Allison MacLeod of Rapid7 – 10x Growth, Getting More Sophisticated with Predictive, and Direct Mail!

Listen to the Podcast

In this episode Allison explains the challenges of massive growth in IT Security including:

  • Staying on top of search and maximizing inbound web traffic
  • Aligning with sales and the customer journey
  • Getting more sophisticated with predictive
  • The return of direct mail to the mix

Read the Transcript

John J. Wall: Hello, and welcome to Stack and Flow, I’m John Wall.

Sean Zinsmeister: I’m Sean Zinsmeister.

John: Today’s guest is Allison MacLeod. She’s the Senior Director of Demand and Marketing Operations at Rapid7. Allison, thanks for joining us.

Allison MacLeod: Thank you for having me. I’m excited to be here today.

John: Okay, Sean, you came across an interview with Box CEO Aaron Levie about AI. What grabbed your eye on that?

Sean: It’s an interesting perspective to sort of think outside the sales and marketing box. Obviously, you know, Aaron Levie’s opinion, for somebody that has really seen the transformation in terms of online storage and how that pertains to productivity and now his commentary on where the next generation or productivity and enhancements and how we can make our work better through AI I thought was really interesting. In particular, I wanted to highlight he notes that Sundar Pichai, the google CEO, has a great analogy that AI is the new mobile.

Really what he’s talking about is when you’re thinking about your digital strategy from a go to market standpoint, or your product development, it seems almost unreasonable, or almost foolish, to not be thinking about what the mobile medium has to offer. It’s like you wouldn’t build a website today without it being responsive, right? You see that trend already happening at Google with the rise of things like AMP and sort of those types of things where they’re a really trying to optimize that channel. Even from a product standpoint, it’s like how are you reaching people on the devices that are completely saturated with that market? I think you’re seeing the same type of mentality starting to emerge with AI where now you’re thinking about in terms of our design of both a program and a product, how do we add that artificial intelligence to improve the user experience, make our product easier to use, maybe easier to adopt, increase stickiness and things like that?

I’m curious. Allison, this is something that AI’s obviously a hot topic. I think it’s going to continue to be probably for the next several years, but in particular in B2B sales and marketing, I’m curious, what are the types of things that you’re seeing and thinking about as it pertains to AI and how it affects your guys’ every day work?

Allison: I think overall when we think particularly for marketers, I think the use of AI and where I see that becoming more complacent and important is how do we get smarter about what we do? Often times, marketers and a lot of marketing in the past is priding yourself on how many tools you use, what you’re doing with those tools. The reality is you’re using a lot of things but not really understanding how these work together and how do they really affect the customer? Think of customers, and you think of the customer journey, where we all are, we’re all on our devices. We all want things instantaneously. We’re not going to buy things just because they might be overloaded with features.

We want the right ones. I think from a marketing and go to market perspective it’s really understanding how do you use that to get more efficient about what you do but really make sure you have customers that are getting the most out of what you offer and keeping them loyal and keeping them advocates of your brand.

Sean: Yeah, 100%. I think that one of the things, the analogy that I’m starting to like a lot, too, is I always am thinking of when I talk to people about this storm cloud. It’s the storm cloud of data as well where a lot of the original use cases even just beyond sales and marketing is there’s just so much data and so much noise in it that you just can’t possible think about throwing enough humans at the problem to really solve it. I’m curious, Allison, as somebody I know you guys have done a lot of work in data, and we’ll get into that, especially when we dive into the stack.

That seems to be the starting point for a lot of people where it’s just like we need to figure out how to process this data using AI to sort of make it work for us. Are you seeing some of the same things?

Allison: On the marketing side most definitely. I even think of the way my team goes to market. What we’re always trying to do is really understand who our buyers are, what they’re interested in, but also make sure we are trying to cut through that noise. Even we think about partnering with our sales organization. How do we use the right tools? We do use, for today, we think about how we score and look at the behavior of our potential and current customers to make sure we’re getting at that good quality and getting people what they need and also really partnering with the sales team to be very effective.

