Why Shattering Systems Can Ultimately Strengthen Them: Lorena Morales On The Importance of An Antifragile Mindset In Saas

When asked what the most impactful book she’s read this year was, Lorena Morales, VP of Marketing at Go Nimbly, responded without skipping a beat: Antifragile by Nassim Taleb.

“Hypergrowth companies in Silicon Valley have been obsessed with the buzzword ‘resilience’ recently,” she explained. “But Taleb’s thinking radically challenges this mindset. He says, ‘Wait a minute, resiliency is not about bouncing back.’ He describes antifragility as a system where the pieces should grow stronger with use and abuse.” 

“It really struck me with the entire Covid situation,” Lorena continues. “Things may never be exactly the same again. But rebuilding an exact replica of the past shouldn’t be the goal. We should strive to rebuild things better than they were.” 

Lorena believes that this mindset is essential in revenue operations as well, where change is one of the only constants. Data decays every single day. When Salesforce and Marketo suddenly upgrade how they process information, you’re left frantically troubleshooting to prevent hard-earned leads from leaking out of your funnel. 

We sat down with Lorena to learn more about her unique perspectives that have led to her success in SaaS. Read on to learn her top tips, including how to empower your entire revenue team to play a role in maintaining clean data.

Nick: What’s something you believe about B2B marketing that few others do?

Lorena: That being a generalist is a bad thing. It certainly gets a bad rap—there’s the oft-repeated axiom “jack of all trades, master of none.” My interests have always been wide, and due to my immigration status after coming from Mexico, I’ve been jumping between several industries since the very beginning of my career.

When I landed at Go Nimbly, it was the first company where the mentality and company culture was totally different. They embraced the practice of learning broadly about many disciplines. They were happy for me to be a “master generalist,” as I call it today. 

My specialty is always going to be design thinking and how to grow companies and teams based on that, but I know enough to be dangerous in a lot of areas. So it’s my mission as I hire and train talent to create the first generation of master generalists, and to fight for the value of 

varied and diverse perspectives.

Why is bad data such an enormous problem in B2B tech?

A lot of bad data problems result from not being focused enough on data stewardship in early stages of the business. But fast forward a few years and there’s no easy way for businesses to come back from building on top of a cracked foundation. Early on, many companies focus on growing their community or revenue numbers. But few realize that the data in their systems have everything to do with achieving those goals. So I believe businesses need a culture that puts data at the center of their strategy before it feels critical.

What’s the monetary impact of bad data for SaaS businesses?

Bad data kills the two most important metrics in SaaS—your cost to acquire a customer (CAC) is going to be way higher if your marketing systems are littered with bad data. And then your lifetime value (LTV) is going to decrease because customers feel the impact of bad data on their experience.

Then there’s the human productivity element, where bad data results in wasted time and effort. For example, many companies struggle with duplicate accounts and contacts in their CRM. I’ve seen many cases where multiple AEs are working the same account simply because they don’t realize they’re both working from different Salesforce records of the same company. The customer has to put up with two entirely different people from your company trying to push a deal. Of course, that harms both the prospect’s experience and your brand’s reputation. And you don’t get a second chance at a first impression.

How do you make sure your sales reps don’t make a dirty data problem worse?

The reality is that logging information is tiring and annoying—it’s the last thing your sales team wants to spend time on. If you can find ways to make processes simple and enjoyable, you can vastly improve the quality of the contact data in your CRM. For example, we’ve just implemented a tool at Go Nimbly called Troops, which pushes activities from Salesforce to Slack in real time. And it’s been super fun because if sales logs the right information in Salesforce when a deal closes, then we get a notification in Slack and everyone celebrates. Colourful emojis and gifs abound! If there’s a positive trigger for the human brain when processes are followed correctly, you can incentivize your team to do the right thing. That little hit of dopamine will reinforce their behavior, and these small moments add up to a major upgrade in the quality of your customer data.

 

What’s the biggest mistake you see revenue leaders making?

Chasing shiny new tools—you’ve got to resist the temptation! I’ll be honest, this is something I’m also guilty of. As soon as there’s a new martech tool, I want to go and play with it. I’m like a freaking five year-old. But this inclination is why I always make sure to pause and ask myself: How will this new tool integrate into my tech stack? Will it introduce new conflicts or kinks we need to smooth out downstream in our funnel? Sometimes, people in managerial roles don’t stop and think about processes before adding extra tools to their systems. 

What are some of the root causes of dirty data you see in hypergrowth companies?

Sometimes leaders buy new tools, but they don’t really put the human capital into maintaining clean data in the systems. They expect the tool to do the job for them, without investing in ongoing maintenance. And of course, competing priorities exacerbate the problem. When there’s tremendous pressure to grow quickly, the last thing that you’re going to think about is precision and data quality. 

How can company culture support clean data?

Companies should banish the mentality of “This is not my job.” It’s everyone’s job to maintain data quality in your systems, especially if you’re an early-stage company without a full operations team yet. Each individual has to say, “Okay, am I seeing something weird in this account. I know that this is not true, and I’ll be the one to fix it.” If you can get your entire revenue team to think like this, you can get to a good point where you don’t have dirty data and your CRM can serve as a reliable source of information to support decision-making.

How do you motivate sales reps to protect data quality in your CRM?

I think it starts on day one with employee onboarding. A lot of people roll their eyes when I talk about this. But as soon as you hire even your SDRs or BDRs, all the way to your AEs, clean data practices start when you build understanding that everyone has a role to play in keeping a clean CRM.

Then beyond this, make sure that your training is not a one time thing. The human brain rarely learns things in just one go. If you’re in a managerial position, then open your agenda and build a reputation as the go-to person. 

Finally, I always say: “If you learn something, then your responsibility is also to teach something.” Your senior AEs who can excel at sales processes in their sleep? Empower them to teach others, and then suddenly your job as a leader gets way easier.

How do you stay inspired and motivated as a marketing leader?

I’m addicted to podcasts, especially ones featuring CMOs who are doing what I wish to do in a couple of years. This keeps my marketing knowledge current. But beyond this, I actually try not to read about marketing per se. I try to keep a brain that it’s wild enough to read about every single thing that it’s interested in. And I think that’s what makes me a good marketer.

 

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