Hello, I’m Kerry Guard and welcome to Tea Time with Tech Marketing Leaders.
Welcome back to season 11!
What do you think of my conversation with Chris Spellman?
If you haven't checked it out yet, skip back and take a listen. Chris is building a media empire generating mission-driven content. Given the importance of content these days, keeping it focused, especially around your mission, is a powerful way to ignite your marketing efforts.
In this episode, I connect with Kaya Adams and Alexandra Mcwethy. Kaya and Alexandra work together at WatchGuard. Kaya is a director of demand generation and marketing operations at WatchGuard technologies. She's a passionate marketing leader with a proven track record of delivering innovative data and technology-driven campaigns in fast-paced, deadline-driven environments. She is also a creative problem solver with an analytics detail-oriented approach. She's hungry to drive results.
Alexandra is a director of demand generation at WatchGuard technologies. She's focused on developing educational and engaging content that helps small businesses and mid-sized enterprise organizations better protect their employees, customers, and sensitive data.
Kaya and Alex are a force. They have teamed up to build a team of business development representatives. They are focused on drumming up leads and then nurturing them to a place where they can pass them off to the sales team. Kaya analog breaks down how they did it, why marketing and sales love this approach, and the early outcomes that they're seeing.
Let's take a listen.
Kerry Guard: Kaya and Alex, thank you for joining me on Tea Time with Tech Marketing Leaders.
Alexandra McWethy: Thanks for having us.
Kaya Adams: We’re so excited to be here.
Kerry Guard: I'm so excited to have two of you. This is the best because it creates so much more momentum, and I can't wait to get into the heart of our conversation. Folks, hang on to your hats! It's a good one. It's one I haven't had yet. You're all going to be very excited about it. I guarantee it. Before we get there, I want to share your stories because they're good ones about how you got to WatchGuard, how you came together, what you do, and how you got there. I'm going to start with Kaya.
Kaya Adams: I started in sales at the beginning of my career. I started with cold calling and then moved to my renewable book of business, but I quickly realized that marketing is where I wanted to play. I moved into agencies and spent about ten years agency side, working with many technology companies in the Seattle area. Most recently was with Avalara, running their ABM team and working very closely with their ADR team. Their account development rep moved to WatchGuard almost a year ago to run their demand generation and marketing ops team. One of our significant undertakings was developing the BDR team. Alex and I have spent the last six months or so plus months building, getting onboarding, and getting the BDR team at Watchguard.
Alexandra McWethy: It's true. It's been a fun ride, Kaya.
Kaya Adams: It has been a wild ride.
Kerry Guard: I can't wait to get into that. But before we get there, Alex, take it away. What's your story?
Alexandra McWethy: Mine's a little bit different. I've always been in marketing. I started as a marketing intern, always in cybersecurity. Ten years ago, I started as a product marketing intern and worked for quite a few years for the same company. It's the same executive leadership that's now over a WatchGuard. It's entertaining to grow my career and journey with a lot of the same leadership at multiple companies.
I've been at WatchGuard for six years now, and I've had a lot of different roles. I've gone through my whole journey of product marketing. I went and worked on our global programs and campaigns and found myself working on demand gen. Content syndication, managing our forums or review site platforms, and working in events. While working on our events, I found my home working with marketing and sales and building solid relationships with our sales team from the marketing perspective.
We started building our new structure last year in April. I became the director of demand generation programs, including our digital demand generation team and BDR team. As Kaya mentioned, we got to build from scratch during a pandemic, which was completely remote. It's been exciting, much fun, and an excellent opportunity to be on the marketing side but to influence and work on the sales side. Something that Kaya and I both seem to have some aptitude for in different ways.
Kaya Adams: I came in April, as those promotions were happening, and have Alex and our Director of Marketing Operations on the team. It's been fun. We started figuring out what this BDR team would look like and then went from there. It's been enjoyable.
Kerry Guard: I want to dive into my questions, but I've got a hold because I want to follow the flow. I think it's important before we immediately get into the weeds to remember that we're all humans inside and outside of marketing, and we're not alone. The best way to realize we're not alone is to know that we're all facing the same challenges. What's one challenge each of you is facing at this time? I'll start with Alex.
Alexandra McWethy: One of the challenges with WatchGuard, in general, and where we are, is that we are a two-tier distribution company. Every sale we do, every business that we close is through a partner, which is great. We have amazing partners worldwide, and we've got thousands of them.
