A look back at Demand Gen Visionaries

We're saying goodbye to our podcast, Demand Gen Visionaries, and hello to its older, wiser sister Pipeline Visionaries, but before we do that, let's recap 3 incredible years of thought leadership.

Shelly Weaver
Shelly Weaver
June 1, 2023
min read
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As we get ready to sunset our original podcast, Demand Gen Visionaries, and welcome its older, cooler sister, Pipeline Visionaries, to the lineup, we’re looking back at three years of incredible guests with powerful guidance on all things B2B marketing. 

Demand Gen Visionaries featured over 100 legendary B2B SaaS marketers over 3 seasons, diving into the playbooks of some of the biggest brands in software with our loyal host, Ian Faison, the Founder & CEO of Caspian Studios.

What started as an audio podcast for Demand Gen leaders has blossomed into three unique video productions, featuring the best of the best in marketing leadership, RevOps roles, and the Salesforce ecosystem. We’re so grateful for the partnership we’ve formed with the team at Caspian and are excited to work together to evolve the show into the definitive podcast for marketing leaders, helping them get better at their job week after week. 

Before we reveal the new look and feel of Pipeline Visionaries, let’s look back at where we started, and how we grew DGV into the prolific show it is today. 

The early days of DGV

Demand Gen Visionaries wasn’t always the polished video production it is today. It started as an audio show, featuring some of our early adopters. 

BTS: Powerhouse marketer Sara Varni (then the CMO at Twilio, now leading the marketing org at Attentive) sits down with our CEO, Kraig Swensrud, in the summer of 2020, 6 feet apart, of course. 

How ThoughtSpot became a $2B Unicorn in 5 Years with Scott Holden

In our very first episode, hear which marketing channels Scott Holden, CMO of ThoughtSpot, considers "uncuttable" and why he thinks Account-Based Marketing (ABM) is the key to success.

“We've got hundreds of campaigns running at any given point in time. Marketing these days is an all-out, guns-blazing affair.”

Key takeaways

  • Any good demand gen strategy will include a segmentation plan. It’s impossible to have a good demand gen strategy that focuses on all potential accounts equally.
  • LinkedIn is quickly becoming an uncuttable channel for many demand gen teams because of the way that it allows them to target specific accounts.
  • While the cancellation of in-person events has been a blow for many B2B marketers, it can be an advantage for those who realize that senior level execs are easier to get access to than ever.

Click here to listen ➡️

The Magic Behind Twilio’s Meteroic Growth to $1B in Sales with Sara Varni

Sara Varni, now the CMO of Attentive, breaks down how she's building a well-oiled demand gen machine at Twilio, one of the world's fastest-growing technology companies.

“It’s been a really crazy time to lead people but I do really believe we’re all going to come out of this stronger marketers.”

Key takeaways

  • Funneling leads to sales is great, but you can’t abandon your long-term strategy plays. Make sure you’re developing a fully built-out funnel and not sacrificing a healthy pipeline for short-term gains.
  • Don’t spread yourself too thin. Make sure you’re really focused on no more than two or three key personas.
  • Field marketing is going to be key to developing a fully functioning demand gen team, even in a post-COVID world.
  • Personalization is the key to conversion.

Click here to listen ➡️

The Demand Gen Strategy for a $4B FinTech Disruptor with Vidya Peters

Vidya Peters, at the time CMO of Marqeta, now the CEO of DataSnipper and a board member and advisor to many tech companies in Silicon Valley, discussed the most important elements of setting and maintaining a strategy in a rapidly changing MarTech landscape. 

“I'm a big proponent of really leading with content and thought leadership to earn the right to be able to have a conversation with your prospects. It's less about pushing messages and ads, and more about answering customer questions and being helpful to them and earning the right to speak to them.”

Key takeaways

  • The most important part of setting a strategy for the year is doing so in close partnership with your sales team. Name the target personas and goals that are must-wins for the year. 
  • As a marketer, you have to bring hard numbers to the discussion. The burden is on you to arm yourself with data so you can have the right conversations with your partners.
  • Forget everything you learned in school or business school about demand generation. Even the things you may have learned a year or two ago are probably out of date. The space is evolving so quickly that the best way to learn is to talk to your peers in demand gen leadership.

Click here to listen ➡️

The Evolution of ABM with Jon Miller

Jon Miller is a B2B marketing legend, with experience in founding and leading MarTech companies like Marketo and Engagio, which was acquired by Demandbase where he currently serves as CMO. He shared his thoughts on what the next evolution of ABM would look like and why sales and marketing teams struggle to align. 

“The first thing I would say is you have to take into account your brand and your product market fit. And I think most demand gen people don't think about this enough. If your company's brand isn't where it needs to be, or you don't have great product market fit, you can have the greatest demand gen strategy in the world, you can run amazing programs, have killer SDRs, and do everything right. And you're just going to be facing headwinds every step of the way.” 

Key takeaways

  • When sales and marketing are having trouble aligning, it's almost always because they’re looking at different data. Look at the same data! 
  • If your brand or product market fit isn’t where it needs to be, you’re going to be facing headwinds every step of the way when it comes to your demand gen strategy. 
  • The next evolution of account-based marketing is account-based experience.

Click here to listen ➡️

A visual evolution

Eventually, we evolved Demand Gen Visionaries from an audio-only format to include a video element, elevating our content and introducing it to more channels, and more eyes. 

The ABM Stack that Wins with Kyle Lacy

Kyle Lacy, now the CMO at Jellyfish, was CMO at Lessonly and then SVP of Marketing at Seismic when he shared his experience with acquisitions and how to adopt marketing and demand strategies across companies, as well as his advice on building a winning tech stack. 

