6sense is an Account Based Marketing Orchestration Platform, Powered by AI. They enable intelligent growth resulting in new pipeline, higher marketing to sales conversions, larger opportunity size and increased sales productivity and effectiveness with teams focusing on the right buyers with a need now.
While sales, accounting, and consulting are not your typical CMO background, Latane Conant is not your typical CMO. She thrives on variety, challenges, and working with wicked smart people. Creating winning go-to-market strategies, effectively driving change internally and externally, incubating innovation, rocking a sales pitch, relentlessly watching the numbers, and motivating a global team is her perfect “typical day at the office.”
“What the market needs is thought leadership around ABM. And I think we are going to see a lot more focus and engagement from the sales side when we think about ABM in the future and at 6Sense.”READ FULL TRANSCRIPT
So Latane, I’m thrilled that you could be on the Brand Labs Series today. I’ve gotten to know you over the last year, I really admire you. And I’ve also had the opportunity to work alongside many, many CMOs. And I’ve interviewed a few here on the Brand Labs Series™ as well. And one thing that I actually find common about them, at least the most successful ones, is that they’re uncommon. It’s a challenging role, and I feel like some of the best ones have a really diverse background. So, as we get started, why don’t you tell a little bit about your background and your journey to the C-suite for our audience?
Sure. So I do on paper have an interesting background, from CPA, to consulting, to sales. And we were joking earlier about me being a recovering software saleswoman, to ultimately CMO. I think what a lot of people probably don’t know, is I was as a child, dyslexic and really struggled in school. And the reason I bring that up, is I have taken on a variety of different roles. And what I think has helped, is at an early age I learned how to overcome, and how to think about things differently, and how to… I call it, “Grind it out.” but just work hard to make things happen.
And so whether it’s CMO, whether it’s GM… Whatever kind of needs to get done, I’m always game. And I think that experience gave me a lot of confidence, to be able to just go and make stuff happen.
So, I love the fact that you talk about getting your hands dirty. And I wanna talk a little bit about customer experience later. But I wanna talk about another area that I think brings a lot of sales and marketing together, and it’s certainly an emerging area of marketing. And that’s ABM. So, talk about how you see account-based marketing really impacting brands today, and what are some things that maybe some executives should look out for?
Yeah. So, I think… When I think about ABM, it’s really the transformation that I think B2C has already been through about that… It’s the age of the customer. Focus on customer experience, hyper-personalization, digital experience. So, that’s aggressively hitting us as B2B marketers. And it’s called, or what we’re calling it, is “ABM.” And I think a lot of people are attempting to do it. I think it’s hard to really do it right. And I like an ABM, and the metaphor I like to think about is surprise party. So if you’re gonna throw a surprise party for someone, you need to know where they are. You need to know where they wanna go, or a place that you can get them to. You need to know all their friends, you need to know what they like. You really need to know a lot about them, if you’re gonna throw a great surprise party. And I think that’s the challenge with ABM… Is for people really to have the data and the insights, to be able to pull through and bring customers along that journey. But the ones that do do it, it’s really separating, I think, winners from losers today in B2B marketing.
Well, I think what makes that really exciting, is when you look at 6Sense today. Earlier this year acquiring ZenIQ, which is account-based marketing technology. But with Forrester citing… I’m gonna start over. So, earlier this year with Forrester naming 6Sense a leader in the wave of the predictive space… And you kind of layer the predictive with the account-based marketing, it plays right into your surprise party analogy. So, talk a little bit about the one-two punch then having some of the predictive analytic capabilities with the account-based marketing and how that can really add to value of marketing.
Sure, sure so I like to say that when you think about your ABM journey think long and hard about the A, which is the account. And that’s where this predictive engine that 6Sense always has been legendary at and always top of the Forrester Wave and created so much value for customers. And so being able to marry knowing who’s ready, knowing who’s already going out to market for what you do, picking up on those digital signals and then being able to marry that with a beautiful orchestration platform to then target and engage is really the one-two punch that you talked about.
