Episode Summary

In this episode of Signals, Nick Mazing sits down with Jess Raggio, VP of Revenue Marketing at AlphaSense. They dive deep into what Revenue Marketing (aka Demand Generation) does, as well as the modern marketing technology stack that enables sophisticated programs at scale. 

First Jess discusses what a modern B2B SaaS revenue marketing team does, going over touchpoints, and flows across the buyer’s journey. Then she discusses the variety of platforms and tools that are involved in the execution of marketing programs, starting with CRM (Customer Relationship Management) platforms like Marketo and HubSpot. She then goes over the basics of email marketing and email marketing campaigns. Jess also covers a number of considerations regarding webinars and webinar technologies. In the next part, Jess covers the importance of the website: from scalable content management, to instant personalization based on visitor industry and persona. The final program that Jess discusses with us is search and display ads. 

The episode provides a great overview of the building blocks of modern B2B SaaS marketing programs, and the technology stack behind them.

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💡 Name: Jess Raggio 

💡What they do: VP of Revenue Marketing

💡Company: AlphaSense

💡Noteworthy: Experienced in B2B marketing for nearly 20 years, witnessed and contributed to numerous marketing transformations.

💡 Where to find them: LinkedIn

Key Insights 

The Role of Modern Marketing Technology

Jess Raggio delves into the significance of marketing technology (MarTech) in today’s B2B landscape. With buyers present across various channels, it’s crucial for marketers to ensure a seamless brand experience. This includes interactions with sales reps and marketing engagements. The challenge lies in scaling these efforts, especially with limited resources. Tools like HubSpot and Marketo, foundational CRM tools, store customer data and automate processes. They also harness AI to offer personalized experiences across channels, understanding buyer intent and guiding them through their journey.

The Power of Websites in B2B Marketing

Websites play a pivotal role in the B2B marketing engine. Most buying activities, from research to product comparisons, occur digitally. A website is the primary interface between prospects, customers, partners, and investors. Modern websites need to be scalable, built on easy-to-manage content management systems like WordPress. This allows for regular updates without heavy reliance on developers. Personalization is key, with tools like Mutiny offering tailored experiences based on visitor traits.

The Impact of Paid Media in B2B Marketing

Paid media, encompassing paid search and display ads, is a potent channel for marketers. It targets buyers at various journey stages with ads tailored to their current needs. Paid search ads, for instance, appear based on keyword searches on platforms like Google. They target high-intent leads, even those unfamiliar with the brand. Display ads, on the other hand, build awareness among potential future customers. Integrating these with CRM systems offers insights into lead quality and enhances campaign impact.


Episode Highlights 

Webinars and Their Integration with CRM

Timestamp: [00:16:00]

Jess Raggio discusses the importance of webinars in the B2B marketing space. Beyond just hosting a webinar, it’s crucial to post an on-demand version on the company website and capture lead data. The engagement data from the webinar should seamlessly integrate with the CRM to personalize the next steps in the buyer’s journey.

“Then you’ll also want to post your on-demand version of the webinar from the platform to your website and have a form to capture lead data in order to access it. Beyond that, marketers will also wanna make sure that any of the engagement data […] is sent to the CRM.”

The Complexity of Modern B2B Websites

Timestamp: [00:17:00]

Websites have evolved into complex platforms, especially in the B2B sector. They serve as the primary interface between various stakeholders and the brand. Modern websites need to cater to diverse visitors, each with unique needs, knowledge levels, and objectives.

“Websites are a really integral part of a business, or as a whole and a key part of making sure the marketing engine itself can do its work […] the website is a primary way that everyone from prospects to customers to partners, investors, or prospective investors, all directly integrate with your brand and understand your products.”

The Role of Email Marketing in B2B

Timestamp: [00:09:00]

Email remains a central channel for B2B brands to engage with their audience. It serves multiple purposes, from warming up new leads and nurturing them to running promotions and maintaining relationships with existing customers.

