The Three Paths To Becoming a CMO with Heather Zynczak (CMO at Pluralsight)

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This is a podcast episode titled, The Three Paths To Becoming a CMO with Heather Zynczak (CMO at Pluralsight). The summary for this episode is: Heather Zynczak spent four years as the CMO of Domo, six years as Global VP of Marketing at SAP, and today serves as CMO of Pluralsight. On this episode of the Swipe File, she talks to DG about building a high performance marketing machine at a public company, brand vs. demand, understanding your career path, the three paths to becoming a CMO, the power of having a user conference, and more.

Dave Gerhardt: Hey everybody. It's DG back with another episode of The Swipe File. That's how you have to say it, The Swipe File. Anyway, on this episode, we have a good one for you. My guest today is Heather Zynczak, she is the CMO at Pluralsight. She spent four years as the CMO at Domo, six years as the global VP of marketing at SAP, and she is just an absolute growth demand gen marketing machine. Really fun one this one because we didn't just talk about the tactics. We talked about the three paths to becoming a CMO. I said," Heather, I want to know what it takes to become a CMO," and we sat down and we went through all the different paths you can take to get there. So this one's for you if you're thinking about growing your career in marketing, want to be a CMO one day, tune in. Here's Heather Zynczak, the CMO of Pluralsight on this episode of The Swipe File. I'm super excited to talk to you because your background is exactly why we do this show, which the point is to talk to CMOs, obviously, hey, who have seen it and who have gone through this journey, and I think the audience for this show is, CMOs listen, but also everybody kind of in their career in marketing to learn about what you've done. So today you're the CMO Pluralsight-

Heather Zynczak: That's right.

Dave Gerhardt: Before this you were the... I'm just going to replay your bio. Before this you were CMO at Domo.

Heather Zynczak: That's right.

Dave Gerhardt: Before that you were Global VP at SAP.

Heather Zynczak: That's right.

Dave Gerhardt: So those are big companies. Six years, four years, two years, which is amazing because in this world that we live in today, most people are in a company for a year.

Heather Zynczak: My sweet spot seems to be around five years.

Dave Gerhardt: Yeah.

Heather Zynczak: Don't tell my current boss though, so I'm only there three more years.

Dave Gerhardt: I won't. Well, that means you got three more years, though. You got two years.

Heather Zynczak: I got three more.

Dave Gerhardt: I want to go back. What I'm interested in is, your background is finance from Texas. Is this how you do it?

Heather Zynczak: Finance. Yeah. Go Horns.

Dave Gerhardt: Go Horns.

Heather Zynczak: Finance and accounting.

Dave Gerhardt: And then an MBA from Wharton.

Heather Zynczak: Which I also inaudible financial.

Dave Gerhardt: Did you think that that would be the profile to be a CMO? Did you know?

Heather Zynczak: No. If you would've told me early in my career I was going to be a CMO, I wouldn't have believed you. I never actually thought I'd be in marketing.

Dave Gerhardt: What did you think a CMO did at that time?

Heather Zynczak: I didn't know there was a CMO. I would have made up some letters, Chief Mamama Officer? I didn't know. When I graduated college, this is going to date me a little bit, I got out with a Finance and Accounting degree and I went into finance and accounting because I just love numbers. I love math. I loved analytics. And I took a micro economics class, which is really into the numbers and statistics, and I just thought, this is amazing and ended up in finance and accounting. And when I graduated, this whole computer thing was just taking off, and packaged software was on the rise, and I went to Andersen Consulting, which is now Accenture, because they taught people how to code. So I learned how to code. So my first job, I was an engineer, I coded. And coding really appealed to me because it's numerical, it's analytical, it's numbers oriented. And one thing I always talk about, how I made my way eventually to marketing, I don't think I would have been in marketing at that time, in the early nineties, because marketing has changed so much in the last 25, 30 years, and now is very analytical, very numbers driven, you can test everything, you can measure everything. I'm not the most creative person in the room, and I don't have to be creative with today's marketing.

