Chief Marketing Officer, ON24
MTS: What attracts you to Dreamforce 2017? Who are you following at the event?
Joe: Any CMO who says he isn’t thinking about making their sales counterpart happy should probably start sending out their resume. But, when you look at most marketing events and content, it’s completely lacking the sales perspective. That’s why I think Dreamforce is so valuable — it’s one of the few events that brings together marketing and sales for discussions on strategies and tactics. I’m most interested in following those conversations and figuring out how my CMO and CRO peers are partnering across their organizations. Since Salesforce has essentially dedicated their entire business to bringing sales and marketing together, I’m interested in hearing from their own CMO Simon Mulcahy and his strategy to tie engagement to revenue.
MTS: What are your expectations from the event and how do you intend to share your experiences with your colleagues and the community?
Joe: Well, any stage with Michelle Obama standing on it is going to impress. Not to mention the anticipation of seeing what sneakers Marc Benioff decides to wear! In all seriousness, there’s more meaning here than just putting on an entertaining show. I think a lot of what I’m after at Dreamforce is inspiration and getting outside the traditional B2B box. Salesforce thinks BIG and they deserve a ton of credit for making a SaaS user conference into a must-attend event.
And, Dreamforce also creates a week full of brilliant marketing from their ecosystem on full display. I love seeing all the experimentation and fresh thinking from others in our space, so one thing I find both fun and productive is to ask my team to share their best Dreamforce “marketing moments.” Then, we keep them on file as a catalogue for new marketing campaign ideas and as a source to highlight stand-out marketers across our social channels and blog. One example that’s top of mind is an event by the event marketing tech company, Splash, that’s at SoulCycle — they have me and other execs lined up to host a spin class for their customers and prospects. Totally different approach from the typical happy hour that will stick out in people’s minds.
MTS: With an event like Dreamforce, how does Salesforce enable business leaders to bridge the data gap?
Joe: Let’s be honest, far too often, customer data sits in organizational silos and sales is left clueless why marketing thought a prospect was ready to talk to them. The clearer the view that sales has of a prospect’s history, the better they can use those insights to jump start meaningful sales conversations and prioritize their hottest leads.
What Salesforce does at Dreamforce is hammer home the idea of a single view of the customer. It’s ambitious for sure, but the openness and developer-friendly perspective Salesforce has makes it seem possible to one day have all customer data in one place. For us at ON24, we’re focused on how we integrate more and more of our data directly into Salesforce to help get closer to that goal.
MTS: What marketing technologies are you keen to explore at this event?
Joe: Dreamforce is a perfect place to find new ways to make salespeople’s jobs easier and make them think of marketing as a hero. Technologies like Seismic, a data asset management (DAM) platform, give our sales team a single, searchable location to find content. A DAM may not be the most groundbreaking idea, but it will get used by our sales team every day. So, I’m looking at the technologies that help sales self-service the marketing support they need at the pace they need it.
Another technology that may get us closer to that goal is Splash. Their platform makes it possible for sales to pretty much take an event invite template and run with their own field marketing event. In the same line of thinking, Vidyard is another solution on our radar because it will enable our sales team to create their own videos in real-time.
I love the idea of being able to grow pipeline and accelerate deals by simply giving our people the best tools. Having that mindset means you’re investing in technology for your people’s sake, not just because it’s the latest trend, and ensures there’s an immediate return.
Recommended Read: Interview with Sharat Sharan, President, Co-Founder & CEO at ON24
MTS: Do you think event organizers are yet to better leverage webinar marketing tools to drive higher ROI?
Joe: Well, I can’t speak for the organizers, but without a doubt, there are certainly more marketers who have yet to tap the existing webinar and live streaming tools and solutions that are integrated with leading CRM and marketing automation platforms. That’s part of what ON24 brings to marketers – the ability to optimize demand generation, enhance lead qualification and accelerate opportunities in their sales pipelines.
MTS: What would be your message to the Dreamforce 2017 attendees?
Joe: We’re all looking for efficiencies, and that’s great. Who doesn’t want to engage hundreds and thousands of prospects with the click of a button? But let’s not lose sight that for all the advanced technologies any vendor launches, marketing is still in a human-to-human business. After all, we are engaging with people, not machines, and we need to make sure we don’t lose sight of the individual on the other side of our marketing.
MTS: Thanks for chatting with us, Joe.
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