Why “Buyer DNA” Affects Content for Demand Generation Programs: Interview with Meagen Eisenberg

Glenn: Hi, everyone. I’m Glenn Gow, Founder & Advisor of Crimson Marketing. Welcome to Moneyball for Marketing where we talk about the incredible changes happening in marketing organizations around big data and marketing technology. We feature marketing technology insights from the top marketers in the world. The reference to Moneyball is from the story of how the Oakland A’s baseball team were able to win and win and win because they figured out how to use data and technology to their advantage. If you’d like to learn about how to use big data and marketing technology and marketing to help you win visit us at CrimsonMarketing.com or email us at info@CrimsonMarketing.com. And now on to our podcast.

Glenn: Today I am very pleased to welcome Meagan Eisenberg, Vice President of Customer Marketing and Demand Gen at DocuSign. Meagan covers the entire customer experience from top of the funnel to advocacy. She manages demand gen, field marketing, web marketing systems and operations and creative services. So for those of you who don’t know DocuSign, DocuSign calls themselves the global standard for digital transaction management. Their platform supports legally compliant electronic digital signature processes. So, Meagan, welcome, I’m very glad to have you here.

Meagan: Thank you, I’m excited to be on.

Glenn: You and I were talking earlier about the incredible success DocuSign is having in filling your funnel, the top of the funnel. And I was hoping you could share with some of our listeners some of the secrets you guys have in doing such a phenomenal job at filling your funnel.

Meagan: Sure, happy to go into that. You know, each quarter we see about 130,000 sales ready leads come into the funnel and there’s a mix of things that we do and of course we’re always changing that mix and trying to find new channels, but when we look at it, it’s really a mix of, of course, paid-search, there’s a social element to it, there’s the email marketing component to it, there are third party communities and sites that we reach out to, and a lot of it has to do with our content. Making sure that we have content that’s relevant to all the different personas that we’re going after, making sure that we are – that we have thought leadership, things that address really the business user’s pain and how to solve that, and to get out there we do a lot of research to make sure we are placing our content in a place that’s most relevant to the buyer that we’re going after. And so, through that mix we see a ton of activity and engagement, and folks coming to our website, engaging with our content, and driving those leads at the top of the funnel.

Glenn: I think it’s so powerful to start with personas, and I think you shared with me you have over 25 personas you have developed.

Meagan: Yes, yes.

Glenn: That’s very impressive, and the other thing about the personas is that, and you’ve already mentioned this, but a lot of companies don’t focus on where do those individuals, the personas we’re trying to influence, where do they go for information? It sounds like you’re really focused on trying to be there.

Meagan: Yeah, I think it’s really important, when you’re researching and my product marketing roots tell me that it’s important to do primary research and understand where people digest information. And so about three years ago when I joined DocuSign, one of our major use cases in personas was the sales use case. And using DocuSign to sign contracts and track contracts. And so we just really started with “Who do I know in sales that I can reach out to?” Reach out to Jill Ralley, reach out to Craig Rosenberg of Funnelholic. Ask them, “Where do you go to get content? Where do you go to find out information in your space and best practices? Are there certain LinkedIn groups that you’re a part of? Do you work with Sales 2.0?” You know, talking to people like Nancy Nardin and others just to get a sense of where they’re going for information and then trying to figure out how we can place content there and engage with people there and draw them into our funnel.

Glenn: That’s fantastic, that’s fantastic. Tell us a little bit about your team and your marketing technology stack and how you built that out.
Meagan: Yes it’s definitely grown over the last three years. When I joined DocuSign, we had a–we did have an email tool but it wasn’t one of the strong marketing information platform vendors that you typically would go with so we did a requirements gathering and looked at sort of a timeline and planned what we needed to run marketing and the business more efficiently and we selected Eloqua. So about a month after joining we put Eloqua, implemented Eloqua, and then we added on Demand Base to really help around our form optimization and content displayed on the site. But since then we’ve added and we’re managing 16 different marketing technologies and so with that you definitely as you build your marketing stack you need to build your team with that.

And so when I joined I had a programs manager out of Seattle and my first hire was a marketing technologist, Ryan, on my team who’s certainly a rock star in that space to help me with the implementation and management and building out of the team and then the next person we really brought on was a designer. I think that if you’re marketing demand gen, it’s hard to quickly turn things around and respond to the market without having at least one resource in house from a design standpoint. So we added that person on and then we added an enterprise demand gen person to focus on different parts of our business that we target and then since then, probably by the end of two years we had about six people on the team and then more recently we added a whole creative services for the entire organization and then of course the team has grown now that we manage field marketing and web as well so we’re about 26 folks on the team. But it was a certainly evolution.

