Esther Flammer
How to Fuel Multi-Segment Demand
Esther discusses the balance between the art and science of marketing, what B2B can learn from B2C, and the different motions that fuel high-transaction, high-volume inbound pipeline versus the targeted ABM strategies that drive complex, enterprise-level deals
Conga is the global leader in commercial operations transformation, and helps businesses simplify and automate their approach to the essential quotes, contracts, and documents that drive commerce. We help our customers become more agile, so they can adapt quickly to change and create a fluid, connected customer experience. Companies choose Conga for the most comprehensive solution set in the market and expert guidance, enabling them to transform the processes and documents surrounding customer engagement, configure price quote (CPQ), contract lifecycle management (CLM), and the complete commercial operations lifecycle. With Conga, businesses evolve their commercial operations to streamline their revenue processes and derive the meaningful insights that lead to sustained growth. Conga is headquartered in San Mateo, Calif. with global operations across North America, Europe and Asia.
INDUSTRY
Information Technology & Services
FOUNDED
2006

Guest Bio

Esther Flammer is the vice president of demand generation at Conga. She is a senior marketing executive with nearly 20 years of B2B and agency experience in SaaS high tech and non-profit sectors. Her dynamic leadership has driven success at high-growth B2B technology companies like Conga, Convercent, and Return Path. As VP of demand generation at Conga, Flammer is focused on driving strategy and leading the global marketing organization to successfully transform the way businesses do commercial operations—quotes, contracts, and documents—to provide a frictionless customer experience and accelerate revenue.


Episode Summary

This episode features an interview with Esther Flammer, Vice President of Demand Generation and acting CMO of Conga.

Esther is a senior marketing executive with nearly 20 years of B2B and agency experience in SaaS, high-tech, and non-profit sectors. Her dynamic leadership has driven success at high-growth B2B technology companies like Conga, Convercent, and Return Path.

On this episode, Esther discusses the balance between the art and science of marketing, what B2B can learn from B2C, and the different motions that fuel high-transaction, high-volume inbound pipeline versus the targeted ABM strategies that drive complex, enterprise-level deals.

Key Takeaways

  • Marketing is a delicate balance of art and science, but in demand gen, you’re going to need a lot of data to back up the strategies you employ for generating the pipeline needed to meet the company’s goals.
  • If you sell to SMB and Enterprise, high-velocity, high-transaction deals are going to be very different than complex, enterprise-level deals. Make sure you have distinct go-to-market strategies for each segment and that you’re fueling both engines, but that you also understand the overlap between the two.
  • In-person events are on hold, but virtual events are still a strong tactic. The reach is much larger but you have to be much more focused, purposeful, and intentional about the content to keep audiences engaged.

Quotes

“We see so much ROI and a lot of the bigger deals and true qualified pipeline coming from [our ABM efforts]. It’s a very multichannel, targeted effort, starting with the technology that provides propensity to buy data…really defining what those target accounts look like, adding in targeted advertising so that we can warm them up and truly personalize…then ensuring that we're delivering the right message to the right person at the right time, that it's personal, that it's relevant and it’s aligned with where they are in their buyer's journey.”
“We were invited to be on a pilot to try out Qualified.com on Salesforce AppExchange…and it's been a game changer completely. We've always had high volumes from AppExchange and from each of our product listings, but we were able to see much higher conversions, more qualified conversations and true pipeline come from that. So we’re huge fans.”
“Because of the fact that we don't really have live events where you would typically see conversations happening at a booth, [conversational marketing] has been a great addition to our full demand gen strategy and the tactics and channels that we're utilizing.”
“I think there's a lot that B2B can learn from B2C–tech and data analysis and neuromarketing and things like that. B2B tech is, I feel like, just starting to do that in a sense, but there's a lot that we can do to actually provide really relevant content to people who are looking to purchase.”
“I feel like when you're in demand generation, there's kind of always a target on your back just because you are accountable for the pipeline that the business needs to close in order to hit the bookings goals. Demand generation in most cases is front and center: What are you doing? What is your strategy? How are you producing more pipeline? ...Everything is very much kind of that art and science of marketing…So we use a lot of data and science to figure out how much pipeline we need, and for me, our goal of the demand gen team is predictable pipeline. We put a lot of effort into trying to figure out how much pipeline do we need to create in this quarter in order to hit our goals, both this quarter as well as next quarter and beyond.”

