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Tom Butta
Tom Butta
Marketing Strategies that Led to a Billion Dollar Acquisition by Splunk
Tom shares strategies that led to a $1B acquisition of SignalFX by Splunk. He shares tactics at the heart of these large deals—like putting top priority on the customer experience.
SignalFx (now Splunk) is a SaaS-based monitoring and analytics platform based in San Mateo, California that allows customers to analyze, visualize, automate, and alert on metrics data from infrastructure, applications, microservices, containers, and functions. At the core of the platform is a streaming architecture that splits metric data points into two streams, one for human readable metadata and the other for time-series values. The platform is able to process millions of data points per second at 1-second resolution with less than 2 seconds of latency, from ingestion to alert.
INDUSTRY
High Tech
FOUNDED
2013

Guest Bio

Tom Butta has helped some of the world’s most successful enterprise SaaS companies in rapidly-changing categories achieve the coveted positions of thought leader and trusted guide to the Fortune 2000. Prior to joining SignalFx, Butta was Chief Marketing Officer at Sprinklr, where he was responsible for positioning Sprinklr as a vital partner to large enterprises needing to digitally transform around the connected customer. As consultant-in-residence for the market development team at Andreessen Horowitz, Butta helped define and package the venture capital firm’s points of view about emerging technologies to position itself as the place for executives to learn about the future of technology. Butta has also served as CMO of AppNexus, NICE Systems, PTC, and Red Hat, for which he helped take the company public, expand globally, and establish open source as a viable software platform for modern enterprises.

Episode Summary

Tom Butta, CMO of SignalFx (acquired by Spunk for $1.05B), discusses the demand-gen mindset that leads to high-dollar acquisitions. On this episode of Demand Gen Visionaries, Tom explains the importance of focusing on marketing fundamentals to see big results, how putting your customers above all will lead to retention and more pipeline, and keeping a company-wide eye to make sure your demand gen leads to more sales.

Key Takeaways

  • There are three essential elements of demand gen: pipeline creation, revenue metrics, and, often overlooked, customer retention.
  • Customers should be treated as family. They should never find out about a big announcement when the rest of the world does. They should be notified about it before. 
  • The most fundamental requirement of demand gen is perspective. Know where marketing is having an impact and make sure customers can find your website.
  • When you spend money on marketing tactics, you need to make sure you’re seeing a return on your investment.
  • Own your content creation. You need to have content that the company can stand behind without question. Quality always starts from within and it needs to be amplified. 
  • It’s important to have data to back up your actions. Let your metrics guide your company's strategy. Not emotion.

Quotes

“Demand gen is a function within a function. It's part of a team, but it does not live on its own. It’s reliant upon really good content. It's reliant upon the ability to act appropriately and quickly on opportunities that it creates.”
“The validation that you get from customers is just... it's just immeasurable.”
“Understand that your home is the place that most people will go to and you need that to be your website. You need to be able to ensure that when they get there, they have the best possible experience, but you also need to be sure that they actually can find you.”
“You go after the new logos exclusively, and you forget that you can actually have great influence over, building relationships with your existing customers. Those customers are our franchise. They give reason for us to exist.”
“My belief (for content) is, it always has to start from within. In terms of turning something over, we did a couple of case studies with external consultants and writers, but for the most part we wrote everything ourselves.”

Episode Highlights

1:35 The Trust Tree, Your Demand Gen Secrets

  • As people think about hiring B2B CMOs, they tend to put you in different buckets, either being a demand gen expert brand expert, product expert
  • It’s all about creating interest for your brand, your product, and ultimately customers
  • A key metric for demand gen, the most important measure, is pipeline creation
  • At SignalFX, we measured pipeline over the course of 5 quarters and we measured marketing and sales driven pipeline weekly
  • Following that, it’s how well have you been able to activate that pipeline, and realize that potential from the pipeline.  Ultimately, how much new revenue did marketing source, how much new revenue did sales source?
  • A mistake that a lot of people mistake is overlooking the fact that everyone is looking for new logos and new customers, but what a lot of people forget about is the importance of marketing to your existing customers
  • “The next best source of revenue are the customers you already have”
  • The existing customer base is like a franchise, and you need to treat your customers as your first level of communication in everything that you do
  • Your customers should not learn about the news after the fact, they should learn about it before, like they are special, part of your family
  • Huge growth in net retention rates was due to our focus on the importance of our customers

6:50 Arranging the Team

  • Segmenting your database is key to have the right level of communications to your customers
  • We’re always thinking, is this the right messaging for each audience?
  • We had someone in marketing responsible for messaging and managing the relationships with our existing customers
  • It’s often challenging for customers to go on the record, so having someone responsible for that, often called customer marketing, is something we focused on
  • You have to get the buy in from the individual, the customer on the front lines, they have to see the value and be passionate about your product
  • The natural instinct for corporate comms departments is to say no, but if you have a track record of doing things in a positive way, and elegant way, and there’s something in it for the company, that’s the key

10:30 Marketing Pipeline vs Sales Pipeline

  • At SignalFX, marketing ops and sales ops were like yin and yang
  • When we reported starting each week, we reported off of one dashboard
  • One of the most important aspects of this was our campaign influence model that showed every touch along the relationship, most notably first touch.
  • There might be 16 marketing touch points during a deal, but we would not look at this of marketing sourced, but marketing influenced
  • Regarding the sales and marketing divide over closed-won revenue, that is always where the struggle happens, but if you just look at the data, the data will tell you what actually happened.
  • As to who gets “credit” we never wanted to overstate marketing sourced pipeline.  I never wanted to get into the he-said, she-said debate.  Our help is to get us to revenue every way possible.

