Pipeline Visionaries

Digital Demand Gen Success in a Sales-Driven Organization

Episode Summary

In this episode, find out how an organization fundamentally driven by enterprise sales, rather than product growth, is achieving sustained digital demand gen success.

Episode Notes

In this episode, find out how an organization fundamentally driven by enterprise sales, rather than product growth, is achieving sustained digital demand gen success. Michelle Huff, CMO of UserTesting, explains how she organizes her sales development and business development teams, how they capture data on their website, and much more so that you can land more qualified leads in your pipeline.

Key Takeaways


“The website we call a digital-first demand center because I wanted to make sure that everything is being brought together—our demand gen function along with content, SEO, and our digital web experience teams.” - Michelle Huff, CMO, UserTesting

Episode Timestamps

* (01:31) - Meet Michelle Huff, CMO at UserTesting
* (04:36) - The Trust Tree: Structure at UserTesting
* (12:49) - The Playbook: Demand gen strategies for a sales-driven company
* (30:33) - The Dust Up: Healthy tension and how Michelle overcomes it
* (31:43) - Quick Hits 


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Episode Transcription

[00:00:32] Intro: Hello and Welcome to Demand Gen Visionaries. This episode features an interview with Michelle Huff, the CMO at UserTesting. Michelle has nearly 20 years of experience leading marketing and go-to-market strategies at high-tech companies such as Acton Software, Salesforce, and Oracle. On this episode, Michelle talks about how an organization fundamentally driven by enterprise sales rather than product growth, is achieving sustained digital demand gen success. But before we get into it, here's a brief word from our sponsor. Demand Gen Visionaries is brought to you by Qualified. Qualified is the pipeline generation platform for revenue teams that use Salesforce. You can intelligently grow your pipeline by understanding the signals, buying intent, and having real time conversations right on your website. You can learn more at Qualified.com. So please, enjoy this interview between Michelle Huff and your host, Ian Faison.

[00:01:31] Ian: Welcome to Demand Gen Visionaries. I'm Ian Faison, CEO of Caspian Studios, and today I'm joined by special guest. Michelle, how are you? 

[00:01:39] Michelle: Very good and thanks for having me.

[00:01:39] Ian: Excited to chat today.Excited to talk about UserTesting and all the cool stuff that y'all are doing, and of course your background. How'd you get into marketing in the first place?

[00:01:50] Michelle: You know, it's funny, I, it was in the late nineties and it was right when software was starting growing up in Seattle. I think I was going between something coffee related or, or tech related and must have flipped a coin and went the tech route.

[00:02:03] which I think was great and, and landed into a roll up. First was, was web market. And it was at a really small startup that was going through an acquisition and so ended up playing a lot of different marketing roles and really grew up over time through the the world of product marketing and then eventually product management, and then to kind of running the entire marketing organizations.

[00:02:27] And flash

[00:02:28] Ian: forward to today, tell us what it means to be c M O of UserTesting.

[00:02:32] Michelle: Ah, I love it. So, see, you know, it's interesting. I, I also, we do bootcamp for employees several times a month and for onboarding people, and I usually like to explain a little bit about marketing. Cause I think every time you go to a different company,

[00:02:47] I always feel like marketing's set up a little different, you know, how they behave is a little bit different. And so I think, I've always thought of marketing as a function of scale. If you think of like really small startups, especially if it's more of an enterprise sales or enterprise led selling company, you know these normally some people selling it.

[00:03:05] There's people building the service and everyone else, right? We're all overhead. . That's right. Start right. Kind of growing and, and sensing like product market fit. It's scaling and it's really where you start taking all these functions and marketing and I, I kind of see in a few different areas. One of 'em is being the voice of the company and being the voice of the ceo and how do you make sure as you are evangelizing what you're doing and telling the story of UserTesting, for example, how do we get that brand story out there?

[00:03:34] Trying to bring in new employees, but also out to the market for customers and prospective customers. And I think the other part is really this arm that's linked arm in arm with the sales team, where it's all about building pipeline. How do we make sure we're building demand, building pipeline, you know, driving revenue.

