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112 | Build trust with the C-Suite by speaking their language

56 min listen

"Talk less about Marketing." Yes, you heard that right.

It's time we as marketers stop telling everyone how hard marketing is, and focus on where we can share insight, build trust and drive the business forward.

Andy Barraclough, Head of Marketing for UK and Ireland at SAP, joins us on the sofa for this week's episode of The Tech Marketing Podcast. Our host and CTO, Jon Busby is also joined by Claire Davidson - Twogethers Executive Strategy Director. 

This episode is chock full of insights from Andy's extensive career - the kind of episode where it's near impossible to choose your favourite snippet. We discuss topics including:

  • The impact of the changing B2B buyer journey on marketing
  • What the optimal position is for regional vs global marketing teams
  • How marketers should be communicating both internally and externally

There are so many more key moments to this episode. So grab a cuppa, and put a few moments aside to tune in. 

Listen now, wherever you get your podcasts:


View the full transcript here

Jon Busby: Welcome to another episode of The Tech Marketing Podcast. I'm very pleased to be joined on the sofa here by Andy, Head of Marketing for UK and Ireland at SAP, but also joining me is another fellow podcast veteran from Together Claire Davidson, our Executive Strategy Director. So Claire, welcome to the podcast as well.

Claire Davidson: Brilliant. John. It is so good to be back.

Jon Busby: We were just discussing how actually you two went to university together, which is, which is like such a small world. Yeah. Yeah. that we're in today. But you've, since university, you've had such a varied career. You know, you've worked for some of the big tech giants. Like what, tell us a little bit about kind of your journey up to, up to now with SAP.

Andy Barraclough: Yeah, very will do. I mean, I guess the journey is, is what it is. It's, it's never a kind of linear path. I left university and joined Hewlett Packard. I'd done my placement year with them. Didn't really know what technology was in those days and but I'd had a really good experience with, with them in Manchester.

So moved down to, to Bracknell. Worked there in, in all kinds of different roles in a grad kind of scheme. Ending up in the hardware part of the business with big Unix boxes and stuff like that. And then moved across to Dell, because Dell were beginning to, to build servers alongside their, their well known sort of laptops and PCs.

So up against Compaq. All of that stuff and yeah, a really different business to be in much more fast moving working in the mid market. And then via a very short stint at a. com, which everybody had to do at that time, I think some lasted and some didn't I then moved into an agency for a couple of years.

So I thought I'd see how it was to work at the other side of the table in that respect. Working for Sony and NTL and other clients in there trying to help them reach their customers. Before moving back into technology, which is always where I wanted to be. So, I then had a good sort of eight, nine years into the IBM software business in the UK.

That business was very different to IBM. I have to tell people that cause it was a software business and not everyone had a perception about IBM. And we were going through a huge acquisition spree over that period of time. So acquiring huge companies like Cognos and FileNet alongside some of the smaller players, obviously Lotus had come into the portfolio.

So IBM was a fantastic growth journey for me from individual contributor to first line manager to second line manager. And, you know, the training and the development I got at that time was phenomenal. I really enjoyed my time. However, IBM was also, you know, a company where my aspirations, I couldn't quite see how I could get the international experience I wanted.

Which took me firstly to Progress Software to run their Amir marketing business before then landing another decent stint at the time, sort of nine years or so at Pegasystems. So Pegasystems, a Boston based business process management company. And through that company, primarily in a mere leadership role first, but then through changes of CMO, we kind of went very global.

And then with another change of CMO, we went back as these things do. And I went through both European, global, and then an international role. So covering Asia Pac for two or three years while we built the team out there and that kind of stuff. So all of that was. Great foundations. And then probably a couple of years ago now I was approached by a company called Access Group.

So they're a UK private equity backed mid market software vendor growing hugely five, 6, 000 employees, UK based UK culture, but in the division I joined, they just acquired companies in both Vietnam and Australia. So there was a job to try and build a. A proposition first and foremost, but also to build a, build a business and a team.

And that went really well for that period of time, huge learning curve, really good experience of a very different way of operating to some of the big US led technology companies, really good culture. And I think that company will continue to do really well. And then about back end of last year as, as that kind of, it was one of those decisions.

Do I continue or, or is it time to, to move having sort of made the team whole? I ended up, yeah, talking back to a colleague from IBM Mm-Hmm. kind of said, I'm just looking and oh, interestingly, we're looking for somebody for the UK for SAP and, and, you know, through the different processes and interviews.

I ended up there, beginning there, just in the middle of Jan. So I, I'd like to say it's all been planned, but it hasn't and. You know, I think that's an important point for most people is just to, to do different experiences and sometimes they work out, sometimes they don't. But I think in terms of the skill set and the perspective, it helps me bring to this current role.

It really helps.

Jon Busby: I think, I mean, that's a fantastic list of companies. How would you say marketing has changed since you started all the way back you know, with, with people like Dell before the dot com boom all the way up to now, like how has it varied over the last few years?

Andy Barraclough: And it's one of those weird ones, right?

It's fundamentally different, as you'd imagine, right? You know, the whole kind of technology, digital, channel kind of work that's happened. But equally, it's the same. And I think sometimes that's what gets lost is positioning, messaging. It's a core principle, isn't it? Yeah, absolutely right. Tech has been a great enabler for that, but not a substitute.

And I see in many companies, it's become a substitute. We forget about the customer. We forget about the business that we're supporting. And I've always worked alongside the business. Apart from that short stint in a global role. And and whilst that was a great learning experience, I missed being tight to a business and understanding the so what question in marketing.

And I think that's the journey that marketing's going on as it becomes more specialised and, and scale is important and all those kind of good things that, that have happened. You risk or you can't forget the customer at the core of it. And I think that's the biggest challenge probably for marketeers at the moment.

