Scott Holden
Scott Holden
How ThoughtSpot Became a $2 Billion Unicorn in 5 years
Hear which marketing channels Scott considers "uncuttable" and why he thinks Account-Based Marketing (ABM) is the key to success.
How ThoughtSpot Became a $2 Billion Unicorn in 5 years
Hear which marketing channels Scott considers "uncuttable" and why he thinks Account-Based Marketing (ABM) is the key to success.
The world’s most innovative enterprises use ThoughtSpot to empower every person in their organization, from C-suite executive to front-line employee, with the ability to quickly uncover data-driven insights. With ThoughtSpot, business people can type a simple Google-like search to instantly analyze billions of rows of data, and leverage artificial intelligence to get trusted, relevant insights pushed to them as answers to thousands of questions they might not have thought to ask.
High Tech

Guest Bio

Scott Holden is the CMO at ThoughtSpot where he is responsible for product marketing, demand generation, content marketing, PR, AR, and events. Prior to ThoughtSpot, Scott spent seven years at Salesforce running a number of marketing teams, including leading marketing for the Salesforce1 Platform, Sales Cloud, Chatter, Industry Marketing, Customer Marketing, and SMB Marketing.

Previously, Scott ran the Transportation & Logistics team at Walmart.com. He began his career at JPMorgan as an M&A investment banker, covering Technology and Healthcare companies.

Scott has an MBA from Stanford University and a BA from Colgate University in economics and philosophy.

Episode Summary

Marketers perform all sorts of important functions, from brand campaigns to assisting PR. But if a marketer isn’t filling the pipeline, nothing else matters. According to Scott Holden, the first and most important duty of a demand gen marketer is to know their numbers, answer to them, and be able to explain why they are where they are. Because if you can measure, then you can manage and grow.

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.


“The number one job for a marketing leader is pipeline creation. If I'm not hitting my pipeline target for the sales team, nothing else matters.” 
“We've got hundreds of campaigns running at any given point of time. Marketing these days is an all out, guns blazing affair.”
“Segmentation strategy is critical, but it just doesn’t fly at all if you don’t have sales bought in. If they’re not ready to segment accounts, and narrow the focus to a reasonable level, then it won’t work.”
“It’s the golden age of data. In particular, being able to pull data from nontraditional sources together and analyze quickly across them is crucial.”

Episode Highlights

Episode Transcript

The following is an automated transcript. There may be some misspellings or inaccuracies.

Ian Faison:  [00:00:00] welcome to demand gen visionaries. I mean, phase on host of demand, gen visionaries and CEO of Caspian studios. And I am joined by my good friend, Scott, Scott, how are you?

[00:00:11] Scott Holden: Great. It's good to be here again. Thanks for having me

[00:00:14] Ian Faison: It's great to have you on the show. Let's get into it. What was your first job in demand gen?

[00:00:21] Scott Holden: My first job, , Well, it would be back at Salesforce.

[00:00:26] And, uh, it's interesting. I think in demand gen the first time you get a number on your back is the first time you realize that you're in demand gen. , I mean, I actually think that if you're a marketer, you're in demand gen, but the metrics matter. And so when I was back at Salesforce, this is probably. 2009. Uh, I was running product marketing for the core sales product it's Salesforce. And, there was a shift where they started to break the different product lines into. Business units. And every business unit had a GM and every GM had a number, a sales number would that came up pipeline target. And it was at that point when I felt like I got a pipeline number, we started to form collaborative cross functional teams where I had a extended marketing team from corporate marketing, helping me hit a number that I felt like, all right, this is real.

[00:01:22] Let's go find some campaigns. Let's make sure we don't miss that number.

[00:01:26] Ian Faison: It was funny when we were talking to serve Arnie about how she went from product into finally having demand gen she's like, Whoa, this is a little different. I need to figure out  how to bridge the gap between these two things.

[00:01:38] Did you feel like a similar way?

[00:01:41] Scott Holden: You know, I think you're always focused on like the macro business, but when you have to get in front of a group and defend a metric every week, It just changes the stakes. And, um, I mean, that's the duty of, uh, of demand gen and actually just the metric based marketing world that we live in now [00:02:00] that there are metrics behind everything.

[00:02:01] you know, in general, I think if you're a product marketer, you're looking at them, but it's a lot more real when you have to answer to them,

[00:02:08] Ian Faison: let's get into our first segment, the trust tree. Trust tree is where you can feel honest and trusted and we will share our deepest, darkest dimension secrets.

[00:02:20] So for our listeners who don't know, tell us a little bit about ThoughtSpot.

[00:02:25] Scott Holden: So thoughts bots, an analytics software company. And our mission is to make the world a more factory have in place. And the way that we do that is by making analytics as easy as your favorite app, our approach to analytics is that it shouldn't just be. For the technical data analysts, the data team, , to create all the different insights for the business, you should be able to do it yourself.

[00:02:51] And our approach has been, we've created this category of analytics called search and AI driven analytics. And, , if you can use a search box or you can browse recommendations on YouTube, you should be able to use ThoughtSpot to get a thousand X more access to data. Then you can get without it.

[00:03:10] Ian Faison: And so what are the types of companies that you all are selling into? What, what does that persona look like?

[00:03:17] Scott Holden: Yeah, and this is, um, we've probably come at this a little bit different than your typical early stage software company. Right out of the Gates. We went after the global 2000, the top enterprises. So we've got customers like Walmart and Dimeler and Verizon and Caterpillar, you know, kind of a who's who, the biggest brands, Hulu,  You name it.

