Interview with Lauren Goldstein

Principal & CRO at ANNUITAS



Lauren Goldstein Principal & CRO at ANNUITAS
Video Transcript

hi this is Bob Samuel Spano tech
connector tech connector provides
efficiencies transparency and actionable
intelligence for b2b l├ęgion marketers
and their agents we’ve partnered with
serious decisions to bring you wisdom
from leading account based marketing
thought leaders to that end I’m happy to
introduce you to Lauren Goldstein chief
revenue officer and principal at
annuities Lauren is a veteran and b2b
marketing and has a keen excitement
regarding ABM Lauren it’s a pleasure to
speak with you how are you today I am
doing great Bob thank you how are you
outstanding it was a it was a pleasure
to see you speak at the game-changers
event in San Francisco earlier this
month just a wonderful event lots of
great topics a lot of good good people
to hobnob with and so forth absolutely
yes old friends and new friends for sure
old friends of defendants quick and then
and this topic that we’ve got for today
which is ABM it’s innocuous it needs
lots of things a lot of different people
it’s a hot topic it’s as I think we
spoke earlier it’s smart marketing so if
you can give our our audience a little
bit of your background about where
you’ve been what you’ve kind of your
approach were where have you come across
ABM if there’s an overview and then
we’ll get into some of the details
absolutely so I have spent on the better
part of twenty five years in b2b
marketing which I think officially makes
me part of the old guard um that being
said you know in the 25 years that I’ve
been doing b2b marketing a lot has
changed the channels that we use to go
to market and the ease in which we can
really measure our lead-to-revenue
velocity and percentages I mean so many
things have changed but I’ll tell you
what Bob the one thing that hasn’t
changed is that the notion of spending
your time and efforts not just as a
marketing organization
but is a company focused on your ICP
your ideal customer profile focused on
your best targets that’s just good good
business and so I think that ABM is a
term that’s definitely gotten a lot of
attention in the last decade or so but
really for those of us that have been in
b2b marketing for a lot of years it is
helping I think organizations refocus on
those most important prospects and and
as both those of us have been around
long enough to know I mean maybe it’s
things accounts this target accounts
it’s targeted accounts it’s not it’s
nothing new it’s it’s where should we
work so we where are we going to get our
best bang for our efforts I think the
thing that you know listen there’s a lot
of noise about it I think there’s a lot
of technology companies that are helping
um helping you either better target who
you’re going after and a company level
end or a contact level um there are a
lot of great tools that allow you to
personalize the experience in an easier
way perhaps and you had been able to do
before I think there’s a lot of
analytics that we can bring to the table
so that for instance if several people
within an organization are consuming
content on your website at the same time
you can connect those efforts and and
really make sure that your sales person
is aware of everything going on in their
account so I think that technology has
definitely advanced our ability to again
connect and engage that target audience
but the notion of ABM is absolutely just
again good marketing and and I think one
of the things I’m learning is a lot of
it happens before you actually start so
it’s a strategic planning and the
coordination within the company before
you use and start with an outreach
absolutely I you know I always kind of
chuckle when I see one of the technology
companies you know selling their bright
shiny object and I see the mark
ders eyes light up when they think oh my
gosh if I just buy this shiny widget my
ABM is set I’m golden I’m gonna deliver
to the business and you and I both know
that it’s not that easy
it’s ABM is hard work it means first and
foremost as an organization you have to
align around who your ICP is and that
end of itself can require a lot of
change management a lot of alignment
between key stakeholders within the
business and so I think step one is
really getting alignment around who your
ICP is and then starting to think about
well what are the different ways that we
want to engage with them and what are
the different narratives that we need to
have with them so in a lot of ways it’s
the same fundamental marketing and sales
strategy that you need you have to start
with understanding who the ICP is what
are the conversations you want to have
with them throughout an entire buying
cycle and what are the measurements what
are the KPIs by which you will judge if
you’ve been successful and in a lot of
the companies actually all of the
companies that we’re working with it
really comes down to how quickly they
converted and you know if their customer
lifetime value is significant to the
organization if they’re satisfied and
willing to engage with you over time so
it’s a lot of the classic marketing
the rapper of ABM is you know again
definitely helpful and honing in on that
right audience but it’s not solved by a
bright shiny object it’s not solved by a
widget and it still requires hard work
perseverance and a thoughtful narrative
between a brand and a buyer absolutely
and they’re obviously there requires a
coordination between sales and marketing
and and client success as well who where
does it make sense to have the leader or
does it matter its team sport you know
it’s a really good question about
whether it comes from the top down or
the bottom up a lot of the work that we
do Bob is about how to drive that
alignment between again customer success
product sales marketing um
you have a CEO that’s very invested and
can really kind of drive it from the top
down that doesn’t hurt but I think that
