In this latest episode of our ‘3 Learnings From...’ video podcast series, we talk to Latané Conant, CMO at 6sense. As a high-energy, charismatic marketing leader with a unique professional background, Latané gives us plenty to ponder in this interview.
How to nurture an authentic brand that really expresses your company’s values? Is it possible to change the way you interact with prospects? And why should you always be on the lookout for ‘red flags’?
Check out the interview to discover Latané’s top career learnings and out-of-the-box marketing insights!
Not your typical CMO
What does a perfect day at the office look like for Latané Conant? Creating winning go-to-market strategies? Check. Driving change internally and externally? Check. Rocking a sales pitch? Easy, check. Still time left in the day to motivate a global team? Always, check!
Latané is a natural jack of all trades. With a background in sales, accounting, and consulting, she considers herself a “recovering software salesperson” who loves to be out in the field, leading from the front. In her previous CMO position at Appirio, she led her teams toward 5x more effective field marketing programs and a 300% increase in inbound leads.
Now, Latané is the CMO at 6sense — a leading account engagement platform based in San Francisco. Since 2013, the solution has been helping B2B organizations to achieve predictable revenue growth with the power of AI, big data, and machine learning.
Far from being an everyday CMO, Latané recently changed her ‘Chief Marketing Officer’ title to ‘Chief Market Officer’, determined to put the ‘market’ back into ‘marketing.’
Concerned that low-priority activities and day-to-day operations can cloud more impactful responsibilities for CMOs, she shifted her focus and mindset towards aiming to become the ‘voice of the market’. In other words — to understand, shape, and capitalize on market trends.
Latane has written a book called ‘No Forms. No Spam. No Cold Calls: The Next Generation of Account-Based Sales and Marketing’ and she also hosts 6sense’s talk show ‘TalkingSense’, where she regularly sits down with B2B industry trendsetters.
Learning #1: Brand starts with culture
According to Latané, brand is the ultimate expression of company culture and the movement has to start with your employees:
“What you think about, when you think about brand, is external: what you want to project externally. But in order to project something externally, you have to start from the inside. So I think the closer you tie your brand to your culture, and you really create the movement inside first, the more successful you’ll be.
So those two things, to me, are incredibly linked, because when you think about customers, partners, analysts, influencers — all people that you want to be part of your movement — they’re going to look at your people as the ultimate expression of your brand. So as a CMO, really thinking about how you’re building a culture that represents your brand, is important.
I think back to Appirio and they did a great job at this. Three values: Customer, Team, Fun. Very easy to remember, easy to talk about…
So the more clear, crisp and simple you make it and you make sure that the team epitomizes it, it’s just gonna come out… If you put your brand on a wall or in your messaging house — that’s exactly where it’s going to stay. The expression of it is going to come through your people.
Learning #2: Prospects are future customers
It’s time to start treating prospects differently, claims Latané, if you want to develop real relationships and bring in new customers:
"The reality is that most companies treat their prospects like dirt. Prospects are future customers, and what do I mean by that? How do you treat a prospect? Most marketing technology has taught us to put up a form when you want to do research (nobody wants to fill out a form!), to spam them with email and to cold call them.
These are all things I hate personally, as a buyer, and that you hate as a buyer. But this is like the lynchpin of our strategy — to me, it makes no sense.
So if you start to change your thinking and you start to gather much better insights on ‘prospect journey’, and you use those insights — you can start to change the paradigm. By focusing on that experience, you will separate yourself from the noise in a significant way.
A good example, for us, is that we only do outreach to a prospect when we know that they are actually in marketing, so we know they’re doing enough research to indicate they’re actually interested or have a problem.
Then, instead of doing random outreach based on what they maybe care about, we use intent keywords that tell us the exact keyword that that prospect cares about. And so, all of our outreach and content is guided towards providing relevance."
Learning #3: Always be looking for red signals
For Latane, marketers can sometimes be too positive. They’ve got to be a little paranoid and on the lookout for ‘red’ in order to ensure long-term success:
“I’m actually a ‘recovering software salesperson.’ One of the worst things that you can do as a seller is have happy ears: which is to think that everything is going great in your deals. The best sales people are so paranoid.
I learned a process called ‘identifying red flags’: looking across your deal and looking for all of the things that could go wrong, every single thing... Always thinking: ‘where could I go wrong? how could I go fix that?’
I think that marketers are sometimes prone to wanting to be positive, which is great, and they want to talk about all the things that are going well. But as a CMO, our job is to be future-proofing bookings. So we need to actually be looking for areas that are red, and shoring those up before they become a problem.
So that process of looking at critical things like: ‘what’s the trend on our conversions? What’s the trend on our win-rates? Our selling-price…?’
Looking at critical phases in the funnel and understanding your revenue-operating model, and then every month inspecting and looking for red — is how you make sure that you have enough time to adjust and can focus on the right things to future-proof bookings."
Latané Conant is a CMO who likes to be one step ahead. Even when she’s focused on big-picture responsibilities, like aligning company strategy or capitalizing on market trends — she never shies away from getting out into the field with her team.
Which of her career learnings speaks to you?
Are you investing enough in your company culture? Are you thinking like a buyer and reaching out to prospects effectively? Are you looking out for red signals, like Latané, or wearing your ‘happy ears’ when inspecting your funnel?
Tune in for more career learnings and marketing strategy Thursday, March 25th. We’ll be speaking with Anthony Kennada, CMO at Hopin... Don’t miss out!