“I don't hear it talked about a lot. It's like one of those things like email marketing's dead or direct mail is dead or whatever. Like you have to invest in all of it. It has to be a holistic demand gen strategy and a lot of times people over-index in paid or SEM and under-index on search and organic.”

Key takeaways

  • One of the most important parts of demand gen is the alignment between marketing, product, sales, and customer service. 
  • ABM is a strategy not a tactic. It’s also not a specific piece of software, it’s a stack.
  • Your website is your storefront, brand, and identity. Your website needs to be, at the minimum, just as good as the product you’re selling.

The Pipeline Revolution with Maura Rivera

Our very own CMO, Maura Rivera, joined Ian to talk about how pipeline generation has changed, how to use thought leadership to grow awareness, and using conversational marketing to engage buyers. 

“Everybody wants to interact with one click, chat, voice, video. As companies, we need to shift how we meet with buyers and shift how we generate pipeline."

Key takeaways

  • Thought leadership content, of all different mediums, gets people hooked and builds awareness.
  • Inbound and Outbound is what drives the majority of Qualified’s pipeline.
  • Companies need to find a way to keep a pulse on the conversation, so they can engage buyers in a more thoughtful way.

Preparing for the Future of Content with Jason Widup

For our 100th episode, Jason Widup (at the time leading Metadata’s marketing efforts) shared his thoughts on creating intentional content with a long-term lens. 

“Let’s create almost a media entity that can stand on its own and that people would actually, want to participate in it, get value from, and read. The strategic thinking was if we do that well, people will come to our content and they’ll think, this is smart, this is actually helping me do my job." 

Key takeaways

  • Create content that actually would help marketers do their job better agnostic of any tools that they own
  • Focus on the B2B marketer, who are either today in our shoes, or will be in our shoes and looking for help in the future
  • Create a media entity that can stand on its own and that people would actually, want to participate in it, get value from

DGV LIVE! At Dreamforce

We took our show on the road and did a live edition of DGV during Dreamforce 2022, the first Dreamforce back in person after the pandemic. It was a special event, with a panel of heavy hitters–Lauren Vaccarello (Salesloft), Julie Liegl (Slack), and Karin Flores (Okta) stopped by to give us their takes on uncuttable budget items and the state of B2B marketing. 

“Think of part of your budget as an innovation fund. What are the big bets that you and your team have come up with and, and those could vary. If you can architect it right, with the right customer experiences, and the right amplification across press and social, doing something kind of crazy and stunt-like can actually make sense.” - Lauren Vaccarello, CMO of Salesloft

“It’s about differentiating, if you can do an event in a way that is going to be special, whether it's going to an event or throwing an event, how do you make it different? It can't just be the status quo, you have. Give people a reason that it's exciting and that it matters.” - Julie Liegl, Former CMO of Slack 

“I think we are working in a world now where we really need to think about convincing people, and so I think you need to entertain them, motivate them, and inspire them beyond product, and what's going on in the world”  - Karin Flores, Vice President, Strategic Events, Customer Experience Center and Programs of Okta

Help Your Customers Where It Hurts with Melissa Sargeant

Melissa Sargeant, CMO of AlphaSense, shared her insights into solving for customer pain points, utilizing macro-themed marketing, and why SEO is so important for your website. 

“You can't show value for what you're providing, if you can't make a connection between the pain and what they're trying to achieve in their roles, particularly on a market intelligence platform.”

Key takeaways

  • Lean in on understanding customer pain because each of these personas has very unique use cases
  • You're better off coming up with a macro theme strategy, and aligning things around that macro theme
  • Show your customers the value of your platform and how it can help them

Building Brand Awareness in Shifting Markets with Kevin Tate

Kevin Tate, CMO of Clearbit, was our first repeat guest. In his second appearance, he shared his experience in enterprise SaaS, e-commerce , and digital marketing and how to keep up with the rapidly changing markets of our time. 

“When things were really frothy, you could be more sure that someone who came across your content ad on Facebook or Instagram might be in the market. Now, it's less likely that they're ready to buy but it's just as important as a brand to be building awareness so that you're top of mind when the time is right.” 

Key takeaways

  • Optimizing inbound motion has become a big focus area in the new economy for CMOs.
  • The economics of demand generation are changing, with more tire kicking and less direct leads due to the market shift, but building awareness is still important.
  • Mid-funnel content–content designed to nurture potential customers who may have interest but not the budget–is an uncuttable budget item for Kevin.

Elevating Your Value Story at a PLG Company with Jessica Gilmartin

On our final episode of DGV, Calendly’s CMO, Jessica Gilmartin, shared her thoughts on shifting from PLG to SLG and how to take a hybrid approach to the two strategies.

“The only way that you can help your sales team prioritize is to give them really good data about who are the teams that are using your product.”

Key takeaways

  • Advice for prioritizing tensions between PLG and SLG teams with a customer-centric approach.
  • Tips for approaching large enterprise accounts with different personas by telling a value story with examples highlights how using Calendly benefits the entire organization.
  • Calendly's latest product launch designed to enhance the relationship between sales and marketing teams.

Looking ahead

We couldn’t create such incredible content without our partners at Caspian Studios, and especially our host, Ian Faison. We’ve loved growing our businesses together, and we’re grateful for the energy their team brings to our podcast productions. 

Next week, we’ll be launching Pipeline Visionaries. We’re still be bringing you thought leadership from the biggest names in SaaS, and sharing their strategies for generating more pipeline in this ever-changing landscape, but we're doing it bigger and better than ever.

Make sure you tune in next week, and while you wait, check out our other podcasts, Inside the Ohana and Rise of RevOps

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