Jodi from RollWorks shared a hot take that might surprise some people in the account-based marketing (ABM) space: she believes that the MQL is not dead.
While many marketers and thought leaders have declared the death of the MQL, Jodi believes that it is still a valuable metric for sales.
She emphasizes the importance of driving higher quality MQLs with a Fit-focused approach.
"We believe there's nothing wrong with the MQL in and of itself. The problem is a little bit more nuanced when it comes to top-of-funnel definition. To us, when the activity that drives an MQL is necessarily a form fill, and when the MQL is the sole measure of top-of-funnel progress, that's when things become trickier and unbalanced."
Jodi argues that relying solely on form fills as the main activity to drive MQLs can lead to poor Fit MQLs slipping through and muddying the overall funnel.
Instead, she suggests expanding the number and categories of signals used to pass along to sales, such as intent data, account scoring, and de-anonymized contacts.
Jodi explains how her team defines MQLs and what type of leads they pass over to sales.
They focus on a Fit-focused approach, using their own tool to have a data-backed definition of their ideal customer profile and a scored target account list.
They assume Fit for all engagements that come from paid programs or partner programs, as they are by definition members of the buying committee on their target account list.
Jodi also mentions their scoring program, where they accelerate the MQL stage for the right people from their target account list.
Their sellers are willing to react to various engagement signals, such as email opens, ad clicks, and site engagement, as long as they come from the right person in the right organization.
Jodi emphasizes the power of using multiple signals at the top of the funnel, rather than relying solely on form fills.
She mentions intent data as a valuable signal, using multiple sources of intent to determine when an account is ready for outreach.
By expanding the number of signals and categories of signals, marketers can increase the number of opportunities delivered to sales.
"We know that in B2B, typically only 2-3% of B2B site visitors actually fill out a form when they're interacting with your website. So waiting for a form fill actually has the risk of ignoring 97-98% of available buyer interactions that could indicate readiness just like the form fill does."
Jodi also introduces a new capability called "Hot Contacts," which allows them to de-anonymize contacts from site traffic.
This capability enables them to identify and reach out to individuals who have shown interest in their product or service, even if they haven't filled out a form.
This expands their understanding of true buyers in the market and increases their top-of-funnel opportunities.
Jodi acknowledges the challenges faced by marketers in the current economic climate.
She mentions the need to hit targets and make adjustments to their MQL and MQA definitions based on the changing sales landscape.
However, she notes that their ABM approach has been relatively unaffected, as account-based marketing is inherently efficient and precise.
"While other companies are reconsidering and scrutinizing their investments, account-based marketing or an account-based approach is almost by definition zero waste. So it naturally is efficient, and we haven't seen a blip in responsiveness from our email or other channels."
Jodi also mentions the wider buying committee and longer sales cycles they have observed, as more people, including CEOs and CFOs, are involved in the decision-making process.
This requires marketers to drive urgency and provide a strong business case to ensure successful conversions.
Jodi discusses the metrics her team covers in their weekly business reviews.
Their North Star metric is qualified pipeline, and they track leading and lagging indicators to ensure they are on track to hit their targets.
They analyze conversion rates, open and reply rates, and other metrics to assess their performance and make data-driven decisions.
She also emphasizes the importance of having a centralized revenue operations (RevOps) team to ensure consistent reporting and analysis across marketing and sales.
The RevOps team handles the dashboard setup and updates, while the marketing and sales leaders provide the analysis and insights.
Jodi Cerretani's insights shed light on the future of MQLs and revenue marketing.
She challenges the notion that the MQL is dead and emphasizes the importance of a Fit-focused approach.
By expanding the number and categories of signals used at the top of the funnel, marketers can increase their opportunities and deliver higher quality MQLs to sales.
Jodi also highlights the need for marketers to adapt to the current economic climate and focus on efficiency.
She believes that this shift towards efficiency will elevate the role of marketers and enable them to contribute to strategic decision-making processes.
As we look ahead to 2023, Jodi sees these changes as an opportunity for marketers to prove their value and establish themselves as strategic partners within their organizations.
By embracing efficiency and taking ownership of the ultimate P&L, marketers can position themselves for long-term success.
Follow Tara Robertson on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/taraarobertson/
Follow Jodi Cerretani on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jodicerretani/
Checkout RollWorks: https://www.rollworks.com/
Checkout Bombora: https://bombora.com/
Checkout G2: https://www.g2.com/
Read RollWorks blog: https://www.rollworks.com/resources/blog
**0:00:00** - (Tara Robertson): Welcome to a new episode of Demand gen Chat. I'm your host. Tara Robertson, head of demand gen here at Chili Piper. In this episode, I'm joined by Jodi saratani, VP of Revenue Marketing at RollWorks. We chat about her marketing team's approach to ABM and how MQLs factor into their strategy. Jodi also shares the programs her team has recently had to cut back on due to low performance. That one probably won't be a surprise to many of you listening and what their team is excited about now.
**0:00:27** - (Tara Robertson): So I hope you enjoy my conversation with Jodi. Jody. Welcome to Demand Gen Chat. I'm so excited to have you here.
**0:00:33** - (Jodi Cerretani): I'm super excited to be here. Thank you for inviting me.
**0:00:36** - (Tara Robertson): Yeah, of course. I'd love to start off with something fun. It sounds like you have something that you disagree with, maybe a hot take that you want to kind of disagree with for our audience. So I'd love to jump right into that.