[00:03:52] And especially in a SaaS world, it's kind of the bookings and making sure we're continuing to get new logos and growing. And then I think the third area is really, especially in. Is making sure that we're driving customer loyalty and adoption and partnering across the organization to, to really have that more end-to-end customer experience.

[00:04:12] And so marketing is really my mind. Trying to like help scale these functions and organizations. And then partnering with the product and and services side of the organization of how do. How do we bring solutions to market and kind of how do we think about our total dressable market, which ones we wanna go after and win?

[00:04:30] And then how we we really bring that to market, enable the rest of the teams, but also really educate the rest of the market as well.

[00:04:36] Ian: Let's get into our first segment, the trust tree. This is where you go and feel honest and trusted and share those deepest, darkest, demand, gen and marketing secrets. Nice, nice. Tell us a little bit about UserTesting. What does the company do?

[00:05:01] Michelle: I'll say there's like three aha moments with UserTesting, and the first one is how often you're trying to really understand.

[00:05:09] What it's like to be a customer, like you're trying to see if something resonates. As a marketer, you're trying to understand what the journey's like. You're all supposed to really do things that, that resonate and make sense for customers, for prospects, and normally we look at a lot of data and what UserTesting really does, it allows you to really understand the perspective.

[00:05:30] From that prospect or customer's perspective, we really provide a whole solution that connects with millions of people and you can really say, Hey, I'm trying to find actually these sets of audiences. And then you can quickly, usually within a few hours, Connect with them. Allow them to say, what kind of questions do you want?

[00:05:49] You want to share a certain part of the experience, so I want you to go to the website and see if you can actually find the pricing and packaging. And you literally get to watch while they're going through that experience, thinking their thoughts out loud, telling you what they like. , what sucks about it?

[00:06:03] you know, everything, you can really start seeing the needs and understanding those different customers. And we've had a lot of different solutions, uh, around that. But essentially the first is most people at that aha moment is you're, you're trying to kind of figure out what is it? And then you start seeing these videos and the highlights, reels, and suddenly like, oh, like literally they're going through the experience telling you their thoughts.

[00:06:25] You can put messaging in front of 'em mm-hmm. and have 'em see if it resonates. And then usually the second aha is when. , you realize how fast. It's usually over 80% of everything we do comes back within a few hours and suddenly you have campaigns you're trying to get out, you're trying to actually run an AB test.

[00:06:42] And the fact that you can really, instead of just asking a coworker or asking your spouse, what do you think you can actually ask a legitimate user customer? That really kind of changes a lot of things. And then, and really the third is realiz. . It doesn't just have to be your products or your experiences.

[00:06:56] You can really understand what it's like for people using the competitor's experience or anything that's out there in the wild, which is, is pretty phenomenal. And who are your customers? So our kind of core audiences. At first were user experience designers and researchers. But as we've grown and and scaled, people have really realized it doesn't just have to be about prototypes and it doesn't just have to be about design.

[00:07:21] The idea of of really talking to customers and getting access can be used across so many other functions. And so it's really people from, you know, a lot of product management teams, a lot of marketers, customer experience. So we've even seen some on the HR side for employee experience and things like e-commerce.

[00:07:37] So a variety of different functions out across

[00:07:39] Ian: the company and what size company, what

[00:07:42] Michelle: industry is all that. Yeah, so it's fun on the marketing side cause we actually. Scale to the really smb. So, you know, even companies less than 10 are, are sometimes customers of UserTesting all the way up through the large enterprises where we'll have people rolling it out across multimillion dollar kind of implementations.

[00:07:58] And so, uh, it's kind of fun thinking about demand gen across all of those. Yeah,

[00:08:02] Ian: no kidding. And what do those buying committees look like? As you said, you know, obviously UX is always gonna be a key persona, but what.

[00:08:09] Michelle: So in startup land, oftentimes what we'll see is you're trying to find product market fit, but yet you're really small and you don't have access to a lot of people that want us to talk to you.

