This week, the Bowery Capital team hosted Dan Kessler, VP of Business Development at Headspace, to discuss "Selling Wellness Software." Headspace is digital service and app that offers hundreds of guided meditations designed to help with everything from stress and anxiety to relationships and sleep. Selling wellness software is a topic that we have not really covered on the podcast. We were excited to talk with Dan around how to think about selling wellness software and other types of products that generally fit the "soft ROI" bill. He was a great guest with a ton of knowledge on the topic having been with the company for a number of years. Dan and I start the discussion around his background and Headspace in general. In particular, we speak a lot about Headspace and their consumer business which remains large and growing with tens of millions of users. We then talk through how they translate that into business to business success through free and freemium accounts. Selling wellness software is not something that is easy and so Dan and I speak a bit about their compelling narrative and how they framed up the initial pitch for the business. There are a lot of interesting things that we all consider "weird" that they use to frame how Headspace matters and is relevant to any company. Essentially they completely reframed the narrative early on. We also dig in around the difficult selling modality of soft ROI versus hard ROI. Dan gives some interesting points of view on replacement of other products and how you can use brand positioning to win. Dan and I then walk through some of the positive and negative trends that exist in the workplace that has helped their selling model. We talk about some of the unique things around process and systems that Headspace is working on as well as their view of lead qualification. Dan Kessler is the VP of Business Development and Partnership at Headspace, a company dedicated to improving health and happiness in the world through meditation. Before joining Headspace, Kessler served as the SVP of Operations and Strategy at Hallmark, co-founded Palindrome Media, and worked in business development for Happy Madison (at Sony Pictures Entertainment). Kessler earned a degree in Physics and English Comparative Literature from Columbia University before receiving an MBA from Stanford University.
This week, the Bowery Capital team hosted Diana Byrne, VP of Marketing at Boxever, to discuss "Vertical Account-Based Marketing Strategies." Boxever is a "Customer Intelligence Cloud" for enterprise marketers. The company's SaaS solution unifies customer, operating and product data, and provides an overlaying analytics platform empowering users to granularly personalize their customers' experience. As a result, Boxever users are able to optimize for lower acquisition costs, accelerated conversion rates, improved customer engagement and higher lifetime values. In today's episode, Diana and I discuss Boxever's extremely unique formula for vertical marketing, and the industry- and account-based growth marketing strategies that have served them so well over the past 7 years. Today's episode is a must-listen for any startup leader contemplating strategies for focused go-to-market around a specific vertical. While elements of Vertical Account-Based Marketing have been discussed in the SaaS ecosystem before, I don't think the phrase has ever been formally coined or explored. Yet it's an extremely powerful concept that I think has immense value for almost any B2B SaaS startup. The idea is that before diving into account-level specifics, one must understand the idiosyncracies of the industry those accounts operate in–their vertical. Not simply the companies, budgets, and top stakeholders, but the day-to-day job, across all roles. This includes the lingo, the titles, the common frustrations, and all the other details that defines business in that vertical from others. A sound Vertical Account-Based Marketing strategy requires all go-to-market professionals to go through a deep discovery and insights effort to ensure that your employees "talk the talk" as well as your customers themselves. Diana's background and efforts at Boxever make her the perfect guide for today's topic. Founded in 2011 in Dublin, the Boxever has raised nearly $20MM in venture funding raised to date and is quickly nearing 100 employees. In its early days, the business went to market with a strong vertical focus in the airline industry, and has since broadened out industries served to hospitality, retail, and financial services. Vertical Account-Based Marketing Strategies, as Diana will relate, have been key to their success. In today's podcast, we'll walk through Diana's 5-step framework for a successful Vertical Account-Based Marketing strategy. We begin with the deep research process that's critical to vertical positioning and messaging. Second, we talk though refining these learnings into insights that are transferable and useable across your startup. Next we dive into targeting: how do you ensure you're reaching the right people through the right industry-specific channels, and set a plan to bring the knowledge and value they want to prospects programmatically? Finally, Diana explains the crescendo of the Vertical Account-Based Marketing strategy, the "wow phase" in which sales professionals have a live opportunity to demonstrate the work put into understanding needs of not only the account, but of the vertical as a whole. Diana Byrne is the VP of Marketing at Boxever and has spent most of her career implementing industry-first strategies. Prior to her current role, Diana served as Head of Performance Marketing at Smurfit Kappa, a leading global provider of packaging solutions with ~45,000 employees across 34 countries and a revenue of >$10B. While a jump from a packaging to software may seem like a big one, Diana's goals at the two companies were in fact quite similar: increase market share through a vertical-first approach to growth marketing. Earlier in her career, Diana worked as a Managing Director at Nutshell Marketing, where amongst other things, she specialized in consulting on new market expansion initiatives, both industry- and geography-based. All in all, she's a perfect guide for this episode's topic: Vertical Account-Based Marketing Strategies. Happy listening!