From G2 to HelpScout, Adam Goyette talks us through his approach to high performance growth

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Episode Outline

[04:39] Adam’s background

[07:16] His journey from minoring in advertising company to ending up in a company like G2

[10:13] How we learn best by getting our hands dirty

[11:18] The way his company helps in cutting through the noise of what marketers get all the time

[12:04] The culture in G2, where people leaving reviews or you're getting traffic to your profile or there's traffic to the category and people are comparing you against one of your competitors

[14:34] HelpScout is really trying to build a smart, sophisticated platform that helps helps customers and end users

[16:35] Advice to personalize mass amounts of emails to show like their own buyer intent data and emailed it directly

[17:04] The art of Facebook campaigns and how to optimize for it

[19:22] Practical way of being smart about the growth

[20:19] How to capitalize on new trends and marketing tactics


Adam's Inspirations

Godard Abel

Mike Conti


Connect with Adam

LinkedIn

Twitter

Elias Rubel (00:31):

Today, super excited. We've got Adam yet. He's the vice president of marketing at help scout a fairly recent transition. So I'm excited to learn about that, but you know, you've been a marketing exac in B2B for a long time. Now you were previously at GE to let a ton of growth there. So, and I love your, your kind of methodologies around not believing in fluffy marketing goals, really excited to dive into the conversation. So Adam, welcome to the show. Yeah. Thank you. So let's start at the beginning. I noticed that you actually started your career in consumer electronics at Sennheiser as product manager. So how on earth did you go from you know, microphones and headphones to B to B marketing?

Adam Goyette (01:18):

Yeah, a kind of a long journey. I also had a so I guess when I first came out of college, I was a journalism major and realized, I think through some internships, I didn't really want to be a journalist and I really wanted to get more into marketing. So I minor in advertising cause I didn't wanna spend any more time or money really in college. I'd love to spend more time in college, not so much the money piece of it. And so from there I got a job through a connection at a company called Sennheiser in doing like product marketing for them. And it was there for about two years or so, and then ended up transitioning out into a different company. But you know, I realized the product marketing piece wasn't necessarily for me, I enjoyed doing it. The consumer electronic world was pretty interesting piece to play in. And then kind of went into a different company that actually does like it's called like MSS. And I was there for about four years. It was small little company outside of Philadelphia, but they make about $70 million a year at the time. It was that. I'm not sure what they're doing now. A nice number. Yeah. Their whole business is actually corporate relocation. So if you know a company like Jeetu was going to move me somewhere they would actually pay the moving company who would then pay me then pay these specialty companies to come in and create up if I have like a grandfather clock or artwork. So it was all corporate relocations and all they did was go in and do the specialty items that they didn't want to move her to touch. And they have nationwide network of subcontractors that did all this work. So a super interesting kind of company. And I was a team of two there. So I got to learn just a wide variety of marketing. I touched everything from graphic design to some of the email marketing. And then from there, that's where I got more in kind of the technology side of it and didn't see a huge career kind of path there cause it was just a small team. And so that's how I kind of end up in, in the BDB space.

Elias Rubel (03:21):

That's amazing though. So there was a, there they were doing 70,000,007 zero. Right. I heard that right. Yep. Seven zero, but with a marketing team of two. Yes. Alright. Alright. Well cancel the podcast. You and I are starting a corporate relocation company.

Elias Rubel (03:39):

Yeah, yeah. Wow. Very cool.

Elias Rubel (03:44):

So like four years that's that must have been fairly formative. Are there any lessons that you've taken forward from those four years and you're still using?

Adam Goyette (03:54):

Yeah, I think the big thing for me, it was like, it's such a small team. It's really like I learned best by getting my hands dirty. And so I like, I've kind of taken that throughout my career. Like even though like I managed teams and stuff like that, like I still love actually getting into the systems and nursing and how the systems we're using work how we're connecting to the data and just like being abroad, skilled marketer is extremely helpful. Just because you get so much experience in dealing with all the different facets of it, but also understanding how they all connect from one thing to another, like how the design plays into your ad performance and the copy and all these sorts of things. I think where some people in larger companies get so specialized in one area, that's hard for them to see kind of the big picture and really advancing a marketing leadership role.

