CMO Insights: Heidi Bullock, CMO for Engagio

CMO Insights: Heidi Bullock

October 2, 2018

Note: DemandBase acquired Engagio in 2020 and we wrote about its impact on the ABM space.

This week’s guest on CMO Insights is Heidi Bullock, CMO at Engagio.

In this video, Heidi talks about:

  • How Engagio is helping prospects build a foundation in account based marketing
  • Building a thoughtful, well-rounded team that can work innovatively and still meet the business goals of the organization
  • The dangers of building a Frankenstack in your MarTech

Learn more about Heidi from her LinkedIn profile and follow Engagio on Twitter.

For more great CMO interviews like this one, please check out our other CMO Insights Videos or our YouTube channel.

Full Transcript

Jeff Pedowitz:

Hi, welcome to Revenue Marketing Television, the CMO Insights Series. I am your host, Jeff Pedowitz. And today we have with us as our guest Heidi Bullock, who is Chief Marketing Officer at Engagio. Heidi, welcome to the show.

Heidi Bullock:

Thanks, Jeff. I’m really happy to be here. It’s exciting to be on.

Jeff Pedowitz:

Excited to have you. I know it’s been a long time. We’ve known each other for awhile. What an amazing company Engagio just really paving the way that account based marketing. So, you know, take a couple of minutes and kind of give us your perspectives of the company where it’s at now, what you’re doing, the CML.

Heidi Bullock:

Yeah. Sounds good. So engage you for those of you that don’t know we have an account based marketing platform, and I think what makes us a little bit different is we really started initially to focus on measurement. So for all of you marketers out there, regardless of your marketing strategy, often have a real hard time really measuring your impact, especially early on. And I think that that’s one of our big strengths. So I think one thing that’s exciting about engage is we all use the product. So as a marketing person, I feel very fortunate to market a product that I use myself. So we’ve been in business for a few years and we really focus on probably mid market to enterprise companies and so far so good. It’s been a very exciting place to work. And I think where I’m focused specifically is, you know, just growing the business. And one point that we’ll probably get into this more in the discussion. But when I say growth, I really think about not only acquisition, but really the retention piece as well.

Jeff Pedowitz:

No. So it’s funny when John first started a few years ago really just even the words APM were just starting to come at the lips of many marketers. And now I just went to a couple of shows in the last few months, and it seems like every single vendor is doing APM, always trying to claim some state Damia. So given that, like, how do you, as a, as the more that the head marketing officer, what are you guys doing to kind of differentiate separate yourselves from the pack a little bit?

Heidi Bullock:

Yeah, that’s a great question. And I think when we, when I first joined the company, in some ways, I actually feel like it was easier because Engagio has been and is known for, you know, account based marketing. And I think to your exact point I think when you’re onto something, then everyone says, you know, that’s what we do too. So I think, you know, I just really try to focus on our strengths and what we do really well. And I think I guess to me, rather than focusing on, again, like the points that we can say as a company and our strengths, I really let our customers speak for us. And that’s really the strategy I’ve used is, you know, leveraging their success and making sure that it’s really well known. You know, they’re succeeding with account based marketing again, because we can help them measure that impact from a really early perspective.

We can help them orchestrate those plays. And we really, I think the piece we do very differently than anyone else has helped set up an account foundation. So again, you’re very familiar with a lot of the marketing systems and they’re lead centric and our technology really helps you know, set up everything from an account perspective.

So I think that’s probably one of the key things that’s different for us. And so, you know again, I, I make sure that our customers are really who’s who who’s doing our marketing. Because again, you’re going to always care a lot more about what a customer says, but I would say specifically, you know, we really help people get started. Cause again, I, I guess I feel like I’ve talked to people all the time that they think it sounds great, but just like, you know, you’ve been in the industry for a while, just when demand gen was, you know, kind of first getting going and people talked about inbound marketing folks are like, sounds good. We don’t know where to start. So I think again, because we help really create that a foundation we help people get started. So I think I really try to focus there, but again, I’m a big fan of having getting our customers out there and having them tell the story.