14:20 The Most Fundamental Elements of Demand Gen

  • Demand gen is part of a team that doesn't live on its own
  • It’s reliant upon really good content and the ability to act on every opportunity
  • Having the right marketing stack with the right levels of intelligence if crucial
  • We talked about our marketing influence model at the board level
  • We wanted to be able to predict how investments would turn into revenue
  • The other thing that’s fundamental, is the website, it’s the home that you’re sending people to and on that property, you need to provide the best possible experience
  • SEO is obviously key here, because people need to be able to find you
  • We gave our SEO team revenue targets

17:00 The Power of the  Attribution Model

  • We used Lean Data, a tool that could associate the database of accounts. And create an Account-Based attribution model
  • Lean Data made it easy for us to be able to see the value

18:30 Growth Marketing and Marketing Ops

  • Marketing Ops is bigger than the technical ops of demand gen
  • It also includes the ability for the  whole marketing function to understand what’s happening
  • They have an orientation to look at the data, and understand what the stack should look like and be willing to test new stuff
  • We worked with closely with sales ops to manage lead scoring
  • Understanding, as you build out the funnel, is that things won't stop when they enter your funnel
  • You can see the impact on what you’re doing or what you need to do
  • It’s marketing ops with a growth orientation
  • Classifying your database of prospects, and segmenting into categories like “Platinum” or “Gold” or “Silver” is key to understanding the types of customers you’re targeting
  • My first instincts are that growth marketing should own campaigns.  Many organizations have product marketing owning the campaigns because they know the product strategy of the company.  But the growth marketing folks need to know when there is information overload and you’re turning people off

22:30 Tom’s Campaign Strategy and Playbook

  • My uncuttable budget items include, first, search.  We had to spend the money to show up and understand the key triggers that are driving demand
  • Investment in customer marketing is uncuttable, the validation you get from customers in immeasurable
  • Content creation is uncuttable, you cannot outsource this.  We wrote everything and packaged everything up
  • The product marketing team was responsible for the campaign strategy.  However, the digital marketing folks were responsible for getting these into market, and how we’re going to reach them, and what that would look like across channels

26:30 Mistakes People Make in Demand Gen

  • One common mistake is only going after new logos
  • Thinking of your customers as the “installed base” is the exact opposite of how I think about our customers.  Our customers are our franchise!
  • The other mistake that people make is thinking about demand gen as “Qualified Leads” as opposed to connections that turn into sales pipeline
  • You have to make sure that the quality of the pipeline is being activated and turning into revenue

29:00 Tom’s Famous Dust-Up

  • I’m on all of the forecast calls, so the disputes that we normally would have with sales, you know when sales says “I don’t have enough pipeline from marketing”
  • This is what our attribution and influence model is so important
  • It became obvious when that was an excuse from sales because the data made it clear
  • You have to have the conversation and know the data or else the narrative from sales becomes the truth

31:00 The Importance of the Website Re: Demand Gen

  • The website needs to convey information quickly and crisply
  • The content needs to keep people on the site
  • The navigation needs to help people discover what you to easily
  • Less is more!
  • You need to be able to have people find it (SEO)
  • The content you’re creating needs to be optimized for search engines
  • Product documentation is important for Google, and it needs to be optimized for search, which proved to be immensely helpful
  • Sometimes you need to ask your visitors how you’re doing

33:35 Quick Hits with Tom Butta

  • What’s the one thing I’ve picked up during shelter in place?  Walking.  I’m in the country in Ireland right now, and we have amazing walks right outside my door
  • When I was in Palo Alto, I would walk to get coffee easily, but now I can’t do that, so I’ve turned into a barista trying to match that quality I could get in Palo Alto
  • The benefit of being in Ireland is that it’s incredibly quiet, except for the ocean, the sheep, and the birds.  It gives you a great perspective

Episode Transcript

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

Thomas Butta: [00:03:33] I'm well, it's great to be back on air with you.

Ian Faison: [00:03:37] It is great, indeed. well, I am excited to get all of your deepest, darkest, imagine secrets as we will, as we will unfold in this episode, but first I want to start off, you know, you have been in. Demand gen of all kinds, someone from your experience in high growth companies in public turnarounds, [00:04:00] early in mid stage venture and PE backed companies.

yeah. How do you view dementia?

Thomas Butta: [00:04:06] That is a million dollar question. it's funny as people think about, hiring CMOs, they actually put you in a few different buckets. one is clearly there are demand gen you know, expert. Another might be, you know, your branding expert. Another might be your product marketing expert. but demand gen is.

