Written by WOM Steering Committee Leader, Amy Gesenhues
Throughout Andrea Lechner-Becker’s professional life, she has repeatedly demonstrated her ability to do the seemingly impossible, starting with her very first job when she hijacked her brother’s paper route. “He didn’t want to do it any longer and I already rode with him on his route daily,” said Andrea. “The hiccup: I technically wasn’t old enough.”
That didn’t stop her from doing the work. She took over the route and he handed over his paychecks.
That same resourcefulness – and reluctance to take “no” for an answer – has helped Andrea move through the ranks and into the C-suite at LeadMD where she currently serves as CMO. Not only has her persistence landed her in a top-level marketing role, it led to what Andrea defines as the one professional accomplishment she’s most proud of even though it is less widely known.
Making the impossible...possible
As the leader of her company’s marketing organization, Andrea has a keen ability to assess client needs. She realized, when a client’s marketing automation and tech stacks began to grow, there was an obvious piece missing in terms of lead generation data: The methodology by which Marketo could track ROI.
“Shockingly, Marketo didn’t have this answer for early adopters,” said Andrea, “The issue seemed like a natural concern, but I realized that if one were to ask ‘How did this email work to influence revenue?’ -- neither Marketo nor LeadMD could say.”
Andrea faced the challenge head-on and dug in to figure out how to report revenue in Marketo so it tracked in Salesforce.
“Marketers must understand marketing’s influence on the bottom line. I’m proud to say that solving this issue has had long-term impact. Not only did it help other people realize it [tracking revenue from Marketo to Salesforce] was possible, I actually helped Marketo figure out how to do it, which in turn made a lot of B2B marketers better at their jobs -- it is the same methodology that Marketo uses today.”
An unexpected path: From an art gallery to a martech startup
When she has to quickly sum up her entire career, Andrea is very succinct: “Try new things, figure out what doesn’t work and press the accelerator on what does.”
She’s done this time and again in her own career. Early on, while running an art gallery in Old Town Scottsdale, she discovered a deep interest in database marketing.
“I loved the strategy it involved and how the insights gleaned from the data could translate into sales for the gallery.”
She says she made a decision then to sink her teeth into database marketing on a larger scale, taking a role with the Phoenix Suns NBA team and expanding her work into audience research and geotargeting. She eventually accepted a role at Cox Communications to run the organization’s multimillion dollar direct mail campaigns before joining the company where she now leads marketing.
“I became employee number five at a scrappy marketing operations company called LeadMD,” said Andrea.
According to the CMO, it was at LeadMD where she truly found her match professionally.
“LeadMD is a company with a mission to cut the BS, break down the typical siloes of technology and strategy and take action to make measurable impact for clients.”
As CMO at LeadMD, Andrea says she is a one-woman team with no two days alike.
“A large part of my role is managing LeadMD’s inside sales team, which includes helping them secure meetings. Some days this calls for developing top-of-funnel content so I can run LinkedIn ads to generate conversations. Other days, it means working with my PR team, creating Zoom webinar events or building nurture streams in Marketo, all with the goal to set up my sales team for success.”
Another critical facet of Andrea’s role is partner marketing, which involves her holding ongoing meetings to ensure everyone’s interests are aligned.
“Being in the driver’s seat means a consistent task of figuring out what works, learning what to optimize and downshifting from what isn’t effective.”
Knowing when to put on the breaks
Andrea believes it’s important to know when to slow down. She takes this strategy to heart and applied it to her own career not too long ago during her tenure with LeadMD.
“There’s always the risk of burnout, but as any busy professional can attest, it’s hard to spot and harder to avoid when you’re so dedicated to your craft,” said Andrea, “A few years ago, I knew I had to take my foot off the pedal for a bit or else my tank would drop to empty.”
She did something very bold for someone at her professional level: She quit her job.
“During my hiatus, I came up for air and pursued personal goals like writing and publishing a book,” said Andrea.
By hitting the breaks on her marketing career, she was able to bring more balance to her life, while also realizing the signs of burnout had been there all along.
“It made me realize I could have been more transparent with my team about where I was, so they could have supported me when I needed to tap the break from time to time.”
Andrea’s hiatus gave her a new frame of reference and more clarity around her marketing career.
“I wasn’t done with LeadMD by a longshot,” said Andrea, “I still had many more aspirations and milestones to reach.”
She rejoined the LeadMD team in 2018 and turned a hard lesson into an invaluable learning opportunity. As part of the LeadMD C-suite, she now plays a pivotal role in the company’s overall direction.
“Whether it’s budgeting and operations or analyzing service offerings and strategic planning, there’s not much my fingerprints aren’t on at LeadMD.”
Time for disruption: Making martech more valuable
When asked about the path ahead for marketing technology, Andrea says she believes the space is primed for a massive disruption.
“The current tools don’t add enough value. On top of that, there’s a disconnect between the data that’s collected and the marketers who know how to properly leverage it -- the majority of marketers still struggle with segmenting and reading the data.”
From what Andrea has witnessed within her industry, this problem will continue to be pervasive as long as marketers lack fluency when it comes to the data they are capturing. She also points out the disconnect between marketing organizations and IT business units.
“It’s not uncommon to hear about tension between marketers and their IT teams, which points to a possible opportunity,” said Andrea, “I would like to see a move away from decentralization and a role for someone who sits in the middle of marketing and IT. Think of it as a liaison of sorts who comfortably plays in both spaces and who understands the bigger picture and the technical layers work.”
To build your career, you first have to build your network
In Andrea’s experience of being a mentor -- and also having a mentor -- she’s learned that the stages of any career are too nuanced for general recommendations that could apply to everyone’s professional path.
“Instead, my best advice is to work on your network,” said Andrea, “Or, if you don’t have one, build one and then learn from them.”
She believes it’s important to focus on where you are in your career, what you want, and what you need to do to get there.
“Go talk to those people whose careers you respect. Ask what they’re reading and listening to. Seek out their unique advice. Networking is not a one and done act -- your network should be a thriving resource that takes tending to.”
Andrea says one of the most cringe-worthy things she’s witnessed in the B2B world is when individuals are so focused on their immediate circumstances they fail to look at the business with a more holistic view.
“For women seeking to be recognized and gain visibility, they need to think like those they want recognition from. My advice is simple: Study the business.”
Andrea advises women not to get frustrated when leadership makes a decision they don’t understand, and, instead, be curious and learn how the business works. She also emphasizes how important it is for women to attach their accomplishments to tactics that generate revenue.
“As you figure out how the business makes money, tie what you want to be recognized for back to that.”
And most importantly, according to Andrea, women must talk about their successes.
“Once you can tie your role in the organization to what the organization cares about, consider yourself your own PR agent,” said Andrea. “Find opportunities and forums to talk about the great work you’ve accomplished and its impact on the business.”
Written by WOM Steering Committee Leader, Amy Gesenhues