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Elle Woulfe is a revenue-focused marketer with expertise in digital marketing and demand generation. Equal parts creative wonk and marketing nerd, she’s an expert at bringing sales and marketing teams together through shared processes, goals and KPIs.

As the VP of Marketing for Toronto-based martech company LookBookHQ, Elle is responsible for cultivating awareness and turning interest into pipeline. A veteran in the marketing technology industry, she previously held senior demand generation roles at Lattice Engines and Eloqua. Elle is a regular speaker at industry events, and a thought leader in the field of demand generation and marketing operations.

She holds rather irrelevant degrees in English Literature and Religious Studies from Northeastern University.

You can follow her on Twitter: @ellehwoulfe.

She will be live on Nov 14, starting at 930 AM PT for one and a half hours during which she will answer as many questions as possible.

  • JD

    James Dunn

    5 months ago #

    Hey Elle,

    I've come across some people who've said that a marketing operations person should be one of the first people you should bring on to your team before you start scaling growth.
    What's your take on this? I'm also not clear to be honest on what the difference between someone who does marketing operations vs just what a modern marketing/growth person would (should) be doing is.

    • EW

      Elle Woulfe

      5 months ago #

      Hey James... I love this question!

      This has always been my first hire and whether you focus on “ops” or “growth” has a bit to do with company stage, IMO. I think the question comes down to – are you more focused on building an audience and driving awareness/interest or developing the framework to support that audience and interest?

      I often start with the latter so that when I create the former, I will have better insights and an operational process to know how it’s working + some levers I can pull to optimize.

      A true marketing operations person typically has a pretty technical background – they are most likely familiar with a lot of the established marketing technology and channels out there and how that stuff integrates. But more than that – they are familiar with the process that technology enables.

      At a very early stage company, a growth marketer can learn a lot on the job while a company that’s further along or where the stakes are a bit higher, you might want someone with some context for the process and infrastructure you’re trying to build. The priorities might also be different. You might just be trying to test messaging, or trying to get sign ups vs. working to really build a demand gen engine so what you prioritize has everything to do with company stage and goals.

      I’m all about building repeatable process – stuff that can be measured and optimized and I have always relied on people much smarter than me to build the kind of process and operations I dream up. This is why a strong ops person is often my first hire. At LookBookHQ, I hired a demand gen manager who was very technical and he has been my right hand (and left side of my brain) since the day he started. We’re very analytical and data driven so hiring someone that was comfortable with all the “plumbing” our reporting was going to require was paramount to our success. But we were also at a stage when I joined where we really needed to develop a strong demand generation machine so I was tooling for that.

      2 Share
  • JP

    John Phamvan

    5 months ago #

    Hi Elle,

    a. What tools are you using at LookBookHQ for experimentation & analytics right now?
    b. What's the most recent tool you added (and why)
    c Where does your data live?
    d. What collaboration tools does the team use?

    Thanks!
    John

    • EW

      Elle Woulfe

      5 months ago #

      Hi John! Great question.

      a. What tools are you using at LookBookHQ for experimentation & analytics right now?

      We use our own platform for experimentation a lot. I know, I know… of course I would say that but it happens to be true. It allows us to get really creative with content journeys and delivering personalized experiences for different audiences so we’re able to be a lot more agile. We tend to A/B test a lot and some of that happens on the execution side with emails we send out of Marketo, ads we run through LinkedIn or retargeting on AdRoll. We actually do a whole segment in our QBR on tests we ran and it’s a fun little game where we guess which version won.

      For analytics, we use Full Circle Insights for response management (tracking funnel progression), influence and attribution and I’ve been a customer for quite a while. Our revenue ops manager has also been playing around a bit with InsightSquared to color in some trend data. But honestly, the biggest power tool in our stack for analytics is Excel. We do a lot of slicing and dicing outside all our apps.

      b. What's the most recent tool you added (and why)

      Probably Sigstr for email signature management. It’s just a simple thing but it solves a really annoying problem for marketers. Email signatures can be decent real estate but they’re impossible to manage and to get people to adopt so being able to control them centrally and run them like a campaign is amazing. PFL is another tool we added somewhat recently which enabled us to role out direct mail at scale for our sales team. Now they can click a button on the contact record in SFDC and send a package, which helps them get meetings with key accounts. There is no way a team of our size could support a program like that without automation.

      c Where does your data live?

