By Matt Heinz, President of Heinz Marketing
Late in 2015 we started producing a bi-weekly radio program called Sales Pipeline Radio, which runs live every other Thursday at 1:00 p.m. Pacific, moving soon to 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; and Josiane Feigon.
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.
We were thrilled this last time to be able to talk to Meagen Eisenberg, CMO of MongoDB. Listen in or read our conversation below:
Matt: It is March people. It is crazy. I feel like I was just watching the Rose Bowl Parade, and it is March. If you are in sales, you are either two months down with ten to go, or we’re entering the stretch run of Q1 of your first quarter of the year. So either you’re excited or you’re terrified, or probably a little bit of both.
Producer, Paul Roberts: Hey, you had an extra day in February; you can’t complain.
Matt: True. And it was a Monday, so there was one extra sales day in February. So, no excuses. I can’t believe how quickly this year is going by. Hopefully you’re out there executing, selling, making your buyers happy. We’re having a lot of fun here on the show. I have a very special guest joining us, Meagen Eisenberg, who is the CMO of MongoDB. Very honored to have Meagen here today. She has just done so many things in the B2B marketing world. I think we’ve been mostly featuring guest experts, speakers and authors on the sales side, so finally we’re going to spend a little time in the next couple episodes on the marketing side of the business and talk particularly to marketers who are embracing revenue responsibility, who are taking advantage of the opportunity from a cost center into a profit center. It’s so important in B2B marketing these days to make sure what you’re doing is driving to business results, and I can’t think of a better person to feature than Meagen from MongoDB. Meagen, how are you doing?
Meagen: I’m doing great. Thanks for having me.
Matt: Thanks again for joining us. If you don’t know Meagen Eisenberg and you’re in the B2B space, you must be living under a rock. In most events and conferences she’s being featured and on stage, and for very good reason. She spent years working at DocuSign, really helping that business grow, driving their demand gen. She is literally advising like half the startups in Silicon Valley (it looks like from your LinkedIn profile). I think one of the reasons why you’ve been deemed by many as such a visionary in marketing is: not only the results you generated for DocuSign and others, but the work you’ve done on the marketing technology side. I’d love to start there, given how important it’s been to your success and how increasingly important it is to the success of B2B marketers. How and when and why did you start putting a focus on marketing technology in your career?
Meagen: It happened about seven or eight years ago. I had joined a company that had a small sales team. We didn’t have much. We had Salesforce but not a huge staff on it. I had just learned about Eloqua, and we bought and implemented Eloqua. I really just started to understand the automation of email and nurturing and scoring, and from there, as I learned the benefits that platform gave, I went to each company after and kept bringing Eloqua back in. The ecosystem was growing, and there’s all these connectors for your webinars… I just started learning more and more about these different technologies and seeing the benefit on driving more qualified leads into the pipeline and helping to accelerate our deals. I became a heavy adopter of them.
Matt: When you started doing that, did you face any pushback internally, either from a management team or a CFO who’s used to spending money on media or a sales organization or even an IT organization that wasn’t used to marketing, having so much focus on technology?
Meagen: Definitely. It’s interesting: I was at TRIRIGA, which was eventually acquired by IBM, and I had to put so much of a case together on why we needed to buy this technology. I think because I had started in product marketing and understood how to put a value prop together and sell software to other people, I had to do that same thing internally and actually received an award from our CEO, George Ahn at the time. He recognized that I am not one that buys technology and certainly not marketing technology. But the results were seen out of this, and so I was rewarded for doing it and implementing it successfully. Initially I did have to put my own product marketing deck together to buy it and show the return we would have, how long it would take to make back the investment.
Matt: Yeah, it’s amazing to me there are still a lot of marketing organizations that are still there, where the organization either is used to a more traditional media marketing group or just not used to marketing, making and driving those IT decisions. Can you talk a little bit about your ability to transform marketing from: “Hey, how much should we be spending on marketing? (just because that’s what companies do)” to really seeing marketing as a profit center, independent of technology, but just revisiting the way marketing is viewed and really the way you perform and execute on that function?
Meagen: I think the most important switch that happened is actually two things: 1.) Understanding that it was a partnership with marketing and sales and understanding their targets and goal, and 2.) Making sure that we were not just looking at volume of leads, that it didn’t matter the quantity, that it was really the quality, and understanding how to measure quality. I was introduced to Sirius Decisions and really fell in love with the waterfall and the different definitions, and then how do I go mark those through a machine so it’s not—it’s very objective, it’s not subjective. You know, Salesforce is calling this the MQL because it makes the specific criteria. The sales team accepts it and marks it because it is qualified. They create an actual opportunity, and then the opportunity closes. So I really focused on what was contributing to opportunity creation and closed one, versus just volume. And when you can start to track and show that, then you become more of a revenue marketer than someone who’s just solely doing media buys.
