Episode 35: Anna Fisher and Garrett Mehrguth

In our 35th episode, Olivier talks category creation with two B2B leaders from the sales commission software and performance marketing categories.

Panelists for this episode include:

  • Anna Fisher, CMO of Spiff and leader behind the sales commission software category
  • Garrett Mehrguth, CEO of Directive and leader behind the performance marketing agency category

You’ll walk away from this episode with an understanding of demand generation, inbound marketing, and analyst relationships.

Takeaway 1. Marketing should focus on SQL just as much as MQL

No two metrics bring up as much debate as MQL and SQL. Every marketing and sales organization uses them. But yet they cause so much misalignment between teams. The problem with MQL is that it doesn’t account for revenue impact. It’s easy for teams to focus on lead gen when MQL is the only metric for measuring performance.

The problem is that lead volume doesn’t always translate into business outcomes in dollars. How many leads you generate can tell you that you’re doing something right. But those leads don’t mean anything unless they convert into dollars for your business. Focusing on SQL as the measure of success means that marketing goes from being seen as a cost center to a value generator.

While SQL simplifies marketing performance reporting, it doesn’t completely solve the challenge of marketing attribution. It’s not always possible to attribute the source of every qualified lead you generate. But you can still manage this limitation and get more SQLs by updating your strategy to long-term demand generation rather than short-term lead generation.

Takeaway 2. Use review sites to create demand

You can start generating demand by building a presence on review sites like G2 or Capterra. Customer reviews help to build buyer confidence. Other potential customers can get an unbiased first-hand insight into your solution. This helps build massive social proof that you can later use to improve your sales material and product roadmap.

Another benefit of building a presence on review sites is that they increase your visibility on search results for high intent keywords. For example, someone searching for “top sales compensation software” will get results from multiple review sites containing your product. Because these websites already have higher domain authority, you’ll gain some brand awareness without having to create your own content.

It’s crucial to keep in mind that review sites are a place for engaging with your customers. They aren’t just places where all you do is ask for a rating. You also need to participate. Respond to both positive and negative reviews. Answer questions. Your customers want to know that there’s a person behind the brand and that their feedback is essential. That’s how you build trust.

Takeaway 3. Focus on building a relationship with the analyst, not the analyst’s company

Analyst relationships are another area where trust is essential. They help you get enterprise deals. But many startups approach them wrong by trying to build a relationship with the entire analyst company. A better approach is to create a relationship with an individual analyst instead.

Analysts are people at the end of the day. They want to share their expertise as much as they want to hear about your insights on the product. Before you reach out, you have to decide what you hope to achieve with your relationship. For example, if you’re a startup and don’t know how to do something, the goal of your analyst relationship could be to develop a reliable source of education. Most analyst engagements are also pay-to-play, so you’ll also need to factor that into your decision.

Once you’re clear on your goals, research the analyst you want to connect with and start with the basics. Connect with them on LinkedIn and send them a gift if possible. Share useful resources. Like any other real relationship, you’ll need to put in the time and effort to make things work. It may take some time, but the results will be worth it.

For more insights on analyst relationships, performance marketing, and inbound marketing, listen to this episode of B2B category creators.


Garrett tells us why he wants to learn how to code.

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