Vanessa Sierra

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Andreea Borcea:
Welcome to the Marketing Mondays podcast, where we explore how we can make your offerings stand out in the health and wellness space. Through conversations with thought leaders and innovators in health and wellness marketing, we'll discuss marketing best practices, case studies, and innovative ideas to help scale your business and grow revenues with impact. I'm excited to be your host. My name is Andreea Borcea. I'm a fractional CMO and owner of the Dia Creative Marketing Agency.

Andreea Borcea:
Hi everyone, and welcome to another episode of Marketing Mondays. I'm your host, Andreea Borcea, CMO at Dia Creative, a digital marketing agency that specializes in all sorts of startups, small and medium-sized businesses, and especially health and wellness. And I am super excited today to introduce you to Vanessa Sierra, who is VP of Marketing at Noyo. Thanks for being here.

Vanessa Sierra:
Thanks for having me.

Andreea Borcea:
Well, let's start off with, what is Noyo?

Vanessa Sierra:
Sure, Noyo, and I'm so glad you asked, we've done a lot of work around our messaging and how we're talking about ourselves. So Noyo is a, so we are essentially powering modern-day, frictionless benefits. So what that means is that we work with carriers, medical carriers, so insurance carriers, if you can think of Anthem or Kaiser or any of those that we all know, we work sitting between them and platforms. So HR information systems, if you think of some of the awesome modern ones that have come out like Gusto, Rippling, we essentially sit between them and we help them sort of extract, transform, load data back and forth so that people like you and me can have access to our benefits right away when we expect them to be there. And it's interesting because a lot of the shift from what we've been working on has gone from, hey, let's talk about the infrastructure and the pipes that are needed, so to speak, to get this information to and from these different entities and then out to the end user and the customer to the fact that it's an industry that is in serious need of just having really good data, like how can we make sure that the actual quality of the data is there and what is the benefits data platform that can come in and sort of alleviate those needs and sort of provide those answers for those different entities in a quick way, in an easy way that essentially is just feeling seamless for both sides. And if you are familiar with the industry, which I have gotten to know so much about it in the last four months in a much deeper way, there are just so many different formats and systems and requirements for specific fields, and everyone is, everyone has their own sort of standardized way in their own little sort of micro like ecosystem that is part of the bigger ecosystem. And so it's in desperate need of just the stuff that we have been working on. And our founder, our CEO, Shannon Goggin, is fantastic. She came from a company called Zenefits and has been working on this her entire career. So I came on board to essentially help them package that up and get that message out there, so yeah, that's Noyo.

Andreea Borcea:
Wow, it sounds, I mean, it sounds so much like problem-identified and solution and it almost feels like more, the purpose of Noyo, and actually, maybe Shannon's whole career then is how do I make this better? So even in the four months that you've been there, it sounds like the messaging has evolved from like, what is our primary purpose? How do we best solve the problem? So have you gone back and looked at what is your mission as a company, first and foremost? And then how do we serve? Or are you still are you starting more with like, this is the solution we have and this is how it fits the marketplace?

Vanessa Sierra:
So it's interesting that you ask that, and I think every startup could probably relate to this. We recently had a senior leadership team offsite and we all got together and we're talking through the mission of the company like what we set out to do in the beginning, and it was interesting because as our CEO and others around the conversation that have been there from the beginning, so there's like three or four co-founders, and they were sort of talking through this what we're calling this like target platform experience, like what we expect everyone in the ideal finished version of this that we are continually iterating on and working on, what does that look like? And as Shannon was walking us through this vision and this ideal customer experience, we realized a lot of people were kind of like looking around the table being like, oh, that's a, that's amazing. That's so great, … like it's a prize, right? And we've had a few folks join the team in the last, like within the last year, right? So it was interesting. And I think the note there was just, oh, we have a really great vision for exactly how this works seamlessly for everyone and serves everyone from, like I said, those two entities involved the carriers, whether that's medical or any other type of insurance carrier, to the platforms and then ultimately to people like you and me, right? And like our day-to-day, we have an emergency. We need to take our child to the doctor and are you covered? You know, and right now, that's very clunky. Right now, I think all of us can talk about that one time that we were in that exact scenario and then realized, like we have to now deal with like months of back and forth, phone calls and papers being exchanged to get it covered by our insurance because, you know, whoopsie, someone forgot to load something or like scan a piece of paper. So yeah, so ultimately our mission is to fix that and make sure that everyone has access to the information that they need and that they understand their benefits and what's available to them. Sort of, take it out of that black box that we think exists right now and then ultimately it's creating this beautiful, beautiful platform experience where, you know, our customers on both sides can log in and see at any given point in time where is Andreea's information as far as what's the status of it? Is she covered? Is she not? Are all of her dependents listed on there or not, etc.? And that is very hard to get right now, that doesn't exist.