Elias Rubel (04:45):

So does that, I mean, when you're building out your teams or growing your teams, are you looking for marketing generalists or like, how do, how does that play in when say you're, you're like, man, we really need

Elias Rubel (04:56):

Just go deep on demand gen, but to your point, like demand gen is influenced by all sorts of other disciplines or at least performance. So how does that inform your hiring? Yeah, so I, lot of people who have, whether they've done it necessarily in the past or not I do like people that have like the they work super closely with other the teams to understand it. And I also posted about this on LinkedIn. Right. I love people with like side hustles for that exact reason. Right. So like, I think it's hard to be a, just a generalist at some companies now, depending on the marketing team size. You know, because like a company like G I think the marketing team was like 65 people. So like you had very specific people doing very specific things. So it's hard to build in generalist there, but like a good example is our copywriter, you know, at G2 she also ran a side business for his copywriting business.

Adam Goyette (05:49):

So in that he understands email marketing, he understands web design. He's understanding all these different things he's doing there. Right. on the thing, which just makes them a more well rounded copywriter. So I look for people who have kind of have that intellectual curiosity or have done stuff like that in the past. Cause I find like they're just better at what, even if it's a specific pass that you're asking them to do.

Elias Rubel (06:11):

Sure. So, all right. A month ago we were originally going to record this podcast, but you had your third child, which is super exciting. I'm curious, is your side hustle having three kids or is there something else that you're also working on? That's a side hustle that is losing me lots of money, the worst side hustle ever.

Adam Goyette (06:36):

I would say that that's the side hustle right now. You know, I do my actual thing in the past. I used to do some consulting software, just other companies and startups. I also did photography for a little while, just as like a fun hobby and actually started through the marketing side where I actually traded with the Chicago photography Academy marketing services. And I said like, I don't want to be paid. Just let me take any class I want for free. And they were like, okay, great. Right. Like who cares if there's just an extra person in the class for them? And so I ended up over the course of about a year and a half taking every single class they had, this was pre kids learning photography. And then I did start a few weddings and I've had a few things just kind of for fun side business stuff that I'm doing. So that was a fun side side hustle for a little bit.

Elias Rubel (07:30):

I was checking out your work is some really cool street photography for our listeners. It's adam@photographydotcomorjustoutongrant.com.com. And I see you got the good domain. Cool. So what's the weirdest side hustle that you've hired someone like, have you, have you run into any side hustles and like, this is so quirky. You, you must be on our team, anything like that or is it usually consulting that kind of thing?

Adam Goyette (07:57):

So I had at G2 the person running growth marketing, Jesse RO he was, he's like, he's a super interesting person and he's got a million side hustles. He's one of those people is always like spinning up weaken projects. So I don't know if you remember probably about a month or so ago, it kind of blew up. It was bet on weather.io. And so that was actually his creation. And so it's basically a site where it allows you to bet against your local weather person. So that was the most unique side hustle and it ended up getting picked up like all kinds of coverage and stuff like that. And so it was like literally like a weekend project, I think he had just spun up. Wow. That was pretty funny, but definitely the, like the most unique one that I think I've had anyone working on that that definitely takes the cake. We've got a candle maker on our team, which is really cool, but I think that the betting against the weatherman is potentially more, more quirky. I don't know if he's actually like worked through all the legal implications of running a gambling site, but I think he he's scrying. So yeah. That's an interesting ask for forgiveness. Like you, you know, what's the gambling commission calls you out. Oh, well, yeah, I was, I basically told them, I think this is gonna be, they're making millions of dollars. Are you going to end up in jail and about six months, either way, it makes for a great bar story. Exactly.

Elias Rubel (09:20):

Cool. So getting us all back on track Fun, little, little rabbit hole, just jump into so you were at G two for almost two years. And, and they saw some fantastic growth while you were there. So I'm curious, like what were some of your favorite plays that you ran there? Both, you know, the ones that you've you had done in the past and maybe talk to us about a few that were new ideas and new concepts that you're playing around with there.

Adam Goyette (09:50):

Yeah, absolutely. So one of the fun things about working at three, two and demand gen is a lot of times with people signing contracts are actually like people in my role, right? And so it's other demand gen leaders. So in some ways I get the market for myself. And so I think like one of the things that we saw was, you know, cutting through the noise of what marketers get all the time they just get so much email, so many different ad campaigns running.