      Marketo is really the central clearinghouse for all our data – all our data management processes happen there for hygiene purposes. We clean, append, score, etc. But it all eventually makes its way to salesforce.com

      d. What collaboration tools does the team us

      I’m a remote employee so my whole team sits in another city (almost all of them are in another country) so we use Slack very effectively and Zoom. We try to do as much on video as possible. We make pretty good use of Google Drive for sharing stuff. No wild surprises. A few folks use dapulse for collaborating on projects but we're small enough that we can work pretty effectively without too much tech to manage our projects. That could change though.

      3 Share
  • DH

    Dani Hart

    5 months ago #

    Hey Elle - so excited to have you here!

    What is LookBookHQ's North Star Metric?
    How have you managed to rally & align the team around this key metric?

    • EW

      Elle Woulfe

      5 months ago #

      Thanks Dani! I'm excited to be here but my fingers hurt!

      Oh boy... North Star Metric. It's revenue. Of course I would say that but it's true. What % of revenue is marketing driving. We measure this by Marketing Sourced Opportunities and that's the #1 metric we care about. I mean, we care about lots of metrics but if we miss them all and hit this one, we still come out on top. Ultimately, marketing is always looking to increase the % of revenue they are driving and then secondarily, we're looking to decrease the cost to drive that revenue but SQO is the goal we focus on because it's easy to roll the revenue goal into that by reverse engineering the funnel (we do this each quarter using the previous quarters marketing sourced revenue attainment, ACV and conversion rate).

      I don't think it's hard to get people to rally around it... if it's part of your culture, everyone will get behind it. People are goal oriented. We like to know if what we're doing is working. We actually have these big monitors up in the office that track our progress against this goal (and others) and we have dashboards that also track it that we review regularly. We kick off team meetings with a review of how we tracking against the goals and it's the singular focus of our QBR (quarterly business review) - not just this goal but marketing performance in general.

      We actually have a whole scorecard of stuff we track and we look to see how we improved quarter over quarter. It's fun to watch the metrics move. We also have a metric unique to us and our platform called "binge" rate which is all about creating deep engagement with our content so we're always tracking how that is improving over time but at the end of the day, it's all about how we drive revenue.

      • AA

        Anuj Adhiya

        5 months ago #

        Can you talk more about what binge rate entails?

      • EW

        Elle Woulfe

        5 months ago #

        Sure Anuj... Binge rate is a unique metric we track in our platform that looks at the intensity around buyer research and education. We track how many content assets a buyer consumes and how much time they spend consuming them. Binge rate looks at buyers who consume more than two content assets in a single session.

  • SK

    S Kodial

    5 months ago #

    Hi Elle!
    Can you talk about the most common challenges with making sales and marketing teams play well together and the best way to actually make it happen? Please include process and tools that can help make this happen in your response as applicable. Thx!

    • EW

      Elle Woulfe

      5 months ago #

      Hi there. I could write a book on this topic! A big part of the issue when marketing and sales teams don’t work well together is what I’ll call the “black box effect.” Marketing expects sales to trust and respect what they’re doing without providing a whole lot of insight into exactly what that is! There’s too much dogma in that process.

      I'm a big fan of over sharing. If you want sales to believe in marketing, they need to understand it. Not just what you're doing but how it impacts them. We run sales bootcamps for new reps and we always focus on how marketing is here to support them. When we roll out new campaigns and programs, we make sure we share it with our sales teams over several channels - we get into a lot of detail about everything we're doing and why so that our sales team can see how it's designed to make them more successful.

      But a lot of the alignment is also a byproduct of shared goals. Marketing can't care about leads while sales cares about revenue. Those two things are not related. If you want to be aligned with sales, you need to be deeply aligned to what they care about and that's hitting their number. I have always owned a portion of the new business goal and my team can tell you at any point in the quarter where we stand against our SQO goal. The sales team knows that everything we do is aligned to hitting that number so it's easy for them to be interested in what we're doing.

      My best advice is to realize that like all relationships - it takes work. You can't meet once a week or once a quarter and expect to have amazing alignment. It needs to be a very close bond that you work hard to develop. We have a member of the marketing team sit in on the weekly BDR team meeting to review the marketing calendar, our marketing team routinely helps out on sales calls, we share information on a daily basis and the team gets a copy of every campaign we send out the door. We also try to say yes more than we say no... it can be difficult at times but if we're supporting revenue, we try to always make the right choice.

