CATEGORY

C-Suite Strategy

Elle Woulfe

VP of Marketing

When PathFactory’s marketing team set a goal to create a better class of target accounts, Elle Woulfe led a project to build an ideal customer profile (ICP) based on specific criteria. The idea behind this was to give sales the chance to take higher percentage shots and be more successful overall.

Woulfe helped the team develop a highly agile methodology for ABM that takes a strategic approach in helping the team develop a focused account-based selling strategy. While the company’s ABM journey is nowhere near over and is constantly evolving, early results indicate PathFactory is seeing success, including a 15% better MQL to SQL conversion, a 22% better SQL to SQO conversion and a 2X better ACV once customers were closed.

Can you share any particular achievements you are most proud of in your current role?                

I am most proud of having built all the demand gen process and infrastructure for a very early stage start up and scaled that into a predictable target account model as we grew into a growth stage company. This included multi-touch attribution and multichannel campaigns and programs to deliver qualified demand to a growing sales team. I am also incredibly proud of the talented team I have built; without them, none of this would be possible. Our rebrand campaign in 2018, which pushed our collective skills, continues to be a great example of our creativity and project management.

Can you share any details about how your team, or individuals on your team, have helped drive innovation? How has your whole team helped achieve results?

I am only as good as the people I have hired, and I am so fortunate to have a team that works great together. They are a group that really thrives in situations where they are asked to problem solve and bring creative thinking to challenges. They never approach a big goal with a sense of dread or negativity, but are excited to find interesting ways to solve problems and they always operate with urgency. It’s interesting to note that I am a remote manager with my entire team sitting in Toronto while I am in Boston and I think that distance has forced a level of discipline and creativity we might not otherwise have needed. My team are also a bunch of marketing nerds — from the demand gen and marketing ops folks to the content marketers and designers, we’re all truly interested in process optimization and using technology to drive innovation.

How have you helped try to foster a culture of innovation within your team and organization?

I approach everything with the desire to know if it could be better. Even the things we do that I believe are pretty damn good! I’m rarely satisfied with the easy answer or the obvious choice and I think that pushes the team to focus on quality and creativity over simply speed. We try to do both — create a high volume of the highest quality, most interesting and most innovative work we can, and we do that by asking the question — is this good enough? My mantra is: B2B doesn’t have to be boring. We work hard to be great storytellers and to give the market more of the things they actually want and need.

What does the future have in store for your efforts? Anything interesting planned?       

We’re doing some interesting things to push our content engagement data to new places, blend it in new ways with other datasets like traditional intent data and integrate things like chat with our platform to trigger a conversation after we see that a prospect is really well educated and engaged. We are also focused a lot more on pushing our point of view, building our brand and exposing our brand to new audiences and personas.

Any fun facts/interesting personal notes you would share that other B2B peers may find interesting?  

I live near the ocean and spend a lot of time on our little boat on the North Shore of Massachusetts with my husband and two kids. I love to garden and play tennis, I am a reluctant runner and I love to ski but don’t get to do it enough. I am currently training for a half marathon and play in an amateur women’s tennis league.

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A variety of challenges, such as shrinking budgets, internal alignment and buy-in and new tool investment, can stall innovative campaigns. However, strong leadership can help turn the tide and lead companies to produce campaigns that garner great results. Joseph Harding of Windstream, for example, helped build a modern marketing team armed with intelligent data analytics tools and a martech stack that would enable them to bring the most innovative programs to market. Decisions for marketing investments shifted toward evaluating growth potential, profitability and gross margin. Marketing won back the respect of sales by demonstrating a clear understanding of customers and their buying journey and developing targeted, personalized ABM campaigns in collaboration with sales.

And the returns from the initiative have been quite notable. The conversion rate for marketing influenced opportunities to close is twice that as non-marketing influenced opportunities. The average number of days to close is less than half for marketing influenced deals (110 vs 278). Also, the average deal size is significantly higher — between 2-3X — with marketing influenced leads. 

Can you share any particular achievements you are most proud of in your current role?

I guess the most meaningful accomplishment is represented in the feedback I receive from tenured sales team members, who tell us this is the best marketing support they have ever experienced in their careers. The results reflect this. Prospects that engage in our marketing programs are 2x more likely to convert and purchase 3.3x more on average. What they don’t understand is that today we are spending 60% less on marketing expense than we were a few years ago. We’re delivering far more value on far less investment.

This is the result of innovation across the entire ecosystem and some great ideas from many team members: 

  • A new product portfolio that now represents 60% of what we sell;
  • A new nurture and content strategy aimed at supporting the customer through the entire buyer journey;
  • A highly targeted ABM strategy aimed at driving higher quality leads and improving conversion rates;
  • New tools aimed at empowering our sales team to initiate and personalize campaigns driving greater engagement and ownership of results; and
  • Significant upgrades in every area of our mar-tech stack.

