Erica Seidel’s conversation with Jason Seeba, SVP of Marketing at, is interesting and unusual because not only does Jason lead marketing at a talent intelligence company (and The Get is all about marketing talent!), but also because of his diverse background spanning demand gen, marketing, technology and marketing operations. Jason was Chief Marketing Technology Officer at Bloomreach, and then extended his role to take over all of marketing. And finally, he was a client of before he joined them full time as they were moving into the hyper growth curve. Don’t miss this!

Aside from sharing his own experience, Jason also shares his best advice for marketing tech people that want to get into the CMO office down the line. And he discusses why his golden interview question is “How do you get to know customers and what they need?”

For CEOs and CMOs who are hiring marketing leaders, you will find tips for finding and keeping the best marketing and martech talent, especially in these times of uncertainty, where we are not quite sure if we will have a situation of candidate abundance or candidate scarcity when we come out the other side of this global crisis.

Of course, because it’s Jason and he’s from Eightfold, which is a HRTech tool for talent intel, you will also hear some really practical tips on how and when you can use tech to help you find and keep your best talent.

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Erica Seidel 0:40 Welcome to the next episode of The Get. I'm Erica Seidel. And my guest today is Jason Seeba, who is the SVP of marketing at and is a very cool talent intelligence platform in the HR tech space, kind of helping companies with hiring by predicting The future steps that a particular set of candidates will be taking. And Jason has this cool background. I met him, oh boy, it's been years that we met, but someone who has this very kind of eclectic experience, that all comes into play and in his role. So, Jason, welcome to the show. Glad to have you there.

Jason Seeba 1:26 Thanks, Erica, excited to be here with you.

Erica Seidel 1:28 So let us talk about your path? I think your path is interesting because if you look at marketing leadership today, there's a different kind of breeds of marketers that become marketing. The leaders of significant swaths of marketing so some people come up through demand Gen. Some people come up through Product Marketing, some people come up through communications or brand and your background. It's the demand Gen side of things, but also you have the background in marketing, tech, and marketing operations, and I feel like that's relatively rare, right? We, there's plenty of people with demand Gen orientation, running marketing, and various places. But people who have been as deep in marketing, tech, and marketing operations as you are, I remember you were at bloomreach. And you were the chief marketing technology officer, and then you took over all of marketing. So, my question for you is, how is a marketing leader with more of a marketing tech and marketing ops background distinct in perspective, from somebody else who doesn't have that kind of background?

Jason Seeba 2:41   I was fortunate to have kind of a unique way of coming up. I started a couple of radio stations in high school and college and then was the first marketer at several smaller companies. And so, you know, I got the chance to get exposed to a lot of different areas of marketing or whether it was product marketing or, you know, brand or, you know, I mean, across the board. And so, the way that I looked at it was just building these startups from the ground up. And so once I found kind of a market, you know, the marketing, tech, marketing ops side of the world, I felt like it was just a way for me to scale up what I was doing as a marketer. And so, you know, I found Marketo early on, you know, Salesforce, and I felt like kind of scaling. The business could happen much more easily that way. But I think there is something very magical about someone who understands marketing technology or ops and as a business leader, right. So I mean, that means, you know, if you understand the business process deeply, and you're able to go then build a Salesforce dashboard to then look at it all together, you know, very quickly that transforms businesses because you can react so much more quickly.

Erica Seidel 3:57 I think a lot about the three agents Marketing, right? There's aptitude, attitude, and then altitude. And what I see in a lot of marketing ops folks is they're great at the aptitude and attitude, the altitude, like being able to kind of see the forest for the trees and being able to kind of get out of the weeds. That is where marketing ops people can struggle. So, I like what you're saying about being business first, as opposed to operations first, I think you're right. Now in your case, you could kind of know, work in small companies, and I don't negatively mean this but put poke your nose in other areas of business, you know, get exposure beyond your silo. So, are there any other pieces of advice that you would give to marketing tech people who want to become that, CMO down the line. like if they don't necessarily have those opportunities within their companies, that is so obvious to them to get that broader view, you know? Or, or maybe you think, you know, they should just, you know, find those opportunities, and they're there in every business. Any thoughts there?

