Tell us about your role and journey into technology. What inspired you to join Campaign Monitor?
I’ve been working in technology and software for over 20 years. My background is primarily in operational finance — working in management consulting, investment banking and equity research before taking on CFO roles at Emma , one of the CM Group brands, and six other companies, all of which were in the Washington, D.C. area. I grew up in Tennessee, and I had been looking for a great opportunity to move to Nashville — not just to be closer to family but because I truly believe Nashville is becoming a hub for technology companies.
When I met Clint Smith, the previous CEO of Emma, I was thrilled to join an innovative company that was leading the tech scene in Nashville. Campaign Monitor ’s acquisition of Emma offered an incredible opportunity for me to step into a CEO role and begin assembling a family of Email Marketing technologies capable of serving the needs of every marketer.
From the time you started at Campaign Monitor, how much has the market for CRM and Marketing Automation changed?
The market for CRM and Marketing Automation continues to develop, especially in the SMB space. What we’ve traditionally seen as a solution for sophisticated marketers in the mid-market and enterprise is gradually becoming more prevalent in the SMB end of the market as well. There are still barriers to SMBs utilizing those technologies — such as data aggregation and organization, campaign flow design and mapping — but marketers are finding more solutions available to solve those problems that they can leverage.
Tell us about your recent acquisition of Sailthru and Liveclicker? How do you plan to extend the benefits of your forces to your customers and technology partners?
At CM Group, our goal was to create a true home for marketers of every scale and level of sophistication, and to do this, we needed to find a solution, which would allow us to extend into the enterprise market. Sailthru was ultimately, the right company to bring into our family of brands — including Campaign Monitor, Delivra and Emma — because of its cross-channel platform abilities and best-in-class customer retention rates. From there, we wanted to bring in ancillary technologies, such as Liveclicker, which can help our customers deliver relevant content to subscribers without the complexity of legacy solutions. This also makes it a much more simple and affordable for our customers to have access to this level of technology.
How did you prepare your company for the acquisitions in MarTech?
With the most recent acquisitions, we wanted to take all of our learnings from the first acquisition — with Campaign Monitor, Delivra and Emma — and use them to make a much more seamless process for all our employees. The number one thing on our list was open and honest communication with our entire company and the companies we were acquiring. We also brought on a Chief People Officer, Sharon Strauss, who has led the human element of acquisitions in her previous positions, to ensure our company was excited about the growth of our family of brands.
As a CEO, how would you identify the biggest advantages and challenges in making Mobile CRM technology a staple in modern CMO’s stack?
I think the biggest advantage for organizations using Mobile CRM is not losing valuable time when a prospect or customer is ready to take the next step, as we know business doesn’t just happen between eight and five when we’re in the office. With Mobile CRM, teams can see in real time what needs to happen, no matter where they are or what device they have available at that moment.
The challenges around Mobile CRM include areas like training and support for mobile users, data security and usability of the application. All of these need to be addressed to ensure having a mobile CRM strategy is truly additive to your Marketing and Sales Operations and not simply a “checkbox”.
What role does a B2B Data Management platform play in making these strategies sustainable?
B2B Data Management Platforms (DMP) really help with improving the understanding of the “what”. Mobile CRM strategies will drive the right time, but a DMP really drives the right messaging and channel if executed properly. Deeper knowledge of where a potential buyer is in their process, where they are likely to be found, and what questions they have are foundational to driving a timely and meaningful outreach.
What role does Campaign Monitor play in sales acceleration processes?
Email continues to be the king of ROI when compared to other marketing channels. With this in mind, all of the Email Marketing Platforms (ESPs) in the CM Group are playing an active role in companies’ sales acceleration processes. Email Marketing is capable of helping organizations move consumers through the sales funnel beginning with creating awareness through welcome emails after sign up all the way to their first purchase through the use of nurture campaigns and cart abandonment triggers.
Tell us about your go-to strategies to support rapid growth and the lessons learned through the period of massive shift and transition in 2018.
By assembling a family of brands, we are able to help our clients and prospects find exactly the right solution for their business needs. This means our collective win rates and retention rates are greater than the sum of the individual brands prior to the acquisitions. Each of our brand’s prospects and customers can act very differently in the market, despite the fact the technologies could seem somewhat similar. We have taken lessons learned in channels that worked well for one brand and been able to improve performance in the others. Similarly, we are able to redirect marketing spend towards brands where we see increased growth opportunities.
