Demand Gen Trends to Invest in, According to a Six-Time CMO

In this week's episode of the Demand Gen Visionaries podcast, we're joined by Heidi Melin, CMO at Workfront

Demand Gen Trends to Invest in, According to a Six-Time CMO
Megan Guy
Megan Guy
October 7, 2020
min read
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In this episode, we’re joined by Heidi Melin, six-time CMO and current CMO of Workfront. Heidi illustrates how she’s pivoting Workfront’s marketing strategies in response to the paradigm shift that companies are experiencing in the new decade. She highlights how companies that survive must invest in hyper-targeted sales and marketing strategies, including ways to surface and act on insights about how buyers engage with your brand throughout the buying cycle.

In this episode of the Demand Gen Visionaries podcast, we're joined by Heidi Melin, CMO of Workfront

Tune in to the episode to hear Heidi share insights on:

  • Why the current paradigm shift driven by COVID and the rise of the millennial B2B consumer is completely changing how companies buy software
  • How companies can differentiate themselves by deeply understanding how buyers engage with their brand, and then utilizing those insights throughout the selling process
  • Why account-based marketing isn’t enough, and that the strategy must be hyper-targeted across marketing and sales

Want to skip ahead to the highlights? Check out these can’t-miss moments:

Episode Highlights

(4:19) Heidi’s Demand Gen Strategy

  • Workfront has a very focused demand gen strategy that is tightly aligned with the field selling organization through a target account strategy
  • They have an integrated campaigns and digital marketing function that takes a campaign-oriented approach by combining a mix of demand gen and awareness programs to engage with target accounts
  • However, the entire marketing team across corporate comms, customer advocacy, events, etc., has an eye on creating demand

(14:57) Workfront’s Approach to Land & Expand

  • Historically, demand gen strategy has been focused on net-new accounts
  • They generally land a deal with one team within an organization, and then look for opportunities to expand into other departments using campaign-oriented approaches
  • Look closely at how existing customers are using their platform to determine where it may make sense for them to expand into other adjacent teams

(17:37) Heidi’s Uncuttable Demand Gen Budget Items

  • Content: Content drives all of their channels
  • Digital programs: Especially in the last several months, where digital programs have had to make up for demand they would have created through in-person events. 

(20:37) COVID Has Dramatically Impacted the Buying Process

  • There’s a paradigm shift we’re going through right now that’s changing both our marketing and selling motions
  • How organizations buy enterprise software will entirely change
  • We need to focus on looking at digital engagement with our buyers, and then use our understanding of that engagement to leverage in the selling process
  • The entire business process needs to change, not just marketing tactics
  • We need to understand how interactions across the buying process have changed and how we need to adjust to support a new buying motion from prospective buyers

(23:04) How Workfront Has Pivoted in the Shifting Selling Environment

  • The first major initiative they had to pivot was their large customer conference
  • Because all the work had been tracked within their own platform, it was easy to quickly see what needed to be adjusted to a virtual setting
  • Using tools like Workfront has unlocked agility to quickly pivot

(25:53) How Workfront Prioritizes Marketing Investments

  • Workfront is prioritizing channels that allow them to more accurately reach their target accounts
  • There’s growing pressure on marketing teams to deliver increasing engagement and demand that isn’t necessarily correlated with an increase in spend levels
  • Must ensure the dollars that are spent are focused on delivering against their target accounts
  • In order to ensure marketing dollar is used to its fullest impact, Workfront targets the people that have the highest likelihood of buying from them

(29:30) Measuring Account Engagement

  • Workfront looks at engagement across a buying committee, at both an account and individual level
  • Understanding who is engaging with what is very important to their strategy
  • Account-based marketing on its own is not enough; it has to be a target account-based strategy that aligns the entire revenue cycle, including marketing and sales
  • ABM technology is allowing marketers to do what we always said we should be doing, which is targeting the right people with our message

(33:31) Heidi’s Most Memorable Demand Gen Campaigns

  • Launched a campaign in January 2020 centered on the messaging that companies that thrive are companies that make bold decisions
  • In March 2020 when COVID hit, Workfront was hearing stories about their own employees and customers working boldly because they had to pivot their entire work dynamic overnight
  • They were able to highlight so many compelling stories about businesses on the frontlines of COVID being able to pivot quickly because they had the ability to work boldly
  • Used the campaign across all their channels to highlight how companies navigated through uncertain times; the relevancy of it went through the roof

(38:14) How Workfront “Weaponizes” Customer Advocacy

  • Heidi believes customers are Workfront’s biggest asset
  • They have a team dedicated to customer advocacy
  • The team partners with the Customer Success team to partner with their most strategic customers to build relationships and help the customers tell their stories
  • They then drive that story messaging and content throughout demand gen channels

(42:35) Why B2B Marketers Should Borrow from B2C Counterparts

  • There are lots of digital channel learnings that B2B marketers can borrow from B2C, particularly during COVID
  • We need to not only look at how we drive digital engagement, but the technology and infrastructure that supports that

(43:54) Quick Hits: Getting to Know Heidi

  • New hobby during shelter-in-place: Gardening
  • Recent TV binge show: Yellowstone
  • First restaurant she’ll visit when they reopen: Anywhere in Napa Valley
  • Top advice for a CMO trying to figure out demand gen: Talk to a millennial.

Episode Quotes

“As marketers, if we have learned anything over the course of the last few months, it's that we have to be able to adapt much more quickly in order to be successful. All the things that we knew were effective are changing and they're changing immediately. So how do we adjust and continue to drive demand to support the pipeline that's required for our selling organization?”
“One of the most important things that we have learned out of the pivot in response to COVID is that the entire business process needs to change, not just a marketing tactic here or there. It's a paradigm shift that we're going through right now that is not only going to change our marketing programs and tactics, but it's going to change how organizations buy enterprise software.”
“I think in terms of what channels give us the ability to be very focused and targeted in our investments. We're prioritizing those channels that allow us to more accurately target our target accounts. We have the tools today to be very specific about who our messages go to. Leveraging those tools becomes really important, because our spend levels aren't necessarily going up, but the pressure on marketing teams to deliver engagement and demand is going up.”
“I always talk about marketing as an investment versus an expense. If we want to make sure that each one of those dollars is used to its fullest impact, we want to make sure we get to the people that have the highest likelihood to buy from us.”
“I very seldom use the term ABM because it's been overused and over promoted. Isn't ABM just a category of software that allows us to deliver on the premise of marketing that's always been there? ABM technology provided the ability for us as marketers to do what we've always said we should be doing, which is targeting the right people with our message.”

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