CMO Insights: Megan Lueders, CMO of Zenoss

Megan Lueders

April 24, 2019

This week’s guest on CMO Insights is Megan Lueders, CMO of Zenoss.

In this video, Megan talks about:

  • Making sure you have a differentiated message and a brand presence.
  • ABM and taking a focused approach to ensure that you are hitting your targeted accounts.
  • Knowing what the target profile customer looks like and focusing on marketing activities you are invested in.

Learn more about Megan from her LinkedIn profile and follow Zenoss 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’m your host, Jeff Pedowitz, president and CEO of The Pedowitz Group. Today as our guest we have Megan Lueders, who is Chief Marketing Officer at Zenoss. Megan, welcome to the show.

Megan Lueders:

Thank you. Thank you for having me.

Jeff Pedowitz:

Oh, it’s a pleasure to have you. So tell us a little bit about Zenoss and the type of market that you serve.

Megan Lueders:

Sure, happy to! So Zenoss is a B2B company located here in Austin, Texas. And for us non-marketers, we are a very, what we sell is a very technical product. We actually manage the it infrastructure that Fortune 500, Global 2000 companies have in their data centers.

For those data centers reside in the cloud or on premise or a combination of the two. And I’m marketing to a group of, we would love to say CIO, but the reality is it’s more of director level and lower. IT professionals is where we spend all of our time and know that is a very competitive marketplace that we’re going after in terms of so many different types of technologies being sold to these consumers as you might imagine in the it space today.

Jeff Pedowitz:

Yeah, I was about to say it cause even well probably a lot of the vendors that have products or components have their own version of managed service and then there probably are a lot of service providers that do something along the spectrum of, of what you guys do. So how do you, I mean the classic age old question first as a marketing executive and then have you differentiate in any of the interaction?

Megan Lueders:

Yeah, I mean I think it always comes down to the fundamentals of marketing, right? You have to, you have to have great messaging and be able to position your product properly amongst the slew of many and in our space in particular, right? Crystallizing what you do and making sure you have a differentiating message is important. Probably what’s more important is ensuring that you have a brand presence. You are relevant.

You’ve got an opportunity to experience or for customers to see your product, but for you to be really crystallized on where you fit within the marketing or with the it ecosystem. And if you can do that, then you’ve got a very good position to be able to make yourself your brand more well known within whatever vehicle that we’re marketing today. But it really, in this space in particular, comes down to that positioning and messaging more so than other technologies.

Jeff Pedowitz:

Now is that, is that your only market really, that kind of Fortune 1000, or do you go down market and serve other companies?

Megan Lueders:

Yeah, well, we could what makes us you know, a product that can span any vertical is that it is something that applies to any it organization. What, there are certain tools that can be used at more of a tool level to do what we do. But we are, we’re designed 100% for the enterprise large enterprise. So we’ve got the ability to scale immensely. Whereas other more piece tools would only able to perhaps focus on a particular business unit or a couple sets of devices or servers, routers storage devices that you may have.

Jeff Pedowitz:

So given that it’s, it’s a, I mean I’ll pick clients, but a smaller number of total clients, is your strategy more kind of the ADM versus sort of demand gen inbound type of approach?

Megan Lueders:

Yeah, great question. So we absolutely are much more specialized in terms of we know the ideal customer profile very well. It is more expansive than just the Global 2000, but we have our, a very keen eye on what makes up that ideal customer from the size of the company to the revenue to the number employees. And in our case it comes down to really how many manage resources or how many it devices that need to be managed. And so we’re able to hone that market from being that very broad spectrum to a, a more narrow approach to who we need to go after.

Like I said, vertically, we can really play in any vertical from high-tech to finance, healthcare, education. We play well across them all. But knowing exactly what that target, target profile customer looks like has been very important for us as we try to try to stay more focused on the marketing activities that we invest in.

Jeff Pedowitz:

So a lot of people talk about ABM, it’s probably such a buzzword over the last couple of years. In your case you have to do it just giving us that into your market. But how are you actually tell us a little bit more, I guess about the details and how you making it work?

Megan Lueders:

Sure. So I mean, I would tell you as a marketer, I don’t know how, you cannot not do the traditional marketing when you still have to have a presence. You still have to organically optimize your website. You likely are still investing in paid digital of some sort. That’s more of the cross the wide net. You can’t, you can’t partition who comes in and who, who doesn’t.

But the activities and where may, which may have been perceived as more of a traditional spend, such as an event, a trade show, you could absolutely apply a filter of ABM at every show. For example. We want to make sure that we’ve got 20 accounts that we’re going after, that we believe will be attending that show. And how do we set up the meetings proactively before that event happens? They will, the meetings will be conducted at the show and we put an ROI metric to those 20 accounts that we met with in and of itself from the show perspective.

