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Metrics + Human Inputs = Magic

Felicia Bochicchio is the Chief Revenue Officer at Unbounce, the leading landing platform for marketers. With more than 25 years of high-tech sales and marketing experience, Felicia has a rare talent for developing high-performance teams and transforming small and medium-sized technology startups into aggressive-growth companies. As the former Vice President of Sales Strategy at the Active Network, Felicia supported the company’s expansion from its early dot-com startup days to its rise as a $400 million dollar company trading on the NASDAQ. 

At Unbounce, she leads the entire customer journey from marketing to customer expansion and is hyper-focused on scaling business growth. As a mom, successful technology executive and ex-entrepreneur, Felicia believes in having a bias-for-action, regularly iterating your lifestyle and escaping to the mountains (from time to time) to clear your mind and plan for the future. 

We sat down with Felicia to talk about her upcoming session at SAAS NORTH, what inspires her and the most career-defining moments.

SN: This year you’ll be talking about How Management Teams Use Metrics to Drive High Performing Cultures. Can you share 1 or 2 key points on why this topic this important?

Felicia: Metrics + Human Inputs = Magic

Metrics allow us to speak the same language across the organization and move towards tangible, quantifiable goals. But they also help us identify patterns that lead us to have pivotal conversations with our teams about the health and progress of an initiative, project or the business overall. Metrics are the impetus for asking the important questions — “What did we set out to achieve and how do we measure that?” “What happened and what did we learn?”, “Should we try and improve this outcome, retire it or iterate on our approach?”, “What else should we try?” At Unbounce, we use metrics to track our customer journey (conversion = # of prospects successfully seeing value in your product), to tell us when our advertising dollars are working (and when they’re not), to give us ideas for how we can successfully build a minimum viable output (among many other things) and to drive experimentation. But metrics are not the only thing we look at. In many cases, we also use research, anecdotal evidence, and gut feel to guide us to make a decision. High-performance cultures successfully balance the importance of hard numbers and facts with human inputs and intuition — this is where the magic happens!

Focus on the right metrics. 

Choosing the right metrics is even more important than tracking metrics in the first place. If you focus on a metric that isn’t a quantitative reflection of what you really want to know, this can lead to poor decisions and irreversible problems. The right metrics let teams focus on what’s important and ignore what doesn’t matter.

Metrics ask us to commit to contributing to the growth of the company.

Ambitious humans love to set goals that can be measured and tracked over time. As leaders, metrics give us a highly effective way to ask for a commitment from our teams, increase motivation and help our teams (from the most junior to the most senior person) understand how they’re contributing to the growth of the company.

SN: Can you share the 3 defining moments of your career?

Felicia: Over the past 25 years of my career, I’ve had many memorable moments. From the first time, I hit a big sales target and won a bonus to the day I stood on the floor of the NYSE as the company I was working for went public. You certainly don’t earn these achievements without establishing a vision, working with others towards a common objective, setting targets, iterating on those targets, and ultimately finding ways to advance. But thinking back on my career, the most memorable moments were not the ones where I won or succeeded. The ones that stand out most are the moments I learned invaluable, lifelong (sometimes challenging) lessons. I have carried these lessons throughout my career — across companies, teams, and experiences — and today try to impart them on those I lead and mentor. Here are my top three:

  1. Just out of college, I landed my first job working as a buyer’s assistant in the clothing industry on 5th Avenue in NYC. I quickly realized that working hard without success metrics in place meant that my performance was at the discretion of my boss rather than being grounded with irrefutable facts and numbers. With this knowledge, I decided to go into sales because I knew I would be in control of my success. I also learned that having a clear goal gave me a sense of motivation that I thrived on and connected me back to my many years of team sports understanding the difference between striking out and hitting a home run. Helping people to succeed in sales quickly became my passion. 
  2. A few years into my career, I learned that while hitting targets and delivering on objectives was essential, it didn’t mean advancement into a leadership role. If you have ambitions to move into leadership, it’s a balance between advocating for yourself, learning the business, and building strategic relationships that will help guide and elevate your career. The key to a successful leader is to share your learnings and pave the way for your people to succeed. The harder you work for them the more you will create an environment where people matter first and success follows. As Simon Sinek says “great leaders eat last”.
  3. I have had the privilege in life to play on many teams and understand why value alignment matters in how you handle both failure, success and iteration. It is not always what the goal is but how you decide to communicate and respect others during the journey. Techniques are something that can be taught and values are something you bring with you to a company. Unbounce is a great example of working for a company that aligns with my values and makes coming to work everyday fun. Find a company that encourages you to bring your whole and best self to work. Make it a priority!

SN: What do you think are the 1 or 2 things that SaaS companies need to  

  1. Invest in your Product Marketing team — position them as a strategic linchpin for sustainable growth. This team has the most thorough understanding of your customers and your competitive landscape which also means they have the foundational knowledge to prioritize product development to drive customer value and intimate knowledge of full-funnel customer experience.
  2. Get aligned on the values and leadership attributes you believe will serve the mission of your company and want to see in your people. People are the cornerstone of everything we’re able to achieve so it’s important that your people reflect what you want your company and team to represent. And it’s important that what you value is not just something you talk about, but something you live by. At Unbounce, we work hard to ensure our values and people-first culture are ingrained in the culture and our day to day operations — from how we hire, to how we spend money to how we encourage a wide range of diverse perspectives to how we develop our people. If you want to thrive, stay true to your people, embrace their potential, seek feedback, and build for their future (just as much as you build your own future). Retention of experience drives scale and is critical to business success.

SN: When you look at the SaaS industry around you, is there a company/individual that inspires you?

Felicia: I just finished reading Behind the Cloud written by Marc Benioff. I was incredibly impressed with Benioff’s story and character. Not only did he build a billion-dollar company and disrupt an entire market, but he was and continues to be committed to building a people-first culture, whether those people are customers, employees, or partners. His success is even more impressive to me knowing that he’s a leader with a high degree of integrity and respect for the people who surround him.

 Hear Felicia and other top SaaS leaders as they share their insights and experiences at SAAS NORTH on November 26 & 27.