Andreea Borcea:
That's incredible, I feel like especially with the way digital health has been evolving over the last decade, I think people made all these assumptions like, oh, we're going to have electronic health records and everything's going to magically work and insurance companies are going digital and everything's going to magically work. But the more we develop it out, it just feels like there are so many gaps in the process. This feels like a super easy sell to the end consumer, but you actually, do actually hit three markets. You hit the end user, the businesses and the insurance companies, and the providers.

Vanessa Sierra:
Yeah, so we, I think the beneficiary of our work is that end consumer people like you and me, our customers, we think of ourselves as a company that has a dual market and that is the carriers on one side, just like you said, and the platforms.

Andreea Borcea:
With that dual market, are you finding you have to build out separate messaging or go through separate channels? Like is it, does it feel like you're doing like two completely different marketing efforts?

Vanessa Sierra:
Oh, yes, and I'm just smiling, thinking of how we've evolved this conversation internally. But yes, we are. I mean, truly, our target is the all-in-one modern platform. So the modern benefit software, like the ones that I mentioned in the beginning, like Gusto and Rippling, I like to think and this is just because you'd appreciate this Andreea, like marketing, right? We need to know where we're pointing the laser, that's how I always think of it. And so for me, it was, let's think about our messaging. Who exactly are we targeting separately? We understand that we have to have relationships with carriers to better serve the platform, right? That's what they're looking for from us, is to have a really strong network of medical carriers, they can tap into at any given time, and they've made it easy. So, yes, we have to sort of cater to both and we are doing that. So if you see, like our one-pagers or comparison sheets or battle cards, we've started to focus on how can we speak to both almost at the same time. But it's very hard and it's very nuanced. So really our target are the platforms, and then separately, when we want to have deep dive conversations with a carrier like, you know, any of the ones that I named in the beginning, we dive into that and we create something that's really specific to them.

Andreea Borcea:
What? How have you found that they trust you? Like the carriers in particular, I feel are always a bit more internal, focused, or hesitant for any new advances in technology. We've had a couple other people on the podcast that have experienced something similar, like how have you built trust with them that you're not a fly by night or something that's not quite a good fit?

Vanessa Sierra:
That's a really good question, and I think, as I said, having joined the company four months ago, my observation is that, you know, Shannon and the team that's been here from the beginning, they come from the industry just because of their own relationships, and I think we've done a really good job. And I actually, funny enough asked her about this, we all know it's a crazy job market. We all know that, you know, everyone's sort of playing musical chairs with their job right now, right? Like and so I found time and time again as I was meeting people throughout the company, it was like, hey, I come from Humana, and I come from Beam, and I come from Business Solver. And so it's just a company with a founding team that's done a really good job of just being, like not even actively recruiting, and this is the beauty of it all. They're just, because they're building a solid product, they're attracting not just product, a culture as well, that they are attracting people within the industry, and I think there's all sorts of validation happening internally because of that, that we have the right people at the table helping to solve these problems, we have a really strong engineering team building a great product, and then a founding team that had an emphasis on the right culture. And so you have people coming from places like Humana that are so sort of like, you know, stable and like long-standing, you know, sort of corporate guidelines around things coming to a startup, a Series B startup that has certainly structured their culture and structured all of their operations, but such a different environment, we all know how startups can be. You have people that have that desire to join this environment because they feel it's safe, but it's also exciting and they want to bring their know-how here. So I think that's, I'm not sure if it really answers the question, but I think that it's one way in which I think trust has been built within the industry.

