Lots of us fantasize about moving upmarket, but are unsure of how to get started. Is it just a matter of hiring a team of SDRs and getting them to hit the phones? At Mapistry, moving upmarket is exactly what CEO Allie Janoch set out to do two years ago and in this talk, she and Lauren Alexander, Mapistry’s VP of Marketing and Demand Generation, will share the playbook they have developed for generating warm leads in a market of buyers unused to purchasing software. Cold calling to set up demos has never worked for Mapistry, but they’ll share with you some of the strategies that allowed them to increase their qualified lead flow by more than 400% and increase their sales ops by more than 3x in 2018.
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Allie Janoch | CEO @ Mapistry
Lauren Alexander | VP Marketing and Demand Gen @ Mapistry
FULL TRANSCRIPT BELOW
Lauren A.: Oh my gosh. Hi everyone. It’s awesome to be here. We have some great content in store for you. I know we’re the last thing standing between you and lunch, so we’ll try to keep things light and interesting. Today we’ll be talking about five ways to effectively move up market. Unlike when selling into SMB businesses that kind of can go from a demo, to a conversion, to a close in a matter of days, enterprise sales is a lot more complicated and it’s hard to navigate through. Let’s cover the agenda. Oops… Today we’ll be covering the five tips and here they are right here, from handling buyer expectations to navigating the complex sale. We will be covering all of these things and more. I’m going to hand it off to Allie.
Allie J.: Okay. I’ll take the clicker from you I guess then.
Lauren A.: Oh yeah.
Allie J.: Okay so, before we get started, I just wanted to give you guys a quick overview about what we do at Mapistry because none of you guys are our customers. So what we do is we help manufacturing and industrial companies comply with environmental regulations using our software platform. So basically we give them all the tools they need to prevent pollution, but they’re motivated by they want to avoid lawsuits and not get fined by the EPA.
Allie J.: So as Lauren sort of alluded to, we started by focusing on SMB’s. When we first got started we were selling to companies as small as family wineries and then along the way we realize that our value wasn’t really best suited for these small companies so we started moving up market and now we focus more on companies with hundreds of facilities and factories across the country. More along the lines of Fortune 500 companies.
Allie J.: So our first tip that I’m going to talk to you about is this. So everything you do at a startup you’re treating it like an experiment, right? One of the first things that you need to validate, one of the first hypotheses that you need to validate is whether or not you have a product that’s well suited for big companies. So don’t expect that you can take your product that you sell now to SMB’s and sell the same thing to big companies. It’s not going to work. So do your research, figure out what it is that you’re going to need to build to move up market.
Allie J.: For us at Mapistry, this meant, well it meant a lot of things, but one of the things it meant we had to do was build a lot more analytics. So when we were selling to small businesses, they were able to look at all their data in a pretty raw format and understand how they were doing, if they were complying with regulations. But when we started moving up market, we were selling to someone at corporate who couldn’t be at every facility, probably ever. So what they needed is a summary of what was going on. They needed to have us identify problems for them so they could deploy resources effectively, and so for them, having some nice dashboards with some charts and all that kind of stuff, it was really important. So we had to build at least the start of that before we could start selling to these bigger companies.
Allie J.: So I’m sure that you guys are all used to doing your research, talking to customers and talking to potential prospects. But in this vein, I wanted to point out that one of the big differences between selling to small businesses and selling to large companies is that it becomes a lot more of a partnership than it ever was before. So with regards to product for example, this means that in that you’re really going to have to listen to each individual customer’s needs. They’re going to expect that individualized attention.
Allie J.: Yesterday in here, the CMO of New Relic was talking about how they moved to enterprise. They were at a much later stage than we did. So I’m sure they had a bit of a different experience. But one thing she mentioned was that when she talked to their, I think it was their VP of product, he said that most of their product feedback went into what basically amounted to a suggestion box, and sometimes they listened to it and sometimes they didn’t and sometimes they maybe didn’t even get to it.
Allie J.: When you start selling to companies who are spending $100,000 or a million a year on you, you can’t just ignore their suggestions because if someone who’s paying you a hundred grand, churns going to hurt a lot more than someone who pays you $1,000 if they churn. So it was probably going to have to change the way that you do product development, and one of the things we realized was that if we have an important customer asking us for something that is on the roadmap but maybe not what we are planning on doing ASAP, we might want to change our roadmap to move it up. You don’t want to fall into a trap of building all this custom stuff, I think you guys all know why that’s a bad idea.