As often, not just its own independent function, but it's actually the receptacle of a brand that you create and the content that you create. And it's about disseminating that content to the right people at the right time, in the most optimized way, such that you create interest , and ultimately customers.

Ian Faison: [00:04:56] So let's head into the trust tree. [00:05:00] So in the trust tree, this is where we feel honest and trusted, and you can share your deepest, darkest demand, gen secrets. do you have a key measure for demand gen?

Thomas Butta: [00:05:14] I do. And that's often one of the things that's. you know, that's a challenge because different people do think about, what's important as it relates to demand gen differently. From where I stand,  , the most  important, measure is,  pipeline  creation because that creates the possibility, of  opportunity, at signal the facts we.

Measured pipeline over the course of five quarters and we monitored, the pipeline that was generated independently by marketing and independently by sales on a weekly basis. but it was definitely part of a key, KPI that we had for the year. and [00:06:00] sometimes we would modify that based on, you know, where we were in terms of achieving that.

So that's, I think that's the most important, following that it's how well have you been able to, activate that pipeline and realize the potential in that pipeline? And so the other key measure that I always focus on is, the ability , of marketing independently and sales independently to source closed deals.

Which basically means how much revenue, new revenue did marketing source versus sales. , those would be the two that I would, that I would focus on  I'll talk about something else that is, I'm not sure it's a secret, but I do think later on however you want to get into it. Is  a mistake that a lot of people in demand gen make, because there's a third way, of course, too, you know, [00:07:00] to generate that kind of rep degenerate revenue.

Ian Faison: [00:07:02] Yeah. Let's get into that. And then we'll circle back to,     your pipeline and how you do that. So, yeah, what's the, what's the third thing.

Thomas Butta: [00:07:10] So the third thing is, it's, it's actually quite fundamental. and that is, everybody's looking for new logos, right? Everybody's looking for new customers, everybody's looking for the lead flow. That's going to create the new levels of interest and you know, the new customers that you can bring in, what a lot of people forget about is how important it is to actually market to your current customers.

Yeah. You know, they, there's a saying that says, you know, that  the next best customers is one. You already have. And your ability to, to grow that relationship. And so I have been in companies where, the existing customer base was thought of as the quote installed base, that had maintenance contracts that people would try and sales would try and [00:08:00] sell in.

You are over a year, but it wasn't necessarily about nurturing those relationships. I think about the existing customer base as a franchise. I mean, they're part of the core franchise of the business. And my approach is you need to treat your customers,   as your first level of communication, in anything that you do.

In other words, your customers shouldn't read about something that you've just done an Alliance or, a fundraise or. And expansion or whatever the news might be. They shouldn't read about it at the same time the world reads about it. They should read about it ideally before. Yeah.

I think it's really important to have  them feel  like they're being truly treated as, you know, as, as part of the family, as it were. and, treat it a little bit, specially. And, you know, so, and, you know, it's signal facts. We had, you know, we had massive growth, in terms of [00:09:00] our net retention rate of our, of our business year over year, it was actually, it was actually at the highest levels that I had seen for SAS businesses.

and I think that was not only the nature of the platform itself and our ability to add additional capabilities to it and grow those relationships. But I think it was. Based upon how important, we understood those existing customers to be and how much we focused in on them.

Ian Faison: [00:09:27] Yeah  I remember distinctly you talking about, your retention rates. being off the charts. I'm curious , how did you facilitate that and how did you organize your team to take care of those folks? Like, were you saying, you know, did you have folks on your team that were responsible for making sure that you have like, you know, customer success marketing or something like that?

I'm curious how you arranged it.

Thomas Butta: [00:09:52] Yeah, well, first, you know, as it relates to sort of the marketing ops slash growth marketing side of things, which is, which is [00:10:00] classically where you'll develop campaigns, you'll have your database, you'll segment your database, and you'll treat people slightly differently within the database so that you can provide customized communication.

So in, in that area, we would segment the customers. You know, out of the database so that they weren't in fact treated, you know, independent of what we might do, elsewhere. So on that side of things, yes, we very much, you know, we're always looking at the data saying, okay, is this the actually the message we want to deliver to the customers, we're going to do something slightly differently for them versus say our highest value prospects that might look like those customers.

On the, on the other side of it on the customer success side? yes, I did have a, we did have a dedicated, a person who, who managed the, who is responsible, I should say for managing the relationships with our customers, such that we were [00:11:00] enrolling them and getting comfortable with actually talking about their experience.

And, and we knew how valuable that was, in a world where it's not necessarily what you say that matters. It's actually what they say. You know, we knew how important it was for customers too, to, to, to talk about the value that they were seeing from the companies that I've worked for and, and really how challenging it is sometimes for them to get agreement to actually.

Go on the record, in talking about that. So we had somebody who was, you know, very, very much dedicated to nurturing those relationships. I was very involved personally in doing that, and enrolling people and, and their willingness to share the story and then working very closely with them on the kind of story that we were both comfortable.

with them sharing and the, the different ways that we were going to bring that [00:12:00] story to life.