the more mature our marketing
organizations and and organizations at
large that we work with understand that
if everybody buys in to what success
looks like and again success is
typically growth for the business both
from new logo and from customer
retention and expansion and then if
there’s alignment around those kinds of
KPIs that’s where it starts right and
that’s where you need to be doing things
like tying compensation and bonuses so
that everyone’s behavior is reflective
upon those things that are good for
and I said you mentioned yeah I would
get fooled when I hear account base
Martin because you’ve got that marketing
word in there but the reality is that a
good chunk of the effort or the best
value of it is from existing clients and
and during the land and expanding and
increasing the footprint and so forth
right I mean some of the businesses that
we work with even if we could reduce
their churn by a couple percentage
points that equates to millions of
dollars for the organization and so
again it is team sport it’s getting
really clear on what are our goals for
net new logos what are our goals around
retention rates what are our goals
around land and expand so it does
require a lot of alignment not just
around the ICP but as you call out
around the metrics by which the business
will deem it’s been successful and then
when you mentioned I see I mean there’s
a lot of different people in personas at
each company to try to aim that there’s
not just one contact I guess howdy how
do you deal with that I think you you
try not to boil the ocean that’s the
first and foremost I think um you know
in my early years I remember doing work
with a very very large software company
and they had something like 97 different
personas or segments and they struggled
to ever be thoughtful with any of any
one segment it was impossible so I think
the marketer
and the organization’s at large that are
most successful again when when sales
and marketing and product and customer
success is really talking through ICP
it’s about narrowing down your segments
to something that you can deliver
thoughtful content around so it may not
be a persona in the way we used to think
about it where you know you’ve got a
certain set of titles that’s one persona
and you work your way on down the rungs
it’s really more about the role somebody
plays within a purchase decision or
within an influencing role so my
guidance is always don’t boil the ocean
start with maybe two or three different
segments or personas around a solution
area and then you can always you know
splinter off to different verticals from
there you can always expand the number
but don’t try to boil the ocean stay
stay in a set of segments or personas
that you can actually deliver content
around less is more
absolutely an index so you can always
expand so what are some of the so have
you seen some examples of IBM in actions
from either either some great success
stories or maybe some learning
opportunity the your own efforts or
things that your company or your clients
have done absolutely I don’t want to
name names simply because I don’t have
permission on the fly to be doing that
but um there are several companies that
I can think of that are doing an
exceptional job with ABM and they are
taking a handful of measures that are
consistent across the board number one
sales and marketing and all the key
stakeholders are aligned around who
they’re ICP is most of them have a
defined set of named accounts and that
may be you know in different tiers right
that might be enterprise and mid market
and small business but they’re either
named by company or they’re named by a
very distinct set of characteristics and
then against each of those segments
they’ve got very aligned go to markets
aren’t just about random acts right it’s
not just about hey let’s go hit him in a
trade show or hey let’s do a webinar but
they’re thoughtfully orchestrating the
right conversations with those segments
from the moment they enter a
conversation or download a piece of
content or shake hands with somebody at
a trade show they really orchestrate and
personalize that conversation till it
gets to a point that perhaps sales or
BDR should get involved and start to
really take it a step further and even
in those cases what kind of content that
sales rbdr serves up has absolutely been
orchestrated so that at every engagement
point between a brand and that ICP or
that target account and those different
contacts within that target account
there is a very thoughtful conversation
whether it’s digitally and digitally
served up or whether it’s served up by a
human and and those are the cases where
customers are not just closing bigger
deals but they’re closing them faster
those are some of the KPIs we see with a
very focused account based approach is
that deals are larger and and there’s
actually a couple case studies that I
may be able to reference Bob that that
show this but the deals are bigger they
close faster and when you start to see
what the funnel looks like instead of
the funnel looking like a martini glass
it starts to look like a pint glass
because your conversion rates are better
and on the back end when you are
reporting on those metrics like velocity
and and deal size and you’re also taking
a look at all of the content that
influenced along the way and the
channels that influenced along the way
and you have that line of sight in your
analytics stack you can then start to
double down on more of those activities
to those key accounts that are again
helping with your velocity helping lift
deal sizes so that’s those are the
characteristics that we see really
working again it’s it comes down to B be
relevant to your prospect very good and
you mentioned some channels human and
digital what what other what specific
channels have you found success for
instance when I search human I think
phone and email when I think a digital I
