The Pavilion Podcast
The Pavilion Podcast

Episode · 8 months ago

Ep 75: Gong CMO, Udi Ledergor


Ep 75: Gong CMO, Udi Ledergor 

Part of the TGIM "Thank God it's Monday!" series hosted by Tom Alaimo.

All right, everybody thank God it'smonday. Welcome back to the revenue collective podcast. I'm your host TomAlamo. This is where we interview the top revenue leaders In the B2B world tolearn about the strategies, tactics philosophies that make them successful.Let's get into today's episode. Before we get to the guests, I want to give aquick shout out to our sponsor. This episode is brought to you by quota path.A commission tracking software built for sales, operations, finance andaccounting teams. If running commissions and payroll has you runningfor the hills, quota path is for you quote a path helps organizations trackand manage commissions and pay their teams accurately And on time every time,keep your team motivated non target. Simplify your commissions at quarterpast dot com slash revenue dash collective and give your reps the giftof transparency. Okay, you can give us a shout out shout to quote a path, hitthem up if you're interested. Give us a shout out on Apple podcast. Give us afive star review If you find this valuable. I am stoked. I am beyondexcited to share this interview with gangs, CMO judy letter gore. You know,put simply, he's a genius, he's a legend in the B two B marketing world.If you haven't been following what he has been building at going on the, onthe marketing department for the last, the last few years, then you areprobably living under Iraq. We talk about his career, how he managed to getto Gandhi goes way back with me, bend off the ceo. Talk about his philosophyon B two B marketing versus B two C and Y B two B is normally super boring andwhy they have a, you know, kind of a different strategy, why you see so manythought leaders from the company on linkedin and the thoughts and strategybehind that moody's thoughts on, you know, consulting versus working at onecompany full time and much much more. I understand that you are not here tolisten to me. So let's just get straight into my interview with Rudyletter Gore. All right, judy. Welcome to the Revenue Collective podcast. Goodevening. How you doing? I'm great, so excited to be here. Tom Yeah. Likewise,I always like to start in the pandemic. I think I know the answer to this, butjust you never know where people are during covid. So are you still in sanFrancisco or in the bay? I am the one who has not moved out of san Franciscowith uh three young Children in school and a husband who is an essentialworker at UCSF. We we are stranded here for good or worse. Yeah. Yeah, I'mthere too. And tell him thank you on behalf of everyone for the essentialwork that I'm sure he's been doing for the last, you know, year or so. Andeven before that, so I've been excited to have this conversation. I think alot of folks are going to tune in because there's, there's kind of thismystique to gone in general and certainly a mystique to the gongmarketing playbook, you know, uh you don't act like a B two B company, right?So I want to start there and just really kind of learn from you on, onyour mentality of how gong really kind of inverts the normal, you know, B twoB playbook of, let's write a three page white paper, let's syndicated onchannels, let's just, you know, do some stuff with Gartner Forrester and like,you know, it call it a day, maybe that's just coming from a salesperson's perspective, but the work you do is incredible. So I'd love to hearhow you think about that. Yeah, 11 of my favorite topics as you might haveguessed. So I think that the great thing is that there really no secretsabout our marketing strategy. I mean we're always happy to talk about itopenly and you know, I regularly regularly meet with other cmos and asmuch as I can spare time, I'm always happy to share what we're doing andwhat's working. There's really not much secret to it. I mean it's pretty muchstraight forward and out there. I think what makes us stand out and contributedto the great success of gong and the brand or a few things, one the appetitefor taking risks. Now I can't take full... for this because There's areason why I'm working at this company, our ceo of meat and I have workedtogether at three different companies over the course of the last 22 years.I'm not even sure you were alive the first time we started working, I'm 27,so barely, so we're just moving into solid foods first time tonight we'reworking together. Okay. I give grief to all my young team members jealousy, notnothing, nothing else will take no offense. And um, it was a chiefmarketing officer for most of his career before turning into a Ceo at hisprevious company. And that means a few things. That means that he knows whatgreat marketing looks like, he knows what you can expect for marketing andhe's willing to take the risks needed to get there. And so when he called me,uh, 4.5 years ago and almost five now And uh, asked me if I want to join asmall team of, I think about 12 developers who just rolled out of betaproduct to about 12 customers. I said, Yeah, what took you so long and Idropped everything I'm doing and joint and I knew this is going to be anotherreally, really fun ride, like all of my rights with, with the meat because weget to do stuff that you just don't get to do anywhere else. And gang is ofcourse the exception even to our rule in the sense of, we were able to scalethis company bigger and farther, farther than any other company that weworked on in the past. So to sort of give something practical and maybeactionable to some folks. One, you know, the last thing we like looking at iswhat people call best practices and we are believers that by the timesomething becomes a best practices, it's just an ordinary boring practicethat everyone is doing and getting their ordinary boring results. Ifyou're trying to stand out which early stage startups usually try and do right,Remember. I mean we weren't always gone. When I came here. We had an ugly threepage website, zero inbound traffic, zero inbound pipeline and he just said,okay, good luck. Go build a pipeline and build us a brand. So we have tostart from somewhere. And like most startups, we're trying to build a brandand stand out the worst way of doing that is trying to blend in. Looking atyour competitors or other companies in the space and using what Danny on myteam fondly calls the series A's blue, which is like this generic blue shadeeveryone uses on their website. You go to every early startups website, it'snice and white with some blue and gray, Very safe at the top. You'll see a bigMac screen with a screenshot you will not understand. And beneath that, thethree features of their products. So they all look exactly the same becausethat's the best practice. So our web, it never looked like that, right? Wewent bright blue and then during our last rebranded rebranded became brightpink and purple. We threw in a bulldog for good measure. There's a funky logoshape, there's this cast of wacky characters and everything about it isdifferent. And we launched this visual identity three years ago and fastforward to today. We've definitely drawn our share of attention and somewould say even more. So that will be the first tip that I would give, justignore the best practices what everyone else is doing and think about how youcan do something that no one else is doing if you really want to stand out.Yeah I love that. And something else that I've noticed about the way thatGanga's marketing and I've never asked someone at the marketing departmentthis but I'm just curious from your thoughts. A lot of cmos you see kind ofsee themselves as like the face of the marketing or sometimes the face of thecompany and when you think about going oftentimes, you know if you listen tothe podcast right or if you read dog labs or you see some of these thingsthere are people on your team. These things aren't written with your face onthe bottom and it's not, hey, here's the gong revealed podcast by U. T. Youknow it it's you kind of delegating and encouraging the team to do that. So I'mcurious. it seems like a conscious decision, curious your thoughts on howyou lead the team that way. Absolutely. And so here's another sort of thoughtthat I'm a big believer in. You cannot...

