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Customer Retention Via Marketing

Kerry Guard • Tuesday, October 19, 2021 • 49 minutes to listen

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Jeanne Hopkins

Jeanne Hopkins was the Chief Revenue Officer at HappyNest. She now works with OneScreen.AI, also as a CRO.



Hello, I'm Kerry Guard and welcome to Tea Time with Tech Marketing Leaders.

Welcome back to season nine. Hope you're enjoying the season so far. As a reminder, we drop our full season of episodes Netflix style, so you can binge or jump around. Either way, no need to wait week after week. Just enjoy listening your way.

In this episode, I chat with Jeanne Hopkins who was the Chief Revenue Officer at HappyNest. When we spoke a few months back, she seemed to be settling into somewhere new and I can't wait to find out. Jeanne, I'm on the edge of my seat, wherever it is, they are very lucky to have you. Jeanne had an interesting conversation because it's not every day I get the opportunity to speak with a Chief Revenue Officer. It was fascinating seeing marketing through her lens. We dug into the importance of marketing to existing customers. It sounds like a no duh. But when you're just getting going, a lot of focus is outbound with new, new, new, new, new, so to take time to create marketing funnels to upsell and cross sell to existing customers isn't always on the radar. Jeanne thinks it should be on, not just on the radar, but something all brands are actively doing. And she walks us through why and how. Let's take a listen.


Kerry Guard: Jeanne, thank you so much for joining me on Tea Time with Tech Marketing Leaders.

Jeanne Hopkins: Well, thanks so much. It's great to be here, Kerry. I have my tea, so we're all set. You have your tea? Good.

Kerry Guard: Before we get started into the heart of our conversation, which I'm really excited to have today, let's tell our audience your story. What do you do Jeanne? And how did you get there?

Jeanne Hopkins: Well, that's a long one. Because some might call me classics. Some might call me vintage, some might call me old. But I've been doing this for 30 years, and it's an experience that's nuanced, like a really good Roquefort. My entire career has been devoted to supporting things that I feel passionate about whether it's a company, a cause, a person, I really feel that I have the ability to take a mindset and be able to look at the big picture. And not just a single, single thread. But what I'm good at is connecting different sources, resources, people, teams, that sort of thing into making something that's a whole to be able to drive results. I've always been oriented towards revenue, my undergraduate degree is in Accounting, and I get along really, really well with CFOs. Because in marketing, usually you're the biggest variable expense in anybody's P&L. And so watching the dollars, watching the pennies, making sure that you're doing everything that you need to do has been hugely helpful, and also gives you a chance to be able to go back to the CFO or the finance team to be able to say, if I put $1 into this program, I can get $5 back. And let me show you how I'm doing it so that that kind of thing when a CFO doesn't feel like you're just wasting the dollars, but you're actually investing the dollars makes a huge difference. So I'd say that's kind of my thing.

Kerry Guard: And you're actually, your title is CRO.

Jeanne Hopkins: Right now it is. I've been a CMO for six different times. And earlier in my career, global sales and marketing vice president or EVP or whatever. And I have found that on the CRO side of things, to have the ability to oversee sales and marketing and customer success gives you the ability to make all those connections on everything that's customer facing. And that makes a huge difference in an organization rather than having the silos of sales, marketing and customer success by having one, by acting as a team and not acting as three individual teams. You get the critical mass that you need in order to be successful. And it's been working well for me lately.

Kerry Guard: In terms of working well, because we're all results-driven people here. I'm just curious. Have you seen that make a big difference or even a small difference between results before having those silos versus now being one unit?