Dave Gerhardt: I was going to ask you about that. This is where I want to dive in a little bit, which is, how do you, if that's your skill set, how do you think about the skillset of a CMO? Because I've seen CMOs from all different kinds. Somebody that I look up to is Shannon Brayton, who's the CMO at LinkedIn.

Heather Zynczak: I love her.

Dave Gerhardt: crosstalk.

Heather Zynczak: She came in through comms.

Dave Gerhardt: She's a comms CMO and then had to bring in demand gen people to be on her team. Is there a right profile for a CMO, and did you think about what you needed to bring around you and with your team?

Heather Zynczak: Yeah, I think there's three things, and I'll come back to Shannon in a minute because I'm a huge fan. We met at a CMO event before she was the CMO of LinkedIn.

Dave Gerhardt: For the record, Shannon, I don't know you, but I would love to have you in this chair next, alright?

Heather Zynczak: She's interesting and she has one attribute I'm going to talk about, which is two, they're really important. But I think there's three paths to, if you look at most CMOs, where they came from, you could come up through the product side, which I did. So I have a really strong product background, product marketing, strategy, coming up that way. You could come in through a hardcore demand gen, and I would argue that only in the last 10 years, demand gen has changed so much with how we generate demand, it's a very analytical data science oriented kind of path up. Or you can come over from the other side, which for me includes creative, agency, comms, brand-

Dave Gerhardt: I love that.

Heather Zynczak: And I think if you're going to be successful as a CMO, it's rare that someone will have come up through all of those, that's just not possible. So what you have to be good at is a couple of things. One, know what you're not good, where your weaknesses lie and hire a team. Always one of my very first hires, both at Domo and at Pluralsight, or my first person to get in nestled in next to me on leadership is somebody wickedly creative. I had that at Domo, I have an amazing partner in Brett Barlow, he's our Chief Brand Officer, and we're just a really nice compliment. And then I think the other thing is you just have, and this is where Shannon, I would say, is you just have to be wicked smart. Shannon is really bright, and so she can pick up all those other areas and she's a leader. So I think if you're somebody who has kind of a love of learning, knows your weaknesses, brings in people to help you where you don't have strengths, that's really what it's all about.

Dave Gerhardt: I love that. The three paths to CMO, come up from a demand gen, come up from product marketing, come up from brand, and then fill in the gaps. Can you say more about the Chief Brand Officer role? Is that at Pluralsight now?

Heather Zynczak: That's at Pluralsight.

Dave Gerhardt: Was that role there before you were there?

Heather Zynczak: Brett was at the company before I was there and he was running marketing. And when I came on board, I recognized he was just this amazing individual and he had a ton of skills I didn't have. And I talked him into staying. He could have gone to be a CMO at a ton of companies. He was a CMO at Skullcandy, I mean he has a legit record, but I was like I have this individual and I look at what Pluralsight's going to do over the next couple years, it would be awesome to have a senior leader that is really great at that. And so we crafted out this role of Chief Brand Officer and I talked him into staying and it's been almost two and a half years now, and it's been a good journey for the two of us.

Dave Gerhardt: So you come in with the math and science and then he comes in with the crazy," here's how we can do this thing."

Heather Zynczak: Yeah, and I think we push each other. I also had an enterprise software background, of my 25 years, all of it's basically been in enterprise software, and Brett has more of a consumer background. So Pluralsight has a model that we sell about 20% of our business is technically B to C, but I call it B to D, business to developer. And Brett, I've learned things from him on that side and I think he's learned a lot from me on the enterprise. How to work with the gardeners and the foresters, we put on our first enterprise user conference. These were things he hadn't done before, so it's been a good combo.

Dave Gerhardt: So I want to talk about a couple of things in there. Let's talk about the user conference stuff first, because I noticed in your perfectly written bio, which is your PR team did a great job, it seems like every place you've gone, one of the first things you do is kick off a user conference. Say more about why. I'm asking because we've invested heavily in our conference, you spoke this year, and that's a key piece for us moving forward. And I think since we've done that, it's been amazing, but I'm interested in, if you went somewhere else, not that you're leaving, you have three years left, what is it about a user conference, why would you go do that right away?