...turn someone into a social media starif it doesn't come naturally to them at least that I've not seen it happen. Andsome companies are fortunate to have either a co founder or a CMO who'snaturally social media animal and they make them the face of the company.There's there's a few examples you can probably think of and other companiesthey don't have that person. You know our ceo he's an opinionated person,he's Eloquent, he knows how to say things but he doesn't want to be onsocial media all day and doesn't want to post stuff. And the last thing Iwant to do is get him a ghost rider to make up stuff for him to post becausethat just looks terrible. I don't know of one successful brand that hasincorporated that strategy yet yet many still try doing it. They say oh ourexecutive need to be in the forefront so we'll get this uh you know, minimumpay student to write their post and we'll just posted twice a day, I'm surethat will be a great success, but it never is, it never is. So the firstperson I hired on my team was chris or lob that uh you know today as thedirector of our customer sales team but he joined my team to write content andhe started a really successful blog and just because of the way he beautifullytold stories about pretty complex data that people really found useful. Theywere, it was the beginning of the gong lab series. And again today it's likesomething everyone in the sales industry reads. We made this thing up4.5 years ago, nobody knew about us, nobody knew what gong labs was. Nobodyknew you can get data about what actually works and doesn't work insales. But chris started that series and he quickly became the face of gone,not because he was the social animal and anyone who knows him knows thatthat's not really how he would probably describe himself, but he was puttingout these amazing stories and started gathering followers. And at some pointI pushed him to take on doing more video. When video really took off onlinkedin again, this was wasn't always the case, but when it did about 3, 3.5years ago we started getting his face on video and then he really literallybecame the face of gone. And it was at that point that we realized that it canbe anyone in the company, right? Doesn't have to be the ceo his titlewas Senior Director of product marketing at the time, not the, youknow, most senior title in the company, but that didn't stop him from havingmore followers than anyone in the company. And when he started reallytaking off with this content series, G and the meat and I were having somefrank conversation, okay, how do we get more faces of going out there? Becausewe don't want this to be just one person. You know, he won't always be inthat position. He might not always even be in the company, which is okay. Imean, we don't expect people to never work anywhere else, but how can we getmore voices out there? And again, we wanted to do this in a natural organicway, not force me or a meat or anyone else who doesn't want to be out thereall day doing this. So there was a nice sales guy called Devon, he was a midmarket a a at the time and uh he wanted to pursue a future career in marketingand wanted to sort of moonlight and do some projects with chris and startedediting some of chris's blog posts and started publishing them. And then theystarted doing a Lincoln live show together where Devin was interviewingchris about some of our latest research findings and Devin if you've not beenliving in a cave, you know that I'm talking about Devin Reed, who is nowhead of our content team had gone, he is a social animal and he was born topresent and beyond video and also an amazing writer. And a few months laterwhen chris decided to move to the dark side and join the sales team, Devin wasready to take on a full time marketing role. So we moved in into marketing andit was almost seamless. It was almost seamless because he's already builtthis personality and people have already seen him for months on videoswith chris. So he took on the blogs and the videos and right about that time wehired an SDR that back then. No one had heard of talk about Sarah brazier ofcourse and Sarah came in with her past... musical theater. She was actualactress like doing performances that instead how can I incorporate this inmy daily life here. And a couple of months later she came up with an ideatogether with devon that she could do this video series about life after SDRsand talk about her own career path in a very authentic, real way that no onecould mimic or right for her or for someone else. And that took off really,really well and now you know she's a social media star in and of herself andthen I think a few months ago we hired Andre Mcbride, another SDR who is very,very active on social, I could go on and then you talked about Sheena whojoined us and she and Devon co created and co host the Revenue Intelligencepodcast reveal that if you if you haven't subscribed to yet, you're likethe last one I think I asked, We're about 100,000 downloads of episodesfrom from their podcast. That's that's insane. They started it in December of2019 so it's been less than 18 months. They've got almost 100,000 downloads.That's just mind blowing. I guess the to wrap it up with the boat, the pointis, you can't force this on anyone. It does not have to be your Ceo does nothave to be our CMO. Find someone who's passionate ideally who already has afollowing and who loves doing this sort of thing and watch a takeoff andideally if you can get a few of those people and encourage them to buildtheir own personalities and and build their own personal brands, then you getthe magic that we haven't gone. Yeah, I think that's I think that's amazing. Ithink that's super true. One thing I wanted to ask you about, you mentionedyou work with the meat for 22 years, you know, in your career, which is Yeah,actually together. Yeah. And I noticed on linked in that he wrote you arecommendation. Super Nice one In 2012. And you started going in in 2016 andyou had a period there that you were doing some consulting work like inbetween gigs for like two years. And that seems to be maybe that's alwaysbeen a thing. It seems to be like a hot trend. You see a lot of people onlinkedin talk about, you know, get your side hustle going, consultant companies,things like that. I would just be curious to hear your perspective onlike, clearly the grass wasn't greener, right? Because you found an opportunityand you've been gone ever since, but just curious on your perspective on onthat. And do you think there's an influx and the value that you mightseem people doing some decide gets Yeah. Great, great topic. So consulting likeany job has its pros and its cons and I think like most things until you'reliving within it, it always looks like you know the greener grass that theneighbors have. You imagine these you know very easy life with littleaccountability because you come you give advice and you can go home, turnyour phone off, there's no emergencies or late night meetings, which is mostlytrue. I can speak of my own personal path. So when I finished my previousgig with a meat at Pattaya Pattaya was was another Israeli born, prettysuccessful high tech company that was sold for a few hundreds of millions ofdollars to a company called emphasis in India. And uh it was considered one ofthe bigger and better Israeli exits at the time. And so everyone who had anexecutive position at penn, I was sought after for advising andconsulting and employment at other companies in Israel. And I rememberthat after pain, I I took on another short gig that didn't really work outand at that point I was kind of feeling burned out. I the last year at penn, Iafter a meat had already left to become a Ceo at Citizens was a rough year forthe business and for me and and then the short gig that didn't really workout also left its scars and I just felt that I was depleted of energy and Iknew that if I'm going to take on another VP marketing role, which was mytitle at the time, if I'm going to take on another full time role like this, Iprobably won't be able to give it all of the energy that it needs to succeedand I just didn't want to do that, I always want to put my best foot forwardand I think knowing your limitations...

