CMO Insights: Bob Canaway, Chief Marketing Officer Black Duck Software


Written by Pamela Muldoon

September 27, 2017

This week’s guest on CMO Insights is Bob Canaway, Chief Marketing Technology Officer for Black Duck Software.

In this video, Bob discusses

  • The importance of understanding how and when a customer is introduced to your product/service
  • The need to have a business analyst perspective on his marketing team
  • Why asking the right questions during the software demo stage is critical to ensure it will fulfill the promise for your organization.

Learn more about Bob from his LinkedIn profile and follow Black Duck Software on Twitter.

For more great CMO interviews like this one, please check out our CMO Insights Playlist on our YouTube channel.

Full Transcript

Jeff Pedowitz:

Hi, welcome to Revenue Marketing Television. I am your host, Jeff Pedowitz. Today on CMO Insights, we have Bob Canaway, who is Chief Marketing Officer at Black Duck Software. Bob, welcome to the show.

Bob Canaway:

Thank you. I’m really happy to be here.

Jeff Pedowitz:

Happy to have you, so tell us a little bit about Black Duck.

Bob Canaway:

Sure. you know, I think the easiest way to, to start to describe Black Duck is is to go back to something Mark Andreessen once said software is eating the world. And I think if you looked around, you’d see that software has, has already eaten the world. It’s in, you know, it’s in your phone in every device that you’re using, it’s on your thermostat, my light bulbs, I can turn on and off from here. And so they’re running on software. And what we’ve seen is that open source is the major driver in helping organizations create software, right?

We see 30 to even 98% of software that these organizations are creating is based on open source. And so what Black Duck does is we help our customers find all of this open source that they’re using and then manage and secure it against potential security vulnerabilities. And there’s, there’s about 75,000 known vulnerabilities.

Jeff Pedowitz:

Well, so now who is your target audience then for that?

Bob Canaway:

Pretty much any organization who builds software? So I SVS right. Software companies like black dock and others. Marquetto for example. But we also work with organizations like GM Intel, right. Who use software internally or in cars and in that case, in the, in the cars themselves, but, but they’re using software as an internal advantage. Right. So they can manage their organization organizations like major banks, right. Who, who probably have more software developers than all, but the largest software companies in the world you know, they, they run their whole business on software G right, like, like GE you know, they make jet engines and turbines and light bulbs. Right. They want to be a software company. Right. They just moved to Boston. So pretty much every organization who makes software could be a black dot customer.

Jeff Pedowitz:

Well, so that’s definitely, again, I think that’s poor South and, you know, you’ve been, you’ve been a marketing executive for awhile, but in your opinion, what’s changed the most over the last few years. And what are some of the bigger challenges that you’ve had to face?

Bob Canaway:

Sure. I think, I think the, the biggest thing that’s changed is is the end to end ownership of the customer and interactions with the customer that, that marketing has had to take on at least from a digital perspective. Right? And so we have to concerned with how somebody gets introduced to Black Duck, into the problems that we help solve through PR and other awareness building activities. We have to manage the initial interactions. I was just looking at research and I think a lot of people have seen this before. You know, the, the, the first time a typical buyer B to B buyer wants to talk to a vendor. I E our sales guys is it about 57% of the buying 57% the way through the buying journey. And so we really have to be concerned with that, that time that they’re not, we’re not able to reframe what they’re learning out there in the digital world or with, with their, with their peers and other colleagues.

But what’s really interesting that this is something that I saw recently that buyers are only interacting with vendors about 17% of the buying time. Right. And that’s all the vendors. So if we’re lucky and we’re really good at monopolizing their attention, maybe my sales reps have 10% of their time, maybe like seven or eight you know, and the rest of the time they’re being influenced by everything else, that’s out there, including our web content in our digital marketing all the way through to them becoming a customer. And then renewing hopefully in being a customer for life. Right?

Jeff Pedowitz:

Yeah. It gives you a very, with all sliver then to get done what you need to get done

Bob Canaway:

At least face to face. But what’s, what’s really interesting is that, that you see buyers come to the vendors looking for help, right. They have a job that they need to accomplish at every stage in the buying journey, right. They, they need to form a group of people who are going to help make this decision, or they need to understand the vendors that are in the marketplace, or they need to understand the problems that we’re helping them solve at the early stages as they move through even late stage, they need to feel good about the purchase. Right. They need to know that that what they’re buying, isn’t going to get them fired, you know, in three or four months, if it fails. Right. And so, so marketing can help them along all of those stages.

