Revenue Rehab: It's like therapy, but for marketers
Nov. 30, 2022

Gated vs Non-Gated Content: Taking Sides on the Issue

This week our host Brandi Starr is joined by Wendy White and Jaime Romero in a conversation centered around Gated vs Non-Gated Content: Taking Sides on the Issue. Wendy is the CMO at Daxko and Jaime is the Vice President of Corporate Marketing at...


This week our host Brandi Starr is joined by Wendy White and Jaime Romero in a conversation centered around Gated vs Non-Gated Content: Taking Sides on the Issue. Wendy is the CMO at Daxko and Jaime is the Vice President of Corporate Marketing at Fortinet.

With an agile mindset of a start-up CMO combined with the broad operational, financial depth of a F100 executive, and as a high-tech marketing expert, Wendy White’s business acumen combined with her technical expertise is a 1 - 2 punch. She drives tangible business, revenue, and brand results, transforming and revitalizing teams, building marketing functions from the ground up, and leads through change.

A data driven and a people-centric marketing leader with a focus on business outcomes, Jaime Romero is currently Vice President of Corporate Marketing at Fortinet (FTNT) driving brand and demand. With over 15 years of marketing experience, he builds high performing marketing teams and is constantly on the lookout for great talent.
           
Be sure to listen in to this week’s episode, where on the couch Brandi, Wendy, and Jaime, they deliberate opposite sides of strategies, benefits, and pitfalls around Gated vs Non-Gated Content: Taking Sides on the Issue. 

Bullet Points of Key Topics + Chapter Markers:

  • Topic #1 To Gate or Not to Gate? [05:24] Jamie asserts that as a B2B marketing organization, your role on your website is to drive qualified interests and prospects, so gating makes sense. Alternatively, Wendy cautions that gating can lead to vanity MQL (Marketing Qualified Lead) metrics which can be problematic.
  • Topic #2 What is High Intent and What is High Value? [12:10] Brandi asks both guests – how do you determine what to gate? Jamie says you should always start with asking “what is driving demand?”. Wendy agrees to an extent, emphasizing the need to be thoughtful: “what is the journey that audience is on? How can I create a great compelling brand experience through that gating” she says.
  • Topic #3 Alignment of Sales and Marketing and Gating [31:04] Gating content is a strategy to build your database, says Jamie and “marketing is to some degree, a vendor or an agency for sales to supply them with a funnel of leads” which will inform how you approach your gating strategy. Wendy asserts site conversion and lead volume are critical, but the key to alignment is that both marketing and sales are on the same page.

So, What's the One Thing You Can Do Today?

“Understand your content portfolio and your content strategy,” says Wendy and select the high-quality pieces that will be your anchor.
Jaime’s one thing is that you can do today is to hone in on your metrics to find what is working and what is not.

Buzzword Banishment:

Wendy’s Buzzword to Banish the expression ‘self-attribution’. “I kind of equate it to being like an eyewitness in a crime. It's never quite what it seems” says Wendy.  

Jaime’s Buzzword to Banish is more conceptual than a word or expression.  “B2B companies becoming media agencies or media companies” simply due to the content they are putting out is misguided he shares. “I think the business of being a media company is not the business of a software company…That mindset has to go”.

Links:

Get in touch with Wendy White on:

Get in touch with Jaime Romero on:

Subscribe, listen, and rate/review Revenue Rehab Podcast on Apple PodcastsSpotifyGoogle Podcasts , Amazon Music, or iHeart Radio and find more episodes on our website RevenueRehab.live

Transcript

[0:06] Intro:

Welcome to Revenue Rehab, your one stop destination for collective solutions to the biggest challenges faced by marketing leaders today. Now head on over to the couch, make yourself comfortable and get ready to change the way you approach revenue. Leading your recovery is modern marketer, author, speaker and Chief Operating Officer at Tegrita, Brandi Starr.