Our partners are a huge extension of our sales team, which is wonderful. But, as you can imagine, it does create some challenges on the reporting side because we lose visibility. We don't always know everything that's happening towards the end of a deal. Particularly on the marketing side, and as we're building out the business development team, we're focused on end-user business. And all end-user business ultimately goes to one of our global valued partners. How and what the process wasn't defined when we've overcome some of those challenges in directly connecting our partners and end-users. How do we do that through a BDR cycle? How do we do that with the tools we have? But there's still some data and reporting. I don't like to say opportunities that we're looking at. Kaya has been digging on the marketing operations side, but on the demand generation side, we look at that as well.
Kaya Adams: Alex and I chatted about this. One of the biggest challenges is how we get down to that reporting. One of our motivators is seeing the business impact that we drive, and a considerable way to see that is through understanding. We're able to do this with the BDRs understanding the operations they're creating and the revenue. There's a dashboard Alex and the team built, and both of us are refreshing it regularly. Those metrics are motivating, and we need to get to a place where we can show those metrics for all of our marketing efforts and have that attribution and measurement. And that's one of the key areas that I'm working on with our marketing operations team.
Alex is a big part of that because she's got a lot of insight and contribution to lend, and we started down the track. We have some great ideas and metrics we want to measure. How do we do that with our data? Do we need different tools? It's a prominent place to play and an exciting one that, once we get there, it's motivating for teams to see that business impact. When we get there, the whole marketing team will be super excited to see the real value that they're adding globally.
Kerry Guard: I imagine if you have all these partners across the world, trying to get them all on the same page to document things and the same way to measure it end to end is certainly a challenge. I may follow up with you and see how you handle that challenge.
Kaya Adams: I look forward to it. Give me a little bit of time.
Kerry Guard: We'll connect in December, and It'll be lovely. You’ve talked about building a team around BDRs and being a marketing team. We don't generally talk about building a sales team, so the spin is fascinating for me. I will lean into some questions that might feel obvious at first. Marketing loves to have its language, sales, and starts to make sure we understand all of your terminologies; there are SDRs and BDRs. SDRs are most of your partners out in the field, where the BDRs are sitting with you.
Kaya Adams: Generally, there are three different terms, business development representative (BDR), sales development representative (SDR), and account development representative (ADR). You'll often see with the client-side that SDRs are often inbound, so they're the ones that are getting leads from form fills or events and working those leads inbound. BDRs and ADRs are more on the outbound side, like cold calling, or not so cold anymore, because we have lots of technology to show us intently. We went with the BDR as a team or grouping, and as we went along the path and started more with some inbound as we understood where we could play.
Two of our representatives are doing inbound, and we are building our outbound processes right now, testing and learning, and then plan to build out the outbound motion a little more, hopefully, in the next few months. Alex, would you have anything to add there?
Alexandra McWethy: One thing from our perspective at WatchGuard, which is a little bit unique, is we are a hundred percent channel. The majority of our internal sales team is our channel account managers. Their job is to make their partner successful and what those partners need from a sales marketing operations product perspective, and when it came to building out this team that sits under marketing wanted to help fill a gap.
When you talk about BDR and SDR, it is to have a totally focused team dedicated to those end-users and then pass those to our sales team at our partner and help enable them. We can dig into this more, I'm going to drop a bomb, but we can dig into it.
One of the super unique things at WatchGuard is that BDR directly sets an appointment with some of our partners. It could be with one of their SDRs to have a conversation, take to the next level, and set a meeting. It totally depends on how our partner organizations set up what they're doing—having this team that can handle inbound and outbound and gets that new opportunity for our partners and our channel account managers to make everybody's life a little bit easier.
Kerry Guard: Outbound Sales has always been a head-scratcher for me because I thought the marketing was supposed to do so when you're talking about a sales team doing what marketing is supposed to do.
Alexandra McWethy: Outbounding in sales is where we're growing right now. We have our BDR team leader focused on building the processes and how we do it. And I think what's exciting for Kaya and I were very much ABX groupies; we love account-based things, and we talked about it. It's exciting because we are building an outbound team on those principles and foundations, so using some of our tech stack tools that leverage intent and talk about what in the market stage they're in, why they are in that stage, and what stage are they doing. We help that on the demand generation side, and we're running programs, driving traffic, and doing all those things. On the sales side, it's taking one step further, like having a conversation, looking at intent data, and saying, “This is what I know is interesting to you. How can we have this conversation? How can I help you?” Send it in a more sales way, not spying, and that’s what our BDR team leaders are doing right now. Bridging the gap between the marketing piece and sales piece to help get it to the other side. Kaya is very passionate about outbound.
