6Sense CMO Latane Conant on earning the right to go big

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Episode outline

[01:15] Latane’s background

[02:44] How Latane decides when to share her ideas

[05:37] “When you say yes to something, you say no to something else”: How Latane decides what to work on

[08:53] “You have to earn the right to go big”

[11:38] The importance of diversity and market representation on boards

[16:28] What Latane is currently working on

[20:15] Latane’s inspirational people

[24:10] How to participate in CMO Coffee Talk

[25:37] How Latane unwinds

Latane’s Inspirations

Kate Bullis

Connect with Latane






Empowered CMO

All right. I am super amped for today's conversation. We have Latney Conant on the line. Uh, everyone, you already knows who you are. You just published an amazing book. You're the CFO at 6 cents. You've had a storied career already, um, but I'm thrilled for our conversation today.

Latney welcome to the show. I'm excited to be here. The prep, the prep sent me to this page that had all these legends on it, like Sidney Sloan and Jake Dunlap. And I'm like, Oh shit, what am I doing here? Very worried. Very worried. Okay. That's good. There we go. Yeah, no, I caffeinated sparkling water that you just told me about.

I need to get on that bandwagon, this, this water bottle. Doesn't. Pat me up at all. No, honestly, the prep for you is keeping me on my toes and I'm glad we were able to sync before this. Cause I was like, all right, you've, you've spoken so much about all of these amazing things and you've written a book, like what is there that I could possibly unearth that you haven't already talked about?

So. I like our approach for the show today, everyone is going to hear about stuff. That's top of mind, the things you're mulling over right now, some of like the, how, how you tick and like what, what process to see as you go through in order to get something to a point where you're ready to write a book about it or ready to, you know, share it with your CMO friends and other leaders.

So. I'm amped to go there. Um, and why don't we start since I brought that up, um, you said there are some new kind of strategies and tactics that you're really excited about yet. You're nervous to talk about, cause they're not quite done, but I wanted to get like, let's go into your mind. What, what, how do you begin to approach these challenges and these problem spaces and what's your working process to get it to a point where you're like, hell yeah, we nailed it.

The world needs to know. Okay. So I spent a lot of time in marriage counseling, part of what I learned. So my husband's a CEO and he doesn't like it when I give him advice, go figure CEO personality. So, um, So he shared this format with me, which is actually from he's in YPO. And one of the rules in YPO is you never give someone advice.

People don't like advice, they like a shared experience. And so that's when you said, well, what do you want to talk about what you're working on? Like, I don't feel like I have enough of a shared. Experience to provide like the beginning, middle and end. And so that's why when it comes to, like, if I'm going to, um, write a blog or talk on a podcast or, you know, give a presentation, I'm very mindful of wanting to like give an example and a shared experience.

And I personally, um, Don't a little theory is cool, but I just want to do my job, like I want to get after it. And so I find it frustrating when, and I feel left, not satisfied when it's a lot of like pontificating and questions. And like the new thing on LinkedIn is to put out like a bunch of random questions and.

Like that doesn't do it for me. Um, so I really have to, and maybe it's part of being a woman and over-preparing, but I, I tend to want to be. Completely over-prepared and feel like I've really been through the beginning, middle and end before I share anything, which is why I've gotten a lot of feedback on the book.

They're like, it's very cool practical. And I'm like, well, I'm kind of a practical gal. Um, so, so I guess that that's kind of why I'm like, I don't, I'm not, I'm not ready, but, so that's a little background on. What makes me feel ready to share and want to want to put something out there. Um, and then I would say on how I decide what to work on.

That's probably it, that's a little bit of a different question. Yeah, let's go there. Cause you you've talked about like, I think you said, you thought you had a saying where it's like, when every time you're saying yes to something you're saying no to something else. So how did you decide, like, what is that process like?

And maybe what would be interesting is for you to share some of the things you said no to this year? Sure. So, um, One of the things that happened initially after, after COVID, you know, was we had to make a ton of changes and a ton of like pivots. Um, and I think we all, as marketers felt this need to do stuff, right?

Like, okay, well everything's getting canceled. Do another webinar, put another thing on the calendar, like more and more and more and more and more. And I don't find that satisfying at all. I like to do big things. I like to do cool. Really cool shit. You know, I, um, that's satisfying to me. And so it was interesting.