Allie J.: So that’s not exactly what I’m saying, but you do need to just take a little bit more careful attention to each individual customer. Another good piece of feedback we got from Jason actually was that if we are trying to close a deal and the prospect is really close to closing, but they want to see this one feature that we haven’t built, and again is on our roadmap, maybe we should make a change to what we’re doing in their next sprint and put that into the product ASAP so that we can turn around two weeks later and say, “hey, that thing you wanted, we have it now,” and close the deal. So that’s product, but I think there’s a lot of other places where this concept of a partnership comes in. So one place would be in your customer success organization.
Allie J.: Before when we were selling to smaller companies, it was a lot less proactive. We were doing more customer support, less customer success. It was less about making sure that customers were happy and individually reaching out to them. So, for example, now we have to jump on a plane and go talk to customers at their headquarters and find out how they’re doing, get feedback from them and make sure they’re happy. And if somebody’s paying you like I said, $1,000 a year, you can’t jump on a plane to go visit every one of them. But when they’re paying you a whole lot more money, you should be going and visiting them. So that means retooling your customer success organization.
Allie J.: Another aspect of where this partnership came in for us is that we started getting requests to our customer success organization that really went above and beyond what I would call customer support or customer success. So these were things for us that were really, the customers really wanted us to use our environmental expertise to help them really solve their problems in times when our software didn’t go all the way. What we realized is in order to keep customers really happy, in order to really provide a complete solution to their problem and not just a tool, which is what they wanted, we needed to build a services organization, which is what we have today.
Allie J.: So I don’t mean implementation services, that might be what it is for your company, but for us it’s more like environmental services. So just last week one of my team members went to Virginia to do an investigation to figure out why a customer had zinc in their water samples and it’s just not something you can do is with software. If we had said no to the customer, they one time we say no, probably fine, but if we’re continually saying no to them and at the end of the day we’re not solving the problem that we promised, if we’re not helping them avoid lawsuits and fines, then they’re not going to be a very happy customer.
Allie J.: I think I could probably give you guys a whole talk on this concept of services because it’s something we’ve learned a lot about. But I wanted to mention it because when we started the company, we really felt services were bad. We really bought into this truism that services are horrible, they have bad margins, they aren’t scalable, never do services. What we realized is that it’s just not that simple when especially as you’re moving up market it just becomes a lot more complicated and I want to encourage you all to consider whether or not moving up market means hiring some domain expertise if you don’t have it already or dedicating the resources towards the services team.
Allie J.: So before I pass it over to Lauren, let’s just remember that I think this concept of a partnership is really important. It’s different than working with smaller businesses. Use the word partnership when you’re talking to customers, everyone in your organization needs to get behind this concept that your customer relationships are your partners, sales, marketing, customer success, product, everyone needs to make the change.
Lauren A.: Awesome. Thanks Allie. Now we’ll be talking about more of the mechanics behind going after an enterprise account. As Allie mentioned, you have to really take an individualized approach to going after a big deal. Another reason that you really need to take a data driven approach is to be able to target more precisely. Mapistry is a small company and when we decided to make the move up market, we really had to invest a lot of time and a lot of resources into the effort, and if we didn’t do it in a smart way, we would be out a lot of money.
Lauren A.: We’d be putting a lot of energy, a lot of time into something that wasn’t going to turn into a revenue stream for us. So with the data concept, you really need an enterprise grade strategy for handling data. We really took a pipeline approach prior to deciding to move up market where we would tailor our communication to the various stages of the buying funnel, the traditional funnel.
Lauren A.: But when you think about an enterprise that enterprise has a lot of stakeholders, complex decision structure, you can’t really think linear. You have to be able to adapt as you develop a relationship with the prospect. So what I would recommend is reevaluating the way that you currently handle and collect data and intelligence about your target market and your target buyers. What we did at Mapistry is we decided to implement an ABM or an ABS, count based sales and marketing approach.
Lauren A.: That’s a really popular method when selling into big accounts because it creates a synergy across sales and marketing that didn’t exist before. And again, when you’re thinking about the amount of time and effort put into selling over a long period of time with these Fortune 500 businesses, it is important to be able to kind of focus in on the buyers that are going to be most likely to convert into money. So the data behind your strategy should start from the target accounts, I actually have a visual for this.
