On this episode of the Sales Hacker podcast, we talk with Andrea Kayal, Chief Marketing Officer at Upserve and most recently Chief Marketing Officer at Signpost. We talk about how to align marketing and sales with demand generation to drive scale.
Author’s note: When this interview was recorded, Andrea served as the CMO of Signpost. As of May 2018, she serves as the CMO of Upserve.
What You’ll Learn
- How to align Sales, Customer Success, Marketing, and Demand Gen
- The right way to think about demand generation and what data to use to make decisions
- Properly understanding Customer Acquisition Cost and its relationship to LTV
- The challenges of moving from $10M in ARR to $20M in ARR
- How to scale marketing channels and how to allocate marketing budget productively
- Separating the different functions that roll up into a modern Marketing org
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Show Agenda and Timestamps
Sales Hacker Podcast—Sponsored by Gong.io
Sam Jacobs: Before we start, a quick thank you to this month’s Sales Hacker podcast sponsor Gong — the #1 conversation intelligence platform for sales. Gong helps you generate more revenue by having better sales conversations. It automatically captures and analyzes your team’s conversations so you can transform your team into quota-shattering super-sellers.
And now on with the show.
About Andrea Kayal and Signpost: Baseball Card Stats
Sam Jacobs: Hey everybody, I’m here with Andrea Kayal, the CMO at Signpost. We’re so excited to have her on the Sales Hacker podcast. Let me tell you a little more about Andrea. In my opinion, she’s the best marketer in New York City!
She’s one the people I rely on for marketing in general and for demand generation specifically.
As the CMO, Andrea is responsible for marketing, customer success, and business operations at Signpost. Her focus areas are demand generation, brand messaging, creative, marketing automation, marketing communications, marketing and sales alignment, PR, and customer retention.
Before joining Signpost, she led marketing at TimeLink, Lua, and Sailthru. And, before transitioning into tech, she worked at Octagon. She went to University of Michigan. Go Blue! And, received her MBA from American University.
Andrea Kayal: Thanks, Sam! And, go Blue!
Sam Jacobs: Tell us a little about Signpost.
Andrea Kayal: Sure! Signpost is an AI-driven CRM that drives reviews and revenue for local service businesses. We’re more SMB and mid-market-focused.
Sam Jacobs: Revenue range for the company?
Andrea Kayal: Signpost is $20-$25 million.
Sam Jacobs: How much money have you guys raised?
Andrea Kayal: We’re in series C and we’ve raised about $20 million.
Sam Jacobs: How big is the organization?
Andrea Kayal: Signpost is about a 150-person organization. About a 100 of those are in Sales roles—a very sales-heavy business. I oversee Marketing and Rev Ops—on the demand side. I also oversee 40% of the Customer Success org. Not only do I have to work with the sales team to generate revenue but also worry about the cash leaving the business as well!
Managing Customer Success as a Marketing Leader
Andrea Kayal: Usually Marketing is worried about the quality of leads and Sales closing those leads. But is the fit of the business a match? Because, you have to retain these deals.
Sam Jacobs: I’ve seen Customer Success report to Sales but not to Marketing.
Andrea Kayal: The Head of Sales has a lot of breadth—we have nearly seven sales channels. More than a capacity issue, we’re working towards making Customer Success a revenue generating function more than retention. When that happens, CS may report to a different leader. Good though is that we’ve reduced costs by 20% year over year and also increased retention by 20%.
Sam Jacobs: Any key tactics on how you did this?
Andrea Kayal: It’s removing complexity. There was a lot of complicated CS management and systems feeding into their day-to-day jobs. We were artificially constrained by small teams within the org. So what we did was consolidate the team and have account managers on it from start to finish.
Sam Jacobs: Did you consolidate platforms as well?
Andrea Kayal: We have a Salesforce developer that’s fantastic. We built our own version of Gainsight in only two days with our developer. We felt we knew the indicators of success or failure for our customers than recommendations from a different platform. For us, there are two key metrics that are positive indicators—this includes contacts emailed and NPS.
