Ebonie Newman talks about how she inspired her team at Storyful to work with modern marketing and sales technologies.
Know Me and My Team
My Role at Storyful and How I Got Here
I was the commercial director for Storyful in the Asia Pacific Region before assuming the role of CRO late last year. Prior to that, I spent over a decade in various Senior sales leadership positions with News Corp Australia, helping clients solve their business challenges through media and content solutions
The Storyful team is nearly 30 people and growing every day. Our goal in the short run is evangelizing the Storyful story to new markets globally and educate our current clients on everything that has evolved or changed at Storyful. This includes our deeper levels of service for newsrooms like embedded social journalists, deep analysis of social content and conversation for investigative teams, as well as evolving services such as insights reporting and crisis management for advertisers, agencies, and corporations.
We are a Tech-Savvy Team and Follow Agile Methodology
Hard to put a number on them. Some people are eights or nines, while others, as in all industries and teams, require training and upskilling as new technology emerges. One of the great things about Storyful is that while we have grown, our start-up sensibility has remained. Everything we do follows agile methodology- and the sales teams work closely with our product teams to influence and develop product strategy within two-week sprints. Having my team so close to this process and thinking means that they are always learning and staying abreast of technology.
For us, that’s skewed to data analysis, video and emerging social platforms. Ultimately, sales is a relationship business and it’s the sales team that are the eyes and ears of our customers and their challenges. It’s their job to spend time with customers and bring this intel back to the business to influence change.
Impact of Modern Automation Tools Allow CMOs and CROs to Work with the Technology More Effectively
From a reporting and prospecting perspective, tools like Salesforce, Clear Slide, and WinMo can be very helpful to either the CMO or CRO. The role of the CRO is to remove blockers and create an environment where the team can thrive – that’s the ultimate goal of leadership and any tools leaders use should be in aid of that.
At Storyful, We Meet with Our CMO to Discuss Future Trends
I’m in constant touch with my marketing team to discuss what’s happening in the market and how trends are evolving. You need that type of relationship if you want to optimize your sales and be ready for the challenges tomorrow. Not only is it about discussing future trends, it’s also about making sense of these for our broader business and our customers. Through our blog, whitepapers and sales collateral, we love sharing this knowledge. As always, we wish there was more time being future forward than reactive though!
Preparing for a Tech-Driven Future and Inspiring the Team to Work with Modern Technologies
My view is that we are already in a tech-driven future. The young workforce coming through today really know no different! For people to prepare themselves for modern technologies, they really just need to learn to embrace change, continually learn, and be open to finding out they may need to re-educate and pivot their approach frequently.
Why Young Sales Professionals Should Train Harder to Master MarTech Skills
Training sales reps prepare them to be agile with technology in the trend. For me, there are two sides to this.
The first is be open to learning and using new technology. Aversion to this means that there is often no true benefit, and only time wasted if new opportunities aren’t embraced fully. But more importantly, there is the human element to the process. While technology can provide efficiencies, data, and intelligence, it’s the human thinking applied to this data and information that uncovers the true value of technology. Continually asking WHY and reflecting on results and patterns is where the magic lies. That’s a muscle that needs to be constantly trained.
B2B Marketing Strategy and Customer Acquisition Models
Marketing Technologies Pushing the Boundaries of Revenue Generation
The combination of technology and human analysis is the core product and service that Storyful delivers its customers. As such, I am a huge proponent of the value that technology plays, and this ladders into all facets of our business, including the sales process.
The Cadence of Measuring the Performance of Our Revenue Reporting Tools
Constantly! I don’t think a week goes by that we don’t aim to develop, improve or make easier the access we have to revenue reporting. We are in the midst of migrating some of our tools to make this better and to garner a greater understanding of our yield, inventory management, and sales effectiveness
Marketing and Sales Alignment: Social Media and Content Marketing Strategies
The Tools and Strategies We Use to Meet Our Revenue Goals at Storyful
On the sales side, we use a combination of tools to prospect, track and communicate with our customers or potential customers. Reporting through your CRM is vital to ongoing revenue growth and something we spend a lot of time tweaking and evolving. Some of that is about the data we have too so we look for partners or solutions to get us there.
A Sneak Peek into Our MarTech Acceleration Strategies
- Clean data is the golden goose for us right now. Our clients in the media or marketing are huge and we can have multiple conversations going on inside the same organization at the same time. Cleaning that up and streamlining that is essential to our ongoing success.
- The second major component is more intelligent prospecting using a few different tools that will help us better understand who our customers should be and, likewise, who shouldn’t.
- Understanding the journey of our current customers in our platforms: using technology for smarter more personalized recommendations to improve the customer experience and ultimately drive greater engagement and sales.
The Type of Content I Prefer
I am an avid reader of trade press and traditional media, as are most of my colleagues! We are a news organization, so it would be alarming if we all didn’t. Our days usually start with circulating links to articles, sharing opinions, and if warranted putting some next steps in place to act upon an opportunity or piece of information.
Our Risk and Reputation division analyze social and traditional media to develop insights for PR agencies and clients, so we also have the luxury of deep dives on topics if and when we need it. This is what forms the basis of our research and whitepapers for trade marketing. We’re launching a series of these whitepapers soon that we’re really excited about. Storyful is such a unique business and our case studies are really unlike anything else you see in the media market. So that would be one piece of content that always sticks out!
Customer Success and Technology Insights
From a Tactical Standpoint, We Often Revisit the Automation Stack
This is an ongoing process for us, as we have grown from start-up to a business of nearly 200 people, with changing customers and needs. We are always discussing how to automate parts of our business to assist us with scaling and growing at speed and accuracy.
As a B2B organization, technology and data underpin our decision making and approach to our customers. Better data gives us better intelligence about who our customers are, and how to approach them
The Technology We Use Impact the Customer Acquisition and Success Rate
For a company like Storyful, customer acquisition is limited to a select number of businesses and sectors. Arming our teams with the right technology to better understand who these clients are and their key challenges have been pivotal to our team’s traction and success in the market. More importantly, it’s allowed us to know which customers not to target so we can focus our resources in the most relevant places
Advice to the MarTech Industry
Our roles and approach need to be the perfect blend of art and science. While technology affords us the ability to know more than ever about our roles, customers, and sales on a deeper level, we must marry this with the old-fashioned arts of influence, relationship building, and storytelling.
A Person from the Industry Whose Answers I Would Like to Read here —
Chris Guenther, SVP, News Corporation
Thank You, Ebonie, for answering all our questions. We hope to see you again at MTS, soon.