B2B Revenue Acceleration
B2B Revenue Acceleration

Episode · 1 year ago

79. Marketers, Never Forget Your Why!

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

As marketers, our why should be the foundation of everything we do.

But we all too often lose sight of our why behind promoting our products and services.

In this episode, I interview Rob Hughes, VP and Head of Marketing for EU at Automation Anywhere, about the reasons marketers should hold on to their why more tightly than ever.

What we talked about: Keeping your why at the forefront, using your why to shape messaging for prospects & customers, Vision is more fulfilling than product, Linking your work to societal change will reignite your passion

 

To hear this interview and many more like it, subscribe to The B2B Revenue Acceleration Podcast on Apple Podcasts, on Spotify, or on our website.

You're listening to be tob revenue acceleration, a podcast dedicated to helping software executives stay on the cutting edge of sales and marketing in their industry. lets get into the show. Welcome to be tob revenue acceleration. My name is Dan See Brook and I'm here today with Rock Hughes, VP and head of marketing for EU at automation anywhere. Morning, rob how you doing today morning there very well, thanks our first say of official lockdown. Everybody starting to face up to the challenges of this. Now I'm planning on growing a beard and, as being a it's never been a better time. So you know, we're trying our this, but first day and everybody's everybody still buoyant at moments. So really absolutely nothing. We're all in the same boat together. I would say that I would try and grow a beard, but I think I'm going to need longer than three weeks. So so I don't think I'll go down that route. But hopefully we can know with this podcast provide some some some content ands and some easy listening for people to receive when they're not head down at work throughout the day. So the topic today, rob is, is around marketing and markets. Never Forget your why. But before we get into that conversation, could you please introduce yourself to our audience and give us a feel for your company and automation anywhere? Sure so, I run marketing for Europe for automotion anywhere. I joined the company from an analyst background. I was in the analyst community for fifteen years and automation anywhere came around, as all vendors do for all emeralst houses. Everybody Pitches Your Business and tries to gain some insiders to had a game, pit competitive advantage and understand what the markets doing and where the opportunities might lie. And our PA came along as a sector really and it was. It's one of those technologies that I couldn't find a business hole in as to why we wouldn't do it or why company wouldn't start to automate or be forced to automate. You know, the...

...macro environment is driving us to be much more efficient. I mean this recent issue with the with the virus and so on. It's just emphasize that even further. But you know, you have to have some kind of straight through processing goals in place. Otherwise we're not going to get to, we're not going to be able to deliver the services and the products that customers and our partners and our ecosystem is used to delivery with the same amount of people. So as the the world population begins to peak, we're going to end up with a lot more old people and a lot fewer young people to do the work, and so we'll have more people to serve and less people to do the work. That's one of the macro drivers around it, as well as companies like Amazon and new digital native organizations coming in and changing the way that businesses are run. So, after fifteen years of listening to lots of business pictures, I work up one morning and said Ourpa is the is going to be the future, and I've got to the side, whether I talk about it or whether I get involved with it. And I got involved directly with automotion anywhere. So automation anywhere is one of the leaders in the marketplace and at that time it was still one of the leaders in the market place. It seems years ago, but it was only three and a half years ago that I joined, and I joined because of the vision of automotion anywhere in any new technology organization that I think the leadership of the leading companies within those those markets. It is critical to define who's going to be the thought leader in the space. And I joined automotion anywhere because I believe in the vision that the company has and I believe in their in the leadership, their experience and getting us the vision. So that's a little bit about me and a little bit about the company. Yeah, and I guess marketing in a high growth sector like ourpa brings a lot of different elements to it. There's a lot of different challenges. There's an element of maybe not creating a category but kind of reinventing your category around automation and and and that sort of message around intelligent automation. So from marketing spectrum, I'm sure got your hands full.