Claire Davidson: I found it interesting. You was talking about in your role where you've had a role in an EMEA, you've had global and you've had APAC as well. You must see so many differences.

Andy Barraclough: Yeah. Yeah. I think that's just perspective. All of it is perspective. And I think that's a very, that's very useful for me coming back into a market unit, as we call it, the country role.

Nobody's your enemy, but it's quite easy to see people are, they're global or they're corporate. So internal silos, you mean? Yeah, and, and again, different perspectives. So, you know, the global team in the current company and SAP


Andy Barraclough: Europe have to deliver content and campaigns that scale to 89 countries.

Yeah, that's huge. So if you've got that job, that's a pretty challenging kind of world to be in. And you can't serve 89 different needs by trying to do a little bit here and there. And so it's the role of the market unit really to better understand what those individuals are there to do and how it's meant to help you and take advantage of that rather than either complaining, which is an easy thing to do.

Not that my team do here, but I've seen that in other companies, you know, very much of them in those kind of mentality. But also to figure out how you get the value from that, because otherwise you become an in region execution engine for the, for the limited amount of touches that you own in the country these days, right?

Because with specialization, you've got teams in different places. So I think that experience really helped. As did, you know, the international perspective of being in, in, in APJ where you're a long way from headquarters if it's a North American company. It's complex and different, and there's not a lot of understanding there.

But sometimes that works in your favor because there's less scrutiny, there's less And I don't mean that people go rogue, but you just crack on. You can't always wait the 48 hour window to get a message back. So yeah, I think all of this is perspective and, and, you know, going back to my IBM days, it felt, and I'm over exaggerating, but it felt that we moved from region to global to country almost every two years on a cycle.

And, and I'm sure that was almost intentional at that time, but also as we were absorbing huge companies, you needed scale and then you come back to it. And so that was a really good exercise because At different times, you saw different perspectives.

Jon Busby: Do you think there's an optimal place on how that should be managed?

Because, you know, we see the same trends. We see things come out of global and regional teams feel disempowered and then regional teams be empowered and kind of global get frustrated. Like, do you feel there's an optimal balance there between between the different teams?

Andy Barraclough: I think that the answer to that question is much more in my mind to do with what is the role of the regional and market unit teams in our case.

So. You know, if you expect that role to be the field marketing of old, where you owned everything, did everything, in some cases got a pot of money every quarter and target and off you went, that's, that's not today's world. I think the role. of the field marketer is increasingly important in terms of the orchestration that they bring.

Mm hmm.

Andy Barraclough: But that comes with the recognition that you don't own everything or do everything, and neither should you, right? Because, yeah, in SAP, we've got enough size and scale in some cases to operate a decent sized team in the UK, but not in every market that we're in. And it can't be that your capacity constraint, that's, that, that, you know, you can't have all those functions and capabilities.

Even in the U. K. or Germany or the U. S. generally. But it does challenge the teams then to think about that relationship with, with global or regional, whichever way the company chooses to structure it. And say, how do I understand your role, your value to my business, and how do I orchestrate that effectively?

And how do I bring that to life, more importantly, for my business? So the sort of in country role is that translation engine between Marketing and the business, and that to me is, is what excites me. It's why I kind of stay close to the business because that's, that's what it's all about. Really,

Jon Busby: did you think there's, I mean, there's lots of different things going in my head there.

Do you think recently with how Claire and I talk a lot about this, how the B2B buyer has changed, how they are now doing a lot more research themselves, that marketing has become a more important conversation, more important to the business. Like, have you seen that trend happen in some of the companies you've been part of?

Andy Barraclough: I think that's down to marketing to bring that to life. You know, yes, the B2B buyer journey is far more complex, multi touch, multi channel. And therefore orchestration again needs to happen between sales and marketing in the market because we're both engaging the customer at the same time. Yeah.

There's no, you know. whatever funnel you might run in a company, which is an interesting, we could debate the merits of sort of funnel measurement in a digital buying model with a cloud based business. But you know, we should be engaging and handholding all the way through the process, not just to sale, but beyond sale and back, back around the circle.

Right. And I think technology companies still can't help themselves being inside out with. Let me tell you about our product. It's really good. Really, you need to understand all the features. And you need to buy it, even though you've bought nothing from us in the past, or maybe you have bought stuff and you haven't got the value from it.

And so we still talked, we still have this differentiation of the B2B buyer is different to the B2C buyer, and I fundamentally disagree with that. In fact, I think the B2B buyer is more emotional than the B2C, more emotionally tied to the company it buys from. It's higher risk as well, isn't it? These are big decisions you're making, big bets.

It's not like buying the coffee I bought this morning where I could frankly go to you're often betting your career on an investment. And so you need all that marketing backup for credibility, for trust, relationship building with sales team alongside, but also they need to buy into the company, you know, you know, and I think that's still a little bit misunderstood of, and when I say buy into the company, I'm not necessarily proposing mass brand campaigns.

The more they buy into the people. So humanizing your company, making it real, who do you buy from, who do you talk to? Is it about relationships? And when you get to those people, do you believe them, do you trust them? Do you feel they're on your side or are they trying to sell you something? All those kind of things come to bear, which, which is the complexity of that whole process.

And again, you add 30 other people to the decision making process, you've got to do the same with each of them. So that's where I think marketing and sales can work really well together. And that comes back to that word of orchestration in terms of understanding what the buyer's doing before they want to talk to the salesperson.

In fact, you know, the data will tell you that they don't really want to talk to the salesperson anyway. None of us do at the end of the day, if, if they're being sold to. But if you can bring value, if you can bring insight, if you can help people be successful, if you can be on their side. And still at the end of the day, sell clearly, which is what it's about.