Jeanne Hopkins: Well, that's a good point. Kerry. I think In many organizations, I think you know this, that in several organizations, particularly the larger scale organizations, you will have someone who's heading up marketing, someone that's heading up sales, someone that's heading up customer success. And while the goal is to be able to operate as a team, you each have your own KPIs, your OKRs, your data, your metrics, and that sort of thing. And unless there is a degree of synergy between those three organizations, sometimes what happens is you're operating under individual goals and a certain tension will erupt. And it's not always negative, sometimes it's a, you know, you get a little frustrated with somebody that you work with, and you're aligned with. And yet, you know, they're not hitting their numbers. And they're very quick to say, Well, if the product had this, or if they had renewed but Customer Success didn't help them. But if you're all on the same team, you're less likely to throw another member of your team under the proverbial bus. And I think that's, I think you operate better as a team, with the leader overseeing those three or more segments, whatever it is to be able to say, Hey, we're all on the same team here. And you know, everything, the buck stops here with me. And you guys have to figure out how to work together. And I think that's one of those things that a lot of organizations maybe don't teach you enough of, is how you have to work together. And everybody talks about, oh, we're a team and we're all family. No, you're not. You are to a certain degree, but you do have a responsibility for results. And sometimes what happens is that a salesperson has limited marketing experience, or a marketing period person oftentimes has zero sales experience. Nobody on either team has ever been on a phone call trying to renew a customer. So by getting people to say, Okay, what are the issues that you're facing right now and to be able to put yourself in another person's shoes and by having someone in the organization say, Okay, let's talk about this, what are some of the issues that this person is facing, and then you can work to solve difficulties that happen on a very tactical level, by being on the same team or the same organizational structure. It's all about organizational dynamics, right? That's really what it boils down to, and the responsibility of individual team members, right now leaders are becoming more challenging. And many people now, I've been a sales leader, I've built Customer Success teams, I've obviously got the chops in marketing. So I understand the process. And I understand the business dynamics of things. And I feel it's my responsibility to teach other people that may only have limited experience in those specific areas, how the other teams operate, and what would be beneficial or helpful, so that they grow as well. That they're not just a, you know, a T-shaped person, a T-shaped depth in one area, but breadth in another to be able to kind of have a better understanding of the entire business. Because I feel like a lot of people that are in marketing roles or business roles don't always understand the real business goals of an organization or a company that they work for.

Kerry Guard: I think that's so key and interesting, because I feel like I'm seeing this a little bit more, but I definitely think we could see it even more in terms of understanding the other side of the coin. And I think that, advertising is huge in this in terms of silos, you have SEO over here, digital advertising over there, analytics, you know, how to tie the SEO and the digital advertising, you don't even see the analytics.

Jeanne Hopkins: Yes, true. It's true.

Kerry Guard: Working at agencies, you don’t see the analytics, you know, and so to, to bring each service line around a common cause, around a common client, around common goals, and then to have them all work together. I agree. It's night and day from any agency experience I've been into now being here and building this. It's so helpful to have people just talk to each other and raise their hand and say I need help. Or like, SEO and digital advertising get together and have brainstorms, right, like, just the synergy there of working together is huge. Yes to all of this. I totally agree. We can rip on this all day. But that's why we're here. Before we get to why we're here, real quick Jeanne, cuz I think just in terms of the last year we've all had, and again, coming back, you talk so much about people, and the importance of understanding people. So pulling back the curtain a little bit on you and what's happening for you right now, what's a big challenge you're currently facing?

Jeanne Hopkins: Funny you should bring that up because it's actually my calendar. The company I'm working for right now HappyNest has a very low threshold apparently for incurring pain in others. Since I've joined, I've been really struggling with my calendar. They’re using some tool that instead of using Gmail, which syncs across all devices, I've got, and we know this, because this is not the first time I mean, yesterday, we were supposed to be talking. And it was not on the calendar on the laptop that I was using. I completely didn't see it until you sent me an email. And it's not the first time that this has happened, Kerry. You and I were supposed to connect like three months ago, and the same darn thing happened again. And what it does is it wastes a lot of time for me and for people that I'm working with, people like you, vendors, contractors, team members. I'm never quite sure what my calendar is. People will say, are you available on Tuesday at 4:30? I'm like, I think so. You know, but I have my phone, I have two laptops, and whatever device I have that actually did the appointment is the only place that that resides, it doesn't sync. So that's my pain because I don't like to be late. And I don't feel like it's my responsibility to respect your time to respect the team, the time of my team members, contractors, vendors that I'm talking to, and it’s driving me out of my mind, Kerry.

Kerry Guard: I don’t know what I should do.