**0:00:47** - (Jodi Cerretani): Yeah. I mean, it might surprise you knowing that I come from the account based marketing and selling space, but unlike many so called ABM thought leaders and even some of our account based marketing peers or competitors at RollWorks, we really don't believe that the MQL is dead. So we're going against the grain a little bit there. We consider ourselves pragmatists and practitioners more than thought leaders. And frankly, we'll believe the MQL is dead when sales does.
**0:01:20** - (Jodi Cerretani): And today there's really not a sales channel or sales interaction that doesn't require a qualified person's involvement. Right. It's something that on the marketing side you can target an account, but on the sales side, it really comes down to people. So the ODS are that to sales and to ruleworks, the MQL will never be dead. It's just too important. But having said that, we do believe that marketers are really under pressure and have a sincere obligation to drive higher quality MQLs with a Fit focused approach sometimes.
**0:01:57** - (Jodi Cerretani): It's not that there's still too many marketers. I would say that we see who define maybe their lead scoring program with having the activity side and the Fit side sort of be equally weighted. Or they see the MQL as being kind of the be all and end all to their top of funnel. And both of those things mean that a lot of times for those companies, poor Fit MQLs slip through and that can really muddy the overall funnel and not really serve sales the way that we need to. So, having said that, if Fit is assumed and it is a focus of the marketing organization and of the lead scoring program, we believe there's nothing wrong with the MQL sort of in and of itself.
**0:02:41** - (Jodi Cerretani): The problem to us is a little bit more nuanced when it comes to tougher funnel definition. To us, when the activity that drives an MQL is necessarily a form fill, right. And when the MQL is kind of the sole measure of top of funnel progress. That's when things become a bit trickier and unbalanced to us, a form fell is just one action that indicates interest from a prospective buyer. It's an important signal, but it's just one signal. And the reality is there are so many other interactions at the person or the account level that can be really valuable to sales.
**0:03:26** - (Jodi Cerretani): We know in B, two B, typically only two to 3% of B two B site visitors actually fill out a form when they're interacting with your website. So waiting for a form fill actually has the risk of ignoring maybe 97%, 97, 98% available buyer interactions that could indicate readiness just like the form fill does. So we really see there's an opportunity to expand the number of signals and the categories of signals that you care about at the top of the funnel and that you're using to pass along to sales. Just like you were a form filling MQL to really expand your top of funnel and increase the number of at bats that you're delivering to sales.
**0:04:08** - (Tara Robertson): There's a lot to unpack there, but I want to start with how does it's a good one? I think you're right. Coming from an ABM background, I wasn't expecting you to touch on know, I.
**0:04:20** - (Jodi Cerretani): Know they're all like it's know, but that's a fast. That's a fast.
**0:04:26** - (Tara Robertson): So I'd love to hear how your team defines an MQL and what type of leads you're passing over to sales and then kind of the flip side of that. How do you score if you do any account scoring as well? How does that layer on?
**0:04:40** - (Jodi Cerretani): Yeah, so on the MQL side, when I say Fit focused for us, it's almost Fit exclusive, right? So we use our own tool to have a data backed definition of our ideal customer profile and a scored target account list. It's a larger target account list. So our overall tam is something like 50,000 accounts. Our target account list in any period typically is about 10,000 accounts. So it's pretty big, maybe different than what folks might initially think of, where they think of it as like their top 100 accounts. And by the way, we do have top 100 accounts as well for one to one programming. But when we've sort of blended the scale of traditional demand generation with the precision of ABM and this approach where our Tal is actually what we use to target across channels and it's really powerful in the last few years, most channels and most vendors can actually be Abmified, right? You can give them that list of 10,000 accounts and specific members of the buying committee that you want to go after and pay a slight premium potentially for that level of targeted targeting.
**0:05:51** - (Jodi Cerretani): But what the net net is, is that every single engagement that you get from that channel and vendor fit is assumed. So for us, that's sort of like the starting point is that we're focusing darn near exclusively on our towel. With the exception of Google Search, where you can't focus on a towel, specifically every other channel that we use, we're focused on our Know almost exclusively. So that means that the form fills that are coming in from paid programs or partner programs are by definition members of the buying committee on our target account list.
**0:06:30** - (Jodi Cerretani): So that sort know accelerates their likelihood to convert to an MQL. Additionally, in our scoring program we use marketo, in our scoring program we accelerate. So if you are the right person from our target account list, you don't have to work very hard in order to get to the MQL stage. Our sellers, their disposition is they're willing to react to Darn Near everything if it's the right person from the right organization.
**0:06:56** - (Jodi Cerretani): So a blog post or an email click, that's enough for them to use as an impetus for outreach because it's such a high value target. So that really makes sure that our MQL is basically fit exclusive. The reality is that there's going to be folks that come inbound, you can't control it completely. So we do have some noise that people find us and they're interested or not the right fit, or they're not on our target account list. So then we have the normal scoring that makes sure that they're working hard and they're doing the right things and looking more on their demographic and vermographic side as opposed to a targeted kit account list match.
**0:07:40** - (Jodi Cerretani): So that's on the MQL side. But we don't use MQLs alone. Like I said, we believe that there are multiple signals, and we certainly have seen the power of using multiple signals at the top of the funnel. So we have four distinct kind of clusters of signals on kind of the least valuable, but not valuable, is the buyer intelligence around intent. So intent is not new, but I think what turns an intent data point into an intent buying signal is actually having corroborating data sources that tell you on multiple sources of intent.
