MarTech Interview with Dennis Fois, CEO at Copper

Should the eventual death of third-party cookies serve as a catalyst in the future to B2B marketers? Dennis Fois, CEO at Copper dives deeper in this quick chat:

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Welcome to this MarTech Series chat, Dennis. Take us through your journey so far? We’d love to hear about your role as CEO at Copper, the key highlights! 

Thanks for having me! As CEO of Copper, the primary focus of my role is directing and driving the overall business strategy of the company. This includes identifying gaps in the market and exploring the ways in which we can best position ourselves as an alternative to the dozens of existing CRM vendors available today. 

Currently I’m spending a lot of time thinking about the fact that the “relationship” part of most CRMs simply doesn’t exist. CRMs are glorified databases designed to store and organize information. But they don’t help you grow; they don’t help you build the critical relationships that will drive your business forward. It’s a huge gap, and the space where I think Copper can really lead the market.

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We’d love to hear a few of the top takeaways from Copper’s latest Marketing and Sales Relationships Survey?

In this vein of relationship-building, we were curious to see what happened throughout the pandemic when business professionals had to swiftly pivot to fully remote work. While we were pleased to see that 52% of respondents were able to find new or alternative ways to build and grow relationships during this time period, that leaves 48% who didn’t. That was a surprise to us. Why didn’t they or couldn’t they? And what did they change as a result?

When we looked closer, we saw that marketers who relied too heavily on cold email during the pandemic performed worse in their abilities to grow or sustain relationships. We believe cold email as a tactic has significantly weakened in 2020. However, 63% saw the same or worse responses with cold emails through 2020. When you look at companies like Merrill Lynch – who are banning cold calls – you start to realize that the “spray and pray” approach to lead generation is failing, and the inefficiency has been accelerated by the pandemic. 

Despite these results, business professionals are incredibly optimistic right now. Eighty-eight percent of survey respondents think their business revenue in 2022 will be stronger than in 2019, and 73% said that they expect to increase the size of their sales and marketing teams in the coming year. 2020 was certainly a challenging year for all, but it’s great to see that by 2022 we will not only have recovered, but we’ll arrive back at a period of growth, to boot. 

In what ways do you feel marketing and sales teams need to optimize the growing disconnect between them and what martech-salestech should they be using to narrow this gap?

Great question! Our CMO, Carrie Shaw, recently wrote a post on Sales/Marketing alignment after we did a separate survey specifically on this topic. The survey identified that nearly half of all teams aren’t aligned. And teams that aren’t aligned see less revenue growth, which is a very important finding. 

In terms of what teams need to do: 

1) Align on north-star metrics; Marketing doesn’t need to own the MQL and Sales the SQL. This approach can be too siloed. Push the marketing KPIs as down funnel as you can. 

2) Watch for win rates that are too high; it usually means the tech stack is failing you. Leads aren’t being converted and opportunities are being manually created too late in the buyer’s journey. The discrepancies impact data fidelity and forecasting and hurt the business. 

3) Explore the notion of a centralized revenue-operations function. This function is responsible for the full martech/salestech/successtech stack and all of the analytics that must be derived from it. It exists as a shared group that serves all three functions and helps to ensure alignment and cross-functional cooperation. 

Finally, 4) Marketing and Sales need to recognize that they’re in service of each other and they need to build trust and empathy in one another. The idea may sound “soft,” but it’s the best determinant of alignment — which the survey shows, once again, grows revenue.

As far as the stack is concerned, it depends on the size of your business and the tools you use. But we do see common patterns: You need a tool to communicate outward, with customers and prospects. These tools range in complexity, from full marketing automation solutions like Marketo (which comes with a steep learning curve) to simpler email solutions like Mailchimp (which is less functional but easy to use). 

You’ll need some way to capture leads and pass them over to sales; marketing automation solutions have this functionality but there are simpler and cheaper solutions out there for smaller firms. Evidently you need a CRM, and this should be the heart and lungs of the marketing/sales funnel. Your CRM needs to easily show pipeline generation, sales performance, productivity and conversion rates so you can measure the success of both marketing and sales. You need a way to tie your systems together; this will be accomplished either via API connectors or third-party tools like Zapier. That’s probably your minimum stack, but I could go on for hours about this!

A few comments on the fast-approaching post cookie marketing world, what do you feel marketing should think about when planning strategies in this environment?

With Google soon sunsetting third-party cookies, 51% of survey respondents believe no longer having access to this data will impact their marketing plans, and a further 13% believe they’ll have to completely overhaul their marketing strategy. Google recently pushed that date out to 2023, and that should give people plenty of time to prepare. But they do have to prepare.

While the death of third-party cookies can make marketers panic that they’ll no longer be able to personalize their messaging to fit individual customers, it can also serve as a catalyst for what should be a new beginning. Marketers can now focus on capturing more first party data, where prospects have consented to share data (and receive communications) and have those systems in place in time for the retirement of third-party cookies. There’s also a lot they can do with anonymous data (without sending cold emails!) that may be less targeted but still beneficial. But truly, everyone should get back to basics, focus on building quality relationships and serving them in perpetuity.

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In what ways do you feel CRM platforms will evolve in future as marketing and sales needs evolve?

Currently, most CRMs are focused on optimizing for scale and high-volume transactions. They need to shift to focus on organizing, connecting and growing meaningful relationships. 

CRMs need to go back to basics and focus on relationship building, rather than just serve as a means to deliver messaging en masse. The business paradigm has shifted from a seller-led to journey to a journey led by the buyer, and the tools marketers use need to match this shift. Rather than just stepping in as a massive data dump, CRMs should help to make sense of the data collected and deliver useful insights for marketers. Current CRMs lead marketers to adopt a “cookie cutter” approach to their strategy, but with the right tweaks, teams can use the meaningful insights they pull from their CRMs to get back to basics and focus 80% of their time on building and improving upon relationships with existing customers, and the remaining 20% to introduce themselves to prospects and begin to cultivate those relationships.

A few last thoughts and takeaways for marketing leaders and CEOs/CMOs to keep in mind through 2021?

Investing in relationship-building pays off. A two-year study by Motista revealed that customers with an emotional connection to the company have a 306% greater lifetime value, stay with the brand longer, and are far more likely to recommend that brand to their peers. Before the pandemic, we’d gotten to this “scale-at-all-costs” place where we were all playing the numbers and not focusing on individuals. The pandemic changed not just the global economy, but specifically how businesses interact with customers and prospects. It’s great to see that people have spent the last year developing new relationships, but as the world opens back up and we soon return to face-to-face interactions, it’s important to continue building upon these relationships in a meaningful way. Companies need to understand that cold-emailing and spray-and-pray outreach is dying, if not already dead. They need to focus on building the meaningful relationships throughout a very buyer-centric journey that will have a long-lasting impact on the business. If they don’t, they’ll encounter dry pipelines and lose customers to others who do.

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Copper is a Google-recommended CRM for Google Workspace users, loved by over 25,000+ businesses globally. Designed for businesses that drive lasting revenue through strong relationships, Copper functions seamlessly in the background so customers can spend time on what matters: people. Headquartered in San Francisco with offices in Toronto, the company has raised $100M in venture capital financing to date.

Dennis Fois is the CEO at Copper

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