Kaya Adams: It is a joint effort. As Alex said, we are looking at the accounts showing intent where they are in their buying stage and making sure that we are marketing to them in the channels that we have available to connect with those accounts and reinforce the message. And at the same time, having the BDR team contact them and engaging the buying team looking for the personas within that account that they should be contacting. We’re using outreach, but what sequences should they be using to contact that account? What are they showing intent for? We use the 6sense, and so, they can say, these are the pages they visited, here are the keywords, how do you put that in the subject line and get their attention. All of those different research pieces available make the biggest difference that they can make traction into that account.
It is a coordinated sales and marketing effort. We're lucky enough to have a BDR team on the marketing team, and I've been excited with Alex and Morgan as our lead BDR taking the outbound process. We're able to use the tools and experiment with them. In marketing, we often invest in a tool like 6sense and try to get the team to utilize it, and often, they do, but we don't get as much hands-on experience on what is working well and what is not working.
How can they use it differently? What can we do on the marketing side to support them? What information do they need to do it better? You don't necessarily get that one-to-one collaborative feedback to augment, and that's one of the exciting pieces of being able to understand what's working and not working and how we can make it work better.
Kerry Guard: Agreed. BDR is a marketing extension and a bridge to the sales team. From an outbound standpoint, that seems to make a ton of sense. It's the personalization piece we're all trying to figure out from a marketing standpoint, which is so hard to do. How could you personalize something if you don't have people involved?
Kaya Adams: That's one of the things that we have been working on recently with Morgan, and it's interesting that there's a balance even between personalization from marketing versus a sales perspective. Marketing has a way of writing in the way of personalizing, and sales have a whole different way of doing that and how do we collaborate. I'll let Alex talk a little bit about Morgan and what she's doing for the team, but we lucked out because she does have a lot of sales experience. She's got WatchGuard experience, so she’s really able to collaborate with us and understand the message that needs to be sent there and then collaborate on that personalization. We're also bringing in multiple touchpoints. Calling, emailing, and LinkedIn, looking at the dimensional direct mail that everybody's loving right now. How do we bring all of those together, and how do we learn what's working well and what's not working should be in the document and then grow the team so that we can utilize what works well. It’s so super exciting.
Alexandra McWethy: Kaya and I were talking the other day. One of the best things that happened to us is that Morgan joined our team as the lead BDR. She was at WatchGuard as a channel account manager who left earlier last year, and when we opened this role, she was one of the best things about WatchGuard. We stay in touch with our employees, and our leadership is great. You have a lot of employees that leave and come back to WatchGuard, we call them boomerangs, and Morgan is the fastest boomerang. She came back to our team, but she brings this depth of experience on the sales side and particularly in the channel account manager role, in which she knows what they're doing day to day, what they need, and how we can help. She's been such a great asset on how we make the BDR team really fit and how the processes and the flows work on the channel account manager side, and it's just been great for me. I've done marketing forever, I write emails, and I'll have Morgan give them sales proof, but Morgan will write emails and have me give them marketing proof. It's a great synergy. And having someone with so much sales experience with an outbound bubble, we can create the best of both worlds and work off of each other. It's not marketing, saying, “Hey, I wrote you this email, just send it exactly as it is.” It's not sales saying, “I wrote this email, I'm just gonna send it” We're doing it together to try to create the best product and process possible, and she's just a huge value to our team.
Kaya Adams: And without egos so It is truly collaborative, like, “Oh, that didn't work. Let's just change it” It’s been the amazing thing with the BDR team as a whole is that we were very honest with them. When we were hiring of like, “Hey, this is a new thing we're starting, we're gonna have to change as we go, we're going to learn what we don't know yet” And they've done an amazing job of being super flexible, and super open like saying “Okay, this is interesting, I've enjoyed learning this. I want to dig into this more.” It's been a lot of fun.
Kerry Guard: I want to pull up a little bit because we dove right into the weeds, which is my sweet spot and where I love to live, but for our listeners, I want to make sure we give context to what you are all got going on here. I'm going to say something, and then you're going to correct me and add to it because that's how I roll. It sounds like you're saying that you have your marketing team, and I'm going to call it awareness-based where its initial touchpoint is “Hey, you've never heard of us before,” But here we are working through intent and the funnel. It's at the very top of the funnel. I'm going to say you're cracking, and it's gonna be great. The BDR team is more of “Okay, where's the intent? Where are people starting to create those connections?” They're further down the pages, looking at pricing and looking at demos. But let's have a conversation and see where they're at. I'm not going to push them, and I'm just going to see what's going on and see if I get them on the phone. So when I get them on the phone, let's have a conversation, figure out what's up, and if they are ready to go, hop down, move them over to sales and let the sales team handle it. Did I capture that? Where did I go wrong? What do you have to add? Alex, you could go first.
