With Be’Anka Asholu, VP of Marketing and Alex Mohring, Sr. Marketing Manager at Propel
Be’Anka Asholu and Alex Mohring work together at Propel, where they focus on the best outcomes for the company despite regular disagreements about the best way to achieve that. Be’Anka makes the case for bringing in Alex as Marketing Ops to build her relationship as VP with the CMO, and why they decided to use a different approach for scoring that focuses on a buyer-centric journey.
Be'Anka Asholu is the VP of Marketing at Propel. Be’Anka is an experienced marketing operations, content marketing, and demand generation leader who is obsessed with aligning talent and responsibilities to drive measurable results. She began my career in journalism before quickly moving into marketing technology, sales operations, and integrated campaign execution in the legal, cyber security, and retail analytics spaces.
In addition to her executive role at Propel, she’s also the Co-Founder and CMO of Nirvana Soul Coffee Purveyors in downtown San Jose.
Alex Mohring is the Sr. Marketing Manager at Propel. Alex is passionate about finding creative solutions. He is data driven with a deep understanding of digital marketing, and looking for that next product/startup ready for growth.
How do you handle disagreements?
(Be’Anka) We disagree on pretty much everything. For instance, we approach campaigns and ways of setting up Marketo differently. I used to be in Marketo every single day earlier in her career. I have some rigid ideas of how things should be run from naming conventions all the way through to how you're measuring things.
Now I’m not in Marketo every day. That job has been reserved for Alex and his team. When I have an idea about how we should set up scoring, or do more segmentation a certain way, he's already got things in motion that I could be messing up by implementing this new thing.
Alex will be the one to say, “Maybe that's not the best way to do that.” Sometimes he’ll flat out tell me that we can't do that because this specific thing is happening. It’ll be five or ten minutes of us arguing back and forth before settling on something and saying, “Perfect. Let's do it that way.”
(Alex) She’s not as close to the intricacies that my team deals with. I’ll take her idea and try to think of ways to include it in the framework of the day-to-day operations she’s farther removed from. If we both feel strongly about something we work hard to come to a common ground. When it comes down to it, we both want the best outcome for the organization.
How does Marketing Ops build relationships with the VP and CMO?
(Be’Anka) I love this question a lot because I started at this company a couple years ago as a director of Demand Gen. Alex joined shortly after me. After I was promoted to VP the big difference I noticed is that when I was at the director level, Alex was included pretty much automatically in meetings I would have. If there was a decision making thing that was happening, it wasn't weird for him to be there.
When I was promoted to VP, all of a sudden I found myself in these conversations with the CMO where I wondered why Alex wasn’t there. There’s a weird expectation that the VP has to know everything about every functional area and be able to speak for it. That’s why MOPs should be involved as a resource for VPs when building a relationship with the CMO. Bringing Alex into those conversations ensures faster planning.
You’ve worked on a different approach for new scoring at Propel. Why did you feel the need to take a different approach to scoring in the first place?
(Be’Anka) Buyers are smarter than we give them credit for. Yet companies are very seller specific. We’re used to putting things in place to make sure we can capture data that we can score, which can create friction for users oftentimes just trying to get information.
In the past, all of our content was gated because we needed scoring information and we didn't see another way to get that. It was all about us, us, us.. We started last year to make this shift into what it would look like if we were a company that was more buyer centric and what it took to put them first and their experience first.
How would that buyer-focus approach change how we set up our campaigns, how we distributed content and what channels we use and how we use those channels? That's what started this thought about maybe there are some people coming to us literally just to engage with content. Maybe they're not ready just yet to convert to a sale.
(Alex) We’re looking more strongly at the audience that normally comes from content download and focusing on engaging that audience. We’re not trying to push these people, get to this magical lead score that then they become an MQL and they're forced over to a salesperson. Instead we are focusing on this brand engagement audience, which we're hoping that we can become a more trusted advisor for instead of just trying to sell them something.