SalesTech Star

SalesTechStar Interview with Jennifer Holtvluwer, CMO at Spirion

Jennifer Holtvluwer, CMO at Spirion has a chat with SalesTechStar on the top-of-mind concerns affecting sales and marketing leaders while sharing a few best practices and learnings from her marketing journey:


Hi Jennifer, we’d love to hear about your journey through the years…tell us more about your role at Spirion and the highlights of being CMO here?

Our mission at Spirion is to protect what matters most – the sensitive personal data of our colleagues, our customers, and our communities.  As someone who had their identity stolen, this mission to protect resonated well with me. As a result, I started working at Spirion in late 2019.  As the CMO, I am responsible for leading the organization’s go-to-market strategy.  This includes demand generation, brand awareness, digital marketing, and inside sales.  Working with customers to understand how they need to be proactive in their efforts to avoid detrimental damage should a data breach or ransomware occur is a key highlight.  The messages we take to market always align with one of two business objectives:

  • Lower the organization’s sensitive data footprint to minimize the risk associated with a data breach.
  • Comply with state, federal, and industry regulations associated with managing and tracking sensitive data.

 Spirion is a well-recognized data security brand within cybersecurity. We are actively working to grow our share of voice in data privacy. It’s great to see the fruits of our go-to-market strategy labor..

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We’d love to hear about some of Spirion’s latest innovations…

Earlier this summer, we rolled out a ‘come grow with us’ messaging campaign. The program demonstrates our solution’s flexibility to solve challenges proactively or as they are encountered.  Data protection efforts come in all shapes and sizes. Our flexible and robust product that spans the key stages of enterprise readiness (from data security and privacy to data governance initiatives) is well received by users, influencers, and analysts.

As a SaaS marketer, what are some of the top challenges and thoughts that keeps you and most other marketing/sales leaders up at night?

When you work for a fast-moving and growing B2B SaaS company, it can be easy to fall into the trap of “do as much as you can, as fast as you can.”

While speed to market is undoubtedly a priority, the impact of the activity is equally important.  Balancing speed with impact is a top priority that is always on my mind.  How do we ensure the sales team is adequately enabled with appropriate messaging and the new solutions we take to market?  How is what we are building providing value to customers?  How do we create outcome-of-value messaging that grows ARR (annual recurring revenue)?

As martech innovations redefine how marketing fundamentals are assessed and managed, what are some of the top best practices you feel should come into play when setting up processes to analyze and measure marketing results / campaigns?

 Having a well-defined reporting process within MOPS (marketing ops) is crucial. You can’t optimize what you aren’t tracking – we leverage Marketo and SFDC as our primary source of program tracking.

About six months ago, we launched PathFactory (intelligent content platform). PathFactory allows us to create personalized content tracks to get messages in front of our personas based on what they are most interested in – to binge.  Enabling buyers to binge on the right content is all the rage now. That is how you increase engagement numbers and have more intelligent conversations with buyers.

We share binge data with our sellers in SFDC, and as a result, we have seen our user content engagement increase by 6% and have some pleased sellers.  Taking the time to map out a tool’s impact isn’t a new thought, but many still buy a tool to solve a problem without a process.  We took the time to map out the process for PathFactory and, as a result, are seeing positive outcomes sooner.

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What are some of the top marketing tricks you’ve relied on often to drive results during a downtime, such as during the pandemic?

When the global pandemic first hit, the IT efforts quickly shifted from a data protection focus to a “how do we get a remote work environment set up, quickly.” Seemingly overnight, millions of people were now working, studying, and teaching from home in response to the global crisis. At the same time, we witnessed a corresponding surge in social engineering campaigns at scale targeting remote workers’ identities. This major business challenge required a response. We needed to help organizations facing this dramatic shift. Spirion announced the availability of no-cost resources to identify sensitive data for both remote workers and enterprises to facilitate a ‘privacy-first’ work environment. Spirion offered security teams a 60-day no-cost trial of its software to search and identify sensitive data on remote workforce computers. Spirion also offered remote employees a no-cost data discovery agent to identify personally identifiable information on their home computers.

How do you feel today’s marketers need to develop their skills to be more comfortable with constant changes in martech? In what ways do you and the marketing team at Spirion undertake marketing training and team development initiatives?

Marketers are fixers and helpers – at least the outstanding ones are. I encourage taking risks. My motto to the team is to take risks – and track how you are doing by looking at your win count versus loss count.  As long as your win count is exceeding your loss count, keep pressing ahead.  Someone once told me that getting a program, product, or process to 80% is good enough; you need the 20% to optimize and modify it to greatness.  I always have a budget for outside training and skill development.  Our team recently went through Strength Finders training to help understand each other’s strengths and how to maximize those strengths.  Working in an office you can recognize strengths more quickly. However, when teams are working remotely, it is not easy to identify strengths.  I also offer a bump in salary if you get certified on a program in our Martech stack. This encourages skill development, and the company benefits by having more experts. My goal is to ensure employees are fairly compensated for the new skills they acquire.

Finally, I make it a practice to compensate all new employees fairly. I never lowball salary, but instead always offer them what they are worth.  I also remain clear on what will earn a pay increase. I encourage employees to go beyond simply showing up each day and doing the bare minimum – remain eager to learn, prove your worth, differentiate yourself, demonstrate your career goals, and set reasonable expectations for salary. In summary, don’t simply request a salary increase, prove your value and why you have earned the increase. Take the time (and opportunity) to learn and produce something great, and the rewards will follow.

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Spirion has relentlessly solved real data protection problems since 2006 with accurate, contextual discovery of structured and unstructured data; purposeful classification; automated real-time risk remediation; and powerful analytics and dashboards to give organizations greater visibility into their most at-risk data and assets. Spirion’s Privacy-Grade™ data protection software enables organizations to reduce risk exposure, gain visibility into their data footprint, improve business efficiencies and decision-making while facilitating compliance with data protection laws and regulations.

Jennifer Holtvluwer is the CMO at Spirion.

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