Matt: Absolutely. It completely changes the way the organization looks at marketing. I was in a conference last week, they were talking about account-based marketing, and someone made a flippant response in the audience about, you know, “Wouldn’t it be awesome if marketing just had a blank check.” The more I think about that, the more I think… the way you just described how to justify what marketing is doing and correlate activity and expense to ROI. If that’s a positive equation, if you can spend a dollar and make five, there kind of is an open checkbook. I mean, you know, cash is cash, but doesn’t that give an incredible amount of freedom and license to marketers too? If you find something that works, scale that.
Meagen: It certainly helps when you go through your budget review over the next year and you can prove what you sourced.
Matt: Yeah, cash is cash, and there certainly are tradeoffs, but, as you know, there are still plenty of marketers who are thinking about their business and thinking about their budget as just activities. They’re like, “We do this show, and we have to do it again because we always do it.” And there’s really no revenue responsibility behind it. Talk a little bit about how that works when you integrate with the sales organization. Because I think, gone are the days when marketing purely creates a lead, even if it’s a marketing qualified lead with agreed upon definitions, and just shoves it over the fence and says, “We’re done.” What have been your best practices for working with your sales counterparts to create a more integrated and successful funnel?
Meagen: It’s based on building the models together. It’s about their revenue targets, looking at the average deal size from the past year (the historicals), looking at the conversion rates at each of the stages, and backing into, “What does that look like if we want to hit these targets?” And also putting the length of your sales cycle in there from a velocity standpoint to understand: What do we have to deliver at the top middle of funnel for them to make their target? And then, actually working with them to determine who they want to talk to. Here at MongoDB, developers are doing awesome things with it, but the ones that are taking it into production are IT management and DB admins and operations. So while we have a lot of developers (10 million+) working on MongoDB, the ones sales really wants to talk to are the ones who have the budget and who are managing it in production and these mission critical environments. So it’s truly understanding that definition and making sure we’re delivering the kind of people who are going to pay, not just the people who are using the opensource software, but those that have a need to manage their MongoDB instants, secure it, and optimize it.
Matt: Yeah, I can’t imagine a lot of marketers or sales people disagreeing with that definition. And I think strategically it makes a ton of sense. What I’ve found in some cases is when the rubber meets the road, and you end up delivering a smaller number of leads, when you end up generating leads that don’t go to the sales team, when you’re up until the right chart, lead volume gets a little more complicated, there’s an executive team, there are board members, there are investors that don’t always understand that. So what have been some of your best practices, or what have been some of your experiences, I guess, of trying to communicate that more advanced vision of pipeline contribution from marketing on pure quantity of leads?
Meagen: Yeah, if I just look at MongoDB, 18% of all leads that come in go directly to sales and are assigned to sales. So we only assign MQL’s. How we show from a quantity standpoint, is every dashboard that we’re showing ties to influence on the opportunity and the deal closing. And we’re agreed upon the process. We’ve got a technology called Full Circle CRM, which is an agreed upon way of attributing source and influence– that we’ve made a decision as an organization of marketing and sales. I’m very aligned with our CRO, Carlos. You know, we have to partner, we agree. Where we see issues, we work together to solve them. And so it’s very much a partnership, and if I didn’t have that partnership I don’t think we would be successful or I would be successful. Part of that is making sure I’m listening to what they say they need, making sure I’m showing them the results and that I can back up what we’re doing and why we made the decisions we made. And when we do something wrong, we have full disclosure: “Hey, we messed up here. We’re not going to do that again.” Learn from it and move on.
Matt: When we come back from the break I want to talk about your current MarTech stack—what you’re doing across, as you mentioned, Full Circle, what you’re doing, what tools you’re prioritizing… Real quickly, before we get there, one thing you’ve talked a lot about is the IT team. The last time I saw you on stage at the Sirius Decisions conference, you were at DocuSign, and you were up there with (I think) either your CTO or someone from the ops side. How important is it to make sure that you’re tied in and coordinated from an IT side as well, to make sure all this stuff hums well?
