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MQL Purgatory, Nailing that PM Fit, & The Discipline of Attribution | Ben Pollack @ ChartHop

 
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Episode Description

On today's episode I finally got the chance to sit down with Ben! Ben Pollack is the Head of Growth Marketing over at ChartHop. If you don't know Ben yet, here's the TL;DR - he's a brilliant, forward-thinking marketer, with a knack (dare I say...obsession) for cutting out the crap and making an impact on the bottom line. We chat about his intolerance for getting stuck in an MQL purgatory, how they've prioritized nailing the product market fit for ChartHop, and that pesky misunderstood discipline of attribution. This episode is action-packed. Dive in! See you on the other side ✌️

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Show Notes

Follow Ben: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ben-pollack-0874a575/

Follow Kaylee: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kaylee-edmondson/

ChartHop Builds a High-Quality Pipeline with the Right Product-Market Fit: https://www.linkedin.com/business/marketing/blog/linkedin-ads/startup-spotlight-growth-series-charthop

Primer: https://www.sayprimer.com/

Learn more about Chili Piper: https://www.chilipiper.com/

About Demand Gen Chat

Demand Gen Chat is a Chili Piper podcast hosted by Kaylee Edmondson. Join us as we sit down with leaders in marketing to discover the key to driving B2B revenue. If you want benchmarks or insights on trends in the market, this podcast is for you!

Episode Transcript

Hey, everybody, welcome back to another episode of Demand Gen Chat, I'm your host Kaylee Edmondson. And today we're joined by Ben Pollack, who is the head of growth marketing over at ChartHop. Welcome, thank you for coming on and joining me for today.

Thanks for having me Kaylee. I'm psyched to be here.

Yeah, absolutely. Do you wanna just dive in? Tell us a bit about yourself, what you're doing now? I'd love to know how you landed at ChartHop, um, and now we can just like dig into the meat of it.

Cool. Uh, so as you mentioned, I run the growth marketing team at ChartHop. Uh, we are a young but blossoming, uh, HR technology platform. We're actually a people analytics platform, and we consolidate and centralize people data, employee data from disparate sources. Uh, and the output of that is org charts, head count planning, people analytics reports, um, scenario planning and, and really anything in between. Uh, we are a relatively young business. We were only founded two years ago, but we've got a lot of steam. We're about 100, 110 folks now. I joined last year and, um, was the 20th employee then. So a lot of traction and we raised the few rounds from Andreessen Horowitz in that time. Uh, and we're excited to continue the growth.

I landed here coming from a prop tech company called Reonomy, that had raised from being, uh, in, in Georgia most recently. Uh, I have a Demand Gen background. So as a growth marketer, I feel like you either come from Demand Gen, uh, or ops. I'm certainly leaning-

Mm-hmm [affirmative].

... more on the Demand Gen digital side versus field. Um, but I've been lucky enough to work with a lot of great ops folks cross-functionally, um, and now certainly have the privilege of, of leading growth marketing at ChartHop, and trying to lead us to build pipeline and brand to help close our revenue targets with ease.

Okay. That was a lot. So I feel like I have-

Too much?

... 12, approximately 12 follow-up questions, but it's fine. Um-

Great.

... let's start-

Hit me.

... with, okay, you were the 20th employee, were you marketer number one? And like, what is that, in what order, I guess, did you prioritize like growing your marketing team? Like what were your first, I don't even know, if you were the first person or one of the first, like, what was your order of operations in terms of scaling your team out to what it is today?

Yeah. Uh, I was not marketed one. I was actually marketer three, but I'm now marketer one. I'm now most tenured marketer at ChartHop. Um, our head of marketing was Maria Barrera, a legend. Um, she first hired content and then hired Demand Gen, me second. Um, by quickly like dove into ops before building out Demand Gen programs. Well, doing them simultaneously, as we all know, that's how it works, but let's buy HubSpot. Let's buy Outreach, let's buy Clearbit, let's buy Salesforce. Let's go to work and build a system where we can start understanding attribution at scale and empowering our sales folks to go build some pipeline on their own, so it's not all on us driving inbound.

Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Um, and in parallel, that starch is tiptoeing into, to a classic demand campaigns, email marketing, paid ads, SEO juice, all of that good stuff. Um, the first hire on the growth marketing team was, uh, marketing offs, but for sure. And so when I, uh, started this thing-

You say that like it's a no brainer. You say that like it's a no brainer, but I think that might be news to some people.

I feel like this is a wave that people are starting to ride, ride more and more. Marketing ops is like the unsung hero, not just of marketing, but any business.

Yes.

So the ability to operationalize, interact and measure the efficacy of those interactions with, of your audience is key to anything you do. Having some, an attribution scheme, uh, to run campaigns at scale and dial back and be like, oh, that totally flopped, this hit, hit it out of the park. Let's do more of that and less of this. That's like the bane of how I make my existence or the crux rather, or, h- bane of, the crux of how I make my decisions.

Yeah.

And, um, marketing officers, no question, my first hire. And I'm so blessed to have an amazing marketing ops associate on my team.

Yeah. I mean, I think, you know that's a good riff. Yeah.