Alexandra McWethy: One of our big goals and objectives is looking at our core segments, core prospects, and audiences and moving them down into the buying stages that make them ready to talk to our BDRs. One thing Kaya loves is building crazy PowerPoint. She got this seven hundred PowerPoints slide deck with all the slides, and one of the slides is two triangles coming on an opposite side. Marketing starts heavy on the awareness side; as you said, we're involved there, where we start and how we're looking at accounts. We're trying to move them down, but that doesn't mean we don't talk to them when they get to consider or make decisions. We're still having those conversations and backgrounds trying to drive them to fill out a form, talk to sales, or get to the next step. You see sales start to pick up, they're not doing that much in awareness, they're not having those conversations, and they're not necessarily there. But as those accounts move into consideration at the late stage of decision, there's overlap where marketing may be slowing down a little bit, but sales are picking up. Once they purchase a piece purchase process, you're saying the BDRs are passing it over to the channel account managers or the partners setting those appointments. We've qualified them and understood their challenges and what they're trying to do. Now, let's take them to the next step of finding the right partner and the right product, what package they need, and the specific technical requirements. I don't know that we see marketing as one piece, one side on the other. We see it across the entire journey. We're noisier on one side, and we get a bit quieter toward and sell on the other side.
Kaya Adams: I don't think marketing ever stops talking to them, but it's a reduction in the amount we're talking to them as sales pick that up. So, hundred percent, I agree.
Kerry Guard: Let's break this down a little bit because this is helpful in pulling up and zooming in. I'm going to speak a lot of questions for our audience, pretend I know what they're thinking, and then ask the question. One of the first questions that come to mind is, what is everybody's KPIs? How are you all being measured on? Is it more of an awareness piece? Are you still responsible for the bottom line? Are you more responsible for MQLs? We'll start with marketing and talk about what you're supposed to be doing.
Kaya Adams: The very beginning part of the challenge we're facing is those KPIs and how we measure them. We are still looking at it in a couple of different ways. We're looking at it as responses. We’ve decided that there are some KPIs around responses. We have reduced our form bills across the site as we're looking at how we want to drive engagement. Alex has been part of this before me coming on. When they brought 6sense in, how do we reduce some of those forms across everything if it is leads or accounts. If we have a sixth sense, it shows us what accounts are doing and what we want them to get as engaged as they can and binge as much content as possible without us throwing something.
Kerry Guard: She was very much about getting everything.
Kaya Adams: There are still forms, we call it pri-one and pri-two; pri-one are demos and trials. We want to drive form fills, we want to be able to contact them, and we want to help them through that process, and that’s a lead. I'm putting air quotes around what we want, and we’re looking at other responses in different manners. One of the KPIs that we're looking for, and we want to look at where people are moving through the funnel. We are always trying to drive down to decision purchase to increase engagement and have those accounts ready to have conversations with us. And we want KPIs around more of the operations, bookings, and revenue type numbers.
We're still getting to a point where we can play there. We know what metrics in an ideal world want to measure. We're still figuring out how to measure that and how to measure it in a way that we can continuously measure it. Historically, look at where we're gaining. I'll let Alex talk a bit about what I think the next question is. How are our BDRs measured on?
Alexandra McWethy: BDRs are a little bit different. We don't necessarily look at their LinkedIn clicks or so. The video is slightly different; we're not looking at shares, links, clicks, and those things; we're measuring our inbound BDR based on the call volume meeting set. When they book a meeting, and then meetings are attended. Sometimes the meeting gets set, and you've got people who don't show up, people who change their minds, and people who have questions. Videos are focused on getting those meetings set and fully attended. If someone doesn't attend the meeting, they can follow back up and try to get them to rejoin another meeting, which will still count for them. It focused on that connection.
One of the opportunities that WatchGuard had before was we didn't have a team focused on those inbound inquiries. They were going to our channel account team, and the channel account team's got two hundred plus partners that they're trying to manage and work with. It's been a big value add to have a team dedicated to those end-user leads and end-user conversations. We want to reward them for setting the appointment with the partner or the channel account manager, getting on the books right following up, getting as much information as possible, and getting the most qualified appointments is what we're focused on right now.