Now, Robin A, in recent conversation you've been telling us that you are a strong advocate of the transactional approach marketing and actually that's all about making your communications, your campaigns, your messaging, ensuring it's a line to your companies overall mission and values. Now, can you elaborate on that further for our audience and tell us what tell us by that and also give us a feel for why marketers need to really keep their kind of corporate and an individual why at the forefront of their mind when not sure. And I think, and you know, the transactional bit that you mentioned there is important, as it's the transactional components that we build out marketing, and by transactional I mean we do an event, we run a whip and are we run some contents, indication we just placed as these are all levers and they're all transactional components to get us to where we need to get to. But I see, I come from a predominantly a sales background, quite high level sales, quite big deals, advisory type work rather than product so you're almost having to invent your own pitch. You're, you know, in the information space. It's all about the stories that you tell, and that's why marketing sits so comfortably with me, because in that consultancy space you kind of have to create your own marketing in your own ideas, because you're selling intellectual property and in reality and you're selling a vision. You're not selling something hard or a product or a something that's can touch and feel and use. You're selling an idea, approach, advice, etc. That offered me a suppose a different approach to the marketing component and saying when I stepped up a step back from what marketing this traditionally doing, which is supporting sales. And we've heard this terminology around market led organizations and marketing their companies and so on, and but nobody, not nobody's the wrong way to put it, but very few companies seem to adopt...

...that and run their marketing organization built on insight data. They they based it on lots of transactional data. This event really work for me. I ran a Webin are around it and we ran a blog at the end of it and we ran a whole lot of transactional meeting maker type of functions. For us, that's those those transactional components add up into a program and the program was focused around certain things. That might be focusing on your target account list, that might be displacement, it might be a number of different things, but that program will run. For most people call that a campaign. Our campaigns actually run annually. So the annual idea is that we and we work in vertical so we look at vertical markets, we understand those markets, we understand our target accountless within those markets. We understand how we need to get to them and we spend around six months every year just gathering data to make sure that we understand we're aiming our sales team at at the right functions, at the right opportunities and at people who want to engage with us. The idea of the why, and you know why this is important, and having an overarching umbrella around this allows us to take every of the transactional components and put them into the programs that are required and then run those programs in line with the specific campaigns. But it allows us to all, I'm very closely with sales and we don't marketing doesn't hand over to sales, and I think that's the same and most organizations actually, and that you know, if you think about how marketing influences a specific person, let's say it's a buy or an influence or it just a user, developer, whatever, from the moment they are exposed to your brand, from that very first touch point, they could pick up a newspaper and read about you, they could download a white paper, they could go on to the website, whatever it might be, the moment they touch your brand, until really that moment that person disappears out of your ecosystem. It's marketing responsibility to influence the messaging, make sure that...

...they have the information that they need, make sure that ourselves organization is aligned to be able to give them what they need when they need it, and if we tie it into the overall campaign, we understand their work world a lot better because we're listening to them. The programs are aligned for our business goals and the tactics are put together to be able or the various tactical approaches are put together in line with the overall achievement of where we need to get to. So sorry for the the confusing explanation, but hopefully that gives you an idea of why we look at the the why you have to figure out why we're doing this in the first place. Understand that we own the customer from beginning to end and every single time we touch them we have an opportunity to either influence them one way or another, either positively or negatively, and our job is to own that whole jour jurney from beginning to end, and every transactional touch point that we have has to be part of a wider story. So that they don't feel as if there's multiple message is coming from all over the place and then also allows us to walk our sales team in and support ourselves team through the whole lifetime of the customer experience, whether that the one off purchase or whether it be twenty year relationship. It's our job to help sales and and and help customer support and services and everything else that the business touches with our customers. So when we're talking about the transactional pieces adding up to the Y, that's kind of the approach that we take. Okay, that's really interesting take on sort of building relationships with customers out of interest. Does that approach remain the same both to new prospect and also existing customers? Or would you? Would you, based on that sort of process you've just described, their take a different approach to marketing to your distant customer base versus new prospects for that position purposes? Yeah, I mean you prospects is there's always a different it's a different ecosystem. The problems over, the problems that Compani s face always the same. You know, a lot of us...