...and being honest with yourself, likecan I pull this off now, it's not just about landing the job right, A good gigat a start up means you're gonna be there 457 years and have to work reallyhard every day every year. And if you're lucky it all works out becausethe other people in the business are doing the same, I just didn't feel thatI could do that at the time. So I said okay I still need to pay the bills andconsulting came up as an option because I was getting full time employmentoffers. And I just I was being honest, I said you know, I don't have theenergy for this right now, I can't give you what you want. And then the samepeople turned around and said okay can you come consult at least So at somepoint I just said okay yeah I'll come consult I'll give you like a day a weekor a couple of days a week. And that's what I did and yes it does have some ofthe pros of people imagine it's a much lighter job because at least in the waythat I did it I come in I worked with Ceos and other CMOS and looked at whatwasn't working for them and if it were something I could help with I I gavesome advice. I came back a week later saw what they implemented or didn'timplement and then we we kept iterating on that but I I literally shut off myphone at like three or four p.m. Every day I spend time with my family. Ienergized myself and and recharge myself in the way that I wanted to. Thetwo downsides that I found to to that period of working as a consultantbeyond the obvious which you know, everyone knows you have very little jobsecurity because some months I'm like swamped with six customers that I canhardly fit around the clock and I can just take on as much as I want and andsome month there's almost nothing. So I mean that that always happens. Butbeyond the obvious, it was one I really missed working with amazing people on acommon cause because as you can imagine a lot of companies that call in aconsultant to save the day either, they don't have all the right people inplace where things are not going really well. No one is like super successfuland calls in a consultant to help. So, so I really sort of missed working withinspiring people in a successful company. And the second thing was theexact reason why I went into consulting, which was that lack of accountabilitythat allowed me to sleep well at night is the biggest reason why I wanted toto ultimately get out of it because for people like men and for a lot of peoplewith a sort of entrepreneurial spirit that lack of accountability quicklyturns into borden. Mhm. If I don't have skin in the game, if I don't feel theadrenaline rush when a campaign goes out because I know that if it's goingto be successful then this is gonna be an amazing quarter and if it's gonnabomb then it's not gonna be a great quarter as a consultant, you just don'tget that rush, you don't get the accountability, you're not really partof the success or the failure, which was what I was looking for for a shortperiod but it did quickly become sort of boring and I missed that adrenalinerush. So when I meet called me a couple of years into my consulting period andhe told me that it was in early stages of gone and the first customers wereresponding really well to the product and asked if I could come help. I saidof course and uh I started as a contractor for a couple of days a weekbecause I had other consulting customers and two months later herandomly sort of cross paths and the we worked corridor and he said, so whenare you coming on full board? And I said I thought you'd never. And then Ispent the last couple of customers I had and joined going after three monthsof contracting. That's awesome. And the rest is history from there. I'd love totalk to you a little bit about, I think something that's kind of the age oldquestion for marketers is no lining with sales and it's kind of this likesometimes tense situation at companies right where sales is blaming marketingfor, you know, not driving the right leads. Marketing is blaming salesbecause they can't close anything and maybe sometimes it's more civil thanthat. But I'd love to just hear how your relationship is with sales at theleadership level and even how that's adapted and how that's grown from theearly days When there's just a handful on either side. And now, you know,gangs that, you know, we're getting to what 500 employees. So I'm not sure howmany Are in time, but we're approaching...