On the other side... Yeah, go ahead.

It's a good riff. I just think that people aren't there yet, like the industry isn't there yet in terms of like prioritizing marketing ops as a function. Um, I think, I, I don't know why I wish like maybe we should just do a separate segment on how to get to the root of why people don't prioritize marketing ops, but, um, um, I guess I'll try and get somebody else on who doesn't prioritize marketing ops so that we can try and understand how they prioritize decisions. If it's not database, then like-

Move your head to head.

... Oh, we could do like a duel. Okay, cool.

Uh, the other side of my team, and I, and totally agree that like, I think given the type of business there may be less or more of a need for marketing ops. I, we try to make sure we do internal marketing properly, where when marketing ops build something that's exciting, you know, we show it off like a new shiny tool. As an example, um, we try to deliver hot alerts based on account level engagement to our reps. And one of our reps had a deal that stalled that we just rolled out a new alert. And it's when one of our COVID prospects from this particular account in a stage that's also more bottom funnel hits part of our website, they get alerted. And we had a lead who hit one of our, uh, integrations pages and it was, it gave the rep the ability to re-engage and that deal just closed.

And it's those types of like small wins that, through which marketing ops shines. And that's when it's like all applause on deck. Like you single-handedly helped move that deal forward. Um, I mean, not to, not to deprioritize the other side of our house, which is content and product. So our CMO, Diana Kooser has a product marketing and brand background. She was at LinkedIn for five or six years, head of global product marketing there. Um, and there's a couple of product marketers there now working with her. And last but not least, the third triumvirate or, or be, uh, beam of our team I would say is, our, our content arm.

Mm-hmm [affirmative].

And that's folks writing both short form, long form content design, all that stuff as well.

And what is your relationship look like your content lead? And how do y'all work together? 'Cause I just feel like, I don't know, somehow in marketing organizations, KPIs or OKRs, or whatever it is you're like aligning yourself to, somehow for content and Demand Gen are always the same, but I feel like they should be, um, without saying, but just curious, how y'all work together or if your goals are different or how you make that work?

Yeah. Our goals are super aligned and I am really fortunate to have a content marketer who's revenue minded.

Mm-hmm [affirmative].

And I think she's fortunate to have a Demand Gen marketer who understands not all plays are attributable.

Yeah.

And that growing grant isn't always one-to-one, and then you have to make investments in the short term to read benefits it on a compounding brand growth strategy. So Sharon, uh, our director of content totally understands that here's the pipeline target. Her KPIs are, are hard and soft, but a lot of like let's grow web traffic, you've show that brand is growing, organic MQLs are coming to our site and requesting demos or downloading content. Uh, and she is bought into that, that like, it's great to create content that's engaging, but if it sits on a shelf and collects dust, it's not gonna be as impactful as you might hope. Similarly, you know, I am quantitatively based in my decisions, but I also understand that it's important to sometimes create mid-funnel engaging content that helps our pipeline velocity as things stopped.

Exactly.

As we try to build out a, a, a semi-new category and people analytics. And so we totally meet in the middle. We push back when it need, when we need to, but we know it's one team, one dream, and we're aligned to that north star KPI of brand growth and, and pipeline growth.

Mm-hmm [affirmative].

And, uh, it's been a great relationship so far.

Yeah. And so if you think about your overall marketing scorecard for your team, um, you mentioned some of these more traditional, like north stars, like obviously pipeline and maybe even MQLs or SQLs even, what are some of those more like non traditional brand scorecard metrics that you think you try and align yourself, but also like the broader marketing team to?

Yeah, a few of them. Um, I would say the, the first is organic direct decide traffic. So not via search engine, but when folks just type, type in charhop.com.

Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Um, I would say that that's like quantitatively what I will look at pretty often, uh, as a gut check around what our brand growth is. And qualitatively, and this goes understated. Like, what do you feel when you talk to partners, clients, folks in this space, do you feel the juice? Like, do you see it growing? And I've now attended two conferences with ChartHop. One was when I, when I joined and one was now, uh, last week in Vegas for HR tech, God bless Vegas.

Yeah [laughs].

Um, and you can feel the difference. You can see the reception and see folks coming over and recognizing us.

Yeah.

And we run a lot of brand campaigns that aren't focused on lead gen. Pushing out content just for the sake of visibility, running remarketing so brand is solidified after one touch on our website.

Mm-hmm [affirmative].

And I'm lucky that our leadership has bought into that sentiment as well. Can't all be good feels all the time. We're doing good.

Right.

There needs to be a quantitative output that aligns, but I absolutely believe in, in both of those worlds. And I think we do a good job of tiptoeing that fine line here.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I think so too. And I, um, I think it's interesting, you said you come from a Demand Gen background, assuming like performance marketing.

Yeah.

Right?

Yep. Yes.

Was it a natural feel for you to understand, I guess, early on in your career, the impact and the value of brand marketing, or is it something you've had to like learn, I guess learn the value of over time? Like learning the hard way, I guess, because it's got me, let me do a personal, what is it? Montage.

[Laughs].