...get hung up on how will we do on the Gardener Magic quadrant? Or wards we've received, or how many times were number one on whatever quadrants and how many times were mentioned. Then then we tend to go to market and jump up and down and say look, one hundred and one one and we could all these posts. I think you know quite often companies are way to focus on what they do and not enough focus on what the outcome of the markets that we're serving is. And we've got to relate our products and services to solve that problem, not walk in and say look, we build robots as and they're cool. So I think all organizations are struggling with this idea that product, the product, is going to sell it for you, and I see a lot of marketing. We're selling is happening in the marketing process. Now it's really about supplying companies with the information they need in a professional manner that they trust your source and say these are, this is a company that I want to come and talk to, whether that's a prospect or a customer. With a customer you should have a lot higher level of trust anyway, and the message should still be the same. It's about solving problems for the customer. It's not about the product. Now the channels that we use and noise will be different depending on whether it's a prospect or a customer, because you can swamp your customers with too much marketing information. You have to have a very different type of approach. It maybe abm one to one or a depending on the company, maybe one too onto few. So we tend not to look at different strategies or different messaging. The messaging should be the same. The message you should be a lot about customer outcome and success. It shouldn't be a lot about our product and I think that that shouldn't differ between customer and prospect. But we can tell the stories coming from customers. We we use a lot of a user case studies and so on, and sometimes we have to anonymize them. But it's really about the Oddi of the possible, because they in our market. As you said, it's a new market. We kind of I don't like the idea of creating the market.

I think it's the wrong way to put it. stears me if I'm on this, but it's much more about adapting to the market and leading it from the thought leadership perspective, as this how we try to see it with a surf and not the wave, the waves behind us and we're trying to stay on top of the ways to make sure that we can see what's coming. Yeah, and I think that's an interesting take in it. Regarding your market, I mean I think the idea around automating things, in automation in general, has has has been around for a long time, but OURPA is kind of the next phase of that and how I agree. I'm not sure you're having to completely create a market. I think the market is people believe the markets are. It's kind of about reinventing it and bring a new, intelligent version of automation to the forefront of people of mind. Now you're talking earlier on in our conversation around your transition from a from a sales background into more of a consultancy and analyst area through tractually joining automation anywhere in the marketing team, and I think you spoke about the fact that you joined them because it was a case of do you keep talking about it or do you get involved in it? And I suppose the reason you go involved in it you really believed in in the technology and the impact that you're having on on on businesses and on people's lives. Now that that's an interesting taken, an interesting journey. I'm sure a lot of people can relate to that. How from your perspective, how important is it for people to join the company that they can personally relate to, from a from a mission or vision perspective, or do you think it is possible to actually that sales marketing professional? Perhaps I don't care and it's just about they see a big opportunity to and a lot of money for EACHAM for example. Do you think it's really about doing something that you deeply care about? Yeah, that's that's a great question. And and you know it's weird as you get all the different things matter to you. When you're young, you know the M series cars the biggest focus in your life as a young man, let's say. But as you get older, you know it, you start to realize that once you get stuff and you...

...know this is what it goes way beyond marketing and sales. This is how we love our life. You know, you realize that the more stuff doesn't make you happy and it's the little things that you want to work towards. And you know, I've been lucky enough to be pretty successful in a lot of companies and with fantastic people around me, the analyst community, surrounding me with PhDs and brain boxes that I I'll never ever have that opportunity again, with the professors from London School of Economics, with my colleagues, you know. So you're balancing ideas and thought processes offo and over time you generate a wider understanding of potential in life and what your potential might be. And I think it's markets as most. A lot of people get into marketing because it's seen as creative, but now that I've been in the marketing space for a while and I see the creative bit is actually a bit of a dying art and I see everything based on analytics and pulling leavers in a digital everybody talks about digital being key. If your story is not good enough and you don't believe in it, you don't have the passion for an you don't understand the impact that you're trying to have and you can't relate your product to that, you really really struggle to have any kind of real enthusiasm behind what you do or how you run your teams are how you do your job. Now it sounds admirable. Admirable to say and very lofty actually to say. Only take a job that you really love. You know, we see this all over the place, but I think through time you know you have to do your warts and all, you have to you know crap, get the callousers and do the hard work and learn through experiences. Is, in my experiences, is been the best way to learn. When your head enough times and you stop doing stupid things. But and it's never the first time that you stop, trust me, it's you always give it another go. But I think you know. For me, I looked at this what makes you you? I looked at Oppia, at the market, and you said, yeah, we're not creating the market, and the problem with us is we're so successful in this market place. We grow, we double our business and we've been...

