B2B CMO Spotlight: Raising a unicorn in the give-to-get economy

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Walking into the nondescript lobby of MongoDB's Palo Alto office, you might not suspect that this was part of Wall Street's latest billion-dollar "unicorn." But after a few minutes chatting with the CMO of the open-source document database company, Meagen Eisenberg, who has both an engineering degree and an MBA, you come to understand what a $4 billion juggernaut actually looks like in the "give-to-get economy."

The "give" in this case is an open source database that is downloaded 40,000 times a day. The "get" is literally millions of eyeballs and email addresses a month that MongoDB then tries to convert into leads and customers while deploying 28 different marketing technologies. How Eisenberg and her team make the most of their lead volume and robust MarTech stack is the subject of our interview below.

How are you getting individuals into your marketing pipeline?

Certainly, at MongoDB, we have the benefit of being open source. We have a massive amount of visitors on our website, to our docs to learn about our products, to the "university." A lot of what we do is making sure that we have valuable information that developers are willing to exchange their personal information for. I would say the majority of that comes from our website, and it's all because of the content we have available. Apart from our robust network and field strategy, online brings almost everyone in.

I suspect SEO must be an important part of generating site traffic, right?

There's a lot of work around SEO and making sure we're using the terms that people are searching for. It is so important to make sure that you're seen as the domain authority on that topic. Certainly, having eyeballs creates more eyeballs. You can do this by really looking at your linking strategy. How do other sites link to you? How often, when someone actually goes into your site or finds you through search, do they stay and read the content? All of that matters. Really making sure you're putting the content people are searching for-and then you're seen as the domain authority. You're trying to get your organic search up, which is not a quick fix, certainly. You have to build that over time.

You mentioned that MongoDB uses 28 different marketing technologies to help track data and monitor traffic. Is there one that unites them all and makes them work together?

Not completely, at least there's not one yet that does that. Eloqua is our marketing automation platform, and maybe a third of them integrate into either Eloqua or Salesforce. A lot of it is optimizing your website, optimizing for conversions, optimizing for personalization, and then the channel you need to reach them on. There's a whole set of tools around social media. We use Sprinkler, which we love, built on MongoDB, of course. We have a ton of different social technologies for those channels. We have many for our website, and then we also have tools that give us more information for our sales team--ways of appending information.

Because the challenge is sorting through the data and finding the actual good content, how much of that process are you personally involved in? Do you have a data person that does it for you?

I'm definitely involved in looking at the different technologies. I do have a VP of Systems, Operations & Demand Center. That is the expert in the APIs, the integrations, and really validating that a technology is going to do what it actually says it's going to do. It's helpful to have tech people to work alongside with to look at the promise a technology has sold you, and say, "Yes, I looked under the covers. It's true." We'll get the data we need, and they're running the metrics on it. That process takes time and research, but it is completely worth it in the long run.

As the CMO of a tech company, how do you think utilizing a tech stack can give you an advantage?

If you can figure out and access this data, get insights from it, and make decisions faster than your competitors, then you have the key. We've sunset seven technologies in three years, so we've gone through about thirty-five. Given the fact that everybody's buying everybody, one would expect that some of them will consolidate. We're seeing Salesforce and Oracle now building their marketing clouds out.

Looking ahead at all of this marketing technology out there, is there a challenge that you really wish they could solve right now?

I think buyers' intent will be the next challenge to tackle. There's a lot of information we can get, and not only buyers intent, but timing. People come to you at different stages, and it would be great to actually know how close they are to buying. We have massive volumes of leads; 200,000 a quarter. If we can put 10,000 a month in front of sales, I want to put the ones that are going to buy right now. It would also be helpful to know if they're looking at competitors. If they're looking at your competitors, then it's a good indication that they're close to buying.

What is your advice for CMO's that are looking to build comprehensive tech stacks?

In thinking about all the MarTech that's out there, you have to be able to digest it. We certainly didn't buy all twenty-eight channels in our tech stack in the first month. We bought the ones that we needed to get the baseline in, and we needed to be able to have an implementation plan and digest it. As the company grew and we were coming up against problems, we added more technology. I think being able to prioritize and what you're working on matters. If you try to do all of it at once, you'll always not meet someone's expectation. Focus is your friend.

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