Ian Faison: [00:12:01] Yeah, it seems like you really did have a, have a close hand on a lot of that customer marketing. And, you know, even working directly with them, I'm curious, especially in a software product, like signal effects, like, were you working with people on their marketing teams or are you working on the actual, users or the decision makers of those accounts?

How are you doing that?

Thomas Butta: [00:12:25] Yeah, that's a great question. so yeah. I think it's real. So the answer is both. but you have to get the buy in from From, from the individual who's actually on the front lines, you know, working with you on the front lines, doing that work. If they're passionate about the relationship, about the value that they're seeing For their business, then it makes it easier to work through any of the sort of corporate. You know, corporate offices that you typically it would need to work through. So classically [00:13:00] that would be, you know, that would be PR there were certain things that the company would want to keep off limits, you know, to make sure that the, the individual who was speaking on their behalf was there were some, some guardrails, you know, with what they could say and not say.

So oftentimes that, where that becomes really challenging is, is, if they're doing interviews with the press, because typically those interviews are they're kind of real time. And even though good writers would float would, would, would review what it is. They were going to talk about. Or write about prior to actually writing about it.

Many times they, that, you know, you need to be sure that they actually don't bring things up that they shouldn't, it's easier if you're filming, someone, or they're on stage because you typically would have worked really closely with them to script that and to stage that. And that would have been, that would have met with [00:14:00] approvals already.

I guess the last thing I might say is, the natural instinct for corporate comms departments, is to actually say no, because they see it as a risk, but if you have a track record of, of doing things in a very, positive way, in a very elegant way, and there has been benefit to the company, Oh, they're actually having their people I'm out there than, you know, then you're more likely to get to get by.

In other words, they they'll look at you differently. You know, those folks that normally might want to resist saying, yes, they'll look at you more differently. because they, they know you're a pro.

Ian Faison: [00:14:47] Going back to the marketing pipeline and sales pipeline. I'm curious, how did you keep those two things separate? When so often they're, they're very [00:15:00] linked.

Thomas Butta: [00:15:00] well, yeah, another good question. So the, signal affects the, the marketing ops team and the sales ops teams were just like, they were yin and yang. So we were all operating off of the same set of, criteria, the same dashboards. Obviously in some cases, sales had more responsibility for certain dashboards, then marketing get and vice versa.

But when we reported, our progress week over week in our. Extremely intense meetings and starting out the week at 8:00 AM each week, it was one dashboard that we looked at. And so the reason, the way we were able to they've be very, discreet about where the impact was derived from, was, it was through the, through the installation of an attribution, you know, tool.

that was able to point to by [00:16:00] account was able to point to every single touch that was made, by both marketing and sales. And so you can see where that first touch would occur. Right. You know, if it was, it was, it was the download of a paper. If there was any attendance at an event, if there was the attendance at a webinar, if it was the attendance, You know, at, at, at, at a talk or a round table, and, and other things, then we, you know, we would attribute those to marketing led activities if it was, for if that first meeting which showed up as, you know, an a, or a BDR cold calling a company, and then getting an, a, getting a meeting and that resulted in an opportunity.

Then it was clearly sales, and then there might be 16 marketing touch points during the process of closing that deal. And so, you know, in that case, we would look, I get that as marketing and, you know, marketing enabled as [00:17:00] opposed to marketing source. And if you know it, look, if you're doing your demand gen job well, if you're, if you're marketing to your customers well, if you're truly, canvassing the marketplace in inappropriate ways, And frankly marketing influence, pipeline should be really, really high.

it's, it'll never, it'll never be hundred percent, but it should be, you know, it should be close to know, 85, 90%.

Ian Faison: [00:17:35] Were there any times where, you know, you had. The conversation about, you know, a deal that, or, you know, deals that, that were closed one where you kind of had that moment where it's like, Hey, you know, that was, that was sourced by sales. And you're like, yeah, but they also, I went to like six webinars and read five white papers, sort of a thing that, that [00:18:00] kind of moment, or was it just like, you know, who cares if it's closed on.

Thomas Butta: [00:18:04] Yeah, I'd be lying to you if I, if it, if, if I'd said that that never happened. and frankly that that's historically, where there's a little bit of, you know, Yeah, marketing says they did this, but yeah, we know that sales actually, you know, was the real reason why this happened. But if you actually just look at the data, then the data will, the data will be able to tell you that yes, there were, there was a first touch here or a second touch here and a third touch here.

And then it was picked up by sales and then there were two meetings. Then there was four other touches by Marie. So the point is like the data's going to point out. what off all his interactions were as to the, you know, the, if you, if you do your job as to the, you know, who gets quote credit, I mean, sure.

We'd love to, we'd love to talk about what contribution we're making to the business. but [00:19:00] we didn't want to overstate that and we wouldn't overstate that because we're doing our job, which is increasing the odds of success. And sales is it's doing its job, which is enabling that success to become reality.

Yeah, Wilson.

No, I think, you know, it's just, it just, I didn't want to get into that. You know, he said, she said, or it's mine or it's yours, or we're the reason versus you're the reason it was at the end of the day. Yeah. We were all shareholders in the business. We all are. We frankly, we're all incented against the same objectives and.