Elias Rubel (10:17):

And so we tried to really go out of the box and be a little bit different than some of our campaigns. So I'd say that the two that jump out to me one is like direct mail. So we did a lot with direct mail and my time at GTL just because of like, I literally sat around and thought I get probably 10 LinkedIn messages a day. I get 50 emails, you know, every other day or so where people are trying to sell me things. I get calls my cell phone all the time. I just ignore, but actually nobody ever really sends me mail. And so we sent Kenyatta grams to people. And so we married her up with our BDR team and ran our outbound campaign, sending like actual periodic grams showed up people's desks. And the messaging was basically like beating your competition on G two crowd is way more fun than beating this cute Kenyatta. And the messaging was actually on, was actually on the outside of the pinata. So like opinion gets delivered. It's not like in a box or anything. And so that campaign, when we coupled it with the outbound, we were seeing about 20% like meeting booked off of that right now the pinata grams are not a lot, they're like 15 bucks each. Right. And so to get like a meeting with a VP or a CMO for, you know, a $20 outbound campaign was, was pretty successful. And so that was when we saw a lot of success with, but really it started, I think, one the creativity, but then also the BDR followup. I was lucky to have an amazing team that I got to work with led by Mike totsy there. And they did a great job of like really like taking that those efforts and running with them on the sales side. And it's amazing how important handoff is. Like you can, someone's such an amazing hot as fire lead and if the handoff isn't right.

Elias Rubel (12:00):

So fumbled and lost.

Adam Goyette (12:02):

Yeah, exactly. And so I think that was one of those super successful. And then the other one is, you know, G2 is pretty unique in terms of we have data on your company, whether you're a customer or not, right. You, if your products on G2 we have people leaving reviews or you're getting traffic to your profile or there's traffic to the category and people are comparing you against one of your competitors. And so we know all of this data on the backend, you know, about your buyer and 10 and all these things happening. So we have a really compelling message to sell. And so we took this angle of like getting a free data tour of like your buyer intent data. And so literally like using a tool called like high prize, we personalized mass amounts of emails to show like their own buyer intent data and emailed it directly out to the CMOs and say like, Hey, here's the companies that are actually looking at your profile and compared you against these companies, would you be interested in getting a tour to see all the companies that showed that were showing interest in the last 90 days? Um and of course it's like free data. So of course everyone wants to get in on that. Right. And so that was another one that was just super successful for us. Just taking that approach versus like trying to explain what buyer intent is and explain like the concept of a high level and just show them the data. Totally.

Elias Rubel (13:16):

So before you go on to help scout, cause I'm really curious to hear what your, what your, what you're planning to bring from those experience to help scout as the new head of marketing there, VP be a marketing. So I'm imagining the senior sitting in a room with a white board with some colleagues and you're like, let's try direct mail. And one of them was like, Except I'm late for a birthday party. We've got to go smash this pin yata. And someone was like, that's it, we're going to send penny Addis to people. Like, how did that conversation actually go down?

Adam Goyette (13:47):

Yeah. So one of the things we did at Jeetu is, was a monthly kind of brainstorm. And so they actually, the idea was everyone puts their ideas, ideas into an Asana board, pre the meeting and they basically have to pitch it right to the rest of the demand gen team. And so it was very much like put in the craziest ideas you can think of. And then we talked through the idea and so it was actually someone on my team came up with the idea and pitched it. I don't know where she, she ended up seeing it. And then we were like, Oh, that can be really good. And then obviously we cut small, we tested it with just a hundred cents before we wrapped it up. So it wasn't like a huge cost investment, a huge like time slot. And then it worked really well. So then we did it again and did it again. So I think those were like the meetings where we got a lot of really good ideas out of. We also said pennies, the people literally had someone on my team go with 2000 pennies from the bank. And so we sent pennies to people and that is like, you got an envelope and you feel something in it. It's like the bulk email or kind of concept. And the messaging, you open it up and there's a penny and it's basically like, Hey, 90% of buyers are now doing research online before they ever visit your website. So you have two options, take this penny and thrown a wishing well, and hope they find you or get listed on G2 where, you know, 6 million people are coming to find the right software for them Doing that as well,

Adam Goyette (15:24):

Pretty successful. It was a little bit harder to track who we were just asking them to go claim their page, get engaged. But yeah, I think we had a lot of ideas like that, where we were just testing. And that's the fun part about being in marketing is like, it's those elements in those campaigns that you could push the boundaries a little bit on

Elias Rubel (15:42):

That. Must've been the T the look on the teller's face when someone finally asked them to take pennies out of the bank, as opposed to treating them in. Did I hear you? Right? That's 2000.

Adam Goyette (15:56):

I actually walked into a bank on a good run on a bank about eight years.