But that I think is where the, the very best teams succeed and where the very best individual sales leaders and sales teams succeed is


Andy Barraclough: they, they're on the customer side and they want the customer to succeed. And at the same time, you know, they know that they've got capabilities they can bring that will help the customer be successful.

But in the same way, as we'll talk about working marketing to sales, it's you have to understand your buyer before you start the chat before you start. Oh, here's something you need.

Jon Busby: What are some of those conversations that marketing then should be in? Like, in this case, we should be more aligned to sales.

Like, how, I guess the other way of looking at it, how could sales use marketing better? Like, what are some of those crossover points you think marketers should look to make with their peers?

Andy Barraclough: Firstly, marketers have got to stop asking sales what they want from marketing. And I can't get my head around why marketers still do that.

Because, yes, the relationship with sales is important, of course, and that's what we're working towards. But , if you ask, you know, if a sales leader comes to me and says, you know, I've got 20 years of sales leadership experience, but could you tell me how to close that deal? What, why would that happen? Right?

Yeah. Why would they work? Why would they do it? But b, why would I think I've got an opinion? Mm-Hmm. . So I think for marketing it, it's, it's about asking the right questions like we just talked about with sales. Be interested, understand the business you are serving before you start talking about marketing.

Jon Busby: Mm-Hmm. .

Andy Barraclough: And then talk less about marketing. Yeah, yeah. We seem to have an obsession with, I need to tell you how difficult marketing is in this multi channel marketing. They don't give a, you know, they don't, they don't care. Neither should they. They want to know how will it help them. Yep. And our job is to translate that.

Our job is to bring it to life and say, based on my understanding of your business and what you're trying to achieve, here's how I suggest we can help you. And maybe sometimes we can't. And that's equally okay to have that kind of conversation. So to me, it starts with. So understanding the business enough so that you can couch where marketing's value can be in their terms and in business terminology, and also have a point of view that, you know, I think a lot of marketing's value, if we're talking about this complex B2B journey that sales and marketing need to work on together is, is insight and intelligence that we can help them with.

So they understand where their buyer is and what their buyer is doing and who's looking at content, you know, who in the buying cycle, sorry, in the buying unit has looked at what content when or who's sending the sort of, if you were into the ABM world, who sent the asset that you've created to other people in the business and what's happening with that.

It's not all about the lead. It's not always about, Oh, we've got to have, we've got to have that, that lead at the end of it. Because really that's, depends on the business, clearly. But at the same respect, in complex B2B buying, you know, how do you sustain that relationship? How do you bring them something from a business, you know, your business, that they don't know?

Claire Davidson: So have you seen changes over the last few years about how you work or your teams have worked with sales?

Andy Barraclough: Yeah, I'll go right back to the beginning. I think there's It still goes back to core basics, really. You know, I think history, or my history certainly says, on the business side, marketing tends to have a decent level of credibility and understanding and trust, and they like what comes across.

And sometimes our core skill of project management, or whatever, they're wowed by, because in other parts of the business they can't project manage, weirdly, but that's the way it works. So they want, they want, they want more value rather than just talking about tactics. And on the other side, you've got the marketeers going like, I really wish I had a seat at the table.

I really wish the business would step forward. Yeah. Don't wait to be Stop being self subservient. Well, it is, but it's also.

Be, think of your value and it's not a big statement. It's just, there's much more you can bring if you understand that business better. So go and be interested. Go and talk, what do I need to talk to them about? I need to take, no, no, just, just go converse, right? It's, I find that quite strange for marketeers and it's been a relatively consistent trait in, in, in many businesses I've been in where we're nervous to go and ask.

The business what's going on. Mm hmm. And interestingly sometimes when we ask the business, they don't know and that's another opportunity for marketing to come Okay, well, let's talk about where's the business coming from. How do we prioritize that? How do we look at the market opportunity? Yeah Core marketing stuff that yes, it's not gonna generate leads, but god that gets you trust that gets you a seat at the table But you if you're waiting for that, it's never gonna happen.

Mm hmm never gonna happen and I still think many marketeers Do

Jon Busby: you think some come? I mean, just listening to that, I completely agree. Like, just go and ask where you can help without maybe using the marketing word. Which I was going to say how difficult marketing has become, but now I'm afraid to say that Andy, because it has become difficult, which is why we've got project managers.

But but I think it's

Andy Barraclough: skill, but you've got to simplify it for your audience, right? In the same way that. So, you know, selling a multi million pound software product alongside probably ten times that in consultancy and transformation, that's not an easy sell. But you have to try and make it


Andy Barraclough: Not because our customers are simple, but because you've got to cut through all the noise to, so why would I do that?

And more importantly, why would I buy that now? Most of the time, people can see the value it could bring. People understand how it might be better for their business. Going back to that trust and,


Andy Barraclough: betting your career. Why, why would I do that now? Why would I do that now?

Jon Busby: Do you think some, you think the organizational structure, like how, where marketing reports into, has got something to say about why the two departments don't work well together, or why they struggle to converse?

Andy Barraclough: Well, maybe I'm painting an overly negative picture. My experience with my teams over time in the different roles has been really good. But you work at it, you have to work at it. I think sometimes the functional, every, you need functional. skills development specialization, all the things we've talked about earlier.

And sometimes that I think drives, you know, and again, it is accurate, but you hear me out, but you know, I work for marketing. You don't, you work for the business because we all get paid by the business. Business pays everybody's bills, right? So if we don't sell anything, we don't make any money, then we don't have any marketing to do anymore.

