authentic communication
- Identify the stopgaps in your sales system
- Invest in your tech stack (but don’t add more tools until you’re ready)
MongoDB uses creative and engaging strategies to hook their audience
After Meagen and her team built a solid team, together they were able to develop creative marketing strategies. They hook interested followers through live events, energetic brand advocates, and a speedy website that always delivers to their followers. They fill their robust website platform with content that educates and inspires. This content is found in many forms, such as white papers, blogs, thought leadership pieces, product demonstrations, and compelling customer stories.
Marketing and sales are about putting the right information in front of the right people at the right time
Alignment between your marketing and sales departments doesn’t happen overnight. Meagen and Drew discuss how a business that sells directly to consumers as well as to other businesses can approach their content marketing strategies. For example, when a B2B prospect visits your website, they most likely need to be connected to an account manager and salesperson that can address their specific needs and questions. A B2C prospect, however, is much more likely to explore your website and fill out an inquiry form all on their own – without ever speaking to a salesperson. The key in content marketing and sales is to make it obvious to your followers who you are and what you do, that way you can address their questions before they even think of them.
- [0:30] MongoDB is a massive resource for CMOs
- [2:04] Meagen’s Renegade Rapid Fire segment
- [12:16] Alignment between sales and marketing is critical – use these strategies to succeed
- [16:03] Connecting with developers is key
- [19:16] The sales funnel is not dead in today’s marketing world
- [21:35] What’s the difference between MongoDB and a datalink system?
- [23:11] MongoDB hooks their audience through a variety of creative marketing tactics
- [30:32] Balancing B2B and B2C audiences for your business
- [39:24] Meagen’s problem-solving thoughts for the challenges facing marketing
Connect With Meagen:
Resources & People Mentioned
- Women 2.0
- BOOK: “The Conscious Parent: Transforming Ourselves, Empowering Our Children”
- Ep 64, “How Looker is Enhancing Marketing Data Analytics Through Organization and Face-to-Face Communication”
- Ep 91, “Why a Digital Brand Relies on Outdoor for Growth”
Connect with Drew
Full Transcript: Drew Neisser in conversation with Meagan Eisenberg
Drew Neisser: My guest today is Meagen Eisenberg, CMO of MongoDB, a database company that went public in 2017 and is on several analyst lists as the next billion-dollar unicorn. In a recent video, Meagen noted that MongoDB’s database is downloaded 40,000 times a day and that their “full-throttle marketing approach” has driven a 73% increase in leads, a 33% increase in sales accepted leads, and a 27% increase of funnel velocity. Those are a lot of big, powerful numbers. For you fans of account-based marketing, those are big, or should I say “Mongo” performance improvements.
Meagen, by the way, is a veteran tech marketer with experience at global businesses ranging from startups to mid-market to Fortune 500. This is amazing—you have the golden touch—she’s been part of eight successful exits since 2011 as an operator and advisor, including two IPOs and six mergers and acquisitions. A little bit more background and then we’ll start. She has an engineering degree and an MBA from Yale but promises to dumb all of this down for me.
Meagen Eisenberg: Ha.
Drew Neisser: Meagen, welcome to the show. Thank you for having me.
Drew Neisser: Let’s start with renegade rapid fire. Let’s just get to know you a little bit. Tell me, what’s your definition of marketing?
Meagen Eisenberg: I think marketing is attracting, converting, and keeping customers or delighting them.
Drew Neisser: Clean. What is the primary role of the chief marketing officer?
Meagen Eisenberg: I think about it as reach and revenue when you think about awareness and then driving the business, but as a CMO, I also think about three circles: one, how I help us lead within the industry and lead the industry, two, how I help lead the company, and then how I lead my function as a marketer.
Drew Neisser: Interesting. In an earlier episode with Greg Welch at Spencer Stuart, we talked a lot about leadership, and it’s interesting that you went right there right away. He really emphasizes that, as my listeners will know. What is the top priority for you as a CMO right now?
Meagen Eisenberg: Right now, my top priority is MongoDB Atlas. It is our self-serve product. It’s a database as a service. We launched it about two years ago, and it’s growing very fast. It’s 18% of our business and will be probably half our business by the end of next year.
Drew Neisser: For people listening who don’t really understand what that means…what is database as a service?
