SalesTechStar Interview with Jill Ransome, Chief Marketing Officer at Tangoe
“In marketing you have to take some chances, some things will flop and that is ok, it’s more important to learn from them,” shares Jill Ransome, Chief Marketing Officer at Tangoe while talking about the best ways for marketing teams to successfully drive ROI despite the ongoing pandemic. Catch the complete conversation:
Can you tell us a little about yourself Jill and your top of mind thoughts on B2B sales and marketing?
Throughout my 20+ years of marketing experience within the B2B space, I have held several senior-level roles across a variety of industries ranging from market research to Business Process Outsourcing (BPO). Currently, I am the Chief Marketing Officer at Tangoe, a leading technology expense management and managed mobility services company where technology plays a major role. Having been in the B2B space for so long, I have a lot to say on this topic, but my main perspective is this: With so much access to information today, our (marketing) job is not to convince customers to buy, but to help them buy. The customer controls the buyer journey. They want to be treated as partners. So, let’s give them the insights, and information they need to make the best decisions. To do this, there needs to be synergy between product, brand, content, communications, social, pricing, distribution and ultimately customer acquisition and even retention. And perhaps one of the most important skills, as we have seen markets change time and time again, is adaptability. We must remain flexible in our approach, change when the market changes, and listen to the needs of our customers first.
What are your top predictions for the B2B / Tech marketplace: what trends do you see opening up in the near future as a result of shifts due to the Covid-19 pandemic? How will platforms evolve in the near future to meet changing demands?
The B2B tech space is not slowing. Some industries have been impacted more than others, but the pandemic has shown us that this is no time to slow down. Over the course of the pandemic, our team has increased our marketing presence by talking about topics that are timely, sensitive to the needs of the market and overall have worked to continue providing resources and tools to help our customers get through these difficult times. B2B or B2C, it does not matter, we need to communicate like a human (B2H) with empathy, and honesty, through metaphors and with humor. It goes a long way in building trust.
We will also continue to see a rise in digital marketing. With the turn down of in-person events and traditional field marketing, we must rely on alternative channels. Facebook has seen nearly a 30% increase in traffic, YouTube up 15% and overall with online tools and more video conferencing, total internet usage is up 40% or more. As businesses rebound and other industries continue experiencing growth, we need to be where those buyers are experiment with a variety of digital channels. The tools that will experience growth are those that enable marketers to get closer to their targets, understand buyer behaviors, and provide feedback at all the touchpoints across the buyer’s journey and from a variety of market programs
Lastly, we will also see a larger importance placed upon overall customer experience (CX) going forward. We tend to think about CX primarily within the consumer space – why you buy a certain brand of coffee over another, or shop at a particular retailer. The same principles can be applied to B2B – enhancing the experience your end-user has with your company at every integration point – from pre-sales, to contract negotiations, implementation and onboarding and ongoing customer lifecycle.
How would you advise B2B and tech teams and leaders revisit their core marketing and sales processes during a global downtime caused by a health pandemic?
First, don’t stop marketing. You need to be there and able to be found, once your buyers return. Pivot your marketing strategy to digital platforms. Don’t shy away from social. Post more often. And continue to develop great content. And remember B2H (business to human) – be creative in your approach and don’t be afraid to test and try new things.
If you could share 5 best practices with marketing outreach executives and sales reps, for a global downtime, what would those be?
- Content is king (always has been) – only now we have more channels to share it. Do not shy away from social channels. Traditional performance marketing is working less and less. Blend brand and performance marketing and use some common sense. Not everything has a direct attribution model. Just because someone did a Google search for your company does not mean they didn’t engage with your content. It is likely the opposite.
- Don’t forget about your existing pipeline. While lead generation may have slowed and/or still has not returned to pre-COVID levels, I recommend leaders focus on pipeline progression or moving what they already have. Just remember to remove accounts that have been heavily impacted, and prioritize the rest.
- Talk more internally. Share experiences with sales and prospecting. Gather feedback and use lessons learned to guide your content strategy.
- Be creative in your approach to content/thought leadership and appeal to emotional drivers.
- Shift resources as necessary.
What are the strategies you’ve been seeing peers/leaders in the marketplace use during this global downtime to balance business outcomes and employee challenges related to extended remote work?
Increased communication has been a successful strategy I have seen implemented across industries throughout the pandemic, as employees have a lot of pressures and concerns they are navigating while working from home – from child care pressures, to work life balance, to managing expectations. By increasing communication internally through company-wide town halls or all staff meetings, employees will feel better knowing their employer cares about them as individuals, which will go a long way.
Additionally, I have seen companies integrate more internal check-ins and meetings with one another for more direct communication. As we all surely miss the face to face interactions and water cooler talk, the reality is that this is gone (at least for the time being). Be mindful and make time for those engagements as well as work objectives.
Your biggest marketing / sales goof-up from your journey so far and biggest learning from it!
This is a great question. I am sure there have been many. One recent experience was not confirming our capacity for a live streamed event. Five minutes into the live event customers were complaining that they could not get in. My biggest learning from this was to assume your online event will reach full capacity, and test your systems properly day in advance in case you need to make a switch and ensure you have flexibility to change.
Listen in to How these Tech Leaders Are Helping Their Business Thrive During Covid-19, featuring episodes with Adform, Merkle, Heinz Marketing and more!
Tangoe offers order, invoice, inventory and expense management solutions — for telecom, mobile, cloud, Internet of Things (IoT) and 5G. Tangoe helps companies like Chevron Corporation, Northern Trust and UPS save more than $100 million in IT spend each year. Through one complete solution, the Tangoe Platform simplifies complex technology environments. The Tangoe Platform includes Telecom Expense Management (TEM), Managed Mobility Services (MMS), and Cloud Expense Management (CEM) solutions.
Jill Ransome is the Chief Marketing Officer at Tangoe