Jeff Pedowitz:

Okay. So you really had a chance to be in some high growth, exciting companies. This you’ve been riding this bubble for awhile, but has your approach, as you build out your team changed at all, are you still trying to find the same people on grades yet? Or are, is it moving so fast now that you need a different set of skills?

Heidi Bullock:

Yeah, it’s a great question. I think when I think of building the team I really think about where we are as a business. So, you know, the folks that aren’t going to hire, you know, when we’re, you know, doing 40 million in revenue are very different than the folks that I might be hiring when you’re doing, you know, 10 million in revenue as an example. So right now I really look for folks obviously in key areas, we’re not big enough that I can have a person that just focuses on social as an example. So I need well-rounded team players, but it’s more a type of person that I look for. So I look for marketers that can be innovative, that can move fast, that are really thoughtful in what they’re doing. So it’s not a matter of just doing everything under the sun. It’s a matter of being thoughtful, like what’s going to drive the best results.

Heidi Bullock:

But to get more specific, you know, I have somebody that handles our ABM programs. I have somebody that really thinks about growth marketing, so they own content social and some you know, kind of, I would say, thought leadership. And then I actually have somebody on my team and this might be interesting for your viewers that focuses on customer marketing, specifically adoption and really making sure that we’re making our, again, our customers are real stars. So I think that might be something that’s unusual where we are at as a stage of a company to focus so much on customer marketing. And I really recommend people do that for them.

Jeff Pedowitz:

You’re, you’re one of few monument executives I’ve talked to that actually does it, which is kind of interesting when you, and if you don’t have a subscription business software, most companies, you may have a lot of business coming from existing customers and whatever shape or form yet. It seems like all the marketing, this constantly focused on that new, you know, get, get the next book or the next logo top of funnel. But what about lifetime value expansion? And it really interesting dichotomy, so good for you.

Heidi Bullock:

Yeah. The one thing I’ll say that you see, that’s very interesting and I think actually, you know, ABM is kind of a catalyst for a lot of this. It’s getting a lot of folks in the B to B marketing space to think a little bit more longterm. So, you know, growth is great. It’s something obviously in Silicon Valley, that’s on top of everyone’s mind, but it’s irrelevant if you bring in companies for your business that then churn or, you know, ultimately just aren’t profitable for your company. And so I think being cognizant cognizant of that early on and having a plan for it’s great and ABM helps you with that a little bit, for sure. But to me that was a really critical hire for me. I just want to make sure we’re thinking about it from the very beginning and making sure our customers can be successful. Because again, that kind of going back to my first point, I just think that word of mouth marketing and having your customers be your biggest advocates, you know, I think is just critical.

Jeff Pedowitz:

So as someone that’s kind of really worked in software and the constant working with all the greatest things, what’s your approach to technology strategically and not specifically like any one vendor that you’re using besides platform, but how do you do the world? How do you go into each year saying, okay, this is how much money I want to invest. How do you, what, you know, what are you planning in terms of adoption and usage for your business?

Heidi Bullock:

Right. I, it’s a great question. And I think, you know, something I think a lot about is not getting to the place where you have a Franken stack, I’m sure in your business, you see this all the time where marketers just get, you know, almost just, they fall in love with technology and think that technology will solve all the problems. And I think for me, I’ve taken a perspective of simplicity. I want to use technology that will help my team scale and that will help us be efficient, especially for me, the measurement piece is, is a big one, but I, the first question I always ask is who’s going to run the technology piece, you know, whatever tool it may be. And if you can’t first answer that question, that that should be a red flag. You need somebody who’s gonna operate and run the tool. 

And really, you know, what is your longterm term strategy and, and thinking about, you know, where you are, you know, if you’re 5 million, 10 million in revenue, great, you might need certain tools. It might look very different when you’re larger. You know, I was fortunate at Marquetto. I could have a lot of tools. We have the budget for it. We can test a lot, but I think when you’re a smaller organization, just focusing really clearly on what are your goals? What do you need to get done? Where can technology help you? And again, who’s managing that, running it, and kind of just making sure that you’re thinking about, do you need everything under the sun? So I like more of a simplistic approach and just making sure we’re efficient. That being said, I’m a big fan of testing things all the time, I think for your audience.