Meagen Eisenberg: Sure, so we like to say that we allow developers to build the app and not worry about the ops. We take care of all the backend, the upgrades, anything you need on the backend, so you can just focus on what you love and what you’re building within the product.
Drew Neisser: And these developers are web site developers? These are app developers?
Meagen Eisenberg: They’re app developers. They’re mobile developers. Yes.
Drew Neisser: Okay. And so these folks license your product and essentially pay on a monthly basis in order to put all their data in the cloud in different formats, and then they can suck it out for their applications.
Meagen Eisenberg: Yes. We actually have on-premise. People are running MongoDB on-premise, people are running it in the cloud, and there’s hybrid as well. We’re on Amazon, GCP, and Azure.
Drew Neisser: What’s your favorite part of the job?
Meagen Eisenberg: I would say the innovation within marketing—I’m a huge fan of MarTech—and just seeing what you can do. Now that there’s so much more data in the world that we can actually access, which is what I love about MongoDB as well, it allows you to access all that data and get insights from it. I think that makes it amazing in what we can do.
Drew Neisser: Alright, what’s the least favorite part of the job?
Meagen Eisenberg: Well, I have three young girls, and we are headquartered in New York, so I would say the bus and the sky.
Drew Neisser: The bus and the sky. Yes. That’s funny, you know, I was reading about it—I hadn’t put two and two together, but the founders of DoubleClick are also the founders of MongoDB, which makes sense because they founded it in New York. I actually met Kevin Ryan years ago.
Meagen Eisenberg: He’s amazing.
Drew Neisser: Yes. What’s your proudest moment as a marketer? It doesn’t have to be here, but just in your career. What’s your greatest hit?
Meagen Eisenberg: I mean I certainly have to say going public in October of 2017 was an amazing experience.
Drew Neisser: That’s what the company did. Is there something that you, as a marketer, where you put a program together, and you went, “Wow, that just killed it. That was a grand slam?”
Meagen Eisenberg: In reference to that moment in time, it was my first time going public. Learning what that takes, about the media that you have to get in front of. There is a large quiet period, and then you go big in one day, and then you go quiet again. Rallying the company. There’s so much excitement around it. Working with NASDAQ, all the learnings around that. Being a public company. Just really a lot of first-time experiences.
Drew Neisser: I get it. I mean it must have been amazing and incredibly exciting. I hadn’t really considered the internal aspect of this as well because folks want to know what it’s going to mean for them, and without employees, we don’t have a company. What would you say is the most renegade thing you’ve done in your career?
Meagen Eisenberg: You know, people often are surprised by my transition from being a VP of Demand Gen at DocuSign and Customer Acquisition, and switching to a very heavily-focused tech developer audience with MongoDB. I think people were surprised by that switch, but I think if you know the core functions of marketing and you’re networking and learning continually, I just had to surround myself with people that focused on developers and our audience. I had to learn a lot about the product in open source. It’s definitely doable. When you go and get your MBA, it’s not so much the industry. You learn models and best practices and you should be able to apply them to many different industries and personas, and I think that this is a testament that you can do that.
Drew Neisser: Yes. My friend Kim Whitler, who is a professor of marketing at the Darden School in Virginia, bemoans the fact that those that don’t have some fundamental training really don’t understand what the job is. They don’t have a discipline. I totally get that. We had DocuSign’s Scott Olrich on the show several months ago. Anyway, is there a brand that you admire the most that hasn’t been mentioned on the show? I know you haven’t listened to every episode, so what’s a brand you admire most that isn’t Apple?
Meagen Eisenberg: Certainly in our space, I love what they’re doing over at PagerDuty. They also focus on developers. It’s a woman-led CEO, Jennifer Tejada, and I think that it’s just her philosophy and the way she’s balanced her team out—I think it’s 50% female leadership, 50% engineers—and just her give-back. She’s part of the 1%, and I really like the philosophy and what they’re doing over there.
Drew Neisser: Very cool. We’ll look up that company. I know you’re very involved in women in tech. Talk about that.