...600 next month. It will probably be 600.Yeah, we are growing fast. So sales marketing alignment. It's kind of a,you know, quote unquote boring topic, but but there's nothing tactical aboutit. And I think every successful company that I've seen in, you know,enterprise software saS company which is not a self service model. All ofthese successful companies have really tight sales and marketing alignment.And I've seen many, many companies I've been at companies where we didn't havethat alignment, it never works out, it just never works out. You cannot be ahyper growth company in a sustainable way if you don't have strong sales andmarketing alignment. So whether you're in sales or in marketing, you have tomake this work. And you know, there's this cliche of some sales leaders andCeos who I've heard say something like, well I don't really believe inmarketing, you know, I've got a good product, I've got a great sales team,we'll make this work. And I first point of blaming finger at marketers like mebecause I think the sales leaders and Ceos who say that that they don'tbelieve in marketing and you know the funny thing is I've never met a Ceodidn't believe in sales. They all believe in sales, just some of themwill happen to believe in marketing. And I asked myself why is that? AndIt's kind of like the joke about the 10 of, sorry, the 90 of lawyers who give abad rep to the rest of them. It's kind of the same thing with marketing. Ithink there's a lot of mediocre marketers out there, right? I wasn'tamazing when I got started. There's a lot of mediocre as marketers out therethat don't know how to provide the value that the business needs of them.And working with sales leaders and ceos when you're mediocre marketer and youcan't provide with the business needs creates a really bad impression aboutmarketing. I mean wherever we are representing something that's biggerthan ourselves and I think that's part of the problem. So I would urge everymarketer to really understand and be able to demonstrate from day one thevalue that they bring to the business. And I would urge sales leaders and ceosto demand that of marketers. Even in the interview process. If if the personyou're interviewing as a marketing leader cannot articulate what valuethey brought to their last gig, then why would you hire them because theycan run a website or run events. That that stuff is relatively easy. It'sproviding consistent value to the business. It's really understandingwhat sales need in terms of quantity and quality and process and tech stackand alignment marketing at its best is the upper part of the sales funnel. Sothere's marketing doing the upper funnel and their sales doing the bottompart of the funnel and we're this two headed beast that have to work together.If we're separated at silos then you get the situation that you talked abouttom where marketing comes back from a trade show with a fish bowl full ofbusiness cards thrown over the wall to sales and say good luck. And then salesdon't even bother pulling out the business cards because they know it'sprobably crap. Yeah and that's what dysfunctional sales and marketingalignment looks like. I I wrote an article and also gave a presentation acouple of times that I titled something like you should know how your C. R. O.Takes your coffee and the punch of course being that our sorrow had gonedoes not drink coffee. But you have to know that otherwise you're not closeenough to to ride right? That's the whole point. You know that I know thathe drinks he had occasionally we'll have a decaf espresso if that's theonly thing on the menu. But I I know that because I've had coffee with himevery week for the last 2.5 years. We do that every single week becausethat's how we stay alive. And if if you're a sales or marketing leader andyou're not meeting with your partner every week and you don't know whattheir challenges are, what's working for them, What's not working for themhow they're thinking about next quarter and next year you're not doing it right,you're not doing it and it's just it's hard work. You've got to make it work.And if if you can't make this work in your current environment, it's just notgonna work out, you're gonna have to make some, some tough decisions, likeeither people will have to be replaced...