Lauren A.: So for us, we tackled this data and this data approach in four phases. Starting from the left to right, and each phase represents kind of the activities and the milestones that we wanted to track along the way. The goal behind this framework was to create more of a growth engine that integrates the people, the technology, the data, the buyers, content, orchestrates it across the customer journey to be able to make the biggest impact. So what we did was we defined our ideal buyer a little bit differently than most enterprises. We decided to tackle because we go after manufacturing companies, they don’t… we didn’t decide to look at revenue. We decided to look at the number of facilities that they had because the more facilities that you have, the bigger the budget.
Lauren A.: So with our account based approach, we prioritized the largest manufacturing companies that had the most facilities and the most locations across the US. Next we put together an engagement design and a cadence to really mobilize the account based approach. The real beauty with going to an account based formula is that because you’re able to focus in on the engagement occurring across an account, you’re able to project a lot more accurately what deals are ultimately going to turn in to longterm revenue stream. So with the engagement area, we created a lot of cadence programs, a regular cadence of programs such as webinars, and pipeline accelerators, and content releases. We would create a continuous stream of activity in order for us to stay top of mind to our target accounts and buyers.
Lauren A.: As we create this continuous flow and buzz what’s happening is we’re able to see conversions take place and certain accounts start scoring high. Because we have a smarter data framework in place, we’re able to create triggers and hand off accounts and contacts that are showing signals of being interested. So we actually use a scoring model behind this conversion area. What happens is it looks at the behavior of what they’re doing on our website. If they’re looking at high value content, if they’re staying for a long period of time, and it will trigger an alert if it reaches a certain threshold, it doesn’t just look at activity. It also looks at the demographic of the account. So going back to who our ideal profile is, it takes a a weighted kind of scoring of, is it an an a good fit for us? And is it showing signs of being actively in the market right now for the type of solution that we offer?
Lauren A.: So kind of along this continuum here, the goal is to continuously build a relationship. It’s not necessarily a conversion to close in a way that’s really simple. You’re going to see a lot of activity and a lot of interactions over time. But the goal is to progress the relationship. So through deeper qualification, looking at kind of the demographics I talked about like, oh they fit our profile, or they’re interested, we take all of that information and feed that to sales to make their process more productive.
Lauren A.: Lastly, the accelerate. That’s really having to do with growing the relationship. Once you’re able to land a client, it’s important to keep that relationship strong, especially when you have a relationship with one of the world’s leading manufacturing companies, you have to know that there’s great upselling, cross sell potential. So not only are you looking to kind of extend the revenue streams with this client, you’re also kind of constantly optimizing to close deals faster. So there’s a couple elements at play here with the accelerate stage. I’m going to hand things back to Allie to talk about it.
Allie J.: You can hold onto that.
Lauren A.: Oh, okay.
Allie J.: So taking a step back actually a little bit, Lauren’s been talking about a lot of stuff around marketing, but she has really helped us to improve over the past year. But we decided to move up market before Lauren joined us when it was just me and my co-founder. So it’s just me who has a background in software and Ryan who has a background in environmental consulting, and one of the biggest learning curves was how are we going to sell to large companies with all these different stakeholders?
Allie J.: When you’re selling to small companies, you probably only have to deal with one or maybe two people before a decision is made, but as you move up market it becomes a lot more complicated. I think the best way to illustrate this is to just walk you through some examples that we commonly see at Mapistry. So we sell to the environmental department and usually the buyer that we’re talking to might have a title of director of environmental compliance. So when we start talking to a potential prospect, if they look particularly promising and if it’s a good opportunity, we might start reaching out to some of the folks that report to that director, or that we can best guess report to that director and we might, Lauren might send them some emails and invite them to a webinar that we’re hosting.
Allie J.: This webinar is not going to be a Mapistry demo webinar. It’s going to be a webinar that teaches them about some sort of environmental content that they might be interested in. But the goal is that when their boss starts to get a little bit more serious about Mapistry and starts thinking to themselves, I think this would be a good solution for us, but I want to make sure my team’s onboard. I know that if my team isn’t on board, worst case scenario, they revolt and refuse to use this thing and I’ve spent all this money and it’s going to be a complete failure. So obviously we don’t want that to happen and neither does our customer.