[0:35] Brandi Starr:   

Hello, hello, hello and welcome to another episode of Revenue Rehab. I am your host Brandi Starr and we have another amazing episode for you today, I am joined by two really impressive guests, Wendy White and Jamie Romero. Wendy has the agile mindset of a startup CMO, combined with the broad operational and financial depth of an F100. Executive. As a high tech marketing expert, her business acumen combined with her technical expertise is a one-two punch. Wendy drives tangible business revenue and brand results, transforms and revitalizes teams, builds marketing functions from the ground up and leads through change. Jamie is a data driven and people centric marketing leader, with a focus on business outcomes. Currently vice president of corporate marketing at Fortinet, driving brand and demand. With over 15 years of marketing experience, Jamie builds high performing marketing teams and is constantly on the look for great talent. Wendy, Jamie, welcome to Revenue Rehab; your session begins now. 

[01:51] Jaime Romero:  

Thank you.

[1:51] Wendy White:    

Yeah, great to be here.

[1:53] Brandi Starr:   

Awesome! I am so excited to have you guys and to talk to both of you. I know you're kind of on opposing sides of our topic today, but before we jump into that, I always like to break the ice with a woosah moment that I call buzzword. banishment. So Wendy, I will start with you what buzzword would you like to banish forever?

[2:18] Wendy White:  

Alright, I'm going to pick one that is related to dark funnel and not knowing where your customers are coming from, which is self-attribution.

[2:36] Brandi Starr:  

Yeah, that one is one that every time I've heard, I'm like, what does that really mean?

[2:42] Wendy White:    

Well, I kind of equate it to being like an eyewitness in a crime. It's never quite what it seems.

[2:52] Wendy White:    

That's a good analogy. So we're going to put the eyewitness in the box, and we are not going to talk about self-attribution. Okay Jamie, what about you?

[3:06] Jaime Romero:   

So, the one thing I've seen, I don't know, it's necessarily a buzzword, but I hear on LinkedIn a lot people talking about b2b companies becoming media agencies or media companies, because of the content we're putting out there. And I just don't necessarily agree with that. I do think content marketing is important. I think companies need to be forward thinking and thought leaders in their industries. But I think the business of being a media company is not the business of a software company, or whatever business or market you're selling into. So I think changing that mindset has to go.

[3:43] Brandi Starr:   

So what are you saying? Media is not the new content marketing? Is that not the thing? Yeah, that is one that I do hear a lot. And it's like, yeah, just because you do certain things that are related to media doesn't make you a media company. Just like we have sales that occasionally does marketing activities, and we know that doesn't make them a marketer. We will put both of those into the box, and we at least for this conversation, won't talk about self-attribution or becoming a media company. And so now that we've gotten that off our chest, we are going to kind of battle it out when it comes to gated versus non-gated. And I think this is a conversation, being a consultant I work with a lot of different marketing leaders. And this is one of those things that they're like, we should gate everything because we're doing all this work. And if we don't gate it what happens then? And you know, a lot of the industry reports are saying like, no, you should not gate anything. And if you put it out there, people will come. And it's always a really uncomfortable conversation that tends to be really polarizing. So I will start by asking each of you for an intention. It gives us focus, it gives us purpose and most importantly, it helps our audience know what you would like them to take away from the conversation. So Jamie, I'll let you start this time, what is your best intention for our discussion?

[5:24] Jamie Romero:

So I'm on Team gate. Because I definitely believe in particular, my experience of b2b marketing organization, your job on your website is to drive -- I don't want to call them leads, but qualified interests and prospects to a sales organization. I also qualify that with I'm not a 100% gate everything, I think there's a balance as in with all things, and I've got data and stuff we could talk about, but definitely lean more towards gating than not gating. 

[06:01] Brandi Starr:   

Alright Wendy.

[6:02] Wendy White:    

I'm going to say, I see where you're coming from, but I'm going to throw it out there and say, gating is dangerous. And what I mean by that is, gating leads to vanity MQL metrics, and behavior in marketing teams that can be problematic to really creating demand.