**0:08:17** - (Jodi Cerretani): So for us, we use Bobora, we use Rollwork's own keyword intent as well as g two intent data that says if two out of the three are telling us that now is the time that that account is consuming third party bottom of funnel topics or keywords, then they're ready for outreach. And that's really opened up a powerful pocket of demand for our sellers. We also have account scoring as part of the RollWorks platform, but for us, we've developed a really customized model that looks across people and account level data points and we've co created that with our sales team. Just like we did the right that that says we care about email opens, we care about a certain volume of ad clicks, site engagement, et cetera. So you can kind of pull in those anonymous engagements and really look across the whole account instead of a single individual.
**0:09:16** - (Jodi Cerretani): And we pass those Mqas along to our sales team as well. And then the final category is actually a new capability that we're launching in just a couple of weeks. But I'm happy to share with you here, we call them hot contacts and it's really just a game changer because it's effectively de anonymized contacts. So it has the power of turning kind of awareness, investments or awareness into demand generation because instead of driving someone to your site and they've never opted in so you can't have the match between your map or your CRM.
**0:09:56** - (Jodi Cerretani): And that site visit ruleworks has a really powerful de anonymization capability. And so we're able to de anonymize a certain percent of your site traffic. So when somebody clicks an ad or they visit a web page even if they haven't, or I guess exclusively if they haven't ever filled out a form, we can tell you who that person is. So that's the kind of fourth and final bucket of signals that we pass along to our sales team and that really gives us a much wider understanding of buyers, true buyers that are in market that goes way beyond just a form filling MQL but has sort of fit baked into every level.
**0:10:38** - (Tara Robertson): And is your sales team trialing that out right now or are you waiting for your hands on it?
**0:10:43** - (Jodi Cerretani): Yeah, you sound excited about it on it early. So yeah, we've been an Alpha customer for some time and it's got a lot of power because like I said, it's invisible typically. But I think what the AHA for marketers are, that for the marketer you need the opt in, right? It's part of the can spam law criteria. So we're sort of like attached to the form fill because you get that opt in. But for the sales team they don't need an opt in to call somebody to send them an to email them. They don't need that. They just need to know who that person is, identify them with contact information and associated account and some provocation for outreach. So it's a different game. So if you're really aligned with sales and you deconstruct how you think about a lead or an MQL, the form fill again is not necessary. So that's where Hot Contacts is kind of a revolutionary product capability that we're really excited to deliver to our customers.
**0:11:50** - (Tara Robertson): That's very cool. And I'm curious, you mentioned you work with sales to define Mqas. I'm assuming MQLs as well. Have you had any challenges over, I mean, I'm sure you have, most of us have over the last few months of first of all, hitting those targets that you kind of promised as a marketing team to deliver on to sales. And have you been making any adjustments on how you're defining what you pass would?
**0:12:15** - (Jodi Cerretani): I would say that the MQA and the MQL by definition is not a set and forget there are some things I'm not against. It like there's so many cool machine learning capabilities in AI that a lot of times you can sort of set and forget things, but not the MQA and MQL. So we're always learning and optimizing tweaking, making sure that, for example, if we have new SDRs coming on board and suddenly we've got more junior SDRs, we probably need to work a little harder on the marketing side to drive deeper engagement with the product to make those at bats a layup for them. Whereas if you've got experienced SDRs, they can typically do more with holder.
**0:13:02** - (Jodi Cerretani): That's that's something to know. So it's always a work in process. Having said know the last few months, honestly Tara, we're lucky because we're in the ABM space and so a lot of people are reconsidering and scrutinizing their investments. But account based marketing or an account based approach, that whole methodology is almost by definition zero waste. So it kind of naturally is efficient. And so there's been no blip for us so far on the responsiveness that we've seen our email.
**0:13:44** - (Jodi Cerretani): We have noticed that there's more soft bounces. I think because there's been sales in the mid market. There's a lot of folks that have had a lot of team changes or riffs. So we have noticed that and have had to pivot outside of email being a big driver of demand and what. We have noticed that the buying committee has gotten wider. So a lot of our customers have an additional person, maybe even having the CEO or President being involved in these final decisions, which has expanded the number of days that we're talking with folks, days or weeks that we're talking with folks.
**0:14:25** - (Jodi Cerretani): So we have to make sure that we're really being tight with our business case and we have to drive the urgency. They're not necessarily going to drive it from their side, which is a change, but I don't think that that has changed our MQA or MQL definition. It just underscores how important it is that again, we're looking across signals and making sure that we're not just looking at data, we're looking at sources of intelligence. And to me that's looking at multiple data points that mean something. Maybe there's a break from the norm or there's kind of a collection of data points that say this is meaningful.
**0:15:10** - (Jodi Cerretani): So that's kind of been the way that we've been, I would say offensive to what's happening in the economy, but I don't want to take total credit for it because we are lucky in the space that we're in. That there still is a lot of interest and it doesn't seem to be one of the categories just yet that people are holistically cutting. They seem to actually be like, I'm going to deemphasize these other things that maybe have a little bit less precision and focus more on the motions that have more precision.
**0:15:42** - (Tara Robertson): Yeah, that makes total sense that if you have an account list that you're working from anyway, that would be the focus right now when things have to be efficient and you need to show ROI, you don't want to cut your account based programs. On the note of things take like longer sales cycles, selling to the executive team, sometimes CEO. Obviously CFO comes up a ton lately. Is that typically something that you're working with your sales team to figure out, or is marketing running any initiatives to help kind of bridge that gap?