Allie J.: So now when they go talk to their team, at least a few of them are familiar with Mapistry and we’re small, so if we hadn’t done this they might not be, and now when their boss asked them about it, they can say, “yeah, we’ve heard about Mapistry, and they really know their stuff. They know environmental compliance better than anyone we’ve ever heard.” So moving down the organizational tree is really important to create advocates, but we’ve also learned that it’s really important to help the person we’re talking to, that director, to move up the org tree.
Allie J.: So one thing that happens to us commonly is that person we’re talking to they have budget, but they still need to get their boss on board before they make a purchasing decision. So we’ll give the person we’re talking to some collateral to be able to best do that. So for example, they might be planning on giving a presentation to their boss. When we first started doing this, we didn’t have a sales deck and so we just let them do their own thing. They gave a presentation to their boss. I think maybe once we saw the deck that they were using and it was pretty awful. So now we give them a modified version of our deck so that they can use that to do that presentation.
Allie J.: We might also just discuss with the person how it is that they’re going to go about this conversation with their boss. Because for us a lot of the time the person we’re talking to has never made a software purchasing decision before. So that’s a hard space to navigate, and so maybe they don’t want to give a presentation to their boss, maybe they just want to do something a little bit more low touch. So we might share with them a demo video, or a one pager, whatever they need to be able to demonstrate to their boss the value, we want to make sure we set them up for success. Then hopefully maybe their boss will get on the phone with us. Or at the very least they’ll give their stamp of approval and we’ll be able to move forward.
Allie J.: That’s just in the environmental department. There’s a lot of other stakeholders that we have to deal with. So for example, we have to deal with the IT department, which we never had to deal with before. When I first got one of these big surveys from, I think it was like a Fortune 100 company, I was really overwhelmed. I think it was maybe Ryan and a few of us. And we, I looked at the survey and even though I have a background in software, I didn’t know what some of these questions were. I knew that our answers were not going to be what the company wanted to hear and I was worried I was going to kill the deal with my answers to this survey. But what I learned, and what I think if you’re, especially if you’re small, you should lean on the fact that you are small.
Allie J.: Have a conversation with these IT departments and say, “hey, we’re small.” Maybe you can say that the data you’re managing isn’t the most secure data. Hopefully it’s not like health records or something, and usually the IT department if you have a relationship with a person, they understand, they’re human. I think the same goes when you’re dealing with a lot of the different departments in these deals. So you also have to deal with the legal department or the procurement department, and getting people to pay you is a whole lot harder when they’re not just giving you a credit card. Or when you sell to small businesses, you’re going to have to deal with legal departments, which you never had to deal with before because everyone just signed your terms of service when they logged in for the first time.
Allie J.: So you’re going to have to learn how to do that. I think the one thing that I would really make sure if you’ve never dealt with this before is read the contract that they send over, even if it’s like 65 pages long and you just can’t imagine reading this whole thing. They expect you to read through it and send it back with changes. They don’t expect you to just sign it without any changes and you don’t want to, there’s probably a bunch of stuff in there that’s really unfavorable. So I think that learning how to navigate this process, it’s not easy, but just be prepared for all the different stakeholders that you’re going to have to please and learn what each one of them cares about.
Lauren A.: Awesome. So now we’re going to dig more into the approach you should take and more around content. So not as much around the mechanics. I decided to focus on the popular mantra of always be closing. How many people have heard that before? Yeah, I’ve been in B2B marketing for 10 years, and there’s this culture of hard sell when you have to, but always close and close quickly. So there’s a mindset shift that has to take place when you decide to move up market. You have to shift from the mindset of closing to the mindset of helping.
Lauren A.: At Mapistry that’s really in our DNA. We have a product and a service. So when you package both of those together, we’re really focused on making our clients successful. So one thing that marketing did to really highlight that when we made our way into these enterprise deals was we kind of accentuated the success that we were having. That was important for us because you have to build that credibility and social proof as a highly effective tool to do that, and we were lucky enough to have some big Fortune 500 companies in the roster. So we were using those real world stories that people could relate to was actually was really useful and it built trust.
Lauren A.: Another thing that we decided to do to take on the helpful approach was we were experts in the litigation aspect of environmental compliance, and companies don’t have time to keep up with what’s changing and what they need to do. So we use critical events happening in environmental compliance as a tool to keep the relationship strong, to find reasons to reach out, to find nuggets of new insights that they haven’t heard already. This is the only way you’re really going to be able to bond with the people you’re trying to develop a relationship with. When there’s so many distractions nowadays, people really crave insights. It’s hard to find them. Even though there’s information everywhere. The insights are really key.
