The Three Paths To Becoming a CMO with Heather Zynczak (CMO at Pluralsight)

Heather Zynczak spent four years as the CMO of Domo, six years as Global VP of Marketing at SAP, and today serves as CMO of Pluralsight.

On this episode of the Swipe File, she talks to DG about building a high performance marketing machine at a public company, brand vs. demand, understanding your career path, the three paths to becoming a CMO, the power of having a user conference, and more.

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Full Transcript

Dave Gerhardt: Hey, everybody. It’s DG, back with another episode of The Swipe File. That’s how you have to say it, “The Swipe File.”

Anyway, on this episode, we have a good one for you. My guest today is Heather Zynczak. She is the CMO at Pluralsight. She spent four years as a CMO at Domo, six years as the Global VP of Marketing at SAP, and she is just an absolute growth, demand-gen marketing machine. Really fun one, this one, because we didn’t just talk about the tactics, we talked about the three paths of becoming a CMO. I said, “Heather, I want to know what it takes to become a CMO.” We sat down, and we went through all the different paths you can take to get there. This one is for you, if you’re thinking about growing your career in marketing, want to be a CMO one day. Tune in, here’s Heather Zynczak, the CMO of Pluralsight on this episode of The Swipe File.

I’m super excited to talk to you because you’ve had a … Your background is exactly why we do this show, which is like the point is to talk to CMOs, obviously, hey; who have seen it and have gone through this journey. I think the audience for this show is … CMOs listen, but also, everybody in their career in marketing to learn about what you’ve done. So today, you’re the CMO of Pluralsight.

Heather: That’s right.

DG: Before this, you were the … I’m just going to replay your bio. Before this, you were a CMO at Domo.

Heather: That’s right.

DG: Before that, you were Global VP at SAP.

Heather: That’s right.

DG: So those are big companies.

Heather: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

DG: A lot of time … Six years, four years, two years, which is amazing, because in this world that we live in today, most people are in a company for a year.

Heather: My sweet spot seems to be around five years.

DG: Yeah.

Heather: Don’t tell my current boss, I’ll only be there three more years.

DG: Well, you’ve got … That means you’ve got three more years then.

Heather: I’ve got three more!

DG: You got two years. So, I want to go back … What I’m interested in is your … Your background is finance.

Heather: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

DG: From Texas.

Heather: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

DG: Is this how you do it?

Heather: Finance. Yeah, go Horns.

DG: Go Horns.

Heather: Finance and Accounting.

DG: Then an MBA from Wharton.

Heather: Which also is also in financial.

DG: Did you think that that would be the profile to be a CMO? Did you know?

Heather: No. If you would have told me early in my career that I was going to be a CMO, I wouldn’t have believed you. I never actually thought I’d be in marketing.

DG: What did you think a CMO did at that time?

Heather: I didn’t know there was a CMO.

DG: Right.

Heather: I would have made up some letters. Chief … Officer? I didn’t know. When I graduated college … This is going to date me a little bit. I got out with a Finance and Accounting degree, and I went into Finance and Accounting because I just love numbers.

DG: Yeah.

Heather: I love math. I loved analytics, and I took a microeconomics class, which is really into the numbers and statistics. I just thought, “This is amazing,” and ended up in finance and accounting. When I graduated, this whole computer thing was just taking off, and packaged software was on the rise. I went to Andersen Consulting, which is now Accenture, because they taught people how to code. I learned how to code. My first job, I was an engineer.

DG: Wow.

Heather: I coded, and coding really appealed to me because it’s numerical, it’s analytical, it’s numbers-oriented.

DG: Yeah.

Heather: One thing I always talk about: How I made my way eventually to marketing. I don’t think I would have been in marketing at that time, like in the early 90s, because marketing has changed so much in the last 25, 30 years. It now is very analytical, very numbers-driven, very … You can test everything, you can measure everything. I don’t have to be … I’m not the most creative person in the room, and I don’t have to be creative with today’s marketing.