[6:27] Brandi Starr:   

Okay, so now we have taken our stance. And so my question would be in relation to -- and I think, when do you start it down that path in terms of what marketing can measure. I do think that the reason people started gating everything is because that becomes a clear conversion point and a little bit of a pat on the back for marketing to say, yep, we did it, we did a good thing. And so it seems like we started off well intentioned. So Wendy, without the gated content, so going to an open model, what do you see as the right way to measure those that you're driving to you?

[7:14] Wendy White:   

So back to -- you know, I see Jamie's point. I actually do believe you should gate a fuse very high intent, high value assets. Where I really see problems in marketing funnels and in marketing execution is when marketing teams gate everything for essentially list acquisition. And I can understand where this started 10 years ago, the whole HubSpot, inbound marketing engine, we're all believers of it but today, I can get those same names for 20 cents, I don't need to put something in content syndication, I need to put a gate in front of it to know who you are. So for me, what I'm trying really to do is get hand raisers, people who want to talk to us who are willing to come and raise their hand on our site and say I want to have a conversation with you, versus us having them fill out a form for an asset and then shooting the BDR to give them a call.

[8:16] Brandi Starr:   

Jamie, you got a good response for that one.

[8:19] Jaime Romero:   

I mean, I want to start with what you said though about the reason behind gating, about driving these vanity metrics and patting ourselves on the back. And I think that is probably true for a lot of organizations, a lot of marketers. My point of view on that however, is total opposite. I don't care about the vanity metrics, I don't care about pretending I'm doing a good job. And I think it boils down to a really strong sales and marketing alignment, and alignment towards the outcomes. So in every job I've ever had, and especially at Fortinet and the BDR team we have here, we are 100% aligned on the business outcomes, and what they want to see from marketing. So it's not so much we delivered X amount of MQLs or SQLs, good job marketing, it's what were the outcome of these MQL and SQL and is that delivering the business drivers or are those the business drivers? Are we measuring the right things to drive those outcomes?

[9:24] Wendy White:   

I think that marketing has to think of themselves as part of the revenue engine, and their accountabilities are pipeline and revenue. And as long as you're starting there, a lot of the bad behaviors around vanity MQL won't get started in your business, because you'll be looking at those MQLs and how they actually move through the funnel, and that may be a good indicator of what kind of things to stop. I mean, Brandi, as an example I took over marketing at a company. And I would say 80% - 90% of their content was gated including things It's like their data sheets, or their product guides that were content that allowed that conversation to get started with the customer to let them put you into their consideration set, you gate that content and you kind of eliminate yourself from the conversation in a lot of ways with customers who might have considered you if they could have done that research on their own.

[10:24] Jaime Romero:   

Yeah, I agree with that. And I think, going back to the being a media company comment, I think a lot of the non-gating philosophies stem from I want to put as much content as I can out in the world so people see me as this thought leader. And I think where that misses a step is, you think as a marketer, your content is so good that you think you're creating this unbiased point of view that a consumer says, oh, I want to learn about this thing, so I'm going to go to this vendor who has a very specific agenda. Let me go see what they have to say and decide that that's going to be my normal. So I think naturally, people are going to go to companies’ content and say, this is written by this company, who obviously has a vested interest in seeing this agenda move forward. So I'm going to take it's good stuff, but I'm going to take that with its bias and adjust for it. I think the foundation of this non-gating movement came from, I impart that to say, I want to be a media company, I want to open up and create this relationship, this community of consumers, meaning b2b buyers, that when they need information they're going to come to me. And I think where the non-gaming strategy falls short, is transitioning that into I need to have a conversation with my sales team, and have a meaningful sales conversation in terms of the company's actual problems. So why I think meeting is a big step in that in that conversation cycle.

