By Matt Heinz, President of Heinz Marketing
Late in 2015 we started producing a bi-weekly radio program called Sales Pipeline Radio, which currently runs every Thursday at 11:30 a.m. Pacific. It’s just 30 minutes long, fast-paced and full of actionable advice, best practices and more for B2B sales & marketing professionals.
We’ve already featured some great guests and have a line up of awesome content and special guests into 2016. Our very first guest was Funnelholic author and Topo co-founder Craig Rosenberg. Next we had Mike Weinberg, incredible writer, speaker, author, followed by Conrad Bayer, CEO & Founder of Tellwise. Recent Guests: Jim Keenan; Joanne Black; Aaron Ross; Josiane Feigon, Meagen Eisenberg, and Trish Bertuzzi.
We cover a wide range of topics, with a focus on sales development and inside sales priorities heading into and throughout the year. We’ll publish similar highlights here for upcoming episodes. You can listen to full recordings of past shows at SalesPipelineRadio.com and subscribe on iTunes.
Paul: Welcome everybody it’s time once again for another episode of Sales Pipeline Radio. So grab your board, catch a wave and ride along with the surf Meister himself Matt Heinz, hey Matt?
Matt: How are we doing Paul?
Paul: I’m doing good. Where are you surfing to today here?
Matt: Well thankfully today we are still at the world headquarters here in Redmond Washington. Next week the road show begins again. We’ll be live from Dreamforce next week the annual Salesforce.com extravaganza. I think it’s going to be a little smaller this year from what I’ve heard like in the past couple of years they’ve had upwards of… I’m not kidding, like over 100,000 people at this show. I think this year they’ve had to restrict it because they are still reconstructing Moscone center doing some work down there which quite frankly terrifies me even more because there is still going to be a huge number of people and it just sounds like that may mean more traffic cones and sidewalks that don’t exist.
… A little corner of the world somewhere and we do every week at 2:30 Eastern 11:30 Pacific and make sure we bring you Sales Pipeline Radio. Thanks everyone for joining us today. So excited to have everyone with us live just listening on Sales Pipeline Radio and everyone who is joining us from the podcast that is available on demand at any time from Google play and the iTunes Store. Of course you can find replays of all of our past episodes on www.salespipelineradio.com.
Always really excited about the guests we have. This summer we’ve had just a great group of sales and marketing leaders covering a variety of areas. We have been lucky to feature a lot of great authors, thought leaders, people that have new books that have been coming out on the sales and marketing side. That’s great but one of the disadvantages of focusing in that direction is we lose sight sometimes of the people that are really driving innovation results in an operational capacity, people that don’t just talk about generating results, people that do it on a daily basis and are grinding it out and being successful at doing it. So that’s one of the reasons I’m excited to have Lara Shackelford who is the VP and chief marketing officer for Altify on the call today. Lara, thanks so much for joining us.
Lara: It’s great to be here. Thank you.
Matt: Awesome. So before we begin I’ve got a bunch of questions I want to ask you just about some of the work you are doing. But maybe just start with, tell me a little bit more about Altify, what you guys do and what market you serve in.
Lara: Sure. So we sell the sales professionals, people in sales operations, sales leaders who use our software. We’ve built in 30 years of sales methodology into software that helps sellers to sell better. So the goal is that every sales rep can sell more like your best sales rep. We are a SAAS platform and we just introduced an augmented intelligence component of our platform that we are going to be talking about next week speaking of Dreamforce. And so we run exclusively, we are native on Salesforce and so we’ll be there next weekend and sharing the news about our platform and augmented intelligence.
And with that we’ve also just, my CEO Donald Daly has released a book on AI and so we will be talking a lot about AI which you will be hearing a few things about next week with Salesforce talking about Einstein so it should be an interesting week there and look forward to sharing more with you today.
Matt: That’s awesome and I’m a big fan of Donald, a fan of the work he’s done for years through the T, the task group. Very interested in AI and Einstein. I mean as you’ve got a lot of sales and marketing leaders that are just trying to catch up on big data and predictive analytics and what that means across sales and marketing, now all of a sudden we throw AI at them as well. What does that really mean not just for Altify but help people understand and deconstruct why AI is relevant to sales and marketing leaders moving forward.