DG: I was going to ask you about that. This is where I want to dive in a little bit. How do you … If that’s your skillset, how do you think about the skillset of a CMO? I’ve seen CMOs from all different kinds, right? Somebody that I look up to is Shannon Brayton, who is the CMO at LinkedIn.

Heather: I love her.

DG: Her … You know, she’s-

Heather: She [inaudible 00:03:46] through comms.

DG: She’s like a COM-CMO.

Heather: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

DG: And then had to bring demand-gen people to be on her team. Is there a right profile for a CMO? Did you think about what you needed to bring around you and with your team?

Heather: Yeah, I think there is three things, and I’ll come back to Shannon in a minute, because I’m a huge fan.

DG: Okay.

Heather: We met at a CMO event before she was the CMO of LinkedIn.

DG: For the record, Shannon, I don’t know you, but I would love to have you in this chair next, all right?

Heather: She’s interesting, and she has one attribute I’m going to talk about, which is … They’re really important, but I think there’s three paths to … If you look at most CMOs, where they came from, you could come up through the product side, which I did.

DG: Yeah.

Heather: I have a really strong product background, product marketing, strategy, and coming up that way. You could come in through a hardcore demand-gen, and I would argue that only in the last 10 years, demand-gen has changed so much with how we generate demand. It’s a very analytical data science-oriented kind of path up. Or you can come up from the other side, which, for me, includes creative, agency, comms, brand.

DG: Yeah. I love that.

Heather: And I think if you’re going to be successful as a CMO, it’s rare that someone will have come up through all of those. That’s just not possible. So what you have to be good at is a couple of things. One, know what you’re not good at, where your weaknesses lie, and hire a team. Always one of my very first hires both at Domo and at Pluralsight; my first person to get in is … You know, nestled in next to me on leadership is someone wickedly creative. I had that at Domo, I have an amazing partner in Brett Barlow, he’s our Chief Brand Officer.

We’re just a really nice compliment, and then I think the other thing is you just have to … This is where Shannon, I would say, is exceptionally wicked smart. Shannon is really bright, and so she can pick up all those other areas, and she’s a leader.

DG: Right.

Heather: I think if you’re somebody who has a love of learning, knows your weaknesses, brings in people to help you where you don’t have strengths; that’s really what it’s all about.

DG: I love that, the three paths to a CMO. Come up from demand-gen, come up from product marketing, come up from brand, and then fill in the gaps. Can you say more about the Chief Brand Officer role? Is that at Pluralsight now?

Heather: That’s at Pluralsight.

DG: Was that role there before you were there?

Heather: Brett was at the company before I was there, and he was running marketing. When I came onboard, I recognized he was just an amazing individual, and he had a ton of skills I didn’t have. I talked him into staying. He could have gone to be a CMO at a ton of companies. He was a CMO at Skullcandy, I mean he has a legit record. I was like, “I have this individual, and I look at what Pluralsight is going to do over the next couple of years. It would be awesome to have a senior leader that is really great at that.”

We crafted out this role of Chief Brand Officer, and I talked him into staying. It’s been almost two and a half years now, and it’s been a good journey for the two of us.

DG: You come in with the math and science, and then he comes in with the crazy like, “Here’s how we can do this thing.”

Heather: Yeah, and I think we push each other. I also had an enterprise software background. It’s all … My 25 years, all of it has basically been in enterprise software. Brett has more of a consumer background, so Pluralsight has a model that we sell about 20% of our business … It’s technically B2C, but I call it B2D, business to developer. Brett has … I’ve learned things from him on that side, and I think he’s learned a lot from me on the enterprise, you know, how to work with the gardeners and the foresters. We put on our first enterprise user conference. These are things he hadn’t done before, so it’s been a good combo.

DG: I want to talk about a couple things in there. Let’s talk about the user conference stuff first, because I noticed in your perfectly written bio, which your PR team did a great job at; it seems like every place you’ve gone, one of the first things you do is kick off a user conference. Say more about why. I’m asking, because we even invested heavily in our conference. You spoke this year, and that’s a key piece for us moving forward. I think since we’ve done that, it’s been amazing. But I’m interested in like … If you went somewhere else, not that you’re leaving, you have three years left.