Glenn: And you were way ahead of the curve and the title Marketing Technologist didn’t even exist back when you hired for that role, so I’m very impressed that you went that far. I think one of the other things that you mentioned to me earlier is that content is key here. Right? Because if you’re going after 25 personas, you’re going at them through all these different channels, you need a team that can develop content.

Meagan: Yes, it’s true. We really focus on the first use case but as we decided that the business was more than just sales use case we needed to talk to those in HR and procurement and all the other lines of businesses. Really every line of business has contracts that they’re managing and signing. And then if you think about every industry, so of course we prioritized our top six industries and top three use cases around sales, HR, procurement and then we had high tech, financial services, healthcare, higher ed, insurance and credit unions and, of course, we have real estate in the mix in there as well. We had to build out that content.

So, every quarter we picked a theme and content and really the mix was we needed a webinar, we needed a white paper, we needed a case study; and how do we go build that. Do we build it internally, do we work with a team to curate that, and that so we would pick themes and build it out and that content not only drove top of funnel leads, but we also leveraged that in our nurture programs. Yeah, I think every persona you need a mix of things. You need to touch them of course, whether they like to digest it through webinar or podcast, whether they want to read a customer case study, a white paper on that particular area, they want to see what other peers are doing, whether they’re on social or in email, you know there’s different channels they want to be reached on and so building that content out. But yes, content is definitely key.

Glenn: Have you had a chance to measure the recency of the content and whether or not that correlates to what people find on your website? Or have you – because I’ve also heard that old content is still valuable in the buying cycle and I’m just wondering if you’ve had a chance to measure that yet.

Meagan: Yeah, that’s an interesting question. I do agree that if it’s relevant content, if it’s a case study, how a customer uses your product and drives cost savings out of that. That’s relevant whether it’s a year from now or two years from now. Those use cases we see over and over and over again and so in that case, I think customer case studies definitely live on. I think that white papers for the most part live on unless they’re regulatory or compliance driven then I think as those regulations change they certainly could be dated. I also think that if you send content and if you’ve dated it, you put the date prominently, that could be an issue, but I think if you’re not highlighting a certain date it’s something a problem lives on.

As long as the problem’s still around I think the content is still relevant if it’s helping them solve it or understand it better. And so I don’t have metrics on recency, degradation, or anything like that. I’ve certainly used content over a couple years, there’s content that we’re using from three years ago that’s still part of every sales cycle because it’s still relevant.

Glenn: And we do know what’s happening behind the scenes is that your SEO is just getting bolstered when that content stays there and is being visited.

Meagan: That makes sense. That definitely makes a lot of sense.

Glenn: You had told a story a little bit about your real estate team and what you were doing there because that’s where you guys really started. Tell us a little bit about that.

Meagan: Sure, so DocuSign definitely dominates in the real estate industry. A lot of folks out there who have bought or sold houses have experienced it. But as we’ve developed further along and we’re targeting corporations and businesses, we’re really looking at brokers. And so in the last year we spent a lot of time figuring out how to reach out to brokers which isn’t a typical audience you can pull a list for out of Data.com or whatnot. You know, trying to target the heads of a broker. You have to learn where do they go for content, where do they go for data. But also the funnel is just a little bit different. And understanding where in the funnel you may have a breakdown. I think a lot of time sales focus on opportunities and are you generating opportunities and not a lot around qualification and what you need to do to qualify different and new personas.
And so we found in real estate it was important to look at the serious decisions model, earlier stage funnel, sales accepted leads, qualified leads to really understand where the bottle neck was. And so we’ve spent a lot of time looking at that funnel, understanding where the breakdown can be at the different stages. Making sure we arm our qualification team with relevant content at that stage because if you’re a SDR, someone that’s qualifying leads, then you’re typically talking to someone in sales or HR procurement and all of a sudden you get a broker. You need to know how to talk to that person. What are their pains, what are the relevant case studies, and so that’s a different stage than just your sales rep who only deals with real estate. And so I think it’s interesting when you’re working as a marketing or working with your sales team, understanding your personas, understanding all the stages and who touches the lead to make sure you’re arming them with the right information to be successful.

Glenn: Talk to me about how you help the internal sales team, you call them SDR’s. How you help them understand and get access to the content they need.