Lauren A.: So we really try to infuse every interaction along the customer journey with value. Another way that we went about this was, this is a picture of a summit that we put on this year. So to really establish ourselves in this world that’s a lot bigger than us, to establish our name and to be seen as a safe bet, one of the things we really wanted to do was to show that we’re experts and we know our stuff. So we put on an event, we brought together litigators, we brought together decision makers. We hosted it in Berkeley about more than 200 people showed up, and the great thing that did was it positioned us as the trusted advisor that we want to ultimately be to all manufacturers that have to hold themselves accountable for permits in storm water, and hazardous materials, and the like.
Lauren A.: So when you’re moving into the enterprise market, think about being seen as a trusted advisor and also really elevate your brand position, be more visible. So the summit was one way we did it. One thing we also did was we kind of revamped our entire brand architecture. We redid our website, we launched the new packaging for our software, not packaging in the traditional sense, but the way we bundled it and talked about it, we shifted that to make it more friendly and to make it more appealing to the buyer that’s going to be spending a lot more money on it. So we really wanted to bolster it with value. We wanted to show off the value that it offers. So with the website transition and rebrand conference, we also put into practice a lot of, I call them content experiences, but really what they are our programs. They are the activities that marketing and sales do together to go after accounts.
Lauren A.: I wanted to highlight a few because I think that examples are good ways of applying it in your own organization. I talked about how we keep people informed of changes happening and regulations. We also produce our own kind of, we call litigation intelligence. We have an intelligence team and what they do is they mine actual lawsuits that have taken place around storm water, and SBCC and hazardous materials, and they are able to analyze the insights and we produced a report last year, and that thought leadership piece was really popular in building interest at the top of the funnel. It brought people in from all over, but it also allowed us to invite these decision makers in for in person events.
Lauren A.: So what we did was we hosted a briefing to reveal the results around the report that we published. When you’re selling into enterprises in person interactions, they are a very useful vehicle for kind of investing in that relationship because you’re going to want to buy from somebody that you’ve had that time with, that you shared coffee with, that you’ve laughed with. So along with putting on the online webinars and producing reports we try to do in person events as often as we can. Along the bottom I already kind of talked about how we trigger activity based marketing.
Lauren A.: We also develop alliances with regulators. I think that strategic partnerships are a good way of not only getting brand recognition, but they’re a good way to get credibility because it’s an outside endorsement. So that’s one of our programs is partnering with them on content so that when we position ourselves as thought leaders we’re also pulling in insights from beyond just us.
Lauren A.: What am I missing? Oh, awards and recognition. I feel like awards are the most underutilized vehicle for marketing and recognition, and what ends up happening, we put on a award ceremony at our summit. What it does is it recognizes industry leaders, and what we use that information for is education. We show off their stories and I think that awards are a good way to highlight the real stories of people using your product. So I would say try to highlight that when going into enterprise market. What am I missing? There’s a lot of things up here. Ultimately we’re-
Allie J.: We’re running out of time Lauren.
Lauren A.: Oh, really think through your content experiences and go wild.
Allie J.: Okay. So we have run out of time virtually, but I just… so I’ll give you guys the quick rundown of this last tip we have, which is to utilize the land and expand strategy. It’s a great way if you are a small company trying to move up market to get a foot in the door. The idea is literally do anything you can to get a foot in the door with a big company. For us this meant at the beginning getting a company who has hundreds of locations across the country to use us at one of their factories.
Allie J.: But the thing to look out for here is make sure you set up a plan and an expectations from the beginning so that your customers know that initial implementation, don’t call it a pilot please, at least it didn’t work for us. That initial implementation is going to be eventually an expansion to for us across the country. Is a great way to deal with the fact that you don’t have any social proof when you start moving up market. You don’t have any big logos, so why would anyone want to take a chance on you?
Allie J.: Okay, I’m going to wrap up for you guys because I know you guys all want to get to lunch. If anybody has any questions for us you can feel free to grab us if you see us, send us a question on Twitter, and I just, if you guys decide that moving up market is the right bet for your business, just remember that you need to make changes across your organization and try to treat it as much as an experiment as you can. I know that having longer sales cycles is going to make that difficult, but if you’ve had a lot of rigor in treating your business as an experiment when you sold to small businesses, keep that as part of your culture. Thank you.