Heather: I do.

DG: Why would you go … What is it about a user conference? Why would you go do that right away?

Heather: Yeah. I think all these … Having worked at Oracle and SAP, they had big user conferences. I saw the brilliance of bringing your customers together, and the loyalty and the love and learnings. I had that kind of history, and then you look at the companies who are doing this the best. Look at Salesforce and what they’ve done with Dreamforce. It’s amazing and impressive. So for me, the things … This is where I think a user conference is so important. Somebody asked me the other day, “Well, we could spend that money on a bunch of dinners and probably make more in revenue.” It might be true at that moment in time, but a user conference, it becomes the guiding motion for the company.

It’s an employee rally cry. It’s your product team saying, “Once a year, this is our big time literally on stage to …” and it pushes product schedules. It brings, for us at Pluralsight, it brings together our buyers, our end users; it brings together technology leaders who just want to learn, our authors, so that people that are the experts that teach courses on Pluralsight, they’re there so you can learn from the best, and your partner community. I mean, it’s all right there in this goodness, and it happens. It’s interesting because we did a campaign for our sales team this year internally, and we went and looked at stats. We called it the 3X Campaign. If you had a customer that attended Pluralsight Live, you had 3X the deal size. So, three times larger.

DG: I love that.

Heather: Then I went into Salesforce, and I met there, the woman who runs Dreamforce for them. Even Salesforce, who is … I don’t know how many years they’ve been doing Dreamforce, almost 200,000 people go. They run a 2X to 3X campaign as well. They started talking about this, and I was like, “What?”

DG: If you’re in sales to get butts in seats, to get your prospects there, or customers for future-

Heather: When you’re talking to the sales reps, the best way to get tickets sold to a conference is to sell them on contract.

DG: Yeah.

Heather: In order to incent a sales rep to sell tickets on contract … They’re worried about, as they should be: About license revenue and all those things. You go to the sales rep and say, “Look, Bob. If you’re going to sell tickets to this, because for every customers that attends, they’re going to have two or three times Pluralsight, three times the deal size as the people who don’t attend. You want bigger deal sizes? You want more commissions? You want more money? Send it to Pluralsight Live.”

Dreamforce does the same thing. They have a 2X Campaign they run. She said it used to be 3X, now they’ve gotten bigger and it’s 2X. If you attend Dreamforce, 2X the deal size.

DG: Do they sell … Are the reps selling tickets, or are they giving them away as part of … Like, you buy “X”, and then I’m going throw five tickets in for your team?

Heather: No, they sell.

DG: They sell them.

Heather: Yeah.

DG: Do you think that’s an important piece of a conference, like selling them versus giving them away? Do you think there’s a difference?

Heather: Yeah, I do. I think that you look at the overall contract value … It might be that you give a discount because … You occasionally may give discounts on tickets, or you might give discounts on professional services, or you might give a discount on a product. It’s all part of the sales negotiations. Do we hold the line that you have to pay 100%, full price MSRP? No, on Pluralsight Live tickets, not always. We had an account the other day that wanted 100 tickets to Pluralsight Live. Last year, they sent 50 people on their tech team, and they got such value out of it, they were like, “Next year, we want to send 100 people, can you give us a discount?” Well, yeah. For 100 people, we’ll give you a discount.

DG: We’ll fly you there, whatever you want.

Heather: I don’t know about that, but we’ll give you a discount. I do think that there is a bit … I think there’s something mentally important. There’s a big difference, in my mind, between a free conference and a conference you pay to go to. There’s something in the mind of the person who attends. Studies have shown this: If you pay for something, even if it’s a small amount, you’re committed. You’re going to go. You put monetary value to it. I think there is a time and a place for free events, but your user conference is not one of them.