[12:10] Brandi Starr:   

I want to dig in. I know, Wendy, in your initial response, you talked about that you do support gating where it's high intent, high value, and I hear that statement a lot. And where I see the problem come in is how that gets interpreted. And although I don't personally agree, the argument that I've heard repeatedly of why you gate the data sheets and these sorts of things is, because those are the things that tell us they're interested in buying. So if they want it, I need to know who they are, which in my opinion, is the self-serving I need to know who they are, so I can sell to them.  And Jamie since you are team gate assets how do you really define, what is high intent and what is high value? Because those two words can be really subjective. So for those listening, who are kind of on the fence, trying to figure out where they need to sit and what they need to gate, can either of you give a more tangible definition of what's my litmus test of do I put a form in front of this? Or do I not?

[13:23] Jaime Romero:

I mean I could start. SO for me it's really about what's driving the demand? So for example, a Gartner Magic Quadrant. I'm in the tech space, those are really big, important assets that people will look for, and help dictate and drive a sales cycle. To me, that's something that's an easy like, I'm going to gate it. Things like data sheets, I agree, I don't think we get our data sheets. I'm going to say 99% certainty, we don't. But that's super early in a buyer journey. I don't think data sheets are something you're looking at when you're really at the end making a decision. I mean, you are to a certain degree, but when you're comparing models and stuff, doing your pre-sales research, a lot of that stuff, you have to draw a line where you create enough interest that the prospect wants to talk to sales to learn more, and there's almost a diminishing return by continuing to put all this content and you're just going to paralyze them and say, there's no need for me to talk to sales, I got what I needed. But the risk there is they're interpreting what you're putting out there through their own lens. And a lot of times prospects think they know what they want. And they are they know they have a problem. They think they know the solution based on this other media companies’ content that they might have read and it's like people forget the definition of sales. It's right to convince them prospect to buy your stuff. So giving your sales team those at bats, I think is hugely important. Even if the prospect doesn't think they're going to buy your stuff, or they don't know enough about you, they normally would not have called you because they might have discounted you right from the beginning. Getting them in front of the right salesperson at the right time, they might be like, oh, I didn't know that about your company. Definitely, let me dig in a little bit more. And that's where I think putting the gates at the right spot, at the right position of the sales cycle, with the right assets introduces and is the catalyst for those kinds of conversations.

[15:32] Wendy White:    

Okay, so we're more similar than distance, probably on this. Which is a good thing? I mean, we both want to be great marketers, and we want to be providing great brand experience and a great buyer’s journey experience. So I agree with that. Some areas, I've seen this go awry, putting a gate in front of an asset, and then on the thank you page offering another asset. Oops, a second gate, because all those types of assets are gated. I've seen this in the journey. And unfortunately, I've lived this in marketing teams that I've managed, where I've had to go in and unwind this. So I think being thoughtful about, as Jamie said, about what is the journey that audience is on? How can I create a great compelling brand experience through that gating, including maybe not delivering, a PDF that you can only get on one page, and then you have to refill the format to get it again, or that you can't download and forwarded to other folks on your team, because part of the reason why I use gates is because that content is so rich and so meaningful, that the person will want to share it with others inside their company. It's such a meaningful piece in its own. For me as a CMO, it's a learning piece that I might share with my team or the buyer might share with others on their buying committee, making that seamless, great, easy experience. 

[16:59] Brandi Starr:   

I want to shift gears a little bit, because you also touched on list acquisition, because the core is we need the form so that we know who they are. So that we can craft a journey determine when we feel like they should be in front of sales, when marketing needs to communicate. And yes, I do agree that there are ways that you can buy those same contacts. But when we get into -- email is still a really core part of nurture. You can't email when you're buying lists, because there's some compliance things. There's a lot of caveats to yes, the data exists. And it's not difficult to get your hands on. But there are some drawbacks to just kind of going in and cold when you're buying lists. So how do you if you're not using forms, and most b2b is going to be a little bit longer of a sales cycle, so it's not transactional, how do you compensate for the inability to really have people to talk to nurture when you're not capturing many contacts?