Um, I'm, uh, I'm coming from a performance background as well. And the day that, I can, I can remember it vividly, but before I worked here, I worked for a company called Campaign Monitor, which is an email marketing, um, technology. And I had the most brilliant boss in the world. He was an ex VP of marketing from Red Bull. So obviously understood brand and the perception of brand far better than I ever could have understood at the time. And he was just constantly pushing these brand campaigns to me.

And I was like, look, I just can't. I just can't validate that much of my budget towards something that's not direct response. Like these are my metrics, like overall I have to get so many MQLs. At the time that was our north star, which is another story we can go on a different rant later about MQL.

Yeah.

But, um, I just didn't get it. Now, I'm like literally shooting him texts all the time. Like, you're just brilliant. You were just obviously, you like, you understood the market way better than I did at the time. I just like apologize to him all the time for not getting it. Um, but it was a weird muscle for me to learn to flex in that, like not everything you're going to do is going to be trackable.

Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Obviously we're moving into this world now where that's basically the new norm, but five years ago, it wasn't so much the case. And it was hard for me to understand that balance between the two.

Totally, uh, that resonates with me. And I will say you and the team at Chili Piper do a great job of tiptoeing that fine line between both worlds. Uh, directly attributable paid spend and input equals output, and then like, let's take some swings and new creative stock and build the brand, whether it's your podcast, your top marketer's award. Like I'd see it. And I'm actually taking some of that, putting it into our playbooks of stay tuned.

Oh. Okay.

Um, I would say that it's absolutely been a learned muscle for me. I want to know if I test this and then we pled this much input at this cost per lead, and these are our funnel conversion rates and here's the CAC and here's the payback, done, grow your business.

Yeah.

And I was fortunate to be in a world, a double-edged sword, actually, where we found really good paid engines and it gave us the ability to grow quickly and at scale month over month. We went from spending 40 or 50K a month on ad words, which is significant.

Mm-hmm [affirmative].

And that's just one channel, to $250 a month within six months. And it empowered our inbound engine to scale, uh, in parallel and our AEs, our inbound folks. So that was great. And at the time it was like, oh yeah, let's go. You know, we have great top of funnel, we're driving pipeline. But here's the kicker, the payload pipeline isn't always the highest converting. And it's certainly not the highest renewing, but in time, uh, those folks did not necessarily renew at the same rate as, as other, uh, customers did. Similarly, what if we took 50K out of that 250K that we were spending a month and spent it on brand.

Mm-hmm [affirmative].

And would we, would we have missed top of funnel goals those months? We might have. But would we have benefited in the long run from brand that compounds? Because if you are bidding on multifamily housing solutions or data, that's, you're gonna bid $3 for that click and you're going to get X amount of clicks and that's input equals output.

Mm-hmm [affirmative].

It's not gonna compound over time. So paid spend to me is a really helpful lever to drive. And we lean on that here at ChartHop for sure. But we take plenty of brand swings and we make sure to balance it. And we absolutely budget for both of them, uh, as we try to figure out how much we wanna spend and where.

Yeah. No, absolutely. And I think you said it well, right? It's the longterm play versus like short-term wins.

Yeah.

And most often I feel like Demand Gen is wrongfully associated only as pain. So like, I don't know who created that mentality, but like almost always people think Demand Gen equals paid only.

Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Um, and so they looked to us as that forcing mechanism or that lever, um, to just amp up, spend and drive a bunch of direct response leads then may or may not convert, but like it fills that top of the funnel need for the month.

Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Um, instead of prioritizing that longterm win, which is those compounding efforts of building a brand and making sure that, like you said, at events. When you go to an event and you have a booth and people stop by, they know who you are and they have a good feeling about you as an individual, but also as like the larger brand. And that, um, speaks louder than yeah, funneling a bunch of [crosstalk 00:14:00] Google ads [laughs].

And, and all... Totally. And, and I'll add fuel to the fire on this point around MQL. So you touched on a, a heart string of mine. I don't report on MQLs, not to my direct manager, our CMO, not to our CEO, not to our board.

Yeah.

Never.

Yeah.

We look at CM- our MQLs super closely because they're a part of our funnel.

Right.

How many leads turned to MQL? How many MQLs turned SQL? We have different MQL packs? Are you raising your hands saying I'd like to demo? Are you just downloading content and beginning your journey? The funnel conversion rates there have totally different times and totally different, uh, conversion rates.

Of course.

Um, but for us, like that's not something we report on because the out, the, the goal we report on is the pipeline and MQL is just a means to get there for us.

Yeah.

And when you get stuck reporting on MQL purgatory, uh, that's a, that's a black hole.

Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Similarly, uh, right when I joined ChartHop, we had a sales outbound expectation and then you had the marketing inbound expectation. That didn't sit right with me either for a few reasons. It was the only ops hire, it was our Salesforce admin, hooking up HubSpot, building Outreach cadences, writing sequences from the ground, uh, when we were a super young company. And I was like, hey, I'm putting a ton of effort into driving outbound and it's the same goal. It's the same pipeline target. We're investing money into the sales stack. We're investing money into outbound growth, brand growth, inbound growth all across the board.

Exactly.