Then, that’s one of the things we certainly look at is how do we get more efficient overall and not put just people at the challenges we’re trying to solve and really work on things that are going to make a difference, and think using things and we’re doing more with machine learning. That also helps us free up resources and the people on our teams to do more exciting things, do more ground breaking things and doing things outside the box. I think that’s one of the exciting things about it as well.

John: Okay. Allison, one thing I know you guys, and we’ll talk more about what Rapid7 does, but massive inbound website traffic is a big deal for you. What tools are you thinking about analyzing that inbound traffic and rating leads as they come in? Do you see AI being something that can help you on that front?

Allison: Most definitely. At a high level, we think of our stack and how we’re looking at our web traffic. We have a number of tools where we’re monitoring our search. Search is huge for us, as it should be for every b2b and b2c company as we think about how do you continue to attract buyers and be where the buyers are and have that rich, really good, valuable content that make people want to know more about you driving it to your site but also thinking through how do we track the efficacy of the efforts that we’re doing from a content perspective and SEO perspective, and really monitoring the competitive piece of that and then working them through.

I think overall if you look at the business that we’re in, our website is a workhorse for us. Our website does perform very well, but it’s really understanding if we think through the top of the funnel and as we’re driving people through, it’s really looking at that quality and not focusing on that quantity piece. We want to be more in the business of how are we driving one to the customers that want to engage with us already and potential buyers. Then, making sure that we’re handing that off, that those are converting into pipeline and deals. Then, we’re also able to harness the efficacy of our customers. We’re looking at that full customer life cycle. I did mention we are using Infer from a scoring perspective, and I think one of the things we’ve seen work really well for us is one, the ability to really understand who is that potential buyer and get to really right at that first onset of when people are coming in.

What’s going to be a more predictable buyer for the sales team, and one of the things we’re also starting to experiment in, which I’m very excited about, is the behavioral piece of it. Not only understanding okay, this could be a potential buyer, but what are they also doing that’s indicating their interests? Are they more ready to be passed off, or do we hold back and nurture? Really trying to get smarter about what we’re doing and how we’re going to market.

Sea n: Allison, for those who might not be familiar with Rapid7, give us the elevator pitch. Who are you guys, and what do you do? Then, I’d love to actually even learn more about your guys’ demand funnel and how people are learning about you guys.

Allison: Rapid7, we are an IT security and data analytics company. When you think about what we’re really trying to do is we’re trying to help organizations basically understand their data and transform that into insight. We’re also in an analytics business, but it’s not just about having that data at your fingertips. It’s understanding how our solutions let our end users and buyers or our customers that are IT and security practitioners collect data, prioritize that data, and be able to action that data. We are also in a very noisy market. I think everyone today talks about data and having all this data, the wealth of data, but it’s not so much about having it, because everyone provides it.

It’s what do you do with that? I think one of the things that we think about Rapid7 and what we’re in the business as is across threat exposure management and helping customers understand where they may be vulnerable but also understanding their weaknesses, understanding are the compromised? We have across our instant detection response services as well as security advisory services. Across that full gamut of understanding not just what are the types of threats that are out there and being overflowed with alerts and noise, but really what do you do with that? How do you collect? How do you prioritize, and how do you really understand what to do with that data?

Sean: I have to ask, because cyber security has been top of mind for a lot of people. I mean, I think the recent election has certainly brought that to the forefront. Are you guys seeing any sort of surge of inbound interest? I’m just curious about if you guys are seeing some action from some of the PR in something and what the sort of results, because I know that must hit a sweet spot for you guys.

Allison: Cyber security is an industry that is booming. I don’t think you can put on the news or the radio or anywhere, and everyone is talking about it. It’s certainly maturing. It’s certainly growing. It’s certainly ripe for more growth. I will say it is very noisy. I think a lot of vendors are in the business of saying a lot of the same things. One of the things that I find unique about Rapid7 is not only the solutions that we have to help customers understand their data and how to action their data in their IT and security environments, but also we have this deep knowledge of the attacker mindset. By attacker, I mean hacker mindset, and people that would be doing the breaches, looking back at our products and services. We couple that with our machine learning and analytics platform that we’re building our solutions and services upon.