Heather Zynczak: Yeah, so I think all these, having worked at Oracle and SAP, they had big user conferences and I saw the brilliance of bringing your customers together and the loyalty and the love and the learnings, so I had that kind of history. And then you look at the companies who are doing this the best, like look at Salesforce and what they've done with Dreamforce, I mean, it's amazing and impressive. And so for me, this is why I think a user conference is so important. And somebody asked me the other day," Well, we could spend that money on a bunch of dinners and probably make more in revenue." And it might be true at that moment in time, but a user conference, it becomes the guiding motion for the company. It's an employee rally cry. It's your product team saying," Once a year, this is our big time, literally on stage to..." and it pushes product schedules. For us at Pluralsight, it brings together our buyers, our end users, it brings together technology leaders who just want to learn, our authors, so the people that are the experts that teach courses on Pluralsight, they're there, so you can learn from the best, and your partner community. I mean, it's all right there in this goodness that happens. And it's interesting because we did a campaign for our sales team this year internally, we went and looked at stats and we called it the Three X Campaign. And if you had a customer who attended Pluralsight Live, you had three X the deal size, so three times larger.

Dave Gerhardt: I love that.

Heather Zynczak: And then I went to Salesforce and I met with the woman who runs Dreamforce for them, and even Salesforce who's, I don't know how many years they've been doing Dreamforce, this year almost 200, 000 people go, they run a two to three X campaign as well. They started talking about this and I was like," What?"

Dave Gerhardt: So that's if you're in sales to get butts in seats, to get your prospects there, or customers for future crosstalk?

Heather Zynczak: So when you're talking to the sales reps, the best way to get tickets sold to a conference is to sell them on contract. So in order to, incent a sales rep to sell tickets on contract, because they're worried about, as they should be, about crosstalk-

Dave Gerhardt: The product, selling the product.

Heather Zynczak: License, revenue, and all those things. You go to the sales rep and say," Look, Bob, if you're going to sell tickets to this, because for every customer that attends, they're going to have three times, at Pluralsight it's three times the deal size as the people who don't attend. You want bigger deal sizes, you want more commissions, you want more money, send them to Pluralsight Live." Dreamforce does the same thing. They have a two X campaign they run. She said it used to be three X, now they've gotten bigger it's two X. But if you attend Dreamforce, two X the deal size.

Dave Gerhardt: And are the reps selling tickets, or are they giving them away as part of like, you buy X and then I'm going to throw five tickets in for your team?

Heather Zynczak: No, they sell.

Dave Gerhardt: They sell them.

Heather Zynczak: Yeah.

Dave Gerhardt: Do you think that's an important piece of a conference, selling them versus giving them away? Do you think there's a difference?

Heather Zynczak: Yeah, I do. I think that you look at the overall contract value, and it might be that you give a discount because you occasionally may give discounts on tickets, or you might give discounts on professional services, or you might give a discount on the product. It's all part of the sales negotiation. So do we hold the line that you have to pay a hundred percent full price MSRP? No, on Pluralsight Live tickets not always. We had an account the other day that wanted a hundred tickets to Pluralsight Live, because last year they sent 50 people on their tech team and they got such value out of it they're like," Next year we want to send a hundred people, will you give us a discount?" Well, yeah, for a hundred people we'll give you a discount.

Dave Gerhardt: Sure. We'll fly you there, whatever you want.

Heather Zynczak: Well, I don't know about that, but we'll give you a discount. So I do think there is this kind, but I think there's something mentally important. There's a big difference in my mind between a free conference and a conference you pay to go to. And there's something in the mind of the person who attend, and studies have shown this. If you pay for something, even if it's a small amount, you're committed. You're going to go. You put monetary value to it. I think there is a time and a place for free events, but your user conference is not one of them.

Dave Gerhardt: You mentioned an enterprise customer conference. Did you do that separate from the Pluralsight Live, or did you split it a different event for enterprise, or is this a part of something else?

