Here we go with with another edition of Q&A with Marketing Leaders, our series designed to provide B2B SaaS marketing leaders with the best insights and actionable tips on how to improve their marketing planning by learning from best marketers in the industry.
For this edition, we spoke with Nicole Lindenbaum, VP Marketing at Teampay.
Teampay is an entirely new way to manage spend. Their distributed spend management platform gives finance teams total control and real-time visibility over purchasing while empowering employees to spend with confidence. Teampay’s user-friendly workflow guides buyers, collects critical data, and provides safe, intelligent payments – solving common problems of policy misalignment, lack of transparency, and unpredictable spending.
Nicole is the Vice President of Marketing at Teampay. She has built her career in marketing B2B tech across multiple industries. Nicole enjoys the challenge of creating technology categories, crafting the messaging and strategy that make disruptive technologies the new normal.
How did you originally get into marketing?
It was a bit by chance. I was in business school, getting my MBA, and I was really focused on strategy. What I found most interesting was strategies for organic growth, which quickly led me to marketing.
When I finished graduate school, I was looking around for different roles and I found a great marketing generalist role. When I looked at the job description, I felt “Wow, this is going to teach me a little bit of everything.” The role was on a really small team, so I knew I would be working on everything…digital campaigns, trade shows, building out webinars, working on press releases, etc.
I knew it was going to teach me a lot of things that would help me later on and it definitely paid off for me professionally.
I also liked being able to help move a company from A to B and watch it grow knowing that I made a real impact.
After that, I sort of never looked back.
What do you like most about B2B marketing?
For me, one of the most interesting things about B2B marketing is that you’re often trying to reach more than one person at a company. This requires you to have messaging that’s consistent but unique enough to speak to your different personas.
Also, in B2B marketing, there’s this large element of storytelling involved and I’m a storyteller. That’s what I love about marketing. You’ve got to be able to tell your story in a way that’s going to resonate with different groups of people. To me, that’s a much more interesting challenge than in B2C where you’re just targeting one kind of consumer.
What’s the most common mistake that you see in marketing?
The most common mistake that I see is that a lot of marketers often focus on activity versus metrics and KPIs.
Yes, you might need to think about having a set number of social posts every week or blog posts per month but if that’s all you’re driving toward, and you’re not actually driving toward revenue, then you’re not going to succeed.
What’ll happen is that you’ll end up doing a lot of work without results. There’ll be wasted effort and you’ll find that you’re not then aligned with the goals of the business.
If you can focus on things like “how is my content performing?” versus “I need to publish 12 blog posts this month”, you’ll end up driving tangible results for the business and it will help you optimize, for both performance and for the time you spend on tasks.
What do you think the most important skill that today’s marketing leaders need to have?
I think marketing leaders need to have the ability to navigate change. Marketing, especially B2B, changes so quickly. Today’s best practices are not going to be the ones that are practiced in a year from now. There’s also new technology coming out, like InfiniGrow, that can help you be better at your job.
If you’re not able to navigate the way that the world changes and how buying patterns shift, I think you risk getting left behind. This also applies to navigating change within your own organization. If your company pivots or enters a new market, you’ve got to be able to adjust your tactics. You’re likely not going to be replicating exactly what you’ve done before to be successful, so you have to understand those different levers. What might make sense in this market didn’t make sense in the previous market. If you’re not open to that, you’re going to miss opportunities for growth and success.
What does your marketing planning process look like? How do you set your goals and how do you, how do you kind of structure what you’re going to be doing in marketing?
Everything starts by looking at the company goals. Once we have those, we determine how we will support those goals as a marketing team.
A lot of that comes down to aligning with sales and making sure we’re going to be helping them hit their targets.
At that point, we think of how we can make the biggest impact.
We kind of build out our plan using two buckets. The first bucket is what has worked for us in past. We look at those channels and think of how can we optimize them to be even more efficient and effective.
The second bucket is what we want to test. That starts by doing the research so we know what could be interesting to test. Once we have identified our tests, we build out those programs and channels. We measure everything for our tests so we can see what works there. Once we know something works, we move towards optimizing and expanding it.
How do you, how often do you adjust your marketing plan after you created it?
We’re looking at our results on a consistent basis. This can be daily or weekly, depending on what’s going on. We want to know how everything’s performing at all times. Now, we might not report that out to the greater team at that frequency, but it’s important for our team to know exactly where we stand and how we’re contributing to the business.
This allows us to then make adjustments that we need to our tactics.
We also sit down as a team and evaluate, on a quarterly basis, where we are and where we want to be.
How do you know if you’ve planned well?
I know I’ve planned well if the team is able to adapt to changes without it throwing them off their stride too much. That means that I’ve planned for the right kind of activities.
The other thing I think about is if the sales team is happy and viewing us as a partner. If they don’t view us as a partner, then we’re doing the wrong things in marketing.
What advice do you have for new marketing leaders?
Be curious. Read everything you can out there, learn about the newest technologies, meet your peers, go to conferences and just immerse yourself in the world.
That’s going to provide you with so much insight into things. If you ask questions and let yourself be curious, you’ll be a much more effective marketing leader.