Tech Marketer Talks: Ashlea Marrow, Websense
Ashlea Marrow is a Field Marketing Specialist with Websense, Inc. As a member of the field marketing team, Ashlea shares her inside perspective on what she and her team are doing to get their sales and marketing more tightly aligned, and best practices they’ve adopted to become a more intelligence-driven marketing organization.
Can you tell me a little about yourself, your background, and role at Websense?
Websense, Inc. is a global leader in protecting organizations from the latest cyber attacks and data theft. It provides comprehensive security solutions that unify web security, email security, mobile security and data loss prevention. I am part of the Field Marketing organization and handle all demand generation programs including lead generation and online display advertising. Our team supports Enterprise, Mid-Market, and SMB across multiple regions in North America and we primarily support our direct sales teams.
Are you focused on programs/lead generation and sales enablement beyond the U.S.?
My team’s focus is North America, but we do have International offices and marketing that is done locally which has been geared mostly toward F2F event activities versus online. More recently however, the UK heard about the Qualified Sales Opportunities service we were running in North America and the results we were getting, so they wanted to try it out in the EMEA region as well.
As a marketer at Websense, can you speak to which practices you’re engaging in to help drive tighter sales and marketing alignment?
Over time, for the last 5 years actually, we’ve been working on more effective ways to get sales more involved and “bought into” the marketing programs we’re running and leads we’re delivering. It really gets down to better communications. We sit down with our sales teams to make them aware first and foremost about the programs we’re running and who we’re targeting so they have more intelligence on the leads coming in and can follow up in a more relevant way.
What role would you say intelligence has in your marketing? (i.e. data analytics, nurturing, lead follow-up, sales enablement)
In the past, our programs and campaigns have traditionally been silo’d, and a lot harder to track and measure. My team’s charter has been to make our marketing more integrated and build an infrastructure and systems that would allow us to apply better marketing practices over time. About two years ago, we implemented a marketing automation system – Marketo – to work with our CRM (Salesforce.com), to leverage data more consistently. Since then, we’ve been ramping up, collecting lead information to establish a lead nurturing framework. It’s enabled us to take a more holistic view of activities leads are engaging in and helps to make more productive engagements for our sales teams during follow up. Furthermore, by assigning campaign attributions, we can track which ones move to opportunity stage 2 (a key lead milestone we’re measured on) and help validates marketing’s impact on sales pipeline. We also run TechTarget’s Qualified Sales Opportunities service in parallel to all this. This way we can provide sales with specific active opportunities that are now in play, so they can be working those as we continue to nurture ones we have in our funnel.
Since using the IT Deal Alertâ„¢: Qualified Opportunities service, how has it helped prompt better alignment between your sales and marketing teams?
With Qualified Sales Opportunities, we can share intelligence on specific segments with sales and regularly meet with Sales Directors and debrief on what the programs are, the value TechTarget has provided with each opportunity, and how to use it to help win business. From there, we sit down with individual reps so they can understand what they’re each getting and use the data more efficiently. It’s helping us bridge the gap and make our teams more tightly aligned. After-all, we are all invested in the same outcome of closing more business.
How has Qualified Sales Opportunities helped you take a more account-based approach and be more strategic?
This service has helped me be a better marketer. There is definitely a lot more information for sales to be more actionable on. So in terms of sales follow up and the tools marketing can provide, it makes all that far more powerful. In many cases, it enables marketers and sales to take a more strategic account-based approach and not just treat these opportunities as one-off individual leads. Over time, my goal was to also work with regional marketing managers so they could compare what we are getting with each opportunity to those they want to target and reach so they too can fully leverage this information.
Our sales team agrees that the level of intelligence we’re getting with Qualified Sales Opportunities is far superior to what they’ve seen with past campaigns. Our veteran sales teams in particular, understand the value of the intelligence qualified sales opportunities provide whether they’re brand new or existing ones they’ve been working on. More so than our newer reps, they understand they’re getting added insights on accounts for ex: the types of content topics being consumed, who the account is viewing competitively, what additional pain points are going on, etc. This information, on top of what they have researched on their own, allows them to determine a more effective and strategic plan of attack.
Can you share any results you are seeing since using the Qualified Sales Opportunities service?
Since using this service, we’ve tracked $1.54M of net new pipeline that Qualified Sales Opportunities has directly impacted. Additionally, we’ve tracked $2.34M of marketing influenced opportunities – meaning ones already in our existing pipeline that Qualified Sales Opportunities has had some role in influencing by providing additional information and contacts to add to the conversation.
We are seeing a real difference across the board with this service. It has helped us fine-tune our operations, align our marketing and sales teams, and to make sure we’re maximizing our investment to the fullest extent.
As it relates to your overall marketing objectives, what key criteria do you look for in a media partner?
We look for a partner who understands our business, our goals, and our market space and the specific goals we need to achieve. We also want to work with a partner who has the ability to reach the type of IT buyers in our specific Security space and that can be fully integrated regardless of the programs we are running. TechTarget has been one of those partners that provides all those benefits and beyond which is why we continue to work with them time and time again.
What do you value most in your TechTarget partnership?
TechTarget is extremely innovative. We have worked together over 4 years initially doing demand gen initiatives such as ISM sponsorships, Virtual Tradeshows, and webinar programs. TechTarget has always been included in our media plan no matter what. The people are amazing and the account team is super knowledgeable, attentive, and interested in putting integrated programs in front of us that make sense for our business and budget. Time and again, the quality of TechTarget services, solutions, and its IT audience truly sets them apart.
Tech Marketer Talks is an ongoing feature on Mktr2Mktr where we sit down with technology marketers and industry experts to explore their initiatives, outlook, and approach to marketing.