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Turning ‘Interesting Moments’ Into Sales: Q&A With Marketo CEO Phil Fernandez

If there is any one characteristic of the current economy that stands out, it is that people are just not buying. From billionaires to budget shoppers, frugal is in.

Enter Marketo, a startup whose raisond’etre is to get people to buy.

Surprisingly — or not, given itsproduct lineup — Marketo is doing very well these days, according toCEO Phil Fernandez, who spoke with CRM Buyer about his company’s strategies for the recession and beyond.

CRM Buyer: How is Marketo weathering the economic downturn?

Phil Fernandez:

What economic downturn? We are doing great — growingleaps and bounds. Today we closed our 200th customer 14 monthsafter entering the market. We are in the hot segment of this category,so even though some people are cautious about buying right now, thecategory is exploding. So business is good.

CRM Buyer: What are some of the cost-cutting measures you’ve taken?

Fernandez:

We haven’t taken any. We are consistently hiring people. Infact, we just brought in an in-house recruiter because we couldn’t hireenough, so I guess we are cutting costs with our outsourcedrecruitment activities. Don’t get me wrong — we care about everypenny, but we’ve been in consistent growth mode.

CRM Buyer: How can your products help your customers’ bottom lines inthe near term?

Fernandez:

We are all about revenue — about helping marketing andsales drive top-line revenue. We help the bottom line by making themarketing and sales process be much more efficient. So we deliverbetter leads to colleagues, we help the sales team be more productiveby closing business faster. We also help customers save money bytaking costs out of the marketing and sales processes.

CRM Buyer: What are some of the bright spots for your company right now?

Fernandez:

We have been experiencing a very rapid growth of ourcustomer base. As I said, we added our 200th customer today. We havealso been receiving a lot of industry recognition: We were justnamed as one of the Red Herring top 100 private companies and namedbest marketing vendor on the Force.com AppExchange. We’re widelyrecognized now as one of the industry’s hottest startups.

CRM Buyer: How will your company look a year from now?

Fernandez:

We’ll be bigger. A year from now, we will get close to 400customers instead of 200. We’ll have operations in other parts ofworld. We’ll have 80 people instead of 40. We’re just announcing asecond product — a year from now, we will have a third major productout.

CRM Buyer: Tell me more about your new product.

Fernandez:

Well, our first was Marketo lead management — that wasdesigned to help marketing teams find new leads using a variety of Webgeneration channels, then develop them to deliver warm leads to oursales product. The new product is called “Marketo sales insight” — it’sa campaign product for salespeople to help them take advantage of thewealth of information available from the lead management process.

It’s a social sales application for front-line sales people. If you thinkabout the sales process, what sales people do, you’ll realize thathistorically, sales is a social function. You have to know how to reada room, read body language. But as the Web has become so important inbuying and selling, it has put salespeople at a disadvantage. Thisproduct is about helping the salesperson be more intimate withcustomers, build a better network and prioritize time.

CRM Buyer: How does it help a rep be more “intimate?”

Fernandez:

By monitoring and measuring things we call “interestingmoments.” We have defined some, and our product allows customer todefine many more. It tracks if a customer has visited 10 corporateWeb pages and stayed for more than one hour, or if someone has openedevery email that marketing has sent for last two months. The producthas this notion of interesting moments, and how rapidly customers areincreasing or decreasing their engagement with you.

CRM Buyer: What’s coming in the pipeline after this?

Fernandez:

The third product in our roadmap will be Marketo PipelineAnalytics. That will be a layer up from sales — a tool to help thechief revenue officer to understand what is working or not. It’lloptimize the revenue funnel and provide some actionable analyticsabout deals that are falling out early or late in the funnel.

1 Comment

  • Phil and his team, including Jon Miller, are doing a wonderful job of offering great value for not a lot of money. The new tools for sales are outstanding. And the close integration with Salesforce.com really helps too.

    When Marketo decides to open an office in New York city, I hope they call the Fearless Competitor first.

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