Meagen Eisenberg: I’m a founding advisor for Women 2.0, which really encourages supporting and educating and mentoring women. I also just recently this week went to a dinner that was hosted by a woman who was very successful in tech, and then founded her own winery and business—Phifer up in Napa. That was kind of fun, to see what she went through to build that, and how she’s in what she considers to be a male-dominated industry and learning from her. We do a lot at MongoDB with our women’s group. We recently got five months of parental leave, gender agnostic. We’re doing a lot as well to make sure we have the right infrastructure at work to support women and men.
Drew Neisser: That’s very cool. I’ve been talking to a couple of CMO friends and we focused on what it means to be a woman CMO and if there are differences and so forth. But I think I’m going to save that for another episode. Is there a recent book that made you rethink things?
Meagen Eisenberg: I took on an executive coach this year, and she’s actually even more of a life coach for me. She’s been amazing. Kristen Cobble. One of the books she recommended was Unconscious Parenting, and having three girls who are 9, 7, and 4, I think your home life needs to be balanced as well as your work life. It has really good parenting tips and techniques, and both my husband and I read it. I think even some can apply at work, but it was a good book for me.
Drew Neisser: As a parent who’s made it over the hump and my kids are out and off the payroll and doing fine, you need some permission to have a sense that what you’re doing is actually okay, particularly when you’re working really hard and have this big job, and you’re juggling all these things. That makes sense. We’ll link to that book. Best advice you were ever given?
Meagen Eisenberg: Sales alignment in the marketing world. Certainly in B2B, enterprise marketing, and SaaS, it’s really making sure that you’re partnering with your sales team and they’re an internal customer. It’s no fun to work at a company where those two functions don’t align. I’ve had really good luck and success at MongoDB aligning with the head of sales and understanding their challenges and what we need to put in place, having their support when I needed budget and headcount. I really had a great relationship with Carlos Delatorre as the CRO, and I think that alignment was a lot of success for us.
Drew Neisser: Very cool. I think that’s a great place for us to pause because I want to dive into that a little bit more when we get back. Stay with us.
Drew Neisser: We’re back, and my guest is Meagen Eisenberg, the CMO MongoDB. We were talking about sales and marketing alignment. What a lot of organizations suffer from is that marketing is really good at driving leads, sales-qualified leads, in fact—that was in your data—and then just saying, “Here you go! See ya.” That’s obviously problematic for any number of reasons. Since you talked about getting sales and marketing alignment, what are some of the things that you did to make that happen?
Meagen Eisenberg: I think it’s really important that you build together. You create the models. You understand the persona and align around it. You understand the funnel and how it’s going to convert and that, even if you’re going to do lead scoring, everything is built together. I also think that habitual communication matters. It’s not enough to say it upfront. You have to check in. You have to have a feedback loop and continually improve. It’s never over.
Every two, three weeks, there’s a new thing you’ve got to smooth out. In some ways, it’s like a manufacturing floor. You’re going to have bottlenecks. I was APIC-certified. Out of college, I was an IT engineer for master schedulers and really learned a lot through that, and I think leads are the same way. Lead flow, they go different paths, and there are different things that stop them from getting in the hands of sales, whether it’s the qual team or the systems that you use. I think that today there’s such an amazing tech stack between marketing and sales that gives you the visibility that you need to facilitate communication, handoff, and follow up. Really investing in that stack matters.
Drew Neisser: You said a lot there, and it’s all interesting. The first point of building together. When you talked about building together, you mentioned persona or personas. Talk a little bit about how many personas you have.
Meagen Eisenberg: Sure. We certainly know that developer is our core. The future of our business is developers and they’re choosing the tools that they build their apps on and they’re really influencing the C-level. Developer is a major one. I would also say the C-level executive who is trying to transform their business, the digital transformation, they’re trying to modernize a legacy stack that’s been around for 40 years. If you think about databases, relational has been around 40 years. It’s definitely time for disruption, so they’re thinking about these things like, how do we innovate and modernize? Then, at the level of the VP of engineering/head of IT that is trying to also look at what they’re building.
They’re very expensive resources. There was a study that just came out, I think by Strike, that talked about how 80% of developers’ time is actually used fixing and correcting bugs and code and maintenance. They don’t get as much time on the innovation or the building. We really pride ourselves on educating on how fast you can move with MongoDB. It’s the natural way to work with data with the document model.