[18:16] Wendy White:

I think the answer this could be very different if you have a SMB kind of focused buyer versus an enterprise focused buyer. So for me, I think about those funnels as very different. And I've have companies that I've worked for that I manage, that have both buyers where you go to both ends of the market. In the enterprise space, we're very much trying to focus on making relationships with accounts, knowing who those people are using intent data on our site, our friends over at 6sense or some other company like that, to know what accounts are coming. And through as much of deductions, we can know who's coming in, have a personalized outreach to them. I think that's probably a best practice for most b2b enterprise companies. I think your point Brandi is super relevant for down market where it's an SMB motion, you don't know who's at the other end of the wire. I'm suffering through that right now. So again, back to team gated and ungated, I actually might try to have a lot more not being a media company, but a lot more publishing for that SMB audience where I am using good interesting key gates around stuff that they could be interested in and go figure out who they are, because list building still important. I think we're all probably trying to straddle what does GDPR and CCPA mean for how we acquire names and nurture them, where we use BDRs versus marketing automation and especially like big mass marketing audience like an SMB audience that's particularly challenging. There is zero doubt.

[19:48] Jaime Romero:   

Yeah, I think adding to that, I think there's two components to that. There is the list building piece, but then there's the explicit opt in and you can build your list and not get the opt in which in EMEA and Canada and so on makes it, you still can't email them, which is still probably the number one form of communication for businesses. In the US, we have a little bit more flexibility. I hope that will change at some point one day and legislation will be nationalized, where we can have a standard email policy and one that's not by state. But I think gating allows you to collect those opt ins, I still don't know that the opt in and list building conversation is still tied to the gating strategy, I think there's more that can be done to build a list and drive opt ins that are independent of your gating strategy. I just don't know that the volume is high enough to build a meaningful database or have meaningful database growth and opt in growth, if you're going to solely depend on gating. So I think when you're thinking about list acquisition and your opt in strategy, there needs to be a lot more that goes into that, in terms of blog subscribers and things like that.

[21:14] Brandi Starr:   

Which is interesting, because I do know that most people do, or many, I won't say most that many do tie, not as gating as their only list building strategy, but a key component of it. And so it is interesting to think about just really and coupling those two things together and actually thinking about them separately, because that may lead to different decisions. If we're not really thinking of gating as a list building tool, then you may become more team ungate. And Wendy, I think you hit on a good point that I'd like to hear you both dig into, is from an ABM... Oh, go ahead.

[21:59] Jaime Romero:   

I just want to say one thing that you said. If you're in marketing, and list building, and data and contact acquisition is not a priority for you, specifically around b2b marketing, then I can't think of any company or any scenario where building your database should not be one of your number one priorities.

[22:22] Wendy White:    

Well, if you follow some of the influences on LinkedIn, I would say that, there's a few that like to do a lot of videos that don't believe that should be part of your strategy. And I also agree, I don't see how you get away with that. Not everybody's going to raise their hand at the appropriate moment. And you do want to make sure that anybody who is in market or thinking about in being in market you are touching, there's no doubt about it.

[22:45] Jaime Romero:   

I mean, LinkedIn is important, social is important but it's not an owned asset, you don't own an audience there. You have to find a way to build a direct channel of communication to your audience. And again, back to gate and ungated. Gated is a strategy to do that. And if you're not building your database, as a b2b organization, maybe a consumer might be a little different. And your social is your, your main route to market. Sure. But b2b, if you're doing that without, without the considering building your own database, that's an asset that grows over time.

[23:21] Brandi Starr:   

Yes. And that's really what I was getting at in that. That is why I think most people tie their form with their list building strategy, because the form strategy is not the only way but a key way to drive that list. And generally, at least from data that I've seen, they tend to be more engaged that way. Like if I look at people that come from content syndication, and paid media, those are the people that they get on your list and they are far less likely to actually do anything after, but when they are filling out your forms or online events, whether it's webinars or bigger virtual events, those tend to be the people that stay engaged with future communications are a little more receptive to when you're BDR is our calling them. And so that's why I've always seen that as like a really joint thought process.

