SalesTech Star Interview with Patrick O’Brien, CRO at Zylotech
Tell us about your journey into Marketing and Sales Technology.
I graduated with a Master’s degree in Advertising from the University of Baltimore. My first role was with a B2B high tech publisher. From there, I went the B2B technology startup route which was a very exciting field to be in. I’ve been fortunate enough over the past 10-12 years to be involved with a number of compelling start-ups that were acquired by LinkedIn, CBS, and Dun and Bradstreet.
What inspired you to start at Zylotech?
The team behind Zylotech. From an investment and a technology standpoint, I had a great deal of respect for them. When I looked into the opportunity I was completely floored by the product team and the quality of the Zylotech offering. They’d spent about two years perfecting the technology before taking it to market. Oftentimes, you find companies that will race to market with a half-baked product. In this case, it was just the opposite. Zylotech released a fully mature, comprehensive CDP.
How is Zylotech driving transformation for Sales and Revenue teams?
Enterprises continue to gather large amounts of customer data. In order to tap that data, and create highly personalized experiences for their customers, businesses need to extract useful and timely analytics to help inform customer strategies. One way, Zylotech is helping B2B companies do this is to break through cross-departmentally siloed data by implementing a Revenue Operations (RevOps) strategy to unify customer-facing teams to ensure they address the customer at each stage of their journey – from initial purchase, usage, follow-up, to renewals, and upsells that meet a particular customer’s specific and evolving needs. In fact, Zylotech has just released its RevOps Framework to help companies attain this goal.
B2B companies need to use the right tools. AI and Machine Learning, Marketing, Sales, and CRM offerings are helping companies develop a cohesive and comprehensive customer-centered view to inform strategic decisions. Zylotech, a self-learning CDPs (Customer Data Platforms) is helping companies leverage AI to ensure customer profile enrichment, predict purchases, and bring relevancy-based recommendations about the customer. The results from the combination of a RevOps strategy coupled with the right tools, like the Zylotech CDP, can be measured through monetary lift, efficiency gains, and the business KPIs they help attain to increase customer loyalty and retention.
How do you benefit from using Zylotech for Sales?
In using data as the foundation for building a successful revenue generation strategy, Zylotech’s unique ability to offer a self-learning Customer Data Platform with advanced analytics, helps organizations streamline customer engagement strategies. This comprehensive approach to collecting and analyzing data, ultimately helps Sales functions better navigate today’s evolving complexities to connect with prospects earlier in the customer lifecycle.
Tell us more about Zylotech’s RevOps Framework for B2B organization.
The Zylotech RevOps Framework was developed based on research and interviews we conducted over the past 12 months with over a hundred B2B Marketing, Sales and Customer Success Leaders. These insights enabled us to develop meaningful recommendations to help organizations manage full-funnel revenue operations across the customer engagement lifecycle. Some of the key takeaways point to the importance of establishing a data foundation with continuous ID resolution across contact, company and parent account.
Beyond that, our RevOps framework shows that Marketing needs to be involved in the entire customer lifecycle and has to adopt metrics that are meaningful in order to create new opportunities or complete a Sale. Sales needs to connect with prospects much earlier in the customer lifecycle to better direct and influence each stage of cultivation. By having a more integrated customer operations program that taps into sophisticated analytics, organizations will ultimately be more effective in understanding the customer journey.
Which geographies have been the fastest to adopt your Product offering?
North America has been the fastest to adopt Zylotech’s CDP, especially in Silicon Valley where some of our largest B2B and high-tech clients are based. We are also seeing a great deal of interest coming from companies in AsiaPac. Our office in India is helping support that region and we see that as a big area of opportunity for us.
What are the key trends in CDP for Sales and Revenue Management 2019?
There’s a lot of confusion around what a CDP is. The confusion stems from various entrants into the market who two years ago, were doing something else, and have now called themselves a CDP. When we talk to a client, we get past the hype of what a CDP is or is not, and drill down to figure out exactly what they need from their data infrastructure, and what their Sales and Marketing data needs.
We have found that most clients need to address three things. One is the quality of their data. They all understand that the first-party data they have is not as accurate or as robust as they want it to be, or that they’ve spent years buying other people’s data to supplement it. But really, they’ve just compounded the problem, so they have a lot of data that’s duplicative, inaccurate, and incomplete. That’s the number one issue we see all the time.
Number two, once the data is cleaned up, they want to make sure that their Sales and Marketing teams know who they should be reaching out to. In other words, who are their most likely prospects, their most likely customers. That changes, obviously, on a monthly basis, even on a weekly basis. People come and go, buying needs come and go. Monday morning when they turn on their computers, the Sales and Marketing teams need to know exactly who they should be talking to.
