by Afek Shusterman
Udi is CMO at www.Gong.io and has 20 years of marketing experience, including as the owner of his own private Marketing Consultation firm.
We spoke about marketing, the secret sauce that has allowed Gong to thrive as an industry leader in unlocking customer realities and improving sales. Under Udi's leadership, Gong has amassed an impressive inventory of over 700 diverse clients.
What is, in your opinion, the best B2B marketing practice?
"There's no one method, there is a tool box that a marketer needs to use, but by the end of the day, all you need to do is generate appeal and provide value to build an audience of 'raving fans'.
If we compare Gong to other companies or even competitors on the market, we'll find out that the other companies don't really give to their audience what they need in terms of marketing, in order to get an 'easy' sale, you need to constantly offer attractive opportunities to court and sway your audience.
For example, Gong's email open rates are way beyond the market. Why? Because we ensure that our messages are irresistible to potential clients. For example, an email saying, "How to open up a cold call', is sure to generate a healthy stream of responses from interested fans.
We bring up the world's best speakers to Gong, and we share this for free, because we know it will build an audience that will eventually buy our software.
First, give, give, give and then ask."
Gong is a private company currently valued at 7.2 Billion USD. What can you attribute this success to?
"First of all, we solve a real problem that people actually need, and then we prove market fit.
We proved that sales teams don't actually track success, so how would they know how to improve? Gong does it, first to prove market fit.
Second, we never compromise when we hire people. We schedule 8 interviews with a variety of different types of candidates. At Gong, everyone is given a fair and equal chance.
Third, we don't have value, we have operational principles. We have 8 of them:
- Create Raving Fans
- Want More
- Challenge Conventional Wisdom
- Win as a Team
- Act Now
- No Sugar
- Favor the Long Term
- Enjoy the Ride
These principles guide our focus at Gong, ensuring every employee is on the same page, both from a business strategy and culture perspective."
I've heard a lot about Gong's culture. What crucial factors have allowed you to achieve a rich culture?
"Culture to me is being happy every morning when you go to work.
Our people are our top priority. Our first operating principle is to create raving fans. We make sure that above all else, we stay committed to supplying our clients with work we can be proud of and that keeps them happy.
We all actually do this every day.
But what's special is that those operating principles give our employees freedom to create and push Gong's vision. So people feel free, creative and valued in the workplace. It's a fantastic feeling."
How do you make sure that a candidate is a perfect fit for Gong?
We treat every interview as a million-dollar decision. This encourages us to remain methodical in our process and really make sure that we take the time to do our due diligence.
Our interviewers are trained to ask questions that dive deep into our operational principles in order to get a sense of the candidates mindset and gain and idea of how they will mesh with and add value to our team.
For higher positions, we ask for a presentation. We get much more insight from that instead of an interview because it gives the candidate a chance to use their discretion and make creative decisions, necessary qualities for an executive."
How have you made people believe in Gong's vision in order to raise money when the company was in its founding stages?
"Well, investors like to invest on what they know and trust, at the first level you're selling a dream. Investors are often impressed with your passion and gusto, but tend to get caught up in the technical aspects.
In many ways, it's easier to make people agree on a problem as opposed to a solution.
It's important to keep in mind that if you get people to agree on a problem, especially one so prevalent in many businesses such as innovating the success-tracking tools of a sales department, you might fundraise even before you present the solution."