So prior to 6Sense though, and you alluded to them, just a little bit earlier, you were a global CMO of Aperio. We’ve had a number of CMOs on before, a few at the global level, but when you’re talking about scaling and being at a global CMO level, that’s a tough job. Talk a little bit about what that’s like.
Well, I’m gonna start with the personal side of it. I think I really benefited as a person, getting to know other global cultures, and it’s really hard to not I think become more introspective and just more globally aware when you’re out in these markets. And that’s been one of the favorite things about my career so far. From a job perspective, it is challenging when I think about being successful. You have to, first of all, I think really have a great core established especially from a brand perspective. So one of my goals, when we went into new markets, was I always wanted to be authentically Aperio but authentically Japanese, or authentically British, or authentically French. And so you have to know what are those aspects of the brand that are… You don’t wanna compromise and you wanna make sure that authenticity of the brand comes through, but at the same time in those markets that localization is critical. So you have to have the core and know what you’re gonna compromise and not compromise as you roll out brand and programs globally. I think it’s also absolutely critical to invest in local talent. I almost think about it as a go, no-go.
If you can’t make that leap, and think about at least a plan that has some local talent, it’s gonna be really hard to be successful in those markets. And then, third is just a commitment to get out and be in those markets. And it’s always challenging, ’cause you lose a lot of time, Jet lag, things like that. And sometimes you would be like, “Well, it’s only one or two meetings in this event, and if somebody else could maybe handle it.” But I always found when I invested in being out in those markets, not only did it impact me hugely personally, but it’s a huge, huge value to the team and to the customers there and that’s how you learn about really what needs to happen in that market.
Well, I remember the last time we were here together, you were getting ready to jet off, for like a 14 city Nordic tour of Europe. And I know you’ve been thousands of miles since then as well. You talked a little bit about really having that local flavor, both from a brand perspective but also from a talent perspective and I think one of the things that that also must raise is kind of managing a dispersed and global workforce and a remote workforce, and leading those teams. I think more and more, whether you’re global, or even national, the desire is I wanna have the best people on my team, sometimes irregardless of where they might be.
But I think that creates a little bit of a challenge and a skill that a lot of leaders maybe don’t have. Talk a little bit about your success in time in terms of leading a team that’s more dispersed and especially in that case, global.
Sure, sure, so yeah, I always say I don’t want necessarily local talent or office talent, I want the best talent. There are some keys to success. And I was fortunate enough to spend seven years at Aperio where I don’t think a company does it better than Aperio quite frankly. And what I learned there is a few things, one, video. Video is critical. It just is a great way to have the personal connection and be able to somewhat simulate being together. The other thing is collaboration tools. So I always thought about… We used Google at Aperio and my Hangout was my office basically. The office doors are open. And being able to quickly chat or hop on a video right from there, really simulates that kind of office feel as well as being able to collaborate on documents and work together in the cloud. I think that’s huge. So investing in the right collaboration tools to set people up for success, really important I think as a leader if you wanna manage a remote global team, you do have to be more thoughtful about a strategic plan and have some sort of planning methodology.
We use the V2MOM at Aperio which worked well. It doesn’t really matter which one you use, but it’s important to be very, very thoughtful about what that plan is, make sure you’re planning openly. People are bought in, people understand their role in that plan. And then metrics. So, I’m pretty open about saying I don’t care if you’re in 10 by two or a coffee shop, or you’re at your house, or at the office, if you’re making it done and if you’re getting it done, and you’re hitting your metrics, God bless. And if you can do it in two hours, versus 20, again, God bless. So really knowing what success is so that people can measure and strive for that, and you’re more focused on that than maybe the FaceTime or seeing people.
Well, it’s interesting how you talked a little bit about how technology can connect the teams, and I wanna come back to technology, especially since we’re both former ex software salespeople. I think what’s so interesting back when I know I was selling… God, almost 20 years ago now. Everything really would go to the CIO. Nowadays there’s so much technology that’s really tied to the CMO’s success and some of them are tech success. Talk a little bit about maybe what excites you in terms of how technology can continue to improve marketing or maybe even… Which is also something I know we were just chatting about, the challenge of managing so many different marketing applications as a CMO.
