B2B Revenue Acceleration
B2B Revenue Acceleration

Episode · 2 years ago

59: Marketing an Open Source Company w/ Freek Hemminga

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

“Open source” means more than just the software. It’s more of a business model, mindset, and culture — especially when it comes to growing and maintaining upstream and downstream communities.

On this episode, I got to interview Freek Hemminga, Head of EMEA Marketing at SUSE, about the challenges of marketing an open source company.

What we talked about:

  • The main goal of open source software (& how to achieve it)
  • Balancing brand and services / upstream and downstream
  • 5 ways to build positive communities
  • Qualifying inbound leads for a +20% growth

To hear this episode, and many more like it, you can subscribe to The B2B Revenue Acceleration Podcast.

 If you don’t use Apple Podcasts, you can listen to every episode here.


You're listening to be to be revenue,acceleration, podcast, dedicated elping software executives stay on the cuttingedge of sales and marketing in their industry. Let's get into the show, I welcome to BTB revenue acceleration.My name is Dan SBROOK, and I'm here today with Freak Heminga head of AmiaMarketing at Sut. How are you today freak? I'm fine. Thank you good. Sofreak thanks for joining us today, we'll be talking about how to market anopen source company, but before we go into that conversation, it d great. Ifyou could introduce yourself to our audience and also tell us more aboutyourself as well as souse, which is, of course, the company or representingokay, the problem so yeah I'm having a marking for Mea and the main toss thatwe have here at Susar, Isactually to Generit, demonds and t generate leadsin order to feel our partline. That's the the main reason of of our being theteam actually consists of a number of the marketing managers, Ta spreadacross the Geraphy and obviously tey take careof the actual planning endeployment in the respective region and also incountry and wit, Tos, just over three and a half years now, actually. Also inthis role before I came on board Er Tus ar I spend about three years, atiisprovider, where was responsible for marketing as well as antually forseveacing theyre in Gin, recruits to market and also including that was myresponsibility for Thei alloringis relationships prorbl to Dheath. I spendmy time as a soupmarketing manager in inverato software and actually fon theacquisitionn of deratos by CEMANTIC. I was joining the me team, where I washanding AP Sunne working for about eight years, oarlin total so prettymuch in indirect Rit, the market that curent in condunsion, with marketingand also in terms of the rest of the Primar landcape. Alliances has alsobeen a big part of of my past experience. Okay, that SIS Forto lolyabout myself. In my background, excellent and in terms of the complobviously suser slightly different Basein- that you're not you're, not anormal sort of sat that solution or you're, not a normal solution wherethes sales guys go out and sell it, and then you got away a year later and geta renew or whatever you're an open source software company. So could youprovide a bitof background on your business and the Solutions Youreoffering and and the way whic you set up? Absolutely. I never dealt with outensports myself before just to put that Tupetu to make tha clearup from her.For me, it was also a completely new journey when I, when I on Boardit Tusa,but actually Su is, is the as we call the open, open, spource company and wework with an ecosystem of partners and communities D whereby we deliverenterprise grade open for Sofperaty, fine infrastructures and alsoapplication delivery solutions. So very much on the on the platform layer andthe infra strictur layer were ly, providing our serves for and on, butobviously all of tact is also back by our services and support to make surethat crustomers are getting a continued report on Onthe sodutions that arepreconsuming from us. Many people ask themselves o what aboutthis open, which is, I think, a very valid question to Usk, but what itreally means versus that open needs more than just software and then theopen SORC offer, and so it's so for is it's more of a bisiness MONOAN ICculture. So rules are very teen to live it throughout our organization. Youknow Wileveratin our Linux poritats, because that's where we have emergedfrom. We also deliver open source lusons across other areas, and we arevery keen to make sure that whatever we develop, whatever we sell in terms ofSolutons andsives is into our customers...