Heather Zynczak: No, I mean, just businesses in general. So I used that term enterprise holistically. It is a conference, but we have our developers, so our B to D. We have people who come that they want to come meet the authors that they learn from every day, they want to be inspired by technologists. So we have individuals who come, I'd say that's the smallest part. And then we have users, but not the buyers, and they're our small accounts all the way up to our largest accounts in terms of size of company. So it's not just a big company conference. And then we have buyers. And I think you have to really think about your audience and create special experiences for them.

Dave Gerhardt: So this is the second year that we did our conference much bigger. We saw something similar where, obviously not all of our customers were there, only a small percentage of them were there, but it was something like a third of our revenue for the year was in the room that day, which is unbelievable when you think about the experience.

Heather Zynczak: It is.

Dave Gerhardt: And also, I think to your point about if you stack up all those dinners, there's no marketability of those dinners, it's having that one day of the brand, of the buzz, of the-

Heather Zynczak: Yeah, we didn't even talk about the brand lift you get out of it.

Dave Gerhardt: It's crazy.

Heather Zynczak: So your social media lift, your impressions from press. We had 14 press individuals attend our conference, they all wrote multiple articles. I mean it was ungodly the amount of articles that we had come at that time. You look at social media, we work closely with our vendors on amplifying our organic and a little bit of paid around that, because if we put a little bit more paid to Twitter and Facebook and LinkedIn during that time, it gets more than paid during a time that we're not also having to lift from the conference. So there's a ton of goodness.

Dave Gerhardt: Yeah. What do you think for you, is there something for you, what's the gap between CMO, VP, Director, working all your way down, what are the different jumps that somebody has to make? What's the biggest difference you've seen in your career? What's the change? At Pluralsight, for example, the chief brand guy, he could have run marketing, but they found you. Especially in the enterprise space, which is where we're in, enterprise sales, in that type of org, what do you need out of a CMO?

Heather Zynczak: I think there's not one straight path. So I can't tell you like," Hey, you need to be a manager of this, a director of that, a VP of this, then CMO." I think if you went and talked to, you mentioned Shannon, I could mention a whole bunch of other CMOs that I respect, and they've all had differing jobs. I actually think it's worthwhile to have positions that aren't just in marketing. So I had product positions and I had engineering positions and I have not had sales experience, but I think having sales experience is really valuable because they're your partner and your ally. No matter how great of a marketer you are, if the sales team doesn't hit revenue goals, you failed. You failed. And so if you don't have this great relationship with sales, and so... For example, right now at Pluralsight, I lead our inside sales team that cleans all the leads. We call them our account develop managers and our business development representatives, ADM and BDRs. I think it's close to a hundred people that clean leads for the outside team. And then I also run our digital revenue, so I hold a number. For the amount of revenue that closes on our site, which is about a quarter of Pluralsight's revenue, I own that number. I have a quota, I have a target on my head as a public company to making sure that we can report that out to the street. So I think there's different jobs along the way. I don't think a straight path in marketing is always the only path. It's definitely not the only path. I'm not even sure if it's the best path. I think in the book lean in they talked about how it's not a corporate ladder, it's a jungle gym, and I love that idea because I think jumping into getting really great product and thought leadership experience, whether that's on the product team or product marketing, getting really awesome digital experience, understanding what it's like to carry a number and to partner with sales, whether that's because you were in sales or you supported sales. So I think there's a lot of paths and ways there. I don't think there's one.

Dave Gerhardt: And even if it's not sales, I think just owning a number in some piece of marketing, if you're in marketing, is so important to see the progression of," Hey, you're going to own blog traffic, and your goal, you have the waterfall, you have everything that you need to show blog traffic." It's going to show you," Okay, now you've owned that. Can you then apply that same method to selling tickets for an event?" It's a similar motion you can learn in different pieces of marketing.

Heather Zynczak: Yeah, and I talk a lot about this, especially I've had so many CEOs contact me and be like," What should we look for in a CMO?" And I've had a bunch of venture capital companies, I'm in town for a venture capital company conference and they're having me set up meetings with CEOs because they're like," What should I look for in a CMO?" And I think the number one most important thing is somebody who can put a number in place and hit it. And that requires a lot of things, but it requires being really data- driven. And it's not enough to say blog traffic, because you can have the best blog traffic in the world and you don't hit sales, so who cares?

