“Try to own the data because the data doesn’t lie.”
That was the career-guiding piece of advice CallidusCloud’s CMO Giles House received when he moved from engineering into marketing. While it may not be an intuitive match, in a business climate driven by data, engineers bring specific skill sets to the realm of marketing.
“Engineering is all about tolerances and constraints,” House says. “Engineering is actually quite a creative field and a lot of the engineering we did was all driven by programming. Marketing is iterative too. Unless you’re a genius, you have to be prepared to know you’re going to fail and then figure out why.”
Potential customers want value for data
According to House, many companies are failing at marketing again and again because they don’t make appropriate efforts to understand why.
“There are still companies that are miles behind,” House says. “We’re all getting thousands of marketing emails every day and the worse are from SEO services. I open a few before I send them to my garbage just to get a sense of how bad things still generally are. We already know that people receiving personalized messages are actually repelled and less likely to open because we’re so cynical about how marketers use our information. People are sophisticated enough to know that they are giving up their data, but they expect value from it.”
In House’s view, the answer to the marketing’s dilemmas may not come from the latest practices like account-based marketing.
“There is an element of the Emperor’s New Clothes to so many of these concepts,” House says. “At root, they sound like fundamental messages that need to be challenged. For me, the opposite of ABM is just marketing. Community-based marketing is like fishing in the sea while marketing is like fishing in the universe.”
Automation and alignment
For its part CallidusCloud has chosen to focus its marketing on automation and alignment.
“Automation brings an embarrassment of riches,” House says. “You can get pretty surgical in terms of how you can target specific people.”
Knowing who to target means, in part, monitoring when consumption of marketing content resources changes.
“There are key moments in the cycle when more people get involved,” House explains. “One person will do the research and then as interest expands and they decide they want to take it forward, they bring in the other stakeholders. When the IT people have come into the discussion as part of the decision-making process, you know you’re getting close.”
That content behavior is one symbol of the alignment of sales and marketing that House says is at the core of both CallidusCloud’s own processes and their products, which range from learning platforms to commissions tracking platforms to lead generation tools.
Ending traditional tensions
When speaking of the traditional tensions between sales and marketing that some see as necessary for creating conversation, House takes an opposing view.
“We’re all on the same team,” House says. “We’re all about growth. Where the tension arises, it is when one part of the revenue stream is compromised. You resolve that by looking at leads, having a definition of a lead and following up.”
On the sales side, that means empowering sales with the tools they need to close the deal.
“We can outline what we are prepared to do discount-wise and give them the authority to do that,” House says. “It also means enabling sales to get automated quotes and the customer gets a better experience as a result of that. Automating the sales process, the way we market and the way we learn, centers us on customer experience in a way that is consistent and good.
Image credit: CallidusCloud