Kaya and I have a dashboard. That’s not to say we don't track opportunity value or close one opportunity but our team is also new to sales. We've got a hungry young team, and part of it is incentivizing them and encouraging them in the things that we know they're doing well and that we've been working with them and focusing on and they're flexible in working with us, so that doesn't change. We do accelerators, spiffs, or promos on specific focus areas every month, but the team did a great job. I don't think we've had a single month where they haven't blown over their numbers for meeting set and meetings attended, which is ten or over the numbers that we thought were their stretch goals. It's crazy what they're doing right now, and there's a lot of value. It's great to see the reaction from our channel team from our partners. It's been a really good experience getting that set up for them.
Kaya Adams: When we were looking to hire, we had two BDRs and our lead BDR Morgan, which we already talked about. Our two BDRs were hired for culture fit and personality. We knew that we were still developing the processes and understanding what the team needed, and we needed that flexibility for those people that wanted to be on the ground floor. I want to see what this is all about, want to be able to influence it, and be part of this thing that's going to be fun. We did a great job hiring. They didn't have BDR experience, were pretty junior, and did not have much work experience. They've done an amazing job, like Alex said, meeting beating. We thought this was a stretch goal that you guys are killing it; we have different sources that you're getting calls, chats, or whatever. We need to increase the goal because they've been flexible about that and understand that there will be trial and error. They've been awesome hires, and I see a lot of stuff about BDR and SDR hires, hiring those that have experienced or those that don't and hiring for personality and culture fit.
Kerry Guard: That's a testament to Morgan and yourselves in terms of the processes and the systems you've put in place because it's all well and good to hire somebody who’s clean, but if you can't hand them a playbook, that's a rock and roll, they're not going to be as effective. What was that process? Did you create a playbook? Did Morgan create it? How did you get the systems in place to bring on these people who could just crush it?
Kaya Adams: Go for it. Alex,
Alexandra McWethy: No, I hinted at this earlier, but we watched her have an SDR team a few years back. It's not an onboarding deck, training guide, or anything in place. We are building everything from scratch, and luckily, we've got great relationships with our sales leaders across the organization. We were able to build some starting points from them and work with them like, how do you train your team? what are you doing some great internal already set learning? BDR started on August 9, and Morgan started a week later. From the minute Morgan got there, she took six hours to reacquaint herself with WatchGuard. I can take over the chat queue, and she did an amazing job of documenting everything as we went. For our current team, it was a lot of team calls, calls listening, seeing what Morgan's doing, hearing on the phone, or chatting with a customer, but we did all of it remotely or virtually. She did an amazing job giving them as much knowledge as she could, and now we're at a point where we are building a robust onboarding process and deck. We did it as we went, and we had some foundational pieces. We knew some of the areas we wanted to start on, but we had a really flexible team, and we built it as we went.
One of the things that I’m glad we did is a portfolio company. We've got four product lines and tons of technical information to learn. We started with two product lines that you use every day, and things are a little bit easier to understand our SaaS products. We just started with two, and this is where they're going to focus and get them well trained. We'll start bringing in some of those more complicated things and products. We rolled them out that way, and it took us two and a half months total to get them fully onboarded in the portfolio. They were doing the call and check within three weeks of working at WatchGuard. They took our endpoint and MFA trial and demo requests within a month.
We gave them elements that they could start working on right away to get them that experience remotely without overwhelming them with like, “Okay, guys, now you're in charge of everything and rolling it out that way.” But it was Morgan who really helped. Morgan's knowledge and experience helped us have an edge on how we did that.
Kaya Adams: Alex deserves kudos as well. She was the one that did a lot of the planning for onboarding; what does that look like for them to understand and learn the different portfolio products, when should we start this, and how can we actually get them going. She deserves big kudos on getting them onboard, and Morgan took it and ran with it. It's super exciting to have something that will allow us to expand the team long term, onboard, and provide all of the information that you don't always get upfront. It's amazing.
Kerry Guard: You are still figuring out metrics, so maybe this is part of it. Being a sale getting and closing the deal, and who gets the credit at the end of the day. There might be some friction or not because of the way I set it up.
Alexandra McWethy: At the end of the day, our BDR team is here to enable WatchGuard and our partners best. There's a lot of success for them in setting a meeting that turns into a second meeting or conversation with a partner. If you're looking at who closes it, it's going to be a partner, one of our named or channel account managers.
We're so lucky at WatchGuard that our sales leadership from the top-down has been so supportive of the marketing team leading it, and we've got sales leaders that come to us and tell us everyday things like their BDRs are killing it. I can't believe they're doing this because outbound is hard, and they appreciate what our BDR team is doing. Ultimately, anything closes will affect the channel account managers, the bottom line, and their quota number. I don't think there's been a scenario where they've posted a big deal and haven't given props to the BDR or come back and said, “Hey, Liz, Rob, that was a great meeting you set for me. It turned into this op.” And we're really lucky that there is a synergy, and the BDRs are certainly getting acknowledged throughout the company and our sales leadership. It's been great, and many organizations can be friction between marketing and sales, and not that we all haven't had our moments at some point.
