By Matt Heinz, President of Heinz Marketing
Late in 2015 we started producing a 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 coming up. 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.
About our guest:
This week we are joined by Lauren Vaccarello who is the vice president of marketing at Box. We are going to be talking a lot about software as a service, sales and marketing and how to do that effectively. This conversation on account-based revenue – targeting the right accounts, partnering with sales, the joys & failures & adjustments associated with execution.
Lauren Vaccarello (@laurenv) is a business leader with a proven track record of building high performing marketing teams and accelerating revenue growth. With a strong background in demand generation, she excels at building scalable integrated campaigns that leverage cutting edge marketing techniques. Although performance is at the core of who she is as a marketer, she believes businesses need to tell compelling stories and build a brand if they want to own a category.
Matt: Thanks so much for joining us, we are here every Thursday at 2:30 Eastern, 11:30 Pacific. You can catch us live every week here on the Lead Management Radio Network. You can also catch us on demand through our podcast available on the iTunes Store at the Google play. Every episode of Sales Pipeline Radio is available on demand anytime you want on www.salespipelineradio.com and we are in the habit here Paul of featuring some fancy smart impressive people from throughout the B2B sales and marketing world that are immersed in the business of building managing and closing pipelines.
Lauren: Hey, thank you so much for having me.
Matt: So I am not going to give you a choice of pipe or pipeline, we are talking about pipeline today.
Matt: We can figure this out later. But I was really excited of having the pleasure of meeting you, getting to know you a little through some of the CMO councils that Demandbase has done and just really impressed with the work you guys are doing and the growth of Box. It was started up here and has just grown into a strong successful company. And I think a great example of enterprise marketing and enterprise sales and marketing teams working together. So love to get some insight from you like some insights from the trenches examples of what’s working and what are some of, especially over the last year or so, what are some of the initiatives that have been key to your success at Box.
Lauren: Absolutely. We have done some really, really exciting things. To give you a super quick background, I have been at Box about 20 months or so and it’s been a phenomenal ride over here. Before I was at Box, I ran digital marketing at Salesforce, I ran marketing at a tech startup as well and then coming to Box was a little bit different. Coming in and really having to build deep relationships with the sales organization which in many ways didn’t exist and we are still getting tighter and really forming and came in and looked at what are the biggest areas of opportunity, where do we want to focus and Box was an interesting challenge.
We’ve got 71,000 customers, we’ve got customers of all sizes but we also have 66% of the Fortune 500. And came in and worked with our head of global field sales, Tom who is absolutely a phenomenal sales leader and started to think about how we build out new programs and how do we expand programs that are working really well. And things that have worked really, really well for us here that if I can be honest, if you had told me 10 years ago that this is the future of where we are going in enterprise marketing I actually would have probably laughed at you. Things for us it’s really account based marketing and how we built out our account based marketing program here and we have a very, very much doubled down, actually tripled down on our sales marketing program.
To give you a little bit of context, perspective, is in the field marketing program the way we’ve really gone in and approached it, we have a phenomenal sales marketing leader, how do we make sure we take our field marketers and make sure they are part of the marketing organization as they are part of the sales organization and we really sit down with regional sales leaders and say what is your air or target for central territory? What are you looking to drive? What are you looking to do? And how does marketing contribute to that? So about a quarter of the field events that we do our 100% of outsourcing new pipelines and really about sourcing new deals for the sales organization, getting new names, getting that face-to-face contact and communication without half or really about how do we accelerate deals through the funnel, so people that the sales organization is already talking to, how do we make sure we give the sales team opportunities to get in front of some of the biggest companies we are selling to, move them along, get them really excited not just about what they think Box does but what’s the full offering for Box and about a quarter really on what we can do to help sales close. So a big piece of how we really built and accelerated that program to the point that it is one of the most ROI positive programs that we have in marketing.