...that we actually really make sure thatthere is no kind of then theyre looking or anything like that. So we reallywant to make sure that sustomers have always the freedom of poice and therefore also never will feellooked in by ourselves. So that's a very important messege I want to to getout here and what we're also doing is on that platform and infrospicturlayeris helping customers in their journey on the ditical transformation, becauseobviously they'r n the big teame these days, although since a number of years-but I it's a very long jouney for most companies- som have only just started,but we're very keen that we actually help and support and USA customers onthat journey towards a digical transrmation of their business. Okay,excellent well appreciate the background and Nex seems like bothyourself. You've got, I guess a LONGM and relatively sort of focus backgroundbetween Chana, an Marxind then suit as a company of ind of Developout, thelinixs open source background into into the business that you are today thatyou just describe now one of the things that we just touch on their being okensort of open source software company, the nature of this business. Of course,in your role is it there must be a balance between marketing the brand asin suiter and and the software that technology itself, as well as to yourpoint a few minutes ago, round the services and the support andsubscription to ultimately generate the revenue for an open source company. Inyour role, you mentioned that primariy marketing a AR in place to generatedemand and generate leads, but where do you see the main pot? What do you seethemong main focusas being? How do you think that differs from yourtraditional enterprise, software company, yeah, very good question andin AC actually do always a balancing at to Drass both areas and in a way I findit comparable to the traditional O porvendors. However, that set you whewe have to deal with is also a an uptrene community, where we still haveto make sure we're driving away and is around our brant, but also around oursolutions for the respective open sorce protect Av, these ebtreme communities,how responsible for or that they represente and for of course, relisons.We most continue o built the market aweareness of the program to which weknow, we believe the open force is the solution to, and also the lostly whatwe can offer in order to help them do that so open source is in a way allabout communities, whether it's your partner incosystem, which we forthedown the DANCIN communities of the GAENT Areaas, but equally important, isalso the up street. So I'm not sure how how well, where you are of theseuppring communities. But what I have started to experience is at nowactively it's just like a big fen based around this particular poject. So it'sa very different way of how you're dealing with that. So it's not aboutthe hartcore marketing message that is completely setting people off andobserving them at the same time. So you really have to make sure that You'ereally contributing by by knowledge. You know that you bring value to theconversation, so it's more of a dialogue style if you want as well- andwe also need to make sure that we have a representation, Bok Tusit in the eopen source protect in order to nighsure that ou or people in thatcommunity, als receptive to what will bring to them. So it's all about youknow, give and take, and it's not about actally, going in with te traditionalhardcore marketing message, because again that is not working at all. Soyou have to be treating it in a way that you know, people feel that you asa brand honectly bring value to their community yeah and that's aninteresting point of making there, which is the nature of thoseindividuals that reside within the Opstreim community, which are guessingdevelopers and similar sort of roles...