[00:03:40] And, you know, I think that's a little bit different than, you know, starting out selling to small businesses. And so we've, as a, as a result, you know, our, our ASP is $300,000 plus, so it's, we're, we're kind of a different structured company than might be typical. And as a result of that, it changes [00:04:00] our entire go to market and how we do things.

[00:04:02] Ian Faison: So what's your dimension strategy?

[00:04:06]Scott Holden: it's a big question. I mean, I, you know, I touched on this a little bit ago and, and that, I think from a demand gen, like, what's your demand gen strategies where like, what's your marketing strategy. I it's, if you're not thinking about demand gen as a CMO, you know, what else is there?

[00:04:22] So, , there's a, there's a kind of, a lot of ways to answer that question. There's. First of all, I think it touches everything you do as a marketer. If you're thinking about brand, if you're thinking about PR all of it ultimately ends up back at demand gen, you know, , for me, the number one job for a marketing leader is pipeline creation.

[00:04:41] And I feel like if I'm not hitting my pipeline target for the sales team, nothing else matters. It's sort of buys you the right to do the fun stuff. And if you're, if you're not, if you're not getting that done. Nothing else matters. So, um, you know, overall everything you do, and I think this is something that, particularly when I talk to other executives outside of marketing folks have a hard time grasping, which is like, what's that silver bullet.

[00:05:06] What's that thing. That's kind of, what are we doing this month? It's going to just knock it out of the park. And I'm like, Listen, w you know, we're doing a hundred things, you know, demand gen strategies. You know, we have at any given point in time, we've got hundreds of campaigns running and it's sort of like always on across the board.

[00:05:21] And you might have, you know, big ticket items that you're dialing up and down in a given month or quarter. But, you know, marketing these days is an all out, you know, all guns blazing affair. And our strategy is across the board. They'd be firing on all cylinders  more tactically we can get into, you know, how we go to market,  aiming at the global 2000, which is a little bit different than if you've got, you know, you're trying to market or sell your product to thousands and thousands of companies.

[00:05:48] Ian Faison: let's get into that.

[00:05:48] Scott Holden: and so we, you know, and I think they. Kind of the linchpin. There is ABM, , everybody's favorite acronym in marketing, these days account based marketing, which [00:06:00] is really about being very targeted and thoughtful about the accounts that you pursue and how you go about generating demand for them.

[00:06:12] Ian Faison: So how do you structure your team to acquire those accounts?

[00:06:19] Scott Holden: Yeah, so, well, there's a couple of different ways to break it down. When I, you know, when I think about how we go to market, we've been very purposeful in segmenting our accounts. And so I think that segmentation strategy is critical and. First of all, it just doesn't fly at all.

[00:06:36] If you don't have sales bought in, it has to be a hand in hand discussion with your sales leadership. If they're not ready to segment accounts, select accounts, you know, narrow the focus down to a reasonable level, , for their sellers. Then it won't work. And, you know, I've, it's, it's been an evolution at ThoughtSpot.

[00:06:57] I mean, we, you know, ABM has been on the scene now for years and the benefits are pretty apparent, I think to most folks, but executing is a lot easier said than done. And so we, you know, we drew up the game plan, the blueprint, this is how we do it. This is how we're going to segment. And, you know, I would say it wasn't really until 18 months, two years ago that we really started to cook with gas and that's because the sellers got involved and they, and they.

[00:07:21] I'd probably say one of the biggest focuses is that we narrow the number of accounts that our sales reps had. , and because if you, if you tell a reseller that they've got 50 or a hundred accounts, no human can cover that many accounts. And as you might be trying to run campaigns to like get them to focus, but guess what?

[00:07:43] They're not, they're still gonna sit back and wait for the fish to come to them. And so by giving them focus in, in essence, like. Cutting off the oxygen, starving the room a little bit and saying, no, these are your 10, or these are these ten five are, you're not going to get any help. Those are yours. And then marketing is going to help you [00:08:00] with these, you know, the next five, maybe the next 10 20, that changed the game for us quite a bit.

[00:08:05] And that structure helped us design programs for we've basically got four kind of key tiers of accounts, tier one, two, three, and four. And. I would say the biggest thing for us is that, um, the top three tiers are in our kind of global 2000 arena. And then the fourth tier is below that, which is for us, it's roughly a billion dollars in revenue.

[00:08:27] And in those first three tiers, Tier one will do anything. That's where there's an executive sponsor aligned with every account and it's like, pull out all the stops. You know, there's nothing we won't do for those accounts where it gets interesting is where you're trying to move hot tier two accounts into tier one, and really for marketers where you're trying to move, you know, for us, that's probably tier one has maybe 50 accounts.

[00:08:52] Tier two right now is probably,  500 accounts. And then tier three is a couple thousand.  how do we move the threes into the twos, which is basically, I think one of the cruxes of account based marketing, where a lot of people think of it. All right, great. We're going to, we're going to embrace EBM.

[00:09:08] And that means we're now going to start targeting these people and we're going to go after these accounts and it's actually backwards where. ABM done right. Is really about running your marketing programs. And when an account signals to you that they're ready, that's when you engage them, flip them into a new tier of activity and start driving them towards your sellers.

[00:09:32] And that shift in thinking while it may seem subtle, I think is a big one because we're now in a very structured way in doing this through account scoring and engagement tracking. Measuring what accounts for moving from tier three to tier three, tier two to tier one. And that's, you know, finally cooking with gas for us in the last year, in the last 18 months.

[00:09:53] Ian Faison: So what are the signals , that they're ready to be engaged?