Lara: So AI is impacting business professionals in the knowledge economy and we want to help put humans at the center of that and have them be supported by machines with augmented intelligence and we see that as a critical path forward.
And so if you think about, there is all this knowledge and data in the world and you have people consuming or trying to consume a lot of data that’s not necessarily having the context of what the data means and what signals they should be looking for in the noise. And so what we believe is that it’s important to bring the augmented intelligence piece to help humans perform better at being knowledge workers.
An example would be a sales leader who might have four, five critical deals for the quarter. And we now can notify them when we see that there is something in the deal that has changed that they want to be aware of or maybe there is risk in the deal that they don’t see everyday when they are in they think of it trying to help their reps perform. So we will take our 30 years of sales expertise and notify them that maybe they are not getting to all the right people in the deal and influencing the right folks they need to, be influencing based on our knowledge that you have to get to these certain folks to win that deal.
Matt: So is there a difference between augmented and predictive? I mean I think there’s a lot of words we hear in the marketplace today and is there a difference? How should people be thinking about that?
Lara: You are asking the right person because I’ve spent about 10 years working in data oriented companies in predictive intelligence; predictive analytics and protective intelligence. And certainly a way to look at data and try to look for again, predict what will happen in the future based on a lot of data and typically involves high-volume transactions and you’re looking at again lots of records.
With augmented intelligence what we see is more about being able to bake knowledge and context into a solution or into data or bake data into it and be able to flag insights and provide those insights to the human beings so that the human, the knowledge worker is able to be more effective and generate greater results with the support of the data and the context and the knowledge.
Matt: Talking today on Sales Pipeline Radio with Lara Shackelford who is the chief marketing officer of Altify doing some really interesting things in the augmented intelligence world. They will be featuring some of those advancements that the Dreamforce conference next week in San Francisco. And you kind of referenced your background. I mean you’ve spent years in the world of business intelligence, big data. What specifically about the Altify opportunity will is most exciting to you? Moving forward I think this is definitely I think of this as an emerging category for many organizations. What do you think this means for companies moving forward and why is this such an exciting place to play?
Lara: My entire career has been in B2B marketing and a good chunk of that has been spent in business and marketing intelligence and data technologies. And I love learning about technologies and helping people make sense of their data. But what’s missing for me was the context, what was missing was… In fact I sat in rooms with people who said okay now I finally have my report and there’s all this information and they don’t know what they are looking for, they don’t know what should matter in the information that is being served up to them. And so when I met Donald and started learning more about an organization, I was really excited about the opportunity to be able to provide knowledge and context for knowledge workers to be able to help them with… To interpret the data and know what the next best action is to take based on that data.
Matt: That’s interesting. I think this is definitely a bigger, bigger opportunity. I tend to think of any flavors of this is becoming table stakes for organizations that want to maintain a competitive advantage well beyond the insights they are able to capture in their own environment but to be able to leverage what exists outside of that world as well.
Have you seen, I mean as a CMO in a fast-growing company I mean I imagine that you are subject to an awful lot of sales pitches. Have you seen any evidence of applications of big data in the pitches that you are seeing in the market today?
Lara: Sure, in terms of big data and the pitches that we are seeing, I have certainly seen it from the other side where you’re going and leveraging a B-I or a data tool to present to your customer and help them understand their business. What I’ve seen that’s really working well is just experience, in fact I’ll go back two years ago the first sales call that I went on when I was in my early days at Oracle and the sales leader.
He sat down with me, we had three planning calls before we went and met with the customer to talk. We wanted to build a joint marketing plan for VeriSign at the time. And we had three planning calls and then we met in person two hours before the day of to make sure the plan was solid, that we got into all the right influencers and had a plan that was going to map to the goals and pressures of that organization and the individual, the VP of IT who we were selling to.
