How to Hire a B2B Saas Marketing Leader

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Hiring a marketing leader is not just about someone's skills and experience but creating a partnership between the CEO and the head of marketing.

Avoma CEO Aditya Kothadiya provides first-hand insight into the process that he recently took to hire a director of marketing.

Aditya says one of the keys to success is hiring the right person based on a company's growth stage. 

Once a marketing leader comes on board, Aditya said it is important to align around expectations and goals so the rules of engagement are established.

I Mark Evans and welcome to market. IMar the podcast at the litters insight for marketers and entrees, and thetrenches in twenty five minutes or less successful marketing happens for manydifferent reasons, but I would suggest that one of thekeys is a strong partnership in the CO ahead of money. It's an area that I'mexcited to explore with a DICIA puthed co of a Boma which delivers insight,sales, people and marketing by recording and scribing and analyzingconversations at scale with a I welcome to marketing park thanks mark. This was a really greatintroduction and excited to be here as I set off the top one of the keys tomarketing success is a partnership between the CEO and the head ofmarketing. Now you recently hired a new director of marketing. Can you give mesome insight about the recruiting and hiring process? How did you do thesearch? How long did it take and how do you see creating that win? WinPartnership, a loaded question many different assets, but I would be reallyinterested in learning about that whole journey from having know how tomarketing to having a new head of marketing. It's a loaded question and it was alsoan interesting journey, how we hired Yank- and it also came based on a lotof mistakes. I had made in my previous attempts of hiring so this is, it wouldbe unfair to say this was the first time we tried to hive. There were fewerattempts I had done in the past and they did not work out and the numberone lesson I had learned back then, based on those experiences was you needto hire for the fit for the company of the stage where you are at, and it wasnot about the reason that sound the previous candidates did not work out.It was not about. They were not great candidate but because there were crolly MIS match in between theexpectations, or they were great at certain stage of the company and wherewe are at so one of the goals that I...

...had was to find someone who is hustler at thisOrly stage company who can have more genals approach otherthan a specialist approach. So look for that kind of personage as well. Thestory with hear is unique enough. It happened in a way where one of thethings that this is was, I think, three years agoor two or three years ago, when a was working at his previous company. It wasfreese chat where he was in the heading poor in the watering department there-and I was using into com back then and had some concerns about intercomspricing. So I complied about it on twitter, Yang Ping me on twitterindividually and try to book. A meeting with me explain try to address myconcerns that I had with Intercom, and I remembered that conversations twoyears ago and I was like this guy is in marketing. He needs to worry aboutscaling, bringing more traffic at a scale why he is hustling at anindividual tweet level and trying to penwith me as a customer. So then wegot connected on linked in twitter so but- and I kept watching him all hiscontent- we kept engaged for the last year and a half, and so at the more westarted knowing each other. I realize that we need to bring him to push our brand explain, customers whatwe do, which we were logging. We were not doing great job of doing that, andso that's kind of how it was unique causes, but I realize that he is theperfect fit for the stage that we have and that Hustler Minster was importantto me and also he's just too nice of a guy has been building great brand forhimself working with a lot of the community leaders, and I felt that alsois a value that I would learn how to build community for what we arebuilding. So those are the reasons we ended up, bringing an Yan to yoursecond part of the question: How you have the Wimin situation, it's a. Weare still early in our journey, but the way I felt was when I started chattingwith you. I told him o you have certain...

