December 8, 2022

Building B2B Brand and Demand in Tandem

“When you make an investment, make it worthwhile.” 

That’s exactly what Amisha Gandhi has done in her last two years as Tipalti’s SVP of Marketing, joining the fintech organization not too long after it rebranded and was raring to grow.

In this episode, learn what it takes to come in as the new CMO and get quick wins while setting up an organization for marketing-led growth. From optimizing demand to defining a brand purpose to squeezing everything out of events, learn how to ensure that marketing’s contribution to the organization can’t be questioned (AKA 52% marketing-sourced net new deals, among many other impressive numbers). Tune in!

What You’ll Learn  

  • Why new CMOs should focus on demand first 
  • How Tipalti found its brand purpose 
  • The story behind Tipalti’s first-ever user conference  

Renegade Marketers Unite, Episode 322 on YouTube 

Resources Mentioned 

 Time-Stamped Highlights

  • [2:27] The lesson from 11 years at SAP: Invest in your employees  
  • [6:05] Amisha’s mandate & first 90 days at Tipalti   
  • [9:46] New CMO? Fix demand before brand   
  • [14:15] No more gates!!  
  • [18:38] CMO Huddles ad  
  • [19:44] Adding purpose to Tipalti’s rebrand  
  • [24:26] Tipalti’s brand purpose  
  • [26:31] Getting employees excited  
  • [29:56] Externalizing brand purpose   
  • [32:28] B2B market research at Renegade  
  • [33:32] Tipalti’s first-ever user conference  
  • [37:53] Making the price of events worth it  
  • [40:16] Amisha’s marketing metrics that matter  
  • [42:23] Do & Don’t: Finding your purpose 

Highlighted Quotes  

“You can't do it all at once—you'll break your team.” —@AmishaGandhi @tipalti Share on X “As digital marketers, we really need to think about these multi-touch journeys we're creating.” —@AmishaGandhi @tipalti Share on X “If you create engagement, you will get the right people, the right audience, and then you'll see their intent when they're ready.” —@AmishaGandhi @tipalti Share on X

“Make sure you follow up with everybody after events. Anything we do, the follow up is where you make or break it.” —@AmishaGandhi @tipalti Share on X

“A partnership with marketing and sales is really key to any process… Not just to brand, but anything.” —@AmishaGandhi @tipalti Share on X 

Full Transcript: Drew Neisser in conversation with Amisha Gandhi


Drew Neisser: Hey, it’s Drew. I’m guessing that as a podcast listener, you also enjoy audiobooks. Well in that case. Did you know the audio version of Renegade Marketing: 12 Steps to Building Unbeatable B2B Brands, was recently ranked the number one B2B audiobook of 2022 by Book Authority? Kind of cool, right? You can find my book on Audible or your favorite audiobook platform.

Narrator: Welcome to Renegade Marketers Unite, possibly the best weekly podcast for CMOs and everyone else looking for innovative ways to transform their brand, drive demand, and just plain cut through. Proving that B2B does not mean boring to business. Here’s your host and Chief Marketing Renegade Drew Neisser.

Drew Neisser: Hello Renegade Marketers! We spend a lot of time in CMO Huddles talking about pipeline and demand generation. It’s just a reality of the job these days that marketing leaders are expected to drive demand first and build brands second. Clearly that’s the case for most PE/VC funded startups. But what exactly does that mean? How do you build a demand generation? And at what point do you need to spend time elevating the brand? To answer these questions and more, I’m thrilled to introduce you to today’s guest, Amisha Gandhi, the senior vice president of marketing at Tipalti. A company that’s experienced incredible growth in the last few years. So hello, Amisha! Welcome, how are you?

Amisha Gandhi: I’m great. How are you? Thank you for having me on.

Drew Neisser: I am great. It’s been a spectacular day here in New York City. And where are you?

Amisha Gandhi: I’m in San Francisco.

Drew Neisser: Ah, okay. Well, the city that I find no matter what time of the year, it’s almost always colder than it is…

Amisha Gandhi: Fall weather.

Drew Neisser: It’s so strange. Anyway. So I checked my email and noticed that we connected initially through LinkedIn back in February 2018. Kind of random that I found that LinkedIn requests. And then you were, at the time, at SAP working with influencers. And then we met face to face later that year at a CMO Club dinner—which is kind of funny—in Silicon Valley.

Amisha Gandhi: That’s right, yeah.

Drew Neisser: Right. You were Global VP of Marketing and Communication at the time. So you spent 11 years at SAP, which is kind of amazing. And I’m just curious, thinking back on that experience, what kept you there? And what do you think were some of the biggest lessons that you brought with you.