And so when we got there it was less about the data, it was more about the knowledge and the insight that we were able to understand their business to speak to their pressures and to help develop a plan and a roadmap for success for them. And so we actually agreed, we went in and signed off on a joint marketing plan with VeriSign VP of IT that day. It ended up being sponsored by their CSO. We thought the message would help them at a more strategic level and we did an incredible joint marketing program of press and campaign with them. And that to me was an example of a sales call can only be so good with data, it’s got to be built on knowledge and insight and the right preparation. And so at Altify that’s one of the things we focus on and we just launched a product called call planner which helps salespeople take that VeriSign example, take what the best sellers are doing and bring that kind of preparation into all their sales calls.
Matt: That’s great. How do you do that when you’ve got multiple decision-makers, multiple stakeholders in a target organization where you’ve got an account that is giving you certain buying signals or triggered events or signals but then you, according to CB, now we’ve got like 6.8 people on average in the internal buying committee. How do you differentiate? I mean does Altify help differentiate those messages and then how do you operationalize that at the sales level as well?
Lara: Great. So there is data that I have been looking at that Jon Miller from Engagio shares where he… And Jon Miller is very… He’s leading the charge on account based marketing. And IDG is saying that we now had 17 people that are influencing a B2B complex sale and that’s a lot of people to get to and a lot of people that you have to make sure you are connecting with. For us it’s crucial because we exclusively sell to large… Or to people who run large complex sales processes, B2B sales organizations. And so what’s important is that we do take an account based marketing approach and we look at… We have a finite set of accounts that we want to target, finite set of people within those accounts we know we can sell to and for us it’s all about being really smart about listening to the pressures that company is facing, understanding what they need and what they want to achieve and being able to arrive at a joint solution for them that’s going to help move their business forward. And we do that in a very targeted manner account by account.
And even to the standpoint of the way we structure our business development team, we do it somewhat focused on inbound and responding quickly to inbound request but outbound, we very much… Move to a targeted account approach that we can make sure we are doing the best by these accounts that we are trying to sell to.
Matt: That’s great. We’re talking again to Lara Shackelford today on Sales Pipeline Radio who runs marketing at Altify. I think you brought up John Miller and the work we’re doing on the account based marketing side. Real quick before we go to break, maybe talk a little bit about… What are some best practices just to ensure that there is integration of this intelligence and application of it across what sales and marketing are doing? Is this better leveraged when you are in the middle and bottom of the sales process? Can you leverage this more at the top of the pipeline as well? Is it sort of agnostic to stage and then really that integration between sales and marketing, I think a lot of companies are really struggling with right now.
Lara: We think of it more as bottom of the funnel now. With marketing automation years ago is that it evolved and gained traction, people started talking about top of funnel and wanting to put more into top of funnel and then nurture, pick the people out of the funnel they want to sell to and nurture them. And that’s a really expensive way to go to market and it takes a lot of time to develop.
What’s interesting, old is new again and so there’s a lot of history of focusing on a certain set of accounts and taking the right message to them and we are just excited. As the CMO, I’m excited because it’s the opportunity to drive greater alignment between sales and marketing than you’ve seen in a long time. So my head of sales knows we agreed on what our targets were, we agreed on how we were going to get to them, what measurement of success looks like at Altify and then we know whether we are getting traction or not based on the set of accounts and they are responding to us and we are engaged with them whether it’s early in the sales cycle whether we are influencing it all the way through.
Matt: Brave new world we are living in here in B2B sales and marketing. We’ll take a quick break, we’ll be back on Sales Pipeline Radio. After a quick break we are going to talk a lot more about the role of augmented intelligence in sales. We’re going to ask Lara some questions about how she’s leading change and complexity in an increasingly complex B2B world and talk a little bit more about treating that integrated successful funnel between sales and marketing. We will be right back with Sales Pipeline Radio.
Paul: All right, back to Matt and his guest and can ask one question here?
Matt: Yes you may.
Paul: I’m wondering if some of this augmented intelligence could augment my intelligence?
Matt: Yeah, I don’t think that’s what it’s for.