Episode Transcript

Episode Highlights

(1:59) Esther’s Demand Gen Career Journey

  • Started out as a marketing manager at a startup called Return Path
  • She moved into customer marketing, and from there, started really leveraging marketing automation to scale up all marketing efforts
  • Then she moved into marketing operations when it was a newer function in the B2B world, powering lead and campaign management, tracking and customer lifecycle
  • Now she’s VP of Marketing at Conga

(4:50) Driving Demand for a Broad Set of Target Audiences

  • The original Conga product was document generation, and now Conga provides an end-to-end solution for commercial operations transformation
  • They focus on revenue and sales operations, Salesforce admins, marketing, legal operations and HR
  • They serve every size, from SMB to Fortune 500 companies
  • She thinks of their marketing as two motions, to ensure that the revenue is coming in a more distributed way between mid-market and enterprise. They fuel both engines
  • So there are two different types of go-to-market, with a bit of overlap
  • They have a strong inbound approach, where they analyze lead sources closely
  • Majority of focus is on influence; working with SDR teams, sales, partner teams and customer team to drive an outbound approach
  • They go after target accounts through a very strong ABM strategy

(15:39) Her Salesforce AppExchange Strategy

  • The Salesforce AppExchange has always been a big driver for high volume, high transactional deals
  • Now they are in the the chat pilot program on the AppExchange, which is run by Qualified
  • This program has been a game changer; now they are having even higher conversions and many more qualified conversations since visitors can chat easily and instantly with any questions they have
  • Live chat means they don’t get distracted and move on to a different listing
  • So we’re seeing true pipeline come from that
  • People are getting quite digitally fatigued now in the remote environment but this live chat helps keep them engaged
  • So this AppExchange chat program is a great replacement for those conversations you would have otherwise been having at an event booth, for example

(19:00) Esther’s Uncuttable Budget Items

  • Their ABM strategy and tactics are uncuttable. They see a ton of ROI, many of the bigger deals come from it
  • They use a multi-channel, personalized approach, fully integrated across marketing and sales to deliver the right message at the right time in the buyer’s journey
  • The second uncuttable item is events, even now! They have shifted to virtual events during the pandemic though of course, like field events
  • An example of a virtual field event they ran was an NFL viewing party, where an NFL all-star came onto a Zoom call and chat with key decision makers at their target accounts while watching a game
  • Third uncuttable item is digital ads, which is a huge channel they really prioritize now

(23:21) Providing a Personal Website Experience for Visitors

  • They make it possible for the journey on the website to match target buyers’ specific role and function
  • When there, the persona should get information about their specific pain points, vertical and way that they use documents in their function

(28:31) The Tricky Side of Demand Gen

  • There can be a target on your back when you’re in demand gen, being accountable for pipeline
  • It’s common to hear from sales that there’s not enough pipeline
  • Sales and marketing alignment is crucial
  • The goal of her demand gen team is to create predictable pipeline, using the art and science of marketing
  • Her team makes use of lots of data and modeling to identify what is working
  • That way, you know where you need to focus in the mix of different pipeline sources

(35:09) Her Favorite Recent Campaign

  • To make up for there being no in-person Dreamforce this year, where they usually throw a really awesome party, they put on a successful virtual 5K
  • The 5k was intended to make up for the steps not walked at Dreamforce
  • They made this very community-based, with lots of social sharing of photos and videos, and gave away a ton of swag

(38:24) Esther’s Quick Hits

  • She interviewed Alex Morgan, US soccer star, to talk about women’s equality in sports and how it translates to the business world and everyday life
  • Esther is passionate about raising visibility of women in the tech world
  • During lockdown, she has spent a lot of time with her kids, doing crafts
  • She has honed her crochet abilities and even crocheted a Yoda doll for her son

Sponsor

Demand Gen Visionaries is brought to you by Qualified.com, the #1 Conversational Marketing platform for companies that use Salesforce and the secret weapon for Demand Gen pros. The world's leading enterprise brands trust Qualified to instantly meet with buyers, right on their website, and maximize sales pipeline. Visit Qualified.com to learn more.

Links

Check out Conga's Agents of Change Podcast

www.caspianstudios.com