Hi Doug, Covid is a wrecker. How has it impacted your business?
First and foremost, it has impacted our employees – we are very focused on keeping everyone and their families healthy, and luckily most of the team — whether in the US or Israel – can work remotely, but it has definitely been a stressful time for most.
From a business perspective, the most immediate impact has been on our Marketing plans. In-person events like Adobe Summit, Oracle Modern Customer Experience, SiriusDecisions Summit, and others, are all big events for us to build awareness, have conversations, and develop opportunities.
Now we’ve had to shift to more digital tactics, where there is likely to be a lot of noise. On another front, it’s also created a lot of uncertainty and uneasiness financially. Many companies are delaying any buying decisions or freezing budgets. The business impact is significant.
How do you cope with it?
Well, we think we’re in a pretty good position, and outlook and positivity are key. One of our company values is Agility, so our teams have sprung into action to make adjustments. We think we have a pretty compelling set of solutions to offer B2B companies to help them be more targeted and make the best of a more digital-focused marketing environment. So we’re focusing on how we can get out there and help our customers.
Businesses are suffering heavily due to coronavirus pandemic. Those who have a MarTech stack or Enterprise Automation on the go, may not face the brunt of the business. Do you agree?
Not necessarily. Businesses that are more sophisticated from a technology perspective overall do better, yes. But, just having the stack doesn’t necessarily mean that they’ve got everything they need in place to be data-driven, targeted, and effective. Targeting is key as the digital noise goes up.
Marketers have to be able to separate the signal from the noise, so they have to have intelligence, not just automation. For a long time, we’ve focused just on getting the automation in place, but marketers are realizing that intelligence really makes the difference.
Part of the message that we’re trying to get out there is about some of the easy, quick improvements companies can make to be more ROI-driven, and see better results right now, given some of the pressures, then work toward a bigger transformation over time.
Would this wipe out the chances for start-ups and emerging mid-size/SMBs if Covid continues or another pandemic arrives?
There is a bit of a “risk-off” attitude among investors at the moment. It’s definitely making a difference in terms of investment decisions and plans that companies of all sizes need to make, but especially ones that are not sitting on billions of dollars in cash.
However, smaller companies can often be more nimble and many of our clients are looking for new ways to manage the changes that COVID is driving in the near term. I expect the longer-term impacts that we, and I am sure many other start-ups, see as great business opportunities. For example, Airbnb was founded out of the 2008 financial crisis.
How are you coordinating work management with your CHRO/Peoples Officer and respective Team Leaders?
Having been an Executive at Skype and Salesforce Chatter, I am a huge believer in remote technologies and we have a strong internal culture, rules, and etiquette around how to work remotely. It also helps to have customers such as Zoom, RingCentral, 8×8, and others to learn from their best practices.
However, we have taken this to a whole new level and seeing mostly positives from the experience. That being said, this is a time when people are under a lot of stress, a lot of personal hardships from the stay at home kids, to at-risk families, and companies have not yet totally cracked the nut on the “empathy” side of the equation.
Fortunately, there are a lot of great resources becoming available from remote work guides to homeschooling tools to companies devoting resources to help those who might be less fortunate. It’s pretty amazing to see how everyone has mobilized.
Hear it from the Pro – How do you leverage Marketing tools and technologies to deliver Event Experiences?
We’re partnering on a few fronts to deliver virtual events in the next couple of months. There are robust platforms available for that, and I’m sure there will be some innovation in formats and channels. The key to most events experiences is the Promotion and Marketing you do to draw them to it in the first place. You want the experience, and therefore the promotion, to appeal to the group you’re gathering. So correct and accurate targeting is critical.
In general, we look across three categories of data and signals, which we call P.I.E.: Profile (who they are), Intent (what they’ve shown interest in), and Engagement (how they’ve interacted with our company). To deliver any Marketing experience (event or otherwise), you need to see the whole P.I.E. and use that data to target and personalize.
Sixth sense: The Future of Event Marketing- Your take on the reengineering of Customer relationships models based on AI, CDPs, Voice, bots and numerous other tech applications!
I am a strong believer in the fact that data and AI will have a dramatic effect on customer interactions. It’s a key reason I joined Leadspace from Salesforce, going from a Process Automation company to an AI company. At the moment some of the companies using AI (like Conversica and Drift) are just seeing interest and relevance as new channels. But unless they become intelligent ones, they risk being more like Siri (an expensive box to play music from the Cloud) than Google search.
However, as we go through this transformation, it is critical to focus on the benefit for the user, not the company, as this is what will really drive adoption. I think we’re still a ways off from an inflection point, as people focus on how to prioritize interactions vs. tailor the best one for the audience.
Of course, we think a Customer Data Platform (CDP) can play a central role in unifying data and insights, applying AI, and powering orchestration of experiences across channels. We think it’s most effective to have a single source of truth that tells the bots, sales teams, website, email platform, etc. which company and person to target with which message, and when. Those consistent, coordinated experiences will make events (virtual or in-person) better and more successful for brands.
What are your thoughts and experiences with GDPR, CCPA, and other data privacy regulations? How do consumer data privacy laws affect your business?
The data privacy regulations have all been positive steps. We’ve always had a high standard for privacy and security, mostly because the companies we work with are some of the largest and most well-known B2B companies on the planet, and they demand it. It will dissuade some bad actors, and reward those doing things the right way.
In B2B, because company data is an important piece of the puzzle, we don’t come up against as many privacy concerns. Most information about companies is public. But we’ve taken steps to ensure that we’re abiding by all the regulations and that our partners agree to do the same.
Which superhuman character/literature icon do you readily connect with in life-
Danger Mouse (the original).
A unique message for all young professionals in the tech business –
When I was CMO at Salesforce, I remember taking a trip back to London and being amazed that no one there knew who Salesforce.com was or even really why it existed. This was a good reality check. I think in tech it is easy to get wrapped up in our own world, seeing everything very myopically and through data.
I would encourage everyone to get out, meet their real audience and soon-to-be audience, and learn from them.
Tag a person in the industry whose answers you would like to read here:
Henry Schuck (from Zoominfo) who has built a powerhouse company.
Thank you, Doug! That was fun and hope to see you back on MarTech Series soon.
Doug Bewsheris CEO at Leadspace, the first B2B audience management platform. Prior to Leadspace, he was CMO at Salesforce.com where he launched Salesforce Communities and Chatterbox and supported the incredible growth of the enterprise Cloud computing leader.
Before Salesforce.com, he served as CMO at Skype, growing the company to 750 million users and third of all international communications through the acquisition by Microsoft, and co-led McKinsey’s North American CRM practice through the dot.com boom and bust.
Leadspace helps companies take back control of their marketing and sales data with our leading intelligent B2B Customer Data Platform.
We help customers get healthy, with the most robust and open B2B data engine in the industry. We help them get smart, applying a deep and unique understanding of B2B personas for more effective scoring, targeting, and insights. Then, we help them get busy, by activating that enhanced intelligence in real-time across sales and marketing systems.
Ultimately, we enable B2B sales and marketing teams to do more effective and high-performing inbound, outbound, and ABM efforts that drive revenue.
Based in San Francisco, Austin and Israel, Leadspace is trusted by more than 200 B2B brands and 8 of the 10 largest enterprise software companies, including Microsoft, Oracle, SAP, HP Enterprise, Salesforce, and many more.