Figuring out your MarTech Stack Workshop Notes

Thanks to Kaushik Patel (Sr. Director of Online Marketing & Marketing Operations at ThoughtSpot), Shari Johnston (SVP of Marketing at Radius), and Josh Hill (Marketing Automation Leader at RingCentral) for an informative panel discussion/ workshop on March 28 on the MarTech Stack. Below are some notes and video snippets from that discussion, and here’s the slides:

James Riseman (host intro): Welcome to 3rd SF Demand Generation and Marketing Operations Meetup. Marketing has changed tremendously over the past 15 years. With the explosion of marketing- and customer-related data and MarTech systems, it’s much easier to leverage data for effective marketing campaigns and measure the impact of those campaigns. The people in Marketing are evolving too, and we’re seeing more quantitative- and systems-focused marketers than in the past. Our panelists are great examples of this new breed of quantitative-/ system-oriented marketers.

Kaushik Patel (2:00): ThoughtSpot sells to the business intelligence (BI) persona in companies. ThoughtSpot has been focused on how to reach and sell to this persona.

Kaushik has developed a vision around transparency. He strives to give each account representative a snapshot into who they’re targeting. He created a MarTech stack to give the ultimate visibility to account representatives and effectively target those accounts. The MarTech stack will change as ThoughtSpot evolves and its sales and marketing needs change.

(9:00) He reviews the tech stack and vendor options every couple weeks. Uses ZenIQ to ensure they have the right, relevant contacts covered at each target account. Kaushik has 80% coverage of the key personas across ThoughtSpot’s entire target market, and his team reviews this on a quarterly basis.

LeanData is an important part of ThoughtSpot’s stack, so they can effectively do account mapping. Predictive analytics didn’t work for ThoughtSpot because they didn’t have a long history of sales. ThoughtSpot has done some customization of Salesforce so they can assign accounts to representatives effectively.

Audience Question (13:00): Why are you using tools like for data enrichment when you have Demandbase?

Kaushik: ThoughtSpot uses Demandbase only for form enrichment, and uses, DiscoverOrg and other tools for data enrichment.

Audience Question (14:00): How did you start your MarTech stack?

Kaushik: Started to build stack in 2015 with Salesforce, Marketo and LeanData. Started with LeanData because they wanted to do account-based routing from Day 1.

Audience Question (17:00): What tools work best for you for lead generation and targeting?

Kaushik: LinkedIn is working really well.

Audience Question (18:00): What percentage of your Marketing spend goes towards the MarTech stack?

Kaushik: About 6%

Shari Johnston (19:00): Started developing the Radius MarTech stack with a focus on how its customers buy. There is no single channel that persuades customers like Amazon to purchase Radius; it’s a complex path.

Radius uses an Account-based marketing approach. They have 2 full-time people as well as an agency to deliver on its MarTech and Demand Generation implementations.

Audience Question (25:00): What marketing channels work best for you for lead generation?

Shari: Radius has a long and complex sales cycle. Security, Marketing Operations and other personas are involved. The sales cycle involves a lot of in-person education, so events have been working really well.

Audience Question (27:00): What are the most important tools for your demand generation efforts?

Shari: LinkedIn, Marketo, Salesforce, LeanData and Slack have been working really well.

Audience Question (29:00): Have you analyzed the effectiveness of your various marketing channels?

Shari: Breaks out marketing divisions into field/ events, demand generation and digital marketing. Field marketing has outperformed the other channels.

Audience Question (30:00): What’s your biggest pain point as a CMO?

Shari: It’s always a challenge to manage leads and data effectively, and make sure leads aren’t dropping. A lot of technology investments involve solving problems within Salesforce.

Audience Question (30:00): What are your secrets for successful events?

Shari: Radius has a “go big or go home” philosophy around events. We usually have a big presence at events or none at all. We also like to host “home grown” events in different localities. Also, direct mail has done really well for us. We use PFL quite a bit.

Josh Hill (32:00): RingCentral has a “big machine” around lead generation, and employs 30-40 people in demand generation. RingCentral has historically targeted SMB companies, but is migrating towards account-based marketing as it targets more enterprise companies.

Josh (41:00): It’s important to think about the buyer-/ customer-centric journey as you construct your MarTech stack. If you start from the vendor-/IT-specific perspective, you’re probably looking at it from a different perspective than your customers. Customers don’t think in terms of funnels for instance.

Kaushik (45:00): Marketing in the BI space is a completely different animal. Very few BI professionals are actively looking to replace their BI system. Most the people doing searches on BI (business intelligence) are academics and students. It’s important to set up your MarTech stack with your buyer cycle in mind. Also, the personas we target are completely left-brained/ analytical. At BlueJeans, I could nurture leads in a more standard way, but at ThoughtSpot, I have to be mindful of this very different buyer and buyer journey.

Audience Question (49:00): How do you define your total addressable market and identify good market segments?

Kaushik: In the BI space, you can look at analysts like Gartner, who will say it’s a $70 billion market for instance, and 30% is product-related. You can also search titles in LinkedIn to get a sense of the number of people involved and the spend. We struggle with the best approach.

Shari (51:00): We do TAM analysis for a lot of our customers, and since they’re US-based businesses, we’re able to slice and dice the data effectively.

Audience Question (52:00): Where do you recommend that the MarTech work sits, within Marketing or Sales?

Shari: We have it sit within the Demand Gen and Marketing Operations teams. That arrangement works well.

Kaushik (51:00): We also have it sit within Marketing; I don’t think Sales would be as well-suited to manage the MarTech stack.

Audience Question (53:00): What success metrics do you utilize?

Shari: Our primary goal is pipeline generation, as measured in dollars.

Kaushik: We get measured on everything we contribute to the pipeline. Because of the nature of our product and the analytics our team wants to run, everything we do has to be available to analysis.

Audience Question (56:00): What portion of closed business do you think your team has a significant impact on?

Shari: We do 30-40% of sourcing for the pipeline. In terms of influencing the buyers’ journey, we influence more than 90% of deals.

Kaushik: We drive about 70% of sourcing for the pipeline right now, but that will change as ThoughtSpot matures. At BlueJeans, we would measure both sourcing and closure, and analyze what we directly influenced versus what was channel influenced.

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Author: James Riseman

The Principal of Martech Review is James Riseman, an industry veteran with 20 years of leadership experience in marketing, technology, and products, with leading companies like Rocket Fuel, MicroStrategy, Cisco WebEx, New Relic, and Nuance Communications. You can learn more about James on LinkedIn: www.linkedin/in/jamesriseman

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