      3 Share
  • MD

    Mark Anthony de Jesus

    5 months ago #

    Hey Elle,
    I'm very interested in why you'll don't display in pricing on your site.
    On a related note, what experiments have you'll tried (or perhaps plan to test) with pricing?

  • TN

    Tri Nguyen

    5 months ago #

    Hey Elle,
    What lessons did you learn from your time at Lattice Engines and Eloqua that have translated well into your role at LookBookHQ?
    On the flip side, what from your previous roles hasn't translated (or as well as you expected to)?

    • EW

      Elle Woulfe

      5 months ago #

      Oh wow... what a great question Tri!

      LookBookHQ was the earliest stage company I had ever joined and I think what prepared me the most was knowing what the future could look like. When I joined, we didn't have any process or infrastructure. We were almost exclusively outbound focused so I was really hired to help us flip that to be more of an inbound machine. I knew the end state I wanted to achieve so that was helpful but I had never built it from scratch. Knowing where I was trying to get to was a good place to start but it certainly wasn't a roadmap by any means and I tripped a few times along the way.

      I think the hardest transition in joining an early stage company (and one that was not yet very well funded) was not having many (any?) resources. I knew what I wanted to do but I was used to having people around me who could help me realize my vision. I had to be more resourceful... I had to flex some skills I hadn't used in a while which was actually really fun. I also had to get comfortable with "good enough" and not be so focused on doing a million things - I would be happy to cross one thing off the list.

      In my roles at Eloqua and Lattice, I did live through pretty big evolutions. We built a lot of process and evolved our tech stacks at both companies. We hired (and let go of) lots of people and I saw what skills did and didn't work at various stages of both companies so all those experience were helpful when I came to an early stage company had to navigate tons of change and growth.

      I don't think there is anything that hasn't translated to be honest - I learned so much and was exposed to so many different opportunities, personalities and challenges in both of those roles and I've taken all of that into my current role.

      2 Share
      • AA

        Anuj Adhiya

        5 months ago #

        I can totally relate to the "get comfortable with "good enough"" sentiment.
        This was surprisingly harder than I thought it would be but having well-defined objectives has certainly helped focus on what's important at this moment.

  • JF

    Javier Feldman

    5 months ago #

    Hola, Elle
    a. What is LookBookHQ's 'a-ha moment'?
    b. What actions does a user have to have taken for them to be considered as 'activated'?

  • DO

    Danielle Olivas

    5 months ago #

    Hi Elle!
    What is LookBookHQ's biggest growth challenge currently?
    How are you tackling this?

    • EW

      Elle Woulfe

      5 months ago #

      Oh man... ask me tomorrow and it will be different! This is the challenge with working in a company that's growing so fast. Honestly, one of the bigger challenges for me right now is just scaling the demand gen engine we built. It sounds like such a good problem to have but it's tricky. We built this highly scalable, repeatable machine that essentially is very effective at sourcing demand. We run programs and meetings pop out on the other side!

      The problem is that we can't sell to everyone, nor should we. We know much better today what our ideal customer looks like than we did even a year ago and so the machine produces a lot of false positives. Our wide top of funnel approach no longer suits us... we need to narrow the beam. But that brings tons of challenges. Like, what do you do with all these people that raise their hands and want to check out our platform but who will never become customers? We know they will never become customers because we now know exactly what a great customer looks like... so it's tricky because you don't want to turn all those adoring prospects away! But today, we don't really have a product that suits them. I am working on some solutions for this and it's really about flipping the model to be a bit more outbound and target account focused and having the inbound machine be more about market education but it's a balancing act!

      3 Share
  • GH

    Glen Harper

    5 months ago #

    Thank you for joining us today, Elle.

    a. What characteristics does a qualified lead for LookBookHQ have?
    b. What is your process (and tools) for qualifying these leads?
    c. What acquisition channel(s) is/are working best for acquiring such leads currently?