[00:08:19] you know, you're trying to get people to give you feedback and see if, if what you're building fits market need. And so sometimes. It's the CEO of the small companies. Sometimes it's the heads of product or heads of marketing at those companies. And then as we kind of go up market, we see lots of teams and their dynamics changing, where sometimes it's a buying committee, a research and design team head.

[00:08:43] Sometimes it's higher up and it's. The leader of the digital other product teams where they're kind of thinking about how they roll that out and and change their product development process. Mm-hmm. , and we oftentimes in marketing land with our external facing websites, those kind of buying teams kinda happen on, on that side.

[00:09:00] Yeah. So how do you

[00:09:00] Ian: structure your marketing work, especially when you're going after that many different personas and size companies and industry verticals

[00:09:07] Michelle: and all that we've organized through sales place and so we rolled out just a core set. Of sales plays and personas where, you know, what's, what's interesting too is even when I mentioned all those personas, companies are so different too on how they're organized.

[00:09:22] Usually the role of a CFO is pretty consistent and you know, accounts payables pretty consistent. And across industries we've really honed in and in some sense around people who. Owning some form of research. And then there's the other teams where it's about conversion rate optimization and then other teams where it's about if you're, if you're really designing or building products or experiences.

[00:09:45] And so we've kind of grouped the buyers cuz you might roll up or have different titles that way. So it's more focused around. Needs versus always titles. And then we, we share with the field, like the typical titles that you'll come across. And then we have different plays, so there's specific kind of campaigns that we can run based on those.

[00:10:02] Give us a

[00:10:03] Ian: glimpse into your marketing strategy. How do you think about building, building the strategy?

[00:10:07] Michelle: It's kind of interesting with, with having the different sales segments. A lot of the marketing strategy needs to align to overall business model and corporate strategy. So as a company we've really aligned around being enterprise sales led organization.

[00:10:22] And so while we do have s and b as mentioned, even selling to one to 10, you know, our style of marketing is not product led growth. It's much more of this kind of enterprise sales led motion. And then we have, a big part of our strategy though, is digital. We do tend to get a lot of, in. Leads. And so a lot of the strategy for kind of supplying our SMB team tends to be mostly making sure that we have a scaled SMB team, mostly on, on kind of inbound.

[00:10:55] And then as we go higher up in the sales segments than we have different marketing strategies that align to those segments. And so definitely the higher up we go. Within the market. We have much more high touch events, personalized events, more kind of ABM kind of campaigns. We operate globally, so we have kind of different flavors of that when we go into AMEA as well as Asia Pacific.

[00:11:18] But we're trying to really, this year also try to, to have a consistent campaign that we're rolling out to cross all those segments around how UserTesting can really help organizations mitigate risk, get and avoid the cost of rework. And so really trying to have. , that message that can go across a lot of the different audiences.

[00:11:33] How

[00:11:34] Ian: does demand fit into that? You know, you touched on it a little bit there, but any specific strategies for

[00:11:39] Michelle: demand? We actually have an SDR and a BDR team. We have a BDR organization that's specifically doing outbound, and then the, the SDR organization helps qualify all the inbound. So when our demand gen programs, it's all about how are we driving traffic to the.

[00:11:56] How do we drive different events and campaigns that we're continuing to, to generate leads. And then the SD R team's the one that we really partner with to, to help qualify and turn those into to meetings booked. And then we also have a set of programs that are really supporting the BDR organization with ABM to help them kind of think about which counts we wanna prioritize, especially as when we start going up to the really large accounts.

[00:12:21] Some of our largest accounts have dedicated teams, and so then we do one-to-one. Programs where we even have sites that are set up specifically just for that organization. We're even having an event here at the end of February that's almost like a, a customer user group conference, webinar, all these types of things.

[00:12:41] But it's, it's really just for all the users within that company alone. And so there's really specific one-to-one kind of dimension strategies. All right,

[00:12:49] Ian: let's get to our next segment, the playbook. We talked about the tactics that help you win. What are your three? channels or tactics that are your uncut budget items? 

[00:13:08] Michelle: Well, one of 'em, I mentioned the web, our kind of web channel is definitely such a huge contributor to pipeline over the years. Mm-hmm. . And so all the things that we're doing around optimizing that channel is, is really important to us.

