This transcript is from the sponsored podcast interview that Tim Hagen had with Stacy Greiner, chief marketing officer at Dun & Bradstreet.
Tim Hagen: Hi, it’s Tim Hagan from SMMConnect, and today, we have a special guest from Dun & Bradstreet. Stacy Greiner has joined us, and we’re going to talk about some of the innovative ways that marketing has changed and digital marketing. Today’s guest is going to give us some really good insight to what companies can do. Hi, Stacy, how are you?
Stacy Greiner: Hey, Tim. I’m good.
Hagen: Tell us a little bit about your company and what your organization does.
Greiner: So I am the chief marketing officer at Dun and Bradstreet. Dun & Bradstreet has been well-known for decades as a data and insights company serving companies that are really managing their risk within their customer portfolio or supplier portfolio. We’ve also leveraged that data to help our customers in their sales and marketing efforts to really understand who they should be doing business with, how to get in contact with them, and how to do business with them. And so today, we’re a company that is delivering both data and insights and automation for risk management, as well as sales and marketing solutions.
Hagen: So what are some of the problems that you’re currently seeing in the marketplace? I mean, obviously things have changed, especially with the pandemic. What are some of the challenges you’re seeing?
Greiner: I think it’s just challenges and pretty exciting opportunities created by what we’ve seen over the last year. I often will say that marketing has become one of the most technically complex functions in an enterprise. That’s only just accelerated over this last year with everything we do going digital. That’s why I think it’s both a challenge, because the teams and customers that we work with are really trying to figure out how do we wrangle all of this technology we need to use to reach our buyers and all the different ways that they’re digitally engaging with us. At the same time, there’s consistent pressures on managing your budget and really being able to optimize who you’re reaching out to, who you’re engaging with, how you’re reaching them. I think with this challenge of this proliferation of tools comes a really exciting opportunity of how do we accelerate the digital transformation that marketing has been on over the last couple of decades, but really has gone into hyper at this point?
Hagen: So give us an example, when you talk about digital marketing, what are you referencing? We have a pretty wide listenership and readership. When you talk about digital marketing, what are a couple examples?
Greiner: Yes. So some great examples, now, digital marketing is pretty much all of marketing, right? But examples of digital marketing are things like paid search, advertising, retargeting – when you visit a website, you see ads from that site that follow you as you’re going around and visiting other websites. There’s even obviously email and more and more as marketing and sales teams are working more closely together. As one go-to-market engine, you’ve got often a sales development reps or business development reps that are an extension of really that go-to-market function who are also engaging via digital channels through social media and through email, et cetera. So these marketing and sales teams that are really operating as one revenue team are now looking at my buyer is engaging me on all these different touch points – through my site, third-party sites, emails, chat, et cetera. How do I deliver a consistent experience for those buyers so that they can navigate through the B2B buying journey? Even more importantly, as you move up the funnel, how do I even find those people in the first place? Who should you be spending money to reach that’s going to turn into the kind of customer that I want to do business with?
Hagen: Well it’s interesting, because I know McKinsey came out with a report that now 71% of all buyers are buying remotely or virtually. How has that affected or does that help the digital marketing movement?
Greiner: I think that’s exactly that stat that’s accelerated this digitization of marketing, and then the need to have the marketing and sales teams working together as one revenue team. What’s happened is buyers want to engage through all the different digital channels that we just talked about. Often, the response from marketing and sales teams has been to buy best-of-breed products, point products for those different channels, which often translates even to how the teams are organized. So you have people who are sitting in different silos. So then very quickly, what you find is you have different data in those different silos; you have different messaging and content in the different silos; the teams are working in a disparate way. And so when you step back and you say, “How do I really deliver a unified buying experience that’s personalized for my buyers, that’s privacy compliant – that recognizes you can’t send an email or contact somebody through one channel that means you can’t contact them through any of the channels that you’re using?” So how do you manage all that? That’s really the challenge that teams are facing. What we’ve specifically invested to solve at Dun & Bradstreet is to make revenue teams much more effective and be able to operate as one revenue generating team across sales and marketing.
Hagen: What are some of the most common solutions or what’s the ideal solution customers are looking for today? I would imagine they may not even know at times, and some have a very clear vision and some may not even know where to start. What is it ultimately that people are looking for today? Even though, as you explained what you do, do customers have a good understanding of what’s even available to them today?
Greiner: I think our customers have a good understanding of the challenge, right? “How do I deal with this proliferation of tools? How do I manage privacy across all the different channels? How do I deliver a very personalized buying experience for this buying journey, as you noted, that is nearly all digital at this point?” So the challenge is very well understood. This is exactly why we launched D&B Rev.Up, which is our rev tech platform. Because the solution that we see is that you really need a place to bring together all of your own first-party data – the data that you own in the different tools and channels that you’re using to engage with your buyers – together with third-party data – what are other companies I want to do business with, or other people in those companies that I should be reaching? But you need one place to do that so that you’ve got a single view of, “Here’s the universe of people that I want to do business with,” and then be able to create specific audiences for the different campaigns you’re running, and syndicate those audiences to the tools that you’re already using. So this is really about making the tools that you’re already using work harmoniously across the buyer journey versus operating in silos across the buyer journey.
Hagen: How long have you been using this platform or the platform that you just alluded to, Rev.Up? How long have you had that? How long have customers been using it? And what are some of the benefits customers are achieving or receiving today?