Our job was to help us get there. However we possibly could and sales his job was to help do the same. And do you know if they sourced deals on their, on their own then? Great. Right. Those are just now those are new people that we just pulled into the database. So. Cool. That's cool.

Ian_01: [00:19:53] What are the most fundamental requirements to building demand gen?

Tom_01: [00:19:57] good question again. you're loaded with them [00:20:00] today. the first is I think frankly, the first starts with perspective and I think we just touched on this a little bit and that is, you know, demand gen. We touched started earlier and we just touched on it. So, you know, demand gen is a function within a function.

Within an entire go to market function. so it's part of a team. Yeah. Right. And it, it does not live on its own. It is reliant upon really good content. It's reliant upon the, the ability to act Appropriately and quickly on opportunities that it creates. and so if you have that perspective, then, I think you'll, you'll be able to design, were on programs that, we'll work because it's sort of one of these we're in this together, you know, mindsets.

Yeah. You have a [00:21:00] role to do clearly. But having that perspective helps second thing is I think having the right. marketing stack with the right levels of intelligence. about again, knowing, where you're, where specifically you are having an impact, is really, really important. So that attribution tool was great.

I mean, we, we, we would talk about that at the board level. Because, you know, everybody wants to know what's, what's the derivation of a deal, you know, where's the deal look like? How did it happen? you know, what happens next? and, and, and we're, and where, you know, being able to measure. And then ultimately potentially predict the impact that various investments, that you would make.

And in various, you know, techniques. To, you know, to help, create interest and enroll people. You need to be able to, you need to be able to measure that impact. And so being able to have, you know, having software that enables you to track everything, [00:22:00] is really, really important. and frankly, We, you know, we were really good at that.

so the other, the other thing I would say, is fundamental. and that is the understanding that your home. Is the place that most people will, will go to and you need that being your, your website, and you need to be able to, to, ensure that when they get there, that they have the best possible experience, but you also need to be sure that they actually can find you.

And so one of the, you know, one of the. One of the biggest areas that we needed to correct quickly when we, when we entered into, signal effects was we needed, we needed to improve our search engine optimization. If you did a search on cloud monitoring, like we weren't showing up, or who aren't showing up early [00:23:00] enough in the search.

and so we, we brought somebody in who. Was really fantastic about understanding how to best work with Google and Google search and, you know, keywords and, and then ultimately, you know, ad words and things. he had run a business for Oracle that was an online business. That was a self serve business.

So, and he basically had revenue targets because nothing else was sourcing that revenue besides people showing up on the website. So he, you know, he was really, really good, at that. So I would say that that's another fundamental requirement, which is to have a facility that you know, that people can find and, and that you can point to with confidence that when they get there, they'll have a really good experience.

Ian Faison: [00:23:49] I want to know more about this attribution tool, because a you've mentioned a few times and clearly it was a winner.

Thomas Butta: [00:23:55] I, I, I, I actually remember the name of the tool by it's the nickname I [00:24:00] gave it, but I'll, I won't go there right now. The name of the tool that we used was called lean data. L I think it's L E I N. Yeah. So, what, without going into too much of the technical description of it, what they basically are able to do is to associate The database of accounts, right? They, they have act, they were able to scrub the Salesforce database. So they have records of all the accounts and then every time there's a touch. That, where that, that account shows up, whether they, we, they were scanned at an event or, you know, they downloaded a paper or they attended a demo or they had a meeting or they were called on by a BDR.

The, they, those touches would show up on, in that their system. And they would associate the touch again with that account. So it made it pretty easy for us [00:25:00] and quickly actually to see the value of it.

Ian Faison: [00:25:02] Yeah, shout out Karen Steele friend of ours and the broader network. We got to bring her on dementia visionaries. She'd be great. They're CML.

Thomas Butta: [00:25:10] Yeah. I mean, for sure. It'd be interesting. Yeah. Be interesting. Just, yeah. Be interesting to see how, who she markets to and, you know, how they're positioning themselves, but hugely valuable.

Ian Faison: [00:25:21] Well, and, and I'll, we'll get into marketing. I actually, maybe we just do that now. So clearly marketing ops has been something critical for you. Well, you know, how do you differentiate, you know, growth marketing and marketing ops. I'm like, what's the, what's the role of marketing ops that you see?

Thomas Butta: [00:25:38] So, yeah, this is, this is a little bit tricky. so the way my marketing. Marketing ops to me is bigger than just Like the technical operations of demand gen. It includes that. but it includes the, the ability to, [00:26:00] of the entire marketing function operate. You know, and as a cohesive in a, in a cohesive way, but it's typically run by people.

We have an orientation towards, the customer base, the D you know, the, the, the, the new prospect database, they have, they have an orientation towards data and, and technology, and that's the kind of person that I hired. I'll get, I mean, so Michael Kwon, who I think was just actually promoted to, had a, yeah.