[00:09:57] Scott Holden: well, we've, uh, we've developed,  an account [00:10:00] scoring model. And so, and it's, you know, it's all the things that you might expect it would be. And I think the world's best marketing firms are doing this with a lot of rigor. It's not uncommon to hear about big marketing teams, having a dozen data scientists, you know, refining the algorithms of how that score is calculated.

[00:10:18], you know, ours is done in a. Big bad-ass spreadsheet that, , we, we pull a bunch of data in from our, a variety of different data sources and, you know, things just like whatever, you know, revenue, tier industry, number of engagements, whether they're a customer or not, there's a variety of things that kind of, you know, pretty obvious, but you assign appropriate weighting based on your company and kind of how you go to market.

[00:10:40] And those things ultimately net out into a score. And for us, it was really about helping the seller say, Hey, you know, you've got these 10 accounts. Five of them are, you know, or three of them are sort of not really doing much. Why don't we bring three new ones in for you to focus on which three should those be?

[00:10:57] That's really where this signaling data can start to come in to help them choose it. Whereas in the past it might've been, you know, lick the finger, put it up in the errands, you know, or look at the, look at the revenue number of the, of the company and make decision that way. Now it's done at least for us with a lot more science than we've ever had before.

[00:11:13] Ian Faison: It's a lot easier when you can search your data.

[00:11:17] Scott Holden: Well, we, as you might expect, we, um, are avid users of our own product at ThoughtSpot. And, uh, yeah, all of this is now, you know, we do a lot of massaging  in a spreadsheet to kind of design the model. And then we actually now pump that back into our product so that our sellers and marketers can see that data.

[00:11:34] And, you know, I think that's probably the thing that's. Most revolutionary today for marketers is we have so much more access to data than we've ever had. And so, you know, I can tell you in a split second, what accounts have engaged with what campaigns on what channel?  what segment of title? I mean, things that would have taken me weeks to have an analyst go chase down.

[00:11:57] I have at my fingertips now and that's, [00:12:00] you know, marketing, I think historically

[00:12:03] Ian Faison: liked Scott hammer and away has access to it right now.

[00:12:07] Scott Holden: Yeah. I mean the simple, , you know, give the simple overview of how the product works. It's literally a search box for, you would say, you know, a number of engagements at, you know, name a company Verizon last week by channel, right. Or, , top 10 customers responding to. The big HBR campaign we launched last week and I have that data at my fingertips and can I can drill anywhere in it.

[00:12:32] Like the data is, you know, you hear these in the BI world, I'll try not to bore folks, but in the BI world, there's these things called drill paths and everything's been predefined and cubes. And, , you know, every, every answer in traditional analytics had to be premeditated. Someone had to think about what you might ask.

[00:12:47] And now we've got all this data coming from all over the place. It's completely unconstrained. And you, if you know how to type a few words into a search bar or right. Click and say drill down the, world's your oyster.

[00:12:58] Ian Faison: It's so interesting to think about like all of the unforeseen,  meetings and PowerPoint presentations and things that.

[00:13:08] Immediately get washed away when you have that type of power, when you have, when you can access it in real time, it's like, it's such a massive thing, especially for a senior leader. It's like, I don't ever need to get briefed on anything anymore. I just can look it up and I need to get solutions, like bring me solutions, not, not PowerPoints,

[00:13:29] Scott Holden: Well, I'll give you a couple of crazy examples of that playing out. At least in our company, we don't have a data analyst on the marketing team.

[00:13:37] Ian Faison: Crazy.

[00:13:38] Scott Holden: And, , it is kinda crazy.  and so, you know, I, this morning I was, we had a marketing all hands and I was like, I think I'm just gonna whip up a couple of new things. And I, I built a four charts just to summarize a few kind of key things, you know, just type in a few searches. And I went over it with the team this morning and I didn't have to ask anybody to do [00:14:00] it.

[00:14:00] I had the impulse to do it last night before I went to bed. It took me 15 minutes and, you know, I organized it in a nice way. Made it look good. And, , it was super easy and that plays out not just on marketing teams, but it plays out at the board level. And so we don't show any data to our board. That's not live in the product.

[00:14:22] So when we say, let's look at metrics, we said, well, let's pull up ThoughtSpot and they have access to it. And here it is. And we just use it right there. And so there's none of that. I mean, I'm sure many people listening have been through an amazing amount of pain in spreadsheets and PowerPoint preparing for board meetings and there's really nothing worse.

[00:14:42] And so I it's just been such a treat at ThoughtSpot to just say like, Nope, no slides. It's it's live. Like I'm going to go review it before we walk into the meeting, just to make sure I'm familiar, but usually I'm already up to speed and it just cuts a tremendous amount of overhead out of the picture.

[00:15:01] Ian Faison: With that small amount of accounts when you're not, you know, an SMB product or something like that.

[00:15:08] the sellers have obviously a tremendous responsibility. There's a lot of relationship driven, things that happen. The sellers, you know, believe there's no way this account could have closed without me.  because I have this relationship and they trust me to be, you know, the trusted advisor or whatever it is.

[00:15:25] so as a marketing leader, How much data is there then on those, you know, if there's 50 accounts, but each of those ones have like a 15 person buying committee, like what do those buying committees look like? Can you really get that granular with, with data on that stuff? Or is it just like a lot of, you know, that, well, sales has a gut feeling about blank.