How do you mentor your Product Marketing and B2B Commerce teams at Campaign Monitor?
Our Product Marketing teams are both a strategic and tactical function at Campaign Monitor. They are as much a part of product as they are marketing. The team is integral in driving learnings from the market back into the product and supporting the release of features and technology with clear messaging and positioning for use in our marketing campaigns and in enabling our sales and revenue organizations.
What does your technology community look like? Who do you meet at events and conferences to discuss technology?
Our tech community is comprised largely of Marketing Automation, Email Marketing and associated technology CRM providers. We’re constantly looking to find better ways to help our customers market more effectively, which we need to learn not only from our own experiences across our multiple businesses, but also from our competitors and partners in the market. We will often meet with potential partners in the acquisition, data management, deliverability, testing and omnichannel spaces at events for this very purpose.
Which Marketing and Sales Automation tools and technologies do you currently use?
For example, we currently use Campaign Monitor, Delivra, Emma and Sailthru as email service providers, as well as Chili Piper and SalesLoft for Sales Automation. All of our brands in the CM Group continue to explore innovative technologies to use and will continue to build out the list, so we are better able to communicate with marketers.
What are your predictions on the most impactful disruptions in Mobile Automation for 2019?
Cross-channel marketing will continue to increase with a focus on mobile marketing, especially as marketers continue to explore omnichannel marketing. This type of marketing would come to life in a situation such as, if you started a travel reservation on your desktop, but don’t end up completing the reservation, the company might send you a ping to the mobile app you have downloaded about inventory becoming low. These types of mobile experiences will begin changing the way consumers expect to be communicated with, especially as more organizations are successfully executing this.
What startups in the technology industry are you watching keenly right now?
There are several that we’re keeping our eyes on, primarily in spaces that we feel like are highly complementary to our current product offerings. If we can identify ways to drive cutting edge solutions into our customer base and really accelerate their evolution as marketers, it’s a win-win for us.
How do you prepare for an AI-centric world as a business leader?
There’s a mindset shift when it comes to leveraging AI and Machine Learning to drive your business. Employees need to be trained in the areas and types of situations where those technologies can really make a difference. Some problems lend themselves so well to AI that firms are at a significant disadvantage if employees can’t identify those opportunities.
Other problems are far less suited for a Machine-Learning solution and a simpler, faster solution can drive a good outcome versus a perfect outcome. This ability to discern is something that we need to hire for, drive into our teams and regularly monitor our progress around, to ensure that we’re using the technology optimally.
How do you inspire your people to work with technology?
We really don’t have to inspire people in our company to work with technology — it’s what they love to do.
One word that best describes how you work.
What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?
What’s your smartest work-related shortcut or productivity hack?
I try hard to control my calendar, schedule email time and spend the first hour of every morning — usually 4:30 am to 5:30 am — preparing for the day.
What are you currently reading? (What do you read, and how do you consume information?)
I’m currently reading Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup. My favorite periodical is The Week magazine because it provides the perspectives of liberal, conservative and moderate press on each issue in order to provide a balanced perspective of major issues.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
I grew up working in a family business, and when I was in 8th grade my dad told me, “Never come to me with a problem without also providing at least one solution.” He was serious about it, too.
Something you do better than others – the secret of your success?
I always encourage others to speak up and create a safe space for them to do so.
Tag the one person (or more) in the industry whose answers to these questions you would love to read:
Peter McCormick, Co-Founder of ExactTarget.
Thank you, Wellford! That was fun and hope to see you back on MarTech Series soon.
Wellford Dillard is the CEO of CM Group. Wellford has more than 15 years of experience in the software industry and held CFO roles at six companies prior to CM Group, including OPower (OPWR: sold to Oracle), GetWellNetwork (sold to Welsh, Carson, Anderson and Stowe), and Social Tables (sold to cVent). Prior to holding senior leadership positions in the software industry, Wellford worked in management consulting, investment banking and equity research. Wellford holds an MBA from the University of Maryland and earned his BA in Finance from the University of Memphis.
Campaign Monitor, a CM Group brand, is a global technology company providing a powerful yet approachable email marketing platform. Founded in 2004, Campaign Monitor’s mission is to provide customers with the tools they need to create meaningful connections with their audiences. Over 250,000 customers worldwide use Campaign Monitor’s easy-to-use design, personalization and automation tools to create and deliver stunning emails that drive real business results.
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.