Seasoned SaaS marketing veteran, Lauren Vaccarello joined us for a chat to talk about her new role as CMO at Salesloft and the shifting face of B2B marketing:
Welcome to this MarTech Series chat, Lauren, good to have you here! It must be exciting taking over as Salesloft’s new CMO; we’d love to hear more about your journey and how this eventually led to your current role as CMO at Salesloft!
Most people know me as a SaaS marketing executive which makes sense. I’ve held several marketing leadership roles in high growth B2B tech brands. I most recently was the CMO at Talend. Before that I was a marketing executive at Box, AdRoll, and Salesforce. I’m also currently on the board of two SaaS companies, Thryv and SalesHood.
Not many people know that I actually started my career in a role as a sales development rep. The role wasn’t actually called an “SDR” at the time, but that’s what it was. I had to pick up the phone and cold-call leads. I was prospecting and selling. It was a hard job, but it was the perfect jumping off role for me. My time in sales gave me unique insights into what it’s like to be a seller and how important sellers are to the business.
Joining Salesloft has really brought me full circle. I see how Salesloft would have completely changed my life back then. I know firsthand how much better and how much easier it would have been to do my job – and to be great at it – if I’d had access to a sales engagement platform like Salesloft. It’s exciting that, by being part of Salesloft now, I get to help today’s sellers be great at their jobs and win more deals.
Overall, the market opportunity for Salesloft is enormous. It’s a platform every single company can benefit from. The impact I’ve seen Salesloft have on its customers is just so impressive. There are countless endorsements from users and customers that speak to the positive impact our technology has had on sales outcomes and revenue growth. I want to be part of keeping the customer love going!
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If you had to redefine the role of the CMO given today’s marketing and market dynamics: how would you say it? What does it take today to be an all-round CMO in terms of must-have skills?
The job of a CMO is ultimately to drive growth. I think that means different things for different companies at different stages. But no matter what growth stage your company is at, it boils down to understanding your market and the market opportunity, and evaluating which marketing levers you should pull to enable short-term success while building toward the company’s long-term vision and goals.
Sales teams have targets to hit today. And yes, Marketing needs to support revenue right now. But we also have to ensure Sales has what it needs to hit revenue for the next two quarters, the rest of the year, and the years to come. I think a big part of being able to do that is about the brand. What makes you unique and valuable to your market? What makes you, you? And how do you articulate that in the market? In terms of enabling your sales team for the long term, building brand awareness and brand affinity is essential to creating demand, increasing sales opportunities, and making sales conversations easier because your prospects already know who you are.
The role of a CMO today is about thinking ahead. What do we think the world will look like in five years? What do we believe it should look like? What role will we play? How do we shape the future so our team can sell and support customers? From product marketing to SEO, Marketing is building the future of the company. We just happen to be delivering it today, too.
It’s an exciting time to be in marketing, what immediate thoughts do you have on the state of marketing and martech through 2022; how do you feel the industry is set to change and shift as businesses get back to a semblance of pre-Covid pace and activity?
The world right now is just a constant sea of change…I don’t even know if there is such a thing as returning to pre-Covid times. It has forever changed how we work, how we sell, how we connect. Even the world we live in today looks different than the world did six months ago. Our economy is in a different place and a lot of businesses are having to react to that now. I can’t look at my team’s marketing priorities without thinking about the global economic climate.
It reminds me a lot of where Marketing started to shift during the global financial crisis in ‘08. Marketers had to get a lot smarter and better at their craft. We had to get laser-focused on understanding what was working and what wasn’t. For me personally, this adverse period led to the biggest growth opportunities in my career because I was forced to be excellent at what I did.
This is an interesting moment in time indeed. I see a big consolidation in the tech stack because of the economy. A lot of marketing and revenue leaders are reviewing their stacks and looking at what’s driving impact and what they can cut. I expect to see more businesses looking for comprehensive solutions that can offer them more capabilities inside one platform versus bloated tech stacks with a lot of single-point solutions that over-promise, under-deliver, don’t work well together, and their teams won’t use.
It’s one of the reasons I’m so excited about Salesloft. Because Salesloft has everything revenue teams need all in one place, it drives a great deal of efficiency into a customer’s business while optimizing their performance and outcomes.
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Five things you’d change about B2B marketing if you could…?
- B2B marketing is not lead gen. It’s building awareness and brand affinity, it’s educating the market, it’s creating demand, and yes, it’s lead generation. But too often the value of marketing gets reduced to leads and conversion metrics, and that’s not true marketing.
- B2B marketing should be more strategic and integrated across all the different marketing disciplines. I like to think of Marketing as a wheel. The individual spokes on that wheel represent different functional areas of Marketing – brand, demand gen, product marketing, comms, creative, marketing ops, etc. And just like the spokes on a wheel make that wheel stronger, when the functional areas of Marketing work together, then Marketing does what it’s supposed to do and propels the business forward. I’d want more marketers to get out of the mindset of “I’m a product marketer” or “I’m a content marketer” and combine forces to really put the power of integrated marketing to work.
- B2B companies should take more cues from B2C companies when it comes to their marketing. B2B buyers are still people, right? I think B2B marketers sometimes forget that. B2C companies are great at making an emotional connection with their buyers. We need more of that in B2B.
- B2B marketing does not have to be boring. I’m going to say it louder for the cheap seats in the back. B2B MARKETING DOES NOT HAVE TO BE BORING. B2B brands are allowed to have a personality.
- I’d love for the perception of Marketing in B2B organizations to change. Marketing is not just tactics and execution. It’s a strategic business function that is critical to the growth of your business.
Some last thoughts, takeaways, before we wrap up!
One of the most fulfilling parts of being a CMO is the leadership aspect. How we lead teams and get to shape the environment and culture of the organization is exciting.
Joining Salesloft has been such a privilege. It’s incredible walking into a place with a really authentic and unique culture. It’s up to us as leaders to not only join the environments that we want to join, but to create and build the best possible environments for our teams.
We get the best results from our people when we can create an environment for people where they believe in the mission, they align with the values, they wake up excited to do their work, they feel empowered, they have the autonomy to do something great, and they believe in what they’re doing. They will choose to give you their discretionary time. They will come in and work better and harder. They will be more excited and they’ll deliver better work. None of us ever have as much headcount as we want or need. But our teams will give us their best if we can create an environment where they feel aligned with the company’s vision and values every day.
Salesloft is the provider of the leading sales engagement platform that helps sellers and sales teams drive more revenue. The Modern Revenue Workspace™ by Salesloft is the one place for sellers to execute all of their digital selling tasks, communicate with buyers, understand what to do next, and get the coaching and insights they need to win. Thousands of the world’s most successful sales teams, like those at IBM, Shopify, Square, and Cisco, drive more revenue with Salesloft. For more information visit salesloft.com.
Lauren Vaccarello is the Chief Marketing Officer at Salesloft. She is an award-winning marketing leader with a track record of accelerating revenue growth and scaling some of the most well-known brands in the B2B SaaS market. She has a robust background in brand strategy, digital marketing, demand generation, and international expansion. At Salesloft, Lauren leads the team devoted to making Salesloft the most recognizable brand in sales technology. Lauren earned her Bachelor’s in Marketing from Emerson College, and she currently serves on the board of directors for Thryv and SalesHood.
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