And I think that sometimes gets lost. Not that you're going rogue, but it's like, but you know, in the same way we think of our external customers, we should be thinking in detail of the persona and how they buy, where they get information from. Our internal customers are the same. And I think sometimes we're quite dismissive of that.

Oh, you know, I sent them an email and they didn't read it. Well, there are other ways to communicate, right? And have you tried those? In the same way that You know, I've got a 1 percent response rate on my email, you kind of go, right, so I've got to think of other channels and other ways to do that. So, I think it's an understandable specialization, but the best individuals I've worked with, the best teams I've worked with, and lead are an integral part of the business and seen as such.

Jon Busby: Yeah, no, it's, it's, I mean, marketing and sales alignment is one of these things, you know, I, I studied marketing university. We were just talking about how we all studied business and marketing university. And it's something that I remember being in a module in probably 20 years ago now, and that's showing my age and we don't need to talk about when I go to mine.

Yep. But the You know, do we feel it's in its final form? Like, do you think it still needs to evolve? How, how, how that works?

Andy Barraclough: Sounds like a It's a relationship. You work a relationship all the time. People change, you know, in terms of you get different business leaders, have different perspectives. So it's a constant piece.

And it is mad in some respects that we're still having this conversation. Yep. That's why I find it so mad. I don't feel

Jon Busby: like anyone's found an answer to it.

Andy Barraclough: But I think But there isn't an end game, right? There isn't an end goal where you go like, okay, job done. We don't need marketing anymore. We don't, well, let's call it something different.

We don't need to think about this conversation. It's a, like all relationships, you, you're constantly evolving and working at it. Marketing is constantly evolving and working at it. You know, things that we can bring to the business that bring real value didn't really exist five years ago in some cases.

Yeah. In others. The complexity, if we're not careful, masks the value. So you have to be able to sort of think about the so what question. Yep. So what does that mean? You know, right. We, we, we're using, you know, digital channels to engage more and more people effectively. We've got the age old awareness that the sales organization perceives it needs.

We've got more eyeball. Okay. So what happens after that? And what do we do with those people? And if only 5 percent of your target audience or less are actively buying, what's our role there? And I think these are all ongoing conversations where, again, it can be a very binary conversation with the business.

If you rock them and go, what were you like for marketing this year? And they go like, well, I've only seen events, or airport billboards, always a favorite. So let's ask for that. Sponsorship, yes. But you know, that's, that's, that's marketing's fault, not sales fault. Why would you ask that question? It's the wrong question.


Jon Busby: Like how, I mean, diving into that structure, the reason I ask that is, you know, I, I almost look at this going, is there, is there an ideal structure where we don't talk about marketing? Like your point where if you're going and speaking to sales, is it? Don't mention the M word. And we one of our previous podcast guests has evolved that and moved everyone away from being marketing roles and being focused on the customer.

Very similar to what you're saying. So, you know, is I'm just piecing together some of your thoughts and I'm like, I think there isn't, I think we're not pushing marketing hard enough sometimes to think about the customer and to instead we, we focus on the tactics or on, you know, on our little siloed results.


Andy Barraclough: I agree on all of that. I, I, I don't, I'm not sure, you know, again, I think sometimes we, we maybe think it's about job titles or exactly structures or, I think it's about how you engage the business. Right. And. Because we're not the only, you know, we, again, sometimes marketeers, we feel we're a bit special, right?

But professional services, customer success, alliances are all the same places, right? They've all got that same, in principle, challenge of you're a functional role working into a business. So could marketing sit in the business rather than in a function? Yeah. Does that change anything? Not a few. Continue the same conversation.

It doesn't really change that. So I think that is really about It's down to the individual marketer to say step forward, get engaged, be interested, build your network so you have an understanding and a point of view to bring. Don't be the person that turns up. I, I, you know, a little soapbox moment, but you know, marketeers in my experience like, and I'm guilty of it because I'm seeing, seeing my MD tomorrow and it's the first time for a few weeks.

We like kind of formal and infrequent engagement. So we like 45 minutes or an hour every month and we're going to come and. Talk to you about marketing. You haven't talked about marketing for four weeks And we're gonna go really and we expect you to really get brought into it and that's not how people work Frequent and informal corridor chats one point question ping people on team.

What about that? What about this? That's when you pop the part of it. So I think that again is less to do with structure more to do with Yeah, how you show up

Jon Busby: Completely agree. Yeah, I mean, I was going to ask there, like, what can a marketer do to get more involved? And I think it's be present from what you're saying.

Andy Barraclough: Be interested. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, be curious. Yeah. And I think recognize your value isn't always in the weight of activity that you do. And I think we get hung up on, you know, there's an element of the automation and the tech that has come. And the measurement that's come with it that at the time in black and white, when I first started, when, you know, when measurements, it was great, we could put a number on what we do.

There's a

Andy Barraclough: risk we hide behind those numbers now sometimes. But, you know, it's good. And the age old thing for a field team is you can't walk up to a business and go, Hey, look, my, my, my data is all green. If the business isn't great. Otherwise, again, you're miles off in terms of understanding, you know, the impact and the correlation between the two.

So I just, yeah, for me that is, spend more time with the business. And therefore what you execute will have a better return and a better value. And then maybe you don't need to do quite as many things to achieve the outcomes you need to do.

Claire Davidson: I think like you're saying Andy, it's about the language marketers use as well, isn't it?

We use a lot of. Acronyms that might be relevant for us, but not for the other parts of the business, whether it's click through rates or cost per leads. But also that there's a lot of marketing press around what marketers need to do to talk to the CFO, but it's almost assuming the CFO is not a human.

You know, cause it is why they need to know the metrics and it's like, well, no, actually they want to know what value you can help to drive the business forward. What's your experiences around that?