And then another really big initiative for us is going into account based marketing. And I think account based marketing is a bit of a buzzword right now. The way we really approached it again was really tie the line with the sales organization, what are the most strategic impactful companies that we want to gain as customers and do business with and how do we build out a plan across sales, across marketing, across our channel programs to go in and get in front of these customers, in front of these companies and help make them customers.
Matt: You know Paul, I think just in her first answer she gave us fodder for the next like four episodes. I really hope that every week at 11:30 you are available to keep going. This is fantastic! I want to unpack a little bit of what you talk about here. Just thrilled to have Lauren Vaccarello, the VP of marketing at Box with us today. Done the work, she has been around a lot of companies, has built up her experience. She was honored as one of the most influential women in business in San Francisco business Times a couple years ago, she’s a mentor with Growth X Academy in San Francisco so clearly she has got negative free time at this point because I know how she works at Box as well.
A couple of things you mentioned though that I want to unpack a little bit, you talked about working with sales on their revenue targets. And knowing kind of how you work, I think it’s easy maybe to take for granted like how important that is. A lot of marketers aren’t thinking about revenue targets, they may not even know what the sales team’s number is. They are focused on clicks and likes and maybe focused on marketing qualified leads but you can’t buy a beer with a marketing qualified lead. So the fact that you are partnering with sales to focus on what matters to the organization to have the same goal is actually quite innovative for better or worse here in 2017. How did that evolve for you? Is that something you’ve always done at Box? Is that something you learned elsewhere? What are some of the things you might sort of impart on people that want to have that kind of mentality in their own marketing organizations moving forward?
Lauren: It’s interesting. Once upon a time I lived in New York and I worked at a trading company and I got hired. I had done marketing before, I got hired for sales and then I basically did a hybrid between sales and marketing.
And then I remembered when I was working there because I had been on the sales floor I just always knew about what I had to do to close and the leads that I got and how that would help me hit my number and I am not a salesperson nor do I ever want to be a salesperson again. But that gave me that mindset really, really early in my career on this is what I do in marketing. And passing something to a salesperson has a direct impact on how their survival is because at the receiving end of it I thought a lot about it. And then fast-forward years later to when I worked at Salesforce, I had done about 4 1/2 years at Salesforce in various roles.
The thing that I think that most people remember me for is I ran digital marketing over there. But running digital marketing there came with I had a pipeline target and I had goals to hit. So what Salesforce did and really imparted in me, and I think what is really important about working at Box is our leader of strategic planning also comes from Salesforce so the person who set our targets comes from a very similar clock too I think.
And one of the things we had at Salesforce that we had imparted at Box as well is this concept of the four Horsemen and it’s what are basically the four pillars that are responsible for driving revenue? And it’s going to be your marketing organization, your AE organization, your OBR’s, and then also alliance’s organization, so channel partner. So when we had this at Salesforce, it was very much set up as these are the four parts of the organization that are responsible for sourcing pipeline that eventually turns into revenue. And we had such a good system and methodology of our net new and our recovering revenue target for the business is X across the four Horsemen, this is everyone’s responsibility for achieving that AR target. And we use to go back and say if our target is $10 million in commercial and $10 million in sales then we need $30 million in commercial the quarter before and we need $35 million in sales three quarters out. So we built these models to pace everything out.
And then we would sit down every month across all of the four Horsemen and would literally just look at all the data and say this is not a marketing problem or an account executive problem or an alliances problem. Where are we standing? And what’s this pipeline coverage look like based on what our close ratio is? And we look at this across the entire book of business.
And I will never forget sitting in a room going okay, super simple, red, yellow, green. We both have countries and segments, not look at the channel or source and start to say okay, midmarket in Germany is going to be a problem in two quarters. Okay, midmarket in Germany is going to be a problem in two quarters, we are not liking the way it’s pacing, who can do something about it? Is it something that marketing can jump in and do? Is it something that sales can jump in and do? Is it something or alliances team can do?
