SalesTech Star Interview with Lauren Wray, CRO at SITO Mobile
Tell us about your journey into Marketing and Sales Technology. How did you arrive at SITO?
I began on the publishing side, working for 10 years in sales for Forbes.com. I then joined a Silicon Valley ad tech startup, Sharethrough, where I helped to not only build a business but the native advertising category within the industry. After seven years, I pivoted to the measurement side of our industry at Kantar Consulting.
Third-party validation for media is so important for our industry and I was glad to gain that experience as well.
You can probably tell by now that I am someone who loves to learn—and loves a good challenge. I also like to build things and problem-solve so SITO was a natural fit. I see so much opportunity in helping brands make more informed business, marketing, and media decisions by leveraging the value of location data. SITO’s value proposition is powerful and I am excited by the idea of building a strong sales organization to support its mission.
As a woman in Sales, what keeps you focused? What challenges have you faced in the mostly male-dominated sphere of business?
I am a builder so having the opportunity to grow a new team and bring new value to our industry and my clients keep me focused. Marketers and businesses are suffocating in big data right now.
What good is data if it doesn’t help answer their business challenges?
We have found a way to help contextualize data to deliver meaningful insights for brands to quickly make decisions. That’s what gets me excited about this space.
As a new first-time mother, my family also keeps me going. I have a four-month-old at home so providing a wonderful life for my son drives me.
As for being in a male-dominated business, I find that our industry is actually full of strong and successful women. On the vendor side, you are right; it’s mostly dominated by men at the executive level. However, I work closely with many female customers at both agencies and brands.
Over the years, I have never felt that being a woman has held me back in any way. I don’t look at the world in terms of men versus women. I look at it from the perspective of people who are honest and driven and those who are not. I like to surround myself with people who share my same values.
How do you see the paradigm-shifting positively for women in Sales?
Even at the very beginning of my career when I served in support roles, I was surrounded by strong, successful women. I had many female mentors early on in my career. Men, too. I’ve been very lucky.
What is SITO and how do you differentiate it from other data-driven technology platforms?
For most companies, developing data and systems to allow for engaging consumers in real-time is a huge challenge. SITO helps by making businesses smarter with location data. In a world where every consumer touchpoint is an opportunity, we help to simplify the complexity of data gathering and analysis, so brands can realize faster, more efficient growth by reaching the right people at the right times with the right message.
We call it “humanizing the data” and in turn, we help strengthen the connection brands make. Even so, location intelligence is about far more than ad impressions and data analytics. It’s about better marketing. It’s about growing your business by knowing how your customers react in real-time, gaining the ability to improve messaging and channel, based on their journey through both the digital and physical worlds.
What are the various Sales strategies and tactics you have learned and developed so far? How do you practice them?
It’s all about the customer. We must solve real problems, deliver what we say we can deliver, and stay focused and prioritized. This approach includes the customers you help, the way you position yourself in the market, even how we make SITO a great place to work as a salesperson.
How different is Customer Success for advertising companies compared to other service and technology providers, for instance, IT SaaS and Cloud? How do you differentiate—Customer Success vs. Customer Service?
Customer success is understanding your customer’s business and its challenges. It’s important as a seller to know your customer’s business inside and out—and understand what keeps them up at night. If we can help them solve real business problems, we are doing our job well. Working with our customers to define the challenge and what success would look like for them, that’s what customer success is.
Meeting and exceeding the Key Performance Indicators set forth by the customer and us. Customer Service is the way in which we conduct ourselves with our customers. It’s having the attitude that our customers are important to us and that we will bend over backward to provide a positive experience. It’s knowing that we care about their challenges and are driven to help them succeed.
What role does Customer Success play in retaining these customer groups and the consolidation of the market?
Customers have almost unlimited choices so if you aren’t driving customer success, you aren’t in business. For example, as the media buying market continues to move to programmatic, the key to helping buyers succeed is to provide value and success upstream to business executives and marketers. We need to help them make smarter decisions further up in the decision-making process.