Jeanne Hopkins: I mean, how can I walk around with like two laptops in my phone all the time. I mean, I use my phone for everything. And, I literally have to look in the morning. But you know, I only have this laptop that I'm on right now. And I have my phone here. But I have another laptop downstairs that I usually have on a chair right here, so absurd. And it's such a waste of time and energy. And, you know, and it's my own personal foible about, you know, calendaring. And I put everything on calendars if I'm getting my hair cut, you know if I'm paying. I've got Poison Ivy, so I have no idea where I got, I've never had poison ivy in my life. And so I'm going to the dermatologist at 10 o'clock this morning, because I'm in pain, it hurts. It's my husband, my husband's like reminding me, what time is it again, I'm like, okay, it's 10 o'clock. I can't wait to go.

Kerry Guard: Oh, my goodness. I mean, I think we've all been thrown into tool challenges, especially this last year. Yeah, I mean, Zoom alone.

Jeanne Hopkins: Well you just said it.

Kerry Guard: Yeah, I mean, the newest zoom interaction is now whenever you hit record, it tells you, which is great from a transparency standpoint, totally agree, but nobody knew it was coming or happening so that all of a sudden we're hearing like this is us talking? Well,

Jeanne Hopkins: it's also the pop up, have you seen the pop up, because when you told me that it was recording on that recording, and then the pop up on my side said, you know, for privacy issues, you are now being recorded, and I have to accept it, in order to clear that pop up, I have to accept it by clicking accept you agree that blah, blah, blah. So it is a privacy thing and it must have to do something with you know, GDPR or some sort of guidelines or something somewhere along the line. So anyway, so but otherwise, if I didn't click that, and say that I accept -

Kerry Guard: It would have been nice. I totally agree with the feature. I think it's incredibly important. It would have been nice to know about it. So, it's hard, these technology issues. We’re all there with you Jeanne.

Jeanne Hopkins: Don't you think it was probably a hotfix. It was probably something that they got into legal, legal trouble. And the lawyer said, you know, you got to do this, and they just pushed it out. You know, the engineers work for three weeks non stop and boom, there it is.

Kerry Guard: There it is.

Jeanne Hopkins: But can you imagine, see, here you are Kerry, this is my point exactly. That's customer marketing. They did not notify customers that this was a feature. They could have done it in a couple of different places when you go to book a meeting when you go and do a couple of different things. So here you are. It's not that you're upset about the feature, you understand the feature yet where's the notification? And how could people find out about it? Was it in the news at all? Was it anything -

Kerry Guard: Maybe it was. I just get so inundated with email these days that I just don't, you know, read every lesson probably could have.

Jeanne Hopkins: But that would have been in product notification, that when you go to book a meeting, right, because when we scheduled this meeting, right, I scheduled it on your calendar tool, which you have a calendar tool that apparently works better than mine. But at that point, as Zoom’s customer marketing team could have had some sort of in product notification, it didn't have to be a separate email, didn't have to be anything, they could have just said, hey, we just added this feature, you know, for your privacy for blah, blah, blah, but they didn't do that.

Kerry Guard: Yeah, I didn't see it. Well, I think that leads us perfectly into what we're going to talk about today, in terms of customer success. But before we get there, I know I'm putting me on the edge of the seat, cuz I keep saying before we get there, but I just want to make sure that we set the stage because I think we're gonna raise some eyebrows a little bit in a good way in getting-people-to-think way. But in terms of, I feel like as a marketer, and you've been a CMO way longer than I have been in terms of marketing, I'm usually on the agency side. So in terms of where you sit, you're going to correct me on this. But my understanding from the results, we need to drive on a regular basis as an advertising agency, is against new prospects, new leads, new, new, new, new, new. And so those are prospects, potential customers.

Jeanne Hopkins: Right, and those are oftentimes your customers. And that's you're all about acquisition, and acquisition of acquisition, of course of new, you know, you want to be able to land it and expand it. And this whole account based marketing, all that kind of stuff is, you know, work for the company, not the lead, do you know, being able to look at things on a grander scale. Yet, Kerry, I feel, there's four layers, typically or four concentric circles, if you will.

The first is employees, right? If employees don't know what's going on, I guess I would ask, did Zoom tell their success team or tell their customer service team about this new recording tool or recording disclaimer that they're putting on so employees need to know things? I'm sure you've worked for companies where there's been a press release that's gone out about an acquisition, either you were acquired, or you acquired somebody else, but nobody told the employees first. First of all, you know, has that ever happened? Heck, yeah, it's always happened. And so sometimes when things happen, you on the marketing side, have to be able to figure out, Okay, this was the board meeting, we're gonna have a special company meeting. And granted, you can't plan these things out super far in advance. But it's more a matter of courtesy, and notification.

