An interview with Josh Koenig, Co-Founder at Pantheon
We sit down with Josh Koenig, Co-Founder at Pantheon. Pantheon is the WebOps platform for websites that deliver extraordinary results.
How did you end up at Pantheon and what problem does Pantheon solve for its clients?
We founded Pantheon based on our experience as consultants working with high-velocity organizations on extraordinary and high-performing websites. The key thing was bringing DevOps to the web: to core hosting infrastructure, the specific software like CMS, and to the teams that need real cross-functional productivity and workflow to deliver impactful outcomes. We call this WebOps and it's what Pantheon enables. Our platform is used by tens of thousands of professional web teams, and powers hundreds of thousands of websites built with WordPress, Drupal, and modern front-end frameworks like NextJS. We serve over a billion unique monthly visitors globally.
As the Co-Founder, what are your main responsibilities at Pantheon?
Like a lot of co-founders, I've worn a number of hats over the years. There's still code I wrote from the very early days running on the platform, but primarily I led the product organization, as well as looking after our marketing teams and operations at various points. As the company grew I was able to hand off most of those day to day responsibilities and I'm now focused on our company strategy. That means communicating the long-term product vision, and working with lighthouse customers and key partners that will be needed to pull it off. It's exciting and refreshing to spend more time in the field again.
How do you lead your team to organize and improve the marketing-sales process to increase sales and enhance the customer experience?
I have the privilege to sit between Sales, Marketing, and Product/Engineering. This gives me a great vantage point to ensure we take people on a coherent and effective customer journey that ends with real success and value. That starts with the right kind of awareness and thought leadership, but this has to be connected with how we sell, the value we position, and ultimately what the product delivers and how it's supported. My expertise in our industry and deep knowledge of our customers and our product lets me see that through end-to-end.
At ColdFire, when we look at our clients' Marketing and Advertising strategies, they vary greatly. Some have found a single, scalable client acquisition process while others thrive on a mix of top-of-funnel strategies. How would you summarize the overarching revenue-focused strategy of Pantheon, and what key elements does it encompass?
We have a blend of inbound, outbound, and partner-referred sources for new business. Over the years the balance has varied, but all three have always been crucial. Our inbound is driven by tried-and-true SEO and campaign-based lead-gen efforts, plus a lot of chat on our website. Outbound includes a powerful events capability along with some ABM and account prospecting. Referrals come from our network of over 2000 digital agency partners. When things are really clicking, these reenforce one another, e.g. outbounding to someone who already had light engagement with our content, and then referring them to a partner (who will return the favor) for implementation advice.
What is an efficient marketing technique that you've implemented at Pantheon or previous companies, which you believe is underutilized by most management teams - and why do you think that is?
Maximizing the website itself as a lynchpin of digital marketing remains a criminally underutilized growth hack. 70% of a buyers journey is self-directed, and a lot of that will happen on your website. Studies have shown that an eventual customer will read upwards of 30 different pages of content before they decide. So the quality of that content matters tremendously. We also know that users will quickly bounce from websites that provide a poor experience (e.g. are slow or unpleasant to interact with). So much of your demand budget will send people to that destination, and if it isn't giving them what they need, that money is effectively wasted.
Has your C-level team experimented with some kind of cold outbound strategy (like cold email)? If yes what was the general outcome and if no, why not?
We have done some targeted outreach to accounts where we believe there's a strong need for our product, especially if we'd have some adoption within pockets of a big company and we believe there's upside if we can increase awareness to grow our footprint. Mixed results there. We've also had success with using our outbound organization to re-engage cold contacts and previously closed-lost opportunities.