[00:15:50] Scott Holden: You can measure it all now.  you know, we just put together, actually I put together a new chart for the last board meeting that I just hadn't done before. And I was sort of like [00:16:00] frustrated with myself that I hadn't done it. And I was like, you know, let's just look at the top 20 deals last quarter and show how many marketing engagements and from which channels they came from over the course of the deals, along with the stages in which they happened. And I just hadn't done it before. It took me two seconds to whip it up and then to show the sellers. I mean, we had, we had an account close,  last quarter that over the lifetime of the deal and the deal, you know, it took a little over a year, had over 700 marketing engagements. Wow, 700. And when you stack it up and you show it and we can, we can segment it by, , you know, part, part of the business by seniority in terms of title and show them where those marketing engagements happened in the different stages of the deal, people are just like, wow, I had no idea.

[00:16:48] And we, you know, we're doing, you know, to the ABM topic of before we're doing some pretty cool things where, you know, given. The dollar value and the size of the companies and the expansion potential, you know, we're selling a product, they be demanding, it's both a blessing and a curse, but the beauty of analytics is that you can sell it to every department and every person across the entire company.

[00:17:08] Usually you start in one department and move around, but the upside, once you get into an account and start proving success is just massive. And so we do some really cool things that, , because of that opportunity, You might not normally do where we will design custom websites. We will build custom demonstrating like demos of our product with their data, for executive to see at work, we'll do personalized messages.

[00:17:31] I mean, so we've kind of taken it to another level for I'd call it those tier one accounts and to be able to show all of that data who is engaging, who's watching the videos where they watched it, who the people, I mean, It's, you know, if you're trying to build a good relationship with a sales team, doing things like that, that influence not just the top of the funnel, but the bottom of the funnel, when it really matters where they get the engagements or get the executives over the Hill over the line with enthusiasm.

[00:17:59] I mean, [00:18:00] it's been just pure gold

[00:18:01] Ian Faison: So is that like, I mean, do you have a robust like sales Strat or sales ops team? Like those seem like those, it blends into a sales ops.

[00:18:11] Scott Holden: Yeah, we do. And so we, we have a sales ops team, I'd say we're, , we're hand in hand, like very closely tied together. , we have a little bit of a unique setup.

[00:18:20], it ThoughtSpot and that given my background, coming from Salesforce, I was super passionate about making sure. I'd seen a lot of bad Salesforce implementations in my day. Let's put it that way and I was dead set on making sure the one that I started from scratch at it, ThoughtSpot was a good one.

[00:18:34] And so, , we actually run Salesforce out of the marketing department right now, a guy named Kaushik on my team, , is a total rockstar. And we've just kind of, one of the key principles is that we want to have a really good. Clean setup, you know, no dirty data, no duplicates. We want to be able to track all these metrics we've been talking about really cleanly in large part so that we can analyze it, , using a product like ThoughtSpot.

[00:18:56] that's been a kind of a key thing for us in terms of setting up the segmentation, doing the tiering, all of that has been really easy to do, but we share that data with the sales ops team and you know, to my prior point, you have to have alignment. And I find sales ops is just like a bit of our best friend in terms of getting the sales leaders to pay attention.

[00:19:16] So in terms of that account scoring thing, I knew that if I did it on my own, it wouldn't get nearly the number of looks as if our sales ops team helped me do it. And in fact, it went even a step further. There's a, you know, an amazing,  Analyst on our sales ops team Tomoko. I'll give her a shout out to her who built, who basically built this model herself.

[00:19:35] we gave a lot of input and how it was going to be. And as a result of that, it just gets into the sales water supply, which is ultimately as a marketer, what you want. It's much better if it's like part of their motion, that's something I'm telling them. They think they need to do. And, uh, so we've just, you know, as being well partnered with them and kind of a, you know, a thought partner is a way to get, you know, new ideas in the market.

[00:20:00] [00:20:00] Ian Faison: Let's get into the playbook. The playbook is where we open up your playbook and talked about the tactics that help you win some of those engagements, those 700 engagements, all the good stuff.

[00:20:14] How about three channels or tactics that are your uncomfortable budget items? No matter what never getting cut.

[00:20:23] Scott Holden: Yeah. I would say right now, the, our number one digital channel is LinkedIn. And the reason why is because of the account-based targeting, it's the best advertising platform we found for going after big, big businesses, where you can target by company size and by title. And so given what we're trying to do that is by far our most efficient channel, , it's gotten a lot more expensive over the years when we first started, I was like, this is too good to be true.

[00:20:58], they've figured out they're sitting on a pretty good asset and they've monetized it appropriately. So the ROI is, and as great as it was a few years ago, but it's still just so hyper-targeted, and probably the number one thing from a digital perspective, ,

[00:21:10] Ian Faison: I never hear LinkedIn. I think the first person I've talked to in a hundred interviews that have said LinkedIn.

[00:21:17] Scott Holden: So for, for us, it's been our number one thing. , you know,  Facebook actually right now in the COVID era, I'm recording this in June of 2020. , the, uh, people are at home, I think on social media a bit more. And so we've seen Facebook and Instagram start to kick a little hotter than they had in the past, but I don't have.

[00:21:40] The targeting ability that I have with LinkedIn. And so, you know, I'd say the, the hit rate is probably 20% of what LinkedIn is, but the cost per lead is a lot lower. And so it ends up being still a very effective channel for us. There's just a lot of noise in it.

[00:21:57] Ian Faison: So what are you pushing them to?

[00:22:00] [00:22:00] Scott Holden: What, in terms of like the content, the assets, , you know, we've got.

[00:22:04] Videos, we've got, , oftentimes thought leadership. We've got new research. , we've done some fun eBooks. Like there's an ebook that we launched this morning on,  business continuity. , basically how to, we're calling it the made for the moment campaign, which is this lovely pandemic moment that we're all living through.