think of programmatic and social and an
email and their surrogates but any any
tricks that have worked really well or
maybe Cadence’s or you know forces
because you know to figure out what
method works best for the audience how
do you figure that out and what do you
figure out how do you figure out what to
talk about I’m going to talk to you
there’s a whole process in there I guess
there is in all of the channels that you
mentioned are really valid ones the
trick is always right time right place
there’s a great Accenture statistic that
says eighty-two percent of marketing
campaigns fail and they don’t fail
because the content is not right they
fail because they are wrong time wrong
place and so I think with the channels
that we leverage it’s about
understanding for each specific segment
so there’s not a one-size-fits-all but
for each specific segment what is the
right place to be serving up content in
a specific channel and when you have the
right kind of reporting and analytics
connected into your work you’re able to
see for instance hey you know this
channel isn’t very good as a top of
funnel effort but when we connect with
our audience
um via that channel perhaps in in mid
funnel it actually has a very high
likelihood of converting somebody to
move further down the funnel and so I
think it’s there’s a lot of really
strong channels out there and the real
trick is figuring out where in the
funnel is the best to employ that
specific channel okay fair enough and
then when I when I hear that I think
well it’s certainly good to get
intelligence to figure out what to talk
about in this I guess there’s first
party intelligence which is activity of
that prospect on on the company site and
then third party where it’s what they’re
doing in the rest of the world
absolutely and listen we all know that
it you know when one touch is not
necessarily you know gonna get her done
oftentimes it’s you know connecting with
somebody perhaps even with the same
message but via multiple channels so
that you know when they when they do
have that pain point top of mind they
have easy access to you know to take a
look at what that brand has to offer to
help alleviate the challenge and so what
do you what is your experience or what
is your sense about predictive analytics
and intent signals there’s a lot of
promises of there’s a lot of responses
that I still keep hearing it’s too soon
to know if it’s working or not but
what’s what’s your sense about data data
and intelligence and what might be
working and maybe it’s a combination of
signals right um you know again I think
there’s a lot of tools out there and I
think unless the tools are being
utilized against it’s a strategic cause
they’re just another bright shiny object
and so you know with any of the tools in
the marketing stack you have to first
ask yourself what am I trying to
accomplish with it um so for our client
base we’re actually using tableau not an
out-of-the-box version of tableau
there’s a lot of IP wrapped on top and
the intention of all of the analytics
and reporting is to really understand
those lift factors that I just talked
about a moment ago you know how do we
lift conversion rates and key stages
throughout the funnel what are those
trigger pieces of content and what are
those trigger channels that are again
lifting those conversion rates we take a
look at things like you know what are
the key channels that are again helping
move people through more quickly you
know let’s not you know drag out a
conversation over multiple weeks if we
can get somebody to a webinar for
instance and we find that they convert
at you know a 5 or 10 times higher rate
after attending that webinar we really
focus on understanding what those lift
factors are within the
and with the right kind of analytics and
reporting in fact it is becoming
predictive of channels and content that
are going to again improve things like
velocity or improve deal size or simply
just improve conversion rates throughout
the funnel so analytics done right is
quite predictive and helping you
understand how to increase throughput in
your funnel wonderful I’m a numbers guy
I love that and that’s great that you’re
using using tableau tableau is not a
source of data but it helps you take all
of your all of your disparate data and
make sense out of it yes and then off of
it to do more so in a way it is acting
as a predictive tool it is helping you
understand what’s working so that you
can double down and do more yeah and
also I guess it’s also pretty important
to be able to figure out what’s not
important and with noise and cut be
absolutely absolutely that all that so
I’m a you know I apologize I’m a shining
object person that and I and I I agree
with you that there’s no perfect answer
but have you have you found some other
things besides tableau that are pretty
cool out there for again knowing that
it’s there’s no no cure there’s no you
know no silver bullet but there’s some
pretty cool tools and data and channels
that you found to be pretty good finds
or maybe you can’t share you know Bob I
will be the first to say technology is
not a strategy if you really want to do
ABM well it requires obsession around
ICP it requires true alignment around
what success looks like and how it’s
going to be measured and it requires
really being able to deliver right
content right time right place and so
with a lot of those you know kind of
old-school metrics that you and I grew
up on it’s not about a bright shiny
object and even when I mentioned tools
like tableau I mean we have you know put
a lot of time and IP into I’m
configuring them to to give us the line
of sight
and that’s really what the more
important part of it is is having line
of sight into everything that you’re
not just the first touch or a last touch
but in all of the touches along the way
and so it is a lot of those foundational
principles that is what helps
organizations win and grow not the