    • EW

      Elle Woulfe

      5 months ago #

      Hi Glen... thanks for having me!

      a. We use Marketo lead scoring for determining a qualified lead so it's a blend of demographic and behavioral criteria. We have started to incorporate some firmographics and technographics and we will probably start to lean on this a bit more as we get a little more focused on ABM. That's primarily because we are getting smarter about what our best customers look like so we can afford to be more selective about what we pass to our BDRs. We also use our own engagement data (our platform tracks time spent with content after someone clicks) as a way to fast track MQLs and we see far better conversion from contacts that have shown deep levels of content engagement. More specifically - we sell to large mid-market and enterprise, B2B companies that sell in longer considered purchase markets. Our buyers tend to be pretty sophisticated demand gen, marketing ops or programs marketers. Most are using a marketing automation platform today and make pretty heavy use of marketing technology.

      b. Marketo for scoring, SFDC for routing to the correct BDR. We do some back-end data appending with Datanyze to ensure we have all the specific data elements we need to score and then the LookBookHQ platform to get the additional engagement data. Then it's human - once it reaches the MQL threshold, our amazing BDR Team (which is part of marketing) takes over and they call to do some light qualification and set up meetings for our field sales team.

      c. There is no one channel that works great for us. We're in a largely evangelical market so it takes a lot of touches and education to move someone from early stage awareness to truly educated and qualified. We do a lot of thought leadership through programs like webinars and we've had success with very focused content syndication to target accounts. We have evolved our ABM strategy over the past year and we strong results with targeted LinkedIn programs as well, but we nurture very proactively and according to lead stage - I am HUGE proponent of nurturing. That's how you turn all your latent demand into active, qualified demand.

      We also do some events but only focused on our target market - things like SiriusDecisions Summit where very savvy demand gen marketers tend to hang out and while they are expensive, we are able to have lots of great 1:1 conversations. We put a ton of effort into running great events and making sure the follow up is truly amazing so we capitalize on the expense.

      But nothing is ever one touch... our best prospects are nurtured and educated over a pretty long process before they are truly sales ready.

      2 Share
  • AS

    Alex Shipillo

    5 months ago #

    Hi Elle - Thanks for being so awesome! :)

    I know that you're primarily based in Boston while the rest of the LookBook marketing team is in Toronto.

    Do you have any advice on how to be an effective VP of Marketing while also being remote? How have you overcome some of the associated challenges?

    Alex

    • EW

      Elle Woulfe

      5 months ago #

      Well Alex... I am only awesome because of the amazing network of smart people I surround myself with :)

      The biggest challenge for me as a remote head of marketing is FOMO. Honestly, that's about it. I'm sad when I miss out on a happy hour or a pumpkin carving challenge (but mostly a happy hour). That I don't get to be as plugged in to the culture as the rest of the TO based team is what I find most difficult, but beyond that, I actually don't find being remote that tough. Here's why:

      1. I have centralized my team in one location. This is pretty important. My team all being together makes it easy for them to collaborate and have very strong bonds, even when I'm not there and this is critical. I don't know if we could be as effective if I were remote and half the team were scattered all over. They need to communicate and collaborate and nerd out together. I do have one other remote employee but the nature of her role (events) has made that work out well.

      2. I don't have any junior employees that report directly to me. To make this work, the people that report to me need to be fairly autonomous, require less direction and have good judgement. There are times where we might not get a chance to talk for a few days and they need to be comfortable with that. They are effectively GMs of their own little business unit and I need them to know that's what they signed up for.

      3. Hiring is kind of my super power. I pride myself on making really great hires. I have never had anyone quit on me (I probably shouldn't put that in writing!) and I try to build the kind of teams that people love to work on. I respect my employees and we have a pretty established compact for what we all expect from one another. They get a challenging and creative work environment where there is a ton of trust and where they won't be micromanaged. We are all overachievers so we get our work done and high five our successes. My manager-level employees in turn make smart hires and it just creates this great environment for team work and collaboration - even where there is geographic distance.

      4. This is part of being good at hiring but I am also good at hiring the right people for the stage company we are. As I often say - this is not a lifestyle job. We're a growth stage company and we're all in this together. Everyone on my team knows that so there's a lot of ownership. You can't have one person dialing it in and everyone else burning the midnight oil. There is no expectation here that you're going to take your work home with you... that's not our culture. But there is an expectation that you're going to think like a founder and we all do that so it ends up being pretty damn harmonious.

      The last bit is so obvious it seems silly to even say but clear goals. As long as we all row in the same direction, things are smooth. Having that true north keeps us all aligned and focused on the right things. That's our playbook and it makes mapping to those goals (and saying no) pretty easy.