Andy Barraclough: Well, the first part on the metrics is I think even within marketing we don't understand half of it, between one specialization and another.

Yeah. You know, you go and talk to a field person about the digital metrics or the digital person, and at times we don't even understand our own language. So your funnel is really fragmented. And it's not a linear funnel, but we don't need to go into that. CFO, like, you know, back to the top of the conversation is understand this.

Every CFO is different. Some are pure numbers driven, all about the bottom line, and that's what they get excited by. Others are humans to use your, your terminology. And, you know, they, again, they've got different challenges of, of managing complexity, but again, your role is to show. How the investment that they've made returns in the same way, whether, you know, in the same way that any other function would need to do that.

And that's a conversation that is, you know, I think just as you would do with an MD or a sales leader or whatever else, it's tell me how you run the business. Tell me what numbers you look at, what matters most, what are we worried about? What can we do? And then, you know, how does marketing play into that?

I think there's a kind of a perspective. Oh, if you're talking to, it's all about numbers. It's all about finance. There's a bias there, understandably. But in any role I've been, it's always about the numbers. It's, you know, whether you talk into the sales leader or the ops person or the CFO or the end, it's, it's a numbers business.


Andy Barraclough: in some respects, yeah, you have to understand what. That individual kind of getting to looking at and you know be confident as well most of the time Marketing's return on investment is really good. Mm hmm. If you look at okay, if you take total cost versus total return In a simplistic way, you go, that's pretty good, right?

Most, most of the time, it's pretty good. And so in reality, that could be a friend, depending on what kind of business you're in. Some of the budgets are set and all this kind of stuff. In other businesses, they might go, well, it's a bit more. Why wouldn't we do that? Actually, we can't afford, you know, we've, we've, our plans are maxed out, but we can see the return here, and the business can see the value.

We've all agreed it. Well, CFO can put his hand in his pocket, right, and make a decision at that point. So they should be a partner alongside everybody else.

Jon Busby: How can you make that CFO's decision easier? Like what information can you, because you know, as marketeers we tend to hide behind some metrics sometimes, and I, that piece, you know, around is, even if our metrics are green, if the businesses are green, we've not done our job, like how can you make their, how can you translate it to make it easier for them?

Andy Barraclough: It's translation and I'm making it sound dead simple, but understand how they think and what makes them work and how they look at the business. They will have a different view of the business to the head of sales, right? So the head of sales is just looking at the top line number, but these guys are looking at, you know, all the elements within it, you know, profitability levels, all the kind of stuff.


Andy Barraclough: then you can articulate the value you bring in a different way, right? And it's not necessarily always about the number, but it might well be about profitability. If we talk about, you know, the sales motion and how marketing can, improve win rate, improve conversion rate, not of marketing, but of the business can improve customer sat so that customers come back and buy more your retention rate, you know, you're, you're kind of

Jon Busby: customer lifetime value,

Andy Barraclough: reduction in churn, those things, you know, one point reduction in churn is huge for any business.

If you can, you know, so if you're working on advocacy and retention and community. that gives the customer again that belief they've made the right choice, they bet on the right company, they've got other people they can talk to. That pays for all marketing. Most business, if you can reduce churn by 2%, huge,



Andy Barraclough: again, but marketers need to think in that language and be able to then go, look, not to turn up with a calculation, let the CFO do that, but kind of go I think by doing this, we could achieve the following. So, it's the same as it would be for any audience, I think.

Jon Busby: I think part of the challenge that I've heard there from speaking to, you know, every level marketeer, you know, you look, a CFO, if you talk about profit That means pretty much the same thing across every business.

While marketing, you know, an MQL can be very different in one organization to another. You know, there's always the gap between that and sales. Like how, how do you try and reconcile some of those differences in the language? Like how do you, is there an education you need to, you need to do with the board?

Is it, or do you just go, you know what, we're not going to talk about marketing. Like you say, we're going to use their language and use their KPIs.

Andy Barraclough: So I think that's again about, depends on the business, you know, a pack of systems. You know, we sold complex transformation opportunities to, to large customers.

That was, that was the target market for us. And each of those accounts often had multiple teams on them. And we, you know, my team and I, we introduced account based marketing on a one to many basis. Then we went to one to one. And over time, we change the conversation from leads to how much in the pipeline are we actually supporting.

And there's an argument in that particular business. We, we didn't do, it's not a high volume business. It wasn't big, it wasn't a big number of deals and it wasn't a lot of net new customers always. It's like if I generate a lead in one of those companies where you've got a truckload of sales resource, pre sales resource, partner resource crawling all over it.

You're not doing your job. For me to find somebody, one person, with budget authority needed timescale in that environment, that's not how, as you said, it's not how the buying process works anyway. So, that's about understanding the business. So kind of we went from, you know, traditional metrics to still looking at that, but actually the, the value was how much of the, the, the pipeline we were actively engaged in either progressing, accelerating or closing.

And then you have a very different conversation.

Jon Busby: That's really, that's really intriguing. Like, what metrics were you, were you looking at then? Like, if you were, how do you measure which, how much of the pipeline you engage with?

Andy Barraclough: So, which organizations are we active with account based marketing? Mm hmm. And, you know, the pipeline that those organizations had in live and working with the sales, you know, the global account manager, whatever, kind of go, and which of those deals are we actively supporting?

In most cases, it was most of it. Mm hmm. In Pega's particular scenario, there was only probably one deal in flight. Big deal. There could be one deal with that particular company. So, we had all the other metrics, but actually the one that, you know, the European MD and each of the country MDs cared about was, and was our ability to show, Pipeline number was almost a, that was for our benefit, ego, whatever you want to call it.