Amisha Gandhi: I think what keeps you somewhere at a company is the people and the opportunities to grow your career. You know, if you want to do that. And then also, if it’s a great environment, and you love what you do, and you get to keep doing that, right? Those are the two things that I found at SAP why people stayed. And a lot of people stayed for a long time. And that’s the main basic tenet.

And I’m still friends with everyone over there, because some of them will be lifelong friends. And that’s the best places to work is that you end up with some really great close personal friends, because we spend a lot of time at work. And then the environment which is created, which is a lot of collaboration and teamwork, to create and push things forward. Which I think is something that everyone wants to be a part of. And then when you’re a leader, you want to lead teams in that kind of environment where you’re actually getting things done. Which are actually helping people also create their own careers. But it’s a collaboration environment. It’s a mindset of collaborations and it’s a growth mindset. It’s a collaboration mindset.

And that’s what really kept me at SAP and that I could also grow my career. And so every 2-2 1/2 years, I moved to a different part, or type of marketing or part of business of SAP. And that’s how I was really able to grow my career, I think pretty rapidly across the 11 years. I started in communications, went to product marketing, and ended up running mobile marketing—which is A to Z marketing, which is all over demand product, everything all in one—and then moving into and creating influencer marketing—which just comes in demand gen focused—and then moving into helping run the cloud business from a marketing standpoint. So a really great career there.

Drew Neisser: Yeah. And what’s so interesting is I think about it, how many CMOs that are in CMO Huddles are part of the SAP mafia. I mean… 1? 2? 3? 4… I think 5.

Amisha Gandhi: Yeah, and I know some of them. I met them and I’m like, “Oh, hi, Denise!” It’s a small world

Drew Neisser: Exactly. And Chip Rogers, who you must have known because of the influencer involves.

Amisha Gandhi: He was one of my first stakeholders at SAP when he was in SAP community and that SAP ecosystem role that he had. So it’s always nice to bump into old friends.

Drew Neisser: It’s amazing. It’s funny because I first met him when he was at SAP during that time. And he’s in my first book.

So anyway, I think it’s something to be said, when you get to work at a big company where lots of those people in the marketing department end up being CMOs at other places, it says something good about the quality of the talent and the way they sort of groom people. I don’t know if they feel good about that or not. But they should, because that is part of a culture. And I think about when CMOs—and I ask this question a lot, Are you building the next generation of leaders underneath you? And obviously, whoever it was. Whether it was Phil Becker, or somebody who was running the department, marketing was doing a good job of bringing people along.

Amisha Gandhi: They have a whole learning program, right? They want to invest in leadership, right? You can make everybody a manager, but you need to also support them to become good managers. And then managers of managers, and then organizations, right? And getting that support and getting the training and the investment, I think that investment is really paid off. Not just for themselves as a company, but then they’re turning out all these great leaders that go elsewhere as well.

Drew Neisser: Yeah, amazing. Okay, now we’re gonna shift focus. You joined Tipalti, January 2021. And I’m curious, what was your initial mandate when you got there?

Amisha Gandhi: So the official mandate was that they have a global CMO who has moved into a general manager role and moving overseas. So you have the marketing organization, so we’re looking for someone to run the poor marketing team, and also to grow the business. And Tipalti is a very hybrid business. So essentially, being able to double the team, double the revenue. So it’s always within a high growth company, it’s always more, it’s always double, its triple, right? How do you maintain that growth? But part of it is creating the people, you know, getting the right talent and building out the right team. Is this the right organization the way it’s set up? But then also, how are you growing? Are the right people and processes in place? Do you have the right leaders? Is it a full funnel? Is it not? Where are the gaps, right? And then you take a look, and you listen. Take a look, and then you do an assessment with the team. And then you’re able to make a plan. You can’t just go in somewhere and say, “Okay, I know what worked here at SAP or worked in my other previous roles. Okay, let’s just go and do that.” I think you have to listen and assess, and then you can move forward.

Drew Neisser: That’s music to my ears. And I’ve been on this side of—as an agency runner, where we used to do a lot of brand work and the new CMO would come in and just tear up the strategy. Just tear it up, like within a week. And I was like, “Wow, that’s impressive.” But before they necessarily had the lay of the land, and, you know, making sure that you know, the right problems that you have to solve.

So I’m curious, as you were coming in, and you’re talked about a couple of things. You know, we’re growing a lot, which means you need more people. What were some of the things that you identified in your first 90 days that you needed to sort of really work on and change or evolve?

Amisha Gandhi: I think one of the things was, obviously, you know, you’re looking at the website, it’s a channel. So is your website part of your DG engine? Is it your calling card? When you say where you work, or when you say, “Hey, I’m with this company,” and you’re a salesperson, everyone goes immediately to the website, right? So you need to make sure that saying what you want it to say. So I think, you know, they had gone through a recent rebrand. And so it was about bringing the messaging in. So one of the things was do we have an overarching brand purpose? Because that will inform a lot of things that we want to do as we want to evolve the brand. Do we have, you know, one of the big things was like, we do great campaigns, very strong DG engine here, how do we take that to the next level? And one of the big things was doing an integrated campaign. So it’s doing more of a full funnel campaign.