How do we realistically look at this engine to combine sales and marketing efforts to reach our goals collectively. And, um, the, I'm so fortunate to also work with a great sales leader who's completely bought into that, and JT Levine. And it's been great for us in us hitting our targets the past year since I've been here, because we're all aligned. It's one team, one dream. There's no tension with who created what, 'cause the truth is, especially as you move up market, which we're doing, touch points on accounts, so an outbound account or an inbound account, if you're doing it right, it's both.

Yeah.

You're working it, you're driving inbound. You're able to understand the different touch points and interactions holistically at scale. And then you take the right route forward. So we don't report on MQLs-

And now-

Yeah, go ahead.

... Can we get into the meat of this conversation and how you had to bridge this with your sales leader. Like, was he immediately just, "Uh, Ben, you're the new guy, but you're so right. I agree with you 100% let's change it." Or was he just doing it that way at the time because there wasn't a marketing engine? So there wasn't like, you know, he just didn't have a means to shift the way that he was measuring or operating his outbound funnel because there wasn't really anyone driving the inbound funnel that was like happening naturally.

Yeah, I think, um, ChartHop was a really young business, it still is, uh, when I joined though, so a lot of the steam we'd got was like initial product market fit and initial word of mouth.

Mm-hmm [affirmative].

We threw some content out there, we weren't really running a ton of Demand Gen campaigns. We were just testing. And, um, you know, we, I, I've, again, I'm lucky to work with leaders that are very much like that makes total sense.

Mm-hmm [affirmative].

And I saw something that I felt where they were reporting on outbound SQLs and inbound SQLs at, at the time, which is really how did you source this opportunity?

[Laughs].

Was it outbound efforts or was it inbound efforts? And, you know, immediately I was spending a lot of my time making sure that sales folks and BDRs were successful at building their own pipe, taking an inbound lead and shipping it down a multi touch, uh, route to try to get that first into the next stage.

Right.

And it made sense like, hey, if you're gonna invest time here, let's make it a collective goal. Uh, and I'm, and I'm really glad that we did that early on because the alignment is super tight. Uh, we celebrate sales wins and they celebrate our pipeline.

As it should be.

Uh, when I joined there was totally, there was two sales reps and JT who's our, now our VP of sales. Now we have 11 sales reps, six BDRs, uh, and we're hiring pretty much doubling that in the next six months. So, um, it's also created a found- a scalable foundation for us where we don't have to keep pumping in lead gen dollars to be able to fill the plates of our new folks.

Exactly. And it's definitely opportunistic to come into an org at the ground level like you did where it's small, there are fewer spiderwebs. There's like not a lot of existing, um, politics, I guess, in the org to like try and weed through.

Mm-hmm [affirmative]. Yeah.

So you can just get in, make an impact and like get shit done instead of having to deal with like untangling the existing web that, you know, maybe people before you have built or, you know, maybe people that are just there right now who really believe strongly that one way is way better than another. Um, so I think that's just like part of the luck of the draw too, but yeah, if you're ever at an org where people just don't believe in modernizing their approach to marketing or marketing and sales together, and like, you know, you might not be on the right team I think.

Totally.

Um, I think we've all been there, right? And it's like, you can spend 70% of your time dealing with internal politics, or you could just go work for a brand like already believes that this way is the way, and it frees up your mindset to just be able to do cool marketing campaigns and really make an impact for the business, um, instead of spending time, you know, just like dealing with things internally.

Yeah. And to, and to pi- and to put a pin on this too, CS and customer experience, customer support is a part of this.

Yeah.

Uh, that, that, that lack of flywheel that I spoke to earlier, where we were high velocity lead gen, high velocity spend but like subpar NRR.

Yeah.

And what I also realized is the best pipeline comes from word of mouth.

Of course.

Word of mouth comes from customer evangelism. Customer evangelism comes from being happy and being happy comes from renewing your contract and hopefully upselling.

Mm-hmm [affirmative].

And so I'm super bought into ChartHop. I wanna meet our top of funnel targets next quarter. I also wanna make sure we hit our revenue targets at the end of 2023.

Mm-hmm [affirmative].

The only way we can do that, the only way is if our customers are happy, is if they're renewing and if they're shouting, "Woo, we love ChartHop. It's totally benefited our business." And I'm lucky to be in this space now in HR that leaders love to collaborate. Leaders are super open about the tools they're using to find success in their business.

That's what I was gonna say. It gets into your-

It's not competitive and close off.

Yeah. It gets into exactly how, yeah, a good point about competitive and closed off, because I feel like that's us, right? Normally, Demand Gen marketers are like weird about sharing their tech stack or their secrets. Um, even if you're talking to another Demand Gen marketer, that's not even selling to the same persona that you are, but, um, yeah, HR is like, yeah, very open about their secrets. Even our people team here is wonderful. And they're just like screaming from the mountain. Every time we acquire a new, um, a new tool or a software to help them do their jobs better, they're like the most grateful people on the planet.

Like ChartHop.

Yeah. Yeah [laughs].

Like ChaHop.

I think we just became customers of y'all. So this is a wild time.

We sure did. Thank for the intro Kaylee.

Yeah. Yeah. Anytime, you know? Um, but that's how it should work. Right?

You got me.

