Interview with Jenn Steele, CMO, Madison Logic

Interview with Jenn Steele, CMO at Madison Logic
Jenn Steele, CMO at Madison Logic

“Where before it was difficult to digitally reach people with the right titles at your target accounts, now you can not only reach exactly the CMO and VP of Marketing at company X, but you can reach them across devices.”

Tell us about your role and journey into ABM.

I am CMO of Madison Logic, a global ABM platform that customers use to convert their best accounts faster. Madison Logic is the third company at which I’ve worked that uses ABM. I first brought ABM into a big data company in 2015, where our BDRs weren’t having any luck penetrating named accounts. We shifted our marketing strategy from inbound and paid net new lead acquisition to ABM and going after leads from target accounts. We’d send target prospects customized data reports printed on shiny paper to try to get their attention.

 How is the ABM industry different from what it was a few years ago?

Well, first off not everyone mails socks (in only men’s sizes) and calls it “ABM” anymore! I have to say I’m relieved, since the socks didn’t fit me and my husband doesn’t like funky socks.

But seriously, the biggest change in ABM has come from data. Where before it was difficult to digitally reach people with the right titles at your target accounts, now not only can you reach exactly the CMO and VP of Marketing at company X, but you can reach them across devices. Even more, you can reach them when you know their company is likely in-market for your product because you can see what they’re searching for via intent data. That opens up a brand-new, sock-free world!

 What is the current state of ABM? How does Madison Logic deliver on its ROI promises?

 Well, according to Google search trends, ABM is around where inbound marketing was in 2009:

Google search trends

 I started at HubSpot in 2009 and at Madison Logic in 2018, so I like this trend!

To me, this means that we have multiple platforms that deliver on some flavor of ABM at varying degrees of maturity. The industry is somewhat fragmented, and very few of these platforms deliver well on multiple channels or help marketing teams align well with sales.

Because I “drink our own champagne” at Madison Logic, I can tell you that I was impressed to see that we deliver on our promises to reach the right people at the right accounts at the right time. In my first program, I targeted a little over 600 companies, and five weeks month post-launch had reached 80% of them and gotten 226 leads from more than 100 of the accounts. 192 of those 226 leads were trending on my target topics, giving my sales team a clear signal that they might be ready to talk to us. Even better, I’ve reached 528 accounts with ads bearing my company’s messaging, which means my sales team knows they’ve likely heard of us.

That was just my first program, and I’ve been impressed with how well we’re delivering on our own promise. I even set it up myself with minimal cursing…

Which geographies are you targeting (DACH, EMEA, APAC etc.) to propagate your product range in the next five years?

We have a truly global platform (we only have a few countries we can’t serve ads into or generate demand from — like North Korea and China), and our international teams in London, Dublin, and Singapore are growing fast. Fundamentally, the only answer to “which geographies are you targeting?” is “everywhere that account-based marketers sit.”

Which industry verticals prefer you the most (enterprise, start-ups, SMBs etc.)?

 We built Madison Logic starting 14 years ago serving the enterprise. Now we’re taking more than a decade of knowledge and our robust platform and bringing it to the mid-market. We’ve also classically targeted tech companies, and we’re expanding to other verticals like HR and manufacturing — basically, wherever our ABM practitioners are.

How much have the Marketing and Advertising operations changed since the arrival of Automation and BI/Analytics tools? How do you leverage these tools at Madison Logic?

Because I started my marketing career at HubSpot, I’ve been more at the forefront of the change rather than seeing how operations evolve. However, I’ve definitely seen the rise in demand for data and technology competencies in marketing people — something I can appreciate myself, given that I’m quite a geek!

Which Marketing and Sales Automation tools and technologies does Madison Logic use at the moment? Personally, which is your favorite Marketing Automation tool?

We use Marketo for Marketing Automation and Outreach in Sales. This is my third company to use Outreach, and I’m a huge fan of the platform that Manny and his team have built — it’s easy to use and incredibly powerful.

I’m going to get in trouble if I name my favorite Marketing Automation tool because I’ve worked both at HubSpot and Marketo (via Bizible), so let’s keep that a secret for now!

What are your predictions on the most impactful disruptions in Marketing Technology for 2018-2020?

I’m not sure whether this will actually happen, but I am desperate for a disruption that can cut through the clutter of the “MarTech 5000,” which has now topped 6,800 companies. It’s something at the top of my thought processes, because I work at one of those 6800 companies — how can we help marketers get the most out of their MarTech stack? How can we fuel Marketing Automation and other key tools?