Drew Neisser: There’s a lot going on here. We got a website, and you needed to sort of do some massaging there, or were you in good shape?

Amisha Gandhi: We needed a lot of massaging. When somebody’s growing really fast, they’re just build mode, right? And now the company was in a mode of looking at it and saying, “Okay, we you take a breath. What is the next thing to get the brand, demand gen, and our goal is to the next level?” It’s going to require some assessment and revamping, right? Because every stage that your company goes through, you need to take a breath and reassess, and revamp and make some improvements on the holes that you have, right? The gaps that you now have at this level of growth.

Drew Neisser: Right. And so what often happens is part of it is your audience changes, right? You get bigger and bigger and bigger, and now we’re going after bigger fish. And suddenly what might have worked in small business might not work so well with a large business. So you got to evolve the website.

Amisha Gandhi: Right.

Drew Neisser: At the same time, you’re looking at brand and the same time you’re looking at your demand generation engine, which is integrally connected to your website too, right? If you were to sort of then say, “All right, my priorities after the 90 day assessment period…” How did you tackle these things? Because we had website, we’ve got to revise the demand gen, and we have to think about brand and purpose. I mean, that’s a lot to do in a short period of time I’m imagining. And I’m wondering how you balance and juggle.

Amisha Gandhi: You can prioritize, you can’t do it all at once. I’d be like, “Oh, let’s just do it all. You can’t do it all, you’ll break your team. Right? So having said that, it’s like to say, “Okay, let’s do the demand gen integrated campaign first, because that is going to have the most impact.” Like what is the best impact, and that we really need to do more long term. So integrated campaigns and looking at that, that has a lot more impact.

Amisha Gandhi: And by doing that, you’re actually getting everyone to start thinking about those other things intrinsically become the icing on the cake over time, right? So if we do an integrated campaign, our messaging is going to get better. Our look and feel—we had a new creative director during the same time. I hired him right after myself so he was one of the newer hires that was in the pipe. So that was really exciting to have somebody on board like that. And so having some of those people there and then figuring out what else do we need is also the gap. So that’s where really the focus is because demand gen engine was really strong. But we still need to go to the next level, right?

So we’re being tactical, we’re doing campaigns, we’re doing SEO, we’re doing these other things. How do we now tie more of these things together so the motions are more cohesive. And then when it goes over to sales, if you get those things in place, and then you look at what motions—which pieces are missing, and not connecting, when you throw over a lead and it then becomes qualified through sales, how are they following up with that? So you also have to work really closely with your SDR team, the content. And so that was another gap, right? So if you look at integrated campaign, you look at it more holistically. So that was a heavy lift already for the team, but that would have the most impact. So that cup prioritized first, and then we looked at storyline. Okay, if we want to have a stronger storyline that informs everything we do, then we do brand purpose.

Drew Neisser: I got to break this down. I’m going to just pause and say—so here’s a really interesting thing, there is a temptation to say fix brand first and then demand. And while I understand that philosophically may feel like the wrong thing. I believe it is tactically the wrong thing. And what you heard from Amisha is fix demand. And in this case, demand wasn’t broken. But it needed to be elevated because you wanted to continue growth, and you had to change a little bit. And the solution in this case was to bring the pieces together so they weren’t operating on their own. And I’m assuming that when you did this integrated campaign that the results improved.

Amisha Gandhi: They did. The campaign did much better. It was an audience that was more—that’s highly targeted audience. We already had that. It is the motions that came together, it’s the drip that came together, it’s then going to sales, and it was it was called the IPO campaign. It’s actually still have it in market. We’re reiterating on that again, right. So when we do the campaign and you put that much effort into it where almost every piece of marketing—social, paid social, organic, SEO—all the pieces come together, you made that investment, you shouldn’t just make it and say, “Oh, what’s our quarterly?”—No, make it a year long campaign. How do you build it out and adjust? Because you want to adjust your campaign as you go.

Drew Neisser: Love this. And I again, I’m just gonna put this punctuation point on it as much as you want to fix brand. And I know you do and you see the problems. The credibility that you build by fixing the demand gen engine—or in this case, accelerating the demand gen engine, in this case, by creating a year long integrated campaign—buys you time with the C-Suite, with your peers, with the head of sales, with the CFO to do these other things, right? And to raise those. If you can fix demand first—and you want to keep your job for a while—that’s where you go. Okay, let’s assume we’ve done that, we’ve integrated it and it’s worked, right? Is there any data that we can add that suggests that this was working X percent better than it was before?