We of course know how many leads we scanned and what the conversion rates are. But really the true ROI is the shows associated to those 20 accounts that we were targeting to meet with and speak with at that event. In addition to, again, the, the larger audience that may be coming by to visit the booth. So one small example, but otherwise the vast majority of our marketing programs really do take a very focused approach to ensuring that we’re hitting those targeted accounts in a variety of mediums from digital to events to direct mail you name it. We try to have a key focus on that narrow scope of accounts we want to go out.

Jeff Pedowitz:

So how have you aligned your sales internally to make that happen?

Megan Lueders:

Well, that, you know, that’s step number one with sales and marketing that had to be aligned back when we started the initiative. So it wasn’t something that marketing just came up with and said, now let us bestow this, do this new great marketing plan. It was something that we had to have in complete partnership with not just the head of sales but the entire sales organization. And so the first step of that was clearly aligning the accounts that we were going to go after and making sure that they were part of that process.

While marketing and marketing technology certainly could help whittle the field down to give a kind of a suitable or more manageable list to sales. And say, okay, here use this as your starting point. From that point forward there really was a partnership in terms of who we needed to go after and then how do we assemble the contacts within those accounts to target the marketing programs that we run to, to hit or to target those particular contacts and accounts except in that clear in the marketing is it takes the vested interest in, but sales has to absolutely be a part of that process.

Jeff Pedowitz:

Almost each stage of the journey and or be made very well aware because they’re a big key to the success of, of ADM. So are you compensated in a similar fashion to sales?

Megan Lueders:

Sales is certainly compensated on why what they’re closing. We as a marketing team absolutely are compensated and are looked upon in terms of what the pipeline is. How much pipeline were we able to generate, generate, where did it come from? And then what does the success of those of that close that pipeline. So how much of it resulted in a closed one? And so yeah, marketing is certainly measured and our performance is measured both by output but also not just output on execution but output of deals.

Jeff Pedowitz:

And does that that I guess that culture of performance measurement, does that filter all the way through your marketing organization? So even the people that are just coming into the associate level?

Megan Lueders:

Yeah, so I mean, one of the big things that we do is every year and twice a year we get back together to ensure that we’ve got key objectives and key results really tied to our performance. And how does that line up specifically with the sales targets that we have in place. But you know, throughout the year, territories may change or as you’re growing, you’re adding more reps.

And two, do we have the right type of alignment? And if the alignment and the programs that we have running, are they going to be able to hit the targets that, that now sales has been been dipping given. And so we look at that at least twice a year. We’d look at it. We obviously review our performance every quarter, every week, every month, but in terms of modifying it across the board so that we can scale up and down our performance measurements so that we do get paid our bonus. That is certainly something that we do every year.

Jeff Pedowitz:

So I guess curious with your team, cause I’m constantly getting questions from CMOs, what’s the best way to set it up? And honestly, there’s probably not one, one universal lie, but just curious, how have you organized your team? What functions, what departments?

Megan Lueders:

Yeah, so I mean we’re, we’re by no stretch a super large team. I feel like I’ve got the right amount of people to do the jobs that we need to do. But we’re small and we’re nimble and so a lot of us wear multiple different hats. And if you are going to invest in the ABM program, again it’s, it’s gotta be another context that you’re probably not abandoning your traditional marketing activities. You still have to do your paper, click in your organic search and website development and content, all that good stuff. And so with my team, they do wear both hats and they wear them blended where they have the responsibility that has to be met at the organic and more attrition traditional sense. And so we’ve got numbers that they’re held accountable to that. But all the programs that we do do that have, I would call that ABM lens on.

They, understand that the focus that they have to take with every program from here on forward has to be under that ABM lens. So again I’ll say paid digital aside, everything else we do, if we’re doing an event or we’re doing a webinar or how do we make sure that we’ve got specific ABM targets within those programs that might be considered at some point, more of a broad spectrum.

Jeff Pedowitz:

Okay. That was great. Is there a certain, while you said generalist, but is there a certain type of person you look for when you’re looking to hire or attributes, personality?

Megan Lueders:

I think in general, I, you know, over the years I think many marketers have brought specialists on under their team and there are certain functions where you do need a specialist, a web person, right. And webmaster tends to be more specialized marketing role that you hire for. But when it comes to some of these more broad, broad roles that have to be done, whether it’s demand generation, paid digital media, direct mail, and even events to some extent I am really, I really believe in hiring a great generalist that has a thirst and an appetite for wanting to expand and learn the business in a bigger capacity. And I have personally found a lot more value in bringing on those generalists and really, really exposing them to different aspects within the marketing field. And and I’m helping them to develop a career.

I think it honestly in this day and age with just kind of different degenerate generational traits that we’re, I’m seeing hiring a generalist and, and challenging them to learn and to grow and giving them opportunities outside of maybe what they thought they were originally gonna do and do for two years has really lent itself well to retention but also to I think truly just team success because they all still feel vested in the entire process, not just one specific function within the team.

Jeff Pedowitz:

Nice. So does that also help with technology because we have to use so much, you know, in our jobs. Do you find having a generalist they can pick this stuff up pretty quickly?