And it just builds really this relationship because it wasn’t about I am blaming you or you are blaming this person, it was really an all right guys, at the end of the day our job is to drive revenue for the business, who is on first? If you need to solve a field segment pipeline is short this quarter, to be honest, marketing can’t do a lot to source new pipeline for large enterprises within a month, it’s just it takes too much time. But the sales organization can and marketing can switch their role to help closing to just building that level of rigor and trust across the organization has been in decay and Salesforce really drove it home in me. And I think I’ve taken it for granted through having that Salesforce I just assumed that everybody does this.
Matt: Yeah, not everyone does this. I will tell you, it’s impressive and unique. And I mean what you are describing is fully within the potential of really any organization. I think it’s one thing to get aligned around the same objectives, it’s another thing to literally sort of look at each other and say we are in this together and let’s leave our egos at the door and eliminate finger pointing. I think you can’t underestimate culture. I mean you have a culture at Salesforce that made this possible. You had a culture at Box that reinforces this and in many cases really mandates this.
I think in a lot of organizations there is still a sales versus marketing culture, there is still a finger-pointing culture, there is still in marketing you do your thing in sales will do our thing and we will be fine. And what’s interesting is I think this, even from Salesforce you see models like predictable revenue coming out, you see which is a segmentation of those sales process which in one way it could further splinter and decentralize this but clearly that was married at Salesforce with the interest of just breaking down barriers and saying every one of these four Horsemen; marketing, field AE’s, the inside sales reps, the OBR’s and alliances, like everyone has their role. They may have roles at different places, different times but they can all work closely together.
I know we’ve got to take a break here and pay some bills. I want to talk more about this, I want to talk about ABM, I want to talk about you mentioned the amount of time and attention you’re putting on conversion which is increasingly with sales enablement or whether or not companies have sales enablement, big part of where marketers are driving value in the organization.
We are going to take a quick break, we would be right back after a minute or so with Lauren Vaccarello. More from her, VP of marketing from Box. Thanks for listening, this is sales pipeline radio!
Paul: And now back to Matt and his guest! I had to observe that you are referring to these things as the four Horsemen here. Maybe there is an apocalypse if you don’t have those four horses pulling together here.
Matt: Yeah going to have some kind of sales apocalypse perhaps. But it’s actually not too far from the truth, right? You do more finger-pointing and more friction internally the less likely you are going to hit these numbers. Yeah, welcome to Sales Pipeline Radio. I have been told on many cases that I talk quickly. I was just told during the break that I am talking particularly rapidly today. I promise it has nothing to do with any pipes. It might have to do a little bit with too much coffee, I don’t know what number this is in front of me but I am still rolling.
We do want to make sure we pack as much in to each episode of Sales Pipeline Radio as we can. Upcoming weeks, next week we are featuring Shannon Dougall, she is the vice president of marketing from Uberflip, we are going to talk about some very exciting new research about the future of content marketing, the attributes and features of content that are breaking through the clutter and getting attention in the market today.
Moving forward the next few weeks we are going to feature in early March someone you know Lauren, Caren Cioffi who is the vice president of marketing at Brightcove. She’s going to be talking about the impact and the increasing importance of video in marketing at every stage of the buying journey. And also later in March we are going to have Grant Cardone who is the author of the book 10X who is the producer of the 10X Conference, a well-known figure in the sales world and always has some unique interesting and sometimes provocative and interesting perspectives so I am really excited to have Grant on the show coming up.
But lots more here with Lauren Vaccarello who is the VP of marketing at Box. And before we went to break Lauren we were talking about the focus on leads verses conversion. A lot of companies and a lot of marketing groups, their main focus is on lead generation, getting more butts in seats, getting more hands raised, getting more prospects in front of sales. And I would love to hear more about how you put a focus on conversion, right? I mean it sounds like you probably do both but talk about what it means to focus on post lead efficiency, post lead conversion and impact.