...doing it for over ten years now, year on year, and we do it not with ease. We work hard to get there and when you get to a certain size double it becomes a refect, your real challenge. But with the goal behind you and with the belief that we're making the right impact, then you can change the world. And for me it was looking at automation, anywhere, looking at Darpa market and saying if I look at the macro world, I mean I've already mentioned that we don't have enough people. We lose twenty eight million people out of the workforce in the next forty years just in Europe. Now that's going to be a nearly twelve percent of our workforce is going to disappoint. So we have to do more with less. Being a digital company. If you're not a digital company, I don't know what business you're in. Every everybody's digital and for maybe not in their operations, but and they go to market. Everybody has digital offerings, where it's websites or APPS or whatever it might be. Everybody's got their foot in the water. There the challenge. That can't be sad as we didn't the majority of our operations is not digital. It's based on legacy and our PA can step in and modernize all of that. But for me it's much more about I've seen so many people in my career, really brilliant people that are doing very mundane jobs, people with NBA's and in India running call centers and or sitting on the on that another side of the phone, and then we wonder why we have high atrition and needs, and India specifically, because we have hugely talented people do very munday jobs. There's outsourced to India. So my mess for less. That can't carry on. We've got a free up intellectual capacity of humans. We've got to change this. There's virus is really exposed us our supply chains or exposed there's a there's a hard drug, for example in the US. I think said seven hundred ninetyzerole people are on this drug and it's only manufactured in China. Now that's not pointing fingers at anybody, it's saying that there's a weakness and our supply chain and if a supply chains get shut down, forget about the virus. The seven hundred Ninetyzero people that are relying on that drug to keep them alive on now at risk. So...

...the way that we business is have is going to have to change. There the whole market is is, or the whole world is is pivoting at the moment to try and understand how do we stop this type of thing in the future, how do we build fail safe in and I think the only way to do that is to free people up to actually be people and think and contribute and just add value rather than just do things. So I think over time, for me they're, you know, the the golden light was the world has got to change. The economic models of the world are changing because of the way that digital companies were. People are trying to companies are trying different things. They're trying things I've never done before. We've been poking at Agile for a long time now. We're all working from home at Metas for than ever, how we think, how we operate. So I think that from a mission perspective, you have to believe that you're doing. In my in my case, I'm looking at and thinking this software can actually free people to actually have interesting lives rather than just do the same thing over and over and over again and repeat it and etc. We never release the potential of humans and we're going to have to as we move forward and we face with these massive ecological changes, these massive challenges that we've got with this virus and you know, we don't know if this is the last we're going to see of these types of things. So I think moving forward, a company of people are smart. People have to align themselves to good causes. They have to have a societal impact if they're really going to make a change, because you know that. And lastly, everybody's on their soapbox. So everybody's got a comment about your business. You know how organizations behave. It's critique constantly and companies can be made or broken, you know if the right people or the right influences are saying the wrong things about them. So all the right things about them. So we're much more interwove and I think you have to be socially responsible and we have to figure out how your product or service can tie into doing something positive rather than just making money. I know it sounds...

...a bit lofty, but it almost everything, in every product in the world besides the obvious ones, can have some kind of positive impact on the environments that we serve. And as for me, understanding what that is and linking it that, that helps me decide where I want to work and where I want to throw my efforts. For sure, absolutely. And to your point, some most example you're using around, you know today and the virus and how much that bringing it to the to reality for a lot of people that haven't sort of thought about the impact of if we had something like this. How can we very quickly work from home. I mean there's a lot of businesses that are benefiting very nicely from the current circumstances based on exactly that collaboration tools or communication tools or security providers that enable remote working so so easily. But actually I think, to your point it is lofty, but I think situations like we've seen ourselves in recently absolutely will mean that the sort of general working pattern and process is going to have to change and down and, to your point, companies like yourself a probably world placed to impact that. We look at automation anywhere. As a company you're going through hyper growth, as you spoke about there, and as we see with a lot of businesses, they can begin to lose their way a little bit as that happens and can keep that consistency when scaling is a challenge. Have you seen that as a challenge at automation anywhere and from what are some of the things that you guys are doing to ensure that alignment and consistency around your around your messaging, around your why? Really, how do you ensure that that still there as you keep growing? I think we're sticking to we've got a frilly extensive five year plan in place that's not actually coming to the end of its the end of its activation. But you know, when you're building a company that's going as quickly. And just to put it in perspective, I always employed two hundred and seventy three and we're now two stars and nothing, two thousand six hundred...