Drew Neisser: I know a little bit about developers, although it’s dated. Years ago, Renegade worked with IBM to target developers. Literally, this is probably 15 years ago. It’s a quirky group of people, but I imagine today, given the fact that every one of your competitors knows that all roads lead to them, and it’s not just the database. It would be the e-commerce platforms that would want to do it, so you got a huge range of people fighting for the attention of the developer. What kind of insights have you found that have helped you connect better with this really interesting, head-down, primarily male—still—role. How have you found a way to connect with these individuals?
Meagen Eisenberg: I think there are a couple ways. One, the product, of course. We have a really good product-market fit. By word of mouth and social media, they are actually social, and they’re out there—we have over 575,000 developers that follow us on social media channels, so we interact and engage with them on social. They’re talking about the product, how they’re using it. We have a lot of great customer use cases. We’ve got a client base and massive brands like Barclays, so having that customer voice that they look to and sets examples, that’s certainly an amazing way to speak to any persona.
They want to look at other customers and developers and what they’re doing, and on the channels they want to be found on, which seems to be social and online. Whether on Hacker News or Stack Overflow or Quora, they’re out there asking questions and engaging. Then we have a thriving university. We crossed a million developers in our university platform this year, and it just tells you that they’re trying to learn. They want to learn and use the hottest technology out there.
Drew Neisser: I did get a chance to investigate the university. A lot of brands. We had the CMO of Demandbase on the show. They’ve created a wonderful school, if you will, for account-based marketing, and they charge for it. I’m sure it’s a revenue model or certainly a breakeven. Is your university free?
Meagen Eisenberg: Yes, a lot of it is free. If you want to bring it into your business, there are other structures that you can do, but yes, the universe is free. We have an app that you can download.
Drew Neisser: Do you end up with a certification?
Meagen Eisenberg: Yes, we have certifications as well.
Drew Neisser: And those are free as well?
Meagen Eisenberg: Yes.
Drew Neisser: It’s interesting because those are the two alternative models in that you charge for it, and that gets a more serious customer more committed, they want to complete it. On the other hand, it closes down the world of developers because your product initially is an open-source product that they could actually get for free, right?
Meagen Eisenberg: Yes. We’re an open-source product at the core.
Drew Neisser: It would make sense, as an open-source product, and again if you’re in the developer mindset, the notion of having to charge to learn how to use this thing is just plain annoying.
Meagen Eisenberg: Yes, that’s true. Actually, what I love is they teach MongoDB in a lot of top computer science universities. Yale, being a great example, teaches MongoDB in their computer science courses.
Drew Neisser: Is that a coincidence?
Meagen Eisenberg: It is a coincidence, yes. Actually, I get to go back once a year and teach a computer science management class in October. I love that the students know MongoDB because that’s what they were taught in the class.
Drew Neisser: So, if you’re not a developer and you haven’t heard of MongoDB, it’s okay. Very interesting, as we’re talking about this universe and this highly targeted thing. You used the term “funnel.” There’s a lot of dispute in B2B whether, in fact, there really is such a thing as a funnel anymore because the buying process, particularly on the enterprise level, is so long and circuitous. You get your mobilizer involved, and then they serve it up. Then the CFO comes in and says, “We’ve got to start again because I need this.” Then the IT person comes in. You mentioned “funnel” though, and you described things in that way. Is it because at the end of the day the developer is the mobilizer, and if you sell them, you’re good?
Meagen Eisenberg: I used “funnel” because I think it’s a great model to talk about the stages someone goes through to buy from you. You’re right, some people go through it multiple times, some people go through it faster than others. My job is to get as many people in it and through it and increase the velocity of it. I love the serious decisions model. I think it makes a lot of sense for B2B to understand the stages. I think people really think about leads and then pipeline, and they forget there’s this whole qualification process that goes on in the middle. By using the serious decisions model, you can not only talk about the leads coming in, how they’re qualified, the handoff to the SDRs, the handoff to sales, the close, and then keeping them as customers. It allows you to track it through systems like Salesforce. We use Eloqua as our marketing automation platform and Full Circle CRM to help us really track those stages. We found it a great way to understand our business.
Drew Neisser: Are you using MongoDB to market MongoDB? Is your database the back of your marketing?