We were doing all these little icon, like, like another webinar or another, this, none of that. And finally, I just pulled the team together and I'm like, no more. If it's not a thing, if it's not a series, if it's not something significant that we're proud of, if it's not work, you're proud of like, just don't do it stop.

Um, and so we kinda got back to our game, which has always been really big, bold, cool, um, cool things. And if you want to put that much muscle behind a program, you can't do every webinar. And that's just kinda how it is. Um, and so I talk a lot about like playing offense and I find that when there's a void, so when sales or customer success or the CEO feels there is a void, then everybody becomes a marketer.

And a lot of random stuff starts dropping on your lap ideas. And it's easy as a marketer to get frustrated. Like everyone thinks they can do my job. Everyone has a better idea, blah, blah, blah. But that is on you. The ed is on you for creating a void. And so my goal is to always be like so out in front with the calendar and the plan and very transparent about.

Hey, like, yeah, I can do that webinar or I can do this live concert book launch that we're working on. What do you want me to do? People are like, huh? That webinar sounds late. Let's do the live concert book launch. So it's like, you know, you gotta be in front. I think of, of the demand and be able to show people the plan.

Um, And then everybody gets on board. So everyone would rather do a live concert book launch than another webinar. Come on. How do you, so, I mean, those are big bets. Like how do you build the confidence and the support to. Rally that muscle and that energy around something really big and exciting when it may create some, some quietness leading up to it or before in between.

How does that, you know, how do you go about managing personalities in that way? Cause it seems like a lot that would be a lot of work.

You earned the right and as you, you earned the right to, to. To go big. Um, it's funny, I'm two years now at 6 cents and I'm a guy who has always, we've always worked together, um, is like, you know, two years and two weeks at 6 cents, two weeks after me. Um, or I'm to you, you get it. Um, and I have that math wrong, but.

We were laughing and like reflecting back. Cause when we started, it was, you know, it was kind of a, an older office on Lusk and um, and we started in like Dreamforce was coming and before Dreamforce had been, I mean, that was my show. You know, we went here huge at dream force, like Appirio is known for our party and.

So I'm like, how are we not doing anything at Dreamforce? This seems like insane. So many people are going to be here. Even if we do something small, like we should do something. Um, and everyone was like, Oh no, there's no way we can pull it off. Like no one will come. Well, a, uh, I look at Michael Jordan, I'm like, we know how to throw a party,

like going to the Kinko's and like getting our sign printed up and like, Marching down like two doors down to the place and being like, we're going to rent this out. We'll take this. We'll take that. What's the specialty cocktail, everyone at six senses, like what, blah, blah, blah. Well, we packed it, baby. Um, and, and so like, you know, you, you take, but if you're going to take a bet to be cool, you gotta go.

And I talk about beast mode. You're going to go into beast mode and you're going to be running around, going to Kinko's and making sure the sign looks good and making sure there's a signature cocktail and calling people to get to the calm and, and then delivering, you know. All right. So you're, you're talking about beast mode and I earlier you mentioned something about marketers needing to be.

On boards more often and not having a representation on boards, let's, let's go there because it seems like having this beast mode and representing this piece of the business on the board makes a ton of sense. So talk me through your rant on this topic, because I know you've got one in there.

I mean, the truth is that boards are made up of like the audit committee, the comp committee, and, you know, the people who gave you money, which I get, they want to protect their investment. Um, but what you end up is a very homogeneous board. And so there's been a, there's a lot of movement around just getting more diversity on boards and, and of course I'm all for that as well.

But when I think about diversity, I think there's also like a need for a diversity of background. And, um, and, and especially, yeah, in tech it's like product and finance and maybe sales are represented. And the reality is if you want to have a company, a successful company, Yes, you need a product. You need a good product.

Yes. You need to be able to sell it and you need cash. You need to be able to service it, but you also need a market. What is the market? And I think too often boards are missing that voice of the market and, and it's filled in these like little cracks, um, and. A lot, like companies are successful by having and I love play bigger.

He talks about, he says, it's not product market fit. It's problem, market fit. And so somebody needs to be the voice and always testing. What is the problem market fit and what is our market need and understanding that. And so I think. Because, so a couple things have happened. I think CMOs haven't always, maybe thought of themselves that way.

And you know, a lot of the like typical marketing automation, inbound demand, gen like modeling is great. I'm not saying we don't want to have like a, a demand gen engine, but that is not actually, if you're a seed of my, Oh, that's not actually like. That's a very small part of your job. Right? And so I think that tail has wagged the dog.