The third thing our clients tell is that they want actionable intelligence. Once they have the data correct, they know who they’re talking to, they need to know when to talk to them, what to say and how to reach them. They need to know the right message that they should be taking to the market, and how that message gets delivered, be it email, or phone, or social advertising, or programmatic advertising, whatever it may be.
From a CDP trend perspective, these are the top three things that clients are looking to address: accuracy of the data, prioritization of who to reach and when, and finally getting the message right and making it actionable.
How does Zylotech upend Customer Success with AI-powered capabilities?
Recommendations are an essential part of Marketing and Sales. However, traditional systems often produce recommendations that are not relevant or personalized enough. Zylotech offers a self-learning AI that provides intelligent recommendations to analyze and learn from interactions with each customer. These recommendations are based on the real-time intent of the customer and not solely on historical customer data. For example, if a customer is shopping for a shirt, the system could reference the attributes of each shirt the customer views at the time. Customer expectations have changed so we have designed our AI engine to provide personalized, relevant, and engaging recommendations.
How is Customer Services for Marketing and Sales Technology products different compared to other technologies, for instance IT SaaS and Cloud?
That is a great question. I like to look at it from a customer service/customer success perspective. When I think of customer service, I often think of a reactive response. I’ve got a problem and I need it fixed. When I think of customer success, I think of proactive. If we truly understand what the client needs, we can address issues proactively and make sure that they’re getting full value out of the product and the technology that they have installed.
How have these changed in the past 5 years with arrival of Sales Intelligence and Data?
Just a lot more accountability. You see a lot more dashboards, more analytics at your fingertips. There is a lot of different ways to slice and dice the data, which is good in that you have a better understanding, of what you have, its accuracy, whether it works or whether it doesn’t. What you can also have is analysis paralysis.
Oftentimes, companies don’t know what the next step is after they have analyzed their data. Over the past couple of years there’s been an influx of analytics, which was exciting at first because it put some answers into the hands of the Sales and Marketing teams. But then it caused them to slow down because they weren’t sure what direction to go in. We tell our customers to just focus on the key criteria, what’s most important to them, and make sure that most of all, the data is accurate and actionable and timely.
What role does real-time Customer Support play in retaining customer groups and consolidation of market?
Real-time customer support is hugely important. Clients are relying on this data for immediate Sales, customer feedback. As a customer, nobody wants to be waiting to get an answer, particularly if you’re a B2B customer with millions of dollars invested in your technology. You really need real-time support, immediate answers. The old adage of time is money is probably never truer than it is right now.
How do you prepare for an AI-centric world as a Sales Technology Leader?
As a Sales Technology Leader, we really need to keep coming back to the basics. Too often, we rush to talk about the product or to give a demo in hopes that the look and the feel of the product will make the Sale.
It really comes down to understanding exactly what the client is trying to accomplish. While we want to talk about the 50 things that our product does, and does really well, but really, it’s about understanding the things that the client needs. If we can address their specific needs and deliver value, then we’ve got a great conversation, and we’ve started to build a great relationship. It’s really about keeping it simple, customer focused, and not getting overwhelmed by all the jargon, all the technology.
Which events and webinars do you most occasionally attend and why?
CDP Institute has done a great job in helping define, shape and understand this industry, so we’re following that from a technology standpoint. From a personal standpoint, webinars like “How I Built This,” are really interesting as they profile companies and their CEOs on how they built their business. It’s interesting to hear what entrepreneurs face and how they build companies and teams around their dream and their vision.
Your advice to other CMOs and Sales professionals in the Sales Tech industry
I think it goes back to my previous comment. Stay away from the jargon. Some of the industry acronyms we use are the same that a customer may use, but they may interpret it differently. We may think that our clients know exactly what we’re talking about because we live this life every day, but in reality they don’t. Our clients live in their own environment.
Keep it real, keep the language basic, and make sure that both parties completely understand each other. Always stop to check and make sure that everyone is on the same page. Do we have a mutual understanding of what we’re trying to accomplish, what value we can deliver, and what problems need to be solved?
Tag a person whose answers to these questions would like to read from the industry?
Bob Kerrigan, CEO at Dun & Bradstreet.
Thank You, Patrick, for answering all our questions. We hope to see you again, soon.
Zylotech’s Self-Learning CDP provides B2B organizations with a complete, unified view of all customer data empowering cross-functional teams with greater agility, efficiency, and consistency. This approach is leading to new operational strategies that address each stage of the customer journey to meet evolving requirements.
Zylotech has developed its Revenue Operations (RevOps) Framework to provide the necessary guidance for B2B organizations to meet these evolving requirements and to breakthrough Marketing, Sales and Customer Operations silos to establish alignment across customer-facing teams.
Patrick is a Sales and Business Development leader with 20+ years of success in generating high-value relationships using creative business thinking to develop and deliver profitable solutions to clients in the B2B marketplace.