...or you are the one that needs to moveon to somewhere else if you can't make it work. Yeah, Yeah, I want to get toum because I know we're getting up on time, I want to ask a few kind of rapidfire ish questions, Maybe a, you know, a sentence or two. You can, you cankind of answer this one is books what books have impacted you the most as amarketer, maybe once you reread or give to your team or you have found yourself,you know, influenced by at some point in your career. Yeah. So happy toanswer that the first one that like really, really left a mark is the one Imeet Bendel recommended to me over a decade ago, but I still recommended asthe first book every marketer should read. It's called influence by robertSheldon E He talks about the six pillars of persuasion. It's an awesomebook. If you haven't read it yet, you're in for such a treat, go read iteverything even though it was written in the 80s and it failed when it wasfirst published. Now it's been like published a gazillion times and beenthe top of all the bestseller list. But everything that happens on social mediaand even with the new media, it all relies on those same pillars ofinfluence to go read that book. And then the latest one I've read relatedto running high scale companies is a book called High Scale Handbook byElena Gil. You can find it on amazon, it's a very easy read. I finished itlike 34 days. I just put it down. Really really great for people who areanything. Anyone who's like a director and above at a high growth companiesshould should read the book. It covers everything from scaling the team to toraising money to I. P. O. S. Two secondaries to how to run and scale andorganisation. It's really eye opening. Amazing. Alright. We're obviously onthe revenue Collective podcast. Would love to hear uh if you know how youleverage that network or just your general thoughts on networking and howthat you know, kind of benefits you from a career, whether it's one on oneor going to events or whatever it might be. Yeah. So so you know I've gone, welove Revenue Collective and personally I've been a member for a couple ofyears now. I love hanging out with folks in slack. I love meeting them ateither in person or more recently at virtual events and I, I feel that it,it opens up a safe space even for executives that, you know, at somepoint we'll also be looking for jobs, but, but maybe that's the main benefitfor some earlier career folks. But even for executives that just want to havesomeone to benchmark with, like what should I pay this role that I'm hiringfor in Atlanta and what should I ask for if I'm going into this company? Howmuch equity should I ask for? How are you giving KPI str str team? Like somany questions that sometimes you just need someone experienced to ask. Andbetter yet if you've got like five experienced people to ask, you'll seethe beautiful slack threads where someone asking questions and a bunch ofpeople jumping with their experience. So I think that's that's amazing. Andat the enterprise level of gong Revenue Collective really helps us get in frontof our target audience wherever it is in the United States and and and verysoon in the U. K. As well we find it a great vehicle for for getting peoplewho are in a trusting community and again a safe environment forintroducing them to what revenue intelligence can do for that. Yeah.Yeah. Okay. My last one for you, I'm curious if you look at any gongmarketing, if anyone hasn't seen in checks out whether it's the Super Bowlad, you know, you're at the Masters now, the videos, the podcast, the list goeson and on. You see, just strike me as one of the more creative people that Iknow. I'm just curious like, do you have any tips on like how you fosteredthat? I don't know if you, you think that that's just always been in your,if you don't know your journal or you do, you take long walks or whatever itis. Anything. Any sort of creative tips out there for folks that are looking tokind of express that more. Yeah, the biggest tip I can give is is going backto what we started with and coming full circle. Get get out of the littlepuddle or pond that your business is in. If you're a sales tech companies stoplooking what other sales tech companies...