And so marketers have shown up with their like MQL report. And nobody gives a fuck. And so that's part of the problem. And so that's like, baby's been put in a corner because of all the MQL and all the inning. Like it's not like the CFO is called the cheek financing officer. It's not like he shows up to the board meeting and he's like, I ran, let me show you the six proformas I did.

And th th th th th no, he said, this is our position. And this is where I think we're going to be. Um, we tend to sometimes show up with a lot of our aim, our blogs or clicks or this or that. And so just that subtle change of thinking about no, I need to show up and be the seat at this table that represents the market is huge and hugely important.

And that ties into the, the board expectations, because I think because so few board members have. Marketing background, either marketing is not even in the board meeting and not even represented or when they are they're latching onto what the marketer is, giving them and not challenging them to say no.

How does our, how does our product differentiate from the competition, miss CMO? Where w you know, how, how are you looking at CIA? What are the analysts saying about us? What category are we at? Is that the right category for us to be in it. Those are the types of things that CMOs need to start showing up with and boards need to start expecting.

Um, and then I think there'll be a, I think companies will be a lot more successful if they have that void filled.

I love that. Um, I'm curious how you are. Helping to get the market. They're like, is this something that you're going to be talking about it empowered CMO, maybe share with the audience as well, what that is and, and how that came to be. But I'm curious how you're connecting this, which sounds completely reasonable and important to.

Change in the market. Yeah. So, um, I would do or how to do, or, um, so, so this started, um, actually two years ago and there's a woman named Christine Heckart, who was the COO at Brocade. And one of the, honestly like the original CMOs and she's now a CEO. Which is beating a lot of odds and she's been on a lot of boards.

And so she is like the, our unicorn. Um, and, and so she was kind of the one who helped us, I think, think about this, this concept and, um, our, our founder, um, Amanda Kalalau of sixth sense has always been committed to like empowering women. So one of the things that we've. Always has always been part of our culture is kind of women and women's CMOs.

So two years ago we did a retreat with about 40 CMOs and their B2B CMOs. Um, and we really talked about what is our role and how are we being, are we being defined or are we defining. And category design is all about going and defining, and we're not even doing that for ourselves. And then no wonder our tenures are short, you know, and no wonder we were, we're struggling to get like resources and the things that we need to be successful.

So that was one of the few topics that came up. At that first retreat. And so then the second retreat, we did a study beforehand on it, um, and published some research and we talked about the topic again. Um, and so we've really been focused on, you know, collectively how do we start to redefine the role and some have even changed their title, which is great.

Um, but you can't just change your title. Like you need to actually be able to like back it up with the right. Activity. Um, and so just helping, I think, talk about it, share I'm working with we're we're now part of insight. Um, ventures, which is an awesome partner. So working a lot with them and doing, trying to do some research with them on, you know, a strong CFO who is a chief market officer and how that ties to financial performance.

Now I'm giving away the things I haven't done yet, which I said I would do, but, um, you know, really trying to unpack what it is to be a chief marketing officer versus a chief marketing officer, what it takes. And then it's all about money. So how do companies perform when they have the seat at the table versus not?

So those are some of the things that I'm working on in the cracks. That sounds very exciting. What's your timeline on that research? I like when, how long do we have to wait? Um, well, you know, I just published the one book, um, which I'm having a lot of fun with. And so I'm not quite ready to start on, on.

The second one, but, um, you know, maybe next year, maybe this time next year, we'll be talking about that one. I'm so ready for it. Um, so now I'd love to ask some questions that are a little bit off the radar. Like, you know, you've had this amazing career thus far, it only continues to build steam and momentum.

Um, who are some of the influences, whether mentors or folks that have inspired you along the way? So, um, yeah, you know, this empowered CMO group that I, you know, we're, we're about to do our virtual retreat has been, I think really formative for me. Um, there's a woman by the name of Kate Bullis and she's actually a, uh, an executive recruiter at CIBA international, but she works with like all of the greatest CMOs.

And so every time I talked to her, um, I learned, I learned so much because she's talking to CEOs, she's talking to investors, she's talking to again, the criminal, the creme of, of, of CMOs. And so I was learning a lot about kind of the pulse, um, aye. And then revenue collective. And that's been a great community.