Elias Rubel (16:00):

Oh man. Tell me about it. All right. So help scout. I have been a help scout customer twice now once for my first SAS business running support. And the second time was for my first eCommerce business running support. And so I think what would be really interesting to talk through is, you know, a lot of the time companies when they're and help scout likely isn't in this phase of the first million in ARR to 10 million. I'd imagine you're past that, but in that first sprint, the it's so easy not to focus. Right. And then like success usually comes from getting really focused, getting really clear on your ICP and buyer personas, but with a product like help scout. I mean, it's, it's one of those I can imagine you're sitting in the room and of course the CEO is like, well, everyone who has a support burden to some extent could use our products. So how, how do you bring focus to that? And what tactics and strategies are you excited to roll out now that you're, now that you're rolling yourself out at help scout?

Elias Rubel (17:02):

Yeah. so I think there's a couple of things there. One is, I think HelpScout is an amazing company in terms of the company really knows who they are. And so I say that in terms of like, we know we're not the solution for a large enterprise company and we don't really want to be the solution for the large enterprise company.

Adam Goyette (17:21):

Uh most of our customers are more like small businesses. And so so knowing, I think like who that persona is, we could go after it. And then within that obviously then when it's like, wow, the whole world's open. Right. But it's just being smart about the growth we're trying to chase. And so I think like there's this, you know, hyper growth growth at all costs kind of world out there in the SAS world. And I've definitely worked at companies like that.

Elias Rubel (17:47):

Right. And I think got its trade-offs when you do stuff like that. And I think HelpScout is really trying to build a smart, sophisticated platform that helps helps customers and end users. And there's a, so there's a huge emphasis on the design and the quality of the product and really understanding who we're trying to serve. So from a marketing standpoint it kind of makes it easy. Like we're driving, we have two models, right? We have a sales team that follows up with some of our larger possible clients, but then we have a big self-serve model. So from my end once we get people into the product, like the actual conversion rate, once we get them using it and onboarded and stuff is really high. So it actually is like a marketer's dream. Cause it's like, I know I can bump into this funnel and it'll come out the other end, as long as we're what we're doing is quality.

Elias Rubel (18:37):

That's a really what I've spent a lot of time in my first, like, you know, two months here trying to understand, like where are people coming from? And then what is the quality of these free trials? Like, are they actually converting the way through and then looking at, by channel? I think in the past, we've just kinda looked at it as a big bucket of like, here's the trials and here's the average score, but I want to break it out more towards coming out of our content. Are they coming off of our paid search? Are they coming off with Facebook campaign for running? Like where are they coming from? And what are the, what are the gaps we're seeing? And like, you know, LTV to CAC and, and their, their trial score and like how likely they are to convert. And then like playing that back into our model of where we're actually trying to like point our guns. And so that's, that's a big effort where I'm spending my time now. Totally. We talked about a ton of stuff that has gone well and campaigns that have just been awesome and creative. I always think that there's, there's some great stuff to be learned from the campaigns that we thought were going to go really well and totally bombed. So are there any that stand out for you that you were like super excited about and then they just fell flat?

Speaker 4 (19:44):

Yeah,

Elias Rubel (19:45):

I definitely have a slow though. I'm sure. I think one of the big things I try to do too, is like we talked about is tasks on a smaller scale before we roll out large campaign. So there's not like colossal failures, I would say. One of the things that happened to me while I was at GE too, is we would host CMO dinners. And so we'd go to a city and we would invite 15 CMOs for like a networking dinner. And it truly was like just a networking dinner. I would host it or Ryan or CMO would host that along with like one sales leader from our side. And so we had done these and they were really successful. And so you know, we've hosted about 15 of the top CMOs in Boston and talk about the really nice dinner.

Elias Rubel (20:29):

And it was this nice networking thing. And like naturally what happens is a few of them are future customers and G2 would come up in the conversation. And so we were seeing some good success in some major cities. And then the suggestion was like, Hey, we should do salt Lake city because we have really good customers there. We can get people there. And so I don't have the relationship with a lot of these customers, right. It's on the sales team. And so we went and we had about 12 people confirmed for that day. And so this was the first one. I was actually running a, when I had first come on board there. And so our CEO Goddard decided this was also going to be the first one he came to. And so he shows up, so our CEO and Ryan, and then me, and this is the first one I'm responsible for. And we had 12 people confirmed that day, that all were supposed to come. And we ended up having three people actually show up to the dinner.