...just by their very nature of their roleand the type of person that typically goes into that role. They don't reallyreact well to that that standard sort of direct sales and marketing approach,which is engaging with them from cold and just trying to push products andmessdees down the troat. I think they they're difficult to find on placeslike linked in and zing and all of those sort of social media platform.They don't really want to make themselves publicly available. So Ithink to your point that that marketing around sort of knowledge, sharing andbeing a trusted advisor and and being part of that community, it seemd to beextremely important for them. Yes, so we're touching on that now, which leadsme to my next question, which is clearly marking stratety for a companylike itrself, is to build relationship with those communities brot theupstream communities and downstream communities which of course, are theother partners. Now, as we both know, communities tend to be builtorganically, although you can of course accelerate that as a business, andthere are many ways to Bosta positively and as you just mentiond negativelyinfluence communities, but l focus on the positive tonow. So from from yourperspective, what are some of the marketing tactics, whether at Susa orjust generally, you can apply in order to develop a and also maintain thecommunities that your that you're building yeah? Well, we do that trough,misipole tactic, so you knowwof course you cant think about some of the thebig open, sorce porjacks an have their own conferences. attanked to it. Youknow this particular week. We had the can't find rea someon in the Hakue andyou so ceep calling you open sport summit, and there are so many of theseconferences, a that's where you have an ability to do, engage with we. You knowwith at least a very specific community, because that's sort of more of aconterning way to Tu approches and theirremind, the actually a lot oftetach people are CEDECTIV, go on twitter and also what you typically seeand K O. I don't o generalize her, but WETF. We generally see if people arealso very teen about you know their reputation so also this is about whatthey bring to their community, how they're being perceived and of I redohow valuable people will see that ther in Eitol is in terms of their knowledgeand Tandsfer off that as well, some of the ideas and pospective so bring tothe community. So we also want to make sure that through Dhedigital plannelswere playing that well and we're engaging actively in theseconversations. So so that's one way of doing it. On the other hand, justbefore I described that, I also want to sort of Goi perspectivewhere we sit in the whole in the whole Soluton, because in a way whosis a bitof like an engine inside Te core, most people don't really think about theirengine when they purses Acor and theunless you're eating maximunperformance for Racecor, for example, that's isn't a different topic, butactually Y o. We are just part of that of Tet parent. Most businesses havebeing addressed with a mix of any kind of hartworvendor channels, temintegrators and sac that actually sort of altogether havin an integratedaugimented way, oof their salaries to bring that car to the market. So,within our go to market, we have multiple roots to markets we need toKayter for, and we need to make sure that also the receptiveness oursolutions as well inested by their sellers, whoaknow typically do control.Often the stills engagement before we go inforved, but also that they areable to articulate the value that webring. So in terms of influencing orengaging with with the audiences. We arenotlooking just tap orof these pring communities, where we do a bit of face,ophase, physicaly Etento you want this is digital t. We also really need tomake sure that we don't get th Tha, the middle part, who's doing allyourcomentation of the various elements...

...to bring the total soliton toChristomer. So ther Partoris is equally important that we make sure that we'realso actually applying zeris tactics to bring that knowledge transfer and bringat insight to our Sellos of our INDIREC, its te market and our prinor ecosystem.So that's what kind of taxics can think about? WE DO ASFO low of engagementwith them on their DI price. Those were typically a large portion of theirSalles is available. We also spend a lot of time on Poner ennablements,whether it's Kon O partereliances, wherefore antally. We have also Poe wit,Abe Me Teeme, so litally tally taking good care of that, and we also makesure that we do actually a lot of say to the Gree acanbase marketing approces,to make sure that within specific partners, we are creating an aplistaround the awanas around or solutions that are specific, with that particularpartner that we bring to the market. So if it's a bigges, I we want to makesure that within ther as I, there is a good understanding, corectly sisis partof the portfolio and wor the role it is that we're playing in their totls,listen their Braiin to market or in a paricular busiess practice that theyrebring to market and so on. So for all these partners to fipes were we'redoing that equally, but also, we need to make sure we're drawsing a lot oftactics, fowards our ends e Communitie because of the end of today Wilso, sothir's all bout ful and push at the end of the day. So we also want to makesure that wos o the end jusers have an understandning why they actually needan Ectay that they can also reques it from their partner, but also, U Ow,with the changes of the whole rout to market these days, where you have thehi perscanes or the Se Paes. If you want that have been on the rise o thelast few years, you like of Camasone, Google and Mark Sof wianger there, asactually also more etanat and ouser still directly to these morkorplacesand ther for wheels to need to make sure that also those people on theinjuris aside know were to find ose and actually that they will find this wordat least searchforus on those market places. For U know, building andputtinggether their solutions on the ponistothe caus. So again, it's amixtural face o Fay as well as this is Olan the ditital pad. What I'veexperiences on the rise of the last three years,Bie like rigidly in comparison to before, but again it's also about beingmoralizer focused and more specific and being able to deliver a more relevantmessage to the Respectiv Personas at the titler station, the buying cycleabsolutely, and that will make sense an that. There's a a great sort of insightinto what you're doing there, and course those various different mediumsor tactics that you're applying phase to fase at the events of the digitalchannels across your partereco system and then obviously influencing directthe end dudes as well, clearly from a marketing perspective that involvesquite a bit bout front investment, particularly for a software com for anopen source company before you actually start recognizing revenue, because yourthey're starting to uslarge your solution, a its obviously not until youget to that pint in time, where you', either they either requirea support orfrther subscriptions and services around that that you start actuallygenerating revenue now. Prior to that stage. Really what are some of the sortof measurements that you can use to understand the impact that yourmarksine is actually having on these communities, Bot from a prerevenue, butalso a revenue stage? How do you measure the impact that you're markingshanring up those communities yeah- and this is this- is actually where thingsstart to differ quite a bit from a few years ago, and where you see that someof the trditional so for companies still have their CECTICAL laceningmodels. Where you have you not a big deal, you get all the cassup from sotold on and te say you know, you know exactly what is was tat markting asbeen contributing to the business in this case within subscription base orwhether it's know a recurring evenue...

