MarTech Interview with Sydney Sloan, CMO at SalesLoft

MarTech Interview with Sydney Sloan, CMO at SalesLoft
MarTech Interview with Sydney Sloan, CMO at SalesLoft

“When you have the ability to keep a history of all customer interactions, you will be able to serve your customers better, and as a result, drive more revenue, retention, and growth for your business.”

As a CMO of a Sales software company, what unique challenges do you meet and overcome in driving Marketing and Sales campaigns daily?

I’ve always thought of myself as a go-to-market and a sales-minded marketer. I’m fortunate to serve as the CMO at SalesLoft, where I get to work alongside our own high-powered Sales team, and both make and sell a product for Sales professionals. Sadly, for most companies, the gap between Sales and Marketing is real. My biggest challenge is to help our customers bridge that gap.

I do see a movement in the industry to where Sales and Marketing teams are coming together around account-based strategies. This forces the teams in the trenches together, where the “revenue team” is coordinating Sales plays, campaigns, and technology to align Marketing and Sales motions. This is where Sales Engagement, and SalesLoft, can play a big role. We use our platform to orchestrate, align and coordinate our teams’ efforts.

Which Marketing and Sales Automation tools and technologies do you currently use at SaleLoft?

Marketing Automation is a significant area of investment for us. When I first started at SalesLoft, we didn’t use a Marketing Automation solution – seriously, none! Since then, we have started to use it to score and nurture our inbound pipeline of non-target account leads. In the past year, we’ve made investments in upgrading our web infrastructure, adding account-based solutions (DemandBase and Terminus), a Webinar platform (ON24), and expanded our event capabilities (Cvent). We upgraded our direct mail (Sendoso and Alyce) solutions. We also rely on BrightFunnel for reporting and analytics so we have a better view of our performance.

How much has “The State of Sales Engagement” evolved in the last 2-3 years? How do Sales Engagement platforms enable customers to improve Sales and Customer Service?

It’s been quite an evolution! Just three years ago, modern Sales Engagement didn’t exist, and yet today, the main innovators in this space are experiencing hyper-growth. I predict that people will soon figure out that the best Sales Engagement strategy is personalizing and orchestrating every interaction with their customers across their entire customer journey; orchestrating all communications across channels including email, phone, video, SMS, direct mail, and even social touches. Scheduling, recording, and tracking every customer interaction is powerful. When you can keep a history of all customer interactions, you will be able to serve your customers better, and as a result, drive more revenue, retention, and growth for your business.

What are the unique opportunities for Omnichannel Marketing teams in the business of Sales Engagement? How do you identify your CX goals?

I feel Omnichannel Marketing is studied more deeply in the B2C realm than in B2B Marketing. However, it highlights the importance of streamlining the connection between Marketing and Sales. At SalesLoft, we determine which accounts we’d like to engage with and target our advertising efforts alongside the Sales teams’ activities so we are coordinated in our efforts to engage new customers. This includes a combination of phone, email, direct mail, and social touches to engage with customers.

In fact, on average, we know through our Data Scientists’ research that it takes an average of 15.5 interactions for a prospect to respond. Once the customer is engaged, we leverage other channel approaches, such as video emails or direct mail. All aspects of our Omnichannel Marketing strategy tie back to the “SalesLoft experience.” I’m a big believer in the fact that companies need to create consistency in the brand experience. At SalesLoft, that means whether you walk into our office, attend a webinar, or have an interaction with our Sales and Customer Service teams, you get a consistent experience.

Explain how you build the ‘culture of intent’ in your organization. How do you train your Marketing and Sales teams to reinvent the wheel of Sales Engagement quarter-after-quarter?

SalesLoft is a culture-first company. Our vision is to have sellers be loved by the buyers they serve. We live with this mindset every day and our customers feel they experience that from us, which ultimately helps our Sales reps achieve their revenue goals. At the end of the day, SalesLoft is a communications platform for building relationships that help our customers achieve their revenue goals.

So, when we think about building a culture of intent, we first think about the experience that we create for our employees. Rather than looking at culture on a quarter-to-quarter basis, it is at the core of our long term company strategy. It has been from the beginning and continues to be our top priority.