Jeff Pedowitz:

Yeah, absolutely. So tell me how you’re building your team. What kind of people do you look for? How are you structuring your, a talent today then maybe a little bit differently than you would have done a few years back?

Bob Canaway:

Really good question. So I came in to Black Duck about 18 months ago. When, when I got here there really wasn’t a, what I would consider a modern marketing organization. You know, there really wasn’t much of a marketing organization. There was, there was a pretty good time period between the last person leading marketing and when I joined and so we’re, we’re about 22 people in marketing right now. Two of them have been here longer than I have. And so I have a really good perspective on, on sort of how to build this team up from the, from the beginning. And, and frankly, what I look for most is are people who are able to Excel in, in, in different settings over time, because one of the things that happens when we talked about this buying journey, the other thing that’s happening is, is the world moves really, really fast now, right?

And we’re, we’re able to, to make really agile decisions and then be able to make course corrections to our plan. You know, I, I kind of go back to like, like, you know, you put a marketing plan together beginning of the year in that marketing plan is, is, is out of date by the end of January. Right. And so, you know, so more likely you need people who can build a marketing framework, right. And then look for opportunities to increase their value back to the company. And so the way that I’ve organized marketing is isn’t untraditional. We have you know, product marketing, which we had to build up and create for Black Duck. We have content marketing and web marketing. We have strategic communications, which is mainly involved in more of the traditional stuff, right? Like PR and analyst relations. We have marketing like sort of business analysis, right.

Really looking through the data, trying to understand trends, trying to help make sure leads, don’t get dropped between marketing and sales, and then making sure that, that sales able to follow up with those leads effectively and then demand generation, right. Which is really focused on capitalizing on the, the efforts that we’re putting out into market awareness and bringing companies back to Black Duck who are ready or able to buy. And so when I, when I look for people, I look for people who can fit into, into their, their function and be experts in that, that aspect. What I’m really looking for people are people that will own their feelings, right. That I want people who, you know, I’ve watched program managers here, chase leads all the way into, you know, sales meetings because they, they really felt like there was something there was being missed, right.

That’s right in the middle of a sales meeting and say, Hey, what’s going on with why? You know, and they become customers, right. And then this team is built up a lot of credibility because they’re able to do that. I look for people there, there’s a, you know, I don’t know, I don’t know. I’m trying to think of where it started. I worked at Intel when I got out of college and Intel had this philosophy of disagree and commit, which I really liked a lot. So you’re a 22 year old kid just getting out of college. And you’re given permission to tell somebody who has 30 years of experience your opinion on something. Right. And then when they make a decision, if it’s their decision, you get a hundred percent behind it. Right. And we have that inside of Black Ducks marketing culture you know, where, you know, and part of it is a figure out who the decision maker is in all the time.

It’s not always me. You can be other people and then to allow the decision maker to be challenged, right. You know, politely and professionally. And then everybody gets behind it. And what I found is it’s not, it’s not the decision, that’s the important thing, right. Because there’s, no, I don’t think there’s any exactly right. Or exactly wrong decisions in it’s all a matter of gray and trying to get as close to the, to the right, as you can to the right decision. But I do know that if you can’t get everybody behind the decision, even if it was a hundred percent, right, it’s gonna fail. Right. But, but you can be a little off, or you could be a lot off if you can get everybody behind it, you’re, you’re going to find a way to succeed as a group. And so disagree and commit let’s people get involved in the decision and then rally behind it.

Jeff Pedowitz:

Yeah. That’s such a great saying too. And as, and it’s, it’s a, it’s, it really does mean a lot. Cause you’re doing it.

Bob Canaway:

Amazon uses it. I just read their, their shareholder report and, and, and Jeff Bezos really went, went through a lot of that philosophy. Right. And so, you know, the, sort of the, the urgency, right? Like, like, like we’re, you know, we’re in the market right now. And things are, you know, are going really well for black dock we’re growing, but we could be growing faster. We could be bringing new things to market. We could be trying new things and, and the longer we wait, the more opportunity we miss. Right. And so, you know, so urgency is, is really the, the other thing that I look for in people, you know, do they want to win? Do they want to win now and not, you know, not sometime, you know, way down the road.