The next layer, or concentric circle, if you will, is customers. Customers, your partners, the people that you work with, your contractors, you know, many times your contractors are just as important as your employees. But in this case, let's call it customers. And customers and partners, if you have a channel strategy, and you're working with them. Those are the ones that need to know what's going on next. And when they get surprised, your user, Zoom user, you were surprised, and you're a customer, and that shouldn't happen. There's an opportunity for you that customers landed, you have the ability to cross sell, and upsell. One company I worked for, SmartBear, they had five different companies that were integrated insight, Venture Partners, had pulled together these five different companies. And when you're cross selling, and they all had different audiences, DevOps, testing engineers, those kinds of things. But when you start cross-selling, and once the customer has been landed, you oftentimes have the ability to sell them another product, or upgrade their product or get more licenses or more seats or whatever it is. And that's where the customer has become so critical.

And then the next circle is really prospects. And that's where most marketers spend 99% of their time in terms of acquisition, and we're all looking at, what's the CAC, what's the LTV, what's this? What's that? And it is, you know, there's all sorts of studies, it's 10 times as hard to get a new customer than it is to keep an existing one. And so, if you look at that particular data, actually having customers and your responsibility in marketing and this is where customer success, customer service, customer support, becomes so critical is to reduce churn. If you could reduce churn by 1% well and keep the customers that you have, you don't have any CAC there. You're keeping the existing customer and you're saving the company money and your return is probably 10x at that point.

And the fourth circle is a community. When I worked at HubSpot, you know, we were constantly I had a couple of 100 sales people that I was trying to feed with leads. And we were generating 50,000 net new leads per month through a variety of different channels, and reconverting 100,000, 150,000 every single month. So because I mean HubSpot is a content machine and your audience is marketers. So they wanted to know about some of the latest things where they needed templates. If you go to HubSpot now, and you look at any of their data, you have all these certification programs that you can get for free. You have all this content, you have all this research, they've become a hub, no pun intended, but a real hub of information to make you a better marketer. And no one has ever done it better, I believe, than HubSpot. There's lots of wannabes, but they've been able to broaden their point of view, from marketing into sales, there's a huge sales component, they have customer service tools now, they have so many different ways of being able to help you be a better marketer by thinking across all these different areas. So my point being is you could get 10 prospects into the pipeline and keep your sales people happy. But who's responsible for retaining the existing customers? And oftentimes I see financial revenue retention in the role of the finance department. And it's not a collection’s job. How do you keep that customer happy? If the existing customer’s saying, you know, I want to buy more licenses? Should it be? Should it really be the finance team? Exactly? Isn't it a sales function, isn't it a marketing function, to be able to say you made the right decision buying us you made the right decision buying HubSpot. And this is why you need to renew and this time, why don't you renew for two years or three years, because you know, it's an integral part of your company.

So this is the marketing mindset that marketers are so focused on the new, new, new, new and, and part of it is you're on the agency side. You know, marketers are creative people, they get bored. They get bored with their website, they get bored with their messaging, they get bored with their logos, they get bored. And really, no one cares outside of you, for the most part, right? I was just reading an article about an ice cream chain at Martha's Vineyard that has been there for 50 years, it's called Mad Martha's Ice Cream on Martha's Vineyard, and they had three locations and the three locations were worth about $2 million each in three different places on the island. And what I found interesting is it's a going concern. It's very summer, obviously oriented with ice cream and everything. And so, these two investor groups bought into it. And they acquired it for about 8.2 million. And then I was reading that they're going to start selling commercials, they're going to start selling ice cream in Martha's vineyards, local restaurants, but you know what caught my eye more than anything. They said, we're going to update the website, we're going to change the logo. And I'm thinking to myself really, that's what you're gonna do. It's a known entity, it has its own charm, I wouldn't redesign it, you know, and that to me is like really, it's too funny. So how, as marketers, do we focus on the things that are not very sexy, they're not very interesting from a creative standpoint because marketers like to believe that they have a real creative bone in their body. And in actuality I think it's harder to stay the course. I think it's harder to maintain that consistency and cadence with your communication to your customer. And it's good marketing when it doesn't mean that people have to recognize your brand but you want to be the go to for whatever your solution is. And I I think sometimes that we forget that, we forget that as marketers we forget - God bless you. It's allergy season here.