Matt: That’s a good question, it’s a great question Paul. You add so much value to the show, I appreciate it.
Matt: Well thanks very much for joining us today on Sales Pipeline Radio. Boy this half hour always goes so fast. If you want to catch up a little more on our conversation with Lara Shackelford from Altify you can check it out at www.salespipelineradio.com. You can check out the podcast always updated with recent episodes at Google play and iTunes store.
And again where life every Tuesday 2:30 Eastern, 11:30 Pacific. We will be live from San Francisco at Dreamforce next week on October 6 we will be featuring Deb Calvert. So now that I think about it, she might actually be there. I might have to bring you with me Paul, we will have to do the show live from the show.
We are going to be talking about sales leadership developing better sales leaders, helping to help your sales leaders create new sales leaders and the leaders of the future in your organization. After that we’ve got Jamie Shanks who is one of the leaders and pioneers of the sales social selling world, he’s got a new book called Social Selling Mastery. And then after that we’ve got to Matt Benati who is the CEO of LeadGnome, if you send outbound emails and you get a ton of inbound out of office replies, that is fertile ground my friends, people telling you who else to contact, people giving you updated contact information. LeadGnome helps organize that. We’re going to be talking a lot more about tools to make sales teams more efficient, make your marketing more efficient.
We want to get back to our guest today, Lara Shackelford who is the CMO of Altify and I kind of referenced and teased before the break, leading change and complexity. I mean you’ve been involved in big data and sort of the leading edge of marketing and analytics for a while. As you now lead a growing team of marketers that are now operationalizing this, what are your best practices for helping people work through change, helping people manage and succeed in an increasingly complex B2B marketing word?
Lara: It certainly is complex Matt but I am finding that the further we get into account based marketing is actually the simpler it gets because you really focus in on the voice of the customer.
My foundation in marketing came in my first marketing role at Oracle when I worked for Jeb Dasteel who now runs… He is our chief customer Officer. But he taught me how to listen to the voice of the customer and really see them both as a customer that you want to serve as a human being who has their own goals and things they want to achieve. And that helped me to incorporate that actually into the DNA of my marketing and my marketing organizations throughout my career. So I always believe in understanding their aim is a customer.
And I think when marketers at any level do that and you actually have a relationship with customers and they start the trust the marketer, which requires establishing trust over time, but when they do that things become a lot easier because you realize you’ve got – let me take this tactic, that will serve them better than the other. And you slow down and you focus more on the quality of the content you’re giving them versus quantity. And that’s one of the crucial things for us as we go forward is making sure we take risks that empower my team members to learn and grow but do it while they really slow down and in work in support of the customers.
Matt: I think that’s a really great point. It’s a great for people to keep in mind that as we add complexity around the tools and as our customers in many cases become naturally more complex in the way they make decisions, there are things we are doing that are consolidating goals and objectives in focus areas that make things a little easier. I think I am seeing more and more and I am sure you are seeing, and I am curious how you are seeing this internally as well, organizations that don’t have sales goals and marketing goals, they’ve got pipeline creation and conversion goals. Their focus is… Sales focus to hit the numbers, marketing’s focus is to hit the number and some version of that. So an alignment of focus and intentions and objectives is, to a certain extent, making, least the decision-making on alignment simpler as well. How do you guys think about that at Altify?
Lara: We think about it from the very outset of creation of a plan that as I mentioned earlier, my sales leader and I, when we worked on our plan and figured out or go to market goals it was an absolutely collaborative process from the start. So it used to be back in the day when I did my first demand plan it would have been a sales leader telling me here is my goal, go get this much pipeline for me. And it has changed so much now and it is really about understanding and looking at the data and being smart about…
Being aggressive in setting your goals and also knowing that you are setting goals that are achievable and that you and your sales partner are in it together and I think that word partner is one of the most crucial is that you form a true partnership where you can be very open and respectful but also cut through the noise when you need to make changes and drive true results. So that handshake from the beginning to the time that you close the opportunity is crucial.