Only by better understanding the challenges our customers are facing can we build better answers to real business problems.
What is the Sales culture that you represent? Why is it important to build a sales-focused culture for any business?
Culture is important for any company but especially for a sales team. My goal is to have every seller on the team walk into every meeting with swagger—meaning the cool confidence that comes from knowing he or she is the expert in the room and is there to help our customers solve problems.
How do you achieve this culture-balance? What percentage of this is driven by the application of technology, reporting tools, and coaching?
I’d say all three are important to be successful but would add that it is also important to build an environment that encourages sellers to share and collaborate with each other. A strong company culture is built on a foundation of good communication that incorporates a strong and collaborative feedback loop, from sales to product and even, marketing.
Tell us how you achieve marketing-sales alignment. How does it impact your targets?
The best way to explain this is by telling you about a product we recently built, called the Brand Momentum Index. It analyses trillions of daily events including place, time and movement and can correlate past and present activities to understand what will happen next.
With a lookback window of more than three years, the index rapidly connects events with experiences and provides a comprehensive view of today’s consumer. It keeps pace with even the most rapidly changing environments to deliver advanced business intelligence to inform planning and forecasting.
Each day is filled with billions of unique experiences. Our Index is designed to capture each moment and develop individual storylines. It appends real-time location signals with a customer’s data to make it relevant. This, in turn, lets brands move faster, be more strategic and make decisions based on facts, not on conjecture.
What this means for our customers is that we can create customized applications to deliver a comprehensive view of previously hidden consumer visitation behavior, competitive analysis, and intent-related analytics. We can help our customers learn more about their consumers so that they can better connect with them in the moments and channels that matter most.
That then leads to important questions we can now answer, from how many people pass our business locations and how many stops to look in the window to how far are my customers willing to drive to my location, how much time are they spending at our location once they arrive and mow many of your competitors did they pass along the way?
Which Sales tech Automation tools do you use? How do they make your work easy?
As a sales exec, I live and breathe in Salesforce. We use Salesforce to manage our business and are disciplined about what we track to get the most impact for our sales team.
Which events and webinars do you most occasionally attend and why?
It’s important to have a presence at major industry events where our customers are, like Cannes Lions and CES. We also invest heavily to bring our own events to market, including the SITO Institute, which offers a superb series of C-level Roundtable discussions. These forums are designed to help marketing and agency execs stay in step with evolving trends and keep the focus on producing proven ROI.
Your advice to other CMOs and Sales professionals in the ad tech industry.
Always challenge your partners to do better. We should all push each other to make this industry better. Let’s solve real problems together.
Thank You, Lauren, for answering all our questions. We hope to see you again, soon.
Through Consumer Behavior and Location Sciences™️, SITO develops customized, data-driven solutions for brands spanning strategic insights and media. The platform reveals a deeper and more meaningful understanding of customer interests, actions and experiences providing increased clarity for clients when it comes to navigating business decisions.
The company is home to the most complete, internally developed location-data technology stack in the market, offering a powerful resource for not only granular data, but also real-time insights and delivery of successful media campaigns. Using in-store targeting, proximity targeting, geo-conquesting and attribution data, the platform creates audience profiles to develop measurable hyper-targeted campaigns for brands. SITO’s real-time, location-based technology gives clients the unique advantage of understanding and shaping the future of retail and consumer behavior.
As a results-oriented sales leader with extensive experience building teams and implementing strategies that drive business results, Ms. Wray leads SITO Mobile’s sales activity, strategic partnerships and revenue management while aligning all revenue-generating departments, including Operations, Marketing, Sales, Corporate Development and Customer Experience/Customer Success.
Ms. Wray started her sales career driving an impressive account portfolio at Forbes Media, where she landed numerous major accounts and won the Malcolm Forbes Award for “Top Salesperson of the Year.” Most recently, Ms. Wray sat on the executive team overseeing media and content domain sales, growth and strategy at Kantar LLC. Prior to Kantar, Ms. Wray ran national sales at Sharethrough where she helped grow the business from a start-up to being a leader in the native ad tech industry.