Meagen: Yeah, our involvement with IT is mostly that we’re following the security guidelines, that we’re doing the right audits, that they pass a certain security threshold. Certainly, if it involves people logging in, making sure we have authentication in the sign-on process. So it’s partnering with them to bring that side of it, but we manage the staff, we have almost 20 technologies, we manage that all within marketing systems and ops. But we make sure we respectfully work with our IT team when it involves user management or change management, when it involves security or any integrations into other systems like Salesforce or Eloqua.
Matt: Awesome. We are so blessed to have Meagen Eisenberg on the show today, the CMO of MongoDB. She is literally a world traveler. She is incredibly busy and incredibly in demand, so I’m happy to have a couple minutes with her. If you want to check out more of her stuff, she’s on Twitter @MEisenberg. Literally you do a search on Slideshare or Youtube and you’re going to find a lot of stuff she’s talked about in her presentations and content. Good stuff. We’ll be right back.
Matt: Thanks for joining us here today. Excited to have Meagen Eisenberg with us, CMO of MongoDB. If you want to hear this discussion again, if you want more of your team or your executives to hear from Meagen directly you’ll be able to check out a replay of this show on www.salespipelineradio.com. We will have a transcript of this with highlights up on our blog shortly as well, but you can catch Meagen, you can catch some of our past guests. All the episodes of Sales Pipeline Radio available for streaming at www.salespipelineradio.com. Coming up in a couple weeks our next episode, so excited—we’ve got Trish Bertuzzi coming. If you liked Jim Keenan, if you like someone you just tells it like it is and will occasionally throw a little four letter word in the conversation.
Matt: Trish Bertuzzi is the CEO of The Bridge Group, and she has just published (I’m holding it right now) The Sales Development Playbook. If there is a Bible for inside sales, if there is a definitive guide for sales development teams and inside sales lead qualifying teams, this very well might be it. Just published a couple days ago. We’re excited to have her on the next show. But we’re talking today to Meagen Eisenberg from MongoDB, who has been a marketing leader in B2B for many years. She’s been doing particularly innovative work on the marketing technology side. Meagen, let’s have you talk about your current martech stack looks like. You mentioned getting started centered around Eloqua, you mentioned Full Circle insights from an attribution standpoint… I don’t need you to walk through the whole inventory, but maybe highlight key focus areas and key tools or technologies that have really been driving your progress and opportunity execution currently.
Meagen: Yeah, happy to. I would say our core is really Eloqua, and we’ve got DemandBase, which is doing the personalization, and Append on the back end. From a social side, we’ve got Sprinklr and Insightpool. Insightpool has really been helping us nurture through social channels. From a customer advocacy side and customer focus, we’ve got Influitive for our advocate hub, and we have Gamesite. From a reporting standpoint on what’s working, what’s not, we’ve got Hive9. We do a lot of work with tracking and web, so we use Bizible, Google Analytics, Optimizely. We’ve been working with Captora on our SEO and SEM, a lot of organic work being done there. Insideview helps us with some Append work as well. On the social side we’ve got GaggleAmp. And of course we’re big fans of video with Vidyard. I’m really impressed: They just gave us a stat, our customers really engage with us over video, we’ve had over 150,000 viewing minutes per month, and their average customer has 14,000.
Matt: Wow. That’s amazing.
Meagen: So a lot of folks are engaging with MongoDB over video, and that’s not even our university videos, that’s webinars, customer testimonials, and such. So, I’m definitely excited to see what’s going on in video.
Matt: That’s amazing. As you went through that list, I could literally hear hands cramping from writing down what Meagen’s securing, what your stack is currently. You’ve been doing this a long time, but I think for a lot of people, thinking about that list is intimidating. If you were to prioritize things, if you were addressing people who needed to start from square one, if there are particular tools that are important, fine, but are there particular functional areas or needs or marketing objectives that you think are most important to address with technology first and foremost?
Meagen: The similar stack out at DocuSign took over three years. We’re were able to do it in 11 months here just because of experience and understanding the value and what we wanted. But you’re right, fundamentally you have to start with a marketing automation platform. So you’re picking an Eloqua or Marketo, Pardot, whatever your platform is, HubSpot, and then building on what you need. As we saw we needed a video platform, we needed a way to engage with our customers. I was surprised—our developer community is extremely social, so making sure we had the right tools to highlight, focus, engage with the social side, we picked a tool pretty quickly, and that was the Sprinklr one (and Insightpool). It’s dependent on your business and how your customers or prospects like to engage. So get your core platform in place and then build out those channels and what tools are going to help you. And then, I think everyone has to optimize their website. So half our stack is what we do to optimize the experience on our web properties (we have .com and .org).
