Eric Martin is the Director of Marketing Programs at Salesloft. SalesLoft is the leading sales engagement platform, helping sales organizations to deliver a better sales experience for their customers. More than 2,000 customers use the company’s category-leading sales engagement platform to engage in more relevant, authentic, and sincere ways, including Square, MuleSoft, Alteryx, and Dell.
Eric and his team focus on great offline experiences that engage customer advocates. To recreate that experience online, they also rely on a secure and scalable CMS.
Mediacurrent Interview with Eric Martin
What does digital transformation mean for you?
EM: Digital transformation is kind of an old term, so it doesn't mean too much to me unless it's put into some kind of context. I think a lot of people talk about digital transformation as a mindset shift to a more “online” experience. One of my goals as a marketer is to generate and facilitate great interactions online as well as offline. For me, one of the most powerful things that you can do in marketing is produce a great offline experience. Executing a great event is hard, for example, and every detail counts. Digital transformation helps convert people from an engaging offline experience to an online experience that matches up to the level of value as that offline experience.
For example, Rainmaker is our big annual conference. If we provide a great offline experience with Rainmaker, we want to follow that up with an incredible online experience where you can engage, share and connect best practices of everyone in the sales engagement community. We'd be doing ourselves a disservice if we invested all the resources, time and effort into Rainmaker, which is an awesome offline experience if we didn't develop an equally awesome online experience to support that. Digital transformation--to me--is excelling both online and offline.
Mediacurrent: What are your top three initiatives and goals right now?
EM: One key priority is supporting our customer advocates. Why do we focus on customer advocates? Because they are the best salespeople that you can ever have. We care about our customers more than anything else here at Salesloft. We are obsessed with providing excellent service to them. We hold their needs before ours and are striving to build a community where they can engage with each other, where we can support them, and be able to amplify their voice so they can tell more stories about how they’ve been successfully utilizing Salesloft. And if we aren't able to generate those customer advocates, we're not doing our job.
I would say another key priority would be making sure we are always presenting the best brand forward to the market for Salesloft. Without customers you don't have a brand, and how can we extend the value of that brand out further and have a greater reach? That’s our challenge. Again, going back to the customer, how can we give them the voice they need and they can be the biggest brand extenders that we have in addition to all the other 'typical' marketing goals - which are more website traffic, more leads, more influenced pipeline, more qualified opportunities, driven by marketing, more activities, all that good stuff too. That's all part of it.
On a ground level, we're getting ready for our big Rainmaker conference and that work started earlier this year and basically starts when the previous year’s conference ends. When Rainmaker 2018 was over, what did we do? We started working on Rainmaker 2019. It's really a culmination of a lot of our efforts that involves displaying our brand, engaging with our customers and also delivering an amazing Salesloft experience to the prospects that come.
Mediacurrent: What are your two current challenges you're trying to solve for?
EM: I think one of the challenges we're dealing with right now is keeping up with the growth of our company as a marketing team. I think this is a challenge that a lot of departments feel at rapidly growing organizations. How do we maintain this high level of performance and excellence and standard for what we want to accomplish? How do we bring the best people on and how do we as marketers grow at the same momentum or ideally faster? Because as marketers, we need to be thinking about 18, 24 months out. How do we prepare ourselves for that growth as a marketing team and how do we stay ahead of that? That's a challenge that is new to me because I've never worked in a company where it's growing extremely rapidly like SalesLoft, but it's a welcome challenge to have.
A marketing team is only as good as the people that are on it and we really are focused on bringing on marketers that fit our core values. I think our other challenge is how do we as marketers better serve our customers? Marketing is inherently a very prospect-oriented business to be in. There's a lot of focus on generating marketing qualified leads to generate in our marketing qualified accounts. We've done a lot of work to develop our account based practice over the past two years and that's paying off significantly.
Our organization is more aligned than ever, especially among sales, marketing, revenue operations, and customer success. Our challenge is how do we take this account based machine that we've built and deliver value to our customers using that? We've always been customer focused, but with marketing, we've always been concentrated on pipeline. It's like sales - you have to generate revenue to generate further the business, but while not taking our eye off the ball with that, we are also developing content, brand experiences and valuable campaigns that enrich our customers and make them happier.
Mediacurrent: What is your current CMS and what do you value most out of it?
EM: Our current CMS is Wordpress. I do value its simplicity. It's easy to use, but we're growing at the rate where our needs are rapidly expanding as an organization. So we're constantly reviewing new technologies and new CMSs that come out to see if they might better serve our needs as we scale.