Jason Seeba 5:10 Yeah, I think there's, I think there's still always an eye ability to understand the business better. You know, I think many people end up doing operations work in a silo, and they don't understand how it connects through the entire business. Whether it's, you know, how you know, how what you're doing is tied to revenue, or how it's paying to conversion rate, or how you know, how this specific team works, and how you're making their job that much easier. So, you can sell much more easily. Those things, those things are always there. And, you know, it's just a question of like, do you want to dig in and do the work to understand what's going on in the business like most businesses are fairly transparent, I would say especially there are people in the business for who will be willing to be transparent with you. And so, if you can find those business mentors, right, and those people whom you can work alongside, I mean, those are the people whom you can also make super, super successful, right? There have been people in my career that I partnered with where I have worked, you know, very hard to propel their career forward. Right? And, you know, those were business leaders that you know are extremely driven and having someone who's on the ops side who can help you answer the questions about the business quickly, and in an agile way really, will open up doors. When there's, you know when push comes to shove, you know, data wins arguments, right. And so, if you can understand the data deeply, and, and make a case for the right things, I think that makes a big difference. Something to say there too is. You can tell, you know, many stories with the same data, but you know, I think setting yourself up as an arbiter for companies and not being too driven just for your own team's success versus the company's success. And that's a great place to be.

Erica Seidel 7:06 What is the question that you would want to be asked to demonstrate that you are a strong marketing leader?

Jason Seeba 7:15 I think I think I mean, to me, it would be how do you get to know customers and what they need? I think that's probably the deepest piece of what a marketer can do. And that's the empathy that you have for customers. And their challenges. I think, I think it's it is the number one thing as a marketer, and so whether that's, you know, getting to know customers individually, whether that's deeply understanding the product and the product-market fit if it's trying to understand what the message is, you know, how messages resonate across, you know, within the market, and I think all of those types of pieces flow into this question of, how are you empathetic to the challenges of the people Whom you're serving?

Erica Seidel 8:02 So let's talk about your path to eightfold. I thought it was interesting that it started because you had a challenge. That might resonate with many marketers, right? You had your previous company, and you had to scale up an SDR team quickly. And you used eightfold. And so, it's like, you know, you'd like that so much. And you end up getting to know the company and join, but can you tell us about that story, that whole arc of finding the company and scaling up the SDR team and then going into joining the company full time?

Jason Seeba 8:36 Yeah. So, I worked with the CEO, and the founder of eightfold was the CTO of the prior company I was with called bloomreach. And this he left bloom reach, you know, he worked on several startup ideas on this and then eightfold emerged. It was called Volk science at that point, and then it changed names early on to eightfold. And so I was familiar With the company and then as we were growing our sales development team at the next company, we had, you know, we had almost 50 SDRs and managers, and so it was a big team and growing an SDR team in the San Francisco Bay Area is a challenge. And so, you know, I was looking for ways, you know, we were spending much money on external recruiters, I was looking for ways for us to scale up and get the best talent. And so, I went to them, and I had heard of it, you know, had spent time with them on the product. And it was an advisor to the company. It said, sent, you know, some folks to go work there in the South Bay. And I needed a way to scale up quickly. And so eightfold provided a platform for us to identify, you know, people whom we may have already talked to or people who might be in the market, who would be a good fit for our roles. And so, we had, we have six SDR managers and so all of them, you know, got on the system. We essentially created Did almost like a shadow recruiting organization where we were doing, you know, recruiting events, and, you know, really pounding the pavement sourcing to get the best talent. And so, I'm in a highly competitive, you know, talent environment, that's what we had to do to grow. And so, we not only saved a bunch of money, but we were able to get good people. It is been amazing to see, you know, where those folks have gone, you know, not only within that company but then the next day and other companies as well. And so, yeah, and so then, So, knew the product and understood the value of the product. And, you know, Asha, who is the CEO of APL, he was persistent, right? And he kept calling and, you know, he, I would say he hit on the right day, right. And so, this is, this is always a very interesting piece of recruiting. You know, it is very, I do believe that it's very relational. And sometimes it is very emotional, right? And so, he called on the right day, and then we were able to have a conversation and happened quickly.

Erica Seidel  11:00  It seems like a lot of the disruption and the evolution that happened that has been happening in marketing and market over the last, you know, ten years or so is now starting to happen in HR and HR tech, right, we are starting to get much more quantitative much more data-driven with HR, you know, there are kind of new imports into HR, like new kind of transfer people into HR that that are kind of beefing up the analytical skills of that area. So, can you talk more about that, and, and, you know, what applies if you're a martech person, you know, going into HR tech and what that evolution is like, yeah.

