Hitting B2B marketing targets amid hypergrowth: Sydney Sloan, CMO of SalesLoft (podcast recap)

Hitting marketing targets during hypergrowth can be difficult, but this CMO found a way to exceed goals

Sitting in her company’s Atlanta offices on a Monday evening admiring the city skyline, SalesLoft CMO Sydney Sloan caught up with John Henry for WeWork’s Up At Night podcast. The two talked shop—B2B marketing that is—as Sloan shared lessons about hitting B2B marketing targets for hypergrowth learned at SalesLoft.

Working out of WeWork offices in New York, San Francisco, London, and Guadalajara, SalesLoft—a leading sales engagement platform built for sales teams to help them engage with their clients—has seen more revenue in the last quarter than they did in the first five years of the company.

Customers like IBM, Facebook, and Zoom are using SalesLoft to build their pipeline and generate more revenue. But scaling and growing 100 percent year over year comes with its own set of challenges, and sitting in the middle of all this growth is Sydney Sloan—a veteran marketer with a laser lock on revenues. Here’s how Sloan stays on top of this hypergrowth and delivers on company goals:

Always focus on hitting growth targets

For Sloan, the scariest part of growth is continuing to deliver on the numbers. “You talk about the role of a CMO and all the facets of my responsibility, but at the end of the day, revenue is the thing that counts the most,” she said. She knows how much pipeline they need to generate in order to scale, and how to look for the gaps and attack them in a short amount of time. And that means constantly fine-tuning her team’s strategy.

Innovate, but don’t be afraid to milk what works

To meet and exceed B2B marketing targets for hypergrowth, Sloan’s philosophy is “more” isn’t always the answer—whether that’s more features added to the product or more marketing tactics. She believes in innovation, but she also advised, “Don’t be afraid to milk what’s working.” If you find a program that works, “Get as much out of it as you can, until its very juice is squeezed out of it.”

Marketing for a fast-growing company means that change is a constant, but Sloan has been in the business long enough to know that everything old is new again. Direct mail, for example, has been working great for SalesLoft. “The pendulum has swung so far that everything digitally is noise… there’s too much email now we’re going to direct mail… and it works, great!”

Get aligned, then move forward

Sloan is part of a leadership team with strong opinions, which inevitably means they sometimes butt heads. “Trust is key to a healthy debate,” she said. “We need to get past what’s being said to get to the heart of the matter.” With the CEO, she uses what they call “clearing sessions” to hash out differences of opinion and to talk through frustrations. It may take a few days to clear the air, but she firmly believes in moving on. “At the end of those debates, we agree, align, and move forward… I may agree or disagree, but I’ve learned sometimes it’s better to be aligned than to be right,” Sloan said.

One question Henry likes to ask all his guests is, “What’s keeping you up at night?” For Sloan, her bedtime disruptor wasn’t growth goals or concerns. She explained that a high-performing employee had resigned that day, and she was disappointed in the outcome. “When I was talking to her, you know, we were reflecting on what could have gone differently,” she said. Among the questions she asked the departing employee: “What did you learn? What did I learn? And then you know, what do we take from that?” 

Sloan is always learning. She says she’s spending more time thinking big-picture about her own life and what she’ll be doing in a few years when she becomes an empty nester. “I’m working on finding what my purpose is,” she says. “What am I going to do next that’s meaningful.” 

To learn more, listen to episode four of the Up At Night podcast. You can also read the full transcript here.

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