But that's not how it works for marketing. I feel like people are like, keep their secrets or their playbooks, like close to their chest.

Yeah.

Um, and for that, maybe I'll never understand, but I think it really speaks to this volume of how people are buying software today. Um, like very rarely are people discovering you for the first time through an ad or for the first time through a random Google search. Like almost always people are going directly to their peers and their peers are gonna be your customers and saying, "Hey, we have this problem. Like how are you solving it?" And either they're gonna love you in that moment and speak highly of you, or you're gonna, you know, have done something wrong with them, or like, they don't love your product as much as they should. And then they recommend your competitor.

Totally.

And that's like the, that's the first touch point. Right? That's when they're first hearing about you, good or bad.

Yes. Mm-hmm [affirmative]. Yeah. And like, we see that in tech all the time. And I think an interesting example right now in MarTech is ABM software.

Yep.

Buzzy buzz around.

Yep.

Um, you know? I, I, we can, I'll spare you my monologue on not as I've, I've got, I may grow my own mini Forrester report as I was doing my discover just to not buy one, uh, a few years ago.

[Laughs].

And I am bullish on a couple of solutions now. Um, but I do think that there's a lot of that. There's a lot of like, how does that initial sentiment tastes to you?

Yeah.

It can, you, can you get rid of it? And you see the sixth sense demand-based Terminus arms race right now. And whether it's through acquisitions or through brand growth, uh, I do think 6sense is doing a really good job of it.

Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Um, [inaudible 00:22:23], it's doing a really great job of, of organically being a part of the marketing and understanding the pain points. And also, um, ABM is about operations, believe it or not. Can you track account level engagement at scale? So we're about to introduce self-serve, how do we combine our product data with our marketing data?

Yeah.

Uh, focusing on, is that frame IO? They do a great job, they just got acquired by Adobe, of understanding, combining product behavior and HubSpot behavior marketing site, email behavior in a shared instance.

Yap. Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Whether that's Looker or 6sense elsewhere. And then when you can tie in 10 signals into that, it's great. If you can attach that to a DSP and run ads programmatically at scale, it's another cherry on top.

Yep.

It all about the operations and the ability to track account level engagement at scale, because then your reps and your BDRs can take action and talk about at scale emphasis on that. Like they know what's good. They know what's going down on the account. They know how to attack if they've seen the touch points.

Right.

Oh, the CLO downloaded our guide. And that was from a paid ad. So maybe their brand recognition isn't as strong, but this person requested a demo in 2020. Uh, so maybe we can run campaigns against their AMEA, Arm. Hey marketing team, can we have, help make a push here? We certainly can. So that demand is operationalized from internal tracking first.

Mm-hmm [affirmative].

You know what I mean?

Oh yeah. Exactly. Which goes back to your first point about the importance of ops.

Totally.

But I think most people don't look at ABM as, if they look at ABM at all, we can get into that riff if you want to. But, um, I agree that ABM is just a huge buzzword that's taken over. We too had a similar conversation internally, um, I guess like a year and a half ago. Our leadership was like, we need to do ABM. And I straight up went back to him and I was like, why, why? Like we already, um, work very tightly within some super specific techno graphic parameters that we have to work around.

Yeah.

We actually already have a list of target accounts, because we have very solid techno graphic parameters that we only work with you if you're on XYZ.

Yeah. Totally.

So like that's, that's our account list. She [laughs] was like, why do we need to go spend six figures for an ABM software? We have a similar memo internally that I wrote, just to say, like, I don't think we need this right now. Now in terms of like, how can we optimize our paid ads and the performance thereof? How can we actually create meaningful experiments that actually reach some level of statistical significance? Sure.

Yeah.

Yes. We could definitely deal with that. So that's why we bought a software to solve for that, but we didn't actually end up buying an ABM software because at the time I was like, we're actually already doing ABM in terms of like in, by identify-

What you buy for that?

Metadata.

You bought Metadata.

Mm-hmm [affirmative]. Yeah. But in terms of like us identifying accounts, we're actually already doing that. So, and then in terms of us like blasting them with display ads, like most of these vendors allow you to do, uh, debatable how efficient any of that would actually be or if it would move the needle, um.

Yeah. Yeah.

So, yeah, me and Jim, doing the same.

I'll give you a tidbit on Metadata too. On a Metadata fan, I think it's a great product, but my latest ticket is not Metadata. It's a company called Primer.

The one.

Really just read the seat. I don't know if I'm still in Keith's beans here, so we're gonna have that as its out.

[Laughs]. Okay.

Uh, it, it's similar to Metadata, but it's, it's more flexible and it's younger and they work with me on campaigns I'm trying to run rather playbook every word.

Are you in pilot with them or you, I guess-

Oh, no. I'm full, I am a full blown customer.

Oh, you're committed.

I invested a double... I'm committed, um.

Okay. Give us a pitch, give us a pitch. What do they do for you and how have they changed your game?

So, it, it, so I won't talk about Primer. I'll do it, talk about it briefly. I'll just talk about the playbook I run.

Yes.

