The following insight came from my podcast interview with Meghan Gill, where she talked about sales and marketing tactics you can use at any stage of a company.
I think one of the best pieces of career advice came from Sheryl Sandberg’s “Lean In.” Two things stood out to me about that book. One was her advice to focus on the company and not the title or the role because if you’re at a fantastic company that’s growing fast, there will always be opportunities. So, when people ask, “How do I enter the technology or startup scene? What kind of jobs should I be looking for?”. I’m like, who cares about the title, get into like the, look for the top, most unique, fastest-growing companies and target those, find your way into those.
The second thing that she talked about, which I think is also relevant for me, is to think of your career more as a jungle gym versus a ladder. In career development, I think there’s the tradition to stay in a company and move up in a particular role or function. And, what’s been fun about being at MongoDB is. I had spent a long stretch in marketing, and I wasn’t sure what my next step would be. I had the opportunity to make a lateral move and take over the sales operations org, which has been a ton of fun. So, now I feel like I’m much more well-rounded because I came from marketing. Now I know sales operations. About five, six months ago, I also got to take on sales development under my umbrella. So, now I feel like taking on. It started with a lateral, and now it’s been like an expanded role, which has been fun.
Once you start your marketing career, there are some things that you need to pay attention to grab your customer’s attention and help your company stand out from its competition. Especially now in a world where we’re all working remotely, I think everybody’s focused on taking the HubSpot model, driving lots and lots of content to drive interest in your product, which makes sense. Still, I think the result of people learning about that sort of HubSpot inbound model is that there tends to be an ocean of really low-quality content. So, it may sound obvious, but focusing on quality over quantity is essential. Thinking about what your audience wants to learn and what they want to be an expert in.
So, Marketing University is one example. But, I also think about Segment. They launched Analytics Academy. Every marketer wants to be more analytical; that’s the future of marketing. Building an Analytics Academy to teach marketers about analytics is a brilliant way to reach that audience. Another approach is to think about data as everyone loves data. Think about Mailchimp; every year, they release a report using their data about email marketing. What subject lines work, what’s the best time to send an email again. It’s like the data that your exact audience wants.
Another way, I think, is to slice the noise is to be bold or be controversial. And then lastly, I would say give away something for free. So, is there some expertise you can give away for free? Those are different ways I would advise trying to cut through the noise.
We spend a lot of time thinking about what is interesting to a software developer, what motivates them, what’s going to help them advance their career, and start building many educational materials. For example, we have a free online education portal called MongoDB University. We’ve had over a million people sign up for MongoDB University class to learn MongoDB. And it’s like education, it’s marketing, masked as education, but it’s the same. So, if you could provide that kind of content with real value, that was a very effective way for us to build interest and build an audience.