Tell us a bit about who you are and what you do?
I’m Cam Davies and I work at Miovision, where I’ve been doing marketing for over five years. I actually entered the company as a sales rep, then saw an opportunity in MarCom, and I’ve progressively worked up-funnel to manage all marketing for one of our lines of business.
And give us a quick overview of Miovision...
Miovision uses traffic data to improve the transportation experience for everyone. For the past 10 years, we’ve been helping cities get better traffic data so they can improve the driving experience for their citizens.
Since the company started, we’ve counted over 2 billion vehicles on five continents - the equivalent of every vehicle on earth, twice.
Those numbers are huge.
Thanks – they’re something to be proud of. It’s a niche market that we were able to disrupt with technology in the most classic Geoffrey Moore sense, and we now own the market share by a significant margin.
In more recent happenings, we’re launching a new product that connects intersections using the Internet so cities can monitor, manage and improve traffic based on real-time conditions. Using real-time data, city engineers can easily make changes to their intersections and immediately see the results. When intersections don’t work, cities don’t work.
So you’re making traffic suck less for people at home?
Yes [Laughs]. Sorry if I pitched too hard.
How’d you get into marketing?
I did advertising at Sheridan and then I did a broader arts degree at Laurier, always with the intention of getting into marketing. I got a sales job right out of school, which marketers tend to do, and it was a really great way to understand what it’s like to be boots on the ground before jumping into the marketing world. I think that’s been an asset to my career.
Hearing that side of your story explains a lot. You're focused on transportation specifically, where a lot of technology B2Bs focus on broader markets. How is it different from typical B2B marketing?
How we differ from typical B2B markets is that we have a very known market, and for the most part, it’s a very public market. The entire budget for what we sell cascades down from government, so we spend a lot of time deciphering bills and policies trying understand how that funding will impact those within our target market.
You've done a lot of in-depth analysis of your prospects, probably the most I’ve ever seen. What led you to creating that and how does it help the sales team?
In the early days, we had a greenfield and were able to sell our disruptive product to many governments and many consultants. We were growing at a really quick pace - about 60-70% every year for the first five years of business. The question quickly turned to how long can we sustain this pace and how much market is left? No one had a good answer for that. That was something that needed to be figured out and it was definitely in my wheelhouse. It started as market sizing effort to figure out how penetrated we were in our markets; and more importantly, where the open patches were that we could target with our marketing and sales efforts to continue to grow.
What process did you take to get there?
Unfortunately, being a niche market, no analysts observe traffic data collection. I took a two-tier approach, looking at things both bottom-up and top-down.
From the top-down, I looked at government funding, populations, and average metrics for how much data collection certain sizes of governments would do.
From the bottom-up, I talked to our customers and with our sales reps to validate whether the top-down assumptions were accurate or way off.
We did a lot of adjusting based on that process and we landed on a model that the sales reps believed, I believed, and felt-right in terms of how penetrated we were in certain states.
"For the first time we were a team attacking the same territories with the same goals."
You built a lot of custom tools to track market penetration, integrating with your existing apps and tracking tools... What led you down this path?
When we originally started seeing the results of the market sizing effort, it was a bit of an “Aha!” moment for marketing, the sales teams, and the management team. The light-switch turned on, and it was quickly a case of, ‘holy crap, now I know exactly where to focus to continue to grow business and who I need to focus on to grow share of wallet.’
From there, it grew from basic numbers and percentages to performing a full SWOT on all of the territories to really understand the regional dynamics, active contracts, competitors, and the recurring RFPs that were in place. The SWOTs uncovered themes for marketing campaigns, sales tools, and helped to build collaborative long-term plans to capture territories.
All of the sales reps were starting to push and put positive friction on this process to have more dashboards, more analysis, and more real-time reporting on how they’re doing their territories.
The real beauty for me was instead of having to go to the sales reps to understand the market, I had a toolset that I could use to say, “This is what’s happening in your territory, help me make sense of it.” And for the first time we were a team attacking the same territories with the same goals. That was an awesome transition.
And this is something you put together in Google Sheets?
Yeah. It’s a workbook that takes a long time to load now [laughs]. But it pulls stuff from our ERP, our CRM, and a bunch of workbooks I created to size the market.
That’s an ambitious project.
I learned a lot about Excel in the process.
What’s your favourite Excel pro-tip?
Sum-Ifs and Count-Ifs.