Dave Gerhardt: Yeah. It has to have some input into revenue.

Heather Zynczak: Yeah, or whatever the company is trying to achieve. It might be that your company is like," Hey, revenue is blowing the doors, you're doing great on demand, but it's all about getting customers to adopt the product more and use this new feature," so you have to sit really... And one of the things I introduced when I joined Pluralsight, which they didn't really have this motion, was being super data- driven. So we created an OPS team and reporting and we set budgets and we set targets for the year, and we have a weekly standup where people have five minutes to share their numbers, and you get one slide, just numbers, of how your business is doing. And it better be numbers that everybody cares about. So I think that's probably the most important skill in today's CMO, is to set a goal that's going to make an impact on the company needle and be able to prove that they've hit it.

Dave Gerhardt: I love that. Is the daily standup a Pluralsight thing? You do that today?

Heather Zynczak: It's a standup, they're actually weekly.

Dave Gerhardt: Weekly. So you have to get up in front of all the rest of the leadership team and say," Here's where we're at in marketing."

Heather Zynczak: Oh, no, this was within my marketing leadership team.

Dave Gerhardt: Oh, marketing team does it?

Heather Zynczak: Yeah. I host a weekly standup with the marketing leaders and they bring in different people from their team. So digital gets five minutes to stand up, and one week it might be the person who runs webinars, one week it might be the person who's running all of our content and showing how content is performing. Last week it was the person who runs our B to C to B program. The week before that was our account- based marketing lead. It started out where people were building these 20 slide presentations and they took 20 minutes, and I was like," This isn't a standup. Who wants to stand up through a 20 minute presentation? I want one slide, you get five to 10 pieces of data. I want to know the data on how your business is doing."

Dave Gerhardt: And have you found that that is a helpful motion for you as the marketing leader to get a sense of what everybody's doing, how the team is feeling, as opposed to having to go through whatever it takes to meet with everybody?

Heather Zynczak: So it's one tactic in a broader program I have. So it starts with me identifying the goals for the year, reporting them to my CEO, and they have to be things that the company cares about. Then we do a whole process for budget to tie to those and there's targets, and I have pipeline targets, I have revenue targets, and then we assign budget, all that at a granular level. And then we assign that out to the team so that my person who runs social media on B2B paid, they have a budget, they have a pipeline target, they have to report on that. It goes all the way down to that level. And then part of the process of reporting back on that and how we're doing, I can't just look at, I do look at weekly... How we start this meeting off is, how are we doing on overall pipeline? How's AMEA doing? How's the US doing? How's enterprise doing versus commercial?" We look at the aggregate level, how does marketing versus sales generated? And then we go into the details. I think it's part of a bigger motion of being a data- driven organization.

Dave Gerhardt: Yeah. And it probably is an easy way to give everybody ownership, right? You own this piece of it, and everybody kind of has a shared metric. If it's pipeline, then you'll have a social person talking about this thing, and content person talking about this thing, and everybody has some slice of that.

Heather Zynczak: I don't care how many... I do care, but I don't really care how many people attended the webinar, I care how much pipeline was at the webinar and how much pipeline you influenced, and how much new pipeline did we generate out of that webinar.

Dave Gerhardt: How do you go about getting your team the tools to do all that stuff? Because my guest is the person who's running social, or you hire some new person to run social, they might not know how to go and find out how much pipeline is influenced. They're probably great at social, but not great at that piece, or the person who runs webinars might be great at content and storytelling, but not great at that piece. Have you found a way to get that thing repeatable?

Heather Zynczak: Yeah, so that's kind of what I was trying to say earlier, the standup in itself isn't helpful unless you have the motion. So it starts with me setting the goals and then working with our finance team, to be honest with you, so the CFO is the CMO's in some ways, best friend slash frenemy. Frenemies.