...tream. It becomes indeed a bit morecomplicated Shid. It's Ilall quite possible to measure the contributionswe're making, but you have to do that over a longerperiod of tying to really measure correctly. What your actual impact is,and therefore what your Podo returners of your interesten, Yourogoor, pount,and so where we are measuring in the firstprice of our success from a marketing standpoint, is what we are contributingto our podline, and I mean the active partline soiously rebring, an awful lotof opportunities and some of those go go on lost, which is all o totallyunderstandable, but we're also really measuring how how make sucfrictionbased revenue do we contribute to the total pipeline? So that's one side ofit and then secondly, Roleso measuring the uctential Eor, what the revenue thesubscription based revenue that we bring to the bottom line, where weactually see. Also? U Ow the closed opportunitie getting in our books. Theone thing, though, that were also moving toward to inxectly to startmoving in the direction where we are able to mensure the customer lifetimevalue and this a bit more complicateds, particularly at least an hours paces.Where you see that the initial order of the initial suscription often isrelatively low in terms of value because know they get it set up. Theydo the test aff and the actally it that all rengeday order, the next deathwhich actually for their prediction environment- and this is where you knowwhere it becomes more important and interesting, because then you see thatover you know twelve months period, for example, the value of that particularcustomer that we avroae the business significantly higher than what itsminehave looked after the first month. So Ye that's what I mean you have toreally look at the lungevity of the Christomer relationship on the one hand,and also to failue. It builds up over the time, and you know, on the otherhand, which is typically what you see by recurring or with recruring revenue.Sterenes is at yourself start sectoring, anytin that you're getting from fromyour customer day, because in the N da you have to make a PN at because yougettoind Yoare you losing bit reverue Tdream as well- and this is, I think,the nexts itecf for organizations like hours that are em. The transformationof pescription is into recurring, which oals acsing. I delights of Microsoft,for example, yea. A good example is a Gobe that had a very Richard Ttem Duin,around sits actually came out very strong, so a lot of soffar companiesare going through that transition to really become not to Supeon Vesebeteven recurring absolutely, and regarding that piece, around reducingjourn and really focusing on the customer success of I you require aclient and then how you can go from and he starting with a small plient tohelping thim to become a larger kind and then keeping them for the longperiod. We had an interesting discussion a few weeks ago on thispodcast with gentlemen called Dan Stymon from game site, and if you haveany interest in listening to that on, encourage you to do so because tha thatwas a Easan indebt discussion around the positive impact of customer successand how actually Ewhat the importance is about the of that function. Toret toreduce. He gave some very interesting stats around what salespors ar doingand how actually a very, very high percentage, if not pretty much, all oftheir bookings and now coming from repeat business and their churn HAVbecome very low. As they've invested more heavily in customer success andaccount management than they have of your typical new business sells resources. One of the the points youmade there was around tracking active opportunities and and an opportunityand then subsequently revenue. I should say to get to that point. Of course,from a marketing perspective, you have...