Jeff Pedowitz:

So with all that, what keeps you awake at night?

Bob Canaway:

I think missing a trend right. Missing, you know, in, in, in not, not seeing something that’s changing in the marketplace or in our data or in our customers and, and not having the visibility that I want into those things and not, or not being able to analyze it and internalize it, and then, you know, not being able to act on it. Right. And so that, you know, I spend a lot of time trying to, trying to figure out what I don’t know whether that’s in the data or in marketing or in the markets. And and then try not to miss these things, but, but, you know, you know, there there’s, there’s, there’s so much happening in the world. You know, and, and, and it could be very easy to let an upstart come in and, and try to take some market share from us or to miss a trend inside of our customers. Like, like dev ops, right? The dev ops is a really big thing in software development right now. You know, in, in, in, in you know, and, and if we miss these things, we create huge opportunities for, for other people to come in and take the market away from us.

Jeff Pedowitz:

Good insight. So tell me a little bit about your thoughts on, since you are a software company, what’s your thoughts around technology, especially as it begins to impact marketing, do you have everything that you think you need, do you need more, do you need less? Are you making the most of what you have?

Bob Canaway:

Well, that’s a, that’s a really great question that, you know, I think, I think, I think Black Duck marketing is probably one of the most technically or technology, advanced marketing departments. You know, we, we use tools where they make sense to help us do just about everything that we’re trying to accomplish. The, the one thing that I do tell my, my team though, is, you know, when you’re looking at marketing technology got to get, you have to get past the fluff, right. And the promises, you know, if, if we don’t have a process in place, you know, to I don’t know, to, to, to take customer testimonials and, and, and, you know, give them the sales that they can use them in, in conversations. If we don’t have that in our DNA buying a tool that does all of that for us, isn’t going to help us.

Right. If we don’t, we don’t know how to analyze deals, right. And figure out, you know, you know, what’s influencing those deals, buying the tool that, that automates all of that, isn’t going to help us out. Right. And so, so I spend a lot of time when we look at these tools, stripping away the promises and trying to figure out, you know, are we already doing it? And can this tool help us do it faster? Do we understand what we should be doing with it? And can this tool actually enable us to do something we can’t do today? You know, but, but it really comes from understanding that I’ve just, you know, I I’ve signed too many invoices for marketing tools that, you know, that, that sounded really good. And that, that ended up getting mothballed and then kicked out within, you know, after the first year renewal comes around. And so, so I don’t, I don’t like that. I don’t like it. It’s not fair to the vendors. Right. They spend a lot of time building stuff that that’s going to help us, but it’s definitely not fair to my team because then they get held accountable for, for something that they weren’t ready to try to implement

Jeff Pedowitz:

Starting out. It makes a lot of sense. So what, what are you being held accountable for, with your boss and then what do you hold your team accountable for?

Bob Canaway:

That’s really easy. You know, we’re, we’re a growth company we’re being held accountable for helping grow revenue. You know, it’s, it’s really, it’s really simple. You know, it’s, it’s easy to measure. People don’t tend to disagree about bookings, right? They either had them or you didn’t have them you know, but, but as we go backwards towards, well, what, what predicts revenue, you know, you start getting into pipeline development. And, and it’s one of the areas that, that I really spend a lot of time aligning sales and marketing around is, is the, the, the sales qualified lead, right? The, the stage zero or stage one opportunity and trying to figure out, you know, how do we work better together to get more of those so that the sales reps can have more more shots and more at bats and bring in more revenue. And so, so we, we look at that quite a bit between sales and marketing as a, as a joint metric that we own together.

Jeff Pedowitz:

Well, I think it’s one of the best metrics that you can have, and it certainly drives a lot of alignment. Well, I, a, this guy spole fast, like, I can’t believe we got through 15 minutes already. So I just loved hearing about your perspectives, especially on your people and how you’re managing them. We are out of time. So I don’t know when might have to do another round in a couple of weeks, but Bob, thank you so much for being on the show today. I really appreciate it.

Bob Canaway:

Thanks, Jeff. It was fun.

Jeff Pedowitz:

You bet.

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