[00:13:23] Probably the next one is our paid. Paid advertising is a, mm-hmm. is a pretty big channel for us. And then third has really been events.

[00:13:33] Ian: Yeah. Zooming into to web, is that a anything to do with the website or how do you, how do you look at that differently?

[00:13:39] Michelle: We made some changes to the organization cuz I really, you know, in the spirit of with the economies, you know, it's been kind of going out in the market basically.

[00:13:46] The idea. To really see if we can make the most of every dollar that we're investing in our campaigns. Yeah, and I think when we were kind of growing and scaling really quick, it was really easy to almost have these isolated one-off campaigns. Yeah. Instead of really trying to coordinate and have a series of digital touchpoints.

[00:14:06] Even that might go along with live touchpoints. Some examples might be we started to change things so that if you're at a trade show at the booth, we would have an iPad there that allows people to directly book meetings. We have a, a digital free test offer that we can kind of sign people up right there.

[00:14:23] We've also done things where. Billboards will put QR codes. And so when you go there, we can actually track where they're coming from, that specific event and then have really tailored landing pages for them. And so the website we, we put together actually, um, calling a digital first demand center. Cause I wanted to make sure that all of those things were really kind of being brought together.

[00:14:44] And so it was really bringing our. Function along with content search and SEO with our digital web experience teams. One that are building all those experiences that also have the testing and optimization targeting within that, and then marketing ops and then our analytics. That's been a big kind of goal of ours to become much more data-driven as well, and be able to show the ROI across these different touch points.

[00:15:09] And so it's really kind of bringing that together, but thinking, how do we make the most of. each particular touchpoint and then capture the data so we can armor our s d r team with more information than, than just like the, the lead name

[00:15:24] Ian: as part of the web piece. Like how much optimizing are you doing on the site?

[00:15:29] Tons of personalization and things like that.

[00:15:31] Michelle: Yeah, I mean, we've been. On a pretty good journey for about a year now. We basically installed Adobe Test and Target within there. We use a lot of of testing tools and we use UserTesting as a part of it as well. But basically we're able to now, for example, like the dropdown banner, we're able to kind of customize and personalize that on the different audiences.

[00:15:53] We've also been on an initiative of, of aligning our data warehouse. We actually segment to really. Have a single view, a unified view of a customer profile. And then basically we've been testing all the CTAs, testing the visualizations we've created what. You know, almost like a inspired by b2c, kind of a merchandising area for promos.

[00:16:16] And so we also created, on the website, we're trying to build digital buying journeys. And so there's things around, not just the industries, but like what segment you're in, different kind of solutions, you know, so you can better understand if there os browsing certain. They have more interest in these types of things and we've been building kind of mini journeys on the website and, and optimizing for that.

[00:16:39] And so we've had some really good wins. I mean, one, one that was really fascinating, it was almost maybe a low hanging fruit was optimizing our chat experience. You know, there's a lot of work on optimizing when that comes up, testing kind of the scripts, and then getting really aligned with the SDR team that was managing that.

[00:16:58] We ended up, gosh, it was. Five times the amount of revenue booked from that channel. Just through those different modifications, we just feel like there's still so much more left to, to really optimize there. So we, we also have been applying all these practices to now. What we're doing in Marketo with our emails, and so we're doing a lot more testing the layouts of the email, the particular subject lines.

[00:17:25] We also just had an interesting campaign with AMEA and it was great to kind of see all the areas that they tested. We've been kind of working on a lot of messaging and you know, testing 'em at trade shows and seeing like, you know, there was one where. Standing room only people were seated on the floor

[00:17:45] So we're like, okay, how do we kind of bring this to our next kind of campaign? And we were kind of testing the format, but also just at the end of the webinar, asking people if they wanted to have a live consultation, personalized consultation, and people were chatting in. So we were able to kind of book meetings just right off the bat of, of closing out the call.

