Talking to CMO of G2, Ryan Bonnici, on Working Remote, Growing a Brand, and Leading with Customer Experience

Kendall Pennington

Most marketers probably know that building and growing a strong marketing team is one of the keys to success in remote working, but just how important is it really? In this episode, Ryan Bonnici, CMO of G2, sits down with Joe to discuss the collective marketing strategy that’s helped his team grow exponentially in under 3 years, and how his company stands out in the SaaS Spend Management Software field.


The Sudden Move to Global Full-time Remote Work

Ryan first makes an interesting note of how unique of a time it is, in that for the first time he can recall, all human beings are in one way or another having a very distinctively universal and collective experience.  In many ways, a lot of people were brought together in uniting against this pandemic.

2020 threw a major curveball to the world-wide workforce, with many companies having their office jobs go fully remote for the first time. This presented a whole new series of issues, benefits, and insights (At the time this episode was recorded in 2020, we were about three weeks into pandemic life).


His Experience at G2 (and Before)

Ryan joined G2 about two and a half years prior, to a marketing team of only five people, which has since grown to about sixty. Massive growth. 

His background is mainly in the B2B space, having worked previously at Microsoft, Salesforce, and Hubspot before G2. Ryan states that upon joining G2, the board gave him three core things to predominantly own and drive impact for the company:

  1. Driving buyer traffic to the site. G2 is a marketplace with companies sending millions of their employees to the site every week to purchase software, an industry that is especially booming given so many workers going remote for the first time. 


  1. Build out traditional B2B marketing demand generation for the sales team. This hadn’t existed much at G2 before Ryan joined, as the small marketing team had grown entirely through organic.


  1. Building a brand that businesses around the world know, love, and trust. Many of G2’s competitors in the space operated at much more of a pay-to-play model, so trust was especially important in differentiating G2 to its potential customers. 


Standing Out in Your Space

“The best way for your company to stand out in your space, no matter the industry, is to have a remarkable product or service.” If the core thing you’re trying to sell doesn’t have a really strong value proposition compared to your competitors, then it’s really difficult to be successful, even with some great marketing behind it. That is not to say that it’s impossible.

There’s one major way G2 stands out. Based on their current model, they don’t make any revenue directly from buyers, however, they treat buyers visiting the site as their number one customer. If buyers are happy with their experience on G2’s site and the services they’re providing, thus returning often and referring it to others, G2 knows they’ll be able to sell a lot of their subscription services to sellers. True product differentiation makes your life as a marketer much easier.


Crafting a Customer Experience

Thinking of marketing in the sense of the traditional funnel, Ryan says G2 always had a phenomenal grasp on consideration and decision-making content and were essentially experts in the space, with customers regularly reporting that content as where they found the most value in the buying process. 

On the flip side, the company scored consistently lower in terms of early-stage or awareness content, with customers struggling to determine what general type of product they might need in the first place or what options were available to them. 

This insight was the genesis for Learn.G2.com, a learning hub for strategic content. A content space for potential customers to have their questions answered and learn the basics. This provided education and offered efficient solutions.


What the Current State of Remote Life Means for Future CX

B2B is catching up to B2C in terms of creating a more seamless onboarding experience. Ryan mentions a recent experience he had with email management software Superhuman, in which he didn’t have to speak to a single salesperson but still had an extremely efficient and informative purchasing process and virtually touchless onboarding experience. Long story short, more companies need to invest in improving their self-service operations.

Remote world-living has required businesses to adapt, overcome, and improvise to reduce as many friction points as possible when dealing with customers, and this is for the better. 

Ryan mentions that B2B still particularly struggles with creating a sense of “not being locked in” with their product offerings, which can intimidate the average consumer. The multi-year contract is not a model that makes sense for small businesses in dynamic markets and will need to evolve to keep up and provide their customers a comfortable all-around experience.

Listen to the episode here.

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