      3 Share
  • RS

    Rehan Sajid

    5 months ago #

    Hey Elle,

    Being a B2B marketer I would be interested in hearing your thoughts about the lessons you have learnt in conveying a marketing message in as efficient manner as possible. Is audience segmentation as importance in the space as some of us claim?

    • EW

      Elle Woulfe

      5 months ago #

      Hi Rehan... Yep! Audience segmentation is pretty damn important. I would argue more important in some areas than others. For example - we sell to marketers. More specifically to demand gen marketers. Now, if you start to really slice that up, a demand gen person cares about things in a slightly different way than a marketing operations person does. However, generally speaking - they do speak the same language. Could I get a better result with a message that is tailored specifically to each individual role - yes, I probably could. Do I have the resources to do that and would it be worth it - probably not.

      However - if we were talking about something more dramatic like accountants vs. attorneys, then yes - segmenting the audience and fine tuning the message would matter a whole lot more. One message simply wouldn't be relevant for the other.

      I'm a fan of working first on the core message - the one that is most universal and palatable to the largest and most important segment of the market. This was our strategy at Eloqua. Once that baseline message is established and you are able, then you can deviate for other segments - but only where it will make a material difference or where there is A.) a big enough population to matter or B.) a big enough deviation from your core message for it to be important.

      Don't boil the ocean. Core message first.

  • MT

    Manny Tafoya

    5 months ago #

    Hey Elle! Thanks for joining today!

    Can you share an experiment that led to a big win or insight you didn't have before?

    • EW

      Elle Woulfe

      5 months ago #

      Well, this led to an insight but it wasn't a big win. I'm a big believer in taking leaps. Sometimes you just need to try stuff. We had some success with this "automated" direct mail program and we wanted to switch up the offer. It was something we made available to sales for trying to book meetings. We had this really cool idea to make these custom viewfinders and before we rolled it out, I wanted to run this campaign to a bunch of lost opportunities as a one off campaign. I thought it was the perfect cohort. Like - if we lost an opp with a company in the past because it was the right time or whatever, maybe we could re-engage with them with this super cool creative DM.

      Anyway... the campaign was a total flop. We poured a lot of time and energy into it and we just didn't see the results we hoped for. We learned a lot and I'm not sad we did it. I needed to think about lost ops differently and this campaign was the lens I needed. I will see that as a "door opener" campaign, the same DM has performed great so it was the list and not the offer!

  • PD

    Porus Daruvala

    5 months ago #

    Hi Elle,
    Why don't you have a free trial (at least one that's obviously available) vs driving people down the path of a demo?

  • AA

    Anuj Adhiya

    5 months ago #

    So cool to finally have you on, Elle!
    I'd like to dig into your self description of "Equal parts creative wonk and marketing nerd" :).
    What does this mean in practice?
    How essential is this combination to your success as a marketer?
    Any other tips on how we can cultivate creativity?

    • EW

      Elle Woulfe

      5 months ago #

      Thanks Anuj! Well, I think it's critical to be honest. Especially in B2B where creativity is often overlooked. We sometimes forget in B2B that because we are selling to companies, that we are marketing to people... and people like creativity! I have been able to stand out in my career by not treating B2B marketing like something boring and predictable with basic fonts and many shades of blue and gray.

      The nerdy part of marketing for me is how I get to see if the creative part is working. It's where I get to test the ideas and measure the output. I love the process and operational side of this stuff. I love trying to figure out how we're going to make something work. It's like a big Rube Goldberg machine! But if all you're doing is laying some boring old copy and creative on top of a state of the art demand gen engine, I think you've only done half the work. Your buyers are human... they have personal lives. They eat food and read books and use apps and drink beer. Who knows what they're into! We should try to appeal to the human side and make our marketing interesting! Is that enough exclamation points?

      We cultivate creativity by never being satisfied... by always asking, is that the best it could be? We are so lucky, we have AMAZING designers on staff and we constantly push the creative boundaries but we also have the kind of culture that fosters this type of behavior. We routinely do fun, creative stuff as an organization. My last QBR involved the team making beer taps out of clay - just for fun. Flex that side of your brain and your marketing will show it.

  • VN

    vyshakh nair

    5 months ago #

    HI elle,

    What is the most effective way to increase traffic to a website?

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