[00:18:07] And so we've been kind of trying to think about that whole kind. end-to-end sequence of the campaign and and optimizing around

[00:18:14] Ian: there. Seems like you really dig into the details on this stuff. You're not just setting the course and doing one-on-ones. , I

[00:18:21] Michelle: feel like maybe it's cuz it's my tech background, you know, like, so I started off my career, right?

[00:18:26] Building websites. We, or the whole product was web content management and there was portals like I used to have to install. App servers and , all that type of stuff. And then did marketing automation and Salesforce. So maybe it's, I'm like wired to, to learn about those things. But I also just recently had an all hands in my, the way I format things is I get other people in the organization to share learnings and share what they're learning and, and, uh, that one in part.

[00:18:55] Was just shared actually this week by someone on the MIA team, and it was fantastic. I was like, oh, that's amazing. And so then we shared the results and she was kind of walking through. So all those details, if you digged into every part, there's no way I could know all of that. , any

[00:19:07] Ian: favorite campaigns that you've ran?

[00:19:09] Michelle: Yeah. Oh, that one. I mean, I feel like that one really stuck because that one was actually this kind of starting with the mitigating risk and, and it's been this kind of journey throughout last year. What I loved also about, it wasn't just. Campaign optimization, but how we. with the sales organization. So yeah, last year there was a lot of product marketing kind of getting aligned with the field around the messaging.

[00:19:36] And we're having some early testing with different buyers for onsite meetings. And then we would send out the recordings to people so that people could learn like, oh, how did people respond to that? And then we were testing things, you know, at the, at the different events, but basically, , the head of sales, the head of Solutions consulting, the head of the BDR and SDR organizations as well as marketing, we're all super aligned on, on the message and what they wanted the next steps to be.

[00:20:07] What was great about this one is really just having that alignment all the way through and being able to, to just make sure everyone's kind of committed to, to getting everyone trained up. So even while this was going on, The head of sales enemy was having all the reps do, like practicing their pitches and everything along those lines.

[00:20:25] So it's just, it kind of made, I, I feel like that's, I think what I love the most about it, it was. , I guess maybe not just the campaign, but the kind of the whole end-to-end view of it. You know, we

[00:20:35] Ian: talked to your, your uncut budget items. What about your cuttable budget items or something that maybe you're, you're not gonna be investing as much in next year or something like

[00:20:43] Michelle: that?

[00:20:43] There were definitely events that we were looking at from, or certain trade shows that just didn't have a great return. You know, it's hard. I think I'll always just say a certain channel isn't effective, but definitely there's been. Programs that we kind of cut back on. You know, I guess in the spirit we've done some cuts, for example, with content syndication.

[00:21:03] Not cause we don't think it's a great channel, but again, to that, the handover, when we were looking at what's actually converting, I think we need to, we're, we're trying to change a few things to make sure that, uh, there's different ways that we're trying to test to see if we can get those ones to. , you know, just as well.

[00:21:23] Otherwise, it just doesn't feel like it's worth spending the dollars.

[00:21:26] Ian: We heard content syndication pretty often. I mean, I, again, I'm biased and my company makes video and podcast series, but I think it's just a broader trend of like, people just build their own now. And like for example, y'all have a podcast that's been going for, for six seasons that's successful.

[00:21:43] The Human Insight podcast, if people wanna check it out. And so if you have, you know, your own channels that are doing really well in that way, that effort is sometimes better. Putting your own stuff,

[00:21:52] Michelle: we found, you know, other ways where we can leverage it, use it as like a touchpoint within a broader campaign.

[00:21:59] But anytime we were just thinking of it as like a standalone. Yeah. And looking at its demand set and converting. It just, it didn't. . It wasn't working for us. And it's not that I don't think, it doesn't work for others, but I think there's a few things within our, our process we need to improve upon. That's super fair.

[00:22:16] Ian: We had someone come on that was like, yeah, it's, it's one of their uncut budget items was most content syndication, and I think they're exactly right that it's like, . It just depends on what phase you're in and how you can use things like that. Because we don't want to be over-reliant on spending money to get in front of other people.