Amisha Gandhi: Yes, because the engagement was higher on the website, the time people spent on the content. We included some influencer content and some other third party validation. We had a webinar series that they could be part of and listen to. It was a series so when we finished one, right? So it continues the information flow and we don’t feel like we’re spamming people on different things. They had that and they also had research.

So it was a variety of content and a variety of different—and some of it was ungated someone who was gated. Because you don’t want to make everything like you’re hitting people with over the head. It’s more of a hub. So you’re creating a hub and you have all these different things that are going to pull people and push people to the site and then things that are going to keep people engaged, right? And then once they’re in the funnel, what happens after you want to make sure ABM you have your ABM and other post qualified lead motions, start getting those in place. So it feels like a cohesive journey, right? We talked about connected customer experience and all of that. And that’s where you really want to go with it. And it’s okay if you just start out with some of the top funnel mid funnel and launch it and get it going. And then you can build it out as you go. You know, one of the things I learned in my career is like, I always want to do everything all at once. And it’s not possible you break your teams, and you won’t get the results, right? So you can build things as you go. But if you’re doing campaigns, we’re just slapping an asset up on a landing page, and then you’re gating it. I think those days are over for us as digital marketers. We’re willing to think about these multi touch journeys we’re creating, and not all of it has to be gated. I know people are gonna freak out when I say that. But you have to create engagement. If you create engagement, you will get the right people, the right audience, and then you’ll see their intent when they’re ready. So really helps you inform the intent. And that’s how you make your DJ stronger is finding the people with the intent.

Drew Neisser: I’m going to pause. So any listener to the show knows that I despise gates. I would like to see all gates go away. As a consumer, I hate them. If I go in and you say, “Oh, you have this research report.” Unless it is something worth paying for why are you getting it? The truth is if they have intent, they will show that signal in another way. But if you have baited me with some content and now you’re insisting on getting my email and a form of all this stuff, when truth is you probably already know it anyway. It’s like, what are you—why are you wasting my time? And then why are you spamming me later? Given the fact that in an enterprise thing we know it’s going to take 27 touches after I’ve shown intent. What are you doing with that one touch to just get my email? So anyway, that’s me ranting about gating. But I know—

Amisha Gandhi: I’m on the same page with you. And then you asked about metrics. So engagement went up higher time spent on the website, coming back, and then we retargeted. And we did ABM on top of things once it became qualified. That actually helped increase our ACV, which was kind of interesting. You know, the ABM program increased ACV. But we were able to qualify leads better, find the intent better, and that just pushed everything forward.

So as compared to previous campaigns, we not only have more qualified leads, we have more qualified ops. And I think about opportunities and bookings over leads. We can get leads all day as marketers, but are you getting the ops and the booking? So you look at opportunities. So the opportunities that we’re generating increased because of quality of leads increased also.

Drew Neisser: And if I have any students that are listening here that are not quite familiar with all of these terms, and why they’re so important. So the difference between a lead and an opportunity. So a lead is a name. An opportunity is the suggestion that multiple people at the same company are demonstrating intent enough that they, for example, want to see a demo, right? That would be an opportunity. That’s a pretty good opportunity. A lead is just someone who filled out a form.

Amisha Gandhi: You don’t know what their intent is. They could come in and content syndication just had been like, “I’m really interested in that article. I have no intention of buying, you know, finance automation software, and I don’t even control that at my company, but I’m just interested in what you’re saying.”

Drew Neisser: And ACV is what?

Amisha Gandhi: Average deal size.

Drew Neisser: Okay, I just want to clarify, because it’s funny, we had a huddle today. And one of the CMOs tips was clarify everything. If we’re going to talk about a sales qualified opportunity, what do we mean? And so I always want to make sure on this show that we define these things.

Alright, we’re gonna take a quick break. And when we come back, we’re gonna flip. We’ve talked a lot about demand, but now we’re going to sort of move into purpose and how you find that and how you use that. So stay with us.

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Drew Neisser: Okay, we’re back. Amisha we’ve talked pretty much about demand gen, building the engine and I’m going to hit on a couple of highlights. We’re talking about integrating everything so there’s this consistent customer experience. We’re talking about taking it past the initial opportunity all the way through the experience, we’re talking about having the right metrics, and making sure that we’re not focused on leads but we’re focused on opportunities. All of those things are really great takeaways—oh, and my headline for the first half of the show, don’t break your team. All right, we’ve got the demand gen engine, it seems to be working pretty well. Let’s talk about the process that you went through to sort of tackle purpose and what that looked like.