Sure. So honestly the mark tech landscape has become just complete chaos, it’s incredibly chaotic, and there’s an amazing amount of innovation going into new mark tech apps, which is fabulous, but at some point we need to see a few leaders emerge with more of a platform approach. When I think about the modern B2B marketeer and the fact that to have even the most basic tech stack, like the most basic barebones, you need no less than five or six apps. And to have a great one is probably 15 or 20 apps. And that’s not even thinking about data and services to kind of scrub and enrich data, it’s overwhelming and we’re actually spending too much time, in my opinion, on tech. Evaluating tech, putting it in, ripping it out. And so I’m really, really excited for in the next 18 months, leaders to emerge with that platform approach that are gonna continue to innovate and bring a better experience for us as marketeers, so we can really focus on the personalization, the campaigns, the creativity, the engagement, being out with customers, those things versus just technology.
Well, I kinda wanna build on that because the same way technology has really shifted a lot and fallen on to a CMO’s plate, so has customer experience. And you talked a lot about earlier on, like being out on some of the front lines, being at some of the shows, taking some booth hours, you just mentioned again the need to kind of have that personalization. Talk about the importance of customer experience today. And I know that sometimes different organizations have different leaders running that, but I think it’s really an enterprise issue. But talk a little bit about customer experience through the lens of a CMO.
Sure. It’s a critical part of the function. I guess, philosophy-wise just, I’ll share a little insight into my philosophy of being how I think about it. I always in the back of my mind, have two brands rolling through my head and they’re both brands I love and they’re B2C brands, but I have SoulCycle and I’ve Peloton. And I think about those two brands, both amazing off-the-charts customer experience, love them both. But one is built for scale, one is built for accessibility, and one has a much bigger tam than the other. And so I always think about when I’m building customer experience, am I building a Peloton, or am I building a SoulCycle? And so that’s just important for me and one of those distinctions I always think about. And then thinking more directly in the space, I think more and more customer experience is not just about your own technology, but about the ecosystem that you build around your technology, and if you look at Salesforce, they’ve done an amazing job of building a multi-billion dollar ecosystem around their technology. And specifically, that ecosystem has to include your customers.
So, how are you building customer community, how are they part of educating each other, how are you making sure they have the right training and learning and understanding of what you’re doing, how do you kind of almost get rid of the wall between yourself and your customer so they’re part of your road map, they’re a part of training other people. They’re really part of your product and your own customer experience. Another company I think is doing a great job of this, is GitLab. So they’re a developer platform. Most of their platform is built by their customers. So what an amazing kind of ecosystem they’ve been able to create. So those type of modern approaches to customer experience, I think are the ones that are gonna survive.
Yeah, I would say that co-creation with your customers, or potential customers, some of your partners is an absolute key thing in the area of customer experience that you’ll see some of the leading brands do, but I think there’s also a little bit of hesitancy about letting some of the walls down, in terms of that, but I think it’s one of the best ways to think of things that you maybe otherwise wouldn’t have thought of. And I think in a hyper-competitive industry, it really helps build some loyalty, which I know is tough to get at today. So kind of along the lines of the technology, the customer experience, some of the emerging things that we’ve talked about today. At 6Sense earlier this year, you acquired ZenIQ, which really creates an incredible one-two punch now of predictive with ABM which we talked a little bit about. So what can we expect in the future at 6Sense? I know you guys have been getting a lot of praise and some of the Forrester Waves, you’ve had great growth, you now have sharp as a stick CMO, so…
That’s yet to be determined. [laughter]
But what can we expect in the future at 6Sense?
So we talked about ABM as a concept, and I talked about it being hard and a lot of people are making attempts. Very few are mastering it. And I think that where 6Sense is they’ve done an amazing job from a technology perspective. Again, acquisition of ZenIQ powered by predictive NAi further investment to make a great UI/UX and customer experience. But what the market needs is really thought leadership around ABM. So why do it? What results can you expect? How do you measure success? What is the journey? So how do you get started, how do you course that trajectory from laggard to leader, what are specific plays you run? Just ’cause you bought the technology doesn’t mean you know how to use it. So, we’re actually thinking about what our place, like pre-built place that people can go and run to be successful on the technology. And then the last, I think critical thing about ABM, and you mentioned this earlier, is ABM is not just for marketing. And we need to really bridge the gap between sales and marketing.
