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Finding Alignment Between Vision, Perception and Business Needs Using Data with Kevin Tate, CMO of Clearbit

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On the show we hear over and over again that marketing and sales need to find alignment and that data needs to be a big part of that. Kevin Tate is the CMO of Clearbit, a company that is taking an entirely different approach when it comes to data quality and coverage.  Clearbit is a tool for marketers to use to better understand customers, identify future prospects, and personalize marketing and sales interactions. And if there is one thing Kevin knows, it is the importance of quickly aligning the marketing team’s vision with the customer perception and the needs of the business.  I was curious how tried-and-true marketing pillars have influenced the way Kevin runs his marketing department, so I asked him…

“One of the things I’ve learned being on both sides of the sales and marketing equation is that there has to be a balance between marketing’s vision for how we want to be viewed in the market and here’s how we want people to think about and value what we do. Then there’s the sales reality of [being] on the phone with this person, and they’re asking for X, and there has to be a really close alignment between how do you help reframe or guide the conversation, but how do you also understand and listen to what that customer is asking for?”

On this episode of Marketing Trends, Kevin and I go deep on why static or stale data is leading marketers down a precarious path when it comes to their data management. We also touch on how Clearbit is not just another data vendor, but a company that’s doing radical things when it comes to empowering marketing. I hope you enjoy this episode.

Main Takeaways:

  • Combining Sales and Marketing Knowledge: There can be challenges related to aligning the marketing vision and sales objectives. Often there needs to be some time spent reframing with the client to guide them towards mutual interests. The marketing department has objectives for reach, the sales team has goals for moving the product, and the client on the phone has needs that you need to service. All three of these things need to work in concert.
  • Content Marketing to Marketers: Content that is useful to your clients can be a great marketing tool. Blogs, eBooks, how-to guides, and reports are all good tools that can add value to your customer or prospective customer.
  • Funnels are Dependent on Good Data: To be able to hone in on what changes you need to make in your marketing mix requires that you have immediate and good data about your potential consumer. Especially with Product Led Growth companies the funnel that you build needs to have the most accurate information about what consumer are responding to and what they need.
  • Connection Between Your Email Efforts and Ad Efforts: The most valuable thing you can have is a first party mechanism that will give you the most accurate data about the way that your email marketing campaign is supporting and working with your other marketing efforts. All of your marketing channels need to work together for a cohesive and effective marketing strategy.

Key Quotes:

“There’s two parts to Clearbit, there’s the data — and we have data about every company with a website that we collect from hundreds of public sources. Then there’s what you do with the data, which is the platform we have to put that data to work in your ad campaigns. Personalizing your website, shortening your forms, enriching all your other systems. We’re trying to remove friction. Then on the operations side, having rich real-time data from the front to back of your revenue operations, that ends up mattering a lot. That’s what people are doing with Clearbit.” 

“Clearbit is getting pulled into a company that is implementing an ABM strategy and needs the data and more importantly, the integrations to put that data to work at all the different points in that marketing and sales funnel.”

“Product Led Growth companies [have] built funnels that depend on really good data to know of all the people trying [the] product and all the people giving intent signals, and all the people experiencing the product through its life cycle. ” 

“ The value that a company creates is linked to its product roadmap. You can extend the value beyond that roadmap. One is building things on top of it, and that’s what we’re doing in the growth engineering team.”

“One of the things I’ve learned being on both sides of the sales and marketing equation is that there has to be a balance between marketing’s vision for how we want to be viewed in the market. And here’s how we want people to think about and value what we do. Then there’s the reality of the sale of [being] on the phone with this person, and they’re asking for X, and there has to be a really close alignment between how do you help reframe or guide where you can the conversation, but how do you also understand and listen to what that customer is asking for?”

“We’re using marketing technology to sell marketing technology technologists. First from a market perspective, I think we’re fortunate to be in a really interesting and fast moving time where almost anyone would agree that the B2B funnel switching toward digital and online buying has really raised the importance of data and understanding. Now that much of the sales experience is mediated through these touch points/  Maybe it’s chat, maybe it’s email, maybe it’s the website, all those need data to perform the best they can. A lot of times that comes down to how can I reduce friction or increased speed or increase the relevance of that, of that app based interaction.”

“There’s apps that are doing all those interactions, and then there’s the data that’s providing that foundation and making sure everything is as smart as it can be when it’s doing that. That’s the world we see on the horizon. Trying to be really thoughtful around growth, how do we make sure that we’re creating and capturing value in the most important ways in that landscape? You can do a ton of things with Clearbit, but what are the things that are going to have the most and the most lasting impact on our customer’s pipeline, on their ability to predictably create revenue.” 

“If you’ve got a first party mechanism to understand the connection between your email and ad efforts, and what’s happening on your website, and then you can tie it back to a data platform with Clearbit, that makes a huge difference.”

“Part of what Clearbit does is we have eBooks, we have a lot of blogs, recipes, and how-to guides. We have things like the Visitor Report that provides insight as a free to use tool.

So we learn a lot by seeing who is engaging with those things, in what way, and where does that suggest they might be on their journey. I believe that one of the things that is invaluable about the shifts we’ve seen in B2B buying is that they are going to be in control of their own journey, right? They are going to learn how they want to learn, and they’re going to raise their hand when they’re ready. We try to be as attuned as we can to where they are in the process and where we can help.”

Bio:

Kevin Tate, the CMO of Clearbit has amassed 24 years of Sales, Marketing & Product leadership experience with firms serving G2000 brands and agencies. Kevin has led go-to-market for Software (SaaS), and Professional Services and Hardware-enabled SaaS companies. He is a sales and Strategic Marketing executive with deep domain expertise in Enterprise SaaS, eCommerce, Digital Marketing, Social Media and IoT. Kevin is a graduate of Stanford University.

Marketing Trends podcast is brought to you by Salesforce. Discover marketing built on the world’s number one CRM: Salesforce. Put your customer at the center of every interaction. Automate engagement with each customer. And build your marketing strategy around the entire customer journey. Salesforce. We bring marketing and engagement together. Learn more at salesforce.com/marketing.

Episode 259