Actually, we could show the number of people we're touching, who's engaging the content. Here's the different activities we're doing from, you know, a one to one basis of, you know, on site customer success days where you're radiating the story and you're permeating that through to, you know, bespoke content, through to some of the ABM work we did in.

Being able to map the customer's long term strategy to Pegas capability. And actually most, we've got the most traction, I would say, with our business in our ability, with some help, to say, let's look at the three year vision for the business. Let's go there, you know, take all their corporate content, let's look at that.

Let's distill that down to a one pager, a map, Pegas capability to it. So you are now relevant to that conversation with the customer. Things that account team should do, but don't, or don't do very well quite often. They want to get into, oh, there's an opportunity there. What's your vision, right? How are you going to the senior people in the company and going These are your five priorities.

You've listed them on, you know, on your own report, and here's where I think we could help you. And equally, here's where we might not be able to.

Jon Busby: I think you need to, I mean, that's a really interesting point. I think we need to, marketing, marketing's got a role to go even deeper there. Like when, when that becomes powerful is where you map it against the company's values, like where you can go in and have a conversation in the same language.

And you. most of the way through this podcast and not mentioned AI, but that's also where AI can help. We're seeing AI help a lot. You know, it is being able to kind of go in and have a relevant conversation that says that maps everything right from a company's vision, values, purpose, all the way through to.

You know, to their annual report, makes you relevant.

Andy Barraclough: Yeah, definitely that, and like all technology, it's about the questions you ask it, right? And I think, so it goes right back to the core of this conversation, which is, yeah, if you, if you want to understand the business and you want to bring that value to your stakeholders, there's tons of technology, including AI, that can do that for you.

You know, we, I remember again with the ABM stuff, We were able to, you know, bring to the account teams insight into, as I say, who'd be engaging with content. And we were able to show, as the, as the, the buying journey progressed, how that was changing and how that was moving. So that they knew either it was working and people were okay.

So we're seeing a spike in consumption off the back of a, you know, we've gone in and done a, an RFP presentation, or we've gone and done a you know, we've done a one onsite event for them. Has that correlated or not? And who's actually looking at it, you know, and, and we found certain people who.

we're gonna influence decision making, but weren't your obvious targets. Mm-Hmm. . And we are going, but they've had a look. And, and now you can follow up on that. Yeah. And kind of go, what do you, you know, even, even if it's just to show that you are interested.

Mm-Hmm. .

Andy Barraclough: You know, I note that you read that. Is there anything else I can give you?

Can we do something more with that? And, and just to close out on that, having marketeers talk to the customer as well. Radical though, that may be because marketeers are safe. Customers are quite happy to talk to marketing people, because we're not trying to sell them anything. We're normally trying to bring them some value.

And not enough marketeers talk directly to the customer.

Claire Davidson: And also we talk about the needs and the challenges that a customer has. And customers are usually very welcome to tell you those, aren't they? Yeah, completely. Because they're not going to be sold to. Right,

Andy Barraclough: and you know, we kind of ask them, how did you get here?

What's the weather like today? You know, if you're at an event or whatever. Why have you given up your time? How many, you know, in, in my industry, we, we, we have this belief that, you know, taking a day out of the office to come to one of our events is a really good use of time. And none of my marketeers take any time to go to marketing conferences.

So I'm like, well, why do you think it's different? We just assume. Here's, here's, you know. Understanding, again, yourself being able to, you know, your credibility might come from actually, you know, we're working directly with X customer Y on a reference or a case study or actually they're going to speak at one of our events, but more importantly, they're talking to me, not to the account team.

Okay. That's a good thing to do. Yeah.

Jon Busby: What was the most surprising role that you weren't expecting as part of that buying committee that popped up then? Because you mentioned like this person wouldn't normally engage with this content.

Andy Barraclough: I think it's the usual. It's not a surprise, but it, you know, quite often we go, well, we know the decision maker.

We've got the good relationship. Yep. And then you go, do you need to talk to the CFO or the CEO? it's like, no, no, we don't need to talk to them. And then you get to the final part of the day. The CFO would like to look at it. And you go, oh. Yeah. Told you. So it's more, it's probably quite hard to open the door to a CFO.

Just, can we have a chat? Although, you know, if there's a, an opportunity at the table, maybe that's different, but it's more, it's an opportunity now because they've done something that you can react to that sort of insight where you go, you know, they've, they've, they've watched a video. They might think it was rubbish, by the way, but at least you can say, okay, well, tell me why that, you know, no is as good as yes in that conversation, but it's that you're having the conversation and you can take, you know, then you're relying on the skill of the.

The account team to kind of move that forward so so I think there's that in that particular example it was We don't it's not going to go to that seniority. We don't you do it Always


Claire Davidson: are you seeing any changes with who's involved in the purchase decision? So, you know, you've got obviously IT function itself.

You've got the users of the software Yeah, those departments you've got procurement You know, what sort of mix are you seeing, or have you seen a change over time? Has it always been everybody?

Andy Barraclough: Well, no, I think, I think it's got more complex, more involved. Just like it is for all of us, but in the same way, not that people aren't empowered anymore, but


Andy Barraclough: there's more risk, there's more exposure, and therefore people want more people in the decision making process to weigh it up sometimes.

In a valuable way, in other cases, to give them an out, so there's a bit of both there. But no, I, I still find in, in many of the, the roles and, you know, worked in large enterprise and small startup through to mid market in terms of customers, there's always more people than you think. And, you know, just because it's a low value purchase in a small organization.

where you're talking to who you think decision makers, probably not. There's going to be another person they want to just kind of run it past.

Claire Davidson: So what, cast your net a bit wider then?

