Micheline Nijmeh is a C-level marketer, but her current assignment has taken her “back to where my passion is.” Namely, connecting sales with prospects in a quicker and more engaging way.
Nijmeh started out in sales, but joining Sun Microsystems found herself marketing to CIOs, IT managers and developers, building an enterprise IT background on the fly. She didn’t anticipate the tech turn in her career: “No, not at all. I truly believe that if you’re good at what you do, you can sell anything. ‘ Nevertheless, she’s one of several highly savvy marketing executives I’ve met recently who did a tour of duty at Salesforce.com. She started out running lead generation, and then helped launch Chatter, Salesforce’s alternative to enterprise intranets. As senior director for global marketing at Silver Spring Networks, the intelligent utilities vendor, she immersed herself in smart cities and the Internet of Things.
The Secret Sales Weapon
LiveHive, which bills itself as “your secret sales weapon,” seeks to align marketing automation with the needs of sales teams. “MA has grown incredibly in the past ten years,” Nijmeh told me, “It helps you be more productive, and engage with prospects in a personalized fashion but on a broad scale.” However, she added, “it has created more of a gap between marketing and sales. It wasn’t able to align with the conversations reps were having with customers. These days, reps are dealing with a new type of buyer. Buyers are much more intelligent in what they want to buy. The style of selling has changed.”
The main elements of LiveHive’s platform are sales automation and engagement analytics. The first allows reps to create a “SmartPath” to schedule emails for different points on the sales journey, targeted at specific groups of prospects. “With SmartPath,” said Nijmeh, “reps can build out a sequence on the spot. MA can be slow to turn around: this puts the decisions in the rep’s hands.”
The platform also allows users to edit email templates and access assets stored in any cloud service (Box or DropBox, for example). It also integrates with Salesforce CRM (they’re working on integration with Microsoft Dynamics). Engagement analytics surfaces the most qualified prospects based on engagement scores, tracks granular engagement with content assets, and creates engagement scores to support sales forecasts.
As Nijmeh described path-building to me, I was reminded of Salesforce Pardot’s Engage Studio, which plots unique customer journeys for prospects. “Yes, they can build out a path,” said Nijmeh, “but that’s a marketing tool. We’re a sales acceleration tool, built on a platform designed for content engagement analytics.” What’s more, she said, adopting LiveHive can lead to rethinking the way sales organizations should grow. “You don’t need more reps,” she said. “You need them to have tools to engage with buyers in a personalized, high quality, and fast way.”
The Martech Landscape
I asked for Nijmeh’s perspective on the current marketing technology space. “The solutions which are going to win in the future are the ones which integrate with each other,” she said. “Marketing automation, sales acceleration, and CRM make up a three-legged stool.” Within that structure, “people will always choose best of breed.”
Integration and relevance are important to LiveHive. “We built the platform to work with what reps already use. That’s why it’s integrated with Salesforce CRM. That’s always produced great reports, but now you have analytics you didn’t previously have; data based on customer behavior, engagement scores. It has to work with sales reps’ daily habits.”
I also raised the content conundrum: whether mapping out individual paths-to-purchase made sense if a wide range of personalized content wasn’t available. “I personally don’t see that,” she told me. “If you’ve built out a good buyer’s journey, you should be able to personalize it. If the prospect clicked on a specific link, there’s a different kind of message. Click on an attachment, and you get a different follow-up. I’ve seen product marketers build content just to sit on a shelf.
“The journey comes first,” she said. “Then the content to go with it.”