[00:22:22] But it's, , how to, how to manage through, , you know, a difficult time like this and keep your business up and running. And we've got a variety of different case studies and how companies are coping in times like these,

[00:22:32] Ian Faison: but it's not like an awareness. You're not just like running display ads to be like, to get awareness of like, so they see ThoughtSpot a million

[00:22:38] Scott Holden: No, no, no, no, no. Yeah. It's always about some piece of thought leadership. It's it's always got an angle. It's got a campaign or, you know, we're running a, um, probably the, you know, the coolest campaign we've ever done at ThoughtSpot right now. , it's our first ever brand campaign where we partnered with the Harvard business review until.

[00:22:57] Launch a campaign that we'd call meet the new decision makers and it's all about how do you empower the front lines to use data in ways they had never done before. And it's a, you know, it's a massive kind of integrated campaign. We've probably got 30 different assets hanging off of it. Multiple different analysts have contributed to it.

[00:23:16] And we've gotten obviously the core research from HBR, but that's very topical. It's not really about us. It's about what's happening in the market and why people today have more access to data and need. Better technology to be able to make decisions. And so that's something that's, you know, in your Instagram feed, if you're got a little bit of a business central.

[00:23:36] Oh, that's interesting. Let me, let me take a look. I think that's a, , I answered your question about the one that I wouldn't cut would be LinkedIn, but I'll also say, you know, yeah, I'd say covert aside in the enterprise, like B2B marketing events, rule, I mean, events are killer and people, people are people, they, we crave connection and, , it's, it's been a huge blow for marketers not to have [00:24:00] that.

[00:24:00] I mean, 40% of my pipeline comes from physical events. So it's been. You know, hats off to all the marketers out there working overtime during this pandemic, because we've all had to take in the B2B space. What has been a tried and true source of pipeline and flip it into digital. And so just a huge transition from, you know, a very tried and true playbook of the physical event format to what is our digital menu of events look like.

[00:24:26] And so we've rolled out a whole new, you know, we've got like basically five core meals on the digital event menu. Uh, the virtual event venue, if you will. And, um, it's been really exciting to see the team pivot and to actually see some bright spots from that. It turns out that busy execs are hard to pin down outside of a pandemic and get them to come to your event.

[00:24:46] When everybody's sitting at home, there's a little bit more flexibility to, you know, to sit through a 30 or 45 minute webinar. And so we found that we've been able to get access to some of these senior people that we work with. Typically it thoughts about we sell to the chief data officer and the CIO, but we also tend to have.

[00:25:03] You know, the EDPs and the SVPs, the business units, whether that's sales or marketing operations, et cetera, be a part of the buying process. And so those folks are typically hard to get, and we found that now more than ever, we've had great ways to engage with them. We've been doing, you know, whether it's a, you know, a wine event in the evening or breakfast events, you know, we, you know, break bread virtually if you will.

[00:25:27] you know, you make them more. Smaller format. You'd get a dozen people together where they feel like they can share best practices to it's a great way to connect with people still.

[00:25:37] Ian Faison: well, it's funny how, you know, you, you break down the different pieces of an event, right? You're like an event with no physical interaction is content like an event with no engagement is just content, right? So it's like, do we need an audience there or no? Is there engagement? No, then you don't, it's not really, it's not really an event.

[00:25:56] That's just content. Whereas it's like, if it's all [00:26:00] engagement, if it's, you want people to get under the hood, like you were talking about, like, we want to test drive this in real time. We want to give a sandbox environment. We want to do demos. Like that's a totally different sort of thing. If you want your sales reps to be physically meeting people and asking them questions, like that's a different thing.

[00:26:17] And I think that that's one of the things that I've seen. That's so cool. That's happened is like people breaking down the elemental things of like, why do we do this? And like, what are the reasons that we're doing it?

[00:26:28] Scott Holden: The number one thing I'm seeing is that I don't know if it's a dirty secret, but people crave getting together in person. And I think as marketers, we know that and we tend to trade on that a little bit by, you know, everybody does a pretty good job with their keynotes nowadays, but the breakout content usually is okay.

[00:26:49] It's not excellent, but you're there, you're on your phone half the time. And you know, people are able to, I think, skimp on that content in the digital virtual world, , it's very easy to bounce and get distracted and leave. And so I think the bar has actually gone up when it comes to putting on virtual events in terms of quality.

[00:27:09] And I think that's a good thing for, you know, for us as marketers and ultimately for all of the customers that we're trying to serve.

[00:27:15] Ian Faison: Yeah. So Octa did a, , they were one of the first people, right after code. They had a huge conference plan and I talked to their CML, Ryan Carlson about it.

[00:27:24] And like, they had a huge, it was crazy to hear it, but basically they had like a through E versions of this event. And the absolute last thing was 100% digital and they had to do a hundred percent digital, , But they had, like, I think it was like 14,000 people sign up and they're like, our event would have been like, I think it was like 2000 and they're like, we had way more engagement than we could have ever had with an in

[00:27:45] Scott Holden: Well, I think that's the, that's the key though, is the, like, it's very easy to, you know, a sign up in the covert era is easy. The engagement metrics are where it's at.

[00:27:55] And so I've signed up for a bunch of stuff and known, showed in a way that I've [00:28:00] never no showed in the past. And so I think that's the metric. As long as people are still coming and staying. Then you're winning. But otherwise I think if you're just, if you're just measuring the reg number, you may be misleading yourself a

[00:28:13] Ian Faison: Well, yeah, no, it's a great point. But like, so I saw that they had Colin Powell give a talk, which was like Epic. Right. , but it's like going and listening to Colin Powell, Ian going and listening to Columba.