Lauren: Sure, it’s a great question and it’s something that I will always say is easier said than done and something you really have to focus and push on, it’s changing a mindset from all we need to do the marketing department is to get leads, we are going to give the sales at bats and then our job is done, is in so many ways the easy way out. My job is to fill the top of the funnel, it’s their job to execute. But the thing that you said that I’ve actually said internally a lot is you can’t buy a beer with leads and it’s not going to be enough and we need to do things to really support and partner with the sales organization and ultimately the business.
One thing that actually I can tell you we are focusing increasingly on here right now which I love that as we start to look at it, is so many times marketers are saying okay I need to drive my pipeline. I need to have more pipeline. What I am going to do is I am going to put more in the top of the funnel and hope that works out.
We actually have an increasing focus on a different part of the funnel and a different part of the cycle which is more along the lines of what can we do to better convert? We can drive a ton at the top but right now it’s really how can I get more leads to go from MQLs to SQL then to close and that’s completely different motion that for us starts to look at things like okay what are we doing with sales efficiency? How do we partner with our sales organization to make sure they have the right training and they have the right materials and you are holding sales accountable and marketing accountable for both? Giving you quality that you need, what’s the follow-up process? How quickly is sales following up with the leads that we are sending over?
How long are they spending on the phone? What are the different touch points and what’s the different outputs? So marketing metrics will always get tighter and expect increases really having that two-way dialogue and two-way conversation. I know it’s probably one of the biggest areas of opportunity that a lot of marketers miss because all we do is shove more the top and hope for the best when there is a lot of goodness really in the – how do you work super tight with sales to get more out of what you are sending them?
Matt: You mentioned earlier that you’ve been working on… Assuming that ABM has been a really big focus for you. And it sounds like for the work you have been doing throughout your time at Box and maybe even back at Salesforce, I mean you have been doing ABM before it was ABM. Talk a little bit about how you define ABM. Everyone has got a slightly different perspective on it, like how do you define it not just in marketing but as the organization how is sales involved in this as well and how do you make it probably easier in the four Horsemen context but how do you make ABM something that is an organizational program, not just a marketing program?
Lauren: I always joke that, the what you said, I was doing ABM before it was a thing and I don’t think I realized I was the account based marketing when I was doing it. Always going back to sort of earlier days of Salesforce, maybe five years ago we basically had a target list of accounts which I am sure most companies I assume most companies have a target list of accounts. They have a target list of 1000 accounts going across the business. So the powers that be comes up with this target list that we call SC 1000, we had executive sponsors across the organization, we had sales leaders across the organization on it and we just said at marketing, okay we are going after these thousand accounts, what our plan to directly target these thousand accounts?
Technology was very different five years ago, how we went to market was very different five years ago but so much of the same principles apply and have been pulled over to Box. The thing that we were doing then where we noticed in accounts how do you use targeted advertising to provide air coverage just to those 1000 accounts whether it’s an IP targeting with demand base or it’s individual title targeting on LinkedIn.
Now you can take the same principles and use custom audiences on Facebook or even a custom audience across Google and say I just want to make sure we’re always in front of these people from an advertising perspective and looking at it to provide their coverage. And then we started building that into how do you build personalized web experiences for these companies? And how do you prep the sales organization saying these are the companies that we are advertising to and giving air coverage with the right messaging right now? And then send the sales organization in.
And we fast-forward, I think that was five years ago, I don’t know where my life went as you fast-forward, you wake up one day and all this time has gone by. It was probably five or six years ago and now we are at Box and account based marketing has come so far and there is such better technology I am not pulling spreadsheets and pulling all these individual manual reports in Salesforce the way we looked at it here. Unintentionally or intentionally a similar initial approach is sat down with the sales organization and say we want to do this. Initially it started as a pilot and then it bottoms up and got a couple of sales people that were really interested and eager and we partnered with them and got them bought in before we rolled top down. But I would never recommend this hard approach, we should have gone the easier approach of what are some of accounts that we just need help with.