Amisha Gandhi: Sure. So when Tipalti has gone through this really great rebrand for look and feel, and messaging. But there was an umbrella messaging for the business that was really missing for me. Like a brand purpose, like, why do we exist? Why should we always be here? What’s our North Star as a company? and so doing some work around that can really help. And it keeps everybody on the same page. So you have that one truth across the entire company. So when you ask somebody, “What is to Tipalti?” Or, “Why do you exist?” Everyone has the same answer. When you’re getting different answers from all parts of the organization then you know we need to find what’s the purpose of Tipalti. So we really start at the top and interviewed all of our C-level executives. We brought in a writer and a consultant to help us out. And we didn’t bring an agency in, because this wasn’t meant to be a big budget project. But really doing the work across as a team. So interviewing those folks, interviewing customers, and we had the consultant interview the customer, so people could be really upfront. And they were, you know, they share their real feelings or how they perceive the brand. Also asked other folks and then they did a competitive analysis. And then bringing it all together, we’re able to really figure out and your purpose isn’t an external statement. It’s an internalized statement that then you’re able to build your brand around this. And because this is why you exist. So it’s not just a marketing exercise. It’s also a business exercise. Your brand purpose isn’t something that changes a lot, right? Why do you exist? So if you look around, you’ll see those brand purpose, right? And it’s not a sustainability purposes, like why is your company there? What are you doing?

Drew Neisser: I love all of this. The process looks exactly like a process that—you know Renegade was doing a lot of brand work. That was the process that we would go through. I often think of the articulation as both internal and external. But I’m curious, in this, often, the C-Suite, and particularly the founder, if there’s still a founder involved, or the CEO have a proprietary relationship with the vision. And some can really articulate a purpose and others sort of say, “Our purpose is to make money.” And there are many Milton Friedman would argue, yeah, that is the purpose of business is to make money. But short of that, talk about—so you do these interviews, and you’re trying to pull out but before you got to the idea, and you’ve done all this, how did you synthesize it? And then get executive buy-into that, “Oh, this is our purpose.”

Amisha Gandhi: Because we were able to use all the answers and the data. And we asked everyone the same questions. A lot of people said different things. And we didn’t just ask our C-level execs, we asked sales, we asked SDRS, we asked marketing, we asked customers. And then we looked—and you know, we didn’t ask our competitors—but we did that. And we also asked some analysts, so you get to market feedback. And then we had some statistics around purpose and why it’s important. So we put together you can say this is the outcome that we can expect is that the storytelling, right? It’s all over the place a little bit. Because we’ve been around for a long time, we had one story, but now we’re doing many other things in our business we’ve grown, how do we tell this story? And then how do we keep it so brand purpose shouldn’t evolve, but your messaging could evolve under that purpose. So we want to create that umbrella for the company. And then we can have the marketing messaging and the external messaging built off of that. But then when sales talks about the company, when customer reps talk about the company, everyone kind of is saying the same thing versus different things, because then that’s confusing for people on the outside, right? That makes your market message much stronger. That’s why we did it and that’s how we got the buy in for that, that it was a recommendation and this is the outcome. And this is the impact that will have.

Drew Neisser: There’s no doubt that at least in some of the research that Brent Adamson did for Challenger customers and Challenger sale that having a single purpose and clarity of purpose definitely helps. But tell me what the articulation was? How did you boil it down? What is the purpose of Tipalti?

Amisha Gandhi: The purpose of Tipalti, right? Why do we exist? Who are we helping? What is our Northstar? Is that we free finance to lead the modern business. Because finances isn’t thought of as a leader, right? Usually it’s, Oh, we hope we can get the budget through and that kind of stuff. But finance actually can identify trends in the business and bring opportunities to the business for growth. They see it all, right? So they should be doing that. If they’re doing a lot of manual functional tasks, and then automating them, they’re not becoming a more strategic function. So that’s what we took from that. And actually, one of our customers said, “Hey, I’m free, and now I’m doing these other things. And that’s not a value proposition that you said anything about, but I wish you would have, because that says a lot to me.”

Drew Neisser: So this language, the idea of freeing up time, freeing them up to do bigger things came from a customer.

Amisha Gandhi: Yeah, a lot of the customer interviews, and then also a lot of things where, you know, are saying like, “Oh, we don’t do manual tests, now it’s automated, which gives you better insights that allows this and that to happen.” What does that really mean? So why do we exist? Right? And so that’ll always be around this audience. So that’s, you know, the existence. Right. So that’s the internal message. The external message, right? Could be what we have on our site now, which is transform your finance team, right? So it’s more action oriented, but it means something to someone on the other side. And then test it out, right? Make sure it makes sense to who you’re reaching out to.

Drew Neisser: So what it’s interesting about the transform your finance. So there’s the “who” in there, it’s finance, there’s the “what” of freeing them and leadership to sort of free them to lead is the “what” which combines into a “why.”

So I’m curious, how did you get employees on board with this and excited about it?