Andy Barraclough: Well, be curious. I think that, you know, the number of times I haven't thrown anybody under the bus, but in, in, in any sales conversations that I've had over the years of we're talking to the CIO, we're all good.

What about the line of business teams? What about, you know, the head of marketing, the head of HR, the head of finance we don't need them. Only to find at the end that, you know, we've added, even if the deal closes successfully, you add another six weeks to the deal because there's three other people you haven't got to yet who will have a say.

and, not only do they not know who you are, but because they've not been involved, they're gonna be a little bit harder to talk to. so, it's that natural curiosity of and that's changed with, you know, how, in the previous good old days of sales people being told, you know, you own X account, go live in the account.

You're there five days a week. You walk the corridors. You chat to people. It's still possible, by the way. But we don't do that as much, and we don't use the tools, virtually. We make it much easier to do that. We kind of get quite narrow if we're not careful. And I think, you know, the same applies internally as well as externally.

I, I, I'll talk to my stakeholder about that, but they're not really, I know, but wouldn't it be good to just get a different perspective, right? Somebody in the professional services team or in the partner team, as well as in sales to get you a different point of view on, on how we sell. It's

Jon Busby: you made me reflect like on how collaboration has changed over the last few years.

You know, so, cause you're exactly right. Like I feel like our buying committees have got a lot larger in customers, but the way that we collaborate with customers has become also become a lot more difficult. Like you can't just go and have some of the conversations that. You can't have a salesperson walking a corridor.

Like how, how do you, how do we think marketing can help with that? Like what, what are some of the things that where we could start doing that change, change how we collaborate with customers?

Andy Barraclough: Well, I can't argue with, I think the technology enables you to have more conversations, you know, the fact that you don't need to drive to Manchester to the customer site and hope there might be, you know, people I think are if you can If you've got an engaging message,


Andy Barraclough: 10 minute Teams or Zoom call, I would hope most people would be up for that, right?

It is different saying I need to come for you for an hour and I need to be in, you know, but that's a good thing, right? And then maybe you've got a more detailed conversation.


Andy Barraclough: think marketing's role is, is to find, yeah, those entry points. If you can sometimes that stakeholder mapping, which again, account team should do, but when we've ever done it with them, that it's quite a, it's about this big.

And then when we finished, it's about this big. So helping them understand again. And it's fair, fair enough that in a relationship, as we were talking about, you can't have a good deep relationship as a, as a sales leader or as an account leader with 50 people, but we can.


Andy Barraclough: And maybe you've got five in addition to that.

You know, you're five core people, but you need, you need both of those things. So I think, you know, particularly, you know, community building advocacy work. Connecting people. I think marketeers have tried and because it's not lead gen, it's a bit hard, but you know, most, most customers I think feel relatively lonely.

They feel as though they're on their own on this journey. And they're the one taking this risk and the company, you know, we're pushing them to take the technology and they're looking around going, if this doesn't work, it's on me. And you put them together with five like minded people on the same journey, even with different companies, it doesn't always have to be, you know, they go, okay, okay.

And actually you feel quite good about that. It's a bit, you know, I say to talk about marketeers not going to marketing conferences, right? Part of that sometimes in my past has been you, you, because marketeers are pretty, you know, pretty down on our, In our own worlds, right? Oh, it doesn't work in here.

Then you go to other places. You're actually pretty good compared


Andy Barraclough: We're a bit more maybe we're not good at that, but we're really good at that But part of that is that sense of you're on the same journey as other people as opposed to you're in your own little world And it's really hard and whatever else and I think there's huge value there in terms of connecting people to to like minded people And helping them understand the journey and learning from each other.

Yep. And by association too, because you're helping that, you're putting, again, you're humanising the company that you stand for as somebody who's here to enable and help me, rather than they just want to sell me and leave me alone. Yeah, it's

Claire Davidson: interesting because some research we've just done with the FT sort of peer to peer has come out as the main.

I guess approach that people trust at all stages, whether they're just initially have they got a problem that they want to share, but also how to help make decisions.

Andy Barraclough: Yeah. And you know, your best sales people are your customers, right? And I think


Andy Barraclough: still a bit caught in my mind in the. We wheel the customer in, sorry, we wheel a customer in when the other customer asks for a reference.

That's too late for my mind, right? You want to get people with some groundswell beforehand. And equally, you want to be, you want some transparency, right? Because most of the things, you know, when we, when we were in COVID, we flipped from in person community events to online. We got a massive take up. And most of the value there was people saying, To a customer who already completed a journey.

Let's call it. What wouldn't you do if you did it again? Mm hmm Which

Jon Busby: of course sales are gonna be like, I don't want to have my customer to have that conversation Don't tell

Andy Barraclough: the bad stuff Yeah, yeah, because normally the bad stuff is Yeah, I didn't get enough internal buy in. We didn't spend enough time thinking about how we would make this project work.

Yeah Yeah, nothing to do with it. So

Claire Davidson: it's process and culture. Yeah.

Andy Barraclough: Yeah, we didn't think about the people enough We didn't sell it hard enough internally or whatever it may be. That's where you build credibility and trust

Jon Busby: See that that's the bit that's when you said it's easier using with technology now to collaborate with customers See I said that's why I disagree because some of those peer to peer conversations I think happen better when you're face to face, when you've got the little five minutes before five minutes after for someone to talk about their day or, you know, vent their frustration, which when you have to book a half hour slot in people's calendars, it can be difficult to get, do you think there's a balance?

Andy Barraclough: Definitely, but I definitely, I think there's a huge value in in person.

Jon Busby: Yeah.

Andy Barraclough: But you are always in that situation of. I want all these people to turn up when I want them to turn up at a time that I want them to turn up. Yeah, yeah. And they're all at different stages in the buying journey.