Matt: Absolutely. I completely agree with that. One of the questions that I wanted to ask you and I know that you’ve got some insights on this, you kind of touched on this a little bit earlier is basically best practices in working with your sales counterparts to create that integrated successful funnel. We’ve been talking about different versions of this but what other either anecdotes or sort of best practices from your experience can you share that could help people that are listening navigate whether they are listening from the sales side or whether they are listening from the marketing side as we have been discussing this integrated opportunity now what are some things that you’ve seen work that can apply elsewhere?
Lara: The best sales partnerships have had have started as partnerships from the outset where you can sit down and you are very open with your sales partner about where you see opportunity in their business, where there is opportunity in the marketing team and how you can create that joint to go to market plan. And I’ve worked with some great tremendous sales leaders and they will come to me and tell me this isn’t working, what if we try this and when you completely own the revenue problem together, you are both… Still responsibility for revenue it’s just a different dialogue and a different level of partnership. That is easier when you are at smaller companies so we have to figure out how to scale.
So one of the things I did when I was at Microsoft, we had a very large management team that was distributed across the US both in terms of marketing and sales leaders and so it was hard to stay connected, it was hard to keep people from getting frustrated when something wasn’t working the way it should. So what we started is I did a sales and marketing alignment group and we would meet once a month and we would meet once a quarter in person and we would surface issues that would prevent us from… That would have slowed us down from driving a partnership and joint shared outcomes.
And so when you refine region with an issue, you typically find some other region had a similar issue or a different version of it. So just getting that core group together that said no matter what we are committed to driving the sales and marketing dialogue as a team and driving the right outcomes as a team, it was completely different. And the great thing is that a lot of those people have gone on to be marketing and sales leaders at other companies that I work with today so they have now become kind of my counsel in my career as I’ve gone forward.
Matt: That’s awesome. So excited to have Lara Shackelford today on Sales Pipeline Radio sharing insights on sales and marketing, sharing insights on augmented reality, augmented intelligence that they are going to be sharing more that Dreamforce’s conference next week in San Francisco.
As we wrap up here Lara I want to take a little bit of a diversion from this road. I know you are a hobby chef, you mentioned that you love rescue dogs and also on your LinkedIn profile you talk about a commitment on a regular basis to get out into the community, get the glide, serve meals. Talk about that element of building a team and why that’s important for you to me that a consistent part of what you are doing with your marketing team to get out and be part of the community.
Lara: Yeah, and thanks for asking that. I think it’s so important that the way you build a team is that we are people coming together to honor and respect the individuals within the organization.
So my hobby is cooking and I have a dog that I think is fantastic and I try to share that with my team and learn what’s important to them as well. The getting out to the community, it’s a whole different level and doing it together one thing to say I’ve heard is an initiative and we donated this money or we did this and those are great things to do but what I am really passionate about is bringing the team together and being able to roll up our sleeves and work together towards a cause that is something that is something bigger than ourselves.
And so we had these great shared goals in our organization, incredible growth goals that to be able to go out and serve food to someone who is hungry that day is a whole different level of connection and really keeps us humble as we go back to the office and roll up… Keep our sleeves rolled up to work through the other issues of the day.
Matt: Absolutely, I love that and thank you so much for making that a priority with your team. I want to thank Lara Shackelford the chief marketing officer for Altify for joining us today on Sales Pipeline Radio. We covered a lot of ground in this short amount of time. If you want to hear more from Lara please check us out at Sales Pipeline Radio. We will have a replay of today’s episode up there shortly, also have a condensed version of today’s conversation up on our blog next week at www.HeinzMarketing.com.
Make sure you join us each week 2:30 Eastern 11:30 Pacific. We’ve got a bunch of new guests coming up, very exciting stuff. I look forward to seeing some of you at the Dreamforce conference next week in San Francisco where Altify and 125,000 or so of their best friends at our best friends will be out there so looking forward to seeing you there. If not then we will be back here next week, Sales Pipeline Radio!
Paul: You’ve been listening to Sales Pipeline Radio, one of the new shows on the new Funnel Radio Channel for at work listeners like you brought to you by Matt Heinz from Heinz Marketing.