[00:28:24] And I did buy Okta after this, so, you know, go figure. But, um but going to listen to Colin Powell, Really does nothing for them because Ian, just again, that's like go seeing a famous person. That's the person that gets you in the seat to buy the ticket is like, Oh, I'm going to go see Colin Powell, but on a digital event that doesn't really matter. And it's like, you want them to be in the breakout? Yeah,

[00:28:44] Scott Holden: Exactly. They're going to go see Colin Powell.

[00:28:47] Ian Faison: Yeah. But then,

[00:28:49] Scott Holden: it still is. It still is a great experience. You know, Octas left a great impression on you. You bought the stock congrats, but, , yeah, if you really want to get a message across, it's just a different audience.

[00:28:59] I mean, you might have people also that are like dropping into watch Colin Powell that have no idea what Okta is. And so you gotta measure the engagement and make sure that you're getting the, you know, the down funnel engagement out of it that you'd expect. And if so, it's all good. Oh, geez.  I mean, right now, the only thing I have in my brain is are, are all the webinars we're doing has really just stepped up to fill the void, , from the physical events. And so that's probably the number three on my list right now.

[00:29:34] Ian Faison: What about something that you cut in the last year?

[00:29:38] Scott Holden: Twitter. , we just were not able to make Twitter work for us.

[00:29:43], you know, just given our focus that the types of buyers, the seniority of the people that we're trying to get, we found it just the signal to noise ratio is just not worth it to us

[00:29:52] Ian Faison: through advertising. You know, what's funny is a lot of those people it's like, they're never going to click on ads, but if you just [00:30:00] like, actually have conversations with them, they'll respond,

[00:30:04]Scott Holden:  meaning that they saw your ad or like

[00:30:06] Ian Faison: no, like you have actual people like communicate with them in their replies.

[00:30:10] Scott Holden: Yeah. I mean, I think Twitter is a great platform. I wish we just haven't mailed to crack the advertising

[00:30:15] Ian Faison: well, I know that's why that's, what's so funny about it. And we see that all the time and it's another thing I hear all the time. It's just to her as like, nobody gets value out of them, but it's like that person, you know, that, you know, CIO has 460 followers when they tweet something, they get one or two likes.

[00:30:31] It's like, get in those DMS.

[00:30:34] Scott Holden: it's crazy.

[00:30:35] Ian Faison: You know what I mean? Like hit those replies, like. If I was, if I was an eight ye trying to engage with this person, I would like every one of their tweets, I would reply to every one of their tweets. ,

[00:30:47] Scott Holden: yeah, I think that's an untapped goldmine for a more hand to hand selling.

[00:30:54] Ian Faison: okay. So how about, uh you talked about a campaign that you're super,  happy about this, uh, HBR campaign. , are there any other like big trends that you see coming.

[00:31:07] Scott Holden: Yeah, big trends.  there's a bunch, , you know, for marketers, we, it's kind of the golden age of data, , in particular. Being able to pull data from nontraditional sources together and analyze quickly across them has been a huge pain point for years. And so I'm a, I'm obviously a bit biased being in the analytics space, but, , you know, you're seeing things now with the rise of cloud data warehouses, you know, we're big partners with snowflake or snowflake customer and.

[00:31:37] To be able to pull all of our data, whether it's, you know, Salesforce data plus clickstream data, plus, you know, your marketing operation system, your website, I mean, you can pull advertising data all of this together, and then in a, in a super efficient way, and then to put an analytics product with a search, simple interface, like ThoughtSpot on top,  you have visibility into things that you.

[00:32:00] [00:32:00] Wouldn't have thought possible five years ago. And so that's probably one of the big trends that is, is allowing marketers. I mean, marketing has always been a left brain, right. Brain game. You know, you've got to come up with the creative and like the interesting messaging, but then you've got to measure it and make sure it works, , to make sure you're being efficient with your spend.

[00:32:17] And, , you know, the right brain side of things is getting, is stepping up its game right now in the data world.

[00:32:23] Ian Faison: How do you get the most out of your website?

[00:32:27] Scott Holden: Well, websites are interesting. I mean, it, it, it gets back to your strategy of what you're trying to do. You know, I mentioned that, you know, we're, we're super focused on the top end of the market.

[00:32:37], you'll see. I think you'll see us start to move down into the, maybe the top end of the mid market here this year. We're, we've got some new products coming out that I think will be interesting. , but that focus means that we're really interested in presenting,  You know, a polished brand and a strong narrative and a very educational, , high class experience for the world's biggest and best companies and the most senior people in those companies.

[00:33:04] And so for me, given that, , like we don't. We don't really have a funnel problem. We we're we're, you know, which is crazy to say, like we have we're have a vision that pretty much anybody who ever hears about ThoughtSpot says, heck yes. Where has that Ben on my life, we were trying to solve really big problems for really big companies.

[00:33:23] And so, , I we're focused on educating them and presenting a message and a story that's really clear. And what I find if you're, you know, if you're trying to market to the long tail, it becomes. An SEO game. It gets into a little bit of the, you know, you start to. Market as if you're playing a video game or it's like, you know, the machine telling us that we should make the website purple and we should change the button to this and we should do this and we should do that.