Andreea Borcea:
It sounds a lot like relationships, to be honest, and I think there is a lot of people that are in the industry that are trying to make it better with the insight, you get into health and wellness because you want to make a difference, because you want to make people's lives better, because you want to make the system work better, have better data, etc. I'd love to hear a bit more about how you found Noyo.

Vanessa Sierra:
Yes, well, they kind of found me, again, that crazy market. But yes, but what was so interesting for me, I've always been, so for the last 15 years, I found myself, you know, I've been in the B2B world. I lived in D.C. for six years right out of college. I worked at a company called the Advisory Board Company, and I actually started as an SDR. Essentially, we were called Marketing Associates, and anyone that listens to your podcast that maybe has had this experience and specifically knows the advisory board will probably be nodding their head saying, yeah. But, you know, it was really an SDR job, and I had a full quota, and I was getting on the phone and calling people. And what was interesting was being, you know, like, what is it, 22 and calling these like top hospital executives. And I would get on the phone and talk about how we should talk about OR efficiency improvement system and like how I can help you. But anyway, that was really fun.

Andreea Borcea:
That's incredible.

Vanessa Sierra:
Yeah, yeah, and they went on to grow and then get acquired and had all sorts, I think at one point they had like, I don't know, maybe 5000 employees or something, when I joined it was like 500 people. So it was a really great experience. And then I moved to LA with my at the time my boyfriend, he had gotten a job here. We ended up getting married here and we've been here for nine years, and my first job here was in the media space. So, you know, that was also really interesting and great because I got to deep dive into the digital world and how B2C experiences were sort of crafted and created with like really good growth marketing tactics essentially, and then just went on to work at different B2B companies and always within, you know, at E-Visit, it was all virtual care, Teledyne, it was cybersecurity. And so having a little bit of like a sampling, I worked at a company called Solver, which was a financial, like a corporate performance management tool. So had a sampling of these different industries, but always coming back to healthcare, always coming back to my anchor, I guess, in a sense. But yeah, and I was at E-Visit when I just got the phone call and I started to meet the team and it was just really refreshing every single person I spoke to. So I got to speak to everyone from the CEO, co-founders, to the people that would be on the team that have been here for the last two years building Noyo's culture, and I just genuinely enjoyed every interaction with them and from just the jokes and the humor to like, here's my Domo report on ABM campaigns, like let's talk through the important things to keep in mind for campaigns. So yeah, so it's just a great group and it was a wonderful kind of meeting with them and now it's been four months.

Andreea Borcea:
Amazing, I really feel like the way you started your career, though, is a confidence booster probably more than anything, 22 years old and convincing, especially because I feel like a lot of senior leadership in the medical space does have a lot of experience and expertise, which sometimes comes with a bit of arrogance, and this is how we've always done things, and, you know, if you can get on the phone and talk to them at 22, then 15 years later, you're more than good to go, right?

Vanessa Sierra:
Oh, I love it. I've never thought of it that way, but yeah, it was certainly just like diving in headfirst, like, let's just try this out, yeah. It is pretty cool, I don't think I realized at the time the experience I was getting, it just felt hard, you know? It just felt like you're learning every day and every, you know, we would sit in these, the first two weeks were like full trainings, and they'd have what looked like a full college sized classroom of people and like this auditorium style seating. And like, I remember Scott Shurmur was the VP, you know, he was the chief marketing officer at the time and such a character, and like he would walk us through the importance of like language and how to position and talk through these things and just felt really like you're just absorbing so much. And then I look back, I think just a couple of years ago I was like, I wonder whatever happened to these couple of other people I worked with? And it's like, oh, I was working with like these very, very sort of like veteran healthcare industry experts, and I don't think at the time I was really absorbing that as much as just like trying to hit my numbers and like, learn as much as I could.

Andreea Borcea:
What an incredible way to start your career, I love it. With all of the marketing strategy and planning it sounds like you're going through now, what do you think are your next steps for marketing, specifically for Noyo versus like where you think the marketing industry as a whole is going for health and wellness?