[24:23] Wendy White:    

I agree with that but it's I think the really important thing and we danced around a little bit is like what to gate and what happens with the content and this goes back to quality is incredibly important. If you're selling to a sophisticated b2b Audience, hiring a junior set of content marketers producing stuff that dance around your topic and throw it out in like a media company, Jamie, your media company one came up like six times. We did not avoid it. If you're doing that and then you're gaining an asset and you break trust by behind that gate is a poorly conceived non important piece of content, you're breaking trust with your audience and you're actually sending them the opposite way from consuming your content going forward. And content is the permission to have a conversation. That's what it is has to be great.

[25:21] Brandi Starr:   

Yeah, and I think the content strategy is another place that people struggle. And that also leads to the form strategy not working well, because you are right, if you're not producing anything worthy, anything that is high value, high intent, then you don't really have anything to gate, but I won't go down the content marketing path that is a current soapbox.

[25:46] Jaime Romero:

I think you just have to assume, if we're talking gating, non-gating, at least between the three of us, we assume the content is as good as we judge it to be.

[25:54] Brandi Starr:   

But I do want to talk about ABM a little bit, because I do agree that, you know, putting like, where you are seeing intent in an account that for enterprise companies that it is going to be more of a relationship push. But what I've been seeing lately is with so many companies having layoffs, reduction in their sales team size, that the same kind of motions, and it's been large companies that have been having these reductions, it's like the same kind of motions that were previously possible, don't seem as feasible. And so from the conversations I've been a part of, they are then looking to the marketing teams to say, how do you feed us more of the right relationships, so that the smaller team of people that we have, can explore where there's really some opportunity? So to me, that is where gating plays a big role is, if I as a marketer can get more people in and nurture them, and at least be able to show okay, there's more than just a pulse here, that can help me to help sales to prioritize. And so that's one place where on the enterprise side, I do lean towards not like over gating, but a heavier gating strategy is when you don't have the people resources to lean into that.

[27:40] Jaime Romero:   

First question on that because ABM is a whole other thing, it's really how you're defining ABM. I like to define ABM in a more narrow point of view. The one to one or one to few philosophy in terms of picking your accounts and then creating custom marketing strategies around those accounts, and in those instances, I actually disagree, because if you're creating a very targeted promotion against a very targeted account, you actually don't need gating number one, because you there's enough technology to track everything. And number two, your metric for success is not about converting that whatever into a download of whatever content. It's really about the engagement, how many people you're engaging in an account. So from an ABM perspective, I think gaming goes the opposite direction and you describe it in terms of almost at the metrics around success for an ABM engagement, when you're collaborating between sales and an ABM marketer is really more about pure engagement and less downloads. Because you're capturing your cap, you're capturing the downloads already. And if you think about it from a goals perspective, when you're talking about gaining, broadly speaking, marketing at scale, it's about getting that account to provide you with the catalyst to have that sales conversation, whereas ABM, you're pushing out this content to influence and to support your sales person into calling into that to start having those conversations. So you don't need the gated content to be the catalyst to have that sales conversation. You're just trying to push and push and push and shape and influence as much as you can.

[29:33] Brandi Starr:   

Yeah, and I think what you really just hit on for me is the fact that the term ABM and I do think someone banished that during another episode, but that the term ABM it's become synonymous with when we are going after target accounts. Because as I'm thinking about the conversations I've had, it has not been the one to few, it's here's the thousand accounts that were trying to go after this year. And that is how they're defining few because maybe their TAM is 10,000 but like this year, we're going after these 1000, or these 500. And so yeah, I do think I'm using the term ABM, but really, really loosely. And that's where I do think there is more of an issue because you don't have the salespeople. Whereas if it is few, then resourcing isn't the same. Wendy, it looks like you were going to say something?