[00:33:49] And let's just do that because it says we're going to get more clicks. And pretty soon if you follow that, I've, I've talked to a number of my peers. They're like, yeah, we were, we were tweaking all these things based on AB tests. And next thing you know, like we, our [00:34:00] website turned into Frankenstein and it looked, it looked like crap.

[00:34:04] and so.  I'm super wary of that. Like, since we don't have that long tail challenge right now, and that's not our strategy, I'm much more interested in making sure that, you know, we track all the things like bounce rate and number of pages and time on page, et cetera. , but I I'm not perhaps is, , scientific about every single thing relative to somebody who is trying to convert a thousand deals a day,

[00:34:29] Ian Faison: Yeah. Getting every single button, the right color and all that sort of stuff. , I will say your website is awesome. I've always liked it. Your brand is just so great. , I'm not just saying that it's like, I've always just felt like it's, it's really slick.  but you can tell it's you have a very strong, like guiding hand and makes sense.

[00:34:48] Scott Holden: I, but we're just, we're super focused on the story and just make it, and also making sure that people can find, you know, we've been in business now know we've kind of had our current website up for the last five years , we have a lot of content now.

[00:35:02] And so I'm pretty focused on one and making sure that you can understand the story. And you can understand how we're different because we're taking a very different approach to this market relative to others. But then you can also find all the amazing resources and move built thousands and thousands of pieces of content over the years.

[00:35:17] And we want to. Make it easy for you to navigate to those. And so we're focused on that and, you know, making sure that, , you know, we've got, you know, conversational, marketing's hot these days. So we use qualified, which is a product on our website to help our salespeople engage on the site. And if somebody can't find what they're looking for, you've got.

[00:35:35] A human being there. And that's another actually, that's another place where we there's been a lot of advancement. I think historically people have been pretty frustrated by the bot experience, uh, myself included. And now, you know, particularly when, you know, when a fortune 100 company is on our website,  multiple people in my company know about it immediately.

[00:35:58] And if they. [00:36:00] Spend some time on the pricing page or they spend some time looking at some new asset. It's amazing what a human being who's watching can do. Hey, I see you're checking out our pricing page. You know, my name's Beth and I'm a real person and I'm here to help just in case versus like, hello, my name is the computer.

[00:36:19] And so that's been, um, that's actually been a really powerful new mechanism for us just in the last year. So

[00:36:27] Ian Faison: Yeah, the, the comparison to, , you know, like you have a squirrel on your website, it's like, I don't want to talk to a squirrel, , about, about my, uh, about my, you know, multibillion dollar companies, data problems, like, um

[00:36:42] Scott Holden: it's amazing when people like they're, they don't expect it and they're like, wait a minute. That's not a bot. That's a real person. Oh, this is kind of fun. A little creepy, but helpful.

[00:36:50] Ian Faison: Yeah, totally. , and then you're like, Oh, this is pretty nice. I actually get things solved.

[00:36:55] Scott Holden: I had a question and you actually answered it. Thank you.

[00:36:59] Ian Faison: Let's get to the dustup. The dustup is our segment where we talk about healthy tension, whether it's with your board, your sales teams, competitors, your old boss, have you had a memorable dust-up in your career?

[00:37:16] Scott Holden: They call me captain dust up. You and I always get in fights right in like, uh, you know, I'm not, I'm not really going to be the guy to give you a whole bunch of fireworks on this question. I'm pretty, it's kind of hard to get a rise out of me. So I don't have a ton of great desktop stories. you know, when it comes to working with my boss and with the board, I think that's probably one of the coolest things about, you know, maybe the last five, 10 years is that,  a lot of them bravado and sort of,  I don't know, the kind of blow heart executive mentality of like posturing seems to be fading.

[00:37:51] And in particularly in, in at least our, in our industry and technology, I think people are being. , more humble, , more straight forward, , you [00:38:00] know, just more secure and how they lead and how they talk about challenges. And so I think that's one of the things that, , makes me happy and I really pride myself on it.

[00:38:09] ThoughtSpot is that our leadership team, , cares about each other and talks, you know, Thoughtfully and respectfully to each other. It's not about like who can bark the loudest and that, , you know, that plays right on through our boards. So it's, it's a very constructive environment, the place where I could probably give you a little, a little dust up.

[00:38:29] A fodder is in the competitive world. , you know, it's fun every now and then to poke a competitive bear. , you know, we're, we're still a relatively small player in the analytics market. And, you know, I learned a few tricks when I was at Salesforce poke in the Oracle bear. , and, uh, I remember it was a point of pride when we got the cease and desist letter from, from Oracle for, for one of the campaigns that we launched.

[00:38:51] And so I've always, I always thought that that was kind of a fun badge of honor and, uh, was pretty happy when I picked up one of those at ThoughtSpot a few years back when we. I won't name the competitor, but we did a little guerrilla marketing at one of their events. And, um, you know, you've, you know, you're winning when you get the lawyers sending you letters.

[00:39:11] So we, uh, we had some provocative, , content that we had on display at their event and it, uh, it hit the right chord. I even had the analyst community, , You know, I have a full blown, which is, you know, it's great when, you know, when you get the top analysts in the space commenting on it. And I had about half of them thinking it was really smart.

[00:39:27] And half of them being like, I think they crossed the line. I'm like, that feels pretty good.

[00:39:33] Ian Faison: word on the street is that you've had a famous desktop where you would not share your conditioner and other people wanted to know how you got those flowing locks. So. Is it Pantene? What do we work with here? Darnia, you

[00:39:48] Scott Holden: know, I've just taken full advantage of, um, the no haircut pandemic season and it is, uh, yeah, it's flowing like crazy right now. I'm I'm my wife is super eager for me to get a haircut [00:40:00]  you know, as soon as the barber shops opened back up again, I'll be in there. But until then we're letting the science experiment roll.

