Do you remember the Remington commercial? It’s from a long time ago, back when we actually had to watch the commercials on TV, and it’s always stuck with me. In the ad, a guy talked about how much he liked his Remington and why. Nothing new there, your classic customer testimonial, but wait for it… at the end of the commercial, he said he “was so impressed, I bought the company.” Now that’s commitment!
What does this mean? To me, it means that the best way to change the game is to be all-in.
That’s why I’m excited to join Engagio as their new VP of Marketing.
This wasn’t a move I took lightly. I’ve spent more than a decade at SiriusDecisions (acquired by Forrester Research in February 2019). As an analyst, I helped many of the best brands in B2B grow. I also founded the account-based marketing practice eight years ago. For the last three years, I led the research organization, including the entire team of analysts and editorial professionals, who are an incredible group. I’ve been in B2B for my entire career as a practitioner, consultant, and analyst, and I’ve always been passionate about helping companies grow faster while delivering exceptional experiences to customers and partners.
Getting Back in the Game
With so much happening in the B2B market right now, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to get back to being a marketer. It’s time to get back in the game. The challenge in choosing a company to work for after being an analyst is that sometimes you know too much about companies and what’s broken in them. In my case with Engagio, it was exactly the opposite: I joined because of what I’ve learned about the company, the products, and where Engagio fits in the market. I believe in what Engagio does and I know we can help customers reach the next stage of B2B transformation and deliver better customer experiences.
Why do I think Engagio is positioned to do this? That’s simple. The strategy that will dominate B2B’s next decade is one that’s customer-driven and powered by technology, that focuses on the right accounts and buying groups, and that supports the organic and complex journeys our customers are on in real-time. That’s exactly what Engaio’s products help companies to do. We can help companies bridge the knowing-doing gap between what we want to do and what the old B2B tech stack can deliver with their siloed data and systems.
Are You Proud of the Experience you Deliver?
Based on my market knowledge, it’s urgent to close the knowing-doing gap because our customers are running out of patience, and they vote with their attention. Our customers expect a lot today, but many of us just can’t match our sales and marketing support to those expectations. It’s not that companies don’t understand what customers want. They do, because all of us want the same thing. As buyers and customers, we expect connected and useful experiences, with bonus points to those who deliver value and fun.
How many of us can say that’s what our companies actually deliver what we ourselves would want? How long do you want to wait before you can deliver it, and what happens when others move faster than you do?
Here’s the thing: we can do this. The experiences customers want, and that marketing and sales teams can be proud to deliver, are totally possible to create today. What I worry about is the biggest thing that stops companies from delivering the best experiences: fear about how hard it’s going to be to make it happen.
Fear is the Enemy in B2B
When it comes to fear, let me first take some accountability for the part the analyst community may have played in making that worse. We mean well, but sometimes we just know too much. Many analysts feel it’s their sacred duty to uncover and solve for every rock their clients are likely to trip over on the way to their goals. That’s why customers pay analysts. And to be fair, those customers expect truth and completeness.
Unfortunately, sometimes that means analysts (and consultants and tech providers, too — you know who you are) can make reaching your goal seem really hard. Those 800-step models work brilliantly when deployed, but it’s still 800 steps when practitioners only want eight. So they walk away [cue sad trombone or sad emoji of choice].
It’s not just analysts who make it hard to get excited about the transformation we need. The same thing happens when customers see complex product demos or multi-year timelines to return-on-investment. When vendors make change seem complicated and time-consuming, we can’t be surprised when not everyone signs up to do it.
Let’s Fearlessly Greet the New Decade Together
So now I’m tackling the challenge of making change easier from a new direction. I’ve thought a lot about what it will take to make transformation easier. As we head into the new decade, and as I head into my new role, my commitment is to help customers embrace the tools they need to deliver great customer engagement at scale, get sales and marketing working together on that journey, and measure the impact of that work. But we’ll help you make in manageable, not scary, so more companies head into the next decade of B2B as excited as I am about what that future holds.
Are you in?