And you know what? It’s working.
Andrea Kayal—The Origin Story
Sam Jacobs: Give us a snapshot of how you got here, for the future marketers and salespeople who want to be a CMO one day.
Andrea Kayal: After I graduated from University of Michigan, I got a job with Octagon—I had two fantastic accounts. BMW and MasterCard. These brands were great to get my bearing in marketing. But I went back to business school to work on my business acumen because I was always interested in tech.
It’s after this that I went to TimeLink. And then came Lua—this may have been a misstep for me because I had to work with the budget constraints of a Series A company. It’s a workforce communication company and right now they specialize in health care.
The day I was hired at Sailthru, the CMO was let go and I walked into a Head of Marketing role. I was there for about two years before OpenView—a Signpost investor—reached out to me.
Sam Jacobs: I love this story! And, don’t worry about missteps—I’ve had my fair share. The more senior you are, the more you have to be aligned with the founder on the vision.
Sam Jacobs: What does marketing mean to you?
Andrea Kayal: I think Marketing is synonymous to revenue. How do you find the accounts you want to sell to? And then how do you sell to them? To me, there are seven different disciplines in marketing. Brand evolves as you go—it’s the iterative, living breathing element. It’s what you say you are and what you look like.
I don’t consider myself a brand marketer though. I usually work with an agency on rebrands. Beyond this, there are core disciplines like content marketing, digital marketing, product marketing, customer marketing etc.
As a marketer, the job is to really ruthlessly prioritize where you spend your time to drive the most revenue.
What really is demand generation?
Sam Jacobs: What about demand gen?
Andrea Kayal: Simply put, demand gen is how you generate interest. You can do this two ways—you can push your information to someone but you can also pull. The buying motion is highly converting here as compared to a cold call or a LinkedIn connection.
The most productive channels for lead gen
Sam Jacobs: Tell us about the different productive channels to get leads.
Andrea Kayal: Adwords works incredibly well. Especially in the SMB space. And the conversion rate for us is 5% there. And this is from lead to close. The metric we care about most is LTV (Lifetime Value) to CAC (Customer Acquisition Cost).
The LTV on enterprise customers is so high that you can afford to bring your marketing CAC up. You can do an event for $15,000—those leads are there because they need the product or the research at the least.
Digital is getting very good now. With Facebook and LinkedIn you can almost always do an exact email match. You’re pushing your information in front of them but they do come in as inbound leads once they raise their hand.
There’s also affiliate marketing. You get paid to get access to your ideal customer profiles. But this is more for an enterprise company.
Demand Generation for first-time founders
Sam Jacobs: What’s your recommendation for first-time founders who are thinking about demand generation?
Andrea Kayal: Don’t go too senior. Hire a doer. The CEO knows best about where to find the right buyers. You can test small amounts of money with this doer and then park the money on the most lucrative channel. You have to commit some money and some time. There’s no magic bullet really.
Signpost’s marketing tech stack
Advice from a woman CMO to aspiring women CMOs
Andrea Kayal: I’ve tried to operate from a place of result. I’ve put my head down and work hard. When you’re given a task, let your results speak for you. My guiding light has been to just kick some ass.
Favorite book, movie or podcast
Andrea Kayal: Darwin’s Doubt—it’s about intelligent design. How could we have evolved? I love the competing views. And the books offers an POV. It’s dense but interesting!
How to get in touch with Andrea
Andrea Kayal: LinkedIn or firstname.lastname@example.org works!
Sam Jacobs: Awesome, thank you so much for joining us! You’ve always been insightful!
Andrea Kayal: Thanks, Sam!
What a great interview with Andrea! She specifically dove into the rebrand process—she’s got resources on her if you need them. The other thing was LTV to CAC. LTV can be a very misleading metric when you’re capital-constrained. If you’re anything below 3 to 1, you have to think about your capital relative to LTV:CAC so you can scale.
Don’t Miss Episode 08
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I’ll see you next time!
Also published on Medium.