Interview with Vice President, Marketing of Openprise – Allen Pogorzelski

Allen Pogorzelski, Vice President, Marketing, Openprise



“Marketers are beginning to realize that “data-driven” technologies require good data and good processes to be successful”

1) Tell us about your role at Openprise and how you got here?

I run marketing at Openprise. We create data orchestration platforms that automate all the painful, manual processes that your sales automation and marketing automation solutions don’t—things like data cleansing and enrichment, attribution, account scoring and dozens of others. We help customers boost campaign performance, scale their processes, and simplify their martech stack.

I’ve owned Salesforce, Marketo, and Eloqua implementations in several roles at different companies in my career, and at every single one, I’ve faced the same issues—poor quality data and manual processes that were holding us back from getting real value out those systems. Good segmentation, accurate lead routing, credible lead and account scoring, and meaningful attribution have always been impossible without good data. When I came across Openprise a few years ago, I realized they were solving problems that every marketing ops, demand gen, and sales ops person has. These were the same issues I’ve experienced at every company I’ve been at. I was so excited about Openprise’s value proposition that I decided to join the company.

2) What is it that you found lacking in the tech stack infographic when you initially started versus now?

Honestly, I’m not a big fan of tech stack infographics. Here’s why. First, they imply that more vendor logos are better than less, and that CMOs should buy one of everything. That approach makes an unwieldy and expensive mess. Second, they deemphasize the value of data and of business processes that flow across apps to get something done. And third, very few vendors sit nicely in the categories that marketers try to put in them.

The trend seems to be moving away from binge buying the latest shiny martech object, and I’m seeing more and more CMOs conducting “stack rationalization projects” and focusing more on actually making all their martech investments work. I think that’s a very positive development.

3) We recently covered your news regarding Openprise launching a new third party data marketplace. How do you think your latest marketing automation and Account-Based Marketing (ABM) initiatives will impact the market differently from the many breakthroughs which have been attempted earlier?

Over a year ago, Openprise launched the Openprise Data Marketplace because we knew that no one data provider is right for every buyer persona in every geography, and our research found that the companies that were most satisfied with their data used three or more providers. Today, every major third-party data provider participates in the Marketplace, including ZoomInfo, D&B, Orb Intelligence, InsideView, and many more. The Openprise solution orchestrates the process of pulling data from multiple providers and normalizing that data to each company’s unique requirements.

All of the new data-driven technologies like AI, predictive, and even ABM are shining new light on the importance of clean data. The old adage “garbage-in/garbage-out” applies more now than ever. After all, if you’re training your AI models on poor data, of course, the results will be very disappointing.  Marketers are starting to become smarter about buying third-party data—many now know that a 30-40% match rate is typical, and that to get a higher match rate they need to clean and standardize their data first, and they need to work with multiple providers.

4) Given the changing dynamics of advertising and marketing, where do you see Openprise fitting in the ecosystem?

Marketers are beginning to realize that “data-driven” technologies require good data and good processes to be successful, and that sophisticated adtech and martech don’t deliver much value if companies don’t have their own databases in order. Openprise is ideally positioned to capitalize on the market’s realization about data quality.

5) What is your most effective digital marketing strategy for reaching out to buyers across the world?

A targeted, well-crafted, personalized message is critical. At Openprise, we preach doing your homework before ever engaging with a prospect. If you don’t know what systems a prospect has, their role in the organization, and their business challenges, you shouldn’t be reaching out to them. In this day and age when “every fool with a tool” has access to your contact information and tools to relentlessly spam you,  proper segmentation and messaging is more critical now than ever.

6) What changes are you majorly concentrating on to enhance and plug-in a more actionable customer interaction and communication model?

As a data orchestration vendor, we’ve seen amazing results by eating our own dog food and automating business processes using our tools. For example, our lead and account scoring is world-class because we use Openprise algorithms to derive Job Level and Job Function based on Job Title (Openprise knows that a title like “Assistant to the Vice President of Demand Gen” is in the marketing department as an individual contributor, not a senior exec). Our attribution is also exceptionally accurate because Openprise is continuously cleansing our Marketo and Salesforce instances, merging duplicates, and enriching the data.

That said, this may be sound like sacrilege coming from a marketer at a martech company, but we’re placing as much emphasis on sales training as technological investment because there is no substitute from meaningful human interaction. Our customers buy from us, and continue to renew with us, because our team are trusted advisors to our customers. We’re one of the few martech companies in Silicon Valley that have negative annual churn and we’re very proud of our NPS score – it reflects the value our solutions and our team bring to our customers.

7) What tools would you recommend to CEOs and CMOs as a Sales Hack in 2018?