**0:16:14** - (Jodi Cerretani): Yeah, my background is in revenue marketing. Until October of this year, my focus was on all things impact, particularly pipeline revenue. And because of also having customer marketing roll into the retaining revenue, retaining and expanding revenue. But recently, in October, I now head up the whole marketing team. So definitely on the product marketing side, we were really trying to be agile as new members of the buying committee get added, knowing that ultimately you're selling to someone who's selling to someone else, you know what I mean? You're influencing the influencer.
**0:17:07** - (Jodi Cerretani): And sometimes those folks like your CEOs or presidents or CFOs or CMOS, you don't get a lot of FaceTime with them. Typically no FaceTime with them. So you really need to make sure the assets that you're sending can translate really well. So the short answer is yes. We're very connected into the entire buying process. We organize our business based off of buying stage, and so there's the Consideration Stage, which is pipeline qualified, pipeline development, and then the Buying Stage, which is obviously going to closed one, et cetera.
**0:17:43** - (Jodi Cerretani): So I and a couple of members of my team sit in on the Buying Foundation weekly business review. So we're listening to what's happening and keeping really in tune with what we're seeing and then making decisions about how we're investing our own time to support and make sure that the close rate remains strong. And we're kind of plowing through any barriers that are coming up. And I think that at first when we went with the weekly business review format, I'll be honest, I was like weekly.
**0:18:17** - (Jodi Cerretani): Not that I wasn't looking at the numbers weekly, I mean, I'm looking at the numbers daily, but to actually have to analyze and come up with comments, action items, discussion, you know, it just felt like a little bit like we were watching paint dry. But in this environment, I actually am like, yeah, that was the right move to make because things are changing very much. Where we had a couple of weeks ago, SVB going under, that really impacted a lot of our customers. There was a few very dicey days there where we're like, okay, who knows who this is going to be? And we had to kind of think through it. That was just a day by day thing. And 2023 has been very dynamic like that. So I think weekly is actually the right cadence and continuing to be committed to be in tune with what exactly is happening with our market and making sure that our processes really are aligned.
**0:19:07** - (Tara Robertson): Yeah, you're right though. Weekly it's one thing to look at numbers, it's a total other list of to dos to have kind of a story or context behind each metric that you're presenting on. I'd love to hear a little bit about what metrics you're covering in those weeklies and just things that you're keeping an eye on personally week over week.
**0:19:25** - (Jodi Cerretani): So I co lead the Consideration Foundation as well as the Awareness Foundation. But on the consideration foundation. Effectively, our North Star is qualified pipeline. So we're looking at qualified to us is kind of in the middle of the sales process. So it's not like a new appointment or a new opportunity being generated. It actually post demo where we've gotten the commitment that that buyer is willing to put in the time they've got a timeline.
**0:19:56** - (Jodi Cerretani): We've identified kind of the key stakeholders, blah, blah, blah, blah. So and then we're also focused on that dollar amount because that's one of the levers volume alone isn't going to cut. So that's our North Star. Metric. And then we're looking at kind of leading and lagging indicators of whether or not that North Star metric we're going to hit it and if it means what it's supposed to mean in terms of its conversion to the next stage. So what's happening kind of post qualified pipeline amount.
**0:20:26** - (Jodi Cerretani): So a few things that matter as kind of leading indicators. We're looking at those four different buckets of signals like how many high intent accounts are we passing over in the period relative to the target? How many Mqas are we passing over and what's that pacing look like relative to the target. Same with hot contacts and same with MQLs. And then we're looking at the conversion rates for each of those to appointments. And also the sources, whether it's marketing source, SDR source referral from our partner program or NBS, which is our AES like self generated pipelines.
**0:21:08** - (Jodi Cerretani): Just seeing how we're pacing against the assumptions and the targets and that kind of gets us to the qualified deal volume, qualified deal dollar amount, average deal size. We're also looking at open and reply rates from the SDRs, SDR productivity, our top of funnel to appointment conversion rate. I'm listing all these things, but effectively it's like what are all the things that we know are big picture levers that can give us confidence that we're going to hit the number or something that we know that it's like the 20% that equals 80% if something's off, it's impossible to make up, right?
**0:21:52** - (Jodi Cerretani): Versus there's so many stats out there that it does take a little moment to kind of understand exactly for your business, what are all the things that would indicate you're on track versus you're off track? And then we're also looking at kind of the qualified to close rate and just making sure that, okay, that qualified pipeline really means something to the buying foundation. So it's a lot of data to look at, but it becomes very meaningful when you're looking at week over week trends, when you're looking at pacing, when you're looking at all these different areas. We also have it broken out by segment and stuff like that. So it's become very, I won't say easy, but routine.
**0:22:35** - (Jodi Cerretani): And I do think that it's operationalized something that's been a little bit more a practice of mine, but it's just exposing it to the broader business because we do present it to our CEO, so he's very in tune with our part of the business. So I've come to really like it. I come to really like it. Like I said, at first I was like, weekly is like crazy, but now I've come to really like it. I actually just had it before our call where we were able to kind of share the overall narrative, share what we were learning, share what we were doing about it.
**0:23:08** - (Jodi Cerretani): It definitely increases your pace of work.
**0:23:11** - (Tara Robertson): And for setting up those dashboards, that weekly reporting, is that done at marketing operations level or is there a separate data or Rev ops team that owns that reporting?
**0:23:22** - (Jodi Cerretani): Yeah, we have a Rev Ops team that's independent of Marketing or sales. Within rev ops. We've got Sales ops and Marketing ops and CX ops. Three sort of branches of rev ops. So they own the actual creating of the dashboard and the pulling of the numbers. The analysis is done by the SDR leader and myself. We just have more of the context of like, does this matter, does this pass the sniff test? Is this high for industry average? Is it low? Like things like that?