...to generate leads and demand, as youtouched on, you'R O fomfilling at the start of Thi cop being an open sourcecompany. We've seen it before when working with companies like elastic,generate a large volume of imbaut leads that typically need some somequalification before they get in the hand of your of your field. Sales Re el,your inside, sells Rep. Whoever would take that initial conversation that maybe because there they're either two low level or they're, not actually abusiness theyre, just an individual, that's interesting playing round withthis sort of software there's a lot of factors that will go into it, but theytypically need some further qualification from business like yours. What sort of I guess percentage orimpact is those imbound leads that you'll generate a lot of tolden coursehaving homing on Tyouron your pipeline of revenue is that is that a largepercentage or is that w? What other sources would you have is if not yeahexcollent question o one of the things that we started to focus on more so wostarted back two years ago and that Itil firstnally really enhance thequality levels on an enquiry level from from an invn perspective, wequantitiesof enquiries at three years ago, relatively speaking, there was a hlowernumber that actually, where Yo filtit through so obviously it's nice to havea high volumes O inquirries, but is the qualities on Paer. You know what wewhat we requir in order to be successful, saying you need to see okay,what ca you do we need to do to make for the that quality level is goingupsot. That was also a wher. We started to become more tarreted. Do Moresegmentation do more want to feel really embarked on the digital side,where you know you have a lot of ability be more targeted to be more specific,has a better and a more relevant message to the individuals, andactually now we really have seen a big hift in terms of that quality. So, onTi SOMON enquiry level, we ere actually pretty much static year over here atthe moment, but on the contrary, weare driving fust, twenty percent highervolume on the lead side. So actually is really starting to pay off that youknow Ou. You can still make a similar investment but actually draws much morepotential partline on the back of it Youre Athe question in terms of Yeur.How do we sort of sit through that we have telly, qualifier and actuallywithin marketing o there also my team and what they do. Is they go through?All of these leades Tho try to contect all of these individuals. So you knowwe work with a traditional sporing model. Ai Tal Base onhe seriousdecision, echodology, Wehud Ecaly think these Tayes most people use so nothingnothing Yo to specific Ortane, as I would say, but anyway they do work onthe qualified. The ultomazors qualified leaves and they made sure that theyhave a capability to identify sensful interest based on the criteria. If theydo that, then actually they will converted and then it's being hemitalstills, and we do that by means of I still called warm handul. So we justnot throw it over the trends or just recin through the systems, but we alsomake sure that the tally qualifies work with our inside tills and actuallypicked it up. They do the first person on the sillside that they know what itis that they're, seeing where it comes from er they gat some additionalbeckgrind in order to be effective with their followep either themselves oractually that they convey it Twe, Sills, wrap or to upon our corton manager.That you know then, consequently, can also work again with a partner on thoseleague. So that's o the typical model that we apply at the moment. Okay,interesting and, as you said, Lik the course ofour discussion, then I think approaching. Marketing for an opensource company certainly has some differences from particularly aroundthe the the COMMUNITI's. Peace will be its still important to build trustedcommunities as no matter what type of software company are, but I thinktheres adid value ther for anopen source company, also, obviously someslight differences when it comes to to...

...understanding what impact you're havingfrom a pipeline, rerany pespective, but there's also some some similarities soreally interesting, conversation and appreciate your inside. So then we'rCom, ING to the end of like of our time today. Freek so, and I reallyappreciate what you've shared with us today. So I guess last point would beif anyone wants to connect with you learn more about you or Suita as acompany. What would be the best way to get in touch, or both of both you,personal and also the business? Well, personally, people can always retare tome on Lincoln, I'm there, I'm also in Weter, so people can fight me there too.If you want to connect with tos or want to know more about what we offer andalso if you want to get in couchwith user, you can visit to Isit Acom andyou can either use the tect or you can actually ole sumit a recrest calledforum and you'll be called back for thin twenty four hours excellent. Well,that sounds like a good SLA. Okay! Well, once again, thanks a lotfor Johny yesterday, Freek and in Great Hammi on Sur, it's been a clesere.Thank you very much. UPPERADICS has redefined the meaning ofrevenue generation for technology companies worldwide, while thetraditional concepts of building and managing inside sales teams in househas existed for many years, companies are struggling with the lack of focus,agility and scale required in today's fast and complex world of enterprisetechnology sales see Ow operatics can help your company accelerate pipelineat operatics. Dot Net you've been listening to be to be revenueacceleration to ensure that you never miss an episode subscribe to the showin your favorite podcast player. Thank you so much for listening until nexttime.

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