Interview with Amit Bendov, CEO and Co-Founder at Gong.io
On Marketing Technology
MTS: What inspired you to start a technology innovation company?
While managing teams at several successful hyper-growth start-ups, I realized that most companies don’t understand why their sales teams aren’t meeting their targets. Listening to a one-hour call to figure out what the salesperson said and how he handled objections is excruciatingly inefficient and not scalable. I thought to myself, there has got to be a better way. That’s why we started Gong.io.
MTS: Given the changing dynamic of sales intelligence technologies, how do you see the marketing automation and analytics market evolving in the years to come?
The automation and analytics market will change in at least two ways:
- The tools will become simpler for everyone to use – not only reports and dashboards but voice and gesture-based systems so everyone can use them, not just highly-trained business analysts.
- They will encompass the entire business in a streamlined fashion, not just a silo like sales or marketing.
MTS: How should CMOs leverage AI-assisted sales enablement technologies to scale the challenges in sales coaching and ABM?
We now have technologies available to truly understand our customers – how are they describing the value your product provides them? Which competitors are they exposed to? Which product benefits make them go “Ah!” We should all be using these technologies to better craft our marketing programs to hone in on the few true benefits our customers are looking for, to better differentiate ourselves, and to stop wasting money on ineffective marketing.
MTS: How should CMOs plan their stack integrations to maximize the benefits from predictive analytics and AI-assisted conversation analytics platforms?
Choose platforms from leading, well-funded companies, with an open architecture and a formidable ecosystem. Even if other tools have cooler features and a slight edge in the user interface, there is no substitute for connectivity so all your tools play together in harmony. Choosing a leading, well-funded vendor, also means that they will still be around in a couple of years and you won’t have to switch tools soon.
MTS: What startups in the MarTech ecosystem are you watching/keen on right now?
SalesLoft for SDRs is interesting in that it provides sophisticated automation at the fingertips of SDRs, who used to have to wait for marketing to do that for them. We love scheduling solutions like Chili Piper and Calendly, which do away with a lot of the email ping pong of scheduling demo meetings. Video conferencing systems are awesome for making the world a little bit smaller – we hold all our internal and external meetings via web conferencing to get a feel of how our message is getting across and bring everyone a little bit closer together.
MTS: What tools does your marketing stack consist of in 2017?
We love automation tools. They allow us to be more effective, efficient, and scalable. Here’s a partial list of what we use:
- Act-On for email automation
- Salesforce.com for CRM
- Sumo for website conversions
- SalesLoft for SDR outreach
- Chili Piper and Calendly for meeting scheduling
- Delighted for collecting NPS from users
- G2 Crowd for customer reviews
- Teamable for hiring and prospecting
- LinkedIn Navigator and Unomy for marketing intelligence
- Ambassador for our referral program
- Gong.io for listening to sales calls, persona and case study interviews, coach our sales reps and gather market intel.
MTS: Could you tell us about a standout digital campaign? (Who was your target audience and how did you measure success?)
Our VP Marketing, Udi Ledergor, ran an email campaign targeting visitors to our booth at a recent trade show. By planning the right timing, the exact message, and the right target audience, we were able to achieve phenomenal results both at the tactical level – 71.36% open rate and 14.09% CTR, and at the strategic level – a healthy flow of product demo requests and many warm leads to nurture and advance into sales opportunities.
MTS: How do you prepare for an AI-centric world as a marketing leader?
Always be learning what’s out there – what’s the latest and the greatest, what other leading companies are using, what creative uses we can make of the technologies and tools available today. Above all – try lots of stuff. Fail quickly. Scale what works.
This Is How I Work
MTS: One word that best describes how you work.
MTS: What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?
TextEdit: I use a simple text editor for writing- no fonts, spell checker, etc. This way I can focus on the message.
- Kindle: I’m on airplanes a lot. Kindle helps time fly
- LinkedIn: A few times a day. Sales, recruiting, marketing.
- SiSense: Simple BI tool that shows us our numbers.
- Delighted: for getting customer feedback
- And of course, Gong for knowing what’s going on with our sales & support. I am addicted to our
own beer 🙂
MTS: What’s your smartest work related shortcut or productivity hack?
Turn all/most notifications off. Keep meetings short. I fly through long PPT decks, reading only the last 1-2 slides.
MTS: What are you currently reading? (What do you read, and how do you consume information?)
Sapiens, by Yuval Noah Harari. Zooming out is one of the best ways to understand a domain. Before telescopes and Astronomy, most folks believed the earth is the center of the solar system. This book provides a zoom out view of human history.
MTS: What’s the best advice you’ve ever — your secret sauce?
What you learn from success is more valuable than what you learn from failure. I like to hire successful people and learn from successful people and companies.
MTS: Thank you Amit! That was fun and hope to see you back on MarTech Series soon.
Over 20 years of senior leadership experience in hyper-growth technology startups; managing R&D, marketing, and sales to global corporations in North America, Europe and APAC. Track record includes taking tech companies from zero sales traction to successful exit/IPO, from small teams to large organizations, and from anonymity to white-hot companies.
Gong is the #1 conversation intelligence platform for B2B sales teams. It helps you convert more of your pipeline into revenue by shining the light on your team’s sales conversations. Gong records, transcribes, and analyzes every sales call so you can scale the effectiveness of your sales conversations.
The MTS Martech Interview Series is a fun Q&A style chat which we really enjoy doing with martech leaders. With inspiration from Lifehacker’s How I work interviews, the MarTech Series Interviews follows a two part format On Marketing Technology, and This Is How I Work. The format was chosen because when we decided to start an interview series with the biggest and brightest minds in martech – we wanted to get insight into two areas … one – their ideas on marketing tech and two – insights into the philosophy and methods that make these leaders tick.