Kerry Guard: Oh, it is. It's so bad. Yeah, keep going. But yeah, In terms of everything, yeah, no, I totally, I think that's so interesting because we do get bored, and we are creative. I'm not gonna lie, we're redoing our website once again right now, which we do about every few years. And mostly because, I think our story’s always evolving. But I think staying the course and the consistency is really hard. Not that it shouldn't be done. I think it absolutely should be done. I think that that should be figured out first, what is that consistent line of communication, especially existing customers. I just assumed that that was all figured out in the email system. And then that was happening, but it sounds like, no.

Jeanne Hopkins: Well, in product marketing, oftentimes. And you know, my husband just left me a note, because he just said the outer circle, I went off track. He said, you went off track, and it was the community. So employees, customers, prospects, and then the community.

And it's something I feel strongly about. But to your point is that how can we as marketers stay the course when we're not, I don't know how to put this. It's a challenge. I think that we have so many competing responsibilities that I remember being at Ipswitch, and the product team, the dev team would come over and say, we want to send a survey out to our customers tomorrow. And I would look at him going, do you think I'm just sitting here not doing anything? And then I'd say, okay, we have all these communications going out to our customers, you know, this product release notes, all these individual things. And adding, because we had 37 different emails, because Ipswitch being a global company, we had all these languages, we had channel communications that had to go through the keynote. There were two layers. Ogres have layers, as Shrek says. So yes. I just think that we're not consciously thinking about customers. And until it becomes a need for a beta, or a survey, or a launch. That's when we think about customers. But in reality, it's your responsibility as a marketer to have this regular communication. It goes well when it comes from customer success. And it's a good way to use reviews and testimonials to be able to say you bought the right product, where it was the right fit for you at the right - and it's being able to make sure that you're doing those things consistently.

Kerry Guard: So are you saying that a customer success team is basically a marketing arm?

Jeanne Hopkins: Yes. should be.

Kerry Guard: Okay, so that's a whole separate team that just sits there and not just stares and does nothing. But in terms of their call for responsibility.

Jeanne Hopkins: Their responsibility is renewal and communication. And a good thing to think about is demos. When you come out with a new feature, how many marketers actually record the feature, communicate the feature, have a launch plan that includes - now, a lot of this is product marketing. Don't get me wrong, okay, you know, running the interference between things. But I think, how many times do you think most organizations have a direct channel and a partner channel or indirect channel and sometimes an econ channel? So how do you communicate with each of them? To have you set up a series of webinars to be able to communicate, if you've got people in Asia Pac or Latin America, you know, it's all these different things that you have to think about? Your go to market strategy has to be more than, okay, we're going to get more prospects, and people are going to be beating down the door because we have this x y, z feature. But if you haven't talked to your installed base, about what you're doing, I was talking to a company once and a partner in Singapore sold the completely wrong product to the Jockey Club of Hong Kong, a $2 billion organization sold completely the wrong solution.

Kerry Guard: Oh, no.

Jeanne Hopkins: Oh, no. Right, exactly. And and so now that particular partner is like going through the roof and the company is going through all sorts of gyrations trying to figure out how do we fix this problem, but why did that partner sell the wrong product is because they didn't know better and so that's an example to me of customer marketing and why It becomes so critical that you need to have this ongoing cadence with your existing partners, customers channels. So you can avoid these large, they're not errors necessarily, but let's call them miscommunications.

Kerry Guard: In terms of customer success, being part of the marketing team, I'm getting into the weeds a little bit because I can't help it, I'm operations. But is it better to have a system where almost like, where anybody can sort of pick up with the customer and go hang on what's being asked? Or what's coming in? Or what communications to go out? Or do you think it's better that there's that one on one? Every company has a customer success person, and there's that alignment of person to brand?