Matt: Nice. You have years of not only using but evaluating technology solutions, speaking to vendors. I know that a lot of people, even if they have experience, it’s easy to get intimidated and confused. You know, you go to a Marketo conference, you go to Sirius Decisions Summit, you go to Dreamforce, and everything sounds great. You’re going to hear a lot of great stories—no one at their booth is going to say, “You don’t need this.” So what are some of your strategies for filtering, for evaluating? Are there particular questions you ask or things you’re looking for to help you sort through everybody and find the tools that are likely to be most valuable to you?
Meagen: Yeah, so a couple things: Every week I probably meet with a minimum of two vendors at least 30 minutes so I’m understanding and keeping on top of what technologies are out there. So that’s part of it, is continually talking about it. I also do a lot of talking with my peers. Just keeping up with my peers. What are they seeing that they love and that they’re getting good return on and results? And then, of course, having used it, when I’ve had good results, taking that technology with me to the next job. My advice would be: take the time to evaluate and do it on a regular basis. And then, network. At these conferences, talk to your peers and ask them what they’re using.
Matt: Yeah, absolutely. We’ve got a couple minutes left before we’re going to have to wrap up, but I’m curious, stepping out of the tech world, what does your team look like now? You joined Mongo I believe about a year ago. I’m curious what you’ve done as you’ve built it. What are the functions you’ve prioritized? What are the groups… give as much detail as you’re comfortable giving, but I’d love to hear how you’re prioritizing staff and resources as you grow.
Meagen: Yeah, I joined when we were about 28 folks on the team, and we’re now 36. Fortunately I came into a very strong team just needing the technical support and integration guide. So I really started out by bringing in a marketing technologist who was awesome at the technology, awesome at the website, and awesome at operations. He came in, and you know Ryan Schwartz, he came in and built out the team, brought in some frontend web developers. We had an existing marketing operations automation platform team—they were awesome, and they learned Eloqua very quickly. So that was one main focus. And that was really getting an understanding of the data that we have today: what are our stats?, what are we looking at?, what’s working and what’s not with the current system?
And then the second piece of it was: everyone’s job was kind of owning social and digital. There wasn’t really a clear leader on it, so I brought in a leader to run social and digital that really cleaned up all of our channels and properties, brought in Sprinklr, best practices, worked with HR, worked with the university and engineering, and everyone has done an amazing job this past year. And then we also beefed up our creative team, gave them more resources. I think as a marketer, the things you need to be the best are: you need to have the systems and ops, you need content (so your product marketing team, which I was fortunate enough to have), and then you need to be able to get it to market.
Matt: Well it sounds like you’ve done a nice job of building a well-rounded team. As you mentioned, I know Ryan Schwartz was key on your team at DocuSign, so I was not surprised to see him move over. You know, Megan Gil, certainly others on your team have a good reputation, so it’s nice to be able to jump into that too.
So where does this all go? Moving forward, what are the trends see that will hone how B2B marketers focus on any front? It could be technology, it could be channels, it could be on the sales integration side. Where do you think B2B marketers are going to increasingly need to lean in next, to continue to be successful?
Meagen: For me, it’s still content. When we looked at what was the number one thing influencing deals, it was our online collateral. So we need to make sure we have a good content calendar and that we’re putting out good technical information for our different audiences. So certainly that’s important. I think social channels and mobile are still very important—things we can do to get through the noise, and however we can boost customers and whatever they’re talking about and get them out there for that social proof for the peer-to-peer networking. Just like I find technology via my peers, I know people that are deciding to use MongoDB due to the same thing.
Matt: Awesome. I want to thank Meagen Eisenberg very much, CMO, MongoDB. Thank you, Meagen, for joining us. I know you’re super busy, so I really appreciate you taking some time to share some of your insights and best practices here. Thanks everyone for joining us today at Sales Pipeline Radio. Join us again in a couple weeks on March 17th. We’ll be back live at our new time at 11:30 Pacific, 2:30 Eastern time. Trish Bertuzzi, who is a longtime inside sales expert and author of The Sales Development Playbook. Check her out in a couple weeks. We’ll have Meagen’s episode on replay up on www.salespipelineradio.com. She’ll be joining Aaron Ross, Joanne Black, Mike Weinberg, and many others we’ve included as guests on Sales Pipeline Radio in the past. If you have an idea for a guest, an idea for a topic, please check us out and let us know at www.salespipelineradio.com. Thanks very much.