...employees the last time I check. That's not including the developers and the tempt staff that work with US and support us at CITRI's. So and that's happened in three years, just over three years. So and we're now, and what I think we're in ninety two countries where active with sales and we're over fifty companies. We have officers now and when I started we had no officers in Europe at all. We now have three hundred fifty people in Europe and we have offices in London, Paris, Frankfurt, Munich, Warsaw, Milan, which is closed, of it everywhere close at the moment, and Madrid, Netherlands. And I think I've covered everything in Europe. I'm not one hundred percent. I think the Mos Switzerland, we have an office in Switzerland, as wrong to you. So we've grown pretty quickly and and you know, I think the the challenge on scaling and consistency is always, you know, keep your true north. Decide what kind of company you want to be in a different everybody knows, at different growth levels you require different sets of skills to get you there. You know, as you're moving, as you become more corporate, you need to hire a different CFO, for example, you need to hire a different team of people that around compliance implement. We're implementing huge systems from workday through to full implementation, full reimplementations of sales force, etc. And you need a whole team of skilled internal IT services guys to be able to build it. But the way to keep everybody, I suppose, kind of on track is is having your true north and just re to rating that. So we have a set of values that we live by and we try and will we run by OK ours as well. I don't know if you're familiar with their books of objectives and key results, and those are all broken down from our CEO right the way down to me and my team and everybody else. We all have a set of Ok ours and those are really the transactional stuff that we're trying to achieve and they all kind of...

...total lot to make sure that me or has what he needs when he walks into the board meeting. It's on. So it's not easy. You have to have a plan B, if I'm honest, you know, because plan a very seldom works or it never works out the way you wanted to explain. It's always plan a, version twenty six by the time you get to the end of the journey. If you if you still with your plot plan A, we've been lucky and that the markets very, very active. So you know, we've tried things. We've got huge product development teams. We've got a huge amount of our revenue. I can't give the exact percentage, but a large percentage of our own you goes back into R and D for product development. So we're our PA is today is credible. It's almost the AI or three years ago. You know, the technology doesn't get done or get smaller as a technology. Get Smarty. You need to step up and extend your product offering into you know, rather than just task what emotion. You need full process, auto motion. You need to incorporate AI and analytics. We've just built a BOT called discovery, but that actually runs across your systems and then builds the Bot automatically for you, so you don't actually have to have any kind of internal development. Just plug and play, come kind of stuff. So I think you got to keep your true north and hyperscale. You got to know where you're going, no matter which route you have to take to get there, because those change all the time. So and under communications super important. It's the most important thing, I think, in any business. Clear communication as to where we need to go and you need to spend a lot of time communicating to the team internally to make sure that everybody's focused and one hundred percent focused. I suppose I'm where you need to get to, otherwise you're not going to get there. So communication, you're true north, and those are probably the two most important points. I think in any scaling organization it's just keep keep your direction and show you flexibility on...

...you know how you're going to get there and and you know, if you in any hyperscale business, people tend to work a lot longer hours just to be able to get there. You know, as a lot of entrepreneurial type people, that you're play especially in the early days, to get stuff up and running and some of them are working sixteen nine days, six days a week for two or three years at a time, and you have to have a bigger purpose. You have to have a better true north than just are we're going to IPO. You know, very few people are motivated by that. So I think when you're younger, Ip is very attractive, but after a while you realize the complexities around and your way for as much as you can. But yeah, it's that's let me stop there. I think true door that flexibility and being and having a decent, purposeful help get there in hyperscale. Okay, that's certain. That's a really interesting spector on it. And it's final point around that is you mentioned about having a true north. But in a in a scaling hypergrowth company, do you ever see that there's a an opportunity or an instance where actually you're your true north or your why around what you're doing can change? Is that something that you could see happening, or would that mean that you actually perhaps haven't found it true north in the first place? That's you're absolutely right. And what I mean by true north actually is not a destination for the company, it's a type of company you want to build. Yeah, you know, if you build, if you build a company and you if you build a team, you know, even a small team, and you build it with the right purpose in mind, it doesn't really matter the roots that you take to get where you need to get to. So and the true north is about the type of organization that you want to become, because then it doesn't matter if you're if you're if you're just going to IPO, for example, as virus it's just put a block on everybody that's rushing to IPO and silicon valley at the moment right there's already the casualties. Any company that's exposed to the travel market is in trouble, especially if they're if they're funded, and there are, there are a small startup organization. So we're really starting to see some of those get...