**0:23:54** - (Jodi Cerretani): Sometimes it's just a kind of good division of labor where they're putting the literal numbers in and doing the math. But then we're doing the analysis and we sort of know what's happening and can kind of give. Is it a people issue or factor? Not always a bad thing, but if it's a people factor, is it a process factor, is it a system factor? We know those things sort of intuitively as well as know kind of what's normal, having been in these types of roles for a long, long time. So the analysis they're not doing, but the numbers and the dashboard setup and the updating of the numbers is the Rev ops organ in our business.
**0:24:30** - (Tara Robertson): Yeah, I'm hearing that more and more. Having the centralized Rev Ops or just Ops as its own function, I think it makes a ton of sense, obviously, for having numbers consistent throughout the funnel. So you're not looking at different reporting than sales, which can happen sometimes. You touched a little bit on marketing source pipeline. I'm curious to know if anything has been working exceptionally well for your team the last couple of months in terms of driving that new pipeline or maybe in that consideration stage. If there's anything you're doing that seems to be really moving the needle there.
**0:25:02** - (Jodi Cerretani): Yeah, honestly, it's not very sexy to say, but we're a little bit back to basics right now. I think that I would say that as a marketing leader in a high growth environment, I've learned that you always have to have a certain percentage of your team's time and your dollars invested in things that are new because you always are going to hit a point of diminishing return on a lot of the channel partners, vendors that you're working with. You need to be testing.
**0:25:39** - (Jodi Cerretani): And I'll be honest, in our business, and B, two B, marketing things change so quickly that if you're six months behind and you're not kind of at the tip of the spear, you quickly become archaic and go sideways. But these days it's a little bit different in terms of our disposition where we are kind of going back to the basics and we're really focused on the data and bio intelligence, like I said, that we have.
**0:26:08** - (Jodi Cerretani): We believe that in 2023 and 2024, even though we're in a slightly advantaged place from an industry perspective, we do believe that there's just going to be fewer true buyers this year and potentially next than there have been previously. So I think that the difference between generating demand and generating engagement is really important to differentiate and what are your demand signals and do you have complete visibility into those demand signals at the moment where they become a signal?
**0:26:45** - (Jodi Cerretani): So we're focused very much on the automated orchestrated programs that react to a change in state, a change in buying stage or state that says, hey, they've reached a critical threshold. Because we know that if they are a buyer and they are doing things that are bottom of funnel, whether that's on our first party properties or third party properties that we only have so much time to sort of reach them and meet them at that point in their journey before they make a decision. And that could be that they make a decision to go with a competitor.
**0:27:17** - (Jodi Cerretani): So we're very focused on having our data house and our buying intelligence house, I guess, in order, and really thoughtfully organizing our programming so that we react to that more or less in real time and launch a relevant offer and a relevant channel for that prospective customer. It's not terribly sexy, but I think it really is real and the tools exist now to make all that come to life. I think that for as long as I've been in marketing, there's been the thing of like, right person or right account, right message, right time, but the plumbing hasn't always been available to make all of these tools and technologies talk to each other and really kind of understand all the different data points.
**0:28:13** - (Jodi Cerretani): I think we don't talk about it a lot in marketing, but the reality is that our central nervous system is often the marketing automation platform. But if you're truly thinking from an outside in perspective, there's all these other data points that are happening where people are consuming information about you or your competition or your category and or interacting with other parts of the business, like on the sales side.
**0:28:41** - (Jodi Cerretani): And because the map it has blinders on some of those things, like are they opening sales emails, are they replying to sales emails? Are they comparing you to competitor on G two? All these different things that they often live in disparate places or they're limited to a single contact and not tied up to the account or vice versa. Those things have huge implications for a 360 understanding of your buyer pool.
**0:29:09** - (Jodi Cerretani): And so I guess, long story short, we're just making sure that that information is complete, it's deep, it's wide, it's accurate. Because with that in mind, all the other tools are out there to launch the right campaign at the right moment. As long as you've got the insight there, as long as you've got the intelligence there.
**0:29:36** - (Tara Robertson): Yeah, I think a lot of teams, like you said, we've been talking about right person, right content, right time for years and years, but it's finally coming to that place where we can actually get in front of those people. So that's exciting as a marketer. I think you also mentioned diminishing returns. I'm a huge believer that especially in B, two B, we can't all just be doing the same thing because it won't work. We've seen that with things like everyone using the same subject lines for outreach emails and now they're all the same, so they stop to work.
**0:30:05** - (Tara Robertson): Do you have a set amount of maybe it's a team or budget that you allocate to those tests or is it kind of fluid right now and you just figure out where you should move things around?
**0:30:15** - (Jodi Cerretani): Yeah, it differs every period. So we plan typically in the half, first half, second half. And what I'll do based off of sort of the strategy of the business and how we're sort of thinking about things as well as other factors like total budget. I'll put together kind of a frame of reference for my demand gen leader who will use that as sort of a guiding principle. And a certain percent should be test, certain percent should be tried and proven.
**0:30:45** - (Jodi Cerretani): So as a matter of practice, knowing nothing else, I would always say at least 20% is your test versus your tried and proven. And it could be test might be a new partner, it might be a new vendor in the same channel, or it might be an entirely new channel altogether. So it can vary right now, because of what's happening in the economy and just being a bit more conservative. Our test is only about 10%, which I would say I've never had that direction for the team. But we're kind of in unprecedented times where we're just doubling. Down on using what we know to be effective, to reach people at the right time, assuming that the data is there.