...strings and I would love to learn fromthose and I would want to have you continue to drive and teach me whatyou're doing and what you're passionate about. If I tol to step in and try togive you more chores or pass and not play by his strength, I'm going to addmore harden, so I told him that the number one thing that you should do isplay by your string, which is content brand building evangelizing. That'swhat you love story telling continue to do that. We will continue to her otherresources in other areas or the Pie, but that's kind of how I'm trying toflavor his strength, support him for the things that he's not great at or hedoesn't probably want to do a lot more work when you continue to work throughthat process. That's how I think about it, we'll see how it gets executor overthe peer, though it's interesting, because I think animportant element of that partnership creation is establising the rules ofengagement, and so both parties know what the expectations are. What thejourney is going to be like how you measure success, what the feedbackprocess is going to be like, because a lot of relationships between cos andmarketers fall apart when you're misaligned, when the CEO has certainexpectations and they fail to materialize and it's it becomes a blandgame more than a partnership. What went wrong, why do you do the job? Whyaren't you doing your job better, whereas it should be? How can we dobetter? How can we as a team and prove going forward? What do we need to lookat? What kind of different approaches do we need to take? Do you take thatinto consideration when you're going to be established in a new partnershipwith Y egg? Absolutely- and this is a great pointthat you brought mark one of the things that the way when Ya came on board. Wehad not worked together in the past, so the first thing I said, look right nowyou look up to the world in Cetewayo.

You have certain role models you havebuilt. Your own philosophies, your value system, based on what youobserved red over I have done sae. I have some different role models. I'velooked up into what I believe in the concept, and so maybe there is amismatch right now. So what we need to do is the first thing in the first fewweeks is to help us understand each other. What you W, how you get inspiredfrom what you like to follow more in the world and shared those stories withme, so that I will understand his context I will under when he recommendssomething when he provides a feedback. I'm instep thinking that, for this isYa, been that and then that's very sent point center kind of thinking that youthink about it. But now, if I have a little bit more context, why did yacksuggest at this thing o? Because he follows these principles because hebelieves in these kind of value system? Now I have better understanding andbetter context where he is coming from same I same, I actually suggested yeathat this is how I think about it. These are the things that I believe inthese. These are my values, believe systems and more. He has understandingabout those. Now we don't have to do explanation when we give feed back Yo aknows that, where I'm coming from that's kind of one of the things thatwe started aligning ourselves to really be going back and forth, you alsotalked about goals and all of those things there's also. There is a pointof view that I told him. This is what the company needs to go. This is wherewe want to go. What do you think so? There is a combination of a bottom upwere getting inputs from him. This is where we are at and if you want to jobto this level, how much of this is accomplishable? Can we do this and Imight have a very high expectation as a see you, but I want to make sure thatwhen he come on world he doesn't get scared away because of those ambitiousgoals or laugh lot. To goes that you might, we might have and there's a partalso to probably you can get a Gressie later on once he understands the restof the ecosystem or confetio landscape or Florac nuances, then he would beable to bid up giving these ambitious goals for the first few weeks or firstmonths of quarters, is going to be...

...paying him or setting up so for failureitself. So that's kind of how I also think about the goal. Setting itsitself is a collaborative process. You can just say that hey. This is what wewant to go: Go figure it out. That's where again you're going to set up theleaders for the failure itself. It was interesting that earlier thisweek, Spencer Stewart issued a study looking at the life span of the typicalClo, and it actually fell by one month to forty months, so they barely last alittle more than three years, whereas the average tenure for a CEO, six and ahalf years curious, given that you've been anentrepreneur for a long time is. Why do you think that C mos don't last verylong, they're almost hired to be fired? Is it a lack of patience, the lack ofunderstanding of marketing the pace of business is so fast. How do you explainthat honestly? I would be. It would be difficult to say that Iknow it all in this perticular area and the way I still think about it. I'vealso worked at larger companies where these situations have happened soconcern those lenses. The Way I think about these things is that it's lessabout if the cors of the SEMAS are great at the skins that they are at. Itgoes back to to me. It's the alignment between the Sou and the co where seesor even general founders, when you think about it, they have a lot ofownership minds that they are basically carrying. This atlas shrug on theirshoulders and they feel like the whole weight, is on their shoulder to makethe company successful and so that into an ownership. Mind said is what Seyothinks about they're thinking about Cora, they're thinking out sales,custom experience and all of those things. So when they are thinking aboutthe company positioning story, the region, they have a lot biggerperspective and bigger context. If he so has that perspective? The questionis that how the other leaders in the...

