1. Tell us about your role in Openprise?
I’m the founder and CEO of Openprise. I look at my role a little differently than other CEOs do. My primary role is to set the strategic direction for the company, and then let my team do what they do best. Trust, respect, and commitment are core values at Openprise. We have very smart, very committed people at Openprise that I really believe in. We give everyone a lot of latitude at Openprise to figure out what needs to be done and the best way to do it. So far, that approach has helped our company grow very quickly—at over 300% a year, with happy customers—our NPS score is twice the industry average, and with very low turnover.
2. Can you tell us about your journey into this market?
Sure. At Openprise, we often say,
Before I started Openprise, I ran marketing at five different companies, and I was often responsible for tools like Marketo and Salesforce. At each company, I saw the same problems over and over again. The reality is that companies can’t do things like lead routing, segmentation, lead scoring, and attribution very well if the processes around your data are poor. At Openprise, we’ve built the platform I wish I had throughout my career.
The Openprise Data Orchestration Platform automates all the painful, manual processes that your sales automation and marketing automation solutions don’t. We created a single platform to automate hundreds of business processes like list loading, cleansing and enrichment, account scoring, and many more. It has all the best practices, business logic, and data companies need to clean up their data, focus on the right targets, and scale up their operations to grow revenue faster.
3. How do you think technology is changing the Marketing Sector?
Certainly, there are a lot more technologies out there than ever before—at the recent MarTech San Jose event, Scott Brinker estimated that there were over 7,000 at last count. What’s important, though, is that the vast majority of these shiny new objects are data-driven technologies. They require pristine data quality to provide any real value, and the reality is that most companies don’t have the processes in place to prepare data in their systems of record for use by all these new technologies. That’s where Openprise comes in, and why the future looks so bright for us.
4. How has the introduction of AI in Marketing has helped in easing the functions of Marketing?
Honestly, so far I don’t think AI has been successful in easing anything in marketing. The hype and vendor messaging has far exceeded the value that AI has delivered so far, but that will change. Right now, one of the biggest roadblocks for AI is good training data. All those AI tools are only as good as the data that goes into them , and marketers need to overcome that hurdle first.
5. How do you think Marketing Automation is benefitting Marketers in achieving long term goals?
Right now there are dozens of third-party data providers on the Openprise Data Marketplace to feed and enrich contacts in marketing automation solutions. Just about every contact that fits any buyer persona can be easily found and targeted by marketers, and those contacts are being bombarded by marketers. The real value in marketing automation is in helping marketers begin to build a trusted relationship with their prospects and letting marketers and sales team know when a prospect may be ready to engage with your company.
6. How do you differentiate Orchestration Platform from other automation platforms in the market?
Marketing automation solutions like Marketo, Eloqua, and Pardot do a great job at nurturing prospects along, and sales automation solutions like Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics do a great job as a system of record for sales team activities and aggregating a revenue forecast. But, there are hundreds of other processes that those systems don’t automate that are critical for sales and marketing systems to deliver value—processes like data cleansing and enrichment, lead-to-account matching, attribution, and many more. Not to mention processes that go across departments and involve data from multiple systems. Openprise also takes the processing burden off of those systems so that they don’t get bogged down and can quickly do what they do best.
7. Can you explain how data cleaning is a complex but important process? Why it is neglected by most of the marketers?
Sure. If you think about it, nothing in marketing works right with bad data. If you can’t derive important fields like Job Function and Job Level, your lead scoring isn’t going to work and your ability to segment will be limited at best. If you’ve got duplicates, forget about accurate scoring and your leads probably aren’t going to get to the right person. You’re also not going to be successful doing attribution if you have a bunch of leads that aren’t converted to contacts and associated with the right accounts and opportunities. Basically, any data-driven process isn’t going to work. Data drives everything.
The simple answer to why it’s neglected by most marketers is because of two things. First, it’s not easy to do, and second, because it hasn’t had many millions of dollars thrown at it to become marketing’s shiny new object the way categories like ABM and predictive have. That’s changing though, as marketing operations become more accountable and as more organizations realize that the reason their latest new technologies aren’t delivering on the value they were promised is because those systems aren’t being fed the quality data that they need. It’s a huge opportunity for Openprise.
8. How do you think ABM has helped in decreasing marketing losses? Which marketing strategy is the latest trend in Martech?
Companies have been doing targeted account marketing and selling for generations. What’s new is the tighter coordination between sales and marketing, marketing’s ability to more precisely target their messages, and the ability to report on marketing’s contribution in an active sales cycle.
It’s amazing how quickly different technologies cycle through their 15 minutes of fame. ABM and predictive have been in the limelight recently, and that market seems to be settling down. Customer Data Platform seems to be the new shiny category of the moment. Chatbots and tactile marketing seem to be getting hotter also given how easy it is to identify a contact and how marketing automation and sales engagement software have clogged everyone’s inboxes. What’s so exciting about marketing technologies is how fast “the next big thing” emerges.
9. What marketing and Sales automation technologies do your teams use?
We keep a very lean tech stack, and that’s by design. We’ve never had to do the stack rationalization projects that are becoming more common when companies realize that different products in the stack are causing problems with other products. We’re always leery of the one-hit-wonders, or the uni-taskers, as Alton Brown calls those kitchen tools that only do one thing. I wrote a Marketo blog post on that topic. We use Salesforce, Marketo, and Outreach, and keep those solutions performing well by using Openprise to automate all of our key processes like list loading, data cleansing and enrichment, lead-to-account matching, lead routing, lead scoring, and account scoring. We think in terms of business processes rather than software products. The more processes that you can do with a single platform, the better in terms of reliability, cost, and complexity.
10. How do you prepare for an AI Centric world?
The simple answer is that you focus on the data, not the algorithm. Train the model with good data and you’ll get better decisions back.
11. Which books are you reading these days?
I go through cycles and tend to binge read on a specific topic. I’ve been binge reading everything Michael Lewis and financial fraud related, like the Big Short and The Billion Dollar Whale.