“Email marketing really is like one of the central ways that brands engage their customers and prospects, and it’s used in so many different ways to accomplish so many different objectives. […] It can nurture them with personalized emails that feature content that could be intended to capture their attention or educate them on more of a brand solution or create urgency or simply just foster a relationship and engagement.”

The Power of Paid Media in B2B Marketing

Timestamp: [00:25:00]

Paid media, including paid search and display ads, is a potent tool for B2B marketers. Paid search ads target specific keywords on platforms like Google, reaching high-intent leads. Display ads, being more visual, help in building brand awareness among potential customers.

“Paid media is a very strong channel for a lot of marketers, and it has the ability to reach. At all stages of the journey with ads that are specific to where they are and what their needs are at that time […] paid search ads are those for which marketers bid on keywords or phrases that someone might type in as part of a search on something like Google or Bing.”

Full Transcript

Jess Raggio: [00:00:00] today’s B2B marketers are focused on running campaigns and programs that support the entire buyer journey. So it’s less about just finding people and attracting new leads and then handing them off to sales, and then moving on to the next thing. That’s kind of the old way of doing marketing, but today it’s about meeting the buyer where they’re at, at every stage of the process, which includes while the buyer’s engaging with a sales rep.

Nick Mazing: hello and welcome. You’re listening to Signals by AlphaSense, and I’m your host, Nick Mazing today. Welcome, Jess Raggio, VP of Revenue Marketing here at AlphaSense, and we’re going to discuss the modern marketing technology stack. Now, most people, when they think about. Marketing. They might think of Super Bowl ads or coupons and rebate, but [00:01:00] the world of B2B marketing is much more complex, both in terms of programs and in terms of technology tools.

Jess oversees a number of programs. From email marketing to content marketing, content syndication, search and display ads, events, webinars, website, customization, optimization, automated lead scoring, and a lot more. So there’s obviously a lot of technology that goes on behind the scenes, which is known as MarTech or marketing technology.

Jess, welcome and cannot tell us a little bit more about yourself and about your work.

Jess Raggio: Sure. First, hi Nick. It’s great to be here. so a little about me. I have been in B2B marketing for nearly 20 years, and I’ve worked in a variety of roles across marketing organizations and in a variety of industries as well. and over that time I’ve seen and been a part of a number of marketing transformations.

Truthfully, things are so different. Now than they were when I started out, especially with [00:02:00] regard to how we market and the technology we use to make those connections and build those relationships with our buyers. in my current role, I lead the team that’s focused on planning, executing, optimizing marketing programs that are designed to engage prospects, so new folks that we want to bring in and drive revenue.

The term revenue marketing. and that’s, that’s a bit of a newer phrase in marketing. It’s an evolution of what, people might be more familiar with, which is demand generation. And that’s part of revenue marketing today. So what our team does, we look to bring in net new contacts into our database, across our target audiences, across our segments, and from there we create an ongoing flow of content.

And engagement across a variety of mediums to both attract those folks and then nurture them along their entire buyer journey. So what we want to do is create a [00:03:00] personal experience across all the different touch points or engagements, prospects have with our brand. Ultimately a resulting in pipeline for our sales team and revenue for the company.

In parallel to that, our team also helps run the content marketing, digital marketing and event programs that support our customer and product marketing teams on their missions. They’re, they’re helping to engage, retain, and grow revenue within the existing customer base. Marketing operations is a function that also sits on our team and is very relevant to our discussion today.

So they’re responsible for supporting the implementation and the management of all of the processes and the tech stack that help the entire marketing team run our programs and our day-to-day effectively and efficiently.

Nick Mazing: So when we think about demand generation, well, I should be saying revenue marketing, but you know, demand [00:04:00] generation as a core function of marketing. What are the main program that a typical B2B business runs?

Jess Raggio: Well, today’s B2B marketers are focused on running campaigns and programs that support the entire buyer journey. So it’s less about just finding people and attracting new leads and then handing them off to sales, and then moving on to the next thing. That’s kind of the old way of doing marketing, but today it’s about meeting the buyer where they’re at, at every stage of the process, which includes while the buyer’s engaging with a sales rep.