Everything you’re doing makes you sound like a very revenue-focused marketer, which we’re increasingly seeing in the B2B space. Do you think that comes from your sales background?
It absolutely does, and it also comes from being a product of the engineering-centric Waterloo Region tech scene. Numbers come naturally to us.
So you’re looking to change the conversation internally from “Why are we doing these things” to “How are we performing?”
I think there are two really important things that you have to report to the leaders of the company: one of them is how we’re doing against our numbers today, tomorrow and this year; the other one is less tangible, it’s how well we’re communicating our brand and dominant selling idea. Those two are intrinsically linked: the dominant selling idea leads the numbers, but is more difficult to quantify – so we must cope with lagging KPIs like quotas, conversion rates, and revenue performance.
So how much visibility does your management team have into all the numbers and analysis you’ve put together?
Developing the marketing sizing and penetration was something that I often communicated to the management team. It’s our core business and, to-date, where all of our revenue has come from. It’s a very relevant statistic to talk about the whole world market, how penetrated we are, and where the opportunities lie. So everyone is very interested in that. It’s a regular topic of conversation.
"Sales people should worry about closing a deal; marketing should worry about closing all deals."
What about with the sales team? You mentioned this data really brought the team together, how are you keeping that over time?
There are a lot of anecdotes and articles about sales and marketing cooperating and getting along, and it’s certainly true at Miovision. The most important thing I’ve learned that a marketer can do to help the sales team is come to them with very valuable information. If you are a reactionary marketer that is drawing on the sales team tell you what to do, then you spend your time working on very short-term focused things and everyone ends up disappointed. While reacting may make one salesperson happy for now, the whole group is going to be angsty about the value that marketing is providing.
If you switch focus to bringing data and insights to your sales teams, tailored to their individual territories and targets, they can get excited about how marketing is helping them close deals and make bank, not building them cut sheets and maintaining the website.
As a general rule, sales people should worry about closing a deal; marketing should worry about closing all deals.
How do you continue to track these numbers over time?
I do track typical metrics like impressions, open rates, and engagements across different channels. However, what I’m interested in is not necessarily the vanity numbers, but how those relate to people digesting our dominant selling idea and taking action on it, and that’s a bit of a longer process.
Since we sell to governments, the sales process can be anywhere from a month or two to over a year. Tying together our entire marketing, sales, and customer management process is a project that’s been bubbling under the surface for some time now, and I’m hoping to start tackling it this fall.
We've talked about how you're trying to see the marketing influence on deals over time...
Yeah. As we continue to think of the total market penetration for the existing product line, and as we launch a new product line this fall we need to make sure the marketing strategy and tactics are leading to the right types of behaviours.
It’s not only about website metrics and click-through rates, but it’s about how far they get in the funnel, where they stop in the funnel, if they close, and if they do, how they keep growing? I want to build-in more intelligence through the whole thing to guide messaging, tools and be able to measure marketing’s efficacy.
You’re bringing on more marketers this year. What’s your approach to building out the team?
We brought on two senior marketers in August. The first is a director of brand leadership. The requirement for that role is out of the fact that we are launching more products into market and we are feeling the need to wrap those launches with vision and storytelling, not product features. The mandate of the director of brand leadership is to tie the different product values and company values together into a chaptered story that evolves our brand today, tomorrow, and in the future as Miovision continues to grow.
The other hire is a product marketing manager to manage the launch of our permanently installed intersection product this fall. Until recently, I was managing marketing for both product lines, both of which are rapidly evolving and growing. I needed help and we found an awesome marketer that can help us crush the launch this fall.
"Great products lose to great marketing every day."
Outside of that, what’s your biggest challenge going forward?
I think Miovision is partway through what a lot of companies in Waterloo region are going through, and that’s becoming a truly market centric company. We have a lot of talented engineers, great products, and really cool technology here; but to grow companies from $50M to $100M to $200M and more, we have to think deeply about market evolution, not just market problems, and how our companies are addressing the latent need for disruption.
Great products lose to great marketing every day.
Products don’t usually sell themselves. To finish things up, what’s your favourite '90s dance song?
This one I thought a lot about. I actually looked at the '90s charts to refresh my memory and as soon as I saw the title, I was filled with nostalgia for 1998 Cam and his brand new drivers’ license. The song got stuck in my head all over again. This Is How We Do It by Montell Jordan. That’s the one.
Photos courtesy of Cam Davies. You can learn more about Cam's excellent photography on his website.