Speaker 3 (21:31):

I was actually getting throughout this process. And so

Elias Rubel (21:36):

Mostly just kind of like the perfect storm of people backed out that day. And then people just literally no showed the dinner. And so we, we, we figured to going and, and part of the problem was like, we didn't buffer in a huge drop off like that because all the other cities, we were literally seeing like almost a hundred percent show rate. But it was mostly because we had these relationships where like the invites were coming from either our CMO or they were, we had, had face to face contact with them before there was a sales leader or someone in the marketing side. And we didn't have a lot of that in this city. And so it was a total disaster of an event. It was not a great, not a great night spent going to have some big losses so that the winds feel that much better had really successful events off of that. But that was definitely like one of those. And I think it's a little bit of the case with events. You never, now it's a little bit of a crapshoot, like is someone going to show up for Arthur? And then like the problem, like 18 people show up and you're like, Oh shit,

Speaker 3 (22:44):

We need more stick. Was there something that you took away from that, like as far as how you followed up

Elias Rubel (22:49):

Or just reminders or was there any kind of actionable resist, purely happenstance? And so one was like, I think, like getting more buy in from the sales team of like, Hey, if we're going to choose a city to do it, like we were building in like a 33% offer. So like, if we want 12 people at the dinner we're inviting eight, 18 confirmed people, otherwise we're going to consider just pulling out and canceling. Right. so one is like just adding in more of a buffer. And then we did start doing things like we literally would have like the rep call that day, just say like, Hey, just touching base, make sure you're still out for dinner. Like more of these personal touches versus just like automating, like calendar reminders and things like that. We also started sending like Uber gift cards in advance.

Elias Rubel (23:31):

Like, Hey, we put $50 in your Uber account. So you can actually like get to the dinner on us and stuff like that. And I was also hesitant and gun shy of doing like cities that aren't like larger metropolitan areas. But I think like there's something just a little bit different. I don't know if it's like people, more family, this is all like theory that people are more like family focused in those areas. And they're just not used to like going out all the time after work kind of stuff. So like they don't have the infrastructure in some ways to do that. Like whether it's like paddle care or whatever it is. That's a great point though. It's subtle, but it obviously makes a giant difference. Cause we never saw the issues like that when we were in like New York and Boston and San Francisco and Chicago, like those were, and even if it was where we did see a little more, drop-off like the pool so big, we can pull in people pretty crazy.

Elias Rubel (24:22):

Right. Like if someone in San Francisco drops off, okay, there's a throw a stolen and we'll hit another like marketer at a SAS company. Do you want me to stay at work until nine? Is this just another Tuesday or what exactly. Yeah. Very cool. So, all right. As we wind this down, I always love to ask, you know, you've had a great career so far, surely there were some mentors or even peers who have inspired you along the way. Just give you an opportunity to name some of those folks. Yeah. I would say you know, I've had a lot of mentors throughout my career and stuff. There's a few people I think that have had a big impact just working with and not necessarily from a marketing standpoint, but I think sales leaders. So like Mike Conti who led the BDR team over at G2 was pretty instrumental.

Elias Rubel (25:10):

I think in building super strong results and working with him pretty closely. So he's one person I think that had a big impact of then you know, through LinkedIn I've been able to actually build up pretty good connections with people that I be able to bounce ideas off of just chat with, through demand gen tactics and just follow what they're doing. Like Gaetano DiNardo is one of those people. Hi Lacey's and other one, just two people. I think that put out a lot of really thoughtful content. Luckily I have a little bit of connection with, so I'm able to pick their brains every now and again on different campaigns. We're running nice. Totally. Yeah. It's amazing. How just chatting things up through chatting things through, out loud with someone else who's like operating in a similar, similar problem space and trying to come up with creative ideas.

Elias Rubel (25:54):

It's just makes all the difference sometimes. Yeah, because I can convince myself with just about anything if I'm just left in a house by myself for three months at an end, without any interaction, which is where I'm at right now. So the kids probably aren't of an age where they can be helpful in Europe, in your marketing and demand gen brainstorms. No, not at all. Yeah. Awesome. Well, Adam, this has been really fun. I think our audience is going to love this conversation and for everyone listening, check out Adam's photography. If you're into that Adam grant.com and Adam, thanks for being on the show. Yeah. Thank you very much for having me. I enjoyed it.

Speaker 5 (26:35):

[Inaudible].