We're really lucky at WatchGuard that we have a super supportive executive leadership team and our sales leadership that have just been behind us a hundred percent of the way. We've never had to fight for our space to buy anything and a lot of us are saying, “Hey, do you want us to do this for you?” And they're like, “Yeah, that'd be great. Please do.” It's been a great experience.
Kerry Guard: The approach you took, Alex or Morgan, or both of you, or all of you, was essentially like, “Hey, SDRS, you have a lot on your plate. Let's take this thing off your plate that's so hard to do. We're just asking too much of you. You need to focus on closing deals, and we're just going to feed them to you all day long. That's pretty hard to turn down.”
Kaya Adams: When you asked about closing the business and the actual revenue, the BDRs are not tied. Their channel account manager is not tied to revenue, and that was a deliberate decision that they are tied to calls which they fully do. Alex said before that they fully control how many calls they make in a month, meetings set, and those who attended, and If they hit those, they're golden. We look at the revenue impact and the clothes one value because it's super exciting. It enables the BDRs and the channel account managers to work together to close that business and take that credit from the dollar side.
Kerry Guard: That's important because you've had to create a different business model in how you approach BDRs from an incentivizing standpoint which is the key to separating BDRs versus SDRs, and that's what this whole conversation is about. Not the whole conversation but a key element. If anybody wants to do this thing, you need to think about BDRs as an extension of your marketing team that takes big, heavy, hard things off of the SDRs and enables them in the long run.
Kaya Adams: It's the channel account managers that they're taking the heavy load off. The idea is you are taking on what sales doesn't want. It's hard to do outbound, take inbound calls, and when you get to the channel account managers, they want to be there closing the business, and opening the door is a hard part. A lot don't necessarily want to be cracking those doors open but finding those areas that you can help sales as quickly as possible and get them those opportunities as quickly as possible. The easier the low-hanging fruit wins you have, the more they're suddenly like, “Oh, that was awesome. What about this?” You get more in your purview because you are doing great jobs where we don't necessarily want to play.
Alexandra McWethy: In our business model, it all comes down to the success of our partners, and channel account managers. They're happy when their partners are happy. If we can pass on new opportunities, customers, and business, we can make our partners happy and successful. And those partners are coming back and telling their channel account managers, “Hey, I just got this great opportunity from you. Keep it up.” That's what makes the account manager's job easier and improves their conversations, and that's where our focus was when we talked about building a BDR team focused on end-user business.
It's not how we do this internally and successfully to enable our partners. If our partners are successful, that's where we're going to find success. We've already seen that with our channel account managers. The programs are running, and when you have those victories, you can talk about and share them with the team, and everyone gets excited.
Kerry Guard: From a user standpoint, somebody is coming through this process. It's been successful; otherwise, you wouldn't still be doing it. There's always a bit of hesitation when people are being passed off person to person or when there are a lot of clicks or whatever, there's more chance for fall off. Is that a worry? Is that the case? What's your user experience going through this? How have you made it feel seamless? Maybe you're still working on that, but I'm curious if that user experience is end to end.
Alexandra McWethy: When we started looking at this, our business model focused on our channel partners and how we enable and empower them. So it was a different challenge for us to look at the end-user side, making sure that this experience was just as seamless for prospective customers and end-users coming through it as it is for handing it off to our partners. When the BDR gets someone on the phone, they have a call and work with that end-user until they meet with the channel account manager. So there's no weird handoff. They're setting the meeting directly with the channel account manager, making sure it gets booked and they can go in and follow up. If there are any challenges or issues, the end-user can always come back to the BDR.
We've seen that for our customers and our prospects, it's just another person they can go to. Our BDRs have grown into this role and done a great job, but we have so many users that come back to them for more information, “Hey, I wanted to ask you about this product line. Where can I get started here?” They’re hitting that torch and taking it again to the channel account manager and partner. They've done a great job, but it was a challenge to make sure that process was seamless, and we were also focused on creating a good end-user experience by getting them to the channel account manager and partner.
Kaya Adams: I would agree. We're still figuring out a few pieces, and we haven't gotten down fully, but I think a big piece of what we were trying to accomplish added value and not more complication. They are saying, “I'm here to help you. What can I do? Let me get you to the right person.” but in qualifying, continuing the conversation way. And that is something we haven't touched on so far, and maybe we won't.