So we want to make sure that we’re providing air cover with compelling content that is relevant to what that person is looking to learn, or the problem they’re trying to solve at any given moment. And what that is will change for each of those people as the buying process progresses. So today’s B2B marketing programs have to be highly personalized.

[00:05:00] They have to be highly targeted. They have to be importantly driven by what the buyer wants rather than what the company wants to push on them. So marketers need to have a multi-touch and very personalized strategy that again, meets those buyers where they are, and that is everywhere. It’s across a lot of those channels.

You mentioned earlier, like content syndication, email. Webinars, organic search, paid search, social media, the company’s website, our events, and things of the like. And as part of that too, marketers have to make sure they are closely aligned with our partners and sales because these programs, again, they help support sales conversations.

So we need to make sure all of the touch points with the brand, whether it’s with a salesperson or a marketing engagement, don’t feel disconnected for the buyer. That everyone involved from the company also has visibility into how the buyer is [00:06:00] interacting with the brand. So all these pieces have to work together.

Right? And one of the biggest challenges for marketers is being able to do this at scale and often with pretty limited resources, which is where marketing technology really comes into play.

Nick Mazing: So let’s start with the underlying architecture, so to speak, or at least that’s how I’m explaining to myself. tools like HubSpot and Marketo, what are they used for?

Jess Raggio: So c r M tools specifically designed for marketing and, and for folks who may not know what that acronym means, c r m stands for customer relationship management. These are really the foundation of every modern marketing tech stack. HubSpot and Marketo are great examples of this. These tools are designed to store all customer and prospect data, and they make it possible for marketers to automate a lot of our processes and campaigns and even use AI to create very personalized [00:07:00] experiences across many channels.

So CRMs help marketers collect and look at all types of data points that can include behavioral data points and firmographic data points, which helps us understand intent. It helps us identify where buyers are in their journey, whether they’re just starting to look for solutions to a problem or if they’ve narrowed down their choice to just two vendors and they’re comparing all of the products in detail.

These tools make it possible to identify what action or what activity is most likely to help the buyer move to the next step, move forward. So we can see when they have the highest propensity to be open to a sales conversation or to determine if they might be disengaged, and we should maybe leave them alone.

It can even help us figure out who we should exclude entirely or qualify out of the buying process proactively because they might not fit the right buying [00:08:00] profile. Or they’re trying to solve a problem that the company can’t help with. So in doing that, we don’t waste the buyer’s time and we don’t waste our salespeople’s time.

So because these tools are so foundational to everything that marketers do, it’s critically important that they easily connect or integrate with the rest of the tech stack. So that includes the technology that helps marketing, understand attribution, analyze the performance of campaigns, as well as, and this is also pretty important, the C R M that the sales organization uses, which.

Might be part of the same family, the same parent company, but is likely different than the C R M that a marketing team will use day to day.

Nick Mazing: Now, switching gears a little bit, when we think about channels with which, you reach prospects, let’s start with email marketing. So how does email marketing fundamentally work? What are the main tools? What are the main objectives of email, which is it seems like a lot of business still gets [00:09:00] done over email.

Jess Raggio: Oh, for sure. Email marketing really is like one of the central ways that brands engage their customers and prospects and. It’s used in so many different ways to accomplish so many different objectives. from a new business perspective, it can be used to warm up new leads that have come into the database.

It can nurture them with personalized emails that feature content that could be intended to capture their attention or educate them on more of a brand solution or create urgency or simply just foster a relationship and engagement. Driving toward a sales outcome. It can also be used to run promotions that are designed to generate immediate purchases and immediate revenue, right, with special offers.

Or on the flip side of that, it can be used to maintain relationships with existing customers. We all know it’s a lot more expensive to find new folks and [00:10:00] and acquire them than it is to. Keep the customers you have. So email can help educate about new value they can get from the product, can help make them aware of the latest updates from the company.

And they’re, of course, more than just those few use cases. But you know the, the point being that brands are using email in a variety of ways to accomplish a number of these objectives. So to run these programs, marketing teams will use tools that help them build and manage that subscriber list and then automate and personalize the execution of the email campaigns.

