Q&A with Marketing Leaders: Max Altschuler, VP Marketing at Outreach

infinigrow qa with marketing leaders max altschuler vp marketing at outreach
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Welcome back to Q&A with Marketing Leaders, our interview series built to provide SaaS marketing leaders with the best insights and actionable tips on how to improve their marketing planning by learning from the best marketers in the industry.

We spoke with Max Altschuler, VP Marketing at Outreach.

Outreach, the leading Sales Engagement Platform, accelerates revenue growth by optimizing every interaction throughout the customer lifecycle. The platform manages all customer interactions across email, voice and social, and leverages machine learning to guide reps to take the right actions. Thousands of customers, including Cloudera, Glassdoor, Pandora, and Zillow, use Outreach to drive predictable and measurable growth, increase efficiency and effectiveness of customer-facing teams, and improve visibility into sales activity and performance.

Apart from Outreach, Max is also the founder and CEO of Sales Hacker, the leading community for the next generation of sales professionals. He’s the author of Hacking Sales, Career Hacking For Millennials and, most recently, Sales Engagement: How The World’s Fastest Growing Companies are Modernizing Sales Through Humanization at Scale.

A widely recognized thought leader on sales and technology, Max has been published by the Harvard Business Review, Forbes, Money, and more. He was named a top sales expert by both Salesforce and Inc. He keynotes conferences globally and is an investor and advisor for rapid growth startups.

Who were the biggest marketing inspirations in your career?

Some of the biggest marketing inspirations for me are Jason Lemkin, Sarah Varni, Lynne Zaledonis, Andy Raskin, and a couple up and comers like Dave Gerhardt, Gaetano DiNardi, and Chris Orlob. Archie Abrams from Udemy too!

How has your role – and the marketing landscape – changed in the last few years?

I’m a big believer that B2B follows B2C by about 2-3 years. What works in B2C typically works in B2B a few years later. We’re currently seeing this in a few areas. A prime example is how LinkedIn is shifting to be more like Twitter and Instagram with its newsfeed. A big effect of this transition is the creation of a whole new crop of influencers.

Another example is what we are seeing with B2B review sites. In particular, G2 Crowd is rising in popularity and becoming a major focus for many B2B companies. This trend is very similar to what Yelp did in B2C.

Alignment, particularly with Sales, is crucial and if you don’t successfully align your organization around your marketing plan and goals, it’s all worthless really.

In your opinion, what is the most important skill that marketing leaders need to have?

Well, like in any role, hiring is #1.

You shouldn’t be the best at Demand Generation, Marketing Operations, Product Marketing, Content, etc. You need to hire people who are more experienced and much better than you in those disciplines. You need to scale yourself!

You also need to be able to really fight for your team to get budget and buy-in from the rest of your organization. Alignment, particularly with Sales, is crucial and if you don’t successfully align your organization around your marketing plan and goals, it’s all worthless really.

I’ll also add that the ability to be forward-thinking, analytical, and intuitive enough to hear what’s happening externally and turn that into marketing. These are very important traits for marketing leaders.

What is the most overrated marketing channel, in your opinion?

It’s totally business dependent, but I’ll probably go with TV commercials.

Everyone is cord cutting these days and it’s resulting in a steady decline of subscribers and overall reach for the medium. Again, it’s business dependent, but for us, I can think of so many better channels to invest in.

How do you establish your marketing team’s goals?

We use the book The 4 Disciplines of Execution and go with 3 large goals tied to our company goals, then Objectives, and Lag and Lead measures off of that.

I highly recommend aligning with the rest of the organization first. Once you’ve done that, you can establish a framework to create a structure and terminology that everyone understands and can work from.

I’m a big believer that B2B follows B2C by about 2-3 years. What works in B2C typically works in B2B a few years later.

When planning your marketing strategy, how do you decide which channels to include and not include?

We are always testing, measuring, and optimizing our strategy and channels and evaluating what works best for us.

You have to start somewhere though, so I like to start with my professional network and join groups and ask others what works for them. This really helps generate some ideas. After that, test those things to see what works for you and your organization. You really need to have your measurement and reporting process down though. You can’t optimize what you can’t measure.

How does testing factor into your marketing planning?

To be honest, testing is really the only thing that matters. One dollar in and two (or more) out. If you can’t measure that then you’re throwing your financial resources into a black hole and limiting your ability to succeed.

How often you adjust your marketing plan after you create it?

For me, it’s always a work in progress.

I’m always adjusting our plan as the year goes on. However, our goals are adjusted on a quarterly basis and we really make an effort not to adjust them more than that.

We need to hit our goals and the numbers represented that align with those goals. It can be something like the dollar amount of pipeline driven or something like the number of reviews on a review site. At the end of the day, results are what matter most.

How do you know that you planned well?

Results!

We need to hit our goals and the numbers represented that align with those goals. It can be something like the dollar amount of pipeline driven or something like the number of reviews on a review site. At the end of the day, results are what matter most.

What is your best advice for a young CMO when building their marketing strategy?

Get support.

Trying to reinvent the wheel is silly and usually doesn’t end well. Use sites like SaaStr, DigitalMarketer, GrowthHackers, etc. to learn from others who have been there and done it before. Those are really good places to start building. Also, surround yourself with like-minded people who are doing the same. Attend the meetups, webinars, conferences where these people will be, connect and actually get out and talk to them.