The Best of Ops-Stars 2018: Marketing Highlights

November 1, 2018 Karen Steele

Attendees are calling Ops-Stars 2018 “highly relevant” and “invaluable.”

If you missed this year's 100 percent free, 100 percent awe-inspiring event, you simply can't afford to miss next year’s Ops-Stars. We're here to show you some of the highlights that marketing ops professionals experienced at this year’s event. (If you’re a sales ops pro, check out our sales track recap here.)


Account-Based Marketing Essentials

In the keynote, “Retro Yet Revolutionary: How ABM Enables Sales to Drive Revenue,”  Forrester’s Laura Ramos revealed how companies have found success with their ABM practices over the past two years. 

Laura shared her four key steps for setting up ABM success: 

  1. Select and target: Create a strategy, prioritize accounts and identify and target contacts
  2. Gather insights: Identify key issues, develop insights and form a communication plan. 
  3. Design engagement: Create assets, messages and plays to engage accounts. 
  4. Orchestrate interaction: Execute aligned activity, capture interactions and track progress. 

She also explored several case studies, and helped audience members select the right ABM technologies for their companies.  

Todd McCormick, CRO at Terminus, hosted the session: “Transitioning Your Sales Organization to Account-Based Marketing,” where he shared industry best practices for critical components of ABM. 

Takeaways included Todd’s advice that marketers should: 

  • Be brave and take the lead.
  • Get aligned around the right account-based metrics.
  • Work with sales to tackle ABM from all angles.
  • Own the data around ABM.
  • Actively pursue executive buy-in. 

At the session, “ABM on a Budget: How to Get the Most out of Your Strategy,” we were joined by Glint’s Albert Li and Jim Bell. There, they explained how Glint implemented an effective ABM tech stack without going over budget. 

Key takeaways included Albert’s five pieces of critical advice: 

  1. Establish an “ideal customer profile” (ICP). 
  2. Build out a repeatable model.
  3. Constantly compare your assumptions to actual results.
  4. Prioritize process over technology. 
  5. Maximize your channels for ABM. 


Marketing Ops In-Depth

At the Ops-Stars Panel keynote, industry-leading sales and marketing pros from LeanData, GE Digital, Splunk and RingCentral explored the nuts and bolts of ops. 

Panelists revealed that, since modern CRM systems are enabling sales and marketing teams to collaborate more than ever before, the current adoption rate of revenue ops (37 percent) will likely increase over the next five years. 

The panelists also discussed their ops priorities for 2019, including: 

  • Refining their go-to-market strategies.
  • Increasing transparency across silos. 
  • Developing an ideal customer profile. 
  • Optimizing their ABM strategies. 


Exit Strategies Examined

In the keynote, “How to Optimize for Growth Leading to a Successful Exit,” executives from Shasta Ventures, Xactly and G2 Crowd shared their secrets for a successful (and profitable) exit. 

Attendees learned that: 

  • Being willing to embrace new changes is a critical component of any exit strategy. 
  • Companies must use high-quality data to inform their decisions.
  • Forming a winning team that grows together is crucial.
  • Entrepreneurs can’t forget the importance of references and reputation.
  • Before going public, it’s companies must focus on growth. 


An Inside Look at AI in Marketing

Marketing pros from 6Sense, IDC, Google Cloud and DemandBase came together at the session: “AI in the Sales and MarTech Stack: Nothing to Fear,” where they discussed how ops teams can benefit from AI. One of the most significant takeaways was that there is no marketing team so efficient that it can’t benefit from technologies like AI. 

When thinking about adopting technology that enables AI in the MarTech stack, speakers advised to: 

  • Focus on the desired outcomes, not just on the technology itself. 
  • Form basic exploratory models and identify data gaps before diving headfirst into AI.
  • Refrain from building your own AI engine.

Attendees were also reminded of the subtle (but vital) difference between AI and machine learning: While AI refers to machines’ performance of tasks, machine learning refers to machines’ independent analysis, scoring and testing of data. 