Meagen Eisenberg: It is our website. Our CMS is MongoDB, and we’re built on MongoDB, so from that standpoint, yes. We have a whole data warehouse project where we have a lot of data as well on our product that we use to better market and follow up as you go through the registration process.
Drew Neisser: We’re over 100 episodes, so I forget sometimes, but we did have an amazing interview with someone who was in the data lake from Looker, Jen from Looker.
Meagen Eisenberg: Jen Grant from Looker.
Drew Neisser: Yes, thank you! What is the difference between what you do and a data lake?
Meagen Eisenberg: It’s a good question. A data lake, I would say, is where you’re going and you’re pulling in data from a lot of different areas, and you’re doing analytics on it. We are mostly known as an operational database. Imagine an app. A bunch of users gets on the app, and they are reading and writing information in real-time, it’s very alive. A data lake may be something where you collected data over time and you’re running analytics on it and instead of having to wait two days, a week, two weeks to get information back, you can quickly run against the data lake. We are used as a data lake as well. There are instances where MongoDB is used as an analytical database, not just operational.
Drew Neisser: Okay. That’s way too technical for the audience. We’re going to take a break, and when we come back, I really want to dig into the things that you learned about account-based marketing, and how this has really helped drive your business forward.
Drew Neisser: We’re back, and I’m with Meagen Eisenberg, CMO of MongoDB. We just got very technical for a second, and I want to step back. You mentioned that you use Eloqua. Let’s talk about your marketing technology stack. First of all, how are you getting folks into the pipeline to begin with? What is the hook that’s starting all of this conversation?
Meagen Eisenberg: Well, certainly we have the benefit of open-source. We have a massive amount of visitors on our website, to our docs to learn about our products, to the university. A lot of it is making sure we have valuable information where they’re willing to exchange their information for it. I would say a majority comes from our website, and part of that is making sure we have really good content. Also, we have a pretty robust field strategy. We are in a lot of the cloud ecosystems, Reinvent and the AWS Summits, as well as GCP and Azure cloud events. We do a lot of dot locals and our world event in New York every year, so we’re definitely in the field, and we have dev advocates that are out there in the coding language communities learning and working with the product and teaching others about our product. That’s really the field, and online brings everyone in.
Drew Neisser: Right, because eventually you need to touch people physically too, and I know the developers appreciate that. We had some wonderful programs with developers over the years. But the content—other than the free databases, the tool itself is content. The university is content. Is there blog content? Is it white papers? Is it research? What is it that is particularly of interest, and are you pushing it every day? This is a big issue for marketers, content.
Meagen Eisenberg: Yes. A lot of what draws people in are our white papers. We do blog. We’re always trying to up the number of blogs that we put out there, but we certainly have technical blogs, we have thought leadership pieces, we have product pieces, how to use the app, and a lot of customer stories. People want to see what others in their industry are doing, so by having these compelling customer stories, you get a lot of interest around that. It’s a lot more compelling than us telling the story, for sure.
Drew Neisser: White papers have been around a long time. A lot of people are doing white papers, blogs, and so forth, but there are something like 2 million new blog posts going up every day. It’s like a lot of blog posts. Are you using media to help make sure that those things bubble up when a developer does a search when they’re looking for this topic? How do you make sure? You can’t just post it on your website and say they’ll come.
Meagen Eisenberg: You’re right. They don’t. There’s a lot of work around SEO, making sure you’re using the terms that people are searching for, making sure that you’re seen as the domain authority on that topic. Certainly, the eyeballs create more eyeballs. But if you have linking, really looking at your linking strategy, how do other sites link to you? How often, when someone actually goes into your site or finds you through search, do they stay and read the content? All of that matters. Really making sure you’re putting out the content people are searching for, and then you’re seen as the domain authority. You’re trying to get your organic search up, which is not a quick fix, certainly. You have to build that over time.
Drew Neisser: We have a lot of content that’s there. We have a lot of people who are finding you. You have very positive word of mouth. What’s a challenge for you right now?
Meagen Eisenberg: I think always trying to get awareness. We have a lot of products. You’ve got MongoDB Atlas, which I mentioned is a database as a service. We’ve got MongoDB Stitch, which is a serverless platform. We’ve got our BI connector. We’ve got charts. We do amazing work on creating products, so how do I get awareness for all these different products out there in the market?