Meagan: Sure, that’s a good question. So as you can imagine with 130,000 leads, we have to really prioritize first of all which leads they call into so we definitely use marketing technology for leads scoring. But then we also need to develop relevant content. And so some of that we’re still trying to solve, we certainly train them on the different personas, we’ve got information in SalesForce, we’ve provided them with online tools to go to. But I would love that to be all in one place so when they pick up the phone they pivot very quickly and say, “Oh, you’re in sales. Let’s talk about sales contracts. Oh, you’re in real estate. Let’s talk about how other brokers are using DocuSign.” Or, “Oh you’re in higher ed, let’s talk about line admissions.”

So it’s not something we’ve totally solved but we’ve built out the content, we’ve educated them, we send them a sales flash every two weeks updating them on new content. We certainly have a repository for them to go to and search on. We’ve created what we call Engage Templates on our Eloqua platform that we have set up via foldering, via industry or line of business title, or stage of the buying cycle. So they can quickly pull up templates to email out to the people they’re talking to.

Glenn: Wow, it sounds like they have some really excellent tools available to them. I say that because we have a lot of clients where they get into the issue of too much content and SDRs and other sales reps actually give up trying to find what they need because they don’t know how to find it. And it sounds like you really set this up so if I’m an SDR I can quickly find what I need and serve that up.

Meagan: Yeah, it’s always a work in progress around sales efficiency and delivering. You know we want to deliver to our targets the right message at the right time to the right person. It’s the same for sales; marketers need to deliver them to the right content to the right persona at the right time. And so we’re always working on it but we’ve certainly put some good tools in place.

Glenn: Yeah, it sounds like you do that both from a marketing and a sales perspective, right? So you do it when I visit your website, you’re going to know pretty much where I’m coming from, whether or not I’ve already registered with you. And you’re going to do it through the sales organization as well.

Meagan: Yes.

Glenn: All right, fantastic. So the last area I wanted to chat with you about is where do you think this is going? What’s the future of data and Marketing Technology. What would you like to see happening inside of DocuSign say a year from now?

Meagan: Sure I definitely think it’s around sales efficiency I definitely think – the more information we can get about our prospects and not just firmographic, not just engagement, but their company data, this altogether I think is important. You know we have to be able to capture it and act on it. But the best thing that as marketers we can do is have the right information to segment so we can deliver the right message. And I think that people will – as companies get better and better at delivering the right data at the right time – people will be more interested in opting in. Our platforms will be more open because we know that – “I won’t get the 1,000 junk mails I get a day. I’ll actually get relevant information.” If you think about, even on platforms like LinkedIn that really restrict who can mail to their constituents. Their goal is to only allow in the stuff that we actually want to see that’s relevant to us.

So I think the future is you get people’s social interest and engagement aligned with their firmographic company information aligned with their company’s system information – you know, do they buy SAS or not, are they hiring or not – all that kind of information in a place that we can access and segment by and only trigger marketing communications when it’s relevant to them – I think certainly is where we’re all going towards.
Glenn: And there’s a phrase I want to use that you did not use but I want to see if you want to elaborate on this just a little bit: Lookalike Modelling. Can you talk a little bit about how you’re thinking about that?

Meagan: Let me – explain what you mean by lookalike modelling.

Glenn: So, taking from historical information about who buys what, and why – then going and looking at a new base of customers that you haven’t addressed yet, and saying “I want to go after them because the look like the customers that have purchased from me, therefore they should be more likely.

Meagan: Yes, and we are practitioners of that and lookalike modelling I often call customer DNA. And so, yes, we’ve worked with a company called Mintago to come in and analyze our existing customers and what are their characteristics, what attributes are similar. And it’s not just data that’s in our database, but out in the internet – what do those companies, what do they look like, what does their social pattern look like. And they help us actually target net new prospects or customers-to-be. So yes, definitely think that is part of the future, this lookalike modelling, really understanding what your customers exist and then go out there and find others that match that.

Glenn: Well thank you so much, Meagan, I’m energized. I’m impressed with what you guys are doing and it’s very clear – it doesn’t sound all that complicated. Listening to you, it sounds like a lot of work, though.

Meagan: Yes, yes but we enjoy it and DocuSign has been I think really good about looking at new technologies, and trying to learn from others and best practices and then to share those.

Glenn: Well we appreciate you sharing them, very much. Thank you very much.

Meagan: Thank you.

Glenn: If you like this podcast please subscribe and rate us on iTunes and tell your friends about us. You can also go to our website, CrimsonMarketing.com, and sign up for our free monthly newsletter featuring the very best of our marketing insights, featured Moneyball for Marketing podcasts, and one of our favorite features called, “Bad Marketing,” or email me at info@CrimsonMarketing.com. Thanks for listening to Moneyball for Marketing from Crimson Marketing. Have a great week and let us know if we can help you in any way.