Seismic is a sales and marketing support platform, Named one of Forbes’ 100 Best Cloud Companies for 2020. We recently caught up with Director of Marketing Winnie Palmer to learn more about her role. Palmer discusses the importance of an integrated go-to-market strategy and the impact of Covid in the B2B marketplace.
Tell us about a typical day …
Every day is different – especially in the age of Covid-19 – but I have a few constant priorities:
- Review performance against forecast, plan with sales and customer success team to resolve go-to-market issues. We are evolving rapidly, so there are strategic and operational challenges and gaps to fill.
- Collaborate with colleagues from all marketing functions to ensure alignment and execution excellence.
- Winning and analyzing the market in terms of trends, needs, competitors and any new solutions available.
- Stimulate external engagement to build and extend Seismic’s footprint and impact with our target audience.
How to maintain an effective work / life balance?
It has been a challenge that many people have struggled with over the past year. As we are all stuck at home, remembering to switch off and take time for yourself once in a while has become more and more important. But it’s not always easy with children at home!
The most important thing I do is prioritize, prioritize, prioritize – not just for myself, but also for everyone I work with. I always try to focus on what matters and am a firm believer in clearly communicated business goals and objectives. This helps ensure consistency in everything we do collectively, which in turn creates efficiency from the start and avoids operational friction that causes unnecessary / unproductive work.
As we all know, meetings can be a common sticking point. I always try to set a clear agenda in advance, resolve 1: 1 issues if necessary before group meetings, and end meetings when the group comes to a natural conclusion. I don’t force people to join my meetings if they’re not relevant, or stay the full time if not necessary. The agenda is shared in advance so that people can decide for themselves whether to attend. I then do the same for other people’s meetings – if there is nothing more I can contribute to a discussion, I will ask to leave. There is no point wasting time in unnecessary meetings.
Finally, on weekends, I stop. Weekends are for family and my kids – and some much needed downtime!
How has your business strategy changed over the past 18 months?
At the company level, this is not the case. At the Go-to-Market (GTM) level, we had to find the best way to balance long-term growth with short-term pipeline and revenue goals because the market is so tough.
Overall, our ROI-focused approach has not changed, i.e. capitalizing on immediate market opportunities, while expanding market leadership at the top of the funnel. The objective is to put in place the foundations which will then allow us to deepen and broaden.
As a marketing team, we need to deliver a reasonable ROI ratio. How we define the ROI goal depends on the business context. For example, if this is a new team with no infrastructure, the ROI ratio may need to be set to “1”, which is the break-even point. Once the foundations have been established and the ROI starts to improve, I can then reinvest the additional gain into new business and / or infrastructure. This generates a positive cycle of growth – to scale, to stabilize, to scale again – and allows me to prove the value of marketing to the business every step of the way.
How has customer behavior (or the behavior of your customers’ customers) changed during the pandemic?
We have found that deals have taken longer to close, mainly because companies have had to deal with so much uncertainty in such a difficult environment.
As far as our customers are concerned, we are seeing an increased focus on technology that helps to streamline and standardize GTM on a large scale. Leading companies are pivoting rapidly by adopting digital tools that enable their GTM teams to tell crisp, consistent stories across time zones, geographies, teams and languages using data-driven insights.
Since Covid-19, the level of engagement on our platform has tripled. One financial services client was able to nearly halve their content creation time and achieve significant cost savings, while another client accelerated transaction conversions by increasing client appointments by over 200% .
What do you predict for the future?
It’s hard to make predictions, but one thing has become clear is that delivering positive shopping experiences will become even more critical to success. To achieve this, personalization will be the key. B2B GTM teams need to better master the management of the end-to-end buyer experience, which requires an integrated GTM strategy in sales and marketing at the content level.
In the B2B world, 66% of content generated by marketing is not used by sales, while salespeople spend an average of 30 hours per month researching content or creating their own. Obviously, there is a huge opportunity for companies to improve their operational efficiency and the efficiency of the GTM.
For example, there are now digital tools that can provide end-to-end visibility into the impact of content. Data-driven insights can enable sellers to leverage content that has been proven to work for different personalities and at specific stages of the buyer’s journey. It also provides marketers with clear data on what works and what doesn’t, allowing them to focus on creating content that actually drives business results.
What advice would you give to a marketer right now?
Focus on what really matters. And remember the business context is everything. A best practice for another business can be useful as a benchmark, but there is no quick fix. If your business is growing, you will have different challenges compared to an established business defending its position in a mature market.
In addition, collaboration with sales is essential. To compete to win, marketers must team up with sales to drive a cohesive GTM strategy across all touchpoints. It means defining common goals and building truly integrated operations that connect content, data, technology, media and people. This is my best advice!
B2B Content Marketing Best Practices Guide