Drew Neisser: This will be interesting when you get there—at some point, you will max out on digital spend. It is inevitable. It happens, and what’s interesting is we had the CMO of Zoom on the show, and they actually went with an outdoor strategy.
Meagen Eisenberg: Yes, I see them all over. Airports, you name it. Freeway.
Drew Neisser: Now, their product is even more consumer-broad usage than yours, although, for the most part, it’s still a B2B sell, so it would be interesting. But from a media spend, because I read about this, you spend most of your dollars on digital.
Meagen Eisenberg: We do. Although, we just did our first billboard. It’s on 101 right now on the way from the airport to San Francisco, and it’s “Friends don’t let real friends use relational databases.” As you come in for Oracle OpenWorld, we want to send a little public service announcement to you.
Drew Neisser: How nice of you! Wow. Who says guerrilla marketing is dead? That’s so funny. I could imagine there could be a whole level of this.
Meagen Eisenberg: Sure.
Drew Neisser: Oracle is the enemy here.
Meagen Eisenberg: Certainly, they’re the legacy database, and it doesn’t hurt that a lot of people don’t like them and that they’re held to not having too many alternatives. We’re actually real alternatives so, yes.
Drew Neisser: It’s helpful to have such a clear enemy like this because you know what they’ve done, what their record is, and it’s very hard for them to act like a startup.
Meagen Eisenberg: Definitely, they cannot.
Drew Neisser: They can’t.
Meagen Eisenberg: Frankly, they were built before the mass amount of data, 40 years ago before iPhones. They weren’t built to deal with the mass amount of data you need for an app running on your phone and to react in such quick moments. Think of Lyft. Think of these apps where there are millions of people all of a sudden, and the app needs to continually update. They just can’t do that.
Drew Neisser: Interesting. In that sense, because of the way yours is designed, you have a speed advantage.
Meagen Eisenberg: Yes.
Drew Neisser: Flat out. That’s interesting because I didn’t get that immediately. That’s just a structural advantage because you were built more recently.
Meagen Eisenberg: Yes. With the document model, the JSON model, we’re not stuck to rows and tables. You put all the information that logically makes sense on one document, so you’re not doing the queries across multiple tables that often takes time to write that and bring it in. Everything’s in the place that needs to be to access immediately.
Drew Neisser: I think I understand that. I’m imagining that Oracle is one giant Excel spreadsheet. You’re more like, there are Word docs, there are spreadsheets, and PowerPoint, and you’re able to get the data from all over.
Meagen Eisenberg: Graphics, yes.
Drew Neisser: Everything from there. OK, I really simplified that, probably well beyond, but in a way that I can understand it. There is a limited pool of developers, one would argue, so building awareness and getting top of mind for them is important now. You have this challenge of saying, “Hey, by the way, we have these other products,” which is a whole new set of developers potentially that might be interested. I saw that you mentioned in another interview that you’re both a B2B and a B2C marketer.
Meagen Eisenberg: That’s right.
Drew Neisser: Talk about that a little bit and what challenge that represents for you in terms of setting up your team and looking at your business.
Meagen Eisenberg: It’s such a great question. When I think about B2B, certainly we have an enterprise sales team. When you think about B2B, you’re supporting someone in sales to go sell. We have an enterprise, which I would say is $750 million in revenue above, and we have a corporate team, which is on the phone, so enterprise in the field mainly, corporate teams on the phone calling and selling. When we switch to B2C or B2D, B-to-developer, that’s people coming directly to your website. They register. They give their credit card, and they start using your product without ever talking to anyone in sales.
When we launched our first really self-serve product two years ago, Atlas, we had to change the way we brought them in. That was a different skill set. It’s a lot of the SEO, the digital, growth-minded marketers. It’s the experience on the form and experience within the product because you want to make it as frictionless as possible. To get front of them is so different than trying to go with the B2B sales force.
You’re right—I think if you look at teams that are in the developer world, like a Twilio or maybe a Stripe, when you look at their marketing teams, they’re about 10% of an org. Even HubSpot, they were really self-serve. They didn’t have an enterprise sales team. They had corporate. They were always about 10% of the org. B2B tend to be about 5% of the org, with slightly different skill sets.