**0:31:33** - (Jodi Cerretani): But generally it's a little bit healthier, I would say in a younger company, or if you're going after a new market, you got a new product. Definitely higher, because when I joined RollWorks, we're only a five year old company, so I joined about three and a half years ago. Early, early stages of revenue generation for us, and it was probably 50 50 at that point because it was like we didn't know. We're just testing all these different things, but over time, we're starting to know what's tried and proven. We've got definitely our kind of bread and butter partnerships or vendors channels that we know our audience hangs out in, and we can reach them effective cost effectively.
**0:32:19** - (Jodi Cerretani): It's changed over time, but right now it's 90 ten rule of thumb, typically for SaaS companies, 80 20, but cases, depending on how old your business is or how established your product line is, et cetera, it might be higher.
**0:32:37** - (Tara Robertson): That makes a lot of sense as guidance. I mean, everyone's business is different, like you said, but you have to have some kind of guidelines. Other than bringing that testing budget down to around 10%, is there anything else you've had to either cut or pause just again, because things are so uncertain right now and you just want to double down on what's working.
**0:32:56** - (Jodi Cerretani): Yeah, I think our budget and our ROI will always be a factor, always be scrutinized. Right. And that, I think, is something you just accept if you're in these types of roles, that you have an obligation to the business to return that investment. So we'll always be keeping an eye on where we're seeing a positive ROI and where we're not. Having said that, there's one, I guess, category that we've noticed hasn't had the return, and that is large conferences.
**0:33:29** - (Jodi Cerretani): So we just haven't seen that come back online for our audience. There's exceptions. We definitely went to B, two BMX recently. That's kind of in our sweet spot because there's a lot of account based, forward thinking, marketing and sales leaders there. We also have a very large partnership with HubSpot, so we'll be going big again at HubSpot inbound this year. That was definitely an exceptional event for us, but I would say we've pulled back pretty heavily on large conferences, and instead when it comes to in person activations, we're focused more on smaller bespoke dinners and those types of engagements. That seems to just fit the appetite of what people are willing to do.
**0:34:14** - (Jodi Cerretani): I'm not sure if it's like the COVID hangover and folks don't want to be shaking hands and sneezing on each other. I'm not sure, but we just haven't seen the vendors will say or the partners will say, we've got great reg, but the drop off is pretty extreme. We have people don't show up and the overall engagement at the conference relative to the investment that we're making, it just hasn't been there. It's just so expensive, right? You send people like an inbound. We sent 25 people.
**0:34:47** - (Jodi Cerretani): It was a massive investment from a time and a budget perspective. That one ended up working, but a lot of the other ones not so much. So I would say that's the one area that we have cut pretty materially this year and we're just kind of watching it to see how the market changes. And if people do want to go back to these larger conferences in our space, I think we're lucky because in the COVID times we didn't have that as an option. So we really pushed into the outer edges of impact that virtual events and webinars could possibly give us. So we're focusing a little bit more on the virtual engagements than we are large in person engagements.
**0:35:33** - (Jodi Cerretani): I would say that is the change for us.
**0:35:36** - (Tara Robertson): And are you struggling with getting people to attend those virtual events as well? Because that's something I've heard anecdotally is people don't want to attend either type of event now. People are just burnt out in general. So curious.
**0:35:49** - (Jodi Cerretani): We get 15% drop off. But what we found in terms of unlocking demand is that the attendance isn't actually required to make it a sales opportunity for us. So we've identified there's a couple of different sort of plays that we can use within that investment that unlocks the demand regardless of whether or not they actually show up. So the two things I'll mention is on the virtual event side, using gifting as a strategy and having SDRs reach out pre event and buy a qualified prospect lunch virtually, right, because they don't have a DoorDash. So that as they're on the computer consuming the content, they can eat. Even if they don't go, they can still use it and they appreciate the gesture.
**0:36:36** - (Jodi Cerretani): So that's one thing on the virtual event side that's helped turn the lead generation, so to speak, into true demand generation for our sales team. And on the webinar side, we've noticed that even though webinars are often 30 minutes plus, there isn't the appetite to sit through a 30 minutes webinar. I don't care who you are, maybe some of the super big names or analysts or something that is different, but for most of us who are just regular old practitioners, maybe not.
**0:37:06** - (Jodi Cerretani): So what we've been doing is we've been doing sort of like the TLDR kind of synopsis as a cheat sheet or a one page takeaway that folks can sort of consume and get the main meat without having to consume the webinar or even a short video highlights reel just to match kind of the level of investment that they're willing to make. And that's a really powerful follow up for the SDR team. Saw you didn't make it, Tara.
**0:37:38** - (Jodi Cerretani): I summarized the webinar for you or I cut this video for you that gives the top highlights and it's three minutes or whatever. So both of those things have allowed us to continue to bear fruit from maybe a slightly exhausted channel. So it's not what you think, but we still invest in them, we still get a lot of demand from them. We just kind of are a little bit more, I don't know, clever, I guess, or different in the way that we use those engagements.
**0:38:11** - (Tara Robertson): Yeah, I think that's smart. You've noticed that people aren't willing to sit through half an hour, but you still want them to get the message that you're trying to get across. So again, trying to meet them where they are and get that in front of them how they want it not maybe they don't want to sit through a 30 minutes video, but they do want to know your key points. So that's really smart. Great.
