Today, we’re talking about demand generation, zero meeting days, and marketing tools with Sabel Harris of Contactually. This interview is part of the How Marketers Work series, which explores how marketers get inspired, stay productive, and generate results, and how you can do the same!
Sabel is the Director of Demand Generation for Contactually. Although she spends most of her time with marketing, she throughly enjoys great cups of coffee, and watching re-runs of Top Chef.
If you’re not familiar with Contactually, it is a web-based CRM tool that will help you maximize your network ROI, get more referrals and gain more repeat business. I’m a huge fan of the product and highly recommend it to anyone who’s looking to improve the strength of their network.
In fact, even after just a few days of testing it, I was seeing results:
Started using @Contactually a few days ago just to test it out, and new referrals from old contacts are already coming in. Great product.
— Nicholas Scalice (@nscalice) October 8, 2015
Okay, let’s jump into the marketing conversation with Sabel!
How would you explain specifically what you do as a marketer?
Demand Generation is a fancy term for “top of the funnel marketing” and that’s what I do here at Contactually. As the Director of Demand Generation, I lead all of the top of funnel aspects which include social media, SEO, content marketing, partnerships, PR, word-of-mouth things, events, etc.
My job is to fill the top of the funnel with leads that will turn into users, which then turns into revenue for the company. Whether it’s writing a blog post or optimizing a page for SEO purposes, I make sure that we have a steady stream of people finding out about Contactually.
Which new skills are most important for marketers to learn in the next six months?
The first skill that I am trying to learn myself is data science and I’m planning on taking a General Assembly Data Science course. With the tools and platforms that marketers have available to them, we have an amazing opportunity to harness this data and turn the analysis to actionable, insightful techniques to drive more success into our companies.
Even though I’m an advocate for marketers learning about data and using data to make better marketing decisions, I think it’s already a given that everyone should be “data-driven.” Something all marketers should learn and be much more aware of is something that goes back to our roots as marketers. We should be Revenue-Driven first with support from data-driven initiatives.
Marketing makes a direct contribution to the overall revenue for the company. Revenue shows us our ROI impact, whether its if users are identifying the brand positively, and/or if social media campaign gained more leads. The list isn’t limited to those things, but a marketer shouldn’t just measure the the success of of a campaign based on metrics, we all should look at the revenue component. Marketers need to gain even more skills to determine the overall revenue they are contributing.
What do you find most rewarding about marketing?
What I find most rewarding is when I write about a certain problem or topic, I love being able to have others solve what challenge they are facing with that blog post or white paper that I wrote or helped with.
I’m going to cheat a little on this question by saying that I also find that the overall change that happens in marketing is just as rewarding. Things I did two years ago are completely different now, and although it can be frustrating, I thrive off of the change. It keeps me on my toes and I think it helps cultivate us all into even better marketers.
How do you stay updated with the latest marketing industry news?
I read a lot and I also have a to research a ton for pieces of content that I’m writing. I use an app called Feedly where I’ve added all of the different sources I find the best marketing news from. I also use Facebook and LinkedIn for content consumption. Facebook’s newsfeed, for better or for worse, is pretty sophisticated, especially for the content it chooses to show you on your newsfeed. I read an article about how a reporter tested a theory on clicking on all things related to one topic on her Facebook feed and then her feed started to only show her those things. I use the same theory when clicking on things in my own feed.
As a marketer, what is your favorite productivity hack?
One of my productivity hacks is to have one day out of the week where no meetings can happen. For a while my calendar was jam-packed with meetings to the point where I didn’t have any time to even answer email. Now, I make one day out of the week a ZERO meeting day. On those zero meeting days, I can catch-up on email and do the things that I may not have gotten to on other days. It allows me to focus better and really get back into the things I love doing as a marketer.
Are there any particular marketing trends on the horizon that really excite you?
I’m not sure if it’s a trend, but I’m really into the psychological aspects and neuroscience things that are entrenched in marketing. I love studying how people think, why people make the decisions about products, and the different triggers that cause different emotions. Most of my book selections, podcast, and blogs I consume are centered around this.
What are some of the top tools and apps in your marketing stack?
Which one book would you recommend every marketer should read?
The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do In Life and Business is an excellent book to read. Duhigg breaks down why habits exist, what causes a habit, how people can form good habits, and how to achieve success with habits. In this book, there are clear takeaways marketers can use in their day-to-day and ways to transform various processes for the better.
What advice would you share with other marketers who want to become more productive?
Prioritize! It’s definitely easier said than done; however, we, as marketers, usually have a laundry list of things to do and have a lot to accomplish, but since marketing touches a lot of different parts of the company it can be easy to get bogged down with a bunch of different tasks. Figure out what is most important, tackle that and then move down the list in the order of importance.
Connect with Sabel
Oh, and be sure to give Contactually a try. They offer a free, 30-day trial. Let me know how it goes!
The How Marketers Work series asks marketers from around the world to share their greatest productivity tips, tricks, and tools. Do you know someone who should be interviewed, or do you have specific questions you’d like to see answered? Let’s chat.