Pipeline Summit ‘22 Recap
On November 10th, we hosted Pipeline Summit, a three-hour virtual event that featured an action-packed agenda.
We brought together some of the top CMOs in our industry to talk all things pipeline generation and reveal their strategies, tools, and secrets to driving growth in the face of economic uncertainty. We heard from leaders of teams of all sizes about what’s working for them in 2022, and what they’re planning to prioritize in 2023.
See some of our favorite moments from the show, and stream the sessions on Qualified+ to catch up on what you missed.
It can feel jarring to suddenly have your finance team question every marketing dollar. Sarah Franklin, President & CMO of Salesforce, is leaning into analytics more than ever to back up her marketing spend and create trust with budget stakeholders.
"Don't get defensive. It's a fair question to ask when somebody says 'Is this effective to spend?' It's your money just as much as it is their money. Lean into the logic of it. not the emotion. Let the analytics guide you."
We’re all worried about demonstrating ROI in our marketing programs, but it’s important to communicate to stakeholders that short-term ROI isn’t as valuable as long-term funnel maturation. Sara Varni, CMO of Attentive, shared with us why it’s important to keep thinking about your long game even when things are shifting so rapidly.
“You always have to have a short and a long game when it comes to pipe gen. Right now, in the economic conditions we’re living under, there’s a desire to focus on short-term tactics that you know are going to show up in your spreadsheets in two weeks. There's a real desire to make sure everything you’re doing from a marketing perspective can show instant ROI. That’s not necessarily going to build a long-term funnel. Investing throughout the entire funnel is going to create a healthier, more efficient funnel long-term and ultimately save your company money.”
Leading through these economic headwinds is a tough job–there are so many things to consider and distilling them into clear messaging for your team is essential to maintain trust and alignment. Scott Holden, CMO of ThoughtSpot, shared the key message he’s been giving to his team this year.
“We’re in this climate of doing more with less and that’s a tough time to be a leader. We went from pandemic leadership which for me personally was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, and now we’re entering this new era of a down economy which is also hard. The number one message I’ve been giving my team is about focus. It’s easy to say we need this, we need this, we need this, but I keep telling them to push back on me. If you find yourself working on something that isn’t contributing to the priorities we’ve set out, challenge me. It’s a forever battle–when times are tough as leaders we have to over-communicate.”
Events serve different purposes at each stage of the funnel. Julie Liegl, former CMO of Slack, shared with us why it’s important to understand where your buyer is before asking them to invest their time and money into attending an event, and to plan events that are tailored to that buyer’s level of understanding of your product.
“Events can play different roles at different times in your pipeline. Going to third-party events can be a great way to do prospect generation, similarly, I’ve seen very high-end, bespoke experiences serve that purpose with executives who may not be willing to engage with you but are willing to come to a very special experience that you do. It requires an investment on somebody else’s part to come spend time with you. Is a cold prospect going to come to a two-day user conference and spend all that time with you if they don’t really understand what you do yet? No, you’re going to need something smaller and a lower investment on their part before they get involved.”
Ian Faison asked Jason Widup, VP of Marketing at Metadata, about his paid media strategy. It turns out, Metadata has built such a strong content machine, that their organic growth has freed them up to be able to decrease their ad spend.
“Almost all of our qualified demand is coming in through our owned channels. So much so that we’re on a plan to voluntarily pull back our spend on paid ads. I want to focus on our owned channels and use paid media in a different way. That was part of our growth strategy, to use paid ads heavily up front and get our own organic content and community going until that started to feed us enough that we could pull back. To do that you have to plan quite a bit ahead because it takes time.”
Selling has never been easy, but these days there are more and more voices at the table when it comes to making decisions. Sarah McConnell, our VP of Demand Generation, spoke with Ian Faison about how to make sure you know who your decision-makers are.
“Typically we push our team really hard for good data hygiene. We want to be able to measure as much as we can. If we have a large buying committee, we want to put an annotation on who they are. We’ve got our champions, we’ve got our decision-makers, our budget holders, our influencers. That helps us from a marketing perspective if we have all that data so we start to understand–are there certain things about our ICP that impact where they’re at in our buying committee? It helps us refine our marketing, our effort, our audience, and our segmentation. As those buying committees get larger, having the best data hygiene possible so you can identify who those people are is only going to help your marketing get better.”
Sales can feel like a volume game, but Lauren Vaccarello, the CMO of Salesloft, shared her perspective on why marketers and sellers need to rethink their outbound marketing strategy and lean on personalizing their outreach.
“Sellers are under so much pressure right now. The world has changed, the economy has shifted, and it is harder every single day to hit your number. A lot of sellers are in that mindset of ‘I just have to keep going, I need to do the volume game, I need to get as much out as possible and that’s part of the downside of it. You’re so focused on getting so much out, if you take that extra time and pause and focus on personalization, technically you’re not getting as much out the door, but the quality is going to be higher and you’re getting a better result.”
Content can feel a little like a black box–it's hard to measure how many pieces a buyer might have touched before they finally get to your site. But Nick Bennett, Director of Evangelism and Customer Marketing at Alyce, found there was actually a pretty easy way to figure out what content is making an impact.
“We switched to ‘How did you hear about us on our demo form, and the amount of insights we’re getting now is incredible. As marketers, we love to put people in boxes. If you have a dropdown that says ‘Google’ everyone will pick that. The amount of insights we’re getting now where my content, additional employees’ content, blogs, podcasts, or events are being referenced—we can start to map the entire journey. First touch, last touch are cool but everything that happens in the middle of that journey—that’s where the gold is and that’s where we start to capture a lot of these pieces that then help develop future content as well.”
Kristin Hersant, VP of Marketing at Groove, has grown countless startups into category leaders, and Groove is no different. She walked us through her strategies for staying on top of the latest tech, and how she gets stakeholders on board when it's time to invest in new software.
“In the early stages, a lot of leaders tend to make their own technology decisions. You reach a certain point where it all needs to be integrated and start to function together as part of an integrated system. The more you can get alignment and secure buy-in early on before you start to scale, the easier it will be. You don’t end up in a situation where you have a bunch of technology silos and you have to stitch them together later, that’s a lot harder.”
Even with the best attribution tools on the market, there are always going to be missing pieces of data when it comes to how your buyers get to your site. Matt Buren, VP of Global Sales and Cx Operations at Bombora, asks one simple question to give them valuable insights into their funnel.
“There’s so much happening out there that we can’t measure. What we’ve started doing in our forms is just asking, ‘How’d you hear about us? What brought you to us?’ We’re able to dive in and see the granular pieces that enabled us to see that we were getting a lot of referrals. So in Q3, we’re building a referral program.”
Melissa Robinson Phillips, VP of Marketing at Adecco, found in 2020 (like most of us!) that their website wasn’t ready to take on the role of their only sales tool when face-to-face selling came to a halt. They had to pivot, and they leaned on Qualified and the Pipeline Cloud to ungate their website, drop forms, and supercharge their site to be able to engage visitors in real-time.
“In staffing, we traditionally had this thought that clients just didn’t really come to our website that much, or if they did, they didn’t we’re there with that level of buying intent in the moment. We blew that idea out of the water. We had no idea how much opportunity we were missing. We reconfigured our entire sales process. Everything that we do is with the intent of driving someone to our website to put them in front of our sales team, from there they can be handled right away or triaged out to the right account owner. Once we implemented Signals, that opened up a whole new set of ah-has for us.”
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