Fireside Chat with Evan Liang

Evan Liang CEO Leandata
FIRESIDE
Evan Liang

Evan Liang talks about how technology has a significant impact on customer building and partnership models

Know My Team

The LeanData team has expanded very quickly. We’ve increased our headcount from 30 to 80 people today, and we plan to grow to 100 before the end of 2018.

At LeanData, we are driven by our customers first and foremost. Our solution has evolved based on a partnership with customers where we want to understand their pain points first, and that drives our near and long-term product roadmap.

Tech-savvy teams

We pride ourselves on being a very tech-savvy team because we sell our solutions to tech-savvy sales and marketing operation practitioners, which means we have to walk the walk. Most of our team comes from companies on the cutting edge like Marketo, Vmware, LinkedIn, where they were domain experts in both MarTech and SalesTech. If I had to rate my team on their tech savviness, I would rate them a 9 out of 10.

More importantly, we are all LeanData experts and have many employees who have implemented LeanData at their previous companies. I believe it’s critical for companies to not only use their product but be expert users of the solution.

Young sales professionals should train themselves to master MarTech skills.

Young sales professionals should partner with their marketing colleagues to understand the MarTech skill sets necessary to drive growth for their businesses. More importantly, sales professionals who establish partnerships with their marketing colleagues are setting the standard for a productive relationship that will drive revenue growth for their companies.

I at the TOPO Summit 2018
Evan Liang at the TOPO Summit 2018

Separately, marketing teams should spend time building their enablement skills to support their sales colleagues. If sales and marketing teams train themselves on these skill-sets that would be real sales and marketing alignment.

B2B Marketing Strategy and Customer Acquisition Models

I am the co-founder and CEO of LeanData. My co-founder, Kelvin Cheung, and I founded the company in 2012. Over the nearly six years since our founding, LeanData has become the essential tool for sales and marketing teams to optimize revenue.

The idea of LeanData came from my pain points managing a sales and marketing team at my last company, Caring.com. While at Caring.com, where I served as vice president and general manager of products, I discovered that our customer data was disconnected from our marketing and sales technology stacks and was shocked at the negative impact on our sales productivity. I had solved that problem there and realized that many other B2B companies are struggling with the same issue.  From there, our early customers like Marketo and Palo Alto Networks helped shape LeanData’s evolution including our in-market solutions.

We created LeanData to facilitate meaningful connections between data and people to connect business to revenue faster.

A great thing we realized in our journey is that modern marketing technologies are pushing the boundaries of brand engagement and customer experience.  

A great example of these innovations is the in-market account-based marketing solutions including Marketo ABM, Salesforce Einstein ABM, Demandbase ABM, among others. These tools have turned ABM from a business concept into an effective revenue generation channel. Today’s innovations are enabling marketing and sales teams to align and put their ABM strategies into action efficiently.

The performance of our marketing analytics and sales reporting tools

When it comes to measuring the performance of all our tools, we make it a priority to test the performance of the tools regularly. For example, our marketing team runs A/B and multivariate tests in Google Optimize nearly every day to optimize conversions on LeanData’s home and trial pages.

Marketing and Sales Alignment: Social Media and Content Marketing Strategies

The Tools and Strategies that I Use to Create Compelling B2B Content at LeanData

I rely on our marketing team for this. Our marketing team uses a variety of tools to create and distribute our B2B content to customers, prospects and other key audiences: LeanData, Uberflip, Marketo (the Marketo Engagement Platform), several solutions from Google (tag manager, analytics, optimizer), Clearbit, Salesforce CRM, among others.

We firmly believe that companies must deliver content that humanizes their brand to connect with their customers effectively. One example of how, we at LeanData, are practicing what we preach, is we are about to launch a new web series called Revvin Up Your Revenue. The purpose of the series is to chat with industry thought-leaders about the significant revenue generation challenges companies face today and provide the audience with insights to overcome the challenges and accelerate the time to revenue. We will be launching the series in late March.

I find the most value in hearing directly from prospects and customers about their pain points. For our target market of Marketing and Sales operations, there are new forums such as Modern Sales Pros which is an invite-only group of the top Sales Ops Practitioners.  In that group, they share best practices and help each other solve problems with only technology solutions that have proven value to end customers – vendors are not allowed to pitch in these groups. There is a daily email digest that I read every day and make sure our industry experts are also participating.

At LeanData, we believe that companies provide content that humanizes the face of their brand. For example, as I mentioned earlier, we are about to launch a new web series called, Revvin’ Up Your Revenue, where we will bring on thought leaders to discuss the business challenges companies face when it comes to optimizing for revenue and how to overcome those challenges. We created this series with the intention to make it lively and informative, rather than launch a generic, impersonal webinar that only serves LeanData rather than our customers.

Revisiting the Automation Stack as a Tactical Step

We are regularly revisiting and auditing our automation stacks as we like to test new solutions in the market, specifically data-driven tools, and decide which ones we will keep for the long-term. Recently, our sales operation team conducted an in-depth audit of our sales stack, and as a result, we removed a solution that did not support our sales team’s efforts. We also audit the LeanData marketing automation stack regularly and based on the effectiveness of the tools we make a determination of which solutions to keep or remove from the marketing stack.

At LeanData, we only use the technologies that will enable our team to effectively engage with our customers at the right moment in time and deliver personalized experiences. We find that when we connect with our customers at the right moment in time and customized ways, customers are much more receptive to engaging with LeanData. Based on our data, we found that leads followed up on within an hour or less result in 44% higher conversions. On the flip side, 50% of all leads are not followed up on promptly.

Using Technology to Make an Impact on the Customer Acquisition and Success Rate

The solutions within our stacks play an incredibly important role in our customer acquisition and success rate. For example, we use LeanData to ensure that our Salesforce CRM is accurate so our sales team can be successful in their efforts. The Marketo Engagement Platform enables LeanData’s marketing team to engage with customers and prospects in personalized ways at the right moment and across all channels.

The Unification of Sales and Marketing Technologies to Deliver Higher ROI to CMOs

It is critical for CMOs to have insights into the data to see how sales and marketing teams are aligning to drive revenue. Therefore, it is essential for sales and marketing technologies to unify in order to accelerate time to revenue.

My Advice to MarTech Industry 

“Focus on building solutions that solve a particular use case. Continue to iterate on those solutions until they are proven and then make them even better”

Tag a living person from the industry that you would like to read answers from

Jim Bell, CMO of Glint and Scott Holden, CMO of Thoughtspot. These are two up-and-coming innovative CMOs at fast-growing companies who are leading authorities on marketing technologies and analytics.

Thank You, Evan for answering all our questions. We hope to see you again at MTS, soon.

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