And you see this as well. You know, a lot of the tools that you may have known two years ago were very different now, today, they all have them all. So I always make sure to investigate and get new tools and seeing where things can help us. But if you find that a tool is actually, you know, not getting used or, you know, not really helping you be more efficient, it’s probably, you know, it’s not worth having. So I have some pretty strong opinions on that and just making sure again, that you’re efficient and you’re not just building the staff that no one,

Jeff Pedowitz:

Do you think that there’s a specific technology category out there that was maybe overhyped and has not hit the Mark?

Heidi Bullock:

Oh, that’s, that’s a tough question. I, you know, I, I think, yes, I can think of not only one, but a few areas that I think are incredible. But again, like they might be, it might not make sense to really have a full category full of those technology stacks. I mean, I hate to call anyone out specifically. But I’ve definitely, I can think of a few right off the bat where there was a lot of buzz and you’d see a few vendors that were in the space and then there was like 50 all of a sudden and, and no one really needed it. And you can see now there’s a lot of consolidation in some key areas in MarTech.

And a lot of companies are getting, you know, sold just again, because standing on their own isn’t as efficient. So yeah, I mean, I guess one area I can say is important, but I think it got a little overblown was maybe predictive. Again, a lot of those tools are great, really great, but you can see that they’re all trying to build out and become a little bit richer and what they provide, which is great. So it’s not a negative comment. And I think that, you know, some of the folks that were early on it’s, it’s a really important thing to offer, but I just think it exploded more than probably what the market could really handle or even understand, to be honest,

Jeff Pedowitz:

I saw in a sense. So what are some of the things that you’re focusing on now to help your team scale?

Heidi Bullock:

Oh, that’s a great question. I think for me, it’s making sure that we you know, something I’m asked a lot is, you know, I was actually on the call with a customer the other day and they’re like, give us, give us some ideas, give us some really innovative, great ideas and things we could do different. And I guess with my team and you probably see this also in marketing, everyone wants to do something completely new and original. And I, and my perspective is do what works. If you’ve done, you know, we’re doing a summer webinar series right now at, are we did it last year. It, it was incredibly successful. We don’t need to reinvent the wheel every time. So I think a philosophy I have internally is, you know, I love innovation. I love great ideas, but execution wins out every day. So I really keep the team focused on, you know, if we don’t need to reinvent the wheel, let’s not do that. Let’s let’s do what works. We have data. So we know what works and just stay focused that way. I think, I think that’s a really important thing as a marketer. You don’t always have to do the latest and greatest if you’ve got things that are working. Right.

Jeff Pedowitz:

Right. It makes all the sense. So if you can go back in time, I mean, you’ve had an amazing career so far, but what advice would you give a younger version of yourself now knowing what you know now?

Heidi Bullock:

Yeah, I think it would be so I can think it in, in roles that I’ve had in the past I will especially say probably at Marquetto. We were under a lot of pressure to drive growth and at times it it just was pretty intense and I took it seriously and everyone that was on the team took it seriously. But I think having the ability to take a step back and really think about working smart probably more so than always working really hard. And I see this with marketing teams a lot where they feel like to grow. We’ve just got to do more. We’ve just got to do more. And I think it’s taking a step back and doing more of what’s right. And being efficient in those areas. And I think again, like, I think ABM is great for that, because again, you can be hyper-focused and you can get great return from being focused on the right accounts.

But I think when I was maybe earlier in my career, I felt the need to do everything under the sun and I’d advise anybody in marketing. You don’t have to do that, you know? And I think the other thing I would tell myself that I’m trying to do this more now is not a live my day by my inbox. I really set up my days and focus on what I need to get done. And then I spend another part of the day dealing with email, but I don’t let my email drive my day and in the past I think I did.