DG: Did you split out … You mentioned an enterprise customer conference. Is that … Do you that separate from the Pluralsight Live? Do you split out a different event for enterprise, or is this a part of something else?

Heather: No, I mean, just businesses in general. I use that term “enterprise” holistically. It is a conference, but we have our developers, our B2D. We have people who come that … They want to come meet the authors that they learn from every day. They want to be inspired by technology. We have individuals who come. I’d say that’s the smallest part, and then we have users who … Users, but not the buyers. They’re our small accounts, all the way up to our largest accounts in terms of size of company. It’s not just a big company conference. Then we have buyers, and I think you have to really think about your audience and create special experiences for them.

DG: We saw … This is the second year that we did our conference, much bigger. We saw something similar where like … Obviously, not all of our customers were there. Only a small percentage of them were there, but it was something like a third of our revenue for the year was in the room that day.

Heather: Yeah.

DG: Which is like … Which is unbelievable.

Heather: It is.

DG: When you think about the experience, and also, I think to your point about … If you stack up all those dinners, there’s no marketability of those dinners, right? It’s having that one day of the brand, of the buzz-

Heather: Yeah, we didn’t even talk about the brand lift that you get out of it-

DG: It’s crazy.

Heather: Your social media lift, your impressions from press, your … We had 14 press individuals attend our conference. They all wrote multiple articles. It was ungodly, the amount of articles that we had come at that time. You look at social media, we work closely with our vendors on amplifying our organic, and a little bit of paid around that. If we put a little bit more paid to Twitter and Facebook and LinkedIn during that time, it gets more than paid during a time that we’re not also having a lift from the conference. There’s a ton of goodness.

DG: Yeah. What do you think, for you … Is there something for you? What’s the gap between CMO, VP, Director, working all the way down. What are the different jumps that somebody has to make? What’s the biggest difference you’ve seen in your career? What’s the change? Why … At Pluralsight, for example, why couldn’t … What’s … The Chief Brand guy, he could have run marketing, but they found you. Especially in the enterprise space, which is where we’re in, enterprise sales and that type of org. What do you need out of a CMO?

Heather: You know, I think there’s not one straight path. I can’t tell you, “Hey, you need to be a manager of this, a director of that, a VP of this, then CMO.” I think if you went and talked to … You know, you mentioned Shannon. I could mention a whole bunch of other CMOs that I respect. They’ve all had differing jobs. I actually think it’s worthwhile to have positions that aren’t just in marketing. I had product positions, and I had engineering positions, and I have not had sales experience, but I think having sales experience is really valuable because they are your partner and your ally. No matter how great of a marketer you are, if the sales team doesn’t hit revenue goals, you failed. You failed. If you don’t have this great relationship with sales …

For example, right now at Pluralsight, I lead our inside sales team that cleans all the leads. We call them our “Account Development Managers” and our “Business Development Representatives”. ADM and BDRs. I think it’s close to 100 people that clean leads for the outside team. Having sales … Then I also run our digital revenue. I hold a number … For the amount of revenue that closes on our site, which is about a quarter of Pluralsight’s revenue, I own that number. I have a quota. I have a target on my head as a public company to making sure that we can report that on the street. I think there’s different jobs along the way. I don’t think a straight path in marketing is always the only path. It’s definitely not the only path. I’m not even sure if it’s the best path.

I think in the book [Lean In 00:15:36], they talked about how it’s not a corporate ladder, it’s a jungle gym. I love that idea, because I think jumping into … You know, getting really great product and thought leadership experience, whether that’s on the product team or product marketing; getting really awesome digital experience, understanding what it’s like to carry a number, and to partner with sales, whether that’s because you were in sales, or you supported sales. I think there’s a lot of paths. I don’t think there’s one-

DG: Even if it’s not sales, I think just owning a number in some piece of marketing, if you’re in marketing, it’s so important to see the progression of like, “Hey. You’re going to own blog traffic.” You have the waterfall, you have everything you need to show blog traffic. It’s going to show you, “Okay, now you own that. Can you then apply that same method to selling tickets for an event?” It’s a similar motion you can learn in different pieces of marketing.