Amisha Gandhi: We did a reveal by all hands and our CEO actually held that reveal. We went through the background of what was said, and why would the executives obviously, we had to get there buy in. And there was a couple of choices that had to be made. And so that’s where we ended up that everybody really liked and agreed upon. And then we did the same thing with managers and other leaders. We did a marketing training, we did a sales training, and then we had the all hands reveal as well. And we were able to say, “This is how it will show up. And here’s some of the new tags and new things that you’ll see popping up as a result of this work.” And then now, you know, over time has become part of our message framework, that our external messaging around this is pretty consistent. And even in business meetings, right? That’s what every one of the C-Suite says. So everybody says like this is right and it’s consistent. So when it comes to the top and it’s consistent it trickles out that way. And then people are telling that same base core story.

Drew Neisser: Yeah, and I can’t emphasize this enough, if something is going to stick, it’s going to have to be both top down and bottom up. And they both have to happen. And if you want to have an expression like this, if the C-Suite, and the leaders of the organization haven’t fully embraced it, full stop. Everybody has to raise their hands on the executive team and say, “Yes, we’re all in. There can be no holdouts in this process.” Because you can’t have a department say, “Oh, that’s fine for marketing. But we’re not going to endorse that as sales.” No, that’s a fail. And so it sounds like you’ve got everybody on board.

Amisha Gandhi: They went on the journey with us. Right? So it was like everybody feels like they were a part of that decision.

Drew Neisser: Yes. I think in my book, that chapter is called, “Welcome We.” You can’t do this marketers as much as you want to by going off into your bubble, doing your thing, and then bring it back. Because again, even if it’s genius, it will fail. And so this goes back to a quote I have at the beginning of the book is, “It’s amazing what you can accomplish if you don’t care who gets credit.” And that’s the part of this.

One of the things that’s important here, there’s a distinction between involving everybody and then letting everybody add value and doing something by committee. They’re different things. We want everybody involved. But if the notion is you’re going to present it to one layer, and then they’re going to add value, and then someone—you’re going to destroy it. So I want to make sure I’m clear, we’re talking about a process that enables people to feel involved, but at some point in time, you had to bring them this language, and they had to bless it.

Amisha Gandhi: Yeah. So you kind of lead everybody on the journey so that their lead to. And then decision points, you don’t have too many cooks in the kitchen. So make sure you know what decisions you’re asking for and why. And then what things you want to lead and then get agreement on.

Drew Neisser: And was there a moment where you were incredibly nervous about this?

Amisha Gandhi: No, because we have taken our brand journey and I was like, “Well, it’ll either go this way or we’ll end up with nothing. So let’s see what.” You know, we have to go in and really—because everybody had gone on this journey. They were excited to see where we ended up also. Like what happened. I said this, somebody else said something completely opposite. Where do we end up, right? So it was a great conversation. We didn’t agree with each other and we hash it out.

Drew Neisser: Then going to customers. And was there any part of the program where after you had gotten to this purpose of, “We Free Finance to Lead the Modern Business.” For example, do you have a user conference where you brought this to life?

Amisha Gandhi: We did. So we did this last year. We also did the first user conference of Tipalti, as well. Really, the purpose drove the keynote. It really was, you know—you don’t say that. We don’t say, “We free finance,” right? But we say we transform business, we have different iterations of that. But it’s really that’s the poor. Our CEO actually used those words exactly in his keynote, because a lot of the companies that we work with, like neum, and Roblox they’re groundbreaking companies themselves, right? So we work with a lot of VC backed, very fast moving high growth companies. And so that’s why we put modern business in there because it appeals to them. But it also appeals to everyone that’s trying to digitize because everyone has to be modern business to survive.

Drew Neisser: For longtime listeners of this show I tend to—in the book I talk about having the external and the internal language be the same. And the power of that because it simplifies everybody’s lives. I just want to say that I do appreciate the difference between a positioning and a tagline and a purpose statement. And they can be different. And my favorite example of all of these is from packaged goods, Gain detergent. The positioning or purpose is smell as proof of clean. It means that you pick up a piece of laundry, you smell it, and that’s like, “Oh my gosh!” That’s a positioning. That’s not external language. The reason in the book I bring the two together is very few people really can articulate the differences between those. And sometimes you don’t need to. I have a feeling with, “We free finance to lead the modern business,” that it’s not impossible that that could be external facing language at some point of time, or some articulation of that, that’s close to that. The power of not, is that you’re saying, “We’re always going to be talking about freeing finance to lead modern business.” But the difference is, the way we articulate could change over time, because our product mix might change, because our target expansion might change. And so there is power in not having to have a purpose statement like that, that you can then execute it. It gives you a little more flexibility than what I provide in my radically simplified approach in the book.