The actual send, for example, will happen through an email service provider. they may run AB tests on any given element of an email. That means, You know, taking a small subset of that subscriber list and testing two different subject lines to figure out which performs best before you do the large send.

And then they’ll use the data from the engagement with those emails to trigger the next action or [00:11:00] the next email send based on the reader’s behavior. marketers will also use tools to design and build and test their emails before they send them, including corresponding landing pages where. the reader will land after they click on the call to action in the email itself, and then they’ll also use tools that will help them measure the performance of the campaign.

And sometimes the tools a marketer will use for these activities is the same as their C R m Marketo, for example, is both a C R M and an email service provider. But sometimes marketers will need to use additional tools, and that will often happen when a design doesn’t fit an existing template. So they need something brand new created.

Or if they’re in a circumstance where they need robust QA to happen before any email goes out the door. Then it’s important for those tools to connect back to the c r m to connect to the email service provider. one other thing that’s important to note about email [00:12:00] marketing is it’s an area that’s often pretty heavily regulated.

so often you’ll run into a lot of restrictions that depend on the location of the person who’s going to receive the email. Even if the company’s not located in that country or region, there’s still. Required to abide by the regulations that are applicable to that person. So, an important consideration is that the technology a marketer uses should help manage the opt-in or unsubscribe process as well as the status of every subscriber.

So that will help to protect the company from sending an email they shouldn’t and violating one of those regulations.

Nick Mazing: another important channel besides email is webinars for B2B marketing. What goes behind the scenes? Because it’s not just the video which people actually see. Everything has to work together, just like you described with email from the signup pages to the follow up activities and so on.

Jess Raggio: Yeah, absolutely. It’s a great [00:13:00] point. There is so much that goes into getting into the actual execution of a webinar and quite a bit that happens after the event has ended. So, Before, first, before you even get into planning promotions or getting your registration pages live or building your slides, there are a number of decisions that need to be made about the type of webinar that will be run.

So marketers are asking themselves, will the webinar be fully live or will it be a hybrid that’s prerecorded, but have live Q&A? will it be fully prerecorded, including Q&A? Then do you wanna have an on-demand version available after the fact for download? And in most cases, the answer to that is gonna be yes.

Right? Because you’ll get a lot more out of the content that way. Then once you’ve decided that you’re looking at, are you going to use slides or videos during the presentation, do you want to interact with your audience with polls or breakout rooms? [00:14:00] Do you want your attendees to be able to chat with each other, or do you want them to only be able to ask questions of moderators and you’re thinking about how many presenters you’re going to have and how you want them to interact?

And on top of that, are there specific branding or accessibility or security requirements that you have to consider? And every webinar is going to be different. They’re going to have different combinations of answers to these questions. So when marketers are evaluating webinar technology, it’s really important for them to understand the amount of flexibility they need for their specific business to be able to customize the capabilities of each webinar.

And that’ll be based on the objective of the webinars, the topics, the needs of your audience, and a number of other key factors. So the more of these different capabilities you wanna be able to incorporate, the more robust the webinar platform you choose will need to be. But it’s also important to look at how webinar technologies integrate with the rest of the tech [00:15:00] stack.

Whether you wanna build your own registration page or use your C R M or use the webinar platform’s registration page capabilities, it’s really important that the registration data is accurately and securely passed between these technologies, and that has to happen in a timely manner because you’ve got confirmation emails, reminder emails, and follow up emails that will be automatically sent.

Then you’ll also want to post your on-demand version of the webinar from the platform to your website and have a form to capture lead data in order to access it. Beyond that, marketers will also wanna make sure that any of the engagement data, right, any information about the attendees from the webinar is sent to the C R m.

Because they can combine that information with all the other data they have about those contacts and really fuel being able to personalize the next step in the buying journey for each of those individuals. So the more seamlessly the technologies work [00:16:00] together, in addition to being able to customize the way a brand needs, the more automated and scalable the webinar program.