Jason Seeba 11:44 I think everyone's trying to deal with, you know, kind of digital transformation across all companies, you know, whether they're early in that journey or later in that journey. And ultimately, that transformation starts with talent and people. And so, you see as companies adapt and change, they need to have the right skills in their organization. And so, you're finding, I'm finding more and more tools that are trying to under, you know, deeply understand people and the skills that are available not only outside of the company but now within the company. And so you're starting to see, you know, I would say, a renewed focus on, you know, HR and the tools that are there, I agree that there are now many people who are coming in, especially to the hero role, that is from outside of HR, you know, we're seeing them from, you know, any all over from operations, even, you know, marketing or legal, who are going into, you know, going into those roles. And they're looking now for tools to help them scale. And I would say that those tools that you know, the things that happened in marketing, you know, the Mark Meadows of the world and even the predictive analytics vendors, they provided a real I would say You'd like a pretty robust funnel for talent to move in through organizations. And, you know, those tools just aren't there yet, at this point, in HR, and, you know, in eightfold is, you know, we're building, you know, we've built some of those tools already. And kind of that deep understanding of people at an algorithmic level. So we can understand people at scale, and their skills are unique, and they're just, they're just wasn't the deep HR technology, it's very, I would say, there's kind of these different ages of her eras of software. And you saw, you know, marketing kind of go through kind of, through kind of workflow into intelligent AI-enabled tools. And I think you're seeing that now in HR as well, where you have very, you know, kind of legacy vendors that are focused on, you know, workflow. Then you have some new companies popping up that are that the entire platform is infused with intelligence and you know, the to focus and those companies are the map more to the business process and business impact.

Erica Seidel 14:09 recruiting, it requires this kind of combination of creativity and aggressiveness that timing, luck and relationships and speed and all of this. And so, um, as you have built teams, you know, aside from using eightfold, you know, which sounds like a great, you know, tool, but what have you learned about how to get the best folks before other people do?

Jason Seeba 14:35 I think finding people, you know, eightfold provides a unique tool to help you do that. But I think there's also just how you pursue people, and you share the vision of your company in a real way. And it has, as I said, must be authentic, right. I mean, if you're people who tried to fake this stuff, it comes across, but if you're passionate about what you're working on, that's awesome means picking the right companies, right? So, you have to pick the right company to be working for. That you can be passionate about the product and be passionate about the people there, so then you can share that authentic passion with people. And I think that resonates. And I think that even like, a good example is that you may not be first, right, a recent person whom I hired, you know, that person had three other competitive offers. And instead of, instead of, you know, me doing references for him, I have had him do a reference for me, right. So, I sent him to, you know, one of the directors that worked for me in the past and had him talk to her and like those types of conversations. Those do change people's behaviors. And if you have people who've worked with you, and you've helped grow, you know, they're very, you know, they're very apt to have those types of conversations for you.

Erica Seidel 15:53 I think that's a key point, right? The overall theme here is like social proof right as you go through your career. It is amazing like you meet people one year, and then ten years later, that person could be in your life again, or maybe they've been in your life for that whole ten years. And your point about, you know, let's call it like reverse references. I think that's great. Because you're not saying to the candidate, oh, you know, take my word for it. I'm a great leader of people, and your career is going to develop here, you just say, hey, talk to this other person about what it's like to work on my team. And then you're trusting that other person to give an authentic view of what it was like, and you know, maybe you have these situations where you lose a candidate because what they hear is not, you know, maybe it's great, but it's not quite what they have in mind. But, you know, to your point, it's probably better to have that than to, because that shows kind of caring about somebody's career over the longer term. One thing that I see Silicon Valley companies do more than others has this kind of dream hire list, right and call it a talent pipeline or what have you, but people that, you know, if those people come up on the market, take them because they're really good and invented a job for them. And even if they're not available, just, you know, proactively stay in touch with them. I've seen some companies, you know, like, find that like have their top 100 people that they would love to work with, find out their birthday, send them a birthday card, or you know, birthday doughnuts or whatnot.