Okay, we’re gonna take a break. When we come back, we’re gonna sort of wrap things up with some of the lessons that you’ve learned through all this. And I do want to dive into the user conference a little bit more. We’ll be right back.

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Drew Neisser: Okay, we’re back. And we’ve talked about the journey that you went through to sort of tweak and evolve the demand generation engine to integrate the campaign, we’ve talked about the role of purpose and how that’s helped you bring everybody together and get them on the same page. Before we get into some of the lessons learned here and the results, talk a little bit more about the user conference. This was the first one that you’ve done, and the value of bringing your customers together.

Amisha Gandhi: So I think it’s twofold, right? You bring your customers together. And you can also have them inspire prospects, right? And I think by doing that is twofold. One is you want to have valuable information for your customers and it’s a good touch point for them. You can also do appreciation during this time, right? You can also bring some peers together where they can do some learning. So we had a very solid—so we did a virtual event last year. This year, we had a hybrid event. So that was the first sort of in person and that’s why my background is the photo wall from our event from this year, which I loved. And yes I took the sign for my office, because I love it. But you know, last year was virtual because we were still kind of in this COVID, right? People weren’t feeling very comfortable yet. So we did a virtual event. We had our keynote, which is highly produced. We shot in a studio, we had a great digital wall. We made it really pointed and very specific. We made it customer specific who we’re trying to reach. Know your ICP, know what they’re really caring about and what the trends are. It may not only be related to what you do, but it can be impactful and set your C-Suite up to be the subject matter experts that they are and inspire people because that’s what you really want doing it.

Keynote started off that way. Then we went to product innovation, we had a great customer panel, right? So a lot of customers. We have over 20 customers speak. And we have a thought leadership track as well as a product track. And the product track had half that were open to everybody and the other half just for customers. So they could get the latest innovations understand how it can help them, you know, whether they had an ERP or not what the use case was it to faulty. So they can have also, we create a virtual space for people to set up one-on-ones as either customers to get help or to understand something and then to book a demo right then and there. And then they can go off and get something virtual right away. And then we had a full on demand library after that have really great content. And were able to use that for the rest of the year, going into Q4—this was in Q3—going into Q4, right? Setting us up with some very strong content, very strong follow up. So anytime we do these conferences, it all comes down to how you treat your opportunities and customers. If you have customers upsell that’s great even if you don’t. The follow up with your prospects from an event like this, the better the follow up, the more you know that you’ve learned about them, what they were interested in. The right follow up makes a difference. And make sure you have your ABM set up whatever campaign you had going into the conference that you have the follow up pieces, and do it immediately. Don’t wait for like a week or 2 because then people have already forgotten. They’ve gone back to their job. They’re on this great like, “Wow, that was really good. I really enjoyed this.” Okay, what do you want to do? Do you want more content, or where’s your intent, right? And it can really help. You know, for sales, it was a tool to push people along to get people more informed. Maybe they weren’t able to get a prospect to a demo. But the prospect really liked a lot of the thought leadership, we offered some CPE credits, which worked really well for us. So think about what your audience needs and how you can help them in their career, or in their job. Those sessions did really, really, really well. And we also had Venus Williams as our celebrity keynote speaker. So that was very helpful, too. But what we found surprising is that helped with registration. But it was our keynote that had more viewers than even that, which is really interesting.

Drew Neisser: Interesting.

Amisha Gandhi: For me, that was really interesting. I thought, “Wow, that’s really interesting,” right.? And so for, you know, on demand, we did get a lot of—you know, we were able to use that piece of content for a full month, you know, with with, with that kind of, you know, celebrity sort of heft behind it, but that dropped, that was a good pull for us. And then we’re able to keep people there with those thought leadership that was curated by a lot of our customers. We polled our customers and asked things like, “What do you want to hear? If you went to a conference? What would you like to hear?”

Drew Neisser: Interesting in a huddle the other day, one of the CMOs had done an analysis and they looked at the customers who had attended events, and they actually looked at a group from 5 years back and found that they spent 50%, more than their average customer on renewals, upsells, and all sorts of other things. And I thought that was pretty fascinating information. But it makes sense. I don’t think this really happens on a hybrid level on a physical event level, where you’ve broken bread, where you’ve hung out, where you really learned and exchanged ideas. You can cement a customer, maybe not for life, but for a long time. And that’s how the physical event math can start to work. Because it’s really expensive, right?