Nick Mazing: Let’s talk about the websites now. What was really eyeopening is that, and we’re not talking about e-commerce, we’re talking about like regular B2B SaaS websites. What was really eyeopening, and to me, and I think most people don’t realize is, you know, it’s not just about, you know, information getting in touch, requesting trousers.

So it’s much more complex than this. So there is things like customizing the content based on visitor profile. So what should a modern website actually do and how.

Jess Raggio: Yeah, so, so true websites are a really integral part of a business, or as a whole and a key part of making sure the marketing engine itself can do its work. I mean, if you think about it, at least in most cases today, especially on the B2B side, the vast majority of buying activities are done in a digital [00:17:00] space.

That’s research comparisons, validations trials. For research reviews, and that means really the website is a primary way that everyone from prospects to customers, to partners, investors, or prospective investors, All directly integrate with your brand and understand your products, and it is complex because each of these visitors has a different depth of knowledge about your company.

They are at a different stage in their buying journey or their journey. If they’re not a buyer, they have a unique combination of pain points and needs. They could come from a number of different industries, or even if they’re coming from the same industry could come from different. Roles be different personas within an organization.

They could be visiting on different types of devices. So that experience on mobile versus desktop really matters. and they each have their own [00:18:00] specific objective when they’re coming to your website. so the website is where, generally speaking, all of your marketing efforts, everything you do across all of these channels, Ultimately points, it’s where folks will land over and over and over again, albeit, and hopefully on different pages every time they come, that are personalized to them.

But yeah, it carries a lot of the weight in driving, both in engagements and conversions. I mean, we could go deep in a number of different angles of website strategy, but. From a marketing technology perspective, modern websites need to be scalable. And a big part of this is making sure that they are, built on a content management system that is easy to manage, adjust, and update without heavy reliance on developer resources.

And most marketing teams have very limited developer headcount, if any at all. And if they don’t, they [00:19:00] need to use the resources on other teams, or they have to pay for contractors when they require development work. So using a scalable content management system, something like WordPress, for example, is a way to give more flexibility and ownership over those regular updates.

To marketers. What that means is they’re able to keep the website fresh. Relevant, doing the best work it can for the brand. They’re able to run tests and optimizations and get more from all of the content they’re creating for these campaigns and programs. Developers, on the other hand, when they do need them, can focus on staying ahead of how technology’s involving, including AI and its potential applications for websites and marketers on websites.

They can work on things like customizations that you mentioned, and enhancements as well as important ongoing optimizations for accessibility [00:20:00] or maintenance because it is really critical that these websites are high performing everything from the videos on it to the content to the images or interactive capabilities.

Nothing on the site should slow down the user experience. Now, another key element for modern marketing websites is that ability to personalize and customize the experience for each visitor. Of course, again, you need to be able to do that at scale without requiring the help of the developer every time.

So if you can identify. Key traits of a visitor. These tools, and an an example of this would be a tool called Mutiny. They make it possible to automatically present that visitor with a page that speaks their language, addresses their most likely needs, or presents ’em with the next best action based on where you know they are in their journey.

So, for example, if a visitor comes to your website from a biotech company, And you can [00:21:00] identify that and that they search for alternatives to one of your competitors on Google. You could direct them and have them land on a product specific page that speaks immediately to the problems the brand uniquely solves for similar companies in their industry.

You could show them an interactive demo that highlights use cases for biotech organizations. The visuals on the page could show logos of biotech companies that are existing customers and more types of personalization like that, because modern buyers really do want to know that brands understand them and understand their needs at that kind of exact moment in time.

Of course, Without being like creepy and overly personalized. But if you’re showing that every single visitor the same message, the same images, the same offers, that’s really been proven to be a lot less effective than helping the visitor and saving them time. You know, [00:22:00] helping them to avoid having to click through the site to try and find what they need if they even spend the time to do that in the first place.

Instead just giving them a personalized experience that takes them where you know they need to go to solve their problem or answer their question. Another benefit. These tools we’ll often learn from the data on the site. And the performance of these personalized experiences, and they can automatically make recommendations to marketers for optimization and testing.

the tools themselves too can make it possible for marketers to easily and often run conversion rate optimization tests on the site, which is something marketers should be doing all the time, right? You wanna be testing calls to action headlines. The position of the content or images on the page, even just the color of the buttons, to see what will work, better and better.

