“All the business results are there. But there's a totally different spirit and feeling that has permeated the department because people understand how to work together and what to do.”
Scott Marshall, SVP Marketing, ConnectWise
ConnectWise (CW) produces the #1 worldwide business management platform for technology solution providers (TSP). Seeking improved demand gen performance and a big picture perspective, Scott Marshall, SVP, Marketing, engaged Chief Outsiders’ Angus Robertson as fractional CMO. Robertson quickly identified the demand gen challenges and worked to unify the marketing team and messaging around four critical conversations while simplifying operations, and campaigns. Strong first quarter results, including increased leads and an expanded pipeline validate the approach while the department reports greatly improved morale.
Demand Gen and Big Picture Needs
ConnectWise (CW) seeks to empower technology solution providers (TSP) to realize their vision of success. The market-leading software platform is used by more TSPs around the world than any other. Acquired two years ago by PE firm, Thoma Bravo, the company looks to accelerate growth.
Scott Marshall, SVP Marketing, in conjunction with CRO, Clint Maddox, recognized that the demand gen function wasn't meeting expectations. With an added concern for building a strategy that would unify marketing, they sought outside help. “We needed demand gen expertise, but also someone that could see the big picture and could come up to speed quickly in our industry,” he related.
Marshall talked with Sirius Decisions, a well-known marketing advisory service. At the same time, Maddox initiated an executive recruitment activity to replace the recently-departed VP of Demand Gen.
Around that same time, Angus Robertson, Fractional CMO at Chief Outsiders, came to Marshall’s attention highly recommended. A recent sales leader hire had worked with Robertson at a company that operates in the same space. “The referral network was very positive,” stated Marshall.
Get to Excellent
“We were looking for someone who could get into the operational weeds with us and quickly understand where we were and help us optimize to get to excellent,” continued Marshall. “We liked the operational attributes that we saw in Chief Outsiders.”
“We were also very attracted to the idea that they bring a holistic approach, but that we could also tap into specific expertise with any individual. They have a deep bench.”
Directly Applicable Experience
Robertson began the engagement with an intimate understanding of CW’s market space. His experience and previous learning were directly applicable and transferable to ConnectWise.
To get the ball rolling, he held an on-site demand gen meeting with the goal of identifying and aligning on the underlying challenges in the company’s marketing demand programs.
Demand gen challenges identified:
- CW demand gen programs were not delivering the required volume of leads.
- The company lacked a clear voice to the market.
- Marketing believed CW needed a campaign for everything leading to a lot of product-specific activity without an overarching strategy
- Too many campaigns, landing pages, paid ads, and too much noise.
- CW needed to simplify and consolidate to execute better.
Assessments and Workshops
Robertson performed a general marketing evaluation and a full assessment of the digital marketing and demand gen efforts. “He leveraged a lot of Chief Outsiders resources, providing a very complete and rigorous readout,” said Marshall. “It was all remote but very interactive.”
Among other activities, he led team workshops for reviewing past performance, determining optimal product-market fit, and brainstorming go-forward campaigns. “He operated in a manner that made you feel that he was a full-time employee. We were aggressive in taking his time, and we never felt like we didn't have access to his help when we needed it.”
Critical Conversations and Simplification
A key pivot point and a huge epiphany for CW was identifying the critical marketing messages they needed to dominate their markets.
“We needed to communicate with those market segments more effectively,” reported Marshall. “So, we built our credibility and stories around four critical conversations, the canvas of our messaging content.”
The other key was simplification. Robertson helped the marketing department think through the simplification process to get them to maximum efficiency and unified them around the four critical conversations.
“Angus forced us to look critically at all the things that we do and winnow out those that weren't pulling their weight. And the handful of things that were working well, we reinvigorated with the critical conversations epiphany.”
To increase leads, CW also created program owners with a clear understanding of how their program contributes to the pipeline. “Angus helped create the rigor around how those individuals look at their business,” stated Marshall. “That allows the executive team to understand weekly how they are contributing.”
With program ownership tied to outcome, CW is building measurement that supports what the program owners need to be effective. “And Chief Outsiders is helping us to visualize the data models that support them in those roles,” added Marshall.
Maturity, Respect, and Improved Morale
“Overall, it was a pleasure working with him,” he continued. “His style is based on maturity and respect for the individuals he’s working with. He fully understands what they are capable of and gives them plenty of credit for all the good things that they've done.”
“Angus has been a breath of fresh air at ConnectWise,” added Heather DeCubellis, new Director of Demand Gen. “You can tell that our team is all-in on the pipeline building mission, and it's really helped build morale. We love working with Angus!”
Excellent Q1 Results
Solid evidence of success validates the new approach. “We've already seen a tremendous turnaround in attention from our markets with increased web traffic and qualified leads,” Marshall reported.
- ABM influenced 151 opportunities generating $4.6M in pipeline vs $0 in Q4
- Alyce outreach influenced $1.2M in pipeline vs $300K in Q4
- Webinar registrations increased 379% to 6,200+ creating 217 opportunities
- PPC results increased 118% with $5.7M in pipeline
- Organic website traffic grew 23% with form submission leads up 18%
Increased Performance and Efficiency
Robertson’s approach integrated and unified the marketing organization. “Everyone had a feeling of euphoria because we'd been struggling and feeling compartmentalized,” Marshall related. “Turning on the vision of how we could all connect was instrumental in feeling great.”
That unity helped CW get to the next level. “He has an ability to bring silos together,” explained Marshall. “He brought frameworks and ways of building marketing messaging that can link all the different marketing channels in an effective way.”
Seeing the payoff from simplification, CW is also becoming more efficient. “The leverage on our effort is much greater,” explained Marshall. “We're doing fewer but better things and getting better results.”
10 Out of 10
The fractional CMO concept earns high marks from Marshall. “I give it a 10 out of 10, and I would repeat the process,” he stated. “Working with Chief Outsiders is like having a group of expert advisors that are also your operational partners.”
“You could not go wrong,” he continued. “You will undoubtedly find that your business improves. and the colleagues associated with the engagement would be highly pleased with the interaction and collaboration.”
“It’s a fantastic operational play to leverage an organization that has gone through the hard knocks of experience. It was a huge accelerant in getting our teams up to speed on what we needed to do across the different silos of our messaging.”
Business Results and More
And there’s more… as Marshall put it, “All the business results are there. But there's a totally different spirit and feeling that has permeated the department because people understand how to work together and what to do.”
“As their leader, that's been the most meaningful to me. People feel they are part of a bigger whole, understand their role clearly, and feel respected as others recognize their contributions. That is the condition that Angus has provided.”