If you think about it, B2B is all about leads, self-serve is all about user acquisition, and that’s a username and a password versus first name, last name, company, industry, phone number—the things a salesperson would need to follow up on. When someone’s coming to your site, you need to quickly determine if they are going to go in front of sales, or are you directing them to self-serve. What information do you need? The more you ask for self-serve, the less they’re going to fill it out, and really with either group, but you need enough information where sales can follow up if it’s a B2B model. You really don’t need as much. You just need the user on your platform, and then you may need to make it so obvious what you do, and what to do to go from a free tier to a paid tier within the product.
Drew Neisser: Wow, lots of questions that I want to get into. They talk about with form fills, whether it’s corporate or otherwise, people put in false information, particularly, this new Gen Z. Forget millennials, I mean the Gen Z are really, it’ like, if you can’t figure out who I am just by my cookie, I’m not going to bother. They’re putting the wrong information. What I’m wondering is, is there artificial intelligence or other tools that can simply do that for you, so you still only need about the same amount of information?
Meagen Eisenberg: Yes, there definitely is. There are a lot of tools that can give you industry and company information. We use Demandbase on the back end, we use InsideView, we use DiscoverOrg, Social123, now called Synthio. What that does is a lot of them will look at the IP address. They’ll tell you a lot of locations, like company, state, information. For the actual company, they’ll tell you the industry they’re in, and if they’re residential or commercial. It’s like forty different attributes you can get just from IP address.
They also will look at the domain of the e-mail address, and give you a lot of information, maybe another 10% or 15% more information. You can do that on the back end—you don’t have to ask. Where you tend to have to ask is on the personal information, like name. Right? You want to address them, and we know we address them by their first name that they’re more likely to review, engage, and convert. And, if you are going to follow up, phone number. Now, if it’s self-serve and they can go in, then you don’t need the phone number. If you really want to have a sales team follow up, phone number. You’re right, a lot of people give you inaccurate phone numbers, so you follow up by email. If you don’t give us a real e-mail address, you actually can’t get into the product, and you don’t get the asset if you’re trying to get a white paper or something. We tend to get accurate e-mail addresses, but not necessarily phone numbers.
Drew Neisser: Right. What really rings interesting to me is that as the marketer of a software service product, you’re the salesperson as well. You’re creating a revenue stream that, as a CMO, is in some ways very gratifying. It’s like, you guys keep doing what you’re doing over here, but we’re going to drive some big revenue. That’s kind of cool.
Meagen Eisenberg: It is. It’s definitely a partnership between marketing and engineering. I would say B2B is marketing and sales partnership, and B2C or B2D is marketing and engineering because it’s so much about the product experience and that hand-off. You bring them in, but then they have to have an amazing experience to stay, register on the product, and then use it and pay for it.
Drew Neisser: So, within the engineering team, do you have some CX people who are experts and say, “Well this is how Amazon does it; they’re really good?” You’re an e-commerce company.
Meagen Eisenberg: Yes, we definitely have a good UX team that constantly looks at user behaviors and tries to make the best experience possible.
Drew Neisser: Last question in this part—the skill set that it takes for you, for your team, for e-commerce, versus driving sales for enterprise-level, those are vastly different marketing skill sets. Do you divide the group up?
Meagen Eisenberg: That’s a very good question, and we think about it in many different ways. I do think as the company grows and as you think about the different functions, you’ve got to have a demand center that supports both. Things like email, marketing, creative resources, operations, and metrics can be in one, but when you think about programs and demand gen, where you need someone to think about the persona and how you’re trying to reach them, you need to separate those groups.
Drew Neisser: You mentioned, I’m going to guess, about five or six different marketing technologies that you’re using?
Meagen Eisenberg: We have 28.
Drew Neisser: You have 28 different marketing technologies. Do you have one that sits on top of them that makes them all work together?
Meagen Eisenberg: Well, not completely. Eloqua is our marketing automation platform, and maybe a third of them integrate into either Eloqua or Salesforce. A lot of it is optimizing your website, optimizing for conversions, optimizing for personalization, and then the channel you need to reach them on. There’s a whole set of tools around social media. We use Sprinkler, which we love, built on MongoDB of course.
Drew Neisser: I saw that case history, yes. It’s good when you can use your customers.