Jeanne Hopkins: Well, that's a good point, Kerry, I guess what I would ask back to you is, aren't we all in an organization, customer-success people? Shouldn't we be? Shouldn't we know who our customers are, and this, again, is if employees don't know what's going on, or team members don't have a strong sense of what your mission, your values your organization is, if someone were to call you and say I'm a customer, and I have a problem, whatever problem or a positive experience, wouldn't you share that internally? You're representing your company, I'm representing my company, we're all representing our company. And yet, oftentimes, employees don't feel like it's their responsibility on the most basic level, to be able to represent the organization in a way and to be completely no, that's not my job, that's not my job. And so having one person, you can have that person be the go to person, but on the customer success side of things, everyone in the company should, I believe, feel strongly that their customers are their most important asset.

You can't have everybody, it'd be like herding cats, but you think about the person that maybe is sitting at the front desk, you think about your office manager, you think about even when people come at, we had so many people coming in and delivering food, and coffee, and you know, all the service providers. And they're part of your company's success, too. So your relationship to say, treating them like hey, how are you, it's good to see you again. I always saw the coffee guys, I don't know why. And I don't drink coffee, I drink tea. So I always would see the coffee guys come in. And you know, it'd be like, oh, you're back again. And then they'd say, oh, you guys are drinking a lot of coffee.

But you have a responsibility to be able to represent your company. And that's why we wear swag, right? That's why you're like a walking billboard. And essentially, even when you're not wearing a, you are a walking billboard for your particular organization. I guess that's what my point is, Kerry, is that you could have an account that is responsible, whatever that person is, the buyer of that particular has a relationship with your customer success person. But organizationally, we have a responsibility to organizations on our behalf, on their behalf to be able to represent them in a way that everyone is proud of.

Kerry Guard: I love that. That totally took a spin on what I was asking.

Jeanne Hopkins: Sorry.

Kerry Guard: No, it's the best thing ever, because I never even thought of that. But I do think, from a customer standpoint, having one person as your go to, to know who you're going to, I think is critical. This is maybe a personal feeling about it. But like just sending a question out into the void and not knowing who's gonna come back to you or might not know your business or may not is always a bit of a worry, on the customer side, but I agree that everybody should be representative of who they work for, hopefully, because they just love it. And they love the mission and the vision and exactly what he stands for. They can't help but talk about who they work for, like, yes to that. I love that. And yes to swag because who doesn't love a good hoodie?

Jeanne Hopkins: A good hoodie.

Kerry Guard: In terms of the marketing team, because you're talking about the success team being underneath the marketing, is there. Is there anything that marketing could be doing from a customer centric standpoint outside of relying on the customer success team, or is it really all on the customer success team to figure out the nuts and bolts of how they're going to constantly communicate to the customer.

Jeanne Hopkins:
Well, you know, think about it. I mean, who owns email lists? Who owns the technology, I mean, you don't find customer success people going out and buying any more tech stuff that is not part of the tech stack, they might use a tool like Zendesk or HubSpot or something to be able to help manage their CRM and their responsibilities and tickets and that sort of thing. Yes, you will find that however, your best support is going to come from marketing people. Because for example, at Lola we started sending out first we started sending out a customer update, it's very simple newsletter text base, no images, giving updates about the feature sets and that sort of thing once a month, and then we did it twice a month and then we got to weekly on this because as the company was releasing more features, it became more and more apparent to be able to tell our existing customer base, you know, hundreds, thousands of people what was going on, and then they had that reference ability and and that became a tool where the marketing team was helping Mike Crawford who was in charge of customer success, to be able to write, build it, build out the template and HubSpot be able to email it and then report on the results. The amount of people that clicked on this one link and so it's clear that that's an important thing. So you don't want, it's never one and done, Kerry. It's an ongoing communication and I feel sometimes as marketers, we feel like okay, it escaped and it's out there and then everybody's gonna know all about it. But you got to tell it, tell it again. Tell it, tell it, tell it.

Kerry Guard: And in multiple ways.

Jeanne Hopkins: Exactly. How do people consume information?

Kerry Guard: I loved what you said too earlier in our conversation about email, yes, but more importantly, the product, being able to tell that story. Something else you said that stuck with me, and then we're gonna wrap up here. But you said something about the customer success team?

Jeanne Hopkins:
Responsibility being part. And I guess what I want to be clear about, Kerry, is that customer success works alongside the marketing organization because it can benefit from the tech stack. It can benefit the marketing team, but they have their own responsibilities.

