A Conversation with Christelle Fraysse, CMO of Workbooks
In today’s conversation, we speak with Christelle Fraysse, CMO at Workbooks. Fraysse explains how marketing and sales work together to drive revenue and growth, and how she’s using precise automation and content strategies to support her marketing efforts.
We sit in the CRM and marketing automation space, but we actually describe ourselves as more of a business platform. We are a tool that helps you run your entire business from marketing to sales to order processing to customer service—we span the entirety of the customer journey.
The core of our platform is about really engaging effectively with your customers. It starts with understanding the background of where they come from through tools like web analytics. We can track when people are coming to your website and help you understand how they ended up there. Then we can track the journey through the entire customer lifecycle. This enables you to make better-informed decisions about what you need to tweak to make the customer journey more effective.
Most organizations have loads of different tools, so what we're trying to do is simplify that approach for them. We've got one core central platform, which is what you would call the CRM hub, and then we work with other providers and we plug those technologies really heavily into our platform.
We had a little bit of a dip with COVID, so our goal is to accelerate growth to get to the next level of funding. We need to perform against the typical SaaS metrics—we need to prove that we're growing at a fast rate and that we've got a profitable model.
For me, the role of the CMO is about driving revenue and supporting all of the key strategic KPIs that the business has.
Throughout my entire career, I've tried to challenge that image of marketing being perceived as a cost, and I have pushed my organization to really demonstrate its impact in driving revenue. In a lot of organizations, that's the perception that people have: that marketing is a cost item on the balance sheet.
Everything I do is linked to revenue. Some people say that revenue is all about demand gen and performance marketing—but no, there are other marketing elements that feed into revenue too, such as brand building, customer success, etc. My priority is about making sure that we've got a strong brand that differentiates us in the market and making sure that we accompany people on their entire journey with us.
I see my role as being about making sure that the entire business is customer-centric because marketing is the voice into the market, but it's also the ear. Everything that marketing gathers from any engagement needs to feed back into how the business drives its operation. I really think marketing touches pretty much every aspect of the business.
I still see a lot of organizations where sales and marketing are working in parallel but not really working together, and I think this is crazy nowadays. It has been proven time and time again that a lack of alignment has a detrimental impact on the success of the business.
We don't pass leads to sales as soon as they start to engage with marketing content. Marketing first scores the lead (based on their level of engagement with content and demographics information) and nurtures it until it has reached a certain point. Once we feel a lead has reached a certain level of maturity in their engagement, then they’re handed over to the business development team. These people are there to start picking up the phone and start engaging on a more one-on-one basis to try and identify what's going on in the organization. Then the lead is passed onto sales and the lead becomes an opportunity in the pipeline.
The overall goal is revenue, but underneath you've got loads of different KPIs. I think one of the first KPIs that you can look at is how much more pipeline is being generated by activities driven by marketing. But you also have all the influencing—and marketing can influence an opportunity at various points within the sales cycle. Marketing can be measured based on what we add, so, purely, demand generated or created by marketing. Then there are all the elements of influencing that help throughout the sales cycle. And if you measure one in isolation, I think you diminish the value of marketing and its true contribution.
The first thing I do in the morning is to go and look at all of the marketing KPIs to see the outcome of the campaigns that we're running at the moment: how many leads have been generated, how many opportunities from those campaigns have moved into the pipeline, how many of those have not been followed up, and so on. I review our social channels. I check in with every team member. And then I spend time with the head of sales and the CEO to look at all of the business initiatives that are going on and how marketing is going to support those. Days are extremely varied, and I suppose that's the beauty of marketing.
As a marketer, I always say that the fuel of everything is your content. Your engine might be email, your accelerator could be your social media, but the fuel is your content. And for good content, you need input from subject matter experts around the organization. One of the biggest challenges I've always had in a small organization is getting the time from those people—getting the time from the subject matter experts to really give you the information you need in order to create content that is valuable to your audience. I know it sounds crazy, but that's one of the biggest pain points I have.
Another major challenge is around budgets. As a marketing team, we've become experts at recycling and repurposing and reshaping content in all sorts of formats. We start with a blog and then it becomes a video, then an infographic, then a white paper, just because the budget is very limited.
Another challenge is accountability—making people accountable throughout the customer journey in order to ensure that the customer journey is as seamless as possible
There has been such massive help from technology when it comes to how we engage with prospects. But sometimes the technology is badly used. I've had so many bad experiences with personalization that has just gone completely wrong. So, you need to be very careful with the automation you are building. Marketers will need to be far more analytical to make sure that their technology isn't creating an automation that is completely out of sync with the actual experience of the prospect. I've seen too many organizations not paying attention to the details. And once you burn your bridges with prospects through bad automation, it will be a struggle to get them back. So, when you're doing automation, make sure that you've tested the logic, you've tested the content, and everything is built in a view to provide the best experience possible. It's always better to do fewer things well rather than trying to do too many things and then burning your bridges with your prospects.
Another trend, which I think is a really big one for marketers and especially for CMOs, is big data and what I call data paralysis. We are collecting so much data on all of our prospects, and sometimes there is just too much data to look at—you can't see the forest for the trees. At a certain point, you're like, "Okay, well, what do I do with all of this data?" So before you start collecting tons of data, you need to make sure you understand what you want to track and why you want that data, because if you track with no reason, you're going to end up at a point where you're like, "I can't make any conclusion from that data because I don't really know what I'm looking at. There are just too many data points for me to make sense of what is going on."
Everything in our marketing strategy is linked to content. We see content as the hook to drive people's attention—to drive them onto our website and to guide them through the discovery journey.
For me, it's about optimizing our content. As I said previously, I'm a big believer in recycling and repurposing. The key thing for me is everything that we do has the customer or the prospect in mind. Within each organization that we target, there are five or six personas that we need to address: marketing, sales, customer service, IT, the head of the business. So, our content has to address these different personas with their individual pain points and needs. We tend to work with a quarterly or yearly theme, and then we think about how we are going to address that theme when we talk to the marketing folks, the sales folks, the customer service folks. We want our content to add value, to be relevant and timely. We want our content to challenge them and help them in their day-to-day. Ultimately, we're trying to become a source of expertise, best practice, and advice.
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