Oh, it's the president of dementia and growth marketing at, Redis labs. where he went after he left, left us, was a great example of a marketing ops guy who had a growth, growth marketing orientation. Okay. So he, he understood, he understood what the new stack, you know, should look like. And by the way, we tested a bunch of stuff.

so we were not opposed to just, you know, trialing things. He worked really [00:27:00] closely with sales ops. and sales leadership too, to manage our lead scoring. Like, because that becomes really important because if you don't score leads properly properly, then you can basically have, misalignment as to what the quality of a leader actually is.

And that's where you get into this turf war stuff. You know, marketing's giving me crappy leads, right. kind of thing, just cause somebody showed up at your booth, doesn't make them a qualified lead kind of thing. So lead scoring becomes really important. And then understanding as you build out the funnel, it's not things don't stop.

Once you get people into the funnel that actually the more important work actually starts to occur as you work them as your work help enable them to move through the funnel. And again, that's where that attribution tool become really important because we knew where people were classically inside the funnel.

and we're the marketing ops and sales ops teams needed to be completely in sync. Cause then you could start to see, you know, [00:28:00] you can, sorry, I'm going to take it a step here. Yeah. You can start to see the impact of, of what you're doing or what you actually need to do. So that's, that's how I think about marketing ops, whether growth, marketing, orientation, the other thing that you work really closely with sales on and particularly sales leadership, but it's operationalized by sales ops.

Is  classify, classifying your database of prospects. So what is a platinum account? What are the characteristics of a platinum account? What are the characteristics of a, you know, a gold account? What are the characteristics of a silver account? In other words, what are the qualifying criteria that lead to your best possible prospects?

recognizing that in some cases, [00:29:00] it, it's not always an exact fit. It might surprise you that, that a commercial account that starts out as a sort of, so classic Silicon Valley funded startup has massive scale. And growth. And so they just leapfrog, you know, the system to become a really important account that you might not have historically classified them as like a platinum.

so those are all things that, you know, that, that, marketing ops would own again, with a growth marketing orientation. I actually see those two things that going hand in hand. Where I think the, is there any, any more questions about that? So the next, you know, the next bit is, my first, Instincts are that growth marketing in particular should own, campaigns. and [00:30:00] what was, what was interesting is that. A lot of organizations have product marketing, owning the campaigns because you know, product marketing would S would know in those what the product roadmap looks like.

it's usually key to the delivery or certain, you know, new capabilities or enhanced capabilities may be time to some critical events or things happening in the marketplace. And I think they would, they would create a broad, broad brush. Of, you know, here are the kind of four campaigns we were looking to sort of drive for the year.

And some are, you know, that you initiate in quarter one and though were ongoing through the remainder of the year. And another one might be initiated in quarter two, for example, but the growth marketing folks have to figure out how to Keep things fresh. And, and when to know, Yeah. When, when there's like information overload, when you've just been hitting the, you know, your [00:31:00] database too often with too much, and you, you start to get, you know, you start to create people who've turned you off, which is not good.

Ian Faison: [00:31:09] Yeah, let's get in. Let's get into campaigns. Let's go to the playbook. The playbook is where we open up the playbook and talk about the tap and talk about the tactics that help you when, so. Was there one to three uncredible budget items that you would have when you would build your campaigns or just in general?

Thomas Butta: [00:31:38] yeah, I mean, we, you know, search, right. We just, and we w so that was, and we had to, we had to spend the money to ensure that we were showing up. You know, first on the first page and when we understood what the key triggers were, whether they were competitive displacement or [00:32:00] replacement, opportunities.

Or the, like we had to spend the money smartly, but we had to spend the money to show up when somebody might be searching for a competitor, a. And we knew that there was a long history of replacing, you know, those accounts over time, both their installation. so we would need to, you know, we would want to spend against that, searches for say their business.

So, so that's, that's one, on, I mean really on cuttable, again, as long as, as long as you have the confidence that it's being really tightly managed and you're not. You know, you're not, You're not showing up on every single, browser, all of the time. I mean, you'd have to make some, you'd have to make some trade off decisions.

Is it worth spending the money on a Safari browser versus, you know, a, a Google browser versus, you know, something else. So. So that's first, [00:33:00] what else was uncomfortable? I would say on Kabul is just investment in customer marketing. Again, the power of, of 'em, you know, and it's not what you say.

It's what they say. The validation that you get from customers is just, it's just immeasurable. so I would never, ever want to cut, cut those budgets, at all. And then the third is, is really, it's content creation. so we did most of our own content creation. We never really outsourced it if we did, we wound up taking it over anyway.

my belief is it always has to start from within. You might have somebody who'd be a really good editor. That's different, but in terms of turning something over, we did a couple of case studies with external consultants and writers and such, but for the most part we wrote, we wrote everything, and packaged everything.

We, you know, we had our own own a house team. You did all that, that, you know, that's just not comfortable because that's, that's the content, [00:34:00] that's the content that you then need to be, you know, you need to go and amplify that's three.

Ian Faison: [00:34:08] So who was responsible for building campaigns?

Thomas Butta: [00:34:14] well, as I said, I think I'm just, it's standing up here. the, the product marketing team was responsible for the broad, the broad campaigns that we wanted to run. for example, you know, when we launched our microservices APM product, that work. Was led the core, the core content of it, and the need to create campaigns around it was led, was led by the product marketing team.

