SalesLoft CMO Sydney Sloan is sitting in her company’s Atlanta offices on a Monday evening admiring the city skyline. That’s where she caught up with John Henry for WeWork’s Up At Night podcast to talk shop—B2B marketing that is—for a company that’s experienced amazing hypergrowth over the past year.
SalesLoft is a leading sales engagement platform built for sales teams to help them engage with their clients. Customers like IBM, Facebook and Zoom are using SalesLoft to build their pipeline and generate more revenue. Working out of WeWork offices in New York, San Francisco, London, and Guadalajara, SalesLoft has seen more revenue in the last quarter than they did in the first five years of the company.
But scaling and growing 100% year over year comes with its own set of challenges, and sitting in the middle of all this growth is Sydney Sloan—a veteran marketer with a laser lock on revenues. Here’s how Sloan stays on top of this hypergrowth and delivers on company goals:
Always focus on hitting growth targets
For Sloan, the scariest part of growth is continuing to deliver on the numbers. “You talk about the role of a CMO and all the facets of my responsibility, but at the end of the day, revenue is the thing that counts the most.” She knows how much pipeline they need to generate in order to scale, and how to look for the gaps and attack them in a short amount of time. And that means constantly fine-tuning her team’s strategy.
Innovate, but don’t be afraid to milk what works
Sloan’s philosophy is “more” isn’t always the answer—whether that’s more features added to the product or more marketing tactics. She believes in innovation, but she also advises, “Don’t be afraid to milk what’s working.” If you find a program that works, “Get as much out of it as you can, until its very juice is squeezed out of it.”
Marketing for a fast-growing company means that change is a constant, but Sloan has been in the business long enough to know that everything old is new again. Direct mail, for example, has been working great for SalesLoft. “The pendulum has swung so far that everything digitally is noise… there’s too much email now we’re going to direct mail… and it works, great!”
Get aligned, then move forward
Sloan is part of a leadership team with strong opinions, which inevitably means they sometimes butt heads. She says, “Trust is key to a healthy debate. We need to get past what’s being said to get to the heart of the matter.” With the CEO, she uses what they call “clearing sessions” to hash out differences of opinion and to talk through frustrations. It may take a few days to clear the air, but she firmly believes in moving on. “At the end of those debates, we agree, align and move forward… I may agree or disagree, but I’ve learned it’s better to be aligned sometimes than to be right,” says Sloan.
What’s keeping Sloan up at night?
This interview took place as part of WeWork’s Up At Night podcast, and on the day that Sloan caught up with John Henry, there was one thing keeping her up: a high-performing employee resigned that day, and she was disappointed in the outcome. “When I was talking to her, you know we were reflecting on what could have gone differently.” She asked, “What did you learn? What did I learn? And then you know, what do we take from that.” What Sloan didn’t do was try to save her on her way out. In fact, she cautions against offering an employee a promotion or more money when they threaten to leave. “If that person was ready to go, they’ll end up going later.”
What’s her plan to move on?
Sloan says in the episode that she’s meeting with the team leader for dinner to discuss next steps in the employee’s absence. Their plan is to talk it out over a salad and a glass of wine at their local Whole Foods. They’ll spend the time reflecting on how to take the team to the next level and start executing on that plan.
She also says she’s spending more time thinking big picture about her own life and what she’ll be doing in a few years when she becomes an empty nester. “I’m working on finding what my purpose is,” she says. “What am I going to do next that’s meaningful.”