And, you know, I love just being able to like rock onto Slack and get an answer. Um, and then. You know, I would say my COVID silver lining. Um, is he, you know, before the book came out, I started dripping the concepts out, um, because it's an experiment that we ran ourselves, right. I called it project boat moves getting rid of form spam, cold calls at 6 cents.

And proving that if you put the experience first. You can have superior financial results. That was the premise of the book and what we wrote about improved. So before the book was out, we were, um, you know, starting to talk about it. And I was on a CMO road show with Matt Heinz and we were doing breakfasts all over the country, kind of, you know, starting to kind of grease the skids.

And we have this research that we did on the state of predictable revenue growth. And so were talking about that. And, well then, you know, we were in DC and we did our last one and it's like covert hit. And here we are talking about the state of predictable revenue growth. It's like, okay, no, this is insane.

We sound like morons. Nothing's predictable. And we're obviously not going to be going around doing these breakfasts. So we were like, wow, what do we do? So we're like, well, let's, we'll do Boston remote. And we sent him Uber eats and we, and I said, well, we can't talk about predictable revenue growth. That's gonna sound nuts.

So I'm like, we'll just talk about what's going on right now. So literally we like. Got on. Like we had 50 CMOs, you know, we were expecting 30 and everyone was it's like, what are you doing? What are you doing? Um, and they said, this was great. Can we do it again? So we're like, okay, I guess we'll extend this road show.

So we just kept going and kept going and kept going. And now like consistently, we haven't missed a week since March. We do two calls, one at 8:00 AM, Eastern one at ADM Pacific. We send out a survey. We pick the topic that is most relevant week by week for CMOs. And we come on, no recordings, just raw. What have we learned?

What's our exp you know, back to shared experience. Um, and that's just been a wealth. Well, for me, like we're all in this together and we still need to connect. We still need to keep learning. I love to learn. Um, and so the more we get to do that, um, the better, so I'm sure there are CMOs listening to this right now who are like, how do we, how do we get into this amazing group?

Is it like you cherry pick people or is there a website somewhere where they can go to learn more? Um, there's on our hub, uh, on  dot com. There's a CMO coffee talk hub, or just email me Latney dot conant@sixcents.com. And we're happy to. Um, love to have you love to have you, um, it's been really fun. It's kind of grown.

It's it's, it's now 600 CMOs and a Slack channel, and we have a con like the content hub every week. It's been really fun. People have been willing to share so much. Like we had one CMO who had a virtual event and it, it went okay, but it didn't go as well as she would like. And you learn from. You don't learn from the yay.

Everything's amazing. You learn from the leg. Oh my, Oh my God. And then this happened and then that happened and make sure to think about this. And she literally went through her post-mortem with us, which was so cool. Right. And so that's the kind of conversations we have. We talk about, um, The stuff we don't want to talk about with anybody else when recording is off, which is important.

Amazing. So last question for you. I mean, you. Emanate beast mode, like this is your vibe. It's amazing. What do you do to unwind? Like what, what helps you not be in beast mode, projects, more work these mode?

Well, I learned, so this summer was interesting. I, um, You know, we, my, my 12 year old is quite tenacious and like, he always gets what he wants. It's just a matter of time. And so for two years, he has been working on me to buy a boat. And he's, you know, he's not opposed to calling my boss. He's not opposed to like watching our spending like needs to happen more this boat.

Um, so finally we like saved up and, and, and got it. And, um, and it's kind of a unique thing. It creates, he's an engineer to his mind. It creates a wake that's like a surf. Oh, sweet. Literally, it's the wildest thing. You, um, you get up with a rope similar to like a water skiing experience, but you're with a surfboard and then you end up dropping this rope and like surfing on this like boat made wave.

So. That has been a total gas, like learning, learning how to do that. And like, you know, typical, like Konate fashion. We like get the boat it's in the water. And then we're like, how do we do this? And I'm like, I saw on YouTube, like, okay guys, um, when you get into the Canon wall position, now the room's too long.

It's supposed to be this long

trial by fire, but we all figured it out. Um, my kids are of course amazing. I'm just mediocre, but, um, that's been a really fun relief just being outside and on the water and, you know, doing an activity together. Amazing. It's always nice when you can find a way to still be socially distance, but out in the world, enjoying it as much as we can these days.

Totally, totally. So. Well, Latney, this has been so much fun. Thank you for joining me for this conversation. And, uh, I'll just eagerly count down the days until your next book comes out and we get to the great reveal happens. You'll be the first podcast score. Alright.