**0:38:29** - (Tara Robertson): And looking ahead to the rest of this year, is there anything you're looking forward to or maybe your team is looking forward to testing out?
**0:38:37** - (Jodi Cerretani): I might be alone here, but I'm actually kind of excited for 2023 and some of the circumstances that are finally sort of forcing the behavioral change that we probably needed to all make for some time but weren't under as much pressure. And that's really around the efficiency component. Facebook isn't the only company where this is the year of efficiency. I think a lot of it's starting to become a very fuzzy word, but I'm excited to see that transformation.
**0:39:11** - (Jodi Cerretani): I'm a big proponent of marketing belonging in the kind of inner circle in the strategy side of the business, as a business leader first and then a marketer sort of second. And I think the disconnect has sort of been that we haven't been forced to take responsibility for the ultimate PNL of the business. We would focus on potentially growth and in making investments for growth. But what about those efficiency?
**0:39:40** - (Jodi Cerretani): How much revenue per seller? What's your LTB, CAC, et cetera? I think it's been a little bit like the exception, not the rule. And now that there's so much external pressure for marketers to be very laser focused on efficiency, I e lower the costs and make sure the growth is there in these macro ratios, I think that that'll help us finally earn that seat at the table. So even though it might be a bit painful, depending on where you are in that journey, I think it has the potential to be extremely powerful for the whole discipline of marketing.
**0:40:20** - (Jodi Cerretani): Because once we get our efficiency in line and we really know how to squeeze the most blood out of the rock, so to speak, that's going to mean that we belong in that inner circle, in that boardroom, in the places where very big strategy decisions are being made. And that's really exciting to me.
**0:40:42** - (Tara Robertson): Yeah, I think you're one of the first people to say you're excited about this year in general.
**0:40:46** - (Jodi Cerretani): I know that's a positive note to.
**0:40:48** - (Tara Robertson): End on, but I do think you're right about the strategic piece. I think we're all going to learn maybe much quicker than we would have if we had just been in kind of regular times marketing for ten years. It'll be an accelerated version.
**0:41:01** - (Jodi Cerretani): Exactly, I agree, but I'm here for it. I think we're going to come out the other side having gotten a company through embattled times, which I always say, if you're a marketer at slack and you're driving growth, it's a little bit different than if you're a marketer at a younger company in a younger space or maybe a space that's having some challenges right now. I think now is the time where you really prove your stuff and not only have that on your resume as being essentially a key member of a team that was able to kind of get a company through a difficult period, what power that is for the rest of your career.
**0:41:43** - (Jodi Cerretani): So that's very exciting. And then, like I said, I think not really understanding the cost side of things and really taking ownership for ultimate efficiency as a marketer marketing leader has always been, I think, our Achilles heel that's kept us out of these really strategic conversations. And after this year I'm guessing that it's going to be a thing of the past.
**0:42:06** - (Tara Robertson): I think you're right about that. So a lot of us have to a lot of learning to do, to catch up and to make sure that we're strong revenue marketers the way that people like yourself have become over time.
**0:42:17** - (Jodi Cerretani): Indeed.
**0:42:18** - (Tara Robertson): Thanks so much, Jody. So quick fireAround, a couple of questions for you. Is there another marketer you follow that our listeners should go check out, maybe to learn more about the revenue side of the know?
**0:42:30** - (Jodi Cerretani): It's an interesting question. I wish I had an easy answer, but I've noticed that there's actually sort of a disconnect between thought leaders and people that have a following and they're very present. They're writing books or they're whatever, doing a lot of speaking engagements. I mean, maybe I'm hypocritical here because obviously I'm chatting with you, but there's sort of a cluster of quote unquote thought leaders in marketing that if you really unpack their resume, the reality is they probably haven't practiced in ten years or more. A lot of the thought leaders are actually product in revenue marketing, are actually product marketers, even the analysts.
**0:43:10** - (Jodi Cerretani): So I would say that there's not necessarily like one person who's out there in the public because I actually sometimes am a little bit critical of those folks that are speaking and not doing. I think that the difference between nailing it in revenue marketing and getting it entirely wrong is like two degrees of separation. It's a very precise practice. So I really want to learn from the practitioners.
**0:43:34** - (Jodi Cerretani): So that's why for me, I've spent a lot of time over the last 18 months with our customers and with our prospective customers, just talking to the people who are like in the day to day, they feel the pressure, they know the thing, they know the detail. I suppose there's probably some industries where details don't matter, but it's not in our industry. So I would actually say those peer to peer engagements, it's not probably exactly what you were hoping for, Tara, but those peer to peer engagements are so powerful.
**0:44:04** - (Jodi Cerretani): Maybe more podcasts like this where you're talking to the doers and the folks that are sort of in the weeds. That's where I think you really find the nuggets of truth that are maybe not pretty in a PowerPoint presentation, but they're really real and impactful for your business. So I would say more practitioners, less thought leaders.
**0:44:25** - (Tara Robertson): I love that. And for yourself, when you're looking to connect with customers, are you doing that yourself? Just one on one on LinkedIn? Do you use any kind of listening tools or social listening to connect with them?
**0:44:36** - (Jodi Cerretani): I'm so lucky that I'm a marketer and I sell marketing technology. So customers want to speak to us and want to sort of know how we use our own tool and we've sort of figured out the ABM game and they want the details right. They want me to pull up the spreadsheet that this is the dashboard that I literally look at. They want to know the real right. So I actually am asked to speak to customers and prospective customers many times a week. So does my head of Demand gen.