[00:22:34] And you want to have like, what can we do in-house that can scale and grow and what can we do that we just pay for? And like pulling those levers at different times is super important. Programs versus people and, and that yes, kind of ebb and flow

[00:22:46] Michelle: when we look at it across the quarters. Cutting. Sometimes on that spend to invest in other things or trying to make sure you're hitting that like perfect goldilocks of spend to get the most bang for the buck in that particular area.

[00:23:00] Yeah,

[00:23:00] Ian: the the two things that I found really interesting about cutting paid that have come out recently. . So you had the Airbnb case study where they were like, yeah, we're gonna cut all the CPA type stuff that they were doing and go brand campaigns, which is obviously a totally different type of company than a B2B tech company.

[00:23:16] And then Ran Fishkin did some studies on, on basically like that. Were just literally paying Google for stuff that would've come to us anyways. And so it's, it's interesting to hear those sort of things that I think you, we kind of always just said we're like, , you know, we have to capture the demand. We have to be there.

[00:23:36] And then, you know, you don't put a bunch of money into stuff that's like, would those people come to us anyways? I don't

[00:23:42] Michelle: know. Right. I know. And then I feel like the levers all change, right? Because yeah, it's like in some sense you don't always have visibility into certain data sets, and so some of it's all qualitative while you're like, yeah, this feels like a good one.

[00:23:56] Or you're just seeing things kind of come in top and you're like, I'll never change this. Amazing. Right? And then you start seeing data and. Maybe this isn't actually as rosy as I thought , you know? Totally. And then you kinda like start tweaking some things, but then simultaneously the market's changing and your solutions are maturing.

[00:24:12] Or your buyers, right? Like, and things that you thought held true aren't, or it only is like you start getting more data and you realize actually it's true, but just for this segment or this audience, and not true for the others. And so in some sense, that's why I think marketing's fun, cuz sales changing.

[00:24:27] But it can make you wanna. Figure out too . And

[00:24:30] Ian: that's why they call it a marketing mix, right? It's not like baking a cake, right? You're not like, if you put this much, you know, butter in and this much sugar in and this much flour and like, that's not how it is. It's the exact opposite where it's like the amount of butter changes by day, by week, by month.

[00:24:45] The seasonality of the product when people are buying all that stuff is it's so

[00:24:48] Michelle: fluid. Oh, totally. Right. So talk to me six months later and maybe they'll be like, no. Totally changed my mind. , but it's, it's almost like, um, that's why even finally benchmarks interesting cuz we always wanna know how other people are structured, how they spend, what their rates are, what their conversion rates, and you know, like how much pipeline cuz those are so interesting to see.

[00:25:10] but then it's not a recipe book. Like you can't just be like, oh, okay, so if I literally just duplicated that exact same mix, that exact same structure and just put it here, does it all work? Like maturity level of, or, or enablement processes on, I think the selling side of the world, you know, and then also I feel like sometimes the benchmarks.

[00:25:30] Are compared to like a product-led growth organization, you're like, well, but like that's all different than, than kind of a different marketing organization. Yeah. The rise

[00:25:38] Ian: of these solo creators that are now. As powerful, if not more powerful than their industry counterparts of old or like traditional media companies where you have these macro influencers within a small community that it's like, oh, dang, that person who has.

[00:25:59] 50,000 people who follow them on LinkedIn posted about this thing, like, or put it in their newsletter. Or like, like we had Dave Kellogg on this show. Tons of people reference Dave's newsletter. You know, stuff like that. It's a great way to get a little bit more of a trusted feel if they, if they're the type of person who is not just gonna let anyone in the door and, and say, yeah, you can sponsor my newsletter.

[00:26:21] Michelle: Totally. Well it's so fascinating, right? Cause you almost feel like there's this interesting world of. Centralization, decentralization. Right? Where, where they used to be just the ones where they had all the audiences and you were always trying to get in, and then suddenly it was like, no, no. Like I can build my own audience, I can have my own content, my own podcast, my own like, right?

[00:26:39] Like, and then I think ultimately sometimes you're like, oh shoot, that takes a lot of resources and that takes a lot, right? And then you're competing if everyone else has that voice, then you throw in the mix the whole chat G P T thing, and then you're like, wait, . Yeah. Does that change kind of how everyone thinks about that?