Jon Busby: Yep.

Andy Barraclough: And some of that, I think, is again on marketeers who, who, I, I feel, again, we're still in the one off world.

We still do one offs, right? We get excited by this, that, and the other. We're not thinking about the execution. And, and, you know, my current team only eight weeks in will tell you I'm already playing around the head with it. It's all about execution. And the point of that would be, I think those in person community things are great, but you need to build a program because at different times, people will be ready to come into that.

If you do it once, or you do it sporadically, then again, your business stakeholder doesn't understand, and your customer doesn't understand. If you said, we got to run this. Every month, on the first Thursday of the month, at this time, at this place. And if nobody's available this month, because it's not the right, great, that's okay.

Yep. Do it next month.

Jon Busby: Consistency.

Andy Barraclough: Put it on the table, and then people know, okay, this is where we do, this is where we put peer to peer together, right? Yep. So if you're in a conversation at any point with a customer, and they say, it really looks great, every Thursday, every other, sorry, every month on a Thursday, whatever it might be.

Equally, if that doesn't work, we can do virtual.

Jon Busby: Yep.

Andy Barraclough: But that's where, again, marketeers need to think about the orchestration of those audiences into our hoppers rather than the hoppers here, can you all jump in? Mm hmm. It's, okay, so what do we have at different stages of the year and the different stages of the buying cycle?

That become calls to action.

Claire Davidson: I think from a marketing point of view, you know, we've had to so often look at what that plan is, and you look at your quarter or your month, you think, right, we can do that then. Or we'll do that particular topic this month, we'll do a different topic next month. But like you said, somebody's not going to Not everybody's going to be interested in security this month, or, you know, so it's being aware of that.

But it's the balance of practicalities of how do we plan and schedule versus the reality of buying. I think

Andy Barraclough: all of that is absolutely right. Yeah. With the caveat that I think marketeers get bored very quickly. So we do something that's really good and we move on. Yeah. That was really good. Let's do it again.

We're magpies. We like shiny things. And we like new tactics. But I agree. Consistency. Consistency. Consistency. Consistency. Consistency. Consistency. Consistency. You know, a new venue or the menu or what the giveaways are and not how do I get repeatability? Yeah. Yeah, because for the customers who go to that event at that time, it's new.

Hmm. It's

Andy Barraclough: not new for us maybe and we, but for the customer, they're ready to now engage in that particular tactic, whatever it may be. And then in a month, there'll be another group who'll be ready. And for them it will be new as well. Yeah. Mm-Hmm. . So you have to take it. It's not all about you, you Yeah. But this obsession with, you know, venue finding really

I mean, you know, people hate me for it, but I'm like, people, people don't turn up because of the venue, very rarely. Mm-Hmm. very rarely. Right. Okay. Maybe top end, but with compliance, you can't do that stuff anyway. It's like there are only so many venues even in London that are gonna do that. Right. Actually people turn up because who's going to be there and what they're going to hear.

And we don't spend enough time on what they're going to hear often. It's like we're, we're thinking about, have you got a customer to, well we haven't really got a customer. Okay, well. Do that, worry about that part and maybe build a program of customers who are ready to talk then we can worry about how we deliver it virtually or in person or wherever we do it.

Jon Busby: Completely agree. So just bringing us to an end because I think you've, you've kind of ended on a really, really good point there, Andy. But having, you've been in your role in SAP now for eight weeks, is that right? Is it eight weeks this week? This week. This week. Like what would you say is the most important learning you've made so far?

Andy Barraclough: It's a good one. I think in some respects. Firstly, the most important learning is I guess is I'm really happy with the move, really happy with the company. I think the company is phenomenal and there's lots to do, which is what everybody wants, right? In terms of the culture is amazing. Our customers are fantastic and I think there's a real passion for success.

Equally, it's, it's that sense that. All the things we've talked about today are, are, are all there for the taking and the marketeers appetite to grow and develop is there. The business's appetite for marketing to step forward is there. We've just got to join those two things together. And I think that's great because it doesn't always work like that by you can walk in and it could be very much broken or a team, you know, isn't in the state that I've been fortunate enough to inherit in terms of their success, but equally their desire to move forward.

So that's the opportunity and I think that's the prize for all of this around, you know, working alongside of businesses. How do we make the UK market unit for SAP the most successful it can be? Yep.

Claire Davidson: Just final question for me, Andy, look at other people that are aspiring, say, to a CMO role, or what would you advise them to do at the beginning of a new job?

What should and shouldn't they do?

Andy Barraclough: Talk to the business first and foremost. I see, I still think that's quite hard for people to get their head around. Where have you spent your first month? Talking to the business, not talking to marketing. I've done that as well, but be interested and be curious. Yeah, it's, some of the team have heard me say that there are many similarities between SAP and IBM in particular and other companies, but there's huge differences equally.

And so I guess the one thing I always, I said to myself with this one, I say it to people that join my team is, I don't want you to do any work in the first month. Your worth is not by delivering something in the first month, it's by spending the time getting to know the business as best you can, go talk to as many people as you can, be interested, be curious.

And it's the only chance you'll get to do that. Because beyond that, then the wheels start turning and things start happening. So. So, you know, feel good that that is what the outcome of that first 30 days is all about. And that tends to work for me. Yeah, great, great advice. Love


Jon Busby: Love that. Yes, thank you very much for joining us.

Thank you for having me. The three things I've written down as we were talking, just finishing up there, which I just think summarises this conversation really well. Curiosity, which is one of my favourite words anyway. Customer. And consistency, like I think those three that might might be the reason for your success there, Andy.

But it's been a real pleasure to have you on the podcast today.

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