The other piece that Alex put in place was a partner pilot program, where we are able to hand directly from the BDR to the partner and if you think an end-user who is a potential customer. Our partners are part of our relationship. It's navigating to relationships and getting them to date, getting them to partner up and pass, and making that introduction as a matchmaker. And there's been value there, but they have a very interesting dance to do and making that partnership.
Kerry Guard: I want people to feel empowered to do this. It's so interesting and I hope we've sold it at this point. If you have your marketing and sales team, and there's this gap in between, how do we help bring somebody through and make sure they're ready to go and take them to the sales team, do outbound outreach to get them on the phone and get them to book a meeting. This is a clear solution you could lead in separating your BDR and SDR and outbound versus inbound. In terms of impact, you have alluded to some numbers, but clearly, this has made an impact, and you're still trying to figure out the marketing impact of all of this, but it seems to be going well. Can you quantify what kind of growth you've seen from this in some fashion? Or maybe have to come back to you a little bit to get those? I'm just curious of you saying you're so excited about the numbers and what you've been seeing. Are the meetings booked? Is that the actual pipe? Is that the actual opportunities created? What's making you excited?
Alexandra McWethy: There are so many things. I have a dashboard, and we never have it on the computer. To give you some examples, the team started booking meetings in October of last year; we trained them in August and set incremental goals. Our plan was for the team to book twenty meetings in December with twenty meetings booked and sixteen meetings attended each. And they easily went hundred fifty percent of both of those numbers, and they were almost two hundred percent of their meetings attended. We raised the number in January, and we're just over the halfway point of the month, and they're at like eighty percent of their number. We increase the number every month, and we might get them this month. This will be a stretch goal, and they blow us away.
Kaya Adams: We had a play on the ramp, and that was going well. Then, December happened, and we're like, “ It's December. This should be a challenging sales, especially for beginning sales and closing.” You might get those that need to close to get the budget, but beginning the conversation, it’s no, and they killed it.
At the beginning of January, we really need to rethink what this looks like, and they're killing it again. It's been amazing, but fun to look at. We both literally will send each other screenshots. We hit refresh more than one time in a minute. Then you're like, “Send it, screencap, and send it in teams. Did you see this? This is crazy.” It’s fun!
Alexandra McWethy: On the outbound side, that's a little bit fresher. We're still learning that, but even at that, Morgan still had some great meetings and conversations that are coming out of essentially nothing. It's not someone that's interacted with us or necessarily someone who even knows us. She's booking these meetings where it's like, “ I’m interested. This is a project for this timeline. Let's get another follow-up on the book.” Even our outbound inside, it's been really exciting because we know how challenging that is.
Kaya Adams: Outbound has longer cycle than inbound, and sixty to ninety days plus is not unusual. We're not going to see huge gains for a while, but it's building the groundwork slowly with personalization and all the different channels to get to the end goal without pressure.
Kerry Guard: I'm stoked for both of you and will follow up to see how it's going later this year as the groundswell starts. I think it's awesome.
Kaya Adams: From our perspective, people are thinking about doing this. There are a few other benefits that marketing gets, and the direct feedback that BDRs are the ones at the frontline. They're having the conversations, they understand what people are looking for from an inbound perspective, from things you need to highlight better on your website, and what conversations could be automated by a chatbot. What are the topics that they're truly interested in? How do you use what information they're getting to influence the rest of your marketing and your Martech Stack?
Kerry Guard: The direct line your potential customer who's been through the experience. What was that experience? And how did it go? And how can you make it better?
Kaya Adams: What are they interested in? What do they want? What are the questions that are being asked? What are the personas that you're talking to?
Kerry Guard: If you're interested in this, I'll have all your contact details in the next part where we wrap up here because I do want to get to my people's first questions because there's just a nice bow on this. I'm going to stop with that, and I'm going to start. We're headed into the outro, people. It's been a wild ride, and I will get you all the details of Kaya and Alexa, so you can follow up with them and learn more. This is a game-changer
In terms of my people's first questions, these are questions that allow us to get to know each other better and realize that we're more than just marketers. I have three questions for you, and the first one is, have you picked up any new hobbies in the last two years now, given the change of events in the world? I'll start with you, Alex.
Alexandra McWethy: I don't know if it's a hobby. I had a baby so that has been quite a change for me in the last few years—basically a hobby, my other full-time job. My son is wild and tons of fun, but I don't know that I have time for anything other than work, taking care of him, eating, and sometimes going outside.
Kerry Guard: Congratulations.