[00:26:54] And you go back to to sunlight centralization again,

[00:26:58] Ian: where you have like, oh, cio.com, I could pay to reach their audience, and then you're. , but I could just build my own version of ci.com and the audience is there anyways. I could just pay to get them in a different way. But I think the thing that is the most interesting thing we talk a lot about is like co-creating with your prospects and customers.

[00:27:14] And it's the same idea of having them speak into your user conference where it's like when you can put one put like the thing that we're making here together. But I think that that sort of approach is really interesting, a novel and puts one in one to make three versus. Just sort of the more older like chuck and ad dollars at display ad type of a

[00:27:36] Michelle: model.

[00:27:37] Totally right, because I feel like once that becomes so saturated, it is kind of the high quality interesting thought leaders, right? Like it is always kind of the content that makes a difference nuance. and the nuance. Totally. Like, again, childs have my all hands when people present. So one of the gals in, in content marketing, she was writing out a white paper into the spirit of co-creating.

[00:27:59] And so one of the things we use UserTesting for is she's like, she writes an outline. Yeah. And then actually gets the people she's trying to target. To read it, just the outline. Just skim it and say like, what's interesting, what would you scan over? And she's like, it's so fascinating cuz you hear people literally talking about, like, they translate everything into their own words,

[00:28:20] And they talk about, oh, like no, no. Like, that's not phrase right. It was it, it's really. I feel like makes it so much more powerful when, when you are kind of co-creating it with kind of a customer and then helping to come up with something other than just kind of like the quick things that you can find on any other site.

[00:28:36] That's the

[00:28:37] Ian: the future, right? It's like if you can go the extra mile for your customer to figure out what they want to do, all that stuff, you'll win. I'm curious. Any cool stuff that marketers are doing with UserTesting

[00:28:47] Michelle: in a few different areas? You know, definitely the whole world of AB testing, I think.

[00:28:54] I've heard from so many other marketers where we can be really focused on data and I think a lot of the testing sometimes you, you end up finally having all testing out all the low-hanging fruit and doing all the things that feel obvious. And then you're stuck in this world where A wins over B by like 0.2, 0.0% and you're like, you know, and it's almost like you're trying to figure out now, , the new hypotheses.

[00:29:23] It's like, how do I come up with something totally different to test? And so a lot of times UserTesting has been really helpful for kind of sparking new ideas, helping to see something from a different perspective, really bringing in a diverse voice when you're like, oh, I never really thought about doing it that way.

[00:29:39] So I think it's become kind of in the more innovative marketing teams, this like triad. A targeting tool, a testing tool, than UserTesting to help kind of be a hypothesis and testing engine in some sense. Yeah, and then we've also seen on the other side, where oftentimes the marketing organization ends up helping to really be a champion of helping the whole organization better understand their customers.

[00:30:03] And so we've seen ones where weekly meetings, especially right now when everything's changing with the c e O and leadership team and having them literally watch a few little snippet. to help people understand the perspectives of their buyers, the perspectives of their customers, and kind of pulling them through that way.

[00:30:21] We've seen it kind of in the much more as a tool for the, the users, but also one that's much more strategic in helping kind of align the organization around different buyers, especially if they're trying to go outside and find new buyers and and new users and use cases.

[00:30:33] Ian: Let's get to our next segment. Talk about healthy tension or that's with your board, your sales teams, your competitor, or anyone else.

[00:30:55] Have you had a memorable dust up in your career?

[00:30:58] Michelle: How do you define dress up? .

[00:31:00] Ian: Oh, it could be anything. It could be a knockdown drag out. You could have, you know, gave someone a fish hook and pulled 'em out of the bar. It could be a whatever you want. It's

[00:31:08] Michelle: funny, I, I, I've kind of always been a little bit more of the disagree and commit type of person.

[00:31:14] I

[00:31:14] Ian: was gonna say disagree and

[00:31:15] Michelle: commit . Yes. I think the more that you can just align on. What do you like? What's the strategy and the goal? I feel like sometimes you get into these worlds where you're arguing about all the tactics, and if you kind of align on that, then you can kind of do a disagreed commit sometimes, okay, we're, we're gonna do this and then we're gonna check back in three months and see if it's still working enough.