...company would have those perspectiveswell have their context as well. When you think about the alignment happens,the MIS element happens, because, when the seam of it's trying to put someagenda that they might have or personal legenda that they're tryingto bring in verses, trying to put the company first trying to understand theconcept of the context of the intererit that the CO have. Once you understandto see you as visions really well, then you can still take the ownership andstart executing those as well. When you see that fiction, that gap is therebetween the the vision that the CO has and if the marketing leader is notexecuting. Based on that context, that's when I feel like see youeventually, I figured out that Hey. Maybe this is not working, I'm tryingto communicate these things and then I'm not seeing the reserve, but theresults of not being seen sometimes because of the lack of theunderstanding itself and that's how I still see, but the honestly there are alot of many factors could go wrong as well, but at least what comes top of mymind, this is something I would say. Let's just cares a little bit and moveto the idea that many companies need to be customer centric, more customercentric than ever. How much should product and market listen to customersand when should companies not listen to customers, and I think about quote byHenry Ford who once said if I had asked people what they wanted, they wouldhave said faster horses. So, as you develop your product and move forward,how much do you weigh what customers tell you versus? What's your vision isfor the company and the product excellent question. The Way I thinkabout this is mark. Is it's not one single and so simpleanswer for every situation? This is also where I feel that you haveto break it down into strategic level and then at the practical level, at thestrategic level Busalla. Well, you got to have a pint of you as a founder as acompany. You cannot dictate the do that, based on what competitors are tellingyou what customers are telling you, so you have to have your not start pointof view. This is why the world is...

...broken. This is why the one needs to bebetter employer fire. This is what the ideal state I would want to see in theword exist. You've got to have that, but and the tactical level, that'swhere you need to listen to the customer, so you have to have vesureand from your founder Font of you from the poret point of view, but then, whenyou're trying to deploy that strategy and try to deploy to in the hands ofthe customers, that's when, if you don't listen, you're going to pen. Sowhen the customer centric thing is about, if customer gives a feed back,is he still a Ligne with your vision? If yes listen to it and try toimplement that feed back into an existing vision? And as long as it'spart of the region, you make that experience based on how they are goingto experience the power of the service that you coin. But, on the other hand,if it's off the vision that you have, then you don't need to listen to theirfeet back and that's when I will say that you need to take this from a twodifferent lengths as part of you and I've seen this. This also helps to behonest. The way I might be biased her. I came from a car of managementexperience in background, and I do believe that having the Pardo mind set does help youif you're coming from just purely from the sales experience background, itmight be a little bit of challenge because you're going to over emphasizewhat customers are telling you and you have to have the habit of being curious.When customer said that I need this, you need to bring that extra level ofcuriosity. Why do you need this and you ask, through or four level of questions,to truly understand the need? And then, once you understand, the true need whatthey have. You would be able to address the need, in some other point of yourother solution that you might have, which fits into your vision. That'sanother way of kind of finding the ballas between what customers aresaying and still trying to make sure that you have the Vision Centre view as well. One of the reasons why you, I believewhy you hired Yagas, to raise the company's profile to become moreembeter than the community to have a...