In terms of the inbound perspective, I think yes, we have seen growth in terms of not only … I don’t think it’s just because cyber security is hot. I think it’s also become one of those things that’s become so important to the business, to every organization that’s out there. The cost of a breach is massive. Understanding a breach is massive, just that undertaking. It is extremely disruptive to the business. I mean, if you look at just the political arena, what’s happening now and the arguments that are happening there in terms of hacks that are happening, it’s something that is critical and it’s important. It’s something that’s gotten the attention of the executive team and the board members in wanting to understand not only let’s not get hacked, but also how secure are we? What is our security posture? How do we make sure that this doesn’t happen to us?

That’s something that I think we’ll continue to see grow.

Sean: It sounds like your buyer profile’s almost becoming a bit more proactive as in, “Hey, we better make sure that we have our house in order so we can have those preventative needs in play,” versus the other type of buyer that I’m curious. Is that reactive buyer, which is saying, “Hey, we had this problem. Now that we’re exposed, we really have to share up our house.” Do you guys kind of see, in terms of just understanding the buyer profiles, I think it’s kind of a fascinating buyer, are you seeing a mixture of both, or is it predominantly proactive these days or just curious to sort of learn more.

Allison: I think you certainly see a mix of both. I would say with security and IT practitioners in general, they are completely overwhelmed and overloaded. Their plate is so full. If you think of the enormous responsibility they have and thinking through not only their IT, but also their security. How do they make sense of all the data they have and monitoring all these systems and integrating all these systems and everything from end points to clouds and keeping those secure. It’s a lot. I think every IT and security practitioner, of course would want to be proactive, but there are always those case where they don’t always have that. They don’t have that luxury of having a dedicated security team or endless amounts of budget and resources.

I think they all understand the value of it, but they’re also always up against well, there’s budget constraints, and sometimes security budget gets cut, or IT gets cut. I think we’re seeing that evolve more and more of not only bringing security to the forefront where I think five, 10 years ago it was yeah, we might have someone in security at certain companies, but until something happened, or an event happened, they weren’t really investing, where I think now businesses are getting much smarter and understanding there is huge value there, and it’s critical. It’s important to have maturing security practice in organization. We’re seeing a lot more investment.

John: Okay. Allison, to set the stage for our listeners here too, because you guys are a publicly traded company, so you guys are operating at an order of magnitude ahead of some of the folks that we’ve talked to in the past. Before we jump into the stack, tell us a little bit about the team. How many disciplines is your marketing team covering, and what’s the staffing like? How big of an organization have you got?

Allison: You know, as we head into 2017, can’t believe it’s another year already. Time is flying. We’re just around the order back to about 50 marketing professionals globally. That’s across our demand and customer life marketing, which today in demand and sort of what my remit covers is about demand generation, business development, marketing operations, and customer marketing as well as our creative services, content marketing. We have a dedicated solutions marketing team, and they’re charged with really enabling and telling the story of Rapid7 while being hand in hand with our product’s organization on our messaging and our go to market strategy as well as our public relations, public policy, and community teams.

Then, events as well. We have certainly grown much larger in size, but no less busy even with having more people. That’s been a fun thing. We’re really at a point now where we’re starting to, the foundation has been built, and now we’re really starting to grow and scale and think about how do we 10x everything that we’re doing and really bring things to the next level, which is exciting.

Sean: Obviously, part of that is thinking about the types of technology you guys are enabling tams with. What are some of the key pieces of your stack that you guys are building?

Allison: We look across our stack, and that’s largely what my team is responsible for. I kind of think of it in the way we’re using it with the funnel, so looking at the top of our search engine optimization and using tools there today to really monitor and grow our SEO and how we go to market there. I think a big piece of what we’re doing is we are fortunate that we have a very high volume inbound model. A big piece of that being our free tools and trials under our freemium section of that, where we offer free tools and trials of our products. With security, not only did I mention there are buyers that are proactive, there are buyers that are interested. There are buyers that aren’t necessarily working for an organization and the people are just interested in tools and products and security practitioners are curious. They want to know more. They take a lot of action.

That doesn’t mean that every single one of them is going to be a good fit to convert into a paying customer. They may need just a free trial. One of the things we’ve invested heavily and spent a lot of emphasis on is now scoring our leads and being more predictive about what we work with and pass over to the sales organization. Infer is a huge piece of our stack. We’re also doing things, if you think across just how we get our go to market out in terms of pieces of content, so using webinar platforms this year we’ve invested in BrightTALK.

Not only does that give us a vehicle to host our webinars and what not, but it also is another channel for us to get out in front of potential buyers who may not know us. We’re also experimenting more with not only just on the predictive side with things like from what’s coming from inbound, but also on predictive buying types of tools when we look across our targeted accounts and where we may be missing people that we’re capturing with our inbound or retargeting or are outbound types of programs, how are we also making sure that from all the account based marketing stuff we’re doing, can we be more predictive about people who could be interested in our products and solutions?

What are they doing out in the marketplace, and can we capture those contacts in organizations to get more smart and efficient about how we acquire customers. We have our marketing automation platform in place, which to day we’re using Marketo. One of the areas we’ve also invested in there is personalization, so using Marketo’s real time personalization across our sites, so really being able to personalize the experience of when a buyer or prospect or customer is on site and how do we make sure we’re getting the right information to them? Those are some of the areas that we’ve been focusing on.

Sean: You definitely touched on one of the big buzz words that’s out there, which is ABM and account based marketing. I’ve seen some of the stuff. Actually, I caught your slide share presentation where you guys are really talking about your approach to account based marketing. I think you have a really pragmatic way of looking at it. What is your view around what’s happening in account based marketing right now since you guys have a pretty good approach. I mean, how are you approaching it, whether it’s technology or strategy interested about how you’re taking in that message beyond the hype.

Allison: Yes, that is a great point. Hype I would agree with you although it’s died down a little bit. I’ve kind of loved this notion over the past 18 months or so since ABM has become larger for marketers. It’s not anything that’s really new. Account based marketing has been around for a long time, but I think it’s more the strategy of what that go to market looks like. For us, we do have more of that pragmatic approach. It’s really working hand in hand with the sales organization to understand really starting with what’s our end goal, whether that’s helping to break further into accounts, expand our footprints in existing customer accounts, even expand our buyer profile and who the types of contacts and customers we’re targeting.

I think that’s one of the things that we’re focusing on as well I think we’ve seen great success. It’s really about having an understanding of … I think a lot of times people just jump into it and say, “We’re going to do ABM. We’re going to do account based marketing.” I think the key there is really the alignment with the sales team as well. I think if marketing is doing a lot of just the account based marketing stuff, if we’re not seeing that flow through to the sales team and how they’re utilizing that stuff, there’s going to be a lot of great effort, but it’s going to fall short.

I think really making sure that you have that alignment with your sales team is huge. Along side with the tools and how you’re measuring it, that’s a big thing. I think one of the things I’ve seen I that a lot of marketers try to do their account based marketing approach but measure it the exact same way they’re measuring everything else in marketing. That’s really where it can go downhill, because there are some efforts in ABM where the approach is we’re trying to break in and just get awareness of who you are as an organization, but your executive team or your CMO is looking for what did that convert to for MQLs or deals or pipeline.

I think being able to tell that story and quantify what the goal and the purpose is and what those results are, because I think it really is looking at measuring in a completely different way.

Sean: I agree as well. I think ABM is sort of sinking into the marketing mix. I’m curious, at Rapid7, you guys have that sort of velocity model where you have a huge amount of inbound, and then you have this ABM. Is the marketing team focused in two different directions with the strategies? Do you actually have folks who are manning each? Maybe is that an evolution that you might see with your team to sort of have teams that are specifically broken out into, say, this is going to be the account based team, and these guys are going to focus on that velocity model and leads based?

I think both are clearly very beneficial to the business, but just curious about what you’re thinking about that model.

Allison: Yeah. The way we’ve aligned it is one is we align with the business. I think you could align with the way you want to do marketing, but if it’s not aligning to how the business is aligned, it’s not really going to work. My team in particular is a bit skills based and a bit business based aligned. If we think of the top of the funnel in terms of our search, our digital marketing, that’s more of that skill base across the entire business and thinking about how do we grow website traffic? How do we capture potential buyers and customers and how to convert them.

Then, in terms of our go to market and demand teams, we’re aligned by solution area and area of the business of which we market and sell to,. Then, we have people that are responsible across the whole gamut between our base marketing, acquiring new customers, of that broad based b2b marketing as well as account based marketing and really targeting our larger accounts and being very selective about it. I think one of the ways marketers can fall short is that they spread themselves way too thin, so we’re going to do ABM and we’ll do it for 600 accounts this quarter, which if you’re doing it effectively doesn’t really work that way.

Getting agreement with the sales organization of where you’re going to focus, and then the other piece of my team is focused on the customer and everything from how do we market to our customers in both the one to one effort and more of a broad based one to many effort and advocacy. That’s been a huge piece of it and a big piece of our staff as well if we think about it. We’re using Influitive as our platform to harness more of that advocate marketing type of program as well as customer reference. That, I think, we’ve seen some huge success in. We run a program called Customer Voice. Voice Up is what we call that broader based customer advocacy program where we’re working closely with our customers.

That’s everything from engaging them on how they’re using the product to, “Hey, is anyone interested in participating on a webinar or speaking at a conference?” We’ve seen huge success there, and I think referrals and customer advocacy is just such a big critical piece of the overall demand and end funnel.

John: I wanted to step back a second too, because you were talking about the mistake of measuring your account based efforts the same as you are measuring everything else. What do you attribute that to? Is it more of just because it is the big whale hunting and you’re trying to crack these accounts and you’re just not going to get the same kind of little wins all along the way, or is there something else working there?

Allison: You know, I think in general where I see marketers struggle there is they try to measure the exact same way they measure everything else. They try to look at if their inbound funnel doesn’t convert at this rate from an MQL to a lead to a sales qualified lead to an opportunity to a deal. Where I think there are different strategies for account based marketing. I think that’s where you need to get the alignment really crystal clear. Are there certain deals where you want to influence that account? A lot of times, if you’re doing account based marketing for large accounts, it’s not going to be marketing that’s always going to take that over the finish line. These can be lengthy deal cycles, so really understanding along the journey how do you actually influence that deal? Is it bringing in through your account based marketing efforts? Is it bring in new contacts that you’ve never been in front of before, whether that’s through their inbound channel or retargeting or outbound type of marketing programs.

Is it really helping with the closing cycle of that deal? Are there certain things you’re doing, whether that’s in person or higher touch types of programs that are helping really bring it over the finish line? I think it’s understanding when you’re setting out your program how are you going to measure at different steps of the way? It all can’t be measured the same way. We do separate that out to look at what’s coming from our inbound channel, which flows through our BDR program, and then also what happens from our account based marketing, which works hand in hand with our sales organization.

Sean: I think that that’s such a huge point. I just can’t let go, because I see this all the time when I talk to a lot of these organizations. I think something I see a lot of people stuck on is this idea of attribution. If I’m running a performance marketing organization, I should be able to just take my spreadsheet and understand that my AdWords program and some of my paid advertising. I have dollars in, I have dollars out, what was my cost per lead and things like that. B2b and what’s happening with account based marketing, like you were talking about Allison, it’s a much more complicated buying center. There are multiple people involved in a buying decision.

Marketing is influencing for sure, but it’s really difficult to draw those direct line attributions because there are so many ways the chain can get broken. You can be looking at an event and then what do you do once that person attended three events and then a webinar? Who do you actually give the goal to at that point? I think that on that note, when it talks about marketing influence, I’m curious are there types of tools that you guys are using in terms of how you’re structuring your reporting and how you report that type of feedback and those success metrics back to your organization at Rapid7?

Allison: Yeah, we are very fortunate that we have a centralized reporting and data visualization tool for the entire organization. We use Domo today. From our marketing automation platform and our CRM, all of that data’s flowing in. Actually it’s pretty cool from a marketing standpoint, because not only do we have everything from the funnel, so that’s looking at everything from how many marketing qualified leads are we generating? How are they broken down by different types of categories, different types of campaigns? What does that user profile look like of how we’re engaging with them? We have a lot of really interesting data sets that we look at even as lead scores, so it’s great to see that the higher the score the higher the conversion rate, the higher the opportunity dollar, the higher the deal size as well as even if you think of ABM, we have a whole separate section of what we look at, because again, we can’t just fit in ABM to say, “Let’s measure the exact same way we measure all our inbound marketing,” because it is different.

We look at across our accounts, one of our goals is where were you at these larger accounts, but we can’t always possibly think we have every single known buyer or person that could be involved with IT or security already in our CRM. What are we doing to get in front of of those accounts? Through our efforts, how are we driving in new contacts or organizations for the sales team to engage with and for us as a marketing organization to nurture and get them more ready to become buyers. Also, looking through the efficacy of the influence of some of the more high tough campaigns that we’re doing, whether that’s direct mail and yes, it’s making a comeback. Pretty good for ABM and some of our more high touch, whether that’s a lunch and learn type of event or maybe it’s specific type of webinar program that’s just for an account.

We’re looking at that all separately. There are some things that naturally flow into the funnel and we’re able to see that too, but I think it’s important to really have a different lens across both of how you’re measuring those efforts.

Sean: I love that you touched on the direct mail piece, because literally I walked into the office this morning ,and I didn’t see a single package on my desk. I looked at a colleague and said, “Wait a minute, do you think ABM’s dead? What happened? Where’s my swag? That’s my litnus test here. *Laughing*

Allison: I don’t get enough of it. I get excited when I get real mail. *Laughing*

Sean: Yeah.

Allison: I get so much email. No one sends me anything.

Sean: Oh man. After this, you know, now the floodgates are open, Allison. You’re going to be getting all sorts of tchotchkes. I can already see the packages starting to flow. Speaking of flow, you know, the other side of the stack is that data flow, and you guys have a best practice that I loved hearing bout, that idea of centralization, because I think that when it comes to controlling data quality, the worst thing you can do is have this sprawl. When it comes to sort of choosing tools, a lot of tools are looking at more open architecture in which you really want the ability to have data flow in between the different pieces of your stack. Would you say that’s become a key buying criteria when you’re looking at new solutions that can help your team scale and be more productive?

Allison: I think it has to be. Across any industry, that’s what people don’t want to do, whether you’re in marketing, whether you’re in security, in IT, manufacturing. You don’t want to have to manage so many different tools that don’t integrate and speak together. I think that’s really the holy grail is there are many amazing tools out there for marketers, but how do they all work together so they can manage them from a central location and understand the efficacy of everything that you’re using. That’s certainly some of the things that we’re challenged with. Then, there are some times when you’re looking at tools, whether investigating buying them, and if sometimes the hard requirement is will it integrate with Marketo, or will it integrate with our CRM system?

You really need that. I think that’s a big piece of understanding the whole holistic journey of your customer and how can you be more effective at every touch point with them.

John: One thing I was going to ask, you’ve got so many leads in on the front end, how do you handle hygiene? Do you have a life cycle where you expect them to go out the back end? How does the flow work there?

Allison: What a way to think about that. From our inbound marketing perspective, and then how we’re going to market, as I mentioned before we’re lucky that we have a lot of people that are interested. We really want to get down to the quality, so data hygiene is huge. Not only are we using Infer for scoring. We’re also using tools ahead of time to append certain types of data, whether that’s company and demographic data to the both contact and account when they’re coming into our marketing automation tool before we’re flowing them over to our CRM system. That is an ongoing effort, because I think that’s definitely one thing you cannot set and forget. Even if you think of scoring, when I think of when we implemented Infer, our buyer has changed, and the industry has changed so much in the last two years.

That’s something to really always stay ahead of. In some cases, those that aren’t making their way over to our business development team, yes, we are nurturing them ,but we’re always working on effort of if we do have bad data, we want to make sure we’re taking that out of the system. That’s always an ongoing effort. Are we perfect there? No, but we’re certainly aware of it. We’re trying to make steps that we get better and better and really this yeah having a very maniacal focus on how do we really pinpoint that quality and try to get as much noise out of the systems.

Sean: As you are researching, whether it’s the next generation technology or looking at solving some challenges, I’m curious, who are your stack heroes? By that, I mean how do you keep up to date in terms of who’s pushing you to the next level? Ware there brands and colleagues you’re looking towards? Are there things you’re reading? I’m curious what you do to stay in tune with a lot of the technology that seems to be innovating, and it’s such a rapid scale every single month.