[00:40:07] Ian Faison: Let's get into our quick hits. These questions are quick. Just like how fast it would be to talk with someone on your website when you're using qualified.com, check out qualified your customers.

[00:40:21] I don't need to tell you, but for our listeners, check a qualified we're in the qualified.com studio today through the amazing sponsor of the show. We love them. Check them out quick. Hit Scott. Are you ready?

[00:40:33] Scott Holden: Bring it.

[00:40:35] Ian Faison: Number one, have you picked up a habit or hobby during COVID?

[00:40:41] Scott Holden: Yes, interestingly, , my wife has been trying to get me to do hit classes and yoga classes with her for. A decade and I've always had an excuse not to do it. And now she used to go to a studio and now she's doing it in my living room and I have snuck in and off camera, started trying it, and now I'm kind of hooked.

[00:41:07]I'm not a young man anymore. And I'm finding that some of the things, the flexibility and the core strength you get from yoga and these hit exercises is. Making my back feel better. So, uh, yeah. Old dog, new tricks.

[00:41:21] Ian Faison: we started doing cupping. We bought a cupping set for like 26 bucks. So my brother is a PTA. A bunch of my friends are PTs.  and we bought a cupping set. And like change my life. We started doing that at the beginning. Yeah, we do it like every month.

[00:41:37] Scott Holden: suction cups on your, on your skin.

[00:41:39] Ian Faison: It's super easy to, I mean, there's stuff you can screw up.

[00:41:41] So like watching YouTube videos by like physical therapists, but yeah. It's like w increases mobility, like all that sort of stuff. It's great. Yeah. But I, I haven't done, I haven't done it yet, so that'll be next on the list. We've done like two yoga sessions that I was like, I am not

[00:41:56] Scott Holden: like you skipped a couple steps to go to coping, but man, maybe I'm just,

[00:42:00] [00:42:00] Ian Faison: You got it.

[00:42:00] Scott Holden: that what all the, all the kids are doing these

[00:42:03] Ian Faison: Yeah, no, it's great. It's great. You get some, uh, like healthy tension, not so much when it's in your back. Um, do you have a best piece of advice for CMO who needs to figure out their demand gen strategy?

[00:42:22] Scott Holden: Yeah. So if, if I'm giving advice to folks. I think the F the first thing that I would say is for anybody kinda new building out a program is make sure your infrastructure and your marketing operations is really tight. , I, you know, it's one of those things that I found in my early career, I just didn't have access to the data that I wanted, and it was really hard to change.

[00:42:49] And so if you, if you're not on the, in the COC, and so as a COO, I would say, Take it seriously invest in the technology, invest in the process and try to create a clean setup. , it's easier said than done. It's often not a lot of the work that doesn't get appreciated until it goes wrong. , but that's one of the things that, um, you know, I haven't had any heartburn over systems over not having access to data.

[00:43:14] And man, when you get in that world where you're missing a number and you don't trust the data. It's like the worst place to be. It creates more sleepless nights, I think for marketers, anything else? So I would say take that seriously. And then the other thing is, um, you know, you gotta know your numbers and I, I I've talked to a number of marketers.

[00:43:36] I've also talked to a number of CEOs that have been frustrated with their marketers over the years, and marketing's grown to become a, a really complex, diverse. Group of people and talents. And so, you know, you think of a marketing team, the type of people that do creative versus PR versus analysts work versus messaging [00:44:00] versus events, it's all over the place.

[00:44:02], and trying to, you know, educate a CEO that might not know it is, um, is a tall order. And I find the best way to do it is to talk numbers, which is what they care about. And so if, if you're a COO and you don't. Fully grok the numbers. I would encourage you to either learn or hire somebody really good.

[00:44:21] They can.  you know, I, I, my first career marketing is really my third career. My first career was in banking, investment banking. So I had the kind of metrics piece is something that's always come. Pretty intuitive to me, but now I'm finding actually it's great to have other people on the team be able to do that for you as a, the more people that understand the metrics, it's sort of like knowledge is power.

[00:44:46] And so if you've got any weakness there, don't,  Don't shy away from figuring it out because I find that to be a position of strength, especially for CMOs today, where I think the number one thing that every CMOs is trying to do is prove their worth to the CEO and the board. And that comes from metrics and whatever metrics you're being measured on.

[00:45:06] And if you don't have a great way of really clearly being able to explain that story, as well as you can explain your brand story, you know, you're missing the Mark.

[00:45:17] Ian Faison: that's it. That's all we got for today. We got to bring you back and we'll bring back Kaushik too, so we can get a super deep dive into a, into some of the stuff get really nitty gritty.

[00:45:26], but it's awesome. Chatting with you as always any, uh, any final thoughts,

[00:45:30]Scott Holden: man. And these times, the only thing I can think to offer is it, um, you know, it's a marathon, not a sprint. You know, in, in the marketing world, , we've actually been, I think working harder than ever and, and running faster than ever.  one of the things that I've been encouraging the team to do is to, is to not be afraid to go slow to then go fast.

[00:45:51] So be thoughtful, be strategic. Don't let a little things like a pandemic. Totally knock you off your game. , slow down, [00:46:00] figured out, build a strategy and play for the long haul.

[00:46:04] Ian Faison: Awesome.

[00:46:04] Thanks again. And everybody check out thoughtspot.com.

[00:46:08] Scott Holden: Good to be here.