Everyone in the world has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in one way or another. The effects have changed your personal life and the way businesses operate in huge ways.
As people are working from home (WFH) and businesses have adapted to the ever-changing rules, consumers have also changed their behavior. This has resulted in a rapidly evolving business environment where decisions are made by the day or week. Many brands have added special offers to their ads and website to reassure existing customers and attract new customers.
We set out to learn from industry marketing leaders, a CMO ‘from the trenches’ to get a glimpse into their world – how they navigate marketing during the pandemic. We interviewed Rachel Trindade from 3PL Central, provider of cloud-based 3PL Warehouse Management Software.
About: With more than 20 years across Marketing, Product Management, Customer Success and Field Operations, Rachel’s extensive go-to-market and marketing management experience has driven dynamic growth for multiple organizations. Having supported two IPOs and integrated numerous companies through mergers and acquisitions, Rachel leads high-growth organizations to even greater revenue growth. Most recently Rachel served as the Global VP of Marketing at Teletrac Navman, part of Fortive (NYSE: FTV), where she led the global marketing organization across four continents for demand generation, brand, and product marketing programs. Prior to that she served as Vice President of Marketing at HireRight.
Let’s learn from her.
LA Startups (LAS): What is 3PL Central, and how did you land the CMO gig?
Rachel Trindade (RT): 3PL Central is the fastest growing SaaS solution in the third-party logistics market. Born within an active 3PL warehouse, 3PL Central built the first cloud-based warehouse management platform to better serve customers and increase warehouse efficiencies to grow their businesses. We pride ourselves on understanding and delivering best practices and excellence to 3PLs and their customers.
The Talent Manager at our growth equity partner, Mainsail Partners, reached out to me with a great opportunity to lead the Marketing team at 3PL Central. Having started my career in supply chain and logistics, 3PL Central’s warehouse management system really intrigued me. Having multiple experiences growing and scaling startups, finding a unique opportunity with 3PL Central who was poised for dynamic growth sounded like a fun adventure for me. After speaking with the leadership team at 3PL Central and Mainsail, it was a great fit for both of us.
LAS: What were you doing before 3PL Central?
RT: I’ve spent the past 20 years helping SaaS companies achieve higher than market growth. Prior to 3PL Central, I was VP of Global Marketing for Teletrac Navman, a SaaS company in the transportation industry and before that as the VP of Marketing at HireRight, in the human capital management space.
LAS: What is 3PL Central providing that is unique to market and to new businesses?
RT: 3PL Central provides a cloud-based warehouse management system (WMS) designed to serve third-party logistics (3PL) warehouses to help them optimize and transform their operations. Built by a 3PL for 3PLs, we offer expertise around best practices, partner with our customers to drive their growth and advocate for the success of their business. We marry real industry experience with extensive software expertise to give warehouses the technology they need to meet the increasing demand for eCommerce fulfillment services.
LAS: With the COVID-19 pandemic, what Big Hairy Audacious Marketing Goals do you have for 3PL Central moving forward?
RT: With the pandemic, the demand for e-commerce fulfillment services has grown as much in the past three months as the past ten years. As such, third-party logistics companies have seen unprecedented demand and many can’t scale to meet these demands. More than 70% of 3PL warehouses don’t have any form of technology to support their operations, which significantly limits their growth. They realize they need change, and we have to respond to their needs.
As a customer-centric organization, we want to be their expert guide to possibility, to growth, and to expansion. We know how powerful our technology can be in the hands of opportunity, with many of our customers increasing their order volumes by 65% or more in the past several months and some even experiencing 10x growth in volumes. Our goal is to be their advocate, to help them win business, and to help them grow like never before.
LAS: Describe the most successful marketing campaign you have ever worked on. What made it so successful?
RT: Nearly 15 years ago, I created a benchmark survey and corresponding report, getting real insights from HR practitioners on what mattered to them most. Publishing and distributing this report provided incredible value add to our customers and prospects and was our number one lead generating tool for many years to come. To this day, that company still runs the campaign annually as it is unparalleled in generating demand from prospects and creating value for their customers.
LAS: What are the biggest challenges when launching a new marketing initiative? How can they be resolved?