The Engagement Economy, Explained

Global president of Marketo, Mika Yamamoto, took the stage at the keynote, “Engage to Win: A Blueprint for Success in the Engagement Economy.” There, she showed attendees how companies can use technology to engage with customers on a deeper level. 

During the keynote, Mika explained the four components of impactful engagement: 

  1. Personalization. 
  2. Timing. 
  3. Authenticity. 
  4. Standing up for your values. 

After engagement has been initiated, it’s crucial that companies remember three key things: 

  1. Don’t just take one angle – appeal to customers’ emotional and practical sides. 
  2. Constantly measure results as they become available. 
  3. Treat customers’ data as the privilege that it is – never abuse their trust. 

The Secrets of Attribution

At the session: “How Do Revenue Teams Define Attribution?” experts from LeanData, Demand Gen Report, Oath Inc. and Bizible explained how companies define and leverage attribution. 

Bizible’s Jordan Con defines attribution as a way to measure the metrics that marketing and sales teams care about. 

A few specific metrics were cited as being the most critical:

  • Revenue growth. 
  • The rate of lead creation versus the rate of lead conversion. 
  • Cycle time. 
  • The rate of goal achievement. 

With attribution, you can gain a granular view of account velocity and channel performance. However, keep in mind that even the best data is useless if you can’t understand or interpret it. 

Insight Into Marketing and Sales Alignment

Nate Skinner, VP of product marketing at Salesforce, took center stage for the keynote: “Unsolved Mysteries: Who Killed Sales and Marketing Alignment?”. Attendees experienced an in-depth investigation of the death of sales and marketing alignment and learned how it can be brought back to life.

In the case of the death of sales and marketing alignment, there are three suspects: 

  1. People: Sales and marketing teams can have a lack of communication and misaligned goals. 
  2. Processes: Internal processes can create poor team-to-team handoffs. 
  3. Technology: The MarTech 5000 can demand too many products and subscriptions.  

Looking at all three suspects, it’s clear that only one thing can bring marketing and sales alignment back to life: Data. After all, if everyone gets aligned on data then they’ll also get aligned on everything else. 

We learned more about sales and marketing alignment in the keynote, “Three Phases: The New Approach for Sales and Marketing Planning,” led by Dana Therrien, service director of sales operations strategies at SiriusDecisions. 

He showed audience members how sales and marketing teams can break silos, achieve alignment and take a three-phase approach to planning in order to drive revenue:

  1. Business alignment: Establishing a shared understanding of markets, goals and objectives. 
  2. Functional interlock: Building an interlocking map of the sales and marketing team’s organization and roles, production plan and available resources. 
  3. Execution readiness: Creating cross-team alignment of infrastructure, processes, measurements and tools. 

Remember, planning exists at the intersection of strategy, goals and execution. With all three of those facets covered, sales and marketing teams can collaborate more efficiently and bring in bigger profits.

Ops-Stars Unforgettable Festivities

Ops-Stars wasn’t all work and no play – thanks to the help of our fellow sponsor S&P Global, attendees also enjoyed plenty of fun after-hours networking.

At the first day of Ops-Stars, we treated attendees to a cocktail reception in the Vault,
the downstairs section of the San Francisco Mint. 

We also partnered up with Demandbase and Salesloft to throw a party each night of Ops-Stars at Temple Night Club.


To cap off the event, we worked with Appirio to host a party at Jillian’s, one of the largest restaurants in downtown San Francisco.

From the nitty-gritty details to big-picture marketing strategies, our stellar Ops-Stars speakers covered it all. This year’s Ops-Stars was truly extraordinary, and we’re already excited for next year’s event. 

Special thanks to the Ops-Stars sponsors who made this incredible event possible:

To see what marketing ops pros from all corners of the globe were saying about Ops-Stars, check out these Twitter moments.

About the Author

Karen Steele

Karen is responsible for all aspects of product marketing, brand strategy, demand generation, customer and employee advocacy, and the customer journey. Prior to LeanData, Karen was Group Vice President of Corporate Marketing at Marketo, where she led the pioneering marketing automation company through its transformation from a public to private company and successfully introduced the New Marketo internally and externally.

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