Megan Lueders:

It’s a great question. And so fair to think that, gosh, well, would you have a, a technology specialist and because these technologies really have to span almost each one of these functions that I would say, whether it’s demand gen or digital marketing or even again, what vents I’m going to, you really have to be knowledgeable in the tech stack that is deployed throughout the organization. And not just for the marketing benefit, but really to be a communicator and a partner to sales as well. And I think everyone on this marketing team is extremely competent and well versed to be able to speak to anyone on the sales team about any of the programs we’re doing, but also how these technologies work because they themselves have had to get familiar with them.

And if I had had that relegated to just one person, I, I believe I would’ve missed out on having more broad exposure to the values and the extraction of, of the greatness of what these tools that we’ve deployed can can do for a team, but overall for the company. And clearly marketing ops will be more technical and go in depth. But having that broad spectrum view and a fundamental understanding across the board on the marketing team about how the tech stack can help give us better performance results and insights has been key for us. Also working better with one another too.

Jeff Pedowitz:

So we were talking before the new year started, you were an early user at one of your former companies at LSE. You’ve been around and using technology thought a long time in marketing, do you find that as, as technology has grown so much that companies are spending more, that the expectations of you have changed and what you’re expected to do from a scaling or impact point of view?

Megan Lueders:

I do think marketer, the role of marketing in general is becoming a much more important and pivotal role to the business. So I will start there to say that I think the insights that marketing has in terms of the prospect down to the actual customer is very informative and it’s very telling and it’s could be very insightful to the entire business wants what was once perceived to be, excuse me, just a true partner to sales can now be perceived to be an even bigger partner to your services organization or to your support organization or to the renewal organization. And that can obviously translate very well down into finance also. But I think for a long time marketing, you know, was, was thought about as maybe just early stage or how do I bring people in top of funnel. But the insights that I can offer up throughout the entire buyer’s journey and then once something closes and what people are, what would these customers are now doing on the website and where they’re visiting and maybe some key words that they’re typing in that might be in conflict with what we do.

How do I keep the entire organization abreast of that? It’s something that marketing is now at a, at a position to which they can do that and be more informative across the board. And that was not the case, you know, four or five years ago where in marketing maybe was thought of as just the technology, you know, providing the technology depth for their specific organization.

Jeff Pedowitz:

Good point. So as you reflect now over the course of your career, what are you think have been some of the greatest lessons you’ve learned?

Megan Lueders:

You know, I think, I think what marketers in general have to understand is that the world in which they live is constantly changing. And we have to have this innate curiosity to want to learn and to grow and to be challenged. And whether it’s machine learning or the, the analytics that is providing us different insight today that may skew an idea or a decision or an investment strategy different than what it did even just six months ago is something that has to be welcomed by not just the COO but the entire marketing team and knowing that nothing is too permanent.

So as much as you’ve put all this time and energy into a program and it was great, that program may not work but for another couple months and you’ve got to keep moving it on and the buyer has changed and the buyers demands continue to get more and more expansive.

And so I think the biggest learning has been to ensure that the people that you have on your team also understand that mentality and they’re really, they’re really welcoming of that, of that timeline that constantly is going to be, have movement and change into it. So I think if you get too static and too stagnant and your processes or to the tech stack that you have, you stop innovating and you stop being creative. And the buyer today demands more. And the sales team has to be readily equipped with the right technology or the right competitive messaging and the right website and the showing up the right venues to be successful and marketing is really at the helm of helping to make that happen.

Jeff Pedowitz:

Great insight. So if you’re ready to go back and tap your younger self on the shoulder, what, what advice would you give you as you were still heading off in your career?

Megan Lueders:

Goodness. Well, given how many hours I work and I in a week I probably would’ve told myself to slow down and take some vacations earlier, earlier on. But you know, I think you, you think about a marketing career and there’s been so many great, great challenges that we’ve overcome, whether it was, you know, budgets or people or acquisitions. I think it is that that constant state of change that I have certainly love to have embraced. But I think how do you communicate that more effectively across the board to to make sure the rest of the organization comes along with you on that journey is something extremely important. And the rate in which that change happens really I think has allowed for certain people’s careers to go faster than others. And I look back and think of all the things that might’ve accomplished or you would’ve done differently and you know, there’s always a, a program you would have tweaked or a different creative or different, you know, way that you would’ve said something.

But for the most part, I think once you’re somebody that continues to persevere and you’ve challenged yourself to be curious and to innovate and to be creative and to push yourself to think a little bit differently, I think you realize that you’re in the best spot that you could possibly be for that time. And you know, bringing every, the whole team along with you for the ride is, is half the fun and how do you, how do you do that? And constantly stay motivated and keep going. Is part of part of the journey.

Jeff Pedowitz:

Very Zen of you. Well, Megan, thank you so much for being on the program today. A great insights of hearing about your story, and we’ll be sure to follow your success going forward. Zenoss thank you.

Megan Lueders:

Great. Thank you so much for your time!

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