However, the digital marketing folks that we're all part of the kind of marketing ops growth marketing sort of team, their responsibility ability was to work with product marketing to figure out, okay, how are we going to, how are we going to take this market? Is that the customer based, how are we going to take this, this content to the [00:35:00] prospect base?

How are we going to advertise it? How are we going? What's it going to look like on social? And so I had the growth marketing team own the sort of elements of the creation of the elements of the campaign, which then work with product marketing too, validate and test. But often you needed to the punchier, you know, through the digital marketing means, then you would need to be when you're writing a white paper.

Right. So,

Ian_01: [00:35:28] Yeah, that's a great point.

Tom_01: [00:35:29] yeah, so it worked well. Okay. And Whitlock, we were a small enough team, frankly, that we, I mean, everybody worked at work really well together. but I was relying on, you know, and that's where I was. I'd get very involved, which was like, this is not, you know, this is just not good enough right now.

it's not sharp enough. It's not tight enough. We're not amplifying it in unique ways. Let's test different formats, let's test different venues. let's test [00:36:00] different leads. Are we going to highlight it? You know, in various places, it says different ways. So, that, that, that ownership ultimately fell with the growth team marketing ops team demand gen team.

But, you know, it was, I mean, very much a team effort.

Ian_01: [00:36:19] What's one mistake that you often see when people are doing demand gen.

Tom_01: [00:36:25] well, one I talked about, and that is like, you go after the fresh meat, right. You go after the new logos exclusively, and you forget that you can actually have great influence over, building relationships with your existing customers. So we talked about that. but yeah, that's a big mistake. again, I mean, when I was at this one company that frankly had, was massively successful for a long time and then lost their way.

It was just how they thought about the customer base. They just kept talking about them as the installed base. And I said, well, you [00:37:00] mean our customers, they should get the install base. I said, those customers are our franchise. I mean, they give reason for us to exist. Like, we need to put our arms around these people, particularly because we're now talking about elevating our space from basically one capability to a platform.

And, you know, those are the first places we need to turn. So there was a lot that went into to actually putting our arms around them, from a measuring and listening to what they had to say about how well we treated them or not, to create informs for which they can talk among themselves. To, to highlighting the folks that were doing it really well, to ultimately shining a light on the value of that.

They saw that they can create their company, that they needed help in convincing their executives that as possible. and so anyway, that, that turned, that, that helped turn that whole company around, as part of a turnaround story. so that's, I think. Again, that's, that's, that's a big mistake, that I think [00:38:00] people make.

And the other is to think about, the impact of demand gen as being leads cool or qualified leads. You know, a qualified lead is only as good as if it turns into an opportunity, an opportunity is reflected in pipeline. And so if you've actually created and sized and opportunity, and if you actually are doing it correctly, then your true measure should be pipeline.

And then you need to then very carefully understand how well that pipeline has been activated and specifically, you know, how you've helped people move, move through, you know, through the funnel from, you know, Oh, from having sized an opportunity to getting into a trial, to getting into a proof of concept, to, you know, to getting into, you know, deal flow.

So those are the two.

Ian_01: [00:38:52] Let's go to the desktop. This is where we talk about healthy tension. and it's maybe a time in your career where you had a little dustup with [00:39:00] someone on the board, someone on your sales team, maybe a competitor or anyone else you have any, famous desktops town.

Tom_01: [00:39:08] No.

Ian_01: [00:39:10] I knew it.

Tom_01: [00:39:11] Yeah, Nario one

Ian_01: [00:39:14] Two nights from the guy.

Tom_01: [00:39:15] I'm on all the forecast calls, right? The first and most often used excuse that sales will, will we'll have when their pipeline isn't big enough or their commit isn't big enough is I'm not getting enough help from marketing. and, or, you know, my, my, you know, my leads, the deletes that they're giving me are crap.

Which is the same thing. So I know that's an excuse. if it's true, then, then like, then I've got to fix something because that should never really be true. Which is why we're so [00:40:00] careful about making sure that we were measuring the impact that we were having. We're measuring everything. and so, you know, it got to the point where.

It was understood by sales leadership, who had more, bro, you know, more broad responsibilities, on driving revenue. It was understood at some point that those were excuses, right? So in the dust ups, you know what happened when you're having these one on one conversations, like we quit throwing us under the bus.

This is bullshit. Like here data. Right. Here's the information, here's the stuff. Here's what we did. Like, why aren't you calling on these people? And it, some, you know, in some cases you, you just have people that may be were not the best fit for an earlier stage company where they needed to do a little bit more ground groundwork and grunt work.

Do you know what I mean? So, I would call those sort of mild, you know, mild desktops, but yeah, you'd have to have the conversation because. [00:41:00] We live in a time where, if you control the narrative, then it becomes the truth. Even if it isn't the truth that you're conveying. So we just, that's why it was really, really important for us to have data, to backup what we were doing.