[30:35] Wendy White:  

Well, I just want to say so we said, you're going to come here and duke it out. And man, I love Jamie. I adore you man, because we think so much like about these issues. I mean, the strategic use of gating, the not gating on a one to few, one to one relationship in ADM, 100%, remove that friction, build trust, build relationship, use your content for conversations, engage that account, love it. 

[31:04] Brandi Starr:  

So here I am trying to pick a fight and a whole kumbaya moment. My goal, because I get asked this so much really was to give some different perspective. And I think you guys really hit on some key points, which is gating isn't bad, but we got to focus on getting the right things. And from what it sounds like that might be more assets for one company and less for another. That we've got to have that alignment around sales and marketing around what we're trying to accomplish. And Jamie, you stated that, but we didn't get a chance to dig into that. So I'm going to let that be my last question is, how does that alignment align to the gating strategy. If you can dig into that a little bit more for us, because sales marketing alignment, or that divide has been a hot topic for me lately as well.

[32:04] Jaime Romero:

So I think that there's a lot of dependencies around defining your gating strategy. And I think every company needs to look at where they are in the market, what their position is in the market. If I sold a product that 99% of my TAM used, 99% of the people know who I am, and so on and so forth, maybe gating doesn't work, I don't need to gate stuff. And I can just open it up and be this altruistic content community creator and say, here's all this wonderful content to fully support the point of view that I am still the best company out there to do business with. Now in our case, and frankly in the case, I've been in, in marketing for 15-20 years now, which is we need to drive revenue from the content we're developing and there's a lot of debate and arguments to be made around how closely you can attach revenue to content to the execution. But in terms of the sales and marketing alignment, and what's asked of sales in a lot of the situations I've been, marketing is to some degree, a vendor or an agency for sales to supply them with a funnel of leads for them to close and to work. Now obviously, there's the marketing and the branding, and all that stuff that's different. But in the context of demand generation lead generation, that's the job of marketing. So if you're aligned on the goals and sales' expectation of marketing is I want leads from you and I want to drive revenue from this stuff and the investments you're making, well then that's going to inform how I approach my gaming strategy and my content strategy. And before I joined Fortinet, the decision was made to open up all the content. And you can look at our reporting and say, look, they decided here to open up all the content, 2018 - 2019. And you can see our conversion rate or from our website, declining, declining, declining, and basically all the conversions were either contact us or give me a demo. And literally our conversion rate was cut in half, obviously, because you're no longer downloading white papers and things like that. But revenue generated from leads from the website was also cut in half. We implemented a hybrid approach now where it's like some gated some not gated, and you can see our conversion rate on our website is the highest it's ever been in the history of our website. And we're looking at here's the non-gated stuff, what are the outcomes from non-gated stuff, and matching that to opportunities that are created, and you can see it's like converting at less than 1%. Because we've created ways of tracking web behavior to opportunities and things like that pretty crazy stuff that on a one on one, not recorded, I'm happy to share. But we've been able to track that and the conversion rate on some of this free stuff is super low. And I'm not talking conversion, like downloaded content and create a sales opportunity. I'm talking like, anybody downloads this piece of content it never becomes a lead or an opportunity for us. Whereas when you look at the gated stuff, obviously, like super high in the 10s, and 10s, and almost hundreds of thousands of opportunities are created from -- I don't want, say, created by the gated content, but the people who download gated content at a significantly higher rate are engaged with our sales organization. So I think when you looking at it from a numbers perspective, and you're looking at it from an alignment to sales, and what outcomes and what language they're speaking, I think it helps you start figuring out where to draw that line

[35:56] Wendy White:  