...very high profile evangelist who cantalk about a Vama and your category, but I'm also curious about thechallenges facing companies and competitive market places to breakthrough to prospects, because prospects are being inundated with marketing andsales and all kinds of other content these days. One of the areas that Iwanted to ask you about is cold out reach because it gets a bad rap. Coldemail called telephone calls almost surprising prospects, rather thanapproaching people who are warm or have brand awareness. What are your thoughtsabout the whole idea of cold, cold marketing, cold sales? Honestly, it became bad reb because howwe have executed it. I don't think it's. You cannot not have cool outgonestrategy as a company if you're building something in educatingsomething, and I also think about it's less of a sales problem. It's more of amarketing problemas. Well, I think about cold marketing or code. Email isnothing but a free ad that you're doing and directly trying to reach out tosomebody's in box and then other day it's an ad kind of a concept, but to think about it, I give literallyfifty emails every single thing. Somebody is trying to do selling me inCordevan what you know what what's happening fortify out of those fifty emails aregoing to Google Pan box automatically without me having to do anything onlyprobably four or five emails are reaching to my impact. Why is ithappening because we are starting to do a lot more, this personizationautomation and all of that stuff, but and then of the day we are just doingautomation at scale, and people are not being thoughtful research or antedtrying to not get personal as much. We have also as a company. We have startedimplementing colorman strategy as well and when we had a few folks, theearlier on their expectation, was a each er we're going to get thirty toforty percent open rate for cod email. That's the standard, that's what wehave seen in in the industry works, and...

I said that's lily. Creos I mean it's.You cannot operate were trying to burn this begs trying to reach our thesepeople. Think about it. If you're only thirty forty percent people a ver,opening your emails, then the final starts from there. Only a few peopleare going to be interested and all of that stuff we have implemented someframe ox Tom Strategies where we said okay, how can we make it personalized?One of the simplest heard mark we implemented was that every singlesubject life needs to be unique to the passway that nobody else that subjectline should not resent it with some one else. That simple had changed our openreds from thirty forty percent, that the expectation was to eighty person toninety percent. It is unheard, and this is not once in a while. We have seen itconsistently. We get opened it for coremia to eighty person, ninetypercent and then watch people open the email they see if they'll get a thewhole personation of the way we do. They get delighted experience and theysee that they replied to us that this is one of the best Qualima I've seenagain when we had some swabs, they had never seen this. They told me ality ofyou've, never got responses like this, because it was executed badly in someother organization. That's what people believe that that's what the world weexpect and we should live in, but if you put a bit of Certoza Ion- and theseare also- we are able to scare it variable to not probably say hundredsof females every day, but we're able to send thirty forty emails every day. Iwould rather take that short than try to send too many emails and have onlyless kind of automated responses or automated emails and not get anyresponsive. So that's how I think I mean I still believe in the value ofcold. We have book deals. We have closed deals purely from the coldoutfit. So I cannot control or convincing of that hey why you have tocontinue a Westin cold, because that's how you are able to control who are yougoing after in bound? I don't control who is coming to envole to me? Yes, wemight educate through the marketing messaging, but if you want to go up tolarger customers, if you want to go to...

...increase our average contra value, weknow who are those customers and even rather better control their journey,rather than be waiting for, involve leagues to come to us. So that's how Istill think I extremely believe in call email call out great. It is that itneeds to be the wife curious about whether you're, usingtemplates to do called out reach or whether every single of those thirty toforty emails is completely personalized. We use temperate, but the way we do it.Those temperates do have custom variables there, and the personation isnot that I saw you are linked in or just adding your first name tag and thecompany named tag and try to make that as a personalize thing, we try to dothe research there's a prospecting research face where we do hey. Theseare the things that we have observed. Customers Lincoln pay their companypage, and we try to put that variations of different observations that we havedone into Spectin, which had to give at least for or five minutes to each ofhis research and then through that research, then obviously, those pas mapto the actual temperate that we have so that we were not spending way too muchtime in sending this person as emails. But when prospect receive those email,they find it very research heavy. They find it very personal to what they'rebeing and we are also about stalking people. I like saw you like rugby or footballand try not get it to personal. That's not really personalization. To me it'smore about relevancy. Looking at what initiatives are happening in theircompany and then anticipating hey. You have done these things recently. You'veannounced these features in your block. You announce these hiring requirementsbased on that we anticipate you might have these needs. Is this somethingthat you would be offered to learning more and even started conversation? Weare also not trying to book meeting in the first meeting, it's a known or forme, you try to get on fifty minute call right there in the first meeting, Welhave a concept of warm of face. First...