Meagen Eisenberg: Yes. We’ve got Insightful. We have a ton of different social technologies for those channels. We have a bunch for our website, and then we have tools that give us more information for our sales team, ways of appending information. We have a lot.
Drew Neisser: Because there’s so much data and the challenge is sorting through the data and finding the gems from the noise, how much of that do you personally get involved in, or do you have a data person that just does that for you?
Meagen Eisenberg: I’m definitely involved in looking at the different technologies. I do have a VP of Systems, Operations, Demand Center that is the expert in the APIs, the integrations, really validating that, yes, this is going to do what they actually say they’re going to do. The promise they’ve sold you, “Yes, I looked under the covers. It’s true. We’ll get the data we need, and they’re running the metrics on it.”
Drew Neisser: Wow, 28 is mind-boggling, but as a tech company, you believe that tech can help you get there.
Meagen Eisenberg: It’s a huge advantage, right? If you can figure out and access this data and get insights from it and make decisions faster than your competitors, then you have it. We’ve sunset seven technologies in three years, so we’ve gone through about 35.
Drew Neisser: Interesting. Given the fact that everybody’s buying everybody, one would expect these things are going to consolidate. I mean just with Adobe, you know…
Meagen Eisenberg: Sure, with Salesforce and Oracle, they’re all building their marketing clouds out.
Drew Neisser: Exactly. It’ll be interesting for an organization like yours whether that makes it better or worse.
Meagen Eisenberg: I think if they integrate them when they purchase them, and it’s all on a platform, it makes it better.
Drew Neisser: As you’re looking ahead, with all of this marketing technology out there, is there a challenge that you really wish they could solve right now?
Meagen Eisenberg: I think buyers’ intent matters. There’s a lot of information we can get, and not only buyers intent, but timing. People come to you at different stages, and it would be great to actually know how close they are to buying. We have massive volumes of leads, 200,000 a quarter. If I can put 10,000 of them in front of sales, I want to put the ones that are going to buy now.
Drew Neisser: Interesting. Years ago, it was actually seven years ago, I interviewed Jon Miller, and we talked about when he was at Marketo, one of the founders of that. He, at that moment, said, “We know that when someone clicks on our pricing page, that…”
Meagen Eisenberg: Sure. I’ve also read some studies from Google that when they type in a brand name, like MongoDB, they’re at the decision criteria because they’re not just saying, “Oh, I need a database in the cloud or a database as a service.” They actually are aware of you, and they’re probably looking at your competitors as well. That is a good indication that they’re close to buying.
Drew Neisser: I want to congratulate you on the continued success and wish you more success. As we wrap this up, let’s focus on MarTech and building the stack. Can you offer two dos and a don’t for the listeners, your fellow CMOs sitting in a company, but not this company?
Meagen Eisenberg: Sure. I think when I look at all the MarTech, one, you have to be able to digest it. We certainly didn’t buy 28 in the first month. We bought the ones that we needed to get the baseline in, and we needed to be able to have an implementation plan and digest it. As the company grew and we were coming up against problems, we added more technology. I think that matters. I think core to any marketing team, to move fast, you’ve got to have good web development, website ability to change and move quickly. You’ve got to have creative lead, whether it’s in person, in the field, print, online, over email, over social media, you need to be able to make it a consistent brand, no matter how it goes out. Then, you need the content, whether that’s great product marketing content or leaders. Then, maybe some demand gen expertise to take that to market. You’ve got to be able to syndicate it through all those channels.
Drew Neisser: Okay. And the dont’ was just don’t do it all at once.
Meagen Eisenberg: Don’t do it all at once. That’s right. In marketing, there are a thousand things you could be doing. It’s very visible, and everyone has an opinion. I think being able to prioritize and state what you’re working on matters a lot. I think if you try to do all of it, you’ll always not meet someone’s expectations.
Drew Neisser: Focus is your friend.
Meagen Eisenberg: Yes.
Drew Neisser: Alright, well Meagen, thank you so much for being on Renegade Thinkers Unite.
Meagen Eisenberg: Thank you for having me.
Drew Neisser: And to all of our listeners, you have a lot to digest. I’m so grateful that you spent the time with us. As always, if you enjoyed this episode, share it with a friend. Sharing is caring. Until next time, keep those Renegade Thinking Caps on and strong.