Greiner: We have been using it internally for about the past year in Dun & Bradstreet. And one of the great things about being a marketing organization inside of a company that builds tools for marketing organizations is we can be in the trenches with our product team developing the kinds of capabilities that are going to solve the key challenges that we see as an organization and that our customers see as well. So internally, we’ve been using it for about the past year as we’ve really been developing and honing the features. But we also have a number of customers who have been adopting it and using it as well over the past number of months. One customer I was just speaking with the other day is seeing already almost a 70% increase in sales-accepted leads – leads that are generated that sales has accepted as a qualified lead. They’re also seeing nearly a 40% increase in the engagement of their target accounts. This is really the idea of getting your data, really wrangling it in one place so you can be very targeted on who you want to do business with. Then, as you’re activating in the different channels, make sure that you’re spending your efforts and your resources and your budget on really activating against those specific people that you’ve identified. It really is resulting in much more targeted results coming out
Hagen: Has digital marketing, based on what you just shared, Stacy, has it gone up? Because you know, obviously, having my own company in sales, just getting ahold of people on the telephone is difficult because people are working virtually, as simple as that is. Have people demonstrated a good understanding of digital marketing outside of your customer scope, meaning people who may not be aware of your organization? Because it’s really interesting when you depicted that, so often it’s difficult to get ahold of customers. Are they still even working there? There’s really not a lot of ways, especially for smaller companies. But what have you found in terms of people’s understanding of digital marketing, even outside of your customer’s sphere?
Greiner: I think that’s a great question, and I think that’s also why we built this open platform that can connect to so many different channels and tools that you’re already using because, to your point, you have to expand that mix of how you’re going to reach somebody. I can’t just rely on calling you because you’re not going to answer the phone. I can’t just rely on sending you an email because you may not open it. I need to also be able to find you, where you spend your day in social platforms, browsing the web, et cetera. And so we’ve also really been making investments in expanding the data that we have to be able to reach those targeted people. So it’s not just about the traditional business card data – your work email and your work phone number and your work address, which people aren’t at their work address anymore. It’s really looking at this blend of who you are as a consumer and who you are as a business professional blending that so that we can reach you then through the different digital channels, which are often keyed off of more consumer attributes about your target customers.
Hagen: You’ve mentioned data a couple times. What’s your experience been when you talk to a prospect or company that’s relatively inexperienced or even new to digital marketing? Are people leveraging their data? Do they not know how to leverage their data? How do you go about helping companies do that?
Greiner: The short answer is yes, people are leveraging data. We’ve been talking about data-driven marketing for probably two decades now, but it still is the number one challenge that marketing and sales teams, these revenue teams, are really facing. “How do I make sure that I’ve got a single source of truth? How do I make sure that the data that I’ve sorted in one channel is actually usable or in use in another channel?” So for instance, I was speaking with a customer a couple of weeks ago and we were talking about privacy compliance. Obviously, with the acceleration of things like GDPR CCPR, et cetera, it’s a very real challenge that we, as go-to-market organizations have to face, that it’s not so much about just managing who are the businesses I want to do business with and the contacts I’m trying to reach, but now I also have to really be very close on who can I reach and I need to make sure that that information is shared across all the different channels. So oftentimes, what you see is a marketing team will use a marketing automation platform to send emails and you have sales teams using another platform for sending emails. Unless you have your one source of truth in the middle of, ‘OK, Tim has said he doesn’t want to hear from us so we need to syndicate that to all of our different activation channels,’ you’re going to spend your day chasing down manual updates across a file that somebody has on their laptop of people you’re going to contact and data sources that are in your different tools. So that really is one of the factors that we’re solving for with D&B Rev.Up. It is really that single source of truth, the one place that you can manage privacy, and then the one place that you can really manage “here’s the people that I want to do business with, both companies and people contacts in those companies,” so that you can, in a very measured and thoughtful way, execute against those audiences in the tools areas
Hagen: That solves a lot of problems, because when you were going through it, I’m hearing the mistakes that we make in even my small company here. So my last question for you is when somebody engages with your organization, walk us through the process – high level – of how you identify their problems? What are the typical problems? What do you do to go about engaging in solving and providing solutions to your customers?
Greiner: Yeah, I think that’s a great question. We really start from the balance of understanding, first, what their challenges are. But we have the benefit of working with hundreds and thousands of companies globally who share those similar challenges. One of the things that I find really exciting in the go-to-market space is that regardless of the industry that you’re in, we’re all facing the same challenge of, “How do I identify who I want to do business with? How do I reach them? How do I tell them what I have for them? How do I then keep them as a happy customer?” And so it’s been really fun facilitating conversations across our customer base as well – across industries. [They’re] not necessarily competitors, so they don’t have to worry about best practices or sharing, but really giving them an opportunity to share with each other different ways of solving what we all have as similar challenges at the end of the day. At Dun & Bradstreet, it comes down to having a conversation just like we’re having today, where we share what we’ve been investing in and why we’ve made those investment decisions. We’re really listening for those key challenges that our customers have and how the solutions we have can really marry up and help them get control of who are they trying to reach and how are they going to reach them and how are they going to engage and build their customer base?
Hagen: Cool. I love the way you explain that, because it’s got to be fun for you that you practice what you preach because you’re actually building the product you use internally that you can facilitate. It’s not someone jumping on a bandwagon and saying, “We’re now going to adopt this.” You’re actually building what you actually live, and then you share that with your customers. So how does somebody get ahold of your company and how do they engage with you if they want to find out more about these services?
Greiner: dnb.com is our website. Chat is on the website. You can also connect with me personally on LinkedIn. We’d love to hear from you, and we look forward to continuing this dialogue with customers and others who are passionate about this digital transformation that we’re undergoing.