In today’s conversation, we speak with Frederik Hermann, the VP of Marketing at Saleshood. He tells us about how he works closely with the sales team to create a streamlined, measurable funnel. He also discusses the growing importance of LinkedIn and the need for quality over quantity when it comes to content.
Saleshood is an all-in-one, purpose-built sales enablement platform that allows fast-growing companies to support the entire process of sales enablement: training, coaching, learning, and correlating efforts to sales performance end results.
The company was founded in 2013 by Elay Cohen. He spent close to a decade at Salesforce and built the enablement function during their hyper-growth years—they went from around $300 million to over $5 billion in revenue, and he trained tens of thousands of salespeople. Then, he decided to found his own company to build a platform that supports all enablement functions and initiatives at scale.
Our main competitors in the space are Highspot, Seismic, Brainshark, and a few others. But we have a large customer base of very well-known names that rely on Saleshood to support their enablement functions. Some of our biggest customers are Drift, Sage, Demandbase, Bombora, Domo, Seagate, RingCentral, Tanium, and many others.
The great thing is that we do have proven and measurable success. The companies that have implemented Saleshood can show a 60% improvement in ramp time (how long it takes to train a new sales rep to achieve quota) or revenue increase.
As a marketing leader, you oversee all functions of marketing; it's a very, very broad field. It reaches across demand generation, advertising, public relations, social media, content, SEO, your corporate identity, corporate communications, product marketing, competitive analysis—many, many, different aspects.
At the end of the day, my primary goal is to create an efficient and targeted sales funnel for our sales team, which means bringing the right people into our ecosystem at the right time.
In terms of the team, I have Harry who focuses on paid acquisition. I have Jennifer on the PR and social side. The key decision-makers and influencers within a social network—those are the ones you want to reach and engage with, and that's what we do from a PR perspective.
Then we have somebody on the email marketing, automation, nurturing, campaign management side.
Mark does a great job on content and SEO to create new content; a lot of it is based on what Elay is doing. If he has a talk at a conference, we can easily turn his entire deck into two or three great blog posts.
And then we have marketing ops, which is also very important nowadays in order to have everything as measurable as we do. There is a complicated tech stack behind it in order to be able to measure every single touch point. It's incredible how detailed it is nowadays, and it all feeds back into a very detailed profile of this person in HubSpot and Salesforce.
In terms of our tools, HubSpot is crucial for marketing automation, sending out emails, social, and nurturing your leads. Salesforce is the source of truth for all data. Then there's Google Analytics and SEMrush as an SEO tool. We use JIRA to file all the tickets and Google [Workspace] has, I think, completely replaced Microsoft Office.
I personally use Trello and Google sheets to stay organized on my tasks and priorities. I have boards for my daily tasks, weekly tasks, my backlog, what's done, and ideas that have been thrown at me by other people.
I would say that in a B2B SaaS setting as a marketer, a huge focus is on direct demand generation, and it's a very close collaboration with the sales team.
It's absolutely crucial to build a measurable, proper funnel. That's what we are all measured on. It starts with the leads: the leads go into your marketing automation system, in our case HubSpot, then they're nurtured and lead scored. For every action that you take as a prospect—signing up for a webinar, downloading an ebook, opening an email, clicking on an email, and so on—that's a couple of points. I slowly nurture them into an MQL, a marketing-qualified lead. Then, at that point, they are pushed into Salesforce. It's up to the sales team to evaluate these marketing qualified leads as something that they are willing to work with and schedule a meeting, and then they become an SAL, or sales accepted lead. That's the main handover.
The idea behind it is alignment. We all have goals in regards to how many MQLs we need in order to reach the sales targets that the board and the CEO have set for us as goals. And both sales and marketing are equally measured upon that. If we don't reach our pipeline and revenue targets as a joint team, neither one of us is going to be successful.
The market is booming, and there's enough room for multiple players. Our goal—like most B2B SaaS companies—is to keep growing into the 50 million to 100 million to 200 million, and then get a unicorn evaluation, and potentially a sale on initial public offering. We're hiring aggressively and are growing really fast right now.
We have gotten to a place where we are very innovative in regards to what we do in paid acquisition. When you invest in paid online advertising, there's an AI blackbox behind it that optimizes your algorithm towards showing the ads to people who are more likely to convert. The algorithm needs success criteria. Most companies use a form fill for that, but what if you have a bunch of very unqualified people filling out a form for an ebook on your website? Then you get more non-converting leads.
What Harry and I have done are "deep funnel events." Instead of the form conversion reporting back to the algorithm, you use an event within Salesforce. You tell the algorithm once it's an SAL and give that signal back to the AI blackbox. This helps you improve the quality of the algorithm to reach the right people in a very sophisticated and smart manner.
Another successful initiative has been webinars and online events. In a COVID environment, these are still very crucial and still have value. For instance, I will join a webinar once a week on a topic that interests me. We make sure that we have great guests on our webinars and have topics that are highly relevant to our target audience.
What I recently re-learned is that LinkedIn is key. I was investing money into promoting our events and our content on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and so on, and we had very detailed campaign tagging using Google UTM parameters, but the only network that was actually properly converting into quality leads was LinkedIn. All the other ones are basically just brand awareness. And yes, I'm sure I'm getting more eyeballs and even from time to time a conversion. But our focus will be on LinkedIn for the rest of the year.
Marketing has become much more technical and much more measurable over the years. That's a very clear trend; we're moving away from classical PR. The more targeted, the more measured your approach is, the more efficient it is. Now, it's about investing in your tech stack and marketing ops and being much more granular in your approach via account-based marketing. And LinkedIn, I think, is going to be even more crucial in that regard.
The key with content marketing is to invest in quality content instead of quantity. There have been trends in the past few years of pushing out, say, 5–10 blog posts a week and just creating lots and lots of content. That's what we did at my previous company, using cheap freelance writers. That's not what you should do.
Invest in valuable content that you would read. Don't make it too long. Yes, optimize it for SEO, but in the end, you want to provide valuable answers to questions that your target audience might ask. That's how you're going to get into top search results and even into featured snippets. Yes, analyze it from an SEO perspective, but don't write it for SEO.
And Google understands that nowadays as well. When someone has a question, they want to be able to have that question answered in a succinct, clear fashion, so Google optimizes for that.
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