Week or two, we just tried to warm upthe leaf which in information and asking information, and then afterthose warmer face, then we go hard selling pies in the cody melt in thesequences we do use sequences. We used use templates, that's what the scalingcomes in, but we motivate sure that we don't lose the touch of thefertilization, the relevance when we are reaching out to these prospects so one hand you've, got sales, doingcalled out reach and other forms of connecting with customers, and thenyou've got marketing, building community, creating content, developing sales and marking collateral.How do the two departments work together, because in many organizationsthey operate as silos, marketing doesn't talk to sales sales. Doesn'tTalk to marketing sales complains that marketings leads our crap marketingcomplaints that sales can't close in an ideal world. They are sittingside by side they're, comparing notes they're working together. Is thatsomething you think about when it comes to Voman? Oh absolutely, I had this lived withthis pain in my previous companies, and I want to make sure that when we arebuilding this organization, this doesn't become an oughter, though a lotof the Times. What happens is that when it's too late, when the problem isalready there and if it's too late, it gets even harder to fix it, so the bestway is to start when you are already starting from the day when itself to mea the way. I think about these things, there's no one single, again, silverbullet that will fix this problem. There are the way I think I would justcall him is three, for there is people itself other cracks of it, then there'sa processes that you build in the company to collaborate and work. And,lastly, I call about this as a platforms as well. What platforms aretools that you're using so when you think about it? First of all, peopleitself, you got to identify what are the motivations of these individuals,who are there at the leadership level how connected they are with thecompany's Vision Company's usion when...

...they operate when they propose someideas, you can sense that are the self centry or are they trying to put thecompany as a first center, the more people are selves centric and havetheir own agendas. That's when the more silos starts happening, people try tooperate in their own ways, and you identify people who are thinking aboutthese things at a company level put the company first, then you will see morecollaboration happens. So that's the first thing. I continue to observe whatkind of people are we bringing and how did they operate and if they're notdoing at the same level, then you give feed back to them. That's the numberone thing I would do. Obviously, then processes comes in as well. Whatprocesses have you implemented? Are the defined documented if they're not anearly state company? We struggled with that too much as well, because theseprocess of being built as we go as well. But if you don't put like little bit ofthought hid of time, then you're going to see if people are working ad hawk inany manner that they want and so documenting certain process, and thenit should not be a lot of policies or restriction, then you're again addingmore friction, but as long as you talked about it hey, this is theexpectation between the collaboration. Every week we review these numbersevery week. We talk about the winds and failures here and it's a lot aboutpointing finger if you said that nothing gets discussed here is aboutidentifying human mistake, it's about. How do we improve upon the next? Whatdo we need to do as a change as a company so having those retrospectivesis extremely important for us, so we try to have those conversations on theeveryone gets a life. That's another process that we define differentmechanisms, meetings, documentation. All of those things could happen. Lastwit comes down to platforms as well. Most of the problems I've seen happensbecause people are trying to access information and they don't have accessto that information. So marketing is living in one different tool and salesin living is different tool and both of them are not able tracts of theirinformation easily without unless marking has to chase sales, peoplelet's meet and then share only that information, then it becomes extraor.If you let people access information by...