Amisha Gandhi: It is, yeah. It really drove a lot of business. We had so many deals moved forward and a lot of deals created from that event. You know, in our conversations marketing, we’ve met all of our numbers, we’ve exceeded our number last year by 12%—or whatever it was a contribution—which is huge. But it’s not just about that we were able to increase things like ACV, right? The average deal size. We’re able to increase the amount of engagement to the brand, right? So as we evolve and grow, and we’re very high growth company, we double—you know, like last year’s 8% year over growth—we continue doing that. Marketing also has to meet the challenge as well as sales. So if you do that, you’re constantly have to up your game. So this year was like, “What are you going to do this year?” Like, you know, so and we did the in person event which you’re right is really expensive. So when you make that investment, make it worth while. So we had an online audience as well as the in person audience in San Francisco and in London, because we’ve expanded now to Europe. In doing that we also have all this content. So we had a great on demand library afterwards, but the people came in person. You know, make sure you follow up with everybody. It’s that big follow up. Like anything we do, the follow up is where you make or break it.

Drew Neisser: To wrap up on events, events serve 2 real purposes: they excelerated deals that were there—first of all 3 purposes—sort of cemented customers in terms of helping them feel good, educating them doing things to help them. Two accelerated deals and then it brought some new deals onto the table. So there’s a lot of value.

You threw out a lot of data in terms of how the brand has grown and how marketing has contributed. When you look at the metrics that are available to you, which are the metrics that really stand out. And if you can be specific, that would be awesome in terms of marketing is really helping to drive the organization forward.

Amisha Gandhi: We have a beyond best in class marketing contribution, right? So we contributed last year, I think over 52% of all net new deals came from marketing source in the last year. So that’s pretty big. So we blew that number out the water of our goal. And then we increased anything that was marketing influence or had ABM program, you know, increased by probably 15-20%, at least. So that makes a really big difference. Our marketing influence deals are worth like 80%. So everything that’s add ons and everything else, which is a pretty big deal, I think, you know, we grew the ABM program and customer marketing. Last year, we doubled that program so I think that investment really paid off. And then when you look at things like branded searches—we did a brand research study this year after last year to show the increased amount. And we stood, you know, head to head. People didn’t know about us as well as our other competitors. And that had increased from before where people really didn’t know the name in finance.

Drew Neisser: We’ve got marketing sourced, we’ve got marketing influence. And just in terms of anybody listening to this—and thank you for staying with us at this point—but this is so important. If Forrester is right, and there are now 27 touch points after an opportunity is identified, marketing is going to play a role all the way through this. And that’s why that marketing influence number is not surprising to me at all. And so I heard on a huddle today, and I just want to share this, if we can start to think about things instead of marketing sourced opportunity, but we just call it—in your case, it would be Tipalti sourced opportunities. The reason we want to think about this is neither marketing nor sales ever get to stop.

All right, as we wrap up and you think about it, we’re going to pick the brand one. We’re talking to a bunch of CMOs, you get to do’s and don’t when it comes to finding your purpose. Two do’s and a don’t in finding your purpose.

Amisha Gandhi: Test. Do testing on your messaging and your outcomes with the audience you want to reach. Do AV testing with them. That’s a do. Another do is include sales as well, because they also have to sell what you’re marketing. So partnership with marketing and sales is really key to any process, not just to brand but anything. Don’t say, “No, it’s a bad idea.” Even if you hear it as a marketer, and you cringe and go, “Oh, I would never use that.” Just take the answers and think about them because you never know what you’ll find. So be open, you know, so don’t say no right away to something that you may hear and make a face and say, “I would never say that publicly.” Maybe there’s different way to say it. But just listen, because you may find a kernel in there, you know, and you don’t want to dissuade the people you’re interviewing because your reaction can influence that interview. That’s a big don’t in the branding process. And in order to…

Drew Neisser: That make sense. It’s really hard. I have to say, having sat through these processes, because there are things that will come up that are cringe worthy, but be generous. Be humble. And I think I tell the story in the book a couple of times, even if you think you’re right, and have the answer, you probably aren’t and don’t have the answer and you just gotta keep open until you’ve really gone through the process. Okay. Amisha Gandhi, this was an awesome conversation. Thank you so much for being on the show.

Amisha Gandhi: Thank you for having me. This was a fun conversation.

Drew Neisser: So I think you’ve heard everything you need to know about marketing on this show. You’ve got to drive demand, you’ve got to build it and build an integration engine, you got to ideally find a purpose that can rally the organization, and then you got to bring it to life and activate it with your employees, your customers, and your prospects. One great way to do it is through events. And don’t forget the metrics. That’s it. Thank you for listening. If you enjoyed the show, by the way, do me a favor, go to Amisha Gandhi’s LinkedIn page and tell her how much you enjoyed this show.

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Show Credits

Renegade Marketers Unite is written and directed by Drew Neisser. Hey, that’s me. Audio production is by Sam Beck. Show notes are written by Melissa Caffrey. The music is by the amazing Burns Twins and intro voiceover is Linda Cornelius.

To find the transcripts of all episodes, suggest future guests, or learn more about my new book and Renegade visit I’m your host, Drew Neisser. And until next time, keep those Renegade Thinking Caps on and strong.