So I talked about the surprise party. When the party is happening, we need sales people there to help us man the bar, to bring the food, to bring gifts. So they’re a huge part of our surprise party. And so I think we’re gonna see a lot more focus and engagement from the sales side when we think about ABM in the future in 6Sense.
So we’ve talked a little bit about your roles and sales and tact, being a global CMO, jet-setting all over the world for business, and other reasons. You move very fast, you’re tough to pin down. I’m so glad you could give me some time today. You’ve got a lot on your plate. So what keeps you hungry, what keeps you balanced?
So I love surprising people and I especially love surprising people about themselves and what they’re capable of. And we were talking earlier about how we just went on this lake vacation and we taught nine kids and two adults how to water ski. And to me, that was such a great metaphor for what I love. It’s hard, you’re gonna fall a couple times, it’s a little bit scary. But once you got it and you’re up, it’s like the most amazing feeling. And so I can think of so many examples in my professional life where… I had a friend, Ashley Stepien, who went on maternity leave, she wasn’t in marketing at the time, she was in another department and I somehow got word that she wasn’t gonna come back and she snaps like a rock star. And so I called her and I said, ” What’s up, why aren’t you coming back?” And she said, “I don’t think I’m gonna be able to do it, I don’t think I can work it all out.” I said, “You’ve got this, you can do it, work for me, I know you’re capable, we will work around you.” And she came back. Of course, she crushed it. She then went and had twins. Again, “I don’t think I can come back.” I said, “I’m gonna promote you, you’re gonna come back, you can do this.” And she’s now gone on to have a hotshot CMO job at a really cool start-up and she’s gonna crush it there. And so, I think she surprised herself and I loved seeing that. And so I’m excited about a lot more surprises for myself and for 6Sense.
So, in our final minute or two, why don’t we have a little fun with each other? Whenever time permits I always like to kinda do a speed round. So I’ll ask you a couple of rapid-fire, you can ask me a couple of rapid-fire if you want. I’ll go first, so I’ll give you a few. So, SoulCycle or Peloton? Pick one.
For the long haul, Peloton.
Okay. Favorite destination when traveling personally.
That’s mine too.
Favorite work destination when traveling globally?
Paris. Double duh. [laughter]
21:38 S1: Go-to cocktail?
Tequila by Casamigos ideally, fresh lime juice, and club soda. It’s delicious and low carb. What more can a girl ask for?
Favorite thing in your garden?
Oh yeah, I’m buck-wild about my garden. Probably the hydrangeas, just big snowballs, gorgeous, with greatest cut flowers, as long as the deer don’t eat ’em all. It’s fabulous.
When you’re driving in your car in heavy traffic, what’s your go-to music?
Oh, Fleetwood Mac. I love Fleetwood Mac.
Alright, any rapid-fire for me?
What’s your walk-up song?
My walk-up song… Thunderstruck by AC/DC.
Okay, that’s a good one. Go-to dance move?
I’d like to see that.
That’s in the outtakes.
Okay. [laughter] Upcoming vacations?
So I have a goal to step foot in every continent in the next five years. So kind of on the radar. I think I can try to combo two which is South America and Antarctica. And I really wanna hit Antarctica while I can still be very active and sleep in a little igloo, do some cross-country skiing. So I’d say those two are on the horizon.
Okay. Show you watch, but you don’t want anyone to know you watch?
Oh boy, that’s a tough one. Show I watch. For a marketer, I admittedly don’t watch a ton of television but I would probably say I can bing watch Schitt’s Creek on Netflix for a good laugh, and it’s a fast 15-20 minute show, which is about my attention span.
So Latane, again thank you so much for being on. You’re full of wit, you’re full of wisdom, you’re smart as a whip. I love the time we get to spend together. I’m glad you could be on the Brand Labs Series and share some of your own insight and experience with our audience, so it was a pleasure to have you on, thank you.
Tags: B2B, Brand and Marketing, Customer Experience, Employee Advocacy, Technology
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