RT: Especially with B2B marketing for a startup, you have limited budget and resources for each program. You have to choose wisely and hedge your bets for each new initiative to ensure you don’t spend all of your time and resources on something that won’t be successful. The best way to resolve any uncertainty involves testing at every step of the way. Start with a low-fidelity test and work your way up from there. Whether you A/B test or multivariate test, most of the time you can gain valuable information that will allow you to calibrate the program before moving forward with a full investment (or cut your losses before you’ve invested too much).
LAS: What do you think is the most exciting marketing trend at the moment? How can we use it to increase brand awareness?
RT: While I wouldn’t call it a trend, as it has always been around, customer experience marketing has recently taken a significantly larger focus for Marketing. In a normal economic environment, many B2B marketing organizations would spend more time thinking about demand generation and new business acquisition. As SaaS becomes the more dominant way of purchasing technology and the economy contracts, marketers must not only fully understand their acquisition funnel, but also play a leading role in the inverted customer loyalty and retention funnel. Playing a significant role in journey mapping, discovery, product feedback, and new product offering development, along with creating a consistent value message through every customer interaction have risen to the top of Marketing’s priorities. By creating those great customer experiences, you can turn customers into advocates who reward you by referring you to new customers and sharing their positive experiences with your brand.
LAS: What’s the most important thing you’re working on right now, and how are you making it happen?
RT: We’re seeing the same demands as our customers…how do we provide a more integrated solution, that delivers accountability and efficiency to handle hyper-growth? Like our customers, we need the right systems to eliminate friction when operating at scale. As such, we’ve embarked on a path to do a Marketing tech stack assessment and optimization activity. We’ve partnered with a firm, Orange Marketing, to assess the scalability, reliability, and optimization of our Marketing tech stack and to help future proof our demand generation efforts.
LAS: Tell us a good story about how you personally started – maybe one of your early struggles and how you overcame that challenge? A ‘From the Trenches’ type of story that you may not have thought you would survive.
RT: Everyone has one of those pivotal career moments where you either crash and burn or soar higher than you thought possible. In my first Director position, our company was acquired by a competitor and I was asked to lead the integration of the go-to-market departments. While a daunting task, what made it more challenging is that they wanted it to happen in less than 90 days so we could have a clean slate for the new fiscal year.
Through a lot of sleepless nights and endless amounts of air travel, we managed to assess the go-forward product offering and back-office systems, consolidate company messaging and positioning, re-establish sales comp plans, structure, and territories, and train the new go-to-market organization on the new combined offering. Between the personalities, the diametrically opposed strategies, and completely different sales and marketing approaches, every day felt like a roller coaster. Some days I thought I wouldn’t make it, but by the end when we delivered the integration on time and with better than expected results. It was one of the most exciting and energizing rides I’ve ever been on.
LAS: Tell us about a tough day you had at work and how you pushed through?
RT: As a company in hyper-growth mode, we always focus on scalability. With significant volume increases in marketing qualified leads, one day saw our integration between our marketing automation tool and our CRM break down. One moment leads were flowing in, the next they were not. Naturally, concern set in, but luckily, I work with some incredibly talented people who jumped on the problem and started working on a fix.
We focus on the three Es: Expectation (how well do you plan to be), Effort (how hard do you work), and Execution (how disciplined are you in the way you work). That day we efforted our way through a problem when execution didn’t meet our expectations. We pushed through by raising our expectation on how our technology should work for us and resolved to change, evolve, and build a more scalable system.
LAS: Which companies or brands do you look to for marketing inspiration?
RT: I find inspiration in many different brands both B2C and B2B, but primarily those that evoke an emotional reaction or connection. Marketing often resonates with me most when it helps a person understand how they will feel when they purchase something versus just what that product/service will do for you. Some brands that do that really well are: Hubspot, Nike, Starr Conspiracy, Agent3, Google, Porsche, Salesforce, and more. …
LAS: Any last words for aspiring CMOs?
RT: Understand the blend between creativity and analytics. Once you have that, you have the tools to be successful. Always be testing. We don’t live in a stagnant environment, so your marketing shouldn’t be either. With the market always changing, having a testing plan of new programs, audiences, and messages that you live by can keep you nimble and ready to harness any potential market opportunity.