Can you share any details about how your team, or individuals on your team, have helped drive innovation? How has your whole team helped achieve results?

A cross-functional team represented by field marketing, digital marketing, vertical and product marketing worked together to develop MyCampaign, a sales-initiated campaign architecture leveraging Marketo and PFL to automate multi-touch campaigns within 15 unique tracks. Campaigns span across multiple verticals and solutions. It was rolled nationwide to more than 450 enterprise sales reps by our field marketing team. Active campaign engagement by sales more than doubled in a three-month period. More importantly, they feel more empowered and can take far greater ownership for the results. Since February, 15,000 targets have been through the campaign generating almost 1,000 new opportunities valued at $4.85M in monthly recurring revenue. Opportunities generated through this campaign are now more than 2x likely to convert to sales than opportunities not associated with the campaign. Even our “old-school” sales leaders are converting to true believers in the power of modern B2B marketing. The work we did to leverage Tableau and other business intelligence tools to measure real-time the results of our MyCampaign efforts also allowed us to focus our sales enablement efforts and course correct with a level of agility unprecedented within our business.

How have you helped try to foster a culture of innovation within your team and organization?                  

It starts with hiring the right people, true innovators, and empowering them to lead and take risks. As an executive-level leader, my role is to encourage new ideas, to reward risk taking over playing it safe and to ensure my team believes they are set up for success … and to celebrate success. Beyond that, we try to live by the agile manifesto in just about everything we do. Hire smart people, partner them with other smart people, align on the right set of goals … and get out of their way.

Any fun facts/interesting personal notes you would share that other B2B peers may find interesting?  

I live in Boulder, Colo. and thoroughly enjoy everything this town has to offer, from the great craft beer and foodie scene to the epic cycling and hiking options. I’d welcome the opportunity to talk B2B marketing over a beer, a hike (or both) with any likeminded peers that find themselves in Boulder!

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Lisa Cole

Corporate VP of Marketing (CMO)

For the last two and a half years, Lisa Cole of Huron Consulting Group has played a pivotal role transforming the Huron organization within multiple channels to better engage prospects and measure results, including centralizing marketing and sales resources, reenergizing and consolidating the company’s branding, as well as developing cross-functional processes and teamwork amongst Huron employees. Always able to see the bigger picture and how it affects the bottom line, she led the effort to consolidate marketing from five different business units to one fully integrated marketing team, focused on enabling the enterprise to execute on a “One Huron” brand strategy, in turn driving major growth.

When it comes to branding, Cole helped successfully move the company from 20 sub-brands to one master brand, after efficiently conducting field testing and piloting the new branding ideas. The result of the new brand identity has been extremely positive and has brought new energy to the organization. 

Can you share any particular achievements you are most proud of in your current role?                

I am most proud of leading & supporting my team through an end-to-end transformation of corporate marketing that included a complete reorganization, hiring more than 50 employees, migrating from 20 brands to one master brand, implementing and integrating more than 20 technologies, a website redesign, the implementation of an end-to-end lead management process and launching a high-performing, advanced account-based marketing program in support of our largest business.

Can you share any details about how your team, or individuals on your team, have helped drive innovation? How has your whole team helped achieve results?

We are driving innovation by leading our company to eliminate random acts of marketing, closely align marketing & sales and accelerate growth so that we can enable an ideal buyer journey. Our work started with finding our own “wall of shame” then rallying our organization behind the need to market and sell dramatically different than we had in the past. We have since reengineered how we get marketing done and demystified marketing for our business stakeholders. We believe the work we are doing is so remarkable that it will eventually revolutionize the way professional services firms effectively market their services and maximize sales productivity to accelerate growth.

How have you helped try to foster a culture of innovation within your team and organization?

Here at Huron we have fostered a culture of innovation several ways. First, we hire exceptionally talented marketers who value intellectual curiosity, accountability, agility and collaboration. We provide the team with a vision of marketing as a growth driver for the organization and a mission to rally behind (no random acts of marketing). We defined what it meant to be a growth driver for the organization then redesigned how we think, plan and act differently to realize our vision. As we advance our capabilities and firmly establish our new role in our organization, we continue to evolve to make sure that we’re equipped to manage through the same disruptive forces that are impacting our clients. We empower the team by enabling them to make the needed decisions to elevate our work and deliver business impact. Along the way, I provide the needed air coverage and support to manage through conflict knowing that real change and transformation happens one conversation at a time. For us, there is no such thing as finished or “there.” The only constant is change and we embrace it knowing that is how we own our future.

Any fun facts/interesting personal notes you would share that other B2B peers may find interesting?  

On the sidelines of my career, I founded a U.S. professional women’s tackle football team in 2002 and served on the board of directors for the Independent Women’s Football League for more than a decade. I like to say that in addition to learning how to block, tackle and put points on the board, that experience proved to me how success in the game takes a well-coordinated team. A team centered on a “rise-together-or-fall-apart” mentality.

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