People are tired of fluffy marketing filled with empty promises. Tired of bait-and-switch software sales tactics. Nobody wants to feel like a data point in some marketing algorithm.

Mike Phillippi, Cleanshelf’s new VP of Marketing, gets it.

He cares deeply about the IT, finance, and business operations leaders that are struggling because of SaaS sprawl. His desire to connect them to a platform that elevates their businesses is borderline fanatical.

“Our job,” he reminds, “is not to sell, but to show leaders exactly how we can solve their biggest problems.”

We’re excited to introduce Mike Phillippi, our new VP of Marketing. In this interview, Mike shares why most marketers have it all wrong, why he thinks enterprise SaaS management is the next big category, and how Cleanshelf differs from past startups he’s worked with.


Cleanshelf's VP of Marketing, Mike Phillippi

Hey Mike! How were you first introduced to Cleanshelf and SaaS management?

Just days before Cleanshelf called, my wife and I were talking about the issue of SaaS management. She works at a large payments company, and, like most employees in growth companies, saw her department inundated with software.

I did a bit of research and it was clear: the idea of SaaS management is new, but the problem of ballooning SaaS is well-documented. As a marketer, the situation is perfect. There are no entrenched competitors, no great alternatives. I don’t need to spend my time trying to flip prospects off of one solution to mine. I get to educate leaders on the opportunities that come from more effectively controlling and managing SaaS.

Most of our prospects and customers are fighting SaaS overrun in some way. Even if they don’t call it that. They’re doing it with expensive human help or with a stitched together process of spreadsheets and incompatible tools. I get to show a better way with immediate ROI.

In your interview, Cleanshelf’s executives, board, and investors told you: “We don’t just need a marketer, we need a strategic partner to fuel our growth.” You work in marketing, how did you take that?

"I don't like selling things that don't work."

First, it's important that I provide real value. I don't like selling things that don't work. That's critical to me. And that’s what the team meant.

Second, it shows me that this team “gets” marketing.

They don’t want inflated messaging or titillating events to convince people to sign up. Their goal is for marketing to work alongside sales, product development, and customer success to determine who we are a fit for. Our goal is to make connections with those leaders. By proving real value through examples and education we build trust and lifelong relationships.

This team sees marketing as part of the virtuous cycle of improvement and value creation. I stay in tune with how prospects respond and how customers use the product and expand their use. I communicate back, and we refine our platform to continually solve problems.

You’ve only been here for a few weeks, but what are you learning from current customers?

It’s amazing how many CFOs and CIOs still don’t have a handle on their SaaS. No company is immune to shadow IT. Leaders don’t have a fast, simple, way to see what SaaS they have and who’s using it.

SaaS is inundating every function. And the days of IT, infosec, or a vendor management team being a gatekeeper are gone. Those leaders now have to think differently. They, and their systems, need to be responsive, scalable, and elastic to the needs of their businesses in real-time.

"Companies are hungry for lasting, responsive, and flexible systems that give them visibility and insight."

I’ve met leaders who have had dozens to hundreds of undiscovered applications. Employees spin up software on freemium models unchecked. Nobody sees this going away. Companies are hungry for lasting, responsive, and flexible systems that give them visibility and insight.

Transformative leaders figure out ways to be responsive to workers’ need for SaaS. They’re balancing the need for security and cost-savings with opportunities for productivity and collaboration.

You were the first marketing hire at a number of high-growth startups. What’s different about Cleanshelf?

We know we don't know what we don't know. We are early, in a category in its early stages of development. It's an environment made for agility and learning, and this team has those characteristics.

There’s so much raw potential in this space. We’re learning exactly what the market needs and building it – this is the recipe for success.

Anything else you want to share?

I am excited to be a part of this organization, work in this industry and support Cleanshelf and its customers with world-class value-creating marketing. Building top-tier marketing teams is what gets me up in the morning.

Old-school marketers just want to drum up a bunch of leads. For me, the only goal that matters is providing education and value to the right audience. If my team does this everyday, we’ll have customers for life.


If you want to learn more about our team, you can read the interview with Jost Novljan, our VP of Engineering.

To learn more about managing SaaS spending and subscriptions, set up a demo with the Cleanshelf team today.

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About Cleanshelf

Cleanshelf is the leading enterprise SaaS management platform focused on tracking, controlling, and benchmarking SaaS applications. Their SOC 2-compliant and AI-powered technology helps companies save up to 30% on their SaaS spending by automatically identifying unmanaged contracts, duplicate licenses, and wasted cloud software subscriptions. Based in San Francisco, Cleanshelf provides an enterprise-grade solution to over a hundred clients, including Hilton, Looker, and CoStar Group.

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