Field Marketers as Mini-CMOs: Meet Risa Peterson from ThoughtSpot

May 24, 2022

Kelly Cheng , Head of Growth at Goldcast

Welcome to Event Marketers Live, a fast-paced series where we shake off the jargon and get real with the humans behind the scenes of our favorite B2B events and experiences. 

This week, Kelly had the pleasure of chatting with Risa Peterson, Head of Field Events at ThoughtSpot. 

ThoughtSpot is a business intelligence and big data analytics platform that helps companies explore, analyze, and share real-time business analytics data easily. Their Modern Analytics Cloud delivers real-time data to empower teams, partners, and customers to turn data into actionable insight.

Risa joined us to talk about her career trajectory as Field Marketing leader (spoiler alert: she initially thought she’d have a much different career path), ThoughtSpot’s new global roadshow event that’s launching a new messaging campaign, and her thoughts on Field Marketers as Mini-CMOs. 

Tell us about your current field marketing strategy and how your team is structured to support this strategy. 

At ThoughtSpot, we closely align our team structure with overall organizational goals. 

We use a variation of the “V2MOM” method, shortened to “V2M2,” for goal setting across the company. This stands for vision, values, methods, metrics. 

Everyone in the company creates their own V2M2, from the CEO all the way down to department leaders, team leaders, and individual team contributors. We started this last year, and it’s really helped us build the roadmap for how we're going to be successful. 

On the Field Marketing team, our mission is to support driving revenue. We have a complete toolkit, and events are a big piece of the puzzle to help us achieve our goals.

We currently have four Field Marketers spread across the US mapped to each territory. We also have team members under the Field Marketers to provide support. Our team works very closely with the sales team and the partner marketing team to execute campaigns. 

The partner marketing piece is interesting; we actually leverage our partners to tell into our ecosystem. Our product is very complimentary to a lot of other products. So, our field team works with our internal teams and external teams to build joint go-to-market programs.  

Was the transition to virtual events hard? 

Yes, it was a challenge for everyone. It’s hard when you put all of this planning together, and you have to turn on a dime. 

Thankfully, when the pivot did happen, we already had a lot of great content in the works. And with that, we had some campaigns that included events that we were going to roll out around large content pieces. So from that perspective, it was easy for us to transition how we were going to bring those campaigns to market. 

We’ve tried all kinds of things, from webinars to more intimate events like virtual wine tastings. Direct mail has been another positive investment since the transition to remote. We thought about how we could really get people excited to engage with us virtually, especially as screen fatigue grows. 

We also wanted to be mindful of not only driving registrants but attendees. And if folks aren’t able to attend, how can we get them to engage on-demand? So, we’ve spent a lot of time thinking about all of the changes over the past two years and how we can solve them in a way that’s going to be positive for everyone. 

What in-person events does ThoughtSpot have planned this year? 

We actually started planning for our grand return to in-person events last summer. Our team got together for the first time in Atlanta and had a live planning session. We knew the situation was evolving, and we needed to be flexible. We thought about different ways we could bring events back and re-build the events program as a team. 

This is where we came up with the idea for our roadshow. This year, we’re doing a global tour to bring new messaging to market and position ThoughtSpot as the modern analytics cloud. We’re hitting 19 cities across the US, Europe, and Australia over the next several weeks to reintroduce our brand and re-engage our audience.

We didn’t want to come out of the gate with larger events. We wanted to be mindful of people’s comfort levels with crowds and travel. That’s why we started this roadshow where we’re only bringing 30 - 50 people together at a time. The events are intimate but casual. We host them in the mornings with breakfast, so folks can ease into the day and set their own pace.  

So far, we’ve gotten a ton of great feedback and customer validation, which is really exciting. You always want that validation. Our customers are the ones using our product, and when they provide that validation, it’s almost like they sell it for you. 

After that, we have our annual user conference in Las Vegas. We’re really excited to finally bring that back in person after two years, but we’re also navigating the nuances of contracts and figuring out how to make the event exciting and engaging but also profitable. 

What are some goals you set around field events, and how do you measure success? 

We generally set event goals based on our larger revenue targets for the year. From a field marketing perspective, we know how many meetings our team needs to book to help build and progress the pipeline for our sales organization for all of us to hit our revenue targets. 

When we planned the roadshow events, we built these targets into our model. We didn’t come up with arbitrary goals or numbers. We looked at what we’ve seen from previous events and backed into our targets. 

For example, we know the typical conversion rate of people who sign up and attend, who set a meeting to chat with our team, and who end up closing a deal. We go through the entire sales cycle to determine how much revenue we expect to make from any given event. We also look back at certain intervals—six months to twelve months—to see the full scope of influence and ROI.  

What are your thoughts on Field Marketers as Mini-CMOs?  

I love this! And I totally agree. As a Field Marketer, you are the Chief Marketing Officer of your region. 

You know the numbers, you know what the sales team targets are, and you know what you are trying to accomplish to get your business in that region to the next level. Not only that, but also taking what the field team is experiencing back to the marketing team and helping shape better marketing for the entire organization based on your experiences. 

Field marketing is so much more than just marketing. It's so much more than just putting on events for the sales team. I hate the phrase “supporting the sales team” because we are true partners that drive the business forward.

Do you have any career advice for field or event marketers? 

First and foremost, you have to be your own advocate for what you want in your career. Find out what you enjoy, and lean into it. Continue to learn and lean on people who are in a role that. Learn from these folks, and understand what it took for them to get there.

You definitely need outside advocates and mentors too, so don't hesitate to reach out to people—whether they are close to you or if you don’t know them well. Start by just asking, “Hey, do you have 30 minutes? I would love to hear how you got to this point.” 

I think the fun thing about field marketing is we get to pull all of the different pieces together. The creative, the product, the marketing, the communications, working with the sales team—we get to like bring all of that together in a pretty package and present it to our audience, which makes field marketing so much fun.

So great to see live events making a comeback! Thanks so much for joining us, Risa. We’ll see you soon for another episode of Event Marketers Live. 👋

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