bright shiny object you know that said
we definitely leverage a lot of
Technology you know to its fullest
extent in order to to get that line of
sight but but without a strategy that
the technology is just technology yep
loud and clear
I get it so so one of the things that
that I’ve always found to be challenging
is the messaging there’s as far as I
know there’s no technology that can help
you figure out what to say and maybe
they can help you with winter fit and
who to say to food but what to say how
to say it yeah what’s your strategy
there talk to your customers talk to
your customers um you know that’s the
good news and and in my early days when
there was not as much digital you had to
really spend a lot of time doing focus
groups and interviewing and really
making sure that your message was
perfect but fast forward 20 25 years and
if we talk to our customers and we get a
sense of messaging that’s that’s good we
can optimize to make it great and I
think that’s the beauty of digital is
that we can launch with good and
optimize to make it great that’s a good
point I got to because I started back
when I started I was in new faces and I
know pre-knowledge Ares and we didn’t
know what you know we didn’t know who
read page 2 page 3 and what they did
with it and what caused the traffic to
go up and so to be able to measure with
digital is just kind of fun for me right
absolutely just allows you to get
intelligence you know in in days not
years exactly so one of the topics that
fairly hot these days especially when
California folks around
gdpr is that something that is a
challenge for you as far I mean you know
I guess – you know personalization is
great but then did there’s limits and
there’s legal limits and so forth so has
that been a challenge I don’t think so I
mean you know again there are some basic
guidelines that every business has to
adhere to what we’re really seen is that
the website is a powerful place to
personalize the conversation so I think
we’re becoming less reliant on email
being the heavy lifter and email and
automation being the brains and really
seeing a lot of that personalization
coming to life on the web and when you
say personalization that means that
different people coming to the web of
may seeing different different versions
of it based on their background they
based on their industry absolutely I
mean and and the website I mean when you
have a personalized experience on a
website it is not about saying the hi
Bob it’s really about understanding what
kind of content you perhaps came to the
site from whether it was a thank-you
note from it’s really quickly being able
to identify the context by which you’ve
shown up and then based on your actions
and your consumption of content being
really proactive about recommending what
would come next and so it is based
perhaps on demographics it’s you know
perhaps based on behavior it can really
be based on any attribute you want it to
but demographic and behavioral context
is what what makes it powerful yeah
exactly little quality so um I’m what
one of the things I’m curious about is
what he thinks coming up so you’ve seen
a lot of changes in the past 20 25 years
since you were 12 what do you see what
do we talk about next year or in five
years from now in this context those are
both great questions I think next year I
mean there’s a lot of new muscle that’s
being built around how to personalize
people’s experience with brands and
again whether that’s being
then an email or on the web or really
being done everywhere that that prospect
or customer appears I still think it’s
it’s a muscle that needs development so
I think there’s going to be just a lot
more um you know digging in and and and
really understanding what’s performing
best I think the biggest challenge
preventing every company from doing that
right now isn’t a technology challenge
all the technologies there it’s not a
Content challenge I think people know
how to create really good and compelling
and engaging content for the most part I
think a lot of it’s a change management
challenge and really getting aligned on
you know when the conversation should be
happening online versus offline so I
think there’s a lot of change management
that will happen with organizations who
are wanting to UM to be more account
focused and to really drive growth
through account based marketing so I’d
say that’s really what we have in the
next you know one to three years in
terms of where we’re going to be in five
to ten years you know I’ve not ever been
one of those that’s good at predicting
the future I just know we need to
continue to be really relevant and
thoughtful and smart and measure
everything and that in fact that is what
will allow us to continue to stay on top
of the best ways to engage I think
you’re spot-on I think that that
relevance is a key to it being relevant
to that prospect and getting them
messages like I said at the right time
yeah I remember one one big aha in my
early days of content marketing I too
started in the newspaper business I was
a journalist right out of college and
you know everyone was talking about well
content is king and and it’s true but my
point was always but context is Queen
and in fact is more important so its
contents may be king but context is
queen and we all know who rules the
beautiful beautiful well this is great
one do you have any other words of
wisdom to share otherwise I think web I
we’ve covered a lot of great things III
really my advice especially to those
that love to chase bright shiny objects
is just get really grounded and centered
with your organization about who you
care most about who is your ICP and what
is the conversation you want to have
with them and if you can start there um
the rest is actually a lot easier
beautiful set well Laurie it’s a
pleasure I look forward to seeing you
again soon
thank you again for your time it’s
really great thank you so much Bob great
chatting Victor