How do you prioritize company culture to promote Marketing and Sales initiatives?

We believe that investing in our people and creating a place where they can learn more, be more and become more, will translate to the way our people desire to over-deliver on our customers’ expectations. As I said earlier, culture is a huge priority at SalesLoft. We hold each other accountable for creating a positive work culture and lead with culture in all that we do. One of my favorite values is  “glass half full.” We know that when something happens, we have a choice to take the negative or the positive route, and we choose the positive.

We believe best intent in peoples’ actions. From these foundational values, we create trust, authenticity, and vulnerability in the workplace. This allows us to infuse positivity into our day-to-day interactions with each other and with our customers. We have so many customers tell us how much they love their buying experiences with us, which is why they continue to choose us instead of our competitors. Modern buying problems are complex, and customers want a partner, not a Salesperson that’s just trying to sell. Technology is helping Sales companies be more authentic and create consistent experiences.

How does all the buzz around AI ML and Automation help to sell more to customers?

The current role of AI in Sales Engagement is automating the mundane. SalesLoft’s vision of the future includes creating solutions that inform users about important and relevant customer insights and recommend activities that are the highest and best use of their time. It will give Salespeople more time to spend establishing a real connection with their prospects. In short, anyone driving revenue will have more time to spend on what matters – the human aspect that is so important to Sales.

What are your predictions on the most impactful disruptions in AI-based customer experience for 2019-2024?

We see a world where AI will automate Sales workflows, automatically resolve A/B tests, and detect when new variants will improve customer engagement. At SalesLoft, we’re leveraging an AI solution that can indicate who to reach out to and how. This would enable Sales reps to predict which prospects are most likely to engage, identify their buying intent, and recommend which touches to execute when. It won’t replace the power of human interactions, but it can help coach and suggest to people what they could do based on learned patterns, as we can analyze across interactions and repeated processes managed within our platform.

How do you prepare for an AI-centric world as a Marketing Leader?

It’s important to be on the edge of innovation, but also pragmatic. The industry has experienced some headway here, but we need to prove the AI model a bit more to determine where it adds value. It goes back to quality data, the quality of the questions, setting good hypotheses, and the ability to get good analysts to help manage and analyze the data. From there, we’ll be able to figure out how to apply AI to Marketing scenarios.

How do you inspire your people to work with technology?

I don’t have a challenge with this, we are a tech-savvy team!

One word that best describes how you work.

Passionately.

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

My cell phone is definitely my most-used piece of technology, mostly for texting to get quick answers. However, I constantly have to remind people that the phone is actually used for making calls too! If you need to communicate with someone, call them and talk, it’s much more successful than waiting for an email reply. I also work remotely about 50% of the time, and I believe Zoom and Slack make me more efficient in how I can connect and communicate with others.

What’s your smartest work-related shortcut or productivity hack?

When it comes to productivity, having strong personal relationships and trust with my peers on a daily basis is essential.

What are you currently reading?

I listen to NPR every morning, read the New York Times daily headlines, and then I probably spend too much time on LinkedIn!

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

The best piece of advice I’ve received to this day is that “Your team is your peers, not the people who work for you.”

Something you do better than others – the secret of your success?

Be passionate and work very very hard.

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

Latane Conant, CMO 6Sense

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

Accomplished Marketing Executive with deep experience across customer experience, product marketing, demand generation and communications. Sydney brings passion, skill and a customer-centric focus to drive tangible results.

She has a strong track record of building global teams and bringing new products to market as she can link business strategies through execution and customer adoption. A creative, solutions-driven and achievement-oriented individual experienced in developing and executing marketing strategies to build awareness and generate demand across a variety of customer and industry segments.

salesloft logoSalesLoft is the provider of the #1 Sales Engagement platform, helping organizations like NCR, MuleSoft, Square, WeWork, and Zoom, generate more revenue and deliver better experiences to their customers. Headquartered in Atlanta, SalesLoft is renowned for its award-winning culture. Today, the company employs more than 450 people across its offices in Atlanta, San Francisco, London, and Guadalajara, Mexico, and has received 2019 recognitions from Fortune’s Best Workplaces, Comparably’s Best Places to Work, and Inc. Magazine’s Best Workplaces.

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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