Of course, we’d recommend investments in data orchestration solutions—data is the fundamental building block of everything marketers do. Without good data, reporting, segmentation, attribution, lead routing, and account scoring are meaningless. The days of CEOs and CMOs making decisions based on their gut are long over. Bad data for a CEO and CMO = bad decisions.

8) How do you think your latest release of Openprise Data Orchestration Platform for Microsoft Dynamics 365 will help companies scale and improve productivity for the sales and marketing professionals out there?

Until now, companies that have deployed Microsoft Dynamics 365 have been underserved—there hasn’t been any credible players delivering comprehensive data orchestration solutions for that market.  Dynamics customers have been forced to get by with a hodgepodge of point solutions that added complexity and cost in managing business processes in their martech stack. By automating dozens of business processes like lead-to-account matching, cleansing, account and lead scoring, attribution, and lead routing into a single platform with all the business logic built in, Dynamics companies are going to save hundreds of hours of manual work and experience huge savings in licensing fees.

9) Please tell us about some important and unique capabilities of Openprise. We would love to understand it with the help of a fun and creative video Maybe?

Sure, here’s a great example:

10) Which startups in the martech and adtech industries are you keenly following?

I’m intrigued by Bombora, one of the newest partners on the Openprise Data Marketplace. They’re doing some really interesting things with B2B intent data.

I’m also following simMachines, a machine learning company. What’s intriguing to me about them is that instead of just providing a prediction, they show why they’re making that prediction, and that provides people with a much higher level of confidence about the results.

11) How would you define accurate and complete B2B marketing data?

A strong B2B marketing database that you can use as the foundation for all your marketing efforts has a few important elements:

  • It needs to be normalized. For example, the company, “John Deere” could have an Industry value of “Farm Machinery,” “Construction Equipment,” “Agricultural Equipment” or something else. They’re all correct, but if you’re trying to segment on this field, score on it, or route a lead based on that, you’re not going to be successful very often because of the huge number of keyword filters you’d need to create.
  • It needs to be deduped. For example, If you have duplicates for the name “John Smith” as a lead and a contact in Salesforce, you have real problems that buying more data isn’t going to address. Attribution and scoring won’t work well because campaigns are spread over both leads and routing may not work because an account owner and lead owner may not be the same.
  • It needs to be enriched. With third-party data match rates averaging of 30-40%, you’ll likely need to work with multiple providers to get the key fields you need. That goes back to my first point–you’ll also need to standardize that enriched data since each data provider can have their own unique field values.

12) What is the best part of working with Openprise? Can you share with us some fun pictures of your much hyped work environment?

Sure, here’s an example Every quarter we invite customers to participate with the Openprise team in our quarterly events we call, “Opt-In.” We’re always looking for new experiences where everyone can get together and talk about what they’re doing.  We’ve participated in graffiti workshops at the 1AM Gallery in the City, learned curling at an ice rink in San Jose, and  taken over Coin-Op, a retro pinball parlor in SoMa. We’re considering a taiko drumming class next. At Openprise, we’re a bunch of “data geeks” that appreciate quirky and interesting people and places.

13) What book are you currently reading?

“Doing School: How We Are Creating a Generation of Stressed Out, Materialistic, and Medicated Students,” by Denise Clark Pope. Silicon Valley is a  hyper-competitive environment, and the book is giving me a different perspective of what we as a people value, what we define as “success,” and the price we’re paying for that.

Many years ago, back in business school, I took a week-long seminar with James Collins, who wrote “Built to Last,” and he advised our class not to read more than 2-3 business books a year (including his own). That really stuck with me. There’s a whole world of ideas out there beyond business books.

14) One piece of advice you always follow irrespective of circumstances?

One of the favorites is, “Be decisive and make a decision. Right or wrong, make a decision. The road of life is paved with flat squirrels that couldn’t make a decision.” In our field, we usually get to a point very quickly where we have all the information that we’re going to get. At that point, it’s time to make a call and move on.

Allen has over 20 years of experience with marketing and sales technologies and business analytics. He has led marketing at several high-tech companies including Openprise, Selectica, and CipherCloud. He has also led demand generation teams at Jasper and diCarta, and managed product marketing for sales solutions at Oracle and for marketing solutions at Siebel Systems.

Openprise is a Data Orchestration Platform. It solves the “garbage-in/garbage-out” problem to make data-driven anything possible in Marketing, Sales, and Support. Openprise automates critical data management processes including data onboarding, cleansing, enrichment, and unification across systems. Openprise is designed from the ground up for CRM, so it has the business rules, best practices, and data built right in, and it seamlessly integrates with solutions like Marketo, Eloqua, Pardot, Desk, and Salesforce, so you’re up and running fast.

For more information please visit our Website.

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