...themselves and have tools adopt toolswhich are collaborative in nature, you would see even more people startsharing information which of each other. So to me, one of the reasons we starteda home was exactly that that we felt that custo facing conversations arebeing only held into sales persona only or they were only having access. Whatwe wanted to do was to democratize that intelliget that saves people having andhave Martin people to listen to the voice of their customer first hand,rather than listing it from the subjective opinion that the salesperson might bring in. We also lent that information to her byporter people and other engineering teams. That's how we're trying tobelieve that the more tunes on platforms you have this collaborativefat house. You would see more collaboration between these two teamsas well. I do a lot of work with bbis companies around position and help themtell a better, stronger, more compelling narrative and I'm Curiousoto see how much effort that of Oma has invested in position in a message isjust something that you thought about. While you've moved the company forward,while you've tried to improve your marketing in sales. This is such an excellent question. Iactually think about this pretty constantly and there's a reasonwe did struggle for a while to define our self who we are, what we want to doand because it happens right. So if you don't define your own point of view,what you're trying to build as your positioning, someone else will startbuilding it for you and then that might be too late for you as well. Then youget fusion holding to one. Some of somesort of competitors are out there as well as some sort of category has beencreated and a lot of things that we think about. So do we create our owncategory, but do we try to stay in existing category and try todifferentiate in the same category and there's also a notion of okay? You havean ambition to create own category, who doesn't want to create their categoryand be number one in that cattery. But...

...can you support it from a resourcespoint of you, Financial Pontif? It's not just you come up with a name andtag for your company and then suddenly becomes a category you have to investin that you are to educate the world. Do you have resources financially team,wise, every single thing to educate the world and or analyst and all of thosethings? So to me it has been a challenge for us where we wanted toexplain ourselves differently, but we were struggling to do that and that'swhy I do keep constantly see you how you're evolving as a company howcompetitors are evolving. Where do we compete where what are our strengthsjust because our competitor started positioning themselves in some way? Isthat our strength? What are our strength? Do we play by our strength ornot? And so those are the things I casteno think about and positioning isextremely extremely important. For me, it's how we are able to explaincustomers who we are, why we stand and I'm not saying that the position is,God is not to please everyone. It's to a trot customer who believe in ourregion. We will say a note: A lot of customers and they'll go to ourcompetitors totally fine, because that's what the believin and that's,what a competitors do we don't have those things. We will stay away fromthat positioning and we will try not to convince her those customers to buy usand eventually get disappointed. So it helps for me to convince our team,because they on't tell come and ask me the car we compete with this distese.What do we do exactly, and so I have to have that clarity in my thinking toexplain them. Okay, we have these sets of customers. How does a bum of fitinto all of this thing? So it helps me to communicate to my team, have themalign men and that alignment is helpful when we make the powder decisions whenwe make what aid as we need to decide to invest so again, positioning isextremely important. It's not just for the marketing coffee. We, it goesbeyond the marketing copy, a landing page copy to have even execute as well a final question just for fun. Have youread a great book recently? I did...

...the recent book I read and I'm learningright now, tennis and one of the books, I've read called in our game of tennis.Now it sounds like it's about tennis, but the book is about in high side O asall about the business learning the book was about. How do you perform attennis at when you are at a peak for formers and Dina, was that it's notjust falling the routine that you have but trying to think about your innergame when you're your that level of performers? Is that you only whenyou're not forcing yourself and you're letting it happen and what it means bythat, as you do more and more of these things, it becomes a habit, it becomesnatural to you if you start observing the hay out of play for hand thisparticular way, and if you put more emphasis on putting the forehead, canyou not really executing your making it happen? The book was telling, let ithappen. Just let the hand you tell your brain and your brain will go and makethose actions, and there was a lot of great learnings. I started learningabout how do we Ron Company? How do we do these things? What are my stringsare a d there, a lot of Tars, I don't enjoy doing it and I'm forcing anser todo that, and I don't end up doing the best work of my in that particular area.For example, the whole community building, I might not be the bestperson, that's exactly, I knew we need to hire someone who is best I die, theyenjoy doing that and I would rather do something that I am best of and that'skind of that book was it's a short book. I really loved it and I'm going toactually relate that book when more time, just to again comprehend becausehave initial even I started reading it was about tennis coaching once I readit, I'm like wow. There are a lot other lessons here. How do we run life? Howdo we run business that I need to read it that move again? I'm also an avid tennis player and Ihave read the book by Tenny Galway and it is interