This week on The Digital Conversations Podcast, Billy Bateman is joined by Jackie Lipnicki, Account Executive at New Relic. Jackie outlines some creative marketing plays that have proved effective in the ever-changing tech landscape.
Guest: Jackie has vast experience in bot SDR and Account Executive Roles; most recently at New Relic, who provides performance tracking for engineers. Connect with her on LinkedIn here.
Billy: All right, everyone. Welcome to the show today, I am your host, Billy Bateman. And today I am joined by Jackie Lipnicki, an Account Executive at New Relic. And she’s got some very interesting strategies to share with us. Jackie, thank you for joining the show.
Jackie: Thank you for having me. Happy to be here.
Billy: Yeah, we’re excited to have you. And before we get going, if you can just tell us a little bit about yourself and about New Relic?
Jackie: Sure. So I started out as an SDR I moved my way up through the chain. Eventually was an SDR manager for a while. And now I’ve been an Account Executive for the last year and a half or so. I’m currently at New Relic.
And for those of you who don’t know what New Relic is, ultimately, we are working with IT professionals basically to make sure that they have digital experiences that work for their customers. So when you and I are engaging with software, we want it to work well. And so we help them to do that.
Billy: Okay, so so let’s get into it. And when we talked about doing a podcast, one of the things you mentioned that was super interesting to me, and I think will be interesting to the audience, is you at a previous company, you guys deployed a quiz to call strategy. And I’d love for you to just share how that worked and what the results were there.
Jackie: Yeah, so my first job I ever worked for was in the tech space was a content marketing plays company. They build interactive content. One of those things were quizzes, assessments. And for us, as a sales team, we would basically leverage those quizzes and send those out to our prospects, and they would fill out a series of questions. They were often times fun, and light hearted, and kind of like a BuzzFeed style of if you were, whatever industry you’re selling to, if you were this kind of whatever, what would you be if you did this? What would you look like?
And then we throw in some hard-hitting questions that were more in line with what we needed as far as what’s your maturity level in this space. So at the end of the quiz, we would get all the results back, and it would give us as SDRs, and as account executives, the ability to go and then target the people that we could see were answering questions that clearly have painted a line to what we could solve for.
And so an example might be that if you’re a demand gen marketer working for the IT security space, you might ask some questions, like “if you were a security system, which would you be”, “if you were trying to figure out where your weaknesses are, what would you say are your biggest weaknesses”, “if you were this or that”, and so those questions, would kind of surface up some great answers for us and help us with our targeted messaging.
Billy: Yeah. So as a sales rep, I’m learning about this, if I’m a prospect, I get a quiz. Yeah, might fill that out, more likely than respond to a cold email to say, Hey like, we’ve got this great solution for you. You know, not that I’m, I’ve never responded to a cold email. But uh, I mean, we all know like, he rarely respond to those things. But a quiz, I would probably fill out if I thought it was pertinent to me. Now, on the SDR side of things, I could see the huge benefit being, you’ve got some relevant information. And the timing was right there. Because I feel like timing is almost everything in sales.
Jackie: I think it is really great from a timing perspective. But it also does a really good job, especially if the quiz is done right of having strong brand awareness. Because now that person who’s been through a quiz has already seen your logo. They’ve already gotten familiar with you. They’ve already decided that there’s some level of trust and credibility, and their intrigued. So when they get this phone call, and it’s from Jackie Lipnicki, at New Relic, and they just took a quiz with New Relic yesterday. And I know the things that they’re struggling with. It’s much more exciting and impactful for that prospect to say, yeah, I’ll give you a shot. I’ll hear you out. I’m interested. Obviously. That’s why I took the quiz in the first place.
Billy: Yeah, yeah. Awesome. Okay. Well, I love that idea. I think it’s an awesome strategy. People can try it. I think I might try to get our marketing plays team to do it. We have to figure out a good quiz. So when you guys were making these quizzes, you mentioned it was like a mix of like fun questions, and then the questions with the information that you guys needed? Where did you strike the balance there?
Jackie: It really depends on the tone of your company and what you’re trying to accomplish. So there are quizzes, which are typically like under five questions, they’re usually pretty light and are more for top of funnel, just generating that awareness. Then do assessments which are a little bit more mid funnel, which is when you’re really just kind of going and you’re asking 25 questions and trying to get a little bit more serious.
One quiz we did at my last company we were we basically helped small medium businesses with their blogging strategy. And so we made a quiz that was how mature is your blogging strategy? Would you say that you’re a seed, a little plant or a full-grown tree? Would you say that your blogging strategy is mostly sending an email once a week, once a month, or once a year?
And so some of the questions for us just gave us insight into what they were currently doing. But for them, it was also fun to be like, oh, what am I mature? Am I this, am I that? So the questions were a little more well-rounded to be engaging and user friendly.
Billy: Yeah, it’s like the HubSpot thing, I think they still do it, the Website Grader, like, you’re gonna get a grade, you’re gonna see where you fit. That’s why you plug it in, they get a lead, and they’ll start nurturing you.
But I like the offer, see where you are, where you stack up. It’s a great way, I think, to engage people with the just a low entry point, and not a high commitment of, Hey, I’m going to email this sales rep back, and then they’re going to try to sell me. Like, let me just do the quiz. And then you guys can determine, does this look like they’re a fit, and then we can start some outreach. And they’re also somewhat familiar with this already.
Jackie: Yeah. And it’s really good. It’s just a really good way to bridge that gap between sales and marketing, because marketing plays is trying to bring in the right leads and sales and trying to work the right leads. And so this does a really good job of bringing in a handful of qualified people. And then simultaneously letting the SDRs and I ease qualify from a high level, do they match our criteria? Should I work this? Is this worth my time?
Billy: Yeah, yeah. So it was marketing plays, just giving you the list of everyone who replied, and then you guys chose who you reached out to? Or did it just show up in your outreach sequences or your Xant playbooks, whatever you guys were using?
Jackie: Um, I think it definitely depends on how the quizzes are built. So I used to work for a company called Ion Interactive, they were a content marketing platform, and we built these quizzes. So for them, as people responded, they could actually take the results, push them straight into our Salesforce as new leads, and we could work them that way.
Simultaneously, when I was working at SalesLoft and Macia, we would just more so use those quizzes in our outreach sometimes to generate cold outreach and get people to actually respond, or from an inbound prospective, marketing plays would blast those out. And then they would send the leads over to us and depending on how they created the quizzes, either as lead files or actually get that data straight into Salesforce, depending on if they used it or if it was homegrown.
Billy: Okay, all right. Um, great. Is there anything else you want to cover on this before we move on to our next our next topic?
Jackie: The only thing I’ll say is, if your demand gen listener, and you’re building one of these quizzes, make sure that you can capture the data and the answer. So that way you can arm your sales reps to be more effective.
Billy: Awesome, awesome. Okay, so the next thing we want to talk about, and this one I thought was interesting as well, was take making the shift as a sales team from working very small accounts to a larger targeted list. And you guys are in the middle of this transition right now. So I thought it would be interesting to get your perspective and see how it’s going and what you guys are learning along the way.
Jackie: Yeah, so it’s an interesting shift, we previously would be able to have different sized packages, and therefore we could sell to pretty much anyone. The best example I can give you is we used to be an auto parts shop. You could come in and just buy your brakes or just buy your steering wheel. Now we’re selling you the whole car. It’s a very different mentality. It’s obviously a lot more valuable. If you can have that car that’s going to get you from point A to point B, but people are used to coming to us for much smaller buys, much more transactional, much less strategic partners.
What we’ve had to do from a selling standpoint is really switch up the way that we are considering the accounts that we’re going after. And in my segment in particular, we’re selling to employee sizes, zero to 250. So there’s no longer just put everybody into a cadence and spray and pray and hope that people need a part of this are going to respond. It’s much more laser focused. These are the companies that we actually think can spend 100 grand, our minimum is 25K, let’s target those people.
So that way, even if they want to start small, we’re still going to be within their range, because it doesn’t make sense for us to go for the people that there’s that stretch fit, maybe there’s that off chance that they’re like we’ll go all in day one and just spring for that minimum because that’s all we can do to test this out.
Billy: Awesome. Awesome. So what have you guys found? What’s working well for you as you’re making the shift? And is there anything you’ve tried that just didn’t work, or we haven’t figured out how to make it work yet.
Jackie: Um, qualification has become a huge game changer. I mean, we used to just kind of talk to anyone. And it was like, alright, there’s a chance we can get them to buy something, we’ll keep talking with them, we’ll get them to do a little test here, try something there. Whereas now, it’s been much more of a laser focus with looking at things like Crunchbase and seeing who’s getting funding on a regular basis, and targeting the people that have in their press release, these are strategic initiatives you’re working on. And we know that there’s alignment.