[00:31:34] We're gonna like change it. So yeah, tend not to, to have like huge gloves, but I, I don't know. There's always, always moments, um, along the way. ,

[00:31:43] Ian: let's get to our final segment. Quick hits. These are quick questions and quick answers. Just like how quickly you can talk to someone if you go to qualified.com right now.

[00:31:55] Qualified helps companies generate pipeline faster. Tap into your greatest asset, your website to identify your most valuable visitors, and instantly start sales conversations quick and easy. Just like these questions, go to qualify.com to learn more. Michelle, are you

[00:32:10] Michelle: ready? Maybe , I don't know. Maybe

[00:32:15] Ian: number one.

[00:32:16] What is a hidden talent or skill that's not on

[00:32:18] Michelle: your resume? I'm a good networker. I think that's one on my resume.

[00:32:21] Ian: Ooh, that is a good, that's a good one. We've never, we've never heard that one. That's a good one. Uh, do you have a favorite book or podcast or TV show you've been checking out

[00:32:27] Michelle: recently?

[00:32:28] Actually, my favorite book I'm reading is about, I don't know, I read a lot parenting books, but it's about how to drive empathy and, and children. So I think that

[00:32:36] Ian: one's pretty cool. I'll need to check it out. I'm not reading enough parenting books because they don. So, uh, what advice would you give to a first time CMO who's trying to figure out their marketing strategy?

[00:32:51] Michelle: I think what's hard is, is people kind of come in thinking that if you're the cmo, you're supposed to know everything, right? Like, you're supposed to be one setting, everything's setting the vision, and you don't always wanna feel like you don't have the answer. And I feel like the whole point is, , you own the decision

[00:33:09] Even if that advice, if the idea comes from anywhere, either your colleagues or your team like you, you ultimately own the decision and the result, but drive the strategy. Like definitely partner here, especially if, if you're just first time coming in, you know, I, I think really getting aligned. Your heads of sales, understanding what's working, what's not, build your strategy around that, and then you can keep layering in, you know, all the things that you've learned in your past.

[00:33:39] And then I feel like building out your team, you know, you know what your strengths are and where you come up through from the marketing ranks and make sure you, you find some solid people to plug the holes and help you get better on some of the other parts of the, the marketing.

[00:33:54] Ian: Michelle, fantastic. It has been awesome having you on the show.

[00:33:58] For our listeners, you can go to usertesting.com. They got stuff for marketers, so definitely check that out. We all need more UserTesting, that's for sure, and we all wanna know more about our customers, so go check out usertesting.com. Michelle, any final thoughts? Anything

[00:34:12] Michelle: to plug? I'd say, um, there's an amazing tag talk that talks about how getting feedback.

[00:34:19] can be a skill and I was listening to the other day and I thought about how, you know, obviously I think that's a UserTesting thing, right? Sure. Suddenly you're hearing people call your baby ugly and you have to like be okay with that. But I also feel like it has such a great message in a way to think about it from just yourself being a leader.

[00:34:40] Running teams. It's so. To hear feedback and immediately start picking it apart. What's wrong about it? Or criticizing the person like who, who you know what's in their right, like who are they to give me feedback on this type of stuff. Yeah, and if you can really think about feedback as a way to just understand that perspective, maybe there's a way that there's a grain of truth in there somewhere that you can either realize.

[00:35:02] Maybe it's a perspective you have to change or maybe that's actually something that you can change and try to look at it in a way without getting all emotional. It was, I dunno. I, I loved it. I feel like, uh, if we all can get better at not just giving, but receiving feedback, I think we'd all be better at the end of the day.

[00:35:17] Ian: I love it. Great. Final thoughts, we'll link up the TED Talk in the show notes here, Michelle, and I'll get some feedback on, on this episode from you after this .

[00:35:26] Michelle: I'd love feedback from you. It's

[00:35:27] Ian: Great. Likewise. Thanks again. Take care.