One of the most important things about creating content for my blog is that I want to make sure it is valuable. I want my readers (entrepreneurs and marketing professionals alike) to find actionable tips that they can apply to their own companies.
In this featured interview blog post, I went the B2B marketing route so that we could glean some insight from a CMO who’s really taken charge in navigating the digital world, driving real business results for his company.
One of the biggest challenges in the B2B marketing world is generating qualified leads that sales can then close as new deals. Further, it can be challenging to figure out the different touchpoints within the buyer’s journey to ensure engagement the whole way through the process.
That said, as I’ve gone from working full-time as a marketing professional to now running my own marketing agency, I’ve realized that at the heart of success comes a deep curiosity in connecting with like-minded individuals who share the same passion of being open with their insights, instead of feeling threatened.
For this very reason, I reached out to Matt Wilbanks, CMO of SecurityGate.io, and asked if he would be interested in being featured on my blog to provide insight on what he’s done that’s worked well. He responded and was incredibly helpful and thoughtful with how he’s led his company to navigate marketing’s evolving landscape, especially within the cybersecurity space.
Before we dive in, I wanted to highlight some key stats around B2B marketing:
- Nearly 50% of B2B companies invest 10% or more of their annual budget in marketing.
- Personalization is the top strategy for 47% of B2B marketers.
- Digital marketing is the top area of marketing spending for 56% of B2B marketers.
- 73% of US millennials are involved in purchase decision-making at their companies.
- On average, B2B researchers do 12 searches before engaging on a specific brand’s site.
- 90% of top-performing B2B content marketers put the audience’s informational needs first.
- 80% of all B2B leads originate on LinkedIn.
- One of the top objectives for B2B marketers is to convert leads into customers.
Let’s get started…
1. How did you get started with your career?
I was working for a company called RackSpace for 8 years. Right around this time, social media started becoming a real thing for businesses. Internally, we talked about using social for customer service, which no one was doing at the time. We developed a technology that made it easy for people to do this.
From that point on, I would say I sort of fell into marketing because my background is really in sales. And at the heart of it all, I’m a startup guy, so I really thrive in that and love what I’m doing.
2. Can you shed some light on what SecurityGate does and why customers choose you?
SecurityGate.io (SG) is a risk management platform, and we focus on industrial companies. What those companies do is they use SG to figure out where their cyber risks are, then they look at which ones are the most important. So SG answers these. All this info you can get, but the problem is that it takes forever to pull this information.
The unique thing about SecurityGate.io is that they automate this process and provide a much more effective and efficient way to pull info and figure out where their risks are. All the data analysis is done automatically and securely.
3. In one sentence, what’s the best lead-gen tip you could provide other B2B marketers and companies alike?
Spend a lot of time learning about the personas you’re going after and give extra attention to learning how they talk about the things your company offers. It will influence everything you create.
4. What has your team done that’s worked well?
We wanted to focus on generating new conversations, and we wanted to avoid having battles about which group — sales or marketing — gets credit for generating the lead. Sales and Marketing should be operating as one. What’s important at the top of the company is that new meetings are being generated. Where they come from or how we get them ultimately doesn’t matter.
So instead of focusing on certain types of leads being generated purely from marketing and certain types generated from outbound sales efforts, we shifted to focus on having sales and marketing closely coordinated and working together to create new meetings.
While we do track how/where we got a lead (so we can optimize processes or decide to invest more/less), whether the final step came after a BDR/SDR conversation or whether it was from a promoted piece of content somewhere, we don’t care who did it. What we care about is creating new meetings and investing in the activities that generate more meetings faster.
5. What were some big lessons your team learned through failing in order to be successful?
A big thing we’ve learned is that you have to be testing variations of things and brand new things constantly. When you’ve got something that works well, invest in it — but don’t stop testing. You never know when that thing is going to stop working. For example, no one predicted trade shows getting shut down with a global pandemic. But in April, all our trade show plans were gone and we were left with a lead goal that we had to suddenly get creative on how to replace.
6. What would you recommend other CMOs dedicate to their overall marketing initiatives?
If you’re not going deeper into an ABM strategy, start. If marketing lives over here and sales lives over there, drop the egos, change measurement structures if needed, and figure out how to bridge the gap so they’re coordinated in their daily activities.
7. What is your favorite quote?
“To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.” – Steve Prefontaine