...hit by what's going on. But the true north of the company is really about what type of organization do we want to build, what do we want to do, what do we want to become? And I think in today's environment, with our first day of locked up, lockdown in the UK, it really shines is to well, we can sit here and try and make money on that, on this because automation is a huge opportunity. When there's not enough people around to do the work and people are working from home, there's huge amounts of opportunity for us to go in and say, look, there's lots of different pots that you can build to be able to do this work. What we're trying to do at the moment as an example, as we're working closely with the NHS and government, and I'm not going to say anything more at the moment, but we're trying to build as many bots free of charge. We're not charging for this, just to try and figure out how quickly we can move information around with regards to covid where the hot spots might lie, because dayten, big data coming in is going to be a big, big problem as this starts to scale up. We've seen in Italy. You know, where are the free bids? Everything's done manually. We need some kind of system to be able to identify where we have capacity, where we have hot spots. There's so many different opportunities for information to fly around and get lost in this crisis. So I think companies, if you have a true north companies, will do the right thing in times of need rather than just carry on going in the direction of the game. Now we have to carry on right business because we support over fourzero enterprises and we have to figure out for them as well. We've, for example, we've created an HR bought that tracks where your staff are and we've told all of our customers just downloaded, there's no cost for this thing. Just download it, find out where I are, make sure a few of my team, for example, and isolation. The kids have got ill and they fact a lock themselves in. Our HR team needs to know how they are. They reporting every day and we use a bot to be able to track all of that. We're trying to push that type of technology out into the marketplace and be...

...having your true north allows you to that flexibility to do the right thing first, rather than just chase the direction you were going. And if you're just you're true north is just the direction or just an IPO or just we want to be a billion, two, billion, twenty billion dollar company. How you get there will be much more complex, whereas if the company's led with a vision of this is where we're going to go and along the way we're going to have lots of adventures. It's a very different type of place to work and we can get sixteen hours out of people with with a lot of enthusiasm because we all believe we're doing the right thing. Okay, okay, cool, that's that's really interesting and thanks for that. Inside so well. I think we're sort of near into the end of our conversation today and really appreciate that you've taken the time to share your thoughts around marketing, your why, how you keep the nesting consistent and and actually how you build a company with a true north mindset. I guess is is is the key, rather than looking at it as a destination. Now I'm sure there's going to be a lot of people that will want to continue that conversation with you. So, if that is indeed the case, how would you suggest that people get in touch with both yourself and, of course, your company, automation anywhere? Sure, so, if you want to get in touch with me, I'm on Linkedin, rock views. I'm automation anywhere. I'm pretty easy to find. My profile is open. Alternatively, you know, we can go to our website. Is Automation anywherecom do search on Google and will pop up as lots of videos and so on. So anyway. Anybody wants to each other and carry on with the conversation will happy to do so and once again, thanks very much for inviting me. I really enjoyed a talking with you, Dan, and thank you very much. Thank you once again, and stay safe and look forward to catch up against operatics has redefined the meaning of revenue generation for technology companies worldwide. While the traditional concepts of building and managing inside sales teams inhouse has existed for many years, companies are struggling with a...

...lack of focus, agility and scale required in today's fast and complex world of enterprise technology sales. See How operatics can help your company accelerate pipeline at operatics dotnet. You've been listening to be to be revenue acceleration. To ensure that you never miss an episode, subscribe to the show in your favorite podcast player. Thank you so much for listening. Until next time,.

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