September 17, 2019

Lead(H)er: Amy Holtzman, Senior Vice President of Marketing at AlphaSense

Amy Holtzman, the Senior Vice President of Marketing at AlphaSense, knows that B2B SaaS marketing isn’t always used to its full potential.

“I love transforming an organization’s thought around marketing from, service center and order fulfiller to being a true revenue contributor,” Holtzman said. 

In the first few years of her career, Holtzman worked in marketing roles at Crain Communications in New York and CBS Interactive in San Francisco. While she loved those experiences, she was frustrated that the only metric by which her work was measured was whether or not a customer renewed their advertising or sponsorship agreement. With so many reasons to cancel that may have had little to do with the marketing department’s execution, Holtzman sought out a place where she could take more ownership over the results of her work and own marketing campaigns from ideation to measurement and optimization.

“I’m a big believer that marketing is best measured in business metrics and revenue outcomes,” she said. 

Holtzman found Demandbase, which was a 70-person company in San Francisco at the time, and led demand generation programs from beginning to end. When the company asked her to set up its New York City office, Holtzman put down roots on the East Coast once again. 

She then spent time at two other marketing technology companies: Conductor, where she worked her way up to a vice president role, and Splash. 

Holtzman was busy building her career—and those of others—outside the office as well. She co-founded Women in Revenue Marketing, an organization that brings senior-level revenue marketing leaders and rising stars together on a quarterly basis, in July 2018. She became a founding member of Chief, a network to connect and support female leaders, in January 2019 and joined Revenue Collective, an invitation-only community of sales and marketing executives, just one month later. 

In the midst of this network growth, Holtzman heard about AlphaSense, an industry disruptor that provides an AI-powered market intelligence search engine to financial services institutions and global corporations, and knew right away that she wanted to be part of its team. 

“I was intrigued by the rapid growth the company was having, the transformative technology that they had brought to market, the fact that they already had 1,000 customers at such an early stage, and how similar my views on go-to-market strategy were to those of the leadership team,” Holtzman said. 

Now, she runs all aspects of AlphaSense’s marketing efforts, from corporate branding and public relations to demand generation and product and customer marketing. It’s the ideal environment for her to transform marketing into a strong revenue contributor, and to begin seeing the effects of her work right away. 

“At a startup, you’re only limited by the amount of effort you put in, and I love being able to quickly and very clearly see the impact of that effort,” Holtzman said. 

True to her ideals, Holtzman is committed to impacting the way AlphaSense uses and views its marketing department as is working to evolve it, to an integral part of revenue strategy. She and her team are currently working on aligning marketing to the sales organization to help them generate and convert more opportunities to pipeline and revenue showing the effect strong marketing can have. 

“I love the diversity of marketing work and the ability to touch so many different departments,” Holtzman said. “Marketing sits in the center of a company, and if done well, it supports almost every part of the organization with results that are measurable in business outcomes.” 

Quick Q(uestions) and A(dvice) 

What do you enjoy doing in your free time? 

I believe in continuous growth and also in giving back, and I feel very fortunate to be in the position and role that I am today and have the network that I have. Because of this, much of my free time is spent giving back to a few different organizations and also supporting my own professional growth. A little over a year ago I co-founded Women in Revenue Marketing, which is an organization meant to support women in similar roles to myself and also to mentor up and comers in our field. It’s been personally fulfilling for me to see the growth of the organization and also to have a great professional outlet to bounce ideas off of. I also belong to Chief, which is a private network here in New York that helps women in senior-level roles with career, network and leadership development. Thirdly, I belong to Revenue Collective, which is a global organization for revenue professionals where we are able to share our collective experiences together. What I enjoy with doing my free time looks a lot like what I do in my professional life, but at the same time, it’s what keeps me going. It’s what I love doing. 

What are your strategies for managing stress?

When I'm in the office and I'm stressed about a deadline and or a really complicated project, I try to step away, even if it's for a short walk around the office. I find I have much better clarity of thought if I walk away for a couple of minutes -and come back to it. While that sounds pretty obvious, it's something that took me a little while to learn in my career- Outside of work, I try to do yoga or a spin class at least twice a week and ideally three times a week. For me, there is a direct correlation between exercise and stress relief.

How many cups of coffee do you have in a day? 

I'm not a coffee drinker but I do have about two black iced teas a day.

What's one of your favorite places in the New York area?

That's a tough one. I don't know if it's necessarily a place as much as an activity. I really love theater and performance art. I probably go to a half dozen Broadway shows a year. There’s also a new dinner show I’ve been recommending called Paradise Club, which is just incredible performance art—it’s both strange and interesting and a very fun evening. What I love about New York is that there is always something to see.

What do you consider one of your proudest accomplishments? 

I uprooted my life 12 years ago to move to New York. At the time, I had a good job at the University of Florida with a 401K complete with a great matching program. It's a job that I could have spent the rest of my career in, but I knew that I wouldn’t be personally or professionally happy if I did. So I left 12 years ago to move to New York for a temporary position. I slept on my great-aunt’s couch in Gramercy until that position became full-time and I could afford an apartment on my own. I also moved to New York without a professional network, knowing no one in my industry at all. When I think of what I’m proud of it's definitely like taking a big risk and working really hard to “make it,” while also always taking advantage of every networking and educational opportunity When I took that risk, I knew there was a chance I could spend six months in New York and end up having to go back to Florida embarrassed but I always hoped that if I worked incredibly hard someone would see my potential and I would be able to build a career for myself. 

Is this where you thought you’d be 10 years ago? 

This is where I hoped I would be, but I don’t think I ever thought that I would actually be here. I certainly hoped I would be in a marketing leadership position at an innovative company. I didn’t necessarily know that that would be AlphaSense—it hardly even existed 10 years ago—but I definitely hoped to be in this kind of role and job environment. 

What’s your advice for recent college graduates? 

Take risks. I don't think there's any better time in your career to take a risk than when you're just starting out. You have a lot less to lose than you typically do later in your career, When I was offered the opportunity to temp here in New York, I knew I would always regret not taking it. That’s a big reason why I encourage others to go for it, too. 

My other advice is to always network and maintain your network. You never know when you'll be able to help somebody or when you're going to need help yourself, and it's amazing to see where people that you network with early in your career end up. A lot of times, it's in positions, and at companies, that you'd like to be at, or they end up having the exact experience you need why you look to build a team and make hires yourself. 

Finally, when it’s time to leave a job, don't burn bridges. The network that you build at that company inevitably shows up somewhere else in your career.

Samantha Costanzo Carleton is a Contributor to VentureFizz. You can follow her on Twitter @smcstnz.