Nearly all innovation in the past decade has been on the side of more, more, more, but marketers constantly have to do more with less. It’s a dichotomy that we need to resolve as an industry.

What startups in the technology industry are you watching keenly right now?

There’s one startup, in particular, I’ve done a complete 180 on — Sigstr. I’ve gone from teasing their VP of marketing about how they’re ever going to make their business model work to being absolutely intrigued by the data in their new product, Sigstr Pulse.

At Madison Logic, we use many different data sources to help our customers identify and target accounts, and I’m hoping we can talk to them about possibly becoming the next one.

How do you prepare for an AI-centric world as a business leader?

 More than anything else, I need to accept that what was previously impossible now looks relatively easy. I can’t say, “oh, but that’s too much data and we’ll never be able to…” anymore, because chances are my tech team has already built it. That said, the biggest challenge I have is knowing whether companies actually use AI in their product or simply as part of their “markitecture.” There’s far more value in the former than in the latter.

 How do you inspire your people to work with technology?

 On my own team, I use the technology myself and they don’t have much of a choice when I swing by and say, “Did you see the Trello card on…?” or communicate nearly 100% through Slack when I’m on the road.

When it comes to inspiring the sales team, it’s a matter of judicious technology application (don’t give them too much), constant training, and using FOMO to play them off of each other.

One word that best describes how you work?

I usually describe it as “force of nature,” but that’s three words rather than one! I suppose “whirlwind” might be a close one-word answer, and it adequately expresses why I hire highly organized people to keep my department running smoothly.

What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?

Aside from normal communication tools (especially Slack and iMessage), I depend heavily on SizeUp, which allows me to move windows around on my Mac without having to use a mouse. My team runs all of our projects out of Trello, which I’ve also used for my own to-do list for years. For my MarTech stack, aside from obviously my own platform, I rely heavily on Bizible’s multi-touch attribution to tell me how my efforts perform and I feel like I live in Salesforce.

What are you currently reading?

Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America’s Shining Women by Kate Moore. It’s the true story of the women who painted watch dials with glowing Radium, the horrific illnesses they experienced, and their courage and tenacity that led to regulations and more research. It’s not an easy read, because of how they rampantly dismissed these young women’s illnesses and concerns. The book has many lessons executives need to take away about listening to people on the ground and not letting money get in the way of taking care of your employees.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

“Don’t attribute stupidity to malice.” Aside from alleviating annoyance and hurt feelings, assuming best intent in people helps me develop empathy and better communication skills.

Tag the one person in the industry whose answers to these questions you would love to read?

Since I mentioned him earlier, I’ll call out Justin Keller from Sigstr

Thank you, Jenn! That was fun and hope to see you back on MarTech Series soon.

As Chief Marketing Officer, Jenn leads the marketing team at Madison Logic. She has deep martech and SaaS experience, as well as leadership experience across multiple industries and verticals.

Prior to Madison Logic, Jenn worked at Bizible, a leading marketing attribution company acquired by Marketo in 2018. Prior to that, she led marketing functions at big data and recruitment companies. She started her marketing career at HubSpot, followed by AWS and Amazon retail. Jenn has had an unusual career path, with more than a decade of experience leading information technology departments at Boston law firms.
Jenn holds degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Simmons School of Management. When she’s not on a plane between her home in Seattle and one of Madison Logic’s offices, she enjoys the view of the Puget Sound from her balcony with a glass of wine and a good book.

Stephen is a journalist by education and a technologist at heart. He has moved frequently in his career, living throughout the US, Australia and Asia and enjoys exploring new places. He thrives on start-up culture and his personal mission is to build things better. Stephen is an avid pilot and lives with his wife and son in Atlanta.

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Since 2005, B2B companies have been using Madison Logic to convert their best accounts faster by finding and engaging with the most influential individuals throughout the buyer journey.

Through ActivateABMTM, our global account-based marketing platform, we bring sales and marketing together with integrated buyer insights and journey optimization to make every interaction a meaningful one.

From our offices in four countries across three continents we provide a true partnership with our global client base.

When 70% of your purchase process occurs before individuals on the buying committee self-identify, successful account-based marketing strategies must include both inbound and outbound strategies that raise product awareness and increase account penetration at all stages in the buyer journey.

ActivateABMTM from Madison Logic is the only global account-based marketing platform that uses technology, actionable data, and content to speed the buyer journey at all stages.

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.

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