We literally looked for what are some of the accounts that we’ve never been successful. The initial pilot was 150 accounts that we’ve never been successful with and they were some of the largest companies and the most strategic that we just constantly run up against a wall and said okay, cross sales or cross marketing, we are going to see what we can do.
Simple things like the biweekly meetings and making sure that we know this is a technology like Engagio is a super helpful in terms of what are we doing about analytics, giving sales that insight into if we are targeting a specific company, letting sales know right now we know we are targeting company X but their intent signals are way up there. They are engaging with us on the website, they are going to these events, it is literally time to go to market and this is a great time to start contacting them so that’s been a massive change, really, really helpful and takes a lot of the heavy lifting.
We still have a lot of the advertising piece for air coverage. We’ve also used things like third-party call downs just to help get that initial engagement. We’ve done some great work with some events that we sponsor and really hung in every touch point across the business and having this collective effort and going after these very specific companies. Even for Box, our user conference which is in October everyone wants to go to. The user conference will be amazing, it’s in October, that’s my pitch.
What we ended up doing this year was making sure all of our target accounts, we need to send them personalized invites. We need to make sure that they are there. When we get them to come to the event, how do we give them the best possible experience? How do we not leave anything to chance with these accounts? And where the importance of account based marketing which is really this idea of account based everything comes from is the way we are marketing to B2B just doesn’t make sense anymore.
And I think it’s things that everybody knows is basics in B2B, selling, marketing is there is no single buyer, decision by community, there’s a lot of influencers that are going to be both seen and unseen, it going to have a lot to the sales cycle. But when we do lead scoring, when we do attribution and opportunity creation and close, we still look at everything on the contact level and we say that Joe is a person that’s the decision maker, he does everything and that’s the ultimate piece.
But when logically we know there is 5 or 10 or 20 people involved and with account based marketing and account based selling it’s making sure we take that holistic approach for an entire account and not trying to market ourselves to an individual but looking at it from a full account perspective.
And then where we are now with making sure we are not just doing that, we look at it from an account perspective, we track from an account perspective. We also align really closely with the sales on that account and report back together in how we are tracking the success of our account based marketing program. That will always be tied to the pipeline for a number of reasons. This is the job that I signed up for in my life I am good with it but with our ABM program we also come back and say look, it’s great marketing gets credit but ultimately how we will know if this is successful is what happens to these target 150 accounts. Do we have deals in them whether it’s sales credit, whether it’s marketing credit, what does penetration look like? How does it compare to everything else and are we winning?
And we’ve had a lot of success in the last year on it with those accounts and we’ve gotten deals in a large percentage of them and this year we are expanding it to about 1500 accounts which is awesome. It’s the same number of people working on the program but just 10 times the…
Matt: Exciting and terrifying I am sure but I’ve got to be honest with you, firstly we’ve got to wrap up here but it is so refreshing Lauren to hear a marketing leader talk like a business leader, really embrace the revenue opportunity and sort of the profit center marketing mentality that I think is really going to drive B2B marketing in the months and quarters and years ahead.
So yeah, unfortunately we are out of time. I want to thank were guest Lauren Vaccarello who is the VP of marketing at Box. Thanks so much for your insights today. If you want to hear more from Lauren, you can check it out on Twitter @LaurenV. And if you want to hear this again or if you want to play this but for your team you can catch it at www.salespipelineradio.com here in a couple of days as well. Make sure you get this and every new episode at the iTunes Store and Google play.
From my great producer Paul thanks very much for joining us, we will see you again next week at 11:30 Pacific, 2:30 Eastern on Sales Pipeline Radio.
Paul: You’ve been listening to Sales Pipeline Radio the only place that explores all the different stages and aspects of building and succeeding with your sales pipeline.