A Conversation with Dan Roche of Scoro
In today’s MarTech conversation, we speak with Dan Roche, the VP of marketing at Scoro. The company offers work management software for marketing agencies and consultancies.
Roche tells us about his approach to marketing, his take on content marketing, and his thoughts on account-based marketing.
It’s a really exciting business—since being founded in Estonia in 2013, the company's grown rapidly; we’re now around 120 people, with offices, people, and customers in over 60 countries globally, having scaled from the Baltics into the UK, EMEA, North and South America and now into APAC.
We received $16.4M Series B funding earlier this year to help us enhance our product further and to grow even faster.
We have an end-to-end work management solution that helps agencies and consultancies be more effective at managing their business: They can streamline projects, simplify quoting, automate billing, and optimize utilization all in one system.
Our mission is to fight the “weapons of mass distraction” that proliferate in many organizations. These are business tools and apps that have been implemented in the name of digital transformation. But very often they end up being disparate systems that don’t integrate and create lots of unnecessary manual effort for knowledge and creative workers, which has a highly detrimental effect when your business is based on people’s time.
To date, many of our customers have been small and medium-sized firms, but more recently, we've attracted interest from enterprise organizations who want a more user-friendly, contemporary platform to manage their people, projects, and time.
Time is money, but that doesn't necessarily always surface in existing project management tools. So we're trying to change the understanding of how companies track and manage their time.
In fact, we talk about the concept of agencies appointing a “chief time officer,” either as a standalone role or as part of someone’s responsibilities, to give this the focus it really deserves.
I report to our CEO, Fred Krieger and my role is global. Fred asked me to come in to redefine the marketing strategy and accelerate our growth. For me, the key levers are to capture existing demand effectively, create demand in a very targeted way, and collaborate effectively with the sales team to maximize their opportunities.
I lead the marketing team, which is made up of product marketing, performance marketing, content, and creative, and there are a few other key roles that I'm hiring for right now to build the team up.
My belief is that it's always good to operate a hybrid model. We have an in-house team who are great at what they do. They understand the business, and where the business is going.
And then that’s turbocharged by our agency partners who can get us somewhere faster than we might be able to otherwise do with only internal resources.
In terms of marketing and sales alignment, Scoro really stands out for me. It's not always an easy balance to strike, but since joining, I've been working with the VP of sales to agree on our GTM strategy and how we collaborate.
Within the marketing team, there are a number of KPIs, but ultimately, they boil down to two.
One is what we call sales accepted leads. These are people who have requested a trial or a demo of our software, via our website. They're very interested in what we do, they're in that evaluation or buying mode, and they fit our target account criteria.
We obviously track MQLs and all leads that come in too. But actually, all we're being measured on, ultimately, is generating demand and finding people who are interested in buying our software, and who will benefit most from using it, so they stay as customers. That's number one.
Number two is aligned to number one in that we hit our recurring revenue goal as a business. So that's ultimately a sales number, but it's also a marketing target as so much of our business comes from marketing-generated leads.
Presently, I’m involved in a number of operational aspects, which is not really the most glamorous part of marketing, but it's very important for SaaS businesses. For example, we have HubSpot as part of our tech stack. We've been using that for the past few months, and it integrates with our own software.
But there are more things that we could do to help use the system more effectively from a marketing perspective, and also to help the sales team better identify our leads, as well as when, how, and what they should follow up.
We have a good level of inbound leads coming in. But if those leads are not dealt with effectively, then ultimately, marketing is held to account. So, it's about having a business approach rather than just purely staying within the marketing bubble. That's the key thing.
We recently ran a campaign to our customers, underpinned by a survey. I only recently joined Scoro, so first of all, I wanted to understand our customer base—what they liked about us, what they didn't, but also what difference Scoro has made to their productivity, to their time management, and to their profitability. Having quantitative data to improve our customer experience and to inform our marketing campaigns is like gold dust.
We had a really good response to the survey, and that has then guided what we're doing from an external perspective and also validated our target markets and ideal customer profile. For instance, we can see that we make a huge difference for marketing agencies. They told us that since rolling out Scoro, they had improved their ability to understand project visibility and profitability by 84% and to get real-time, dashboard-style reporting by 97%.
Having those data points—both qualitative and quantitative—is the basis for doing things effectively. And then, we can look at the MarTech stack and the operational setup and the nuts and bolts of how we best get that message out. But if you don't get the messaging and the positioning right first, then all the MarTech in the world is not going to help you be successful.
One of the things that we are investing more in is content and SEO. We have an opportunity to ramp up our content in terms of industry-specific topics.
We have lots of blogs and articles on project management, but that's a very competitive space because there are many companies producing similar articles. But where we can be more effective in capturing demand is with content around the specific challenges for marketing agencies that can be solved by our software.
What I've seen is a lot of hype around ABM—account-based marketing. This is often held up as the panacea for marketers. I think it boils down to doing good B2B marketing, which is understanding your audience, understanding their pain points, identifying what the use cases are, and then aligning with the sales team to go out and run targeted campaigns. To me, that's always been good marketing. So the fact that it's now being called ABM is a positive thing if that's making marketers think about how to be more strategic.
We're currently looking at customer evidence-focused content, both from a paid and an organic perspective, to create a halo effect around our product-focused advertising.
Every week we create a post on LinkedIn that features one of our customers talking about a use case and the difference they've seen since using Scoro. So we're trying to make it personal and humanized.
It’s not designed to directly generate leads, but to create new demand by showing the faces of the real people we're working with. Since commencing the campaign, we’ve seen a 20% increase in branded search terms via Google, which demonstrates that it’s having an impact on a broader awareness of Scoro. Alongside that, we have our regular blog content, both industry-specific and generic, that I mentioned before.
“But we're always looking for new ideas and new ways to do things. There are always opportunities to do things differently and better.”
Mike Tyson once said that “everyone has a plan until you get punched in the mouth.” I take this to mean that you should always have a robust strategy and be confident about what you are doing, using research and data to build the plan. But once you start executing, things can change, so you need to adapt fast to stay on your feet!
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