Dave Gerhardt: We love you, I'm just saying DV and Jim, right now we're heavy in 2019 planning, and so it's all love. It's all love.

Heather Zynczak: So we've already worked with head of sales and sales ops CFO's office and marketing to say, what are the revenue targets by very granular things, new net revenue, renew net revenue, geographically, AMEA versus US, commercial versus enterprise. They set all those targets, then we do a model that says how much pipeline, then we argue over how much is marketing going to create versus sales. All that's already set for 2019 for Pluralsight. So then I take that, and then also how much budget am I going to get? And that's already been given. And then I take all of that and go back to the team and work with them." We've been given this much money, we have to deliver this much pipeline, and it has to be split up this way. Now you guys, we, at the macro level, how much are we going to do on digital, how much is going to go to field, how much is comms, analyst relations." We come do the macro and then they have to come back with plans that are going to hit their targets. And with that money, they each get targets. So you have to build a whole motion. And then the second thing you have to do is we invested in a team that has the data and the analytics and the reporting so that all of those people have that.

Dave Gerhardt: Awesome. And is that centralized? Do they sit with you? Like you have marketing ops that sits on your team?

Heather Zynczak: So we did have it within marketing op and we organized operations at the company level. So we have a strategy and business operations team that I have dedicated people in that group. They're still part of my head count, so I am accountable to how much I invest in that, or don't invest in that. I own that. They're still my cost center, but they sit centrally because it would really not be great if I walked in with numbers from marketing ops on reporting that sales had different numbers. So the operations and the reporting is all within one group and we work off one song sheet.

Dave Gerhardt: Love that. I feel like we could just geek out on all this marketing stuff, but you got lots of things to do. So as we wrap up, I want to talk about org structure.

Heather Zynczak: Okay.

Dave Gerhardt: Do you have a playbook as a CMO now? SAP to Domo to Pluralsight, do you have a playbook? Or if you got a new job in five years or two years or whatever it is, would you create something new based on what the company needs, or do you have a playbook of how you run a marketing org and what kind of the staple roles are?

Heather Zynczak: I think it's a combination. Marketing has changed so much, every year it gets different, and you got to be nimble with that, and your org has to be nimble. There's roles I have now that are really important that I didn't have at Domo, as an example. Part of it was my learning and part of it is the journey that marketing is taking. But I think there are some standard things that your experience tells you, like you know you want to have an amazing comms team. Well, let's start the beginning. Product marketing starts it off. You don't know who your buyer is and how to talk to them and all that. You need an amazing comms team. You need kick brand and content to put your marketing programs together. You got to have digital. I actually believe the field team is one of the most important. It's like we went too far digital, and the field team actually gets you the most revenue. Working with your field marketing team with your field sales, it's one of the most lucrative things, and it kind of became the redheaded stepchild for a few years because everybody was so excited about all the stuff you could do digital. And I actually believe the CMO should run the team that cleans the pipe. They should own the whole top of the funnel. So your ADM or BDR, whatever acronym you have for those guys that bang the phones and clean the leads, guys and gals.

Dave Gerhardt: Sue. Yeah. And you have hundred of them hundreds.

Heather Zynczak: No, we don't have hundreds. We have under a hundred.

Dave Gerhardt: Okay.

Heather Zynczak: But I think the-

Dave Gerhardt: That has to get done manually, cleaning leads?

Heather Zynczak: No. No, no, no. It's a combo. So if you look at your pipeline, the first cut is a clean digitally, and just on data.

Dave Gerhardt: Just what came in.

Heather Zynczak: Yeah, just what came in. And you go in and clean, and is Daffy Duck a real email address, is this is a real phone number. So you can do some cleaning. Then you tie it to your accounts in Salesforce. Do we already have this person? Are they an account we can tie it to? You can do all that with data cleansing, you can augment that with information. Then you start to put them in nurture tracks and you do that digitally, and they bubble up. If the CTO of the largest company we're going after comes in, I'm not going to nurture him and bubble him up, somebody is calling him.

Dave Gerhardt: Right now. Yeah.