Heather: Yeah, and I think I talk a lot about this. I’ve had so many CEOs contact me and be like, “What should we look for in a CMO?” I’ve had a bunch of venture capital companies … I’m in town for a venture capital company conference, and they’re having me set up meetings with CEOs. They’re like, “What should I look for in a CMO?” I think the number one most important thing is somebody who can put a number in place and hit it.

DG: Yeah.

Heather: And that requires being … It requires a lot of things, but it requires being really data-driven. It’s not enough to say “blog traffic”. You could have the best blog traffic in the world, and you don’t hit sales.

DG: Yeah.

Heather: So, who cares?

DG: It has to have some input into revenue.

Heather: Yeah, well … Or whatever the company is trying to achieve. It might be that your company is like, “Hey, revenue is blowing the doors, you’re doing great on demand,” but it’s all about getting customers to adopt the product more and use this new feature. You have to sit really … One of the things I introduced when I joined Pluralsight, which they didn’t really have this motion was being super data-driven. We created an ops team and reporting, and we set budgets, and we set targets for the year. We have a weekly stand-up, where people have five minutes to share their numbers. You get one slide, just numbers, of how your business is doing, and it better be numbers that everybody cares about.

I think that’s probably the most important skill in today’s CMO, is to set a goal that’s going to make an impact on the company needle and to be able to prove that they’ve hit it.

DG: I love that. Is the daily stand-up a Pluralsight thing? You do that today?

Heather: We call it … It’s a stand-up, but they’re actually weekly.

DG: Weekly?

Heather: Yeah.

DG: So you have to get up in front of all the rest of the leadership team and say, “Here’s where we’re at in marketing.”

Heather: Oh no, this was within my marketing layers, so my teams.

DG: Oh, marketing team does it.

Heather: Yeah. I host a weekly stand-up with the marketing leaders, and they bring in different people from their teams.

DG: Awesome.

Heather: Digital gets five minutes to stand up, and one week, it might be the person who runs webinars, one week, it might be the person who is running all of our content and showing how content is performing. Last week, it was the person who runs our B2C-2B program, and the week before that, it was our account-based marketing lead. It’s not … It started out that people were building these 20 slide presentations, and they took 20 minutes. I was like, “This isn’t a stand-up. Who wants to stand up through a 20 minute presentation?” I want one slide, you get five to ten pieces of data. I want another data on how your business is doing.

DG: Have you found that … Is that a helpful motion for you as the marketing leader, to get a sense of what everybody is doing, how the team is feeling, as opposed to having to go through the … Whatever it takes to meet with everybody?

Heather: We do the 20 … It’s one tactic in a broader program I have. It starts with me identifying the goals for the year, reporting them to my CEO, and they have to be things that the company cares about. Then we do a whole process for budget to tie to those, and there’s targets. I have pipeline targets, I have revenue targets, and then we assign budget to all of that at a granular level, and then we assign that out to the team. My person who runs social media on B2B paid, they have a budget, they have a pipeline target, they have to report on that. It goes all the way down to that level, and then part of the process of reporting back on that and how we’re doing, I can’t just look at … I do look at weekly, how we start this meeting in the office.

How are we doing on our overall pipeline? How’s [inaudible 00:19:47] doing? How is the US doing? How is enterprise doing versus commercial? We look at the aggregate level, as marketing versus sales generated. Then we go into the details. I think it’s part of a bigger motion of being a data-driven organization.

DG: Probably, it’s an easy way to give everybody ownership, right? You own this piece, and everybody kind of has a shared metric if it’s pipeline. Then you have a social person talking about this thing, and content person talking about this thing, everybody has some slice of that.

Heather: I don’t care how many … I do care, but I don’t really care how many people attend the webinar. I care about how much pipeline was at the webinar, and how much pipeline you influenced, and how much new pipeline did we generate out of that webinar?