Jeff Pedowitz:

That’s a great, it’s that, it’s a great story. I always remember that story. I remember kids like the Wolf and the sheep and that, and the father, she, the Wolf and the son Wolf were up on the cliff and then looking at the sheet below and then the kid wanted to go run down and like to tack all the sheath and everything. And the dad was like, no, no, no, let’s wait. They’re going to come here. So it’s just, I think, you know, as you, as you probably get more experienced with this learn patience, right. More focused, right? So answer this question a year from now my team and engage you at will

Heidi Bullock:

We will be making our customers just delighted. That is really my dream. I feel again something I believe a lot in is it’s not about me. It’s not even about my team. It’s making sure our customers just use our product and they actually go into a board meeting and they’re really confident. They’re not nervous and fearful about what they’re going to show. You know, if they’re a marketing director, they feel they can have a great meeting with their AVP on the East coast. You know, if they’re, you know, somebody as a marketing manager, building programs with Engagio, they feel they can do it successfully and, and not feel nervous that they’re doing something right, because we have our UI design correctly. So to me, I feel like our team will be making our customers happy and successful and I’d even go so far as to say delighted. That would be what I’d hope.

Jeff Pedowitz:

That’s not now, how would you measure that?

Heidi Bullock:

I like to measure that. I mean, it’s a great question, but I mean, you can look at, for us, we look at our weekly active users and kind of, we have a number that we track there. We look at MPS, we have in app surveys. We have a lot of ways to look at it. And I also, to me, I just go out and talk to our customers. And I, I think you can tell when people are happy and very pleased with the product and when they’re sort of like I’m using it, but I’d rather die. And we don’t, we definitely don’t want that ever.

Jeff Pedowitz:

Alright. So now that you’ve been in ABM for awhile, what, what would you say is maybe one of the bigger myths or misconceptions about what OPM is or what people think

Heidi Bullock:

There’s so many? I think the biggest misconception is ABM is tactic X. As you know, I mean, to me, the biggest piece of ABM that’s, that’s really critical is making sure that you have the right content for your buyer. It’s personal. And you’re really, really fine tuned into what they care about. I think that’s the number one thing. And to me, when I often am talking to folks and they might not be a customer yet, they they’ll say, Oh, you know, we’re excited, we’re doing ABM because we’re doing direct mail or running ads. And I think that’s a big misconception. I don’t think it’s as much about the tactics. I think it’s about, you know, working with your sales organization, picking the right accounts and, and again, knowing them well. So you’re offering them content and materials that are valuable for their business. That’s the biggest one for me.

Jeff Pedowitz:

That’s a good one. There was some thing I’ve noticed sometimes is it seems like some of our customers in the market do an either or so while I have to move my demand gen strategy to ABM, but we’re only doing ABM now. Is that how you see it or, or it, should it be more complimentary or does it depend? Maybe?

Heidi Bullock:

I think to me, I never think it’s all it’s never that extreme. I, I will say I speak to some companies and maybe a, you know, their nuclear reactors as an example. And there’s only a few people that they might sell to a pure ABM strategy. Great. That’s, that’s fine for a business like that, but for most B2B organizations appear ABM play it’s, it’s not probably realistic. So I always think that, you know, helping people with, you know, there’s going to be a set of your accounts that are really meaningful for your business and ABMS great there, but it’s not to say demand gen doesn’t have its place. And I think it is dependent on the business. I think that, you know, obviously if, if folks have kind of a lower price point, they have, you know, one individual that buys the product pure demand gen works great. There’s nothing wrong with it. I think it’s a lot more about your business and what you’re trying to achieve. But again, in, in our space, most B to B marketing arms, it’s probably a hybrid from what I can see.

Jeff Pedowitz:

Good advice, good advice. I can’t believe we’re at time already. I was so easy talking to you. Yeah. Well, thank you so much, Heidi, for being on the program and it is so easy to see why you’ve been so successful in your career.

Heidi Bullock:

Wow. Thanks, Jeff. And it’s been great catching up and it’s been enjoyable all the years. We’ve known each other and spent time. So thanks again for the opportunity.

Jeff Pedowitz:

Thank you.

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