Simultaneously, I would say using LinkedIn Salesmap has been huge. Because I actually go through and I sell to developers, engineers, and basically the IT world. So now I look and I see, okay, am I seeing that at least 20% of their org is built up of engineers, because that gives me guidance, that they’re actually investing in their engineers, that’s a huge part of their team, those people need support, and there’s a likelihood that they will give them budget, versus a 200 person company that has two engineers, they’re probably thinking of them in a lower tier and aren’t getting the same degree of resources.
Billy: Agreed, great. So one thing we’ve worked with a lot of companies and as consultants and seeing companies go through this shift myself, where it’s much smaller package to all the sudden we’re getting a lot more targeted, moving up market. And we’ve seen there a lot of benefits, but it’s just a hard transition sometimes to make. So as a sales rep, where you you’re going from, hey, I can work like anything within my territory.
To man, I’ve only got like a quarter of the possible deals that I used to have, how are you adjusting? Has the team adjusted to being much more targeted and what they’re doing on a daily basis? Is that is that going? Well, because I think you can make a lot more money by going up market as a rep. But you just got to be more deliberate in what you’re doing is what I’ve seen.
Jackie: Exactly. Um, so actually, it was watching the movie. Hidden Figures last night about the women who we’re helping NASA, and the woman every day, basically, is crunching numbers. And then she goes and she runs up to her boss at the end of the day and says. I’ve come up with this great formula. I’m so excited, we’re going to land on the moon. And he says, actually we learned some new piece of information later this afternoon. All your everything you’ve done today is irrelevant. They’re moving at such a fast pace that she can’t keep up. And so she has to whatever, that’s a movie.
But in tech, I was like, this is so relevant to us, because what happened and what worked for you last week, really might not. And especially if you’re in the tech industry, and tech sales, you have to be mentally prepared for the fact that your company can change strategy on a dime because things are moving very quickly in this industry. And over the course of 6-12 months, you can change the way that you go to market, you can change the way you prospect, the way that you qualify. So I do think there’s a mental awareness you have to have going into this industry that you better be somebody that adapts and learns quickly. I think, to your point, on our team, there were some people that recognized the tech moves pretty quickly. This is not necessarily what they want to do.
And they left the industry. And I think that there are other people that see this as a real opportunity. Luckily, at New Relic, we have different segments, and we see our enterprise reps getting their seven figure W2s and we watch that presentation. I think for us, we’re starting to see this as our foot in the door to get out of transactional, and we’re going to get more focused on really being a consultative partner. It’s making it a lot better for our long term ability to have great careers.
Billy: Awesome, awesome. Yeah, I think selling bigger deals. It’s a little different skill set, but I don’t feel like personally, I’ve done small deals, I’ve done big deals, I think it’s almost the same amount of work. It’s just a different kind of work.
Jackie: It’s actually been interesting I found in oftentimes it’s actually less work. Only because at least for us with some of the smaller vendors we were working with and smaller businesses, they needed a lot more hand holding and they would ask you 10 times, can you find this document, how do I set this up? Can you help me configure this?
Can you help me with that? And I was like, no, dude, you’re spending like $100 a month go find it yourself. And now some of these more sophisticated companies that have more technical people. That are used to doing things on their own. Are mentally trained to just be able to do more with their engineering teams. These people are more willing to do a lot of the work on their own. Dig through the documents and only come to us when there’s really something that’s a challenge instead of they didn’t want to look for it.
Billy: Yeah, no, that’s for sure. supporting them is almost, it’s almost easier to support an enterprise customer actually. Once they’re up and going that kind of just run it themselves. So awesome. Awesome. Oh, wait, is there anything I should have asked you, Jackie, that I haven’t, before we wrap up?
Jackie: I think I’m good. I feel like for anyone who’s listening, I came from an SDR background moved to SDR manager moved to AE. And what’s been pretty exciting in my career is understanding how important it is for all of those different functions to work together. And working with enablement and working with whoever. I think I would just say that, like, take advantage of the opportunities that you have to work more closely with people on your team. Get the experience that they have, and then use that in order to really take everybody to the next level. Because everybody brings some unique experience and can definitely help expedite the process.
Billy: Yeah, I agree. Teamwork across all the different functions and marketing plays and sales like, the more you’re aligned, the more effective everyone’s going to be. Ok, Jackie, thank you so much. And if people want to reach out and continue the conversation, what’s the best way for them to contact you?
You can just go to find me on LinkedIn. I pretty much add everybody who’s tries to connect with me, and it’s just Jackie Lipnicki. And I’m working at New Relic. And you can reach out to me there and if we decide that it makes sense to move the conversation to phone or email, we can always do that as well.
Billy: Thanks, Jackie.
Jackie: Sure, thank you for having me.