Kaya Adams: I would say that I've expanded a pre-existing hobby, but I doubled down on the hobby. I ran my first full marathon in October so I have spent a lot of time running in the last two years. I was training for a full marathon in early twenty-twenty when everything shut down, and that marathon was canceled, and slowed the training down and then picked it back up. In twenty- twenty-one, I ran a total of thousand miles, and Alex sometimes doesn't love when I go for a run because it's also a place for me to clear my head and have new work thoughts. So I'll often come back with I know what we should do, and she's like, “Oh, no! More work for me.”
Alexandra McWethy: Stop running.
Kerry Guard: That is awesome. It’s a way to get outside and get some fresh air. It's been hard, especially when the weather shift. The second question for you all is, if you could be in the office together, which I can't imagine that dynamic, just the two of you alone would have the energy, it would be fantastic. But if you all could be in the office together and have music playing overhead, set the tone and the vibe, what song would you want playing?
Kaya Adams: I'm going to let Alex go on. She already has her, and she knows it's going on stage. She has her theme song.
Alexandra McWethy: If we were in this scenario, I feel like Kaya would let me set the music. The number one top choice will be Anything by Beyonce and the Queen Bay playlist. I have my walkup song from Beyonce, which is a diva. There's no scenario where you can't find a good Beyonce song. It's just we will be fine and ready to go.
Kerry Guard: Diva will be the Spotify playlist for season 11. Do you want to add what you would be playing, or we’re going to leave it to Alex?
Kaya Adams: I'm going to leave it to Alex. I’m going to let her be the DJ girl.
Kerry Guard: Last question for you all. I'm going to start with Kaya. So get ready. If you could travel anywhere with no restrictions, where would you go and why?
Kaya Adams: I'd like to be alone and like one of the overwaters and resort areas. Everybody has been alone for a long time, so it's probably not what people feel. But the little like over the water where you just dive in, and you can relax and zone out, just me and nothing else around. I'm contrary to where I think everybody else is right now.
Kerry Guard: If you live in a house with other people, especially children, I think some parents would not be along with you.
Alexandra McWethy: I’ve spent the last two years on teams and zoom calls.
Kerry Guard: The fresh air and nobody talking at you. Alex, where would you go?
Alexandra McWethy: I'd like to go over to Spain. My husband and I went to Madrid for a hot second, but half of my team is in Spain, and I've never met them. I've met them in zoom and expect to meet them in person. We would have real tour guides around Spain so that it would be much better. Archer was great, and they would know all the things and places to eat. So that's my first initial reaction. Nico already told me he got his bar at his house ready to go, so I feel like that would be my first choice to go out there. Finally, meet that team that I've worked with for two years and whom I've never met in person, and get to see Spain the same. I don't know Spanish, but that's okay. So I got my team to take me around. It’s COVID and I have yet to meet anybody on my team in person, which is pretty crazy.
Kerry Guard: A whole new world of remote living and pandemic. It’s twenty twenty-two. And we are still here talking about the pandemic. That's the way we roll, and that's why these are so awesome. Thank you both for joining me. It was so good to unpack something so powerful for everybody just to get out there and start figuring it out. I need to be a game-changer in personalization and as cookies go away. As we think through that user experience, this is a great opportunity for people to lean into. Thank you both for coming on and sharing your experience.
Alexandra McWethy: Thanks for having us.
That was my conversation with Kaya Adams and Alexandra McWethy. Are you ready to build your team of business development representatives? Follow up with Alex and Kaya; their LinkedIn profile links are in the show notes. Be sure to connect and learn more.
In the next episode, I chat with Hana Jacover about web3. This is a whole newworld for me and Hannah was an awesome guide, stay on and the autoplay will take you there.
Thank you for tuning in to season 11!
This episode is brought to you by MKG Marketing the digital marketing agency that helps complex tech companies like cybersecurity, grow their businesses and fuel their mission through SEO, digital ads, and analytics.
If you'd like to be a guest please visit mkgmarketinginc.com to apply.
Kaya is a Director of Demand Generation and Marketing Operations at Watch Guard Technologies. She’s a passionate marketing leader with a proven track record of delivering innovative data and technology-driven integrated campaigns in fast-paced, deadline-driven environments. Alexandra is also a Director of Demand Generation at WatchGuard Technologies, focused on developing educational and engaging content that helps small businesses and mid-size enterprise organizations better protect their employees, customers, and sensitive data. They have teamed up to build a team of Business Development Representatives. They are focused on drumming up leads and then nurturing them to a place where they can pass them off to the sales team.