Startup Blog

The 4 Disciplines of People Ops

Posted Mike Volpe on 3/21/17 9:00 AM

We’re hiring a VP of People Operations at Cybereason, so I’ve been thinking a lot about what makes someone amazing at that job. It is a very very hard job because to be a truly great people ops executive, you need a broad set of skills spanning product management, marketing, sales, and customer success.

2 Different CMOs: Enterprise vs. SMB Marketing

Posted Mike Volpe on 12/16/16 2:04 PM

After spending a few months marketing to enterprises with both a field and inside sales team, I have some thoughts on marketing to Enterprise vs SMB and what it means for a CMO. (Don't read anything into this. I am very happy at Cybereason and things are going extremely well.)



My Latest Investment - SMB MarTech

Posted Mike Volpe on 10/26/16 12:03 PM

I just invested in a company that:

Why Quarterly Businesses are Doomed

Posted Mike Volpe on 4/27/16 11:22 AM

One of the little things we did while building HubSpot that turned out to be a big advantage was to run our business monthly, not quarterly.  Marketing goals were monthly.  Sales goals and commissions were monthly.  We produced financial and other reports monthly.  And most importantly we made changes to marketing, sales and the product roadmap monthly.

Using NPS at a Startup - Tips and Tricks from Experience

Posted Mike Volpe on 2/17/16 11:30 AM

I'm hearing more and more questions over time from founders, execs and marketers at startups about NPS (net promoter score).  If you are not familiar with NPS, check out this overview and my interview with the creator of NPS.  We used NPS extensively at HubSpot starting when Jonah Lopin implemented it around 2009 (he's now founder of Crayon, check it out if you do any marketing or design work - I'm an advisor and investor).  NPS can be a very valuable tool in measuring customer happiness and the underlying growth potential of your startup, if it is used properly.  Unfortunately, from the questions I have been getting, I worry startups are misusing NPS, so here are some of my thoughts.

Why I Joined the Board of Attend

Posted Mike Volpe on 1/26/16 10:00 AM

Today Attend is announcing that I have been elected to their board of directors.  There are a lot of reasons I’m very excited about this new role - in many ways it is the perfect company for me to dive into - so I thought I’d share how I think about the opportunity for the company.

Website Optimization Tips - Dreamforce 2010 [Video & PPT]

Posted Mike Volpe on 12/20/10 10:09 AM

I had the pleasure of presenting a session at Dreamforce this year, and I thought I would share it with you.  My portion of the presentation is about 25 minutes, and there are a variety of formats below for your viewing pleasure.

What's the top challenge for B2B marketing?

Posted Mike Volpe on 4/27/10 11:21 AM

Lead generation, specifically quality leads, is the top challenge for B2B marketers.  It always has been, and it always will be.  Leads are like a drug, once your sales team has some, they want more - and they always ask for higher quality until you start handing them signed purchase orders.  So it didn't surprise me that this MarketingSherpa study showed that quality lead generation was the top challenge.  What surprised me was how much lead generation was ahead of the other categories... check it out: 69% of marketers said quality lead generation was the top challenge, and all the other categories were in the 30's.  Remarkable.  Notice too that just a large volume of lead generation is also on the list at 35%.

b2b marketing challenge

Case Study on Social Media Marketing Lead Generation - #sherpaB2B09

Posted Mike Volpe on 10/5/09 2:00 PM

I had the great opportunity to speak to a bunch of my marketing peers at the Marketing Sherpa B2B Demand Generation Summit in Boston today (#sherpaB2B09).  It was part of a panel discussion, and there were no slides, but my notes are below  Enjoy and share!

twitter for marketing and pr

B2B YouTube Video Case Study

Posted Mike Volpe on 7/15/09 11:31 AM

Let's say you are a B2B company that sells to marketers and small businesses and want to attract new prospects to your website, as well as spread your thought leadership message about inbound marketing.

What do you do?  Lots of things.  You blog, make videos, podcast, do webinars, write ebooks, be active in social media and just generally leverage inbound marketing.  As part of this, you can also try to create a viral video on YouTube.

Here is our latest attempt at making something remarkable and viral for YouTube.  And some thoughts of mine below about it.

  1. A rap song is a good choice because the lyrics are usually easier to understand, so you can make your point more easily.  Rap songs are also easier to parody than normal songs, I think.
  2. The song is popular, and old.  New songs might be a big hit, but the recall you get with an old song really works.  It also helps you get an older demographic (usually better for B2B), rather than just people in their early 20's.  This song was chosen after we realized it is now being played at weddings - meaning it is broadly popular.
  3. Get a bit crazy.  The more uncomfortable you are during filming, the more likely it will be that your video is funny and remarkable and worth sharing.  Find the line, and then go over it.  I'm not sure we went far enough in this one.
  4. Try a call to action.  You usually get very few click throughs from YouTube to your website.  You can drive more traffic by adding a call to action at the end of the video. But don't just put your logo or"visit my website".  Try somethign more subtle, we just encouraged people to Google "inbound marketing" (and we were darn sure we dominated the first page of results...)
How did we do?  What do you think?

Measuring Social Media for B2B Marketing

Posted Mike Volpe on 1/28/09 12:33 PM

Another blog article from my email outbox.  Here is most of my response to a question about how to measure social media marketing ROI at a B2B company.

  1. Reach. (overall reach/database size)
    • In the old days, you had a mail/email database. Now you have a number of channels where you can still send messages to people, but they might not be in your "database" but it is almost the same thing. We track monthly a total "reach" adding up a number of metrics, like:
      • # blog subscribers
      • # fans on Facebook
      • # followers on Twitter
      • # group members on LinkedIn
      • # iTunes subscribers
      • Others/etc.
    • This is pretty easy to do manually once a month in a spreadsheet.
  2. Buzz.
    • This is sort of an advanced version of the "number of mentions" chart that PR people often use, except this one includes all blogs and online discussions. You want to track the number of times you are mentioned and same for your competition. If people are talking about you more and more, and especially in relationship to your competition, that is good.
    • You can do this manually by tracking
      • # pages in Google search results for a search on your company brand
      • # people that find your website each month on your branded company/product terms
  3. Sentiment.
    • You try to figure out the number of people who are saying good and bad things about you and trend that over time. For a startup, you just follow conversations and guestimate it since the volume is so low.  For bigger companies, there are some software solutions that are OK, but still being perfected for this (Radian6, Techrigy, Andiamo Systems, Trackur, Crimson Hexagon). The market is immature in my opinion, but the concept is good to think about.

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