Two thoughts on that. So first of all, one is yes, your site conversion and your lead volume and the leads converting in the pipeline, absolutely critical. You have to balance that with SEO. The company I mentioned previously, 80 gated assets or 80% of gated assets, their SEO was terrible. And when we ungated the vast majority of those assets, our SEO went through the roof. And so we had to pick the right places to get people into our lead funnel. This list building handoff to sales, but you also have to balance with SEO. My second thought is what you asked Brandi around the sales alignment piece of that, I think the ABM piece versus the kind of general inbound funnel, as long as you're clear with your sales teams on which funnel you're creating, is it an inbound funnel of leads versus an ABM funnel where you're working on nurturing accounts. And everybody agrees to that so there is no finger pointing at the end of the quarter when you're looking at Pipeline and revenue, and how we're doing against our target list versus our inbound funnel, as long as you're really, really aligned around that and how you're using those strategies in the appropriate place in the appropriate way, you should be good. But you got to be making sure that everybody understands the data, the metrics, and what you're going to see from those two types of funnels and approaches. And everybody's good with that strategy and that go forward, because last thing you want is the end of the quarter, sales pointing back and saying it's marketing's fault.

[37:27] Brandi Starr:

Like that never happens.

[37:28] Wendy White:  

Never. 

[37:32] Brandi Starr:

Well, talking about our challenges is just the first step, nothing changes if nothing changes. So in traditional therapy, the therapist gives the client some homework, but here at Revenue Rehab, we like to flip that on its head and ask you to give us some homework. So I'd love for each of you to give us your one thing that people can do. So if anyone who is listening is struggling with giving their team direction on what their form strategy, their gated content strategy should be, what would you advise as their first step?

[38:08] Wendy White:

My thing is understand your content portfolio and your content strategy, and really pick out those things you think, are the high quality high intent pieces that are going to be the anchor of your campaigns. What is your anchor? Once you know that, then it's really easy to decide your gating strategy.

[38:33] Jamie Romero:

Agree. For me, I mean, I think, as with all things, there's a spectrum. And if you're working in a business that requires a large scale, versus you only need a few dozen customers a quarter, I think that impacts how you would design your strategy. But in terms of advice, for me, it's about the metrics, and really honing in on what's working and what's not working and where to draw that line. But the advice piece is, don't overdo it. I frankly, look at like two numbers that help guide directionally where we're making decisions. I think if you start getting too granular, especially for b2b, I don't know that there's enough volume to provide statistical significance for you to make real decisions based on like the three pieces of content with the 40 visitors it got and all of a sudden deciding that's the best thing I'm going to do. So I lean on the side of oversimplification in terms of some of the data points to give directional feedback and guidance and decisions we're making. Obviously, there's a team of people who are diving in and even deeper to find some of the insights and the nuance. But for me, it's simplify, and those simple metrics will also help you monitor and understand what's working, what's not working, and you can catch things much quicker that way.

[40:00] Brandi Starr:

Perfect! So we're going to figure out our anchor content and build our form strategy from there and hone in on the metrics on just a few of them. Well, I have enjoyed our discussion so much. But that's our time for today. Thank you both for joining me. I am excited to hear what other people think and whether they are on team gate or team not. But again, thank you guys for joining me. And thank everyone for joining us today. I hope that you have enjoyed my conversation with Wendy and Jamie, I can't believe we're already at the end. We will see you next time.

[40:44] Outro: 

You've been listening to Revenue Rehab with your host Brandi Starr. Your session is now over but the learning has just begun. Join our mailing list and catch up on all our shows at revenuerehab.live. We're also on Twitter and Instagram at Revenue Rehab. This concludes this week's session. We'll see you next week.

 

Wendy White Profile Photo

Wendy White

CMO

I have the agile mindset of a startup CMO combined with the broad operational and financial depth of a F100 executive. As a high-tech marketing expert, my business acumen combined with my technical expertise is a 1 -- 2 punch. I drive tangible business, revenue, and brand results, transform and revitalize teams, build marketing functions from the ground up, and lead through change.

Jaime Romero Profile Photo

Jaime Romero

Vice President Corporate Marketing

Data driven and people-centric marketing leader with a focus on business outcomes. Currently Vice President of Corporate Marketing at Fortinet (FTNT) driving brand and demand. With over 15 years of marketing experience, I build high performing marketing teams and am constantly on the look out for great talent.