Ian_01: [00:41:12] Over your time at signal FX, you created a great website. obviously you're a company, you know, are you, you, worked for a company that was all about, you know, real time cloud monitoring and websites were core to your business. but I'm curious, like what, what do you see as the importance of your website with regards to dementia?

Tom_01: [00:41:36] well, Your, you know, your work, your website has to be able to come to a, your website has to be able to convey information crisply and quickly. You have to be able to entice people enough to want to have them stay on it. And the navigation of it has to be really, really easy. Like if you have a solution space, it should be about your solutions.

[00:42:00] If you have a customer page, it should be about your customers. It should just be really, really easy. One of the things we discovered is we had like a lot of pages, that were hard to discover. And frankly, we're at a date that we're still part of the website. So I think you're better off having less than more, and making sure it's as crisp as possible.

Second is again, you want people to be able to find it. So that's about search. you want to be able to optimize the content on the website for search. and that's where we worked with our search kind of guru, to, to ensure that the content that we were creating, it was optimized. One of the biggest sources that we found of search was coming through product documentation and the product documentation pages were not.

written to optimize for search. One of our competitors did a fantastic job. I'm sounding very Irish here. No, fantastic. Yeah. Very fantastic job. sorry, I'm talking from Ireland so I can say that. [00:43:00] And my wife's Irish, they did a fantastic job of, of optimizing their product documentation, which was on their website.

And they got a lot of hits as a result of that. we had reasonably good content, maybe not quite as good, but it was not optimized for search. And so we went and did that as a project and that was, that was super helpful. and then I think the other thing is like, you want to give people an opportunity to.

Get what they want, without asking too much, but sometimes you have to ask. So, Oh yeah, here's another, here's another, maybe a little bit of a technique that we learned, and that is, part of the reason why we were wired. Our, our, our, lead flow is like kind of off the charts. Was we were capturing, we were capturing people.

Those names and all the rest, but we were allowing them to use any email address that they wanted. and it turns out that actually a lot of people like put in bogus emails. [00:44:00] so we knew we were going to limit top of funnel by, mandating or requiring for them to have a business email. And when we did, yes, the numbers went down, but the number of the higher, but the high, but there were higher quality leads.

so that helped everybody.

Ian_01: [00:44:20] Final segment here. Let's get into our quick hits. These questions are. Quick, the answers are quick, just like qualified.com. Someone's on your website right now. You want to talk to them quickly, go to qualified.com to learn how you can get your hot prospects on your website right now. And talk to them in real time.

Close more deals. qualified.com quick hits. Are you ready, Tom?

Tom_01: [00:44:50] I'm ready.

Ian_01: [00:44:52] What is the one thing that you have done in shelter in place? There's a new habit.

Tom_01: [00:44:57] I go for a walk every day. [00:45:00] I'm fortunate to be sheltering here for now more than three months, I'm at a home we have in Ireland and we are very much in the country. We're surrounded by farmland and ocean. and so literally, literally right out of our door, there's some really great walks and hikes and every morning wake up.

I go and do that. There is one other thing that I'm doing that I've never done. I never did before. And that is we On my way to work every day when I was in Palo Alto, I would, I would, I would go to the train station and I would get my, you know, my cappuccino made at cafe Veneta. cause I always did an amazing job.

so I didn't need to have one at home here. You know, the nearest town walkable is, you know, it's, it's, it's, it's a fi it's five mile walk. so we bought our own little espresso machine and, I've been working diligently to be able to [00:46:00] try to match the quality that I would get at  and I make them every morning.

Ian_01: [00:46:05] You're going to be our, our, our farm correspondent here, here shortly. Any, any tips on the farm that you got for us? Any, any sheep tips?

Tom_01: [00:46:14] no, but I will tell you, you know, having, having lived a long time in Manhattan and, you know, and then Silicon Valley where there's obviously a lot of cars and there's a lot going on, my, my wife would, you know, shoot open the front door and she would say, listen, I listen. And she'd say, can you hear that?

And I'd say, yeah, but there's nothing there. She said, that's exactly the point. It's so quiet. It's so quiet. You can hear the waves lapping on the sh on the, on the cliffs, or you might be able to hear no, the, the sheep, the lamb, the new lambs, you know, Beijing or the occasional Randy, you know, bull, it's the cows.

or the birds, but that's [00:47:00] like, honestly, that's it. And it's Boyle boy, it gives you a really great perspective.

Ian_01: [00:47:08] Well that's okay. It seals it. We are going to do our next dimension visionaries live from Ireland. I think we figured it out here today. because

Tom_01: [00:47:18] You're most welcome with a name like Ian. I mean, come on.

Ian_01: [00:47:20] I know, yeah, I just walked right in the door. 

Tom_01: [00:47:23] Yeah.

Ian_01: [00:47:24] Tom has been awesome. Thanks as always great catching up with you. And these are some just awesome insights. Appreciate your time.

Tom_01: [00:47:32] No, I am really, I love doing these things and I especially love doing them with you. And I'm really, you know, just a shout out to you guys. I'm really happy to see you guys continuing your success and building a great business. You provide a great service and you have a great business and your pleasure to work with.

So yeah, I'm happy to be with you anytime.