Jason Seeba  17:30  Even in our product, we talked about a kind of a talent network, and that's everyone who's, you know, applied to you, or you've worked within the past whom you care about as a company. Still, I would say, you know, each one of us who's I would say, like executive leaders in the valley, like they have those people that they worked with before that they will do just about anything to get back with a right and you can help you know, propel these businesses forward together. There is you know, the 10-x engineer concept is pretty good. Played out by now, I would say. But I do believe that that type of person exists on the business side as well.

Erica Seidel 18:07 We might be pivoting into a very different economy, where there's a lot of candidate abundance, right? And where there might be less hiring and more candidates on the market. So, can you contrast what you have been doing with what you might be doing going forward in this situation of relative candidate abundance and how that changes as a marketing leader?

Jason Seeba  18:36  The companies that are going to be growing through this time are still going to be hiring, you know, significantly, I would say, but they may be able to get access to talent that you wouldn't have had access to otherwise. So, if you look at Facebook and Google through kind of a 2008, you know, crisis like people they grew and they poached talent and got talent that they would never have had access to. Otherwise. If you're a Very large company, right, you're going to have, you know, you know, you might have two x three x five x the number of applicants that you were having before. And so how do you work through, you know, algorithmically and understand, you know, the people in their fit to fit the role so that you can match people to the right roles and essentially work, you know, work through that talent pipeline in a way. That's efficient, because, you know, during these times, you know, in down economies, right, and, you know, talent teams are, you know, can be much smaller, and they have to do more with less. And so, I think you're going to see we talked a little bit earlier about the emergence of, you know, kind of HR tech tools, and I think you're going to see a whole set of companies that will pop up and ones that are already established that will try to address this challenge.

Erica Seidel  19:47  as companies get more comfortable with work from home arrangements because they kind of have to now it removes the barriers, the geographic barriers to hiring people, you know, so as you say, you can hold out for the right one wherever that person is if you've gotten used to that work from home dynamic,

Jason Seeba 20:06 yeah, I think that's going to. I think it will change dramatically. You know, some people love working from home, some people don't and, but I do think that you're going to see many companies that are going to be you know, remote-first or at least more accepting.

Erica Seidel 20:21 And now it's my last question for you. What is your advice for other marketing leaders on how they can lead during a time of uncertainty? I mean, I think we're in this brand-new phase and a kind of week one of supreme uncertainty here. Any thoughts?

Jason Seeba 20:40 Yeah, I mean, I mean, I think caring for people is you know, never goes out of style, right? So, caring for your employees caring for your customers. I think those are two big pieces. I think of adapting quickly.  The message that you had a week ago is not the message that's going to resonate now. And so being able to, you know, get your teams to move quickly and align around, you know, it may not be a completely new vision, but the vision may be changed and to get not only your teams but your company to align around those visions is pretty important. I also think just like being, I would say, being emotionally aware and emotionally intelligent as you go through, and if anyone says they're emotionally intelligent, they're probably not. So not saying that. But, you know, trying to try to be thoughtful about the message that you have and how it resonates in culture, I think is going to matter, you know, more than ever, you know, there's going to be much sensitivity over the next, you know, we don't know how long and, you know, traditional sales tactics are not going to work during those times. And so it's how do you care about your customers first and then as you move out into prospects is how do you partner with people, you know, to solve the problems that they have, and consult with them. And innovate. And that's that will be what will cut through the noise. I think I would say over this next, you know, six months to a year. Great,

Erica Seidel 22:09 fabulous. Well, Jason, this has been great to have you on the show. So, thank you so much for sharing your insights.

Jason Seeba 22:15 Thanks, Erica. It’s great to catch up and good to talk to you

The Podcast Team

Erica Seidel

Recruiter And Founder at The Connective Good As host of The Get, Erica talks to CEOs, VCs and Marketing Leaders about finding and keeping great marketing talent for B2B SaaS companies.

Team MarTech Advisor

Chief Editor Chitra Iyer, and the team at MarTech Advisor edit, produce and distribute The Get.


Episode Highlights

Guest Profile

Jason Seeba

Jason Seeba is the SVP of Marketing at led marketing at Dynamic Signal, Bloom Reach, Acesis, ReadyToPlay and ChainCast Networks. A four-time Marketo Champion,he’s an advisor to a number of marketing technology companies.