Those incremental improvements can have a big impact on pipeline and revenue. I will [00:23:00] say one key consideration when evaluating all of these tools to use for your website or on your website, even if you’re testing a new technology. Is, how will it integrates with the rest of the stack? Right. I know I sound a bit like a broken record at this point, but it’s true that the, the integration with your marketing c r m will mean that you’re getting the data to inform those personalized experiences or learn from how someone behaves to understand where they are in their journey, and also importantly, to be able to capture form, fill data from the site.

Feed it into the database. Those are, those are just majorly mission critical elements because you don’t wanna have your team spending any manual effort connecting these data points. But more importantly, you don’t want any lag right from between. When a visitor takes an action and your brand is able to respond, especially [00:24:00] if it’s say something like a trial request or a pricing request, because that could mean you’re missing.

An opportunity and leaving money on the table. last kind of element that people should be thinking about is how they’re going to be able to connect to data analytics tools because marketers are more and more data driven every day, and they need to be able to learn and improve performance over time.

And you can’t do that with disparate points of data.

Nick Mazing: Another very visible aspect of B2B marketing is search and display ads. So how do these actually work?

Jess Raggio: Well paid media is a very strong channel for a lot of marketers, and it has the ability to reach. At all stages of the journey with ads that are specific to where they are and what their needs are at that time. paid search and display ads are two of the biggest types of campaigns, though. There’s also paid social and video.

Those [00:25:00] are, those are other options marketers can tap into. Simply speaking though, paid search ads are those for which marketers bid on keywords or phrases that someone might type in as part of a search on something like Google or Bing. So when the search results come up, if the visitor has used those words, The ad is shown to the viewer.

It’s marked as sponsored or ad, and it’s just below the search bar right above the organic search results. Now, this is great for several reasons, but it allows for the most strong targeting, not only for searches that include the name of the company, branded searches, but also for searches that might be relating to your competitors.

Or problems that target audiences are trying to solve, which can draw in new and very high intent leads that may have never heard of your company. They might not even know it exists, but they’re in need of a solution, like what the company offers, [00:26:00] display ads, on the other hand, they’re, they’re a bit more visual than text-based search results.

They’re not reliant on someone actively searching for a keyword in order to be presented to them, and they can also appear on a larger number of sites that are within the vendor’s display ad network, so they don’t only show up in Google search results. In this case, what a marketer will do is provide the vendor Google, for example, with targeting parameters for each of their display ads.

Then Google takes those parameters and presents the ads to people who fit them on appropriate sites across their network. This type of ad is really great for building awareness among audiences that might not have a need right at this moment, but they fit your brand profile. They will likely have a need in the future, and it gives marketers an opportunity to start building a relationship and increase that brand awareness before that that purchase.

Need [00:27:00] comes up, can also start building some urgency around the need for a solution like the one that you offer. Similar to the other types of programs we’ve talked about, you can run paid search and display ads on their own, but they become much more powerful and effective if they’re integrated with C R M systems.

This would let marketers get insights into the lead quality from these sources and any adjustments they should make based on that data. they could also potentially leverage dynamic audience lists to increase, increase the impact of these types of campaigns. So it really, a lot of it boils down when you’re, when you’re looking at different technologies, different channels, different programs, to being able to connect all of these pieces together.

To get a full view of the buyer, the customer, and be able to make those future experiences more and more personalized.

Nick Mazing: Jess, thank you for joining us

Jess Raggio: Of course. Thank you for having me, Nick.

Nick Mazing: [00:28:00] today. We spoke with Jess Raju, VP of Revenue Marketing at AlphaSense. We got a great overview of the modern B2B marketing tech stack. There’s really so much going on behind the scenes and I, I hope you learned as much as I did. This was another episode of Signals by AlphaSense.

My name is Nick Mazing. You can find us on all the major platforms. Thank you for watching or listening.