...are doing. I get inspiration from, fromDisney, the muppets show Nike lego. That's where I look to see like, oh,that's a cool idea that I can do a B two B twist on. Then I'm looking atbeer commercials to get inspiration for our Super Bowl commercial. I'm notlooking what sales tech companies are doing because they're mostly really,really boring. So just get out of your immediate space and look elsewhere.Inspiration is everywhere. And you know, just by by not looking at the obvioussuspects that are too close to home, which is again getting away from thosebest practices, you'll discover a world of creativity and you might just take agreat shoe commercial and find a way of making it a great deal of the thing.Yeah, that's awesome man. Um, last thing just, uh, for everyone that maybedoesn't know you or isn't connected to what's the best place for, for folks toreach out. If they have questions, they want to learn more about you about gongor anything else. Well, if you want to learn more about going and you are notyet subscribed to our going lab series, you've got to go to going dot Io and goto the blog and subscribe that's going dot Io. And to find me the easiestplaces on linkedin. I don't really do twitter or the other networks, so gofind the letter gore on Lincoln. I'm the only one with that name and happyto connect with everyone. Thanks for having me tom Yeah, absolutely. Wegotta get you on Tiktok by the way. Nearly cool enough for that. Thanks. Ireally appreciate it. All right. Thank you so much for checking out thatepisode while you're walking a dog or cooking dinner or whatever it is thatyou are doing right now, appreciate it. You can head over to apple and give usa five star review. If you liked the show, feel free to add me on linkedin.My name is Tom Alamo. I'm an A E over at gong and one more quick shout out toour sponsor. Of course, this episode was brought to you by quota Path quote.A Path is the first radically transparent end to end compensationsolution from sales reps to finance. Get started for free at quota path dotcom slash revenue dash collective. Seriously, people give these guys alook, Give them a shout out until next week. Get after it and enjoy your week. Mhm.

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