SalesTechStar Interview with Joe Davy, CEO of Banzai
A chat on the benefits of event management software
Event management software and supporting marketing automation tools can help B2B sales and marketing teams boost their lead generation initiatives and improve sales pipeline, more so at a time such as the present where the rising numbers of virtual events are creating different kinds of opportunities. Joe Davy, CEO and Founder of Banzai joins us in this interview to talk about the core problem that fuelled the idea for Banzai while also sharing a few event marketing automation tips for B2B marketers to keep in mind.
Can you tell us a little about yourself Joe? As a startup investor / entrepreneur – what are some of the top words of caution you’d share with upcoming tech entrepreneurs?
I started my career as a software engineer, so that’s my background. I have been fortunate enough to be involved in some great companies, including Banzai, and before that, Avalara. I wouldn’t offer words of caution because entrepreneurs aren’t influenced by words of caution – instead, I’d offer two pieces of advice. First, find a great problem to work on. There are millions of problems out there – pick one, and commit to solving it in a first-class way. Second, surround yourself with great people. Ultimately the people around you will define your success. Pick people who will challenge you and who are better than you. The biggest difference I see between great leaders and everyone else is that great leaders seek out people who are better than them.
We’d love some thoughts on how the idea / inspiration behind Banzai came about, what are some of the near-future plans you have for the platform?
I was inspired to start Banzai because of the challenges I saw at Avalara. My wife (then fiancé) ran events there, and was constantly struggling to make her marketing tools work for events. Event attendance was a huge source of anxiety for her. After talking to other people in the same industry we realized the same pattern applied at almost every company. That’s why we started Banzai – to make marketing automation work for events (both virtual and in-person). Right now we’re very focused on how we can support our customers through virtual events, so all of our product focus is there right now.
The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has in fact changed how events are being run and perceived, online event platforms are now the need-of-the-hour, can you share some best practices for teams when it comes to optimizing how they use their event marketing tool, especially teams who are using this as part of the tech stack for the first time.
Events are critical for companies – between live and virtual, companies spend 1/3 of their marketing budgets on events. When shifting to virtual, companies should think about how to break content down into smaller chunks, and make content available on-demand. That way they can be more targeted and get more “bang for their buck”. Companies use Banzai to identify and reach those more targeted audiences, so they reach more people through their events, and their attendees are more engaged. So that’s a huge advantage for marketers who are competing with thousands of virtual event options on any given day.
If it weren’t for the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, what would your thoughts be for the future of event marketing platforms, and now that we are seeing trying to run businesses through the pandemic, what are your thoughts on the changing needs from these tools / platforms?
Before the pandemic, we were betting very heavily on the expansion of in-person events, and we still believe that is where the market is headed long term. The silver lining to this for our business has been that it has really given marketers the need to stand out and connect with their audiences more effectively. If anything is clear, it’s that virtual events are not going away either.
We’d love some of your thoughts / predictions in general on how marketing and sales will experience a shift as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to change how business is run…for the next few months.
First of all, I think COVID-19 will affect companies for at least the next year or longer. Originally I did not think that. If you had asked me in March, I would have bet that COVID-19 would blow over, but it has not. I believe business has changed in a way that it may never go back – shifting more to virtual, work-at-home etc. Many of these changes were being stacked up for a long time like better video conferencing, team chat, collaboration tools, the cloud, etc. In a way, COVID-19 came along and knocked over the first domino. I don’t see us going back from that as a society, I think we’ll have a lot less office time and people will think about productivity and workplaces differently. That will obviously affect the way companies do sales and marketing. It will have to be much more personal – to the individual, not the company.
Any last few thoughts to share before wrapping up (on leadership / a favorite quote / top sales books to read, remote collaboration tips, etc.)
One of my favorite concepts is the power of good habits. People have habits, companies have habits. If you’re CEO of a company, you need to have your habits, and they need to support your job. Same thing if you’re a sales rep. What is the first thing you do when you get to the office? What is the last thing you do before you leave? Are you organized? Do you use data? How do you maintain relationships? The chains of habit are too light to be felt until they’re too heavy to be broken, so start building good habits early in your career and they will pay off in spades. Even a 5% per year improvement will make you 7x more effective over a 40 year career. That’s pretty staggering. Don’t wait until tomorrow to start building good habits.
What’s in Store for B2B Marketing and Sales During the Covid-19 Pandemic? Catch these podcasts where leading industry experts weigh in.
Banzai partners with marketers to drive the right prospects and customers to attend their events. Our cutting-edge technology takes care of the prospecting, list creation, and outreach to invite and confirm event attendees. Marketing leaders trust Banzai to own the event registration and confirmation, allowing them to focus on producing a successful, sales-generating event.
Joe is the CEO and Founder of Banzai