SalesTechStar Interview with Jason Zintak, CEO at 6sense
6sense has had a very eventful year (so far!) with a slew of acquisitions and partnerships, thereby changing the game for their end-users and the martech-salestech-revtech niche. Jason Zintak, CEO at 6sense shares a quick overview in this catch-up with SalesTechStar while diving into a few top B2B sales and marketing trends commanding the marketplace today:
Hi Jason, we’d love to hear about your journey through the years…tell us more about your role as CEO at 6sense?
I started out in sales and then was a sales leader before moving into executive positions, so I’ve had a front-row view of the challenges that sellers face…
In my two most recent roles as CRO at Responsys (acquired by Oracle Marketing Cloud) and then CEO of Platfora (acquired by Workday), I worked with email platforms, marketing automation, and big data — all of which tie into my role as CEO of 6sense, where we are transforming selling and marketing by helping B2B companies eliminate the guesswork behind driving revenue through big data, AI, and machine learning.
I was selling long before big data was a thing, but data was always key to how I approached my work. Not just because it made any analysis more thoughtful, but because I was empathetic toward my customer. And I knew that without knowing about them and what they were struggling with, I couldn’t be legitimately helpful to them.
That’s what makes 6sense so exciting — our tech, big data, and AI make it easy to offer that kind of personalized, empathetic, data-powered customer experience at scale.
As CEO, what are some of the top alignment processes/practices you follow to ensure your sales and marketing is always on the same page?
Trust, empowerment, and transparency are very important to me as a leader because they naturally lead to alignment across all teams. I believe our people are smart, good, and talented, and that’s why we hired them. I trust them, and I give them the benefit of the doubt. Empowerment goes along with trust. I empower people to do what they’re the experts in, to build their own empires. Then being transparent about expectations, about how we work, how we should work, and how I work breaks down a lot of the conventional egos and corporate walls. Transparency is especially important at the highest levels, so as an executive team we share our V2MOM update on our all-hands call. We distribute our annual plan to the whole company and talk about it regularly. People are motivated by trust, empowerment, and transparency, and that really shapes our culture.
We’d love to hear more on some of 6sense recent partnerships and innovations. What can marketers and sales teams look forward to?
We recently announced the acquisition of AI-based pipeline intelligence platform Fortella, which is an exciting development for any CMO, CRO, or revenue team member looking to predictably achieve pipeline goals. Integrating Fortella into the 6sense account engagement platform creates a finely tuned navigation system for an organization’s RevOps engine — and that will help our customers accelerate insights and outperform the competition.
In addition, our partner ecosystem is an important part of how we operate, because an open system brings more value to our customers. So we have partnerships with ad agencies, professional services organizations, and complementary software products. Two partnerships we recently deepened are really exciting: Bombora and SalesLoft.
With the Bombora partnership, our customers can combine Bombora’s Company Surge data with 6sense’s intent, predictive, engagement, and other crucial account data to create hyper-targeted audiences and deliver really engaging experiences. And our SalesLoft partnership means that sales reps can get 6sense’s deep account and contact insights directly within SalesLoft so they can deliver the right message at exactly the right time.
How have you been seeing trends sales intelligence and big data impact the way sales and marketing align and reinvent processes to convert more deals?
The biggest transformation is that big data and AI take the guesswork out of the whole go-to-market process. So the old debates we used to see between marketing and sales (“Why aren’t you working the leads we got you?” “These leads are junk!”) just don’t happen anymore. Revenue teams are now making joint decisions based on shared intelligence. The end result is that deals convert faster and more easily, and teams are happier and more successful.
What are some precautions that you feel sales and marketing leaders need to keep in mind when reassessing their data and intelligence and the platforms connecting the two?
I’d caution against the silos that disparate solutions can create. When the marketing team uses one tech stack and sales uses another, it leads to conflicting priorities, lack of visibility, and, ultimately, distrust. But when everyone is on the same platform, the whole revenue team is working from the same data, the same tools, the same processes. Of course, that makes it doubly important to make sure that you’re using robust, trustworthy data and pairing it with advanced AI and machine learning that can turn the data into real intelligence.
As B2B data trends evolve, what are some thoughts you’d like to share on the future of data-driven marketing and revenue strategies?
The future isn’t coming; it’s here. We’re in the midst of what we call the RevTech Revolution. Our access to robust and reliable data — as well as advancements in data warehousing, compute power, and machine learning — is revolutionizing how we do business. It’s the only way to go forward. The big challenges companies face — how can I be relevant to my customers, prospects, and employees? — can now be solved by leveraging data and analytics. And while data and analytics can be complex, particularly as you apply machine learning, AI, and data science to it, the ability to distill that down to simple workflows is the way of the future.
Five ways in which you feel the role of the CEO and the role of the typical B2B salespeople is set to evolve in future?
- Collaboration will be key. The entire revenue team will need to plan together. If there is no mutual plan, then I’d argue it’s a bad plan, whatever you’re doing.
- The role of the seller, marketer, and customer success will blend together. Now that we actually have a relationship with our prospects and customers, we can enjoy a long journey together. And that makes shared priorities and intelligence more important than ever.
- We’ll need to keep deepening our expertise. Customers and prospects want to learn from us, but their subject matter expertise is greater than ever before. The bar is set much higher for revenue teams to offer value. So we’re going to have to be much more educated in a vertical or in a function in order to be the consultant that our customers expect us to be.
- We’ll all need to be difference makers. With the pace at which our world is transforming, there’s no room any more for passive participants. We’re all going to need to be activators, doers, and risk takers to drive change.
- Customer empathy will be more important than ever. Walk a day in their life, live in their shoes, understand what they’re trying to accomplish. That’s the common denominator of success for software companies — or any company for that matter.
The 6sense Account Engagement Platform helps B2B organizations achieve predictable revenue growth by putting the power of AI, big data, and machine learning behind every member of the revenue team.
6sense uncovers anonymous buying behavior, prioritizes accounts for sales and marketing, and enables them to engage resistant buying teams with personalized, multi-channel, multi-touch campaigns. 6sense helps revenue teams know everything they need to know about their buyers so they can easily do anything needed to generate more opportunities, increase deal size, get into opportunities sooner.
Jason Zintak is the CEO at 6sense
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