DG: How do you go about getting your team the tools to do all that stuff? My guess is the person who is running social … Or you hire some new person to run social, they might not know how to go and find out how much pipeline is in … They’re probably great at social, but not great at that piece, or the person who runs webinars might be great at content and storytelling, but not great at that piece. Have you found a way to get that thing repeatable?

Heather: Yeah, that’s kind of … I was trying to say it earlier. The stand-up in itself isn’t helpful unless you have the motions. It starts with me setting the goals, and then working with our finance team, to be honest with you. The CFO is the CMO’s, in some ways, best friend/frenemy?

DG: Enemy?

Heather: Yeah. Frenemies.

DG: We love you. I’m just saying, DV and [Gen 00:21:11]. Right now, we’re heavy in 2019 planning, and so it’s all love.

Heather: Yeah.

DG: It’s all love.

Heather: We’ve set … We’ve already worked with Head of Sales, and Sales Ops, CFO’s office and marketing to say, “What are the revenue targets by very granular things? New revenue, renewed revenue? Geographically, [inaudible 00:21:28] versus US, commercial versus …” They set all those targets, then we do a model that says how much pipeline, then we argue over how much is marketing going to create versus sales. All of that is already set for 2019 for Pluralsight.

DG: Yeah.

Heather: Then I take that, and then also, how much budget am I going to get?

DG: Yeah.

Heather: That’s already been given, and I take all of that, and go back to the team and work with them. We’ve been given this much money. We have to deliver this much pipeline, and it has to be split up this way. Now you guys … At the macro level, how much are we going to do on digital? How much is going to go to field? How much is comms, analyst relations? We come do the macro, and they have to come back with plans that are going to hit their targets, and with that money, they each get targets.

Heather: You have to build a whole motion, and then the second thing you have to do is you … We invested in a team that has the data and the analytics and the reporting, so that all of those people have that.

DG: Awesome, and is that centralized? Do you have … Do they sit with you? You have marketing ops that sits on your team?

Heather: We did have it within marketing op, and we organized operations at the company level.

DG: Cool.

Heather: We have a strategy and business operations team that I have dedicated people in that group. They’re still a part of my headcount. I am accountable to how much I invest in that or don’t invest in that. I own that. They’re still my cost center, but they sit centrally because it would really not be great if I walked in with numbers from marketing ops on reporting that sales had different numbers. The operations and the reporting is all within one group, and we work off one song sheet.

DG: Love that. I feel like we could just geek out on all this marketing stuff, but you have a lot of things to do. One thing, as we wrap up, I want to talk about org structure.

Heather: Okay.

DG: Do you have a playbook as a CMO now? Sap to Domo to Pluralsight, do you have a playbook? If you got a new job in five years, or two years, or whatever it is, would you create something new based on what the company needs? Do you have a playbook of how you run a marketing org and what the staple roles are?

Heather: I think it’s a combination. Marketing has changed so much. Every year, it’s different. You’ve got to be nimble with that, and your org has to be nimble. There’s roles I have now that are really important that I didn’t have at Domo, as an example. It’s just … Part of it was my learning, and part of it was the journey that marketing is taking. I think there are some standard things that … Yeah, that your experience tells you. You know you want to have an amazing comms team.

DG: Yeah.

Heather: Well, let’s start at the beginning. Product marketing starts it off. If you don’t know who your buyer is and how to talk to them and all of that, you need an amazing comm team. You need a kick-ass brand and content to put your marketing priorities together. You’ve got to have digital. I actually believe the field team is one of the most important. We went too far digital, and the field team actually gets you the most revenue. They … Working with your field marketing team with your field sales, it’s one of the most lucrative things, and it kind of became the red-headed stepchild for a few years, because everybody was so excited about all the stuff you could do digital.

Heather: I think there are … I actually believe the CMOs should run the team that cleans the pipe. They should own the whole top of the funnel, so your ADM or BDR, whatever acronym you have for those guys that bang the phones and clean the leads.