Um, so Primer is a few different things, but really it's a data company, I would say at its core. Um, the initial piece that I used them for was they integrated with my Salesforce instance and they integrate with ads platform. So they can easily ingest outbound leads or any lead or any contact from Salesforce and easily send that audience to the backend of a LinkedIn or Facebook ads.

Mm-hmm [affirmative].

From my experience, the match rates on Primer are better than a match rates on Metadata.

Uh-huh [affirmative].

I'm not saying that as fact, that's from my experience, the match rates are pillar. So as a, and this also speaks to the-

But it's because all of these people are already in your ecosystem. Yeah?

No, they're not.

So you're not, Primer is not sourcing... Oh, what? Primer is not sourcing net new contacts for you or they are?

So we will, so, they are. They are doing two things. The first thing I use them for on my journey was, um, giving visibility, the cloak of visib- uh, the cloak of visibility we'll call it, uh, of Harry Potter fan over here.

Yeah, I got you [laughs].

And we will just take a business email, run through the Primer audience cocktail paradigm and push that at a 98% plus match rate to LinkedIn, to Facebook, to Google, to YouTube, et cetera. Um, and so, you know, this also speaks to the joint inbound, outbound sales marketing approach. Our BDRs are prospecting now a list of 30 or 40,000 target prospects. And all of those folks are seeing ChartHop ads at a 90% rate. So we have a live channel that's leads reengage, your outbound lead requested a demo, your outbound lead downloaded content that gives you a, uh, warm intro. Hey, I saw you downloaded or died through a remote work salaries. How do you do this internally? I'd love to learn more. And I'm, uh, we're also testing how aggressive we wanna be with that first and second touch point after downloading.

Mm-hmm [affirmative].

And some of that you've talked to me about is like, let's stop being aggressive, but just grow positive brand sentiment amongst these folks. And I, and not actually it's really resonating with me. So the first reason was just like, yeah, this audience cocktail is great and it's giving me immediate results.

Yeah.

We've sourced 10 ops from it and closed two deals in the first two months, but invest more. So the second way, uh, is creating that new. And this is now what we call the waterfall or the playbook. So for, uh, Primer empowers us to identify signals at scale on the account level that shows that, uh, a company is a good fit for ChartHop. That can mean, that can mean a lot of things. The new HR hire account growth, whatever that is. Find the account within specific parameters based on the specific headcount growth or signal rather. Within those parameters, um, make sure it's X 1,000 employees. So X 1,000 employees in this location. It's not one of these industries, it's not a current customer. Lots of levels of checks extract the leads prospects from that account via a plugin from ZoomInfo, clear red and other sources that they have.

Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Track those leads, push them into Salesforce, again with a ton of different parameters around duplicates and things that already exist and what titles C-suite, uh, uh, operating arm, finance arm, HR arm for us.

Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Based on the location of that lead or account, routes to the BDR that owns that territory and then push that prospect via a trigger directly into a sequence that aligns with the signal that they're experiencing. So the BDR wakes up and they see you have a 100 do tasks from all of these leads who fit your criteria, who are the right prospects at the right companies, and here's the right messaging. And it also takes that signal, literally a piece of data and pushes that as a token, personalization token into the sequence. And in tandem, all of those folks are pushed into digital ad audiences and they're running, they're receiving campaigns with content that matched those signals. So all of a sudden this new cohort of net new folks is like, holy cow, ChartHop is really good at this. I don't know that they're reaching out to me here to targeted me on Instagram. And hopefully we're also building brand in their environments and atmosphere at the same time.

Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Hopefully, someone on their team went to HR tech. Hopefully, someone on their team follows the news and saw we rose and we raised Andreessen Horowitz series being June. Um, and like that automated go to market fluent, cross departmental, a BDRs of sites, they're waking up to ask, they didn't even know they were emailing. Um, we're spending to support outbound. We're spending on the stack. We're spending to build audiences.

Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Um, and it's been really powerful for us. And I think that that is an example of getting back to our point in how we got here. I heard about Primer from a buddy. Like I heard about this from a friend.

Exactly.

Like I didn't get a targeted ad. I didn't technically saw a demo. Uh, and that was the most powerful advertising that Primer could have done. Good product, made a customer happy that told their friend that brought me in and now I'm a happy customer, so closed that loop.

Exactly. And now you're going in through screaming from the rooftops, yeah, about how good this product is and now it's changed.

Totally.

Talk about how you were doing this playbook or I guess was your playbook completely different without Primer?

Yeah. Um, it was not different at all. It was just clunky. We knew that these sequence work-

Clunky, less effective, right?

Less effective, slower, um, clunkier. We knew that we wanna get in front of these types of companies and these types of people. And we knew that we wanted to, um, do it at these clients.

Were you successfully finding these types of people on the same distribution channels that you're able to find them with today.

No.

Okay.

Uh, I mean, look, our BDRs would look at the funding reports on Crunchbase.

Sure.

They would tie that to sales. Now they pull the right people, they push it in from ZoomInfo.

Not scale them all.

I would then try to run, right, run digital ads, um, with the data that I had where it's like, uh, head count grows on LinkedIn, there's three to 10% or more and we kinda do it.

Yeah.

But at a certain point it's like, are you really hitting this? And we ran some quick tests and the click through rates would triple. So it's very clear that like, uh, yeah.

