MarTech Interview with Andrea Lechner-Becker, CMO at LeadMD

Andrea Lechner - Becker, CMO, LeadMD

“Technology empowers marketing strategy and too many people are without the planning and process skill sets to make the tech actually work.”

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Tell us about your role at LeadMD.

I’m CMO in the title and a one-woman Marketing team in practice.

How have Marketing methodologies evolved since 2014?

It’s probably the writer in me that cares about the use of the word methodology here, but what is a methodology? Is it strategy or the execution of that strategy? If we’re talking about strategy, frankly, there are no new ideas. The old adage of the right message to the right person at the right time will always fundamentally persist. How you execute that though? That changes constantly and it’s primarily tech-driven, for better or worse.

What is the current state of Sales and Marketing? How does LeadMD deliver on its ROI promises?

The current state of Sales and Marketing varies widely depending on leadership within the organization. What we see is that organizations with really strong leaders in Marketing or Sales (and ideally both of course) have great alignment. Without those leaders, everything is a hot mess. So many executives want to solve misalignment with a framework or a new platform, but we find the best and quickest way is through hiring a leadership team that’s already had success and “gets” it.

LeadMD is able to impact ROI for our customers due to the sheer number of clients we’ve seen over the years and our transparent core value. The opinion that it might not be the right time for a company to purchase that Marketing Automation tool or data provider or ABM Enablement tool isn’t always popular, but we owe it to our customers, to be honest about it. We’ve seen companies mess it up enough to learn and advise the right way to onboard people, process and technology. We fulfill the promises that MarTech makes for our customers because we’ve been there, done that and have created scale in our implementation.

Which geographies are you targeting (DACH, EMEA, APAC, etc.) over the next five years and why?

All our targets have a US presence. Frankly, there is so much business in the US for the work we do that in the next five years, we’re more focused on working with laggard industries with Digital Transformation than we are focused on working within other countries.

In which industry vertical (Enterprise, start-ups, SMBs, etc.) does your product find the most acceptance? Why do you think this is so?

We’re a high-value kind of agency. We aren’t cheap and so small businesses (under $50MM in annual revenue) typically find us “expensive.” Mid-market, $50MM – $1B in revenue, is typically our sweet spot — that’s a big sweet spot! These companies are typically growing quickly and looking to scale their teams with our experience.

We’re also seeing a growing number of enterprise companies with laggard areas of the business, where they’re steadily losing market share and realize they have to dramatically change the way they’re selling. We love those projects, which start at product and reinvigorate the Marketing and Sales go-to-market strategy.

How can your platform be leveraged for both Sales and Marketing?

We’re a services business, so… it’s impossible to work with Marketing leaving out Sales. Marketing is just Sales en masse. So, everything from the value proposition to the buyers to the explicit messaging needs to essentially be Marketing scaling the best Sales rep. We can’t do that without talking to Sales. I will say many of our clients are surprised by our insistence on talking to Sales, but to the point above about Marketing and Sales leadership, that’s our cue that we need to work on the people part of the equation.

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

I’m a Marketo fan girl. I have been for over seven years. We use it internally, though, for our clients, we’re always exploring options. Frankly, I wish Salesforce’s acquisitions of Pardot and Exact Target were better integrated with their flagship CRM, but each time I look at those products, they continue to disappoint me.

Then, in terms of Sales Automation, we’re currently using PersistIQ. Primarily, due to a relationship with a previous employee, but we’re exploring SalesLoft. We also love what Engagio is doing and they recently updated their playbook functions for automated Sales messaging… so, we’ll see. We are far less secure in those tech functions.

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

I would love to see a disruption in Marketing education. MarTech companies love to tout the simplicity and ease of their platforms, but that often leaves the Marketing out of the tech. Technology empowers Marketing strategy and too many people are without the planning and process skill sets to make the tech actually work. I’ve been using this example to illustrate the issue in MarTech recently: We implemented Drift in a week. It’s a very easy setup process and something I wrote about, but, after I set it up, I spent no less than five hours a week in the platform, looking at chat, optimizing our messaging and setting up bots.

We implemented quickly, but we are optimizing slowly. People rarely talk about this. People never train for this. The process by which more marketers educate themselves is through mentorship, peers or conferences. That’s got to change and I hope MarTech companies will begin investing in the education that helps Marketing leaders understand what their people need, instead of just teaching people about the features and benefits of their products.

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

Drift. I love everything about them. I’m also obsessed with Databox.

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

Meh. I’m a little cold on the promises of AI. Robots don’t buy things; people do. I sometimes think marketers are too quick to sit behind their computers and spend on tech instead of just getting out and actually shaking the hands and looking into the eyes of their customers or future customers. The best marketers I know are that way because they have a deep understanding of their buyers. The idea of a persona is that the person has a name and personality. You should be able to talk about what “Jim” wants from your product or service.

How do you inspire your people to work with technology?

LeadMD is a tech-first company. We have enterprise software at a small company. So, this inspiration is not required.

One word that best describes how you work?

Uh… curiously? My drive inspiration is curiosity. I’ve always been a natural consultant because I love to ask why. To my previous point about understanding the buyer, I want to understand why people do what they do. Why they think certain things. Why they buy certain products. That why isn’t just at the surface, there’s always something deeper. I want to understand it. I’m also a novelist in my spare time and understanding the motivations of people is core to writing great characters.

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

Slack. Outlook (down with Gmail). Photoshop. Salesforce. WordPress. Marketo.

What are you currently reading?

“Measure What Matters” (LeadMD book club) and “A Separate Peace.” As a writer, I love Goodreads and keep my profile updated.

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

“You’re the boss applesauce” – Justin Gray. When he first promoted me to VP of Marketing Services in 2012. I was 27 and asking for permission a lot. With that little statement, I knew I had his support and took ownership of my world.

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

Gene De Libero. He’s Sitecore’s customer Marketing person and he’s always talking about things in a new, unique way.

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

Experienced Marketing and Sales Executive with a demonstrated history of working in the marketing and advertising industry. Skilled in Business Process, Marketo, Sales, Customer Relationship Management (CRM), and IT Service Management. Strong business development professional graduated from University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.

leadmd logoLaunched in 2009, LeadMD is a modern marketing firm focused on aligning people, process, and technology to create predictable and sustainable revenue operations for high growth brands. The LeadMD team empowers marketers to create business impact by regularly challenging industry norms and reshaping the role that marketing plays today. LeadMD has helped thousands of marketing and sales teams improve and deliver value through strategy, technology, education and repeatable, proven tactics that work.

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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.