In her book No Forms. No Spam. No Cold Calls, Latané Conant shares a recipe for revolutionary transformation of B2B marketing and sales. During a recent trip to London, she discussed the inspiration for the book with Nocola Anderson, CMO at MyTutor.
In her book No Forms. No Spam. No Cold Calls, 6sense CMO Latané Conant shares the recipe for a revolutionary transformation of B2B marketing and sales. During a recent trip to London, she discussed the inspiration for the book with Nicola Anderson, CMO at MyTutor.
Here are some of the highlights of their conversation:
Nicola: So Latané, what drove you to write this book in the first place?
Latané: When I joined 6sense, I was thrown into this new wild world of MarTech and sales tech. I came from a company whose sole mission was customer experience. I started looking at sales tech and marketing tech and I thought, “something’s not right.”
We treat prospects — who are actually future customers — like dirt. They want to learn from us, so we gate our content and put up a form, which is ridiculous. We send seven billion emails a day and no one’s paying attention. And whenever someone cold-calls me, they spoof my area code and I think it’s my kid’s school calling. Why would we want to put anyone through that experience?
I was having an offsite and I walked in, and I was all excited. I’m like, “We’re going to change everything. We’re going to put customers in the center. We’re going to create an experience with no forms, no spam, no cold calls.”
One lady started crying. She thought I was crazy!
Nicola: What results are you seeing?
Latané: We started studying our customers, looking across hundreds of quarters’ worth of data. Companies like Sage and Zendesk are seeing two times bigger ASPs from the approach. That’s what the board cares about: 20% better conversions, and 30% faster cycle times.
Nicola: What have been some of the challenges?
Latané: If you go to any sales forecast meeting, there’s an angry manager talking to a rep about a deal. They’re asking, “Why are you only talking to one person? This is a single-threaded deal. There’s no way this deal is going to close. You’re only talking to one person.”
In marketing, we haven’t had that mentality. Again, it goes back to this form, spam, cold call approach. The form is filled, we declare it an MQL, and we throw it over to sales.
The reality is the longer a sales cycle progresses, the harder it is to multithread. What I talk about in the book is making sure to multithread from the beginning. Even if a lead comes inbound from a form-fill or demo request, we follow up with that person and two additional people — so we need three contacts before it’s qualified.
When we see a qualified account that hasn’t yet filled out a form, we also multithread and reach out to at least three contacts. Doing this early is significantly helps our win rates and the quality of the pipeline.
Nicola: You published the second edition of the book before the economic downturn. If you were going to write it now, is there anything you would do differently?
Latané: In the last five years, we’ve seen extreme opulence. You could afford to have some waste in your marketing or in your sales processes. You didn’t have to be laser-focused on the right accounts and contacts. Now, more than ever, this notion of focus — which is really actually the core of what I talk about in the book — is critical.
Nicola: The book is very much focused around ABM for sales and marketing with more of an enterprise focus. Do you think there’s still value for customers focused on other audiences?
Latané: Absolutely. ABM to me is just as much who you proactively go after as who you don’t go after.
The only resource account executives have is their time, and so our job as leaders is to make sure that every salesperson is using their time wisely. When they’re drinking from the fire hose, we’re not helping them focus and use their time wisely.
What we do with SMBs is overlay scores to be able to say, “These are the most likely to win — spend more time on these. These are not as likely to win.”
That doesn’t mean we still don’t have an experience for lower-scoring accounts, but it might not be as high-touch. It could be a bot. We’re doing a lot with bots that carry on a conversation to qualify some accounts a little more before they go to sales.
Nicola: You talk a lot about the benefits of AI in your tech stack. Can you tell us about that and how it’s going to transform marketing and sales in the future?
Latané: When you use AI, you have a lot more computational power and can look at a lot more data sets. You go from guessing to knowing, and knowing with statistical accuracy.
That matters a lot, especially when you think about sales and marketing alignment, because we all have the same objective, but a lot of times our opinions or notions get in the way.
When everyone knows and trusts the data, it’s a new level of alignment. We’re focused on fixing the problem that we know is the right one, versus debating, “Where’s the problem? I don’t know. My data says this; your data says that.”
Latané shares much more in the conversation. Watch the entire interview here.
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