Mediacurrent: How crucial is your CMS to the success of your marketing team and go to market strategy?
EM: The more our marketing team grows, the more critical our CMS becomes. I think the evolution of our organization is stretching to the point where our website is about much more than marketing. It's about: how do we better serve our customers? We have an extensive directory of integrations in our app directory, etc. Some of those portions of our site are hosted on different platforms. So one of the things we're thinking about is how do we unify that experience more? How do we create a better experience for prospects, for customers, for other stakeholders like investors, candidates, etc?
Mediacurrent: How often do you consider switching your CMS?
EM: Not often. It's something that takes a lot of work to deploy. Any significant change to a CMS requires a change in the skills people need to administer it. We have a lot that we want to integrate with so we have to consider the capability of integrations. Integrations are hard and you don't want things to break. I would say the real catalyst for a change in our CMS comes when we update our main corporate website - what some would refer to as the “storefront.” That is usually the catalyst when we want to do a major corporate web redesign is to really rethink: does this platform have the capability to serve our customers, our prospects, our candidates, our investors, all those different stakeholders. That's a big decision involving a lot of moving parts.
Mediacurrent: How could an organization persuade you to buy a new CMS?
EM: I think, first of all, delivering a great buying experience, which is what we try to help our customers do. The salesperson has got to be helpful, consultative - concierge, not the used car salesperson stereotype. Someone that really listens and understands our needs, and someone that can really help us to understand the value. CMSs can get very expensive, and there's also a lot of great open source competition when it comes to CMSs, so it's got to be a pretty good sell to be able to open the checkbook for a CMS when there are so many great open source alternatives out there.
Mediacurrent: What's important to you in terms of site management, your SEO? Is it mobile first? Content editing capability?
EM: Those are very important, but I would say one of the most important for us, as we scale, is how stable is it? How secure is it? We are creating a web experience for our customers and prospects and all the stakeholders that I mentioned. and it needs to be rock solid. We can't have any “white screens of death,” any gateway errors, redirect errors or anything like that. When it comes to the website, I have a bit of the IT perspective -- and the IT perspective is I don't want to call in the middle of the night about something being wrong with the website. Our job as a marketing team is to create a rock solid web environment that serves all those stakeholders. It doesn't break. And when you scale the 'doesn't break' thing is absolutely number one. You can make any CMS look pretty. You can develop cool experiences with any CMS. For us, it's about how you create something that's scalable and stable and secure so we can serve the enterprise.
Mediacurrent: Do you do any paid search and retargeting and what tools do you use?
EM: We do a lot of Google ads and search ads. We also do display ads as well. That's no secret. And we also do account based targeting as well. We use a couple of tools for that, Terminus and Triblio.. We use Terminus to target our, prospects and our customers with advertising leading to experiences that we hope are valuable. We also do a lot of advertising on Linkedin as well. It's where our buyers are, and it's where our customers are, and it's where they have conversations.
Mediacurrent: How would a development and digital marketing agency get a sales appointment with you?
EM: First of all, by taking a very careful look at our team - i.e. looking on LinkedIn and looking at the competencies that we have on our team and really asking yourself the hard question, can we help Salesloft? Marketing departments are very different. One marketing department might outsource work, another may not. A lot of marketing departments have in house developers that will help. It's really about trying to dig into the structure of our team and gaining a better understanding and then coming to me saying, "I looked at your team” in a cold InMail. I like Linkedin. Linkedin's a great place to send a pitch. But if you can identify gaps in our team’s capabilities, then that's the kind of insight I'm looking for if there's an agency opportunity.
Mediacurrent: Where do you go for thought leadership to stay up to date with current trends?
EM: In addition to typical online news and research sources, I go to a lot of events and conferences. I prefer the smaller, niche conferences that dive deep into one to two subjects, rather than larger trade shows. They tend to be a bit noisier.
Mediacurrent: What events are you attending this year and next?
EM: I'm a big fan of the TOPO summit. I haven't had the chance to go to Sirius Decisions, but I'm also hoping to be able to attend next year. I'm not attending personally, but we have a big presence at Dreamforce this year. But my favorite events is our annual conference, Rainmaker. Totally biased, but it’s the best event that I attend (and help organize) all year.
We want to extend a big THANK YOU to Eric for participating in this interview. In the next part of the blog series, we will dig into what’s next now that you’re on Drupal 8.