Vanessa Sierra:
Yeah, I think the aspects of it that are probably perfectly in line with where the market is going, and the industry is going, have to do with community building, and we need to figure out a way, we already do a good job of this, we have a good foundation. Like I said, relationships have been key in the growth of the company, but I think we need to just find a way to scale that experience that people get when they meet our teams and find a way to really structure like our, sort of our customer engagement. I think that's going to be key for marketing, is how do we help our customers have the access to the product marketing information that they might need, and then how do we create community? So that's certainly our focus internally, but I also think that matches up with where the industry is going, which is just, where it has been, right? It's just the customer experience and building community and then what that means for Noyo and what that means for if we are engaging with the carriers, if we are engaging with the platforms. That's going to have very different flavors, and so I think that's where we're headed, that's where we're focused, and luckily that's what everyone is I think, buzzing about, so yeah.

Andreea Borcea:
Community is so tricky, I think in the health space because I think as patients or sufferers of certain conditions, you want community because you don't want to feel alone, you want someone, you want other people that you can trust and talk to. That's probably why everyone goes to like, doctor Google all the time to solve their problems, right? And try and find any sort of community, but at the same time there's like this professional space and it feels like it's their obligation to create these community spaces. But I mean, how well do you think the professional space is doing at that? Or is it always going to have to be more like not like young upstarts, like Noyo, but more like tech-forward startups that need to kind of come in to bridge that gap and create those communities for these older industries?

Vanessa Sierra:
Oh, interesting. So you're thinking just exactly how we connect all the different players with new and old and create that community? Yeah, that's a really good point. I think that it's really just going to come down to, I mean, I'm so glad events are back, right? Like we have a, we actually have an event coming up, ITC, Intra Tech Connect, and I think that that's where a lot of them, that initial gathering happens and then it's building off of that, just staying consistent. So for example, we're going to have this event, we're bringing together a lot of these different executives at different carriers. We also have a couple of platforms that are going to be joining us. It's going to be really casual and it's just, we're doing a tequila tasting so you can go and blame that, but we're getting the right people at the table. It's, maybe 25 or so is our cap, like that's as big as we want to make it. And people have gotten really excited about it, they've given us, we very quickly had 30 people already signed up and ready to go, and I think they're eager to have it. And I also think it's, so it's leading with that which is just going where we gather and then building the group, kind of like that snowball effect, but then the second piece, which is probably the most important piece, is the thought leadership, and that's something that in marketing we can all understand. So I describe to you, in the beginning, this sort of chaotic space, right, with all these different players, old and new, very different strategies, very different sort of standards for how they're processing data. They need guidance, they need a thought leader, they need someone to come in and say, okay, wait a second, I know what's going on over there with those other medical carriers and that specific platform and now you platform that's also asking me for questions, I can start to give you a sense of benchmarking. I can start to give you a sense of stats, I can start to give you a sense of what you need to do, like how you need to set up your system to have that same seamless experience that those people are having over there. And it took us a long time and it took a lot of pilots and like just very sort of white glove service and one-on-one sort of project managing to make sure that we could get it right with them. But now we have something a little more standardized that we can now show to you, and that's been the process for Noyo, and that's what we really can lead with, is that guidance and that help, like holding their hand through something and showing them that it could be a lot easier and that we have the technology and we understand how to implement it.

Andreea Borcea:
That's really brilliant. I think that's exactly what the miss is, when they're experts in their particular field, whether it's the finance of insurance or the medical space itself, but you're coming in with, it's okay that things are evolving, let us show you how you can better serve. Because people have an expectation of a level of service in every other aspect of their life, except for, I'd say, like medical, finance, and law are the three that are still a little clunky. So I do think it makes a difference.

Vanessa Sierra:
Yeah, and our mission so as you said that I was thinking, we did a full analysis of our buyer personas and then we looked at the different, we took about five or seven platforms that we were targeting and we looked at their own positioning and their own messaging. Our mission aligns exactly almost word for word with their mission. So to your point, yes, they want to offer that same seamless experience. They just need to figure out how.

Andreea Borcea:
Nice, but that alignment is huge, that's awesome. Well, cool, thank you so much, Vanessa, for being here. This has been a super fun conversation. I love this evolution of both the space but also the marketing of it and how marketing actually ends up becoming that thought leader, that communication piece of even just like building that community. That's really incredible.

Vanessa Sierra:
Absolutely, and kind of like the community that you're building here. So thanks for the invite, and yeah, excited to see how your podcast continues to evolve.