Kerry Guard
Yes, they do. And that was my question. Okay. responsibilities. I think the other thing we want to be clear about is from everything that I'm gathering about you saying that we haven't just spelled out very crystal clear is that the customer success team isn't just there to take tickets. That's always our first inkling of like, well, they're there if I have a problem, and it's not, from what I'm hearing you say, that's not the case.

Jeanne Hopkins:
No, I mean, you've got a new feature, you have something new that's happening in the product, you're going to hear that first as a customer facing. One of the things that I've done that has been very successful in organizations that I've worked at, is creating this concept of the voice of the customer meeting. And there is a really good tool out there called LoopVOC, V as in Victor, O-C as in cat, and learn that's there. It's a great product, and it gives you the ability to take all these inputs, Zendesk, G2 reviews, Trustpilot reviews, all these different things, and give you a comprehensive view about what people feel about your product, the feature set and all that. That's a separate tool, but what I would do as a voice of the customer meeting at, so you've had all these product managers and product managers typically are annihilated, they're on the dev team, the research and development team, they're on that side of the fence, and sales people are constantly, and customer success people are constantly saying this customer wants this, this customer wants this, I can't close this deal on this, I have this, and then becomes this barrage of information going to all these different product people.

And then you have all the customer facing people, you have direct sales, indirect sales, customer service, which is tickets, usually customer success, which is helping to make the customer and marketing. And what I would do is I put them on each side of the table and then three reasons we win, and three reasons we lose. And I would put together the deck and once a month then the product team would review what was discussed the previous month, anything that was specifically addressed from the previous month. And it was a way to be able to encapsulate all the information in a way that actually had some bearing on the future of the business to be able to say three reasons we win, three reasons we lose.

Like at Lola, not having rental cars initially was a challenge, right? So we had to figure out how to add rental cars because when somebody books a hotel and an airfare about 15% of the time they need what? A car. So we had to figure out how to get rental cars into that. And that was a “three reasons we lose”, okay, that was one of them. By having this monthly 90 minute meeting where each person on the communication side, the customer facing had 15 minutes, and it was my responsibility to cut them off, because sometimes like the direct salesperson could go on for 30 minutes, and they would be wow, I lost this deal because of blah, blah, blah. And I did this by blah, blah, blah. And then the people that you want to hear from, customer service, customer success, don't have enough time. So my job was to keep the cats significantly heard, so that we could do this in 90 minutes. I would record it, I would take the deck, I would post it to our wiki, and then we would do it again. But it was my job to make sure that I got the slides, I organized things, and I kept the meeting going and it worked out very, very well. And I think that's an easy thing for marketing to own a marketing leader to be able to own and be able to make happen, because it's not being done enough in companies nowadays. Reviewing what is the voice of the customer?

Kerry Guard: And what do they really need. I love that. Before we get into my people-first questions and put a bow on this. Or anybody who's looking, who's like, oh my gosh, we're not doing this or not doing enough of it. And we need to start. What's the best way to start? I imagine all of a sudden trying to hire an entire customer success team isn't going to feel really cumbersome and scary.

Jeanne Hopkins:
Well, I think, good point, Kerry. I think that the hardest thing is most marketing organizations are 100% focused on prospect marketing. And what I would suggest is that when you're planning out your year, and you're planning out what you're working on, instead of giving 0% to customers and 0% to employees, think about spending 5% of your time on employee marketing and keeping them informed and 10% on customer marketing. And then if you start seeing results easily, what we are talking about across the team a couple of hours each week from each person and how you can focus on it. I'm not saying you have to hire people. But I think that you need to focus and plan what you're trying to achieve. And if you don't plan for it, marketers are usually stuck in this circle of hell, if you will, where they're constantly reacting, reacting, reacting, reacting. And what I'm suggesting is to become proactive, dial it back a little bit and say, you know, one of the things about HubSpot is that everything was agile there. And so we would have sprints. And the idea was you can plan for 80% of your week. So let's say four days out of five, but you need to give yourself a margin, a buffer, if you will, to be able to take care of the last minute things. And if you actually start thinking about your day and you think about all the slacks you get, all the emails, you get all the meetings that you're in, all the Zoom calls, everything, your week becomes so burdened with all these must dues that you can't start flipping things on the things you want to do. And what you probably should be considering as a leader in marketing. And I think that by focusing a little bit on employee marketing, and customer marketing, you're going to be perceived as a leader within your organization and not merely a demand Gen marketer.

