Women of Qualified: Claire

Women of Qualified is a monthly blog series celebrating the female employees who make an impact to our business and team every day.

Women of Qualified: Claire
Shelly Weaver
Shelly Weaver
November 23, 2022
min read
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Apple Podcast LinkGoogle Podcast LinkSpotify Podcast Link

Meet Claire Ebben! She's a one-woman show, building our competitive marketing strategy from the ground up. Not only does she spend her days researching and creating a ton of competitive content to enable our sales team, but she's also the queen of our internal all-hands calls, providing top-tier edutainment for the whole company every other week.

Learn more about her approach to building a competitive marketing program from scratch 👇

Let’s talk about your journey to QLFD–where did you come from, how did you get into competitive marketing?

Claire: I have been working in tech for the last seven years and spent the first six and a half years at Salesforce. Salesforce was where I started my career, it’s a great place to start, like a lot of people at Qualified. I started my career in sales and then moved over to the market strategy team and spent the last four years there. That’s where I heard about Qualified, I worked with the Sales Cloud team. Bill Patterson, one of the main leaders, is on the board of qualified, Sarah Franklin was on the board of Qualified, they would talk about Qualified all the time, so it was always on my list of interesting companies that I knew were doing very cool things and had a lot of great ex-Salesforce leadership. 

When I started to think about when I wanted to transition and try something new, it was on my list. When this role opened up, Sean Alpert told me about the chance to build a competitive marketing program from the ground up, it was the perfect place and opportunity. I could not say no.

Now, having been here a couple of months and working with not only our executive leadership team who are all so seasoned and incredible, especially Kraig and Sean, who’ve done this a few times over at this point, but really just across the business, we have so many talented people, especially talented women. 

It’s a really great place to work with super-talented people and our product is amazing. I think our product is so cool and innovative, and our customers also just absolutely love us. From my perspective and my role, it’s been really awesome to come in and try to build something from the ground up while being around a huge group of super-talented people. It’s been great so far!

You came to Qualified and hit the ground running, what do you think are the most important pillars of implementing a competitive marketing strategy for a startup? 

Claire: Something I learned from my mentors on my team at Salesforce–I had a few good years under my belt to work with these leaders that implemented these programs at the biggest scale, Salesforce is massive–it’s always easier to scale something up than to scale something down. I knew it would be a challenge to build something from the ground up but I was really ready for that. 

Number one for me, my hit the ground running moment, was to start off and get really involved in deals and building relationships with the sales org as quickly as possible. At the end of the day, I think of the sales team as my main stakeholder. I'm doing research and creating content all for them so that we can go out and sell more, so I have to be an expert in both our competitive landscape and the day-to-day operations of how our sales team works, how they go to market, how they’re talking to customers, what our messaging is like and building their trust.

I see it as a symbiotic relationship. They’re my boots on the ground, they are oftentimes the ones sharing intel with me as they hear it from customers, so number one was how so I get the ball rolling with building content for the sales team, building that trust with them, and deliver value as quickly as possible from a messaging standpoint. 

The second was getting tight alignment with the rest of the marketing org and trying to understand where the biggest gaps were. One of the things that I knew we could really take advantage of was all of these amazing customers that have loved using our product and have come over from different competitive solutions and being able to package up these stories and have our sales team be able to speak to these stories. 

My third biggest focus has been being able to tell our competitive narrative to the entire company. I'm on our biweekly all-hands call updating our entire company on what our competitors have done in the last two weeks, how we’ve progressed against them, and updates on overall programs. 

It’s really exciting to be not only a face for our sales and marketing team but for the company as a whole.

What do you think sets Qualified apart from other products on the market?

Claire: Our focus on building our product specifically oriented for Salesforce customers is really what sets us apart in the market. There is no other pipeline generation platform that is purpose-built for Salesforce customers. What that means is we can really scale with any customer that we work with. Coming from the Salesforce and Sales Cloud world, I know how complex Sales Cloud can get, even Qualified’s own instance we’ve made thousands of changes and we’re only a four-year-old company. 

It’s the center of truth for so many people and customers, but it’s not the easiest thing to integrate with, so we come in with this amazing value prop of mirroring that customer sales cloud instance and marrying it up to your website, which is a big gap in the market.

We’re this next-gen marketing platform where we’re bringing both conversational marketing which has already been around for a little while and a way more human element to that, and now we have Signals, our buying intent side, and there’s no other product like us in the marketplace right now that is strong in both. 

We’re so tied to Salesforce, which sets us up so uniquely, and we have this full pipe-gen platform and from a competitive perspective, we’re the only ones doing that. It’s exciting to look at our landscape and see that we’re really innovating in a bunch of different areas. 

The software world can be a little cutthroat–talk to us about Qualified’s philosophy on addressing competitors and cutting through the noise

Claire: There are a bunch of different schools of thought around how to do competitive messaging. What I love about Qualified is that we really lead by using our customers as our shield in a way. We’re always about keeping it classy in our messaging when it comes to our competitors. 

We’re leading with evidence. That’s what I love about our marketing. It’s evidence-based in that we’re using our customer stories, our G2 validation, and leading momentum in the social sphere. For me, that has been really great and we’ve gotten great feedback from both our customers and our prospects in our approach to our messaging–it sets us apart.

We’re not talking about why our competitors aren’t valuable, our messaging is speaking to why Qualified is great, about our product and customer success approach that is leading to a massive sea change in the market of companies switching to Qualified. 

That’s how I think about competitive marketing–keeping it classy and using our customers to demonstrate those stories and get feedback as well. 

Lastly, hit us with a humble brag

Claire: I’m leading the competitive strategy against our competitors in the market and only doing that a couple of years into my career feels amazing, and a real point of pride for me. I'm sort of a one-woman show leading this new charge. 

I have a lot of pride in that. 

Claire, you're a total rockstar, and we're so lucky to have you at the wheel of our competitive marketing strategy.

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