DG: Sure.

Heather: Guys and gals.

DG: Yeah, and you have hundreds of them.

Heather: No, we don’t have hundreds. We have under 100.

DG: Okay.

Heather: But it’s … You know, I think ADM-

DG: That has to get done manually?

Heather: No.

DG: Cleaning the leads or-

Heather: No, no, no. It’s a combo. If you look at your pipeline, the first cut is a clean digitally, and just on data.

DG: Just what came in?
Heather: Yeah, just what came in. You go in and clean. Is this Daffy Duck at … If this is a real email address, if this is a real phone number. You can do some cleaning, and then you tie it your accounts and Salesforce. Do we already have this person? Are they in the account? You can do all of that with data cleansing. You can augment that with information, then you start to put them in nurture tracks, and you do that digitally, and they bubble up. If, you know, the CTO of the largest company we’re going after comes in, I’m not going to nurture him and bubble him up. Somebody is calling him.

DG: Right now.

Heather: Yeah, but everybody else-

DG: That layer, whenever you call a BDR, SDR, whatever, they own that piece? Like enrolling them or to clean it and then pass it-

Heather: No. No. In marketing, we have lead scoring. We put a ton of extra information around, then we lead score. Based on that lead score, it will either go straight to somebody to call, which is very rare. Most likely, it will go through a nurture track, and then we’ll have to bump up its score until it’s like, “Hey. That lead is now scored good enough, somebody can call it.”

DG: Awesome.

Heather: Then you have your team that mines your database of leads that have gone to the database. They’ve been nurtured, and nothing happened. The BDRs can go in and pull any of that, and we create campaigns for them, and they’re the outbound team. We have both an inbound and outbound.

DG: So nurture runs out at some point, 60 days, 90 days, a year, whatever it is. Then they can go dig into that pool of people.

Heather: They can mine it. We help them mine it.

DG: Who writes all of the nurture copy?

Heather: This is an interesting discussion, and it’s been at every company, different. I believe you have to have standard nurture tracks-

DG: By like persona and-

Heather: Yeah, by persona, by industry, by level, by all kinds of things, and marketing writes those. Once you get into an ADM sequence … Say you’ve gone through the nurture track, and now your SDR, ADM, whatever, is going to … It’s bubbled up, and it’s a good enough lead to call; who creates their emails? That’s always kind of the friction. So look, if you’re going to do a one-off email, if you’re going to take the time, write it yourself. If you’re going to put somebody into a sequence, we’ll recommend sequences for you, and you can make tweaks and adjustments, and then we go in and spot-check that. We have found some egregious behavior in tweaks and adjustments, so you’ve got to be pretty good on marketing it.

DG: Of course. Do you own the performance of those emails as a marketer?

Heather: Yes.

DG: So you can say, “Hey, we’re going to automate these because …”

Heather: Mm-hmm (affirmative). I own everything to the point where an outside rep, who can actually get the contract signed, creates it as an opportunity. I own everything at the top of the funnel.

DG: In an ideal world, the sales rep either … Their job is to have a meeting.

Heather: Yes. Well, no. Their job is to have a meeting and, out of that meeting, to say, “Yes. This meeting I had, I’m going to make an opportunity out of it.” When he or she says, “Yeah, whatever metric or budget authority you need to have …” Whenever they say, “Yeah,” and when that sales rep, more importantly, says, “This is such a good opportunity, I’m willing for my boss to hold me accountable to closing it. I’m going to put it in my pipe.” That’s when the marketing … That’s when I no longer … Not that I no longer feel accountable, but I’ve generated pipeline.

DG: This is amazing. This is an MBA! This is your MBA in marketing and ops. Heather, thank you for doing this.

Heather: Excellent.

DG: I appreciate it. Yeah, that’s it.

Heather: Cool!

DG: We’re out of here.

Heather: Excellent.

DG: Thank you for doing this, it was awesome.

Heather: I appreciate it.

DG: Thank you.

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