Kerry Guard
I love that. And actually I have a whole podcast episode in the same season dedicated to employee marketing. So, how perfect. Thank you for making note of that. And we have a whole episode on how to do that.

Jeanne Hopkins: Great. Terrific.

Kerry Guard: That's gonna be perfect. Thank you so much for joining me, Jeanne. To wrap up our conversation today, by people-first questions again, we're all people here so it's nice to just pull back the curtain and see who you are beyond just being a marketer. We're all more than just marketers, I hope, so three questions for you. The first one is, have you picked up any new hobbies this year?

Jeanne Hopkins: I think this year I've done a little bit more gardening. My husband bought me a little plastic greenhouse that was sitting in the living room and I was trying to propagate seeds, a total waste of time. So I actually ended up buying plants that were already, you know, by professional gardeners.

Kerry Guard: I learned that lesson the hard way too, yeah.

Jeanne Hopkins: It’s like, oh my god you try you're like looking at these things going, why aren't these things growing?

Kerry Guard: So hard. I tried that too. I’ve gotten them sprout but then -

Jeanne Hopkins: That's it.

Kerry Guard: I haven't gotten them to keep going.

Jeanne Hopkins: Too funny.

Kerry Guard: Second question for you. If you could be in the office with your team, walking the floor, seeing people in person, what song would you want playing overhead to set the vibe?

Jeanne Hopkins: Oh wow. I can think of so many. I'm a big Wizard of Oz fan so probably We're Off To See The Wizard. I guess there's something, yellow brick road, I don't know, something like that.

Kerry Guard: Oh my gosh, well, it's going on our playlist on Spotify. Check it out and start playing it.

Jeanne Hopkins: My ringtone is the overture from a Wizard of Oz. People know it's my phone. So I'm a big Wizard of Oz fan.

Kerry Guard: The song I sang to my daughter to get her to fall asleep was Somewhere Over The Rainbow.

Jeanne Hopkins: Lucky for you, you can sing that.

Kerry Guard: Not well. But she didn't know the difference when she was a newborn.

Jeanne Hopkins: There you go.

Kerry Guard: Final question for you Jeanne is that, if you could travel to anywhere in the world, we're on the brink of it, things are happening. Where's the first place you want to go and why?

Jeanne Hopkins: I love Galway, Ireland and at Ipswitch we had an office in Galway and I found that the people in Galway that I worked with just love that area . It's unspoiled, the people there in the western part of Ireland are super kind, the food is great. It's a cobblestone streets you can walk around and there's people there I want to see and I want to be able to hug you know once Ipswitch was sold to progress software John McArdle, Emma, you know there's just like all these people that are so awesome and I just I like Galway. I've been able to speak there. They have a thing called the shed and it's a whole incubator kind of a business organization and I've been able to speak there a few times and that's what I want to do. I want to go back there. I want to speak to them. I want to high five them. I've been there during the Christmas season. They have a wonderful square right there where it's all decorated. It's just, I love Galway. So yes, I want to go back to Galway.

Kerry Guard: Amazing. I've only been there once. And I was 17 or 18. So I saw my list to get back there with my family. Love Ireland. My family from there.

Jeanne Hopkins: Oh, nice. Yeah, definitely. Thank you, Kerry.

Kerry Guard: Thank you Jeanne. This was, thank you. This was awesome.

Jeanne Hopkins: I am so sorry for getting the screw up on my calendar. I gotta do something about that. But thanks a lot.


That was my conversation with Jeanne Hopkins. If you're also on the edge of your seat, wondering where this bright woman ended up, be sure to connect with her on LinkedIn. Maybe she's still looking and she could be your next CRO.

In the next episode, I chat with Joshua Kanter, who has a fascinating backstory. Keep listening to find out how his path to marketing began.

Thanks for your continued support. This is Tea Time With Tech Marketing Leaders, a podcast that helps brands get found via transparent, measurable digital marketing. I'm your host Kerry Guard and until next time.

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.

Hosted by Kerry Guard, CEO co-founder MKG Marketing. Music Mix and mastering done by Austin Ellis.

If you'd like to be a guest please visit to apply.

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