Heather Zynczak: Yeah, but everybody else-

Dave Gerhardt: And that layer, whatever you call them, BDR, SDR, whatever, they own that piece, enrolling them? Or they clean it and then pass it?

Heather Zynczak: No. So in marketing we have lead scoring. We put a ton of extra information around, then we lead score. Based on that lead score it will either go straight to somebody to call, which is very rare, most likely it will go through some kind of a nurture track and we'll have to bump up its score until it's like," Hey, that lead is now scored good enough, somebody can call it."

Dave Gerhardt: Awesome.

Heather Zynczak: And then you have your team that minds your database of leads that have gone to the database, they've been nurtured and nothing happened. And the BDRs can go in and pull any of that, and we create campaigns for them and they're the outbound team. So we have both an inbound and outbound.

Dave Gerhardt: So nurture runs out at some point, 60 days, 90 days, a year, whatever it is, and then they can go dig into that pool of people.

Heather Zynczak: They can mine it. And we help them mine it.

Dave Gerhardt: Who write all the nurture copy?

Heather Zynczak: This is an interesting discussion and it's been at every company different. I believe you have to have standard nurture tracks-

Dave Gerhardt: By persona and...

Heather Zynczak: Yeah, by persona, by industry, by level, by all kinds of things, and marketing writes those. Once you get into an ADM sequence, so say you've gone through the nurture track and now your SDR, ADM, whatever, they bubbled up, it's a good enough lead to call, who creates their emails? And so one, that's always kind of the friction. So we've said," Look, if you're going to do a one- off email, if you're going to take the time, write it yourself. If you're going to put somebody into a sequence, we'll recommend sequences for you and you can make tweaks and adjustments, and then we go in and spot check that." And we have found some egregious behavior in tweaks and adjustments, so you've got to be pretty good on monitoring it.

Dave Gerhardt: Of course. Do you own the performance of those emails as a marketer?

Heather Zynczak: Yes.

Dave Gerhardt: So you can say," Hey, we're going to automate these because..."

Heather Zynczak: And I own everything to the point where an outside rep who can actually get the contract signed, creates it as an opportunity. So I own everything at the top of the funnel.

Dave Gerhardt: So in an ideal world, the sales rep, their job is to have a meeting.

Heather Zynczak: Yes. Well, no, their job is to have a meeting and out of that meeting to say," Yes, this meeting I had, I'm going to make an opportunity out of it." And when he or she says," Yeah, this has..." Whatever metrics, budget, authority, whatever they say," Yeah," and when that sales rep more importantly says," This is such a good opportunity, I'm willing for my boss to hold me accountable to closing it, I'm going to put it in my pipe." That's when the marketing... That's when I no longer, not that I no longer feel accountable, but I've generated pipelines.

Dave Gerhardt: This is amazing. This is your MBA in marketing and ops. Heather, thank you for doing this. I appreciate it. Yeah, that's it. We're out of here.

Heather Zynczak: Cool. Excellent.

Dave Gerhardt: Thank you for doing it. That was awesome. I appreciate it. Thank you. Thanks for listening to this episode of The Swipe File. If you likes the podcast, make sure to subscribe, leave a review, text your friends, tell your mother, do whatever you want to do. It'd be awesome if you help spread the word about the show. But I have a little special for you because you're listening to my podcast. If you go to, drift. ly/ Steve, you will see a six minute video that I made that is about Steve Jobs' storytelling secrets, and you can get it all for free. Plus, if you sign up there, you will unlock this crazy new thing that we're building behind the scenes called Drift Insider, where we're going to give you some of our best content exclusively, so go and check it out. The secret way to get on this list right now is to go to drift. ly/ Steve. You have to watch the first video and you'll be able to get the rest when they all come out. Check it out, if not, check it out soon, and I'll see you in the next episode.


Heather Zynczak spent four years as the CMO of Domo, six years as Global VP of Marketing at SAP, and today serves as CMO of Pluralsight. On this episode of the Swipe File, she talks to DG about building a high performance marketing machine at a public company, brand vs. demand, understanding your career path, the three paths to becoming a CMO, the power of having a user conference, and more.