Wow.

That is, that is-

Click through rates would triple for what kind of offer? Content or funnel?

Oh, just anything. Content, content.

Oh, across the board.

Yeah. Not an offer, just like engagement on an ad and like the audience. So it was very clear to me immediately that it was like, you can essentially, there's a world in which you have your whole TAM living in your Salesforce and you're just operationalizing it differently.

[laughs] Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Um, and like we are aggressively growing. Our, our charm is huge and it's a bit of a double-edged sword for us because we sell it to anyone with a business. But like that's, that's our TAM, not our Sam. Our Sam is what I would call our serviceable market. And to us, that's a much stricter view of what makes a company a good fit for ChartHop. If you're one person running your own business, you're not a good fit for ChartHop. If you are 500,000 employees, you might not be that the, yes for ChartHop. So we do try to trim it down and make sure that we're focusing with a product market that is strong.

Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Um, right now.

Except you're starting a self-service and of your business as well.

You be sure are. Yeah.

So maybe if you're less than that specific employee account, you're fine for self-serve. Is that your hopes?

Yes. Yap. We don't want you to be touched by sales, but you should be able to upload your data. I have a beautiful org chart, hit a gated page and products. Yeah, I want that. Cool. You got the budget for it, rock with it.

Yeah.

Similarly, for the VP of an org and a 5,000 person company, and your org is 84 people, you might wanna have a nice little org chart. And that for us is, people view us sometimes as an org chart company. I'm like, no, dude, that is a wedge.

[laughs].

Like we have on, we have the best org chart in the market by far, it's dynamic. It changes as your people data change, you have a new open record lever.

Mm-hmm [affirmative].

It's going to appear in your org chart. You want to actually push a new open rec to lever, push it back from ChartHop. So it's a good, it's a really one-stop shop, um, platform in that way, but it's, the org chart is a wedge for us.

Mm-hmm [affirmative].

And we also imagine that that is a nice way from a bottoms-up selling perspective. We do a lot of top-down right now, and we wanna get more folks on the ground floor using ChartHop and then have the ability to engage. And, you know, it all goes back to account-based measurement and understanding product data and marketing data and making sure that both groups are closed.

Yes. And how is this additional funnel, if at all, going to change your media mix or your marketing strategy at all? Um, adding a PQL and an MQL inbound funnel, essentially. How does that work?

Yeah. Um, so we have two paths that are now straightforward, MQLA, MQLB, hand-raised content download type of deal.

Mm-hmm [affirmative].

I mentioned earlier, different conversion rates, different expectations, followups. So there's a new element and it's gonna be, uh, an MQLC or a PQL.

Mm-hmm [affirmative].

And the first, the first thing I, I would say is like, we'll change some aspects of our go to market. We'll have a wait list and we'll release that. And like, we'll try to get folks on, and like we'll, you know, we'll play that game probably.

Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Um, but I'm not gonna spend any definitely to start. I wanna just throw it out there and see what happens. Oh, folks from this campaign actually really liked to self-serve. Okay. Do we want to spend more here? Does it change our cat? Does it change our return? Let's just start feeling it out. To me, the first lift, again, in the same way, I kick things off a ChartHop, start operationally tracking your PQLs, making sure that the sales team is empowered to tackle PQLs at the appropriate time. You don't wanna hammer a PQL and just join and upload a data a second ago, you wanna wait till they hit a gated page or show some intent.

Exactly.

If anything, shoot them a note, and be like, I'm here to help. Let me know. You know? Zero pressure. Um, so it will change operationally and it will change the way in which we interact with accounts and prospects. And I think all the media spend will, will probably follow after we have some initial learnings around how it's all working.

100%, 100%.

Yeah,

It should, I think. As it should. But I think a lot of people just like jump off the deep end with PQL and spending without actually pulling it back to like what's happening when these people actually hit your instance. Like, uh, I think to an interesting conversation, I had two weeks ago with someone at Wibits, um, they just opened up a PQL model for their funnel as well.

Mm-hmm [affirmative].

And actually like substantially widened their TAM by doing so, because they were auto- automatically dis- disqualifying people on FormFill for demo requests based on certain criteria or parameters they had set up on the back end.

Totally. Yeah.

And they were actually like dismissing a good percentage of their market that actually ended up being a great fit for their product, but they didn't find out about that, right?

Same.

Until they were, these people were coming in through their self-serve funnel and actually qualifying and getting in and asking the right questions in the chat. And like, they were actually a great fit, but they just didn't know because they hadn't done enough research for that speci- specific persona and that industry.

Totally. And that's, and like we know there's a market there. You know, we have a rough MQL scoring system. Um, but I'll be damned. There's been some leads who didn't hit it who got, uh, Outreach anyway from an a, yeah, BDR 'cause they're hungry and scrappy and they've closed into 10K, 20K deals cross. And there's certainly a market for it.

Yeah.

We just wanna make sure that we're offering, we're, we're spending our reps time wisely 'cause is there, is there juice to be squeezed from those lemons? Totally.

Yes.