Allison: It does. That’s a great question. I wish I had more time for that stuff. *laughing*. It’s always so busy. No, I think overall it’s looking to best practices in the industry. If you think of ABM, I know that Engagio is a vendor, but I think they do a really great job of pushing out frameworks for people to stay on top of as well as Terminus particularly on the ABM side and what are people really doing in go to market. I think Hubspot still continues to be an incredible resource for marketers particularly if you think of the way you engage in social on the social channels and how you continue to build social profiles and market share buyers where they are.

Those are some of the resources that I look to and think of what else I’ve been up to lately. I read a lot of parenting blogs lately, so I’ll be honest. My time on the day job stuff has been limited.

John: Oh yeah, I can echo there. That’s a whole lot of fun reading on the family disaster side as you try to hold things together. We can transition that right over to managing trouble and challenges. What have you got in front of you? Are there any points you’re looking at right now saying, “Oh, things are tough there. I wish there was a tool that could do this,” or anything that you’re getting ready to roll out to solve some unique problems.

Allison: For us, I think that’s a larger investment on … One of the top of the funnel, again, how we think about are content marketing efficacy and how are we driving our SEO. That’s still a huge, huge … That’s always something that’s going to continue to grow as the market gets more and more competitive. How do we make sure we’re really staying ahead of that? Again, as we think about the quality, and I definitely don’t want to be in the business I think a lot of marketers chase these big, “Look how many leads we’re generating? Look at this.” It’s throwing around, which I think is great, but it’s really getting to how do we get to the quality and the right buyer. For us, that’s really continuing to really push the boundaries on working through the quality that comes in, how we score that.

Two years ago, it was like, “We don’t need behavioral score, we don’t need it,” because understanding what this predictive model we gets to, like who the buyer is. I think as we evolve, we’ve gotten down to a size where we’re like, “Hey, we have a good predictability of who the buyer is.” That doesn’t necessarily mean those convert, and now we want to even get more sophisticated of what are they doing and how do we really understand how to market to them and when and put them through the funnel and when they’re ready to be handed over to business development, to be a more likely ready for purchase or into the sales funnel.

Those are some of the things I’m really focusing on. I think also advocacy. That’s another thing. I think one of the areas we really invested in is our customer reference program and our advocacy program and how do we continue to scale and grow that and harness that advocacy and looking across the whole customer life cycle. Those are some of the areas that I’m really focused on this year.

John: That sounds good. Allison, if people want to lean more about Rapid7 or get in touch with you to talk about the stack, what’s the best way to learn more?

Allison: You can learn more about Rapid7 at our website, Get in touch with me, I can be reached on LinkedIn or twitter. My handle is @allib1121

John: All right, and Sean, how about for you, anything big to plug this week or other things you’ve got to tell us about?

Sean: No. I have a couple of good op-eds that are coming out that certainly you can grab over on the twitter. Of course, you can do an old fashioned google search of Sean Zinsmeister. You can find all my good stuff there. Of course, if you want to learn more about the other stuff we have going on in AI and predictive, is a great resource there.

John: All right. That sounds good. You can find out more from me over at, and of course we do appreciate if you swing on over to iTunes, give us a review over there for Stack and Flow. I’ll be sending over baskets of baked good both to Sean and Allison at the end of this show-

Allison: Yes.


John: -as part of our account based management support.

Allison: I like chocolate.

John: Always on top of it.

Sean: Can I trade mine for socks? We’re in the storm here in the northwest, and I got wet feet, man. I could use some reinforcements.

Allison: Yeah, and I don’t like paper goods. Do not send me paper. If you sent me direct mail and paper goods, I’m not going to be happy about it.

*More Laughing*

John: That will do it for this show. We will see you in the stacks. Thanks for listening.

John Wall

John Wall

John J. Wall speaks, writes and practices at the intersection of marketing, sales, and technology. He is the producer of Marketing Over Coffee, a weekly audio program that discusses marketing and technology with his co-host Christopher S. Penn, and has been featured on iTunes.

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