**0:45:08** - (Jodi Cerretani): So I think collectively, you know, we probably are on five or six calls a week just hearing about people's businesses and maybe giving them a little bit of strategy that's very nuanced to their particular circumstances because it could be very varied. So I'm lucky that I'm invited that way. I'm not necessarily finding folks and asking to speak with them, but more the other way around. But boy, I learned a lot from them as well. I learn a lot from them as well.
**0:45:34** - (Jodi Cerretani): We share, we swap tips. I love talking to other practitioners in the space because like I said, marketing isn't like it isn't one thing. It's 1000 micro moments that you're building for your customer. And so I want to know what those moments are exactly. How did you do this? You know what I mean? What were the tools? What was the process? What was the signal? I want to know the details because it is so specific.
**0:46:05** - (Jodi Cerretani): And like I said, I think you can get it wrong by making just slightly imprecise decisions on how you're setting things up. So I like to kind of get into the weeds there and so do they. That's how it works for me.
**0:46:19** - (Tara Robertson): Cool. And I'm sure they're happy to have you as a resource. So that's a win win for everyone.
**0:46:24** - (Jodi Cerretani): I hope so. But I'm probably, like they say, that the student often teaches the teacher and I think that's definitely true for our customers.
**0:46:34** - (Tara Robertson): Great. And is there an under the radar could be a channel or maybe a tactic that your team is really loving right now.
**0:46:42** - (Jodi Cerretani): I kind of said it earlier, but that Hot Contacts thing is such a game changer because I think the reason why it's so powerful is that every investment that you're making today, it's just illuminating more of the demand impact that you're already investing so it doesn't require additional investment. It's not a new channel that you then need to test and see how you get engagement and it costs money or whatever.
**0:47:07** - (Jodi Cerretani): Like Hot Contacts, our customers can just start the anonymizing their site traffic and then suddenly that whole fluffy awareness bucket that a lot of revenue marketers are like, oh whatever, that's awareness, I don't care, suddenly becomes a demand channel for you overnight. And I think it's been super powerful for us as we've been able to play with the alpha version of the product where we're able to generate 100 more leads effectively every month.
**0:47:36** - (Jodi Cerretani): Not doing anything differently, just having the insight to see and then making sure that all those are through data workflow, going to sales and they're following up. So it is not really a channel, so to speak, but I guess it's a data source or an intelligence source that has been opening up a lot of demand for us with no more work and no more money, which who doesn't love that right now?
**0:48:09** - (Tara Robertson): Yeah, I'd love to read more about that when you get some time to put some resources together because I think you're right, a lot of us, especially on the demand gen side, dismiss these awareness metrics as kind of fluff or things that we don't really want to report back.
**0:48:23** - (Jodi Cerretani): Who cares about advertising, engagement or site traffic when only a microscopic portion of those people are the right fit? But proof if you know that they are the right fit and you know exactly who they are and you can make that match and pass it to sales. Yeah, it's a beautiful thing. So I think it's going to be a real game changer, frankly. Just a moment where we are so delighted to support our customers and prospective customers hopefully in just getting more from the investments that they're currently making and sort of support that journey to an efficient program.
**0:49:00** - (Jodi Cerretani): This is a lever that they can pull. So it's kind of under the radar, but just a few short weeks it'll be out in public and I'm pumped.
**0:49:08** - (Tara Robertson): Great. And lastly, Jody, where can we go to find out more about you or maybe give you a follow somewhere?
**0:49:14** - (Jodi Cerretani): Well, I'm not really fancy enough to have a following or a place to follow me, but I will say that my point of views often show up in the ruleworks content because we take that practitioner side so seriously. Oftentimes I'm a sniff test or sort of a guiding light to some of the things that we're putting out as our own version of practical thought leadership, I'll say. So definitely RollWorks Blog is a great place to find me.
**0:49:46** - (Jodi Cerretani): I get personally whether I'm writing or kind of in spirit as I'm influencing the content team and what they're putting out.
**0:49:53** - (Tara Robertson): Great. And we'll obviously include those links in the show notes for anyone looking to check that out. I think like you said, hearing from practitioners is really what a lot of us are looking for right now versus some of the fluff that we're maybe seeing on other channels. So definitely sounds like there's some insights there. Thank you so much, Jodi, for your time.
**0:50:12** - (Jodi Cerretani): It's just been a pleasure.
**0:50:13** - (Tara Robertson): And thanks everybody for listening. We'll be back in a couple of weeks with a brand new episode.
**0:50:18** - (C): Thanks for listening to Demand Gen Chat. Demand. Gen Chat is a Chili Piper podcast hosted by Tara Robertson and produced by Me Nola McCoy. If you're enjoying the podcast, please leave us a five star rating on Apple, Spotify or wherever you listen to your podcasts. It only takes 5 seconds and helps other marketers like you discover DemandGen Chats. Also, if you'd like to have a question answered in a future episode, you can connect with Tara Robertson on LinkedIn, send her a DM with your question, and it could be answered on a future episode.
**0:50:47** - (C): Finally, if you've gotten this far and are wondering what Chili Piper even is, chilipiper helps B two B marketers book more qualified meetings for their sales teams. You can't afford to leave opportunities on the table, so let your lead self qualify and schedule a time with the right rep instantly. And that's just one of the many revenue impacting things that Chili Piper does. Visit Chilipiper.com to learn more and thanks again for listening. We'll see you on the next episode of Demand Gen Chat.