Andreea Borcea:
Thank you, and last question is where can people learn more about Noyo?

Vanessa Sierra:
We are at NOYO.com so www.N O Y O.com, and yeah, we have all of our fun product information there that's evolving. It is ever-evolving, but that's where you can find us.

Andreea Borcea:
Thanks, and for everyone, that was Vanessa Sierra, VP of Marketing from Noyo, and make sure to check back often for new episodes of Marketing Mondays. I'm your host Andreea Borcea. Thanks so much.

Andreea Borcea:
Thanks again for listening to Marketing Mondays. If you have any marketing questions at all, feel free to reach out to me directly at DiaCreative.com. That's D I A Creative.com.

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Summary:

It’s not just a platform, it’s a culture.

In this episode of Marketing Mondays, Andreea Borcea interviews Vanessa Sierra, VP of Marketing at Noyo, about what they do and how they are marketing and positioning this benefits platform. Noyo’s mission is to create a seamless platform experience that allows carriers, providers, and customers easy access to the benefits available to them easily and understandably. Vanessa shares her journey with Andreea, explaining what she learned from every position she’s been in and how Noyo found her. She discusses the challenges of marketing to different types of users and why community building is becoming crucial in the health and wellness industry.

Tune in to this episode to listen to how Noyo will let you access your employee benefits in an accessible way and how they’re marketing its platform!

About Vanessa Sierra

Vanessa Sierra is the VP of Marketing at Noyo, a Series B startup that is powering the modern employee benefits experience with investors like Workday Ventures and Gusto. Leaders at hyper-growth companies trust her holistic approach to revenue growth, which is fueled by nearly two decades of experience at fast-growing companies like eVisit, TeleSign, and The Advisory Board Company. She has created momentum and new business opportunities through revenue campaigns anchored in modern marketing tools and practices. She focuses on filling the gaps within the sales and marketing functions of organizations, looking beyond the acquisition of MQLs, and focusing on getting deals to the finish line. Her focus areas include: building the demand engine for enterprise sales targets, developing messaging and positioning, driving SDR performance, crafting an enterprise ABM program that produces results, and addressing the most pressing needs of the complete revenue function as they come up. Most recently, at eVisit, she built a demand engine that generated 3900% more MQLs per month, maintaining a 28.9% SAL to SQL conversion rate, and delivering $4.5M in a new pipeline to the sales team in 3 months, targeting enterprise accounts. Vanessa is able to build while flying, specifically developing a marketing and SDR team while implementing a comprehensive demand strategy. In addition to driving revenue growth and operational excellence, Vanessa has crafted and spearheaded company kickoffs that have led to company-wide alignment and excitement for GTM initiatives and lofty sales goals.

Things You’ll Learn:

  • Noyo extracts and transforms data so people have access to their employee benefits right away.
  • The beneficiaries of Noyo are ordinary people, carriers, and other platforms.
  • Noyo is not only building a product but a culture as well.
  • Community building is becoming increasingly important for the health industry, and it needs to be scalable for better customer engagement.
  • Thought leaders and live events marketing are very important players in community-building regarding of relationships and communication.

Resources:

  • Connect and follow Vanessa Sierra on LinkedIn.
  • Follow Noyo on LinkedIn.
  • Explore the Noyo Website.
  • Visit the Dia Creative Website for solutions to any of your marketing needs.

Title Options:

  • Marketing for Community Building 
  • How to Position and Market an Employee Benefits Platform
  • Noyo and Building a Community for Marketing

LinkedIn Post:

It’s not just a platform, it’s a culture.

In this episode, Vanessa Sierra, VP of Marketing at Noyo, talks about what Noyo does and how they are marketing and positioning this employee benefits platform, which allows carriers, providers, and customers access to the benefits available for a user in an understandable way. She also discusses the challenges that marketing to different types of users entails and why community building is becoming so important in the health and wellness industry.

Tune in to this episode to listen to how Noyo will let you access your employee benefits in an accessible way and how they’re marketing its platform!

Anchor Description

Vanessa Sierra, VP of Marketing at Noyo, talks about their employee benefits platform, which allows customers easy access to the employee benefits available to them. She discusses the challenges of marketing to different types of users and community building.