Is it a full plumble lemon fresh pick from the tree? Probably not. Whereas there's others that are, and then it's like a game of how do you want your reps spending their time? Where are they most efficient?

Mm-hmm [affirmative].

How to be ours help? You know, how do you build a revenue team infrastructure that works? And the truth is like, I remember doing my pitch and presenting the ChartHop and they're like, how will you grow the business? And my answer is like, you test, you iterate, you use your gut, you test, you iterate, you use your gut, build hypotheses, you test and you iterate. And so we will try different structures and we will try different campaigns. Many of them will fail hopefully, then some of them succeed.

[laughs].

And I think as a, um, a leader in the org, it was not in the C-suite like, it's all about managing op being like, hey, this is our first swing at this. Like it could fail, but either way we're learning and we're growing.

Mm-hmm [affirmative].

I'm definitely like lucky that we've had some initial wins. We set up some paid search campaign that showed immediate, great prospects that have closed. And that channel was super positive ROI. Great. We've also run content download campaigns that got us a solid content download. Lead gen but like hasn't had an attributable effect on the business. And so there's things that maybe don't work as well. Not to say that it hasn't worked, so that is a brand play.

Mm-hmm [affirmative].

But, um, I think understanding that you're running tests at all times and you're building on them, and in time that will lead you to your north star.

Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Um, the journey is not linear in that to any extent. Um, and that's [crosstalk 00:38:47] for sure.

Yeah. No, I think that's a good take. I think that's a good take. Um, before we wrap, my always ask one more question, who is another marketer in the space that you're following, listening to, learning from, et cetera, that you think people that listen to this podcast would benefit from following as well?

Got to give it to my, uh, my guy, Chris Walker at Refine Labs.

There [laughs].

I feel, I feel like a lot of folks say Chris Walker, um-

I don't think anybody is actually said that on this. I think you're-

Really?

I think our 14th episode and nobody said Chris Walker yet, so.

Wow, Chris is gonna be psyched.

[laughs].

So, uh, you know, when joining ChartHop, I was debating, he's gonna be psych that I said, uh, you said, um, I was debating going in house agency, going in house operating in the VC, you're going early stage.

[laughs].

And I, I, you know, I was talking to Chris about potentially joining over at refine labs. Chris gets it, I think forums just published a piece on him and you know, it's well-deserved.

Yeah.

Um, he totally gets it. If you follow his channel, he loves to, uh, make fun of folks who are all about attribution and making sure. And then he's like the dark funnel, like how are you encouraging word of mouth? How are you building or engaging podcasts that totally encompasses what your ICP cares about? So I would say Chris Walker is a great one, good follow, at folks on his team also. You know, they do a really good job of a native strategy.

Yeah.

All native, like it's all so, um, tangible and relatable. And I really appreciate that. Universally, I would say Kyle Lacy from Lessonly, now Seismic, um, was a friend of ours at ChartHop as well. And, and a mentor of mine. He's a, he, he's a different type of advice giver, he's a pretty more holistic, uh, it's a life itself too. And Kyle leaves his ego at the door and reminds me that emits the growth in the period. It's about building a brand, having fun and take care of what's important, like your family and your friends. And, uh, I appreciate his wisdom too on the other side of that.

Yeah, no, I think that's totally fair. I would actually love to see them both on a joint podcast together. Maybe that would happen one day.

And guess what? They both believe in the same things, building brands.

Mm-hmm [affirmative].

So the positive customer experience, the ultimately drive growth.

Yeah.

You know, they, they just have different, different spiels and shakes. So like-

Yeah. Different approaches I think. Yeah.

Yeah.

And kinda different approaches, but I think they're just, yeah, two very interesting humans and, um, yeah, obviously Kyle is not technically at Seismic, but a good follow on Twitter too.

Yeah.

Um, his like hot tapes tend to take place on Twitter, um, more like work shit on LinkedIn, but still good person also.

Yeah. Kyle will be like [laughs], like where's the best sushi in Indianapolis. And, and I like, I appreciate that too.

[laughs].

'Cause like both are human, like we're all human, we're all human beings.

Yeah.

You know, we're all human be trying to do our job and grow, grow orgs are, make the business better and appreciate when someone, uh, like at his status, so you know, a CMO lessoning for three years. Like, it's like yeah, uh, you know, like very casual and very informal in the best way possible.

[laughs]. Yeah. He's just very real, but this has been a great episode.

Yeah.

Thank you for coming on and shooting the shit for a couple of minutes. Um, if people listening want to follow you, where's the best place? Active on LinkedIn?

Yeah. Follow me on LinkedIn. Uh, shoot me an email, ben.pollack@charthop.com., if you ever wanna chat. I definitely grow through learning from my peers and folks in the state. So shoot me a note. Kaylee, thank you so much for having me on and, uh, kudos to you and the Chili Piper team for a great product and a really great demand programs that you all run.

Thank you.

Uh, I'm excited to get to, we need to have a front row seat to what you're doing. Um, and I know that we'll talk soon as well.

Yeah, likewise, likewise. Thank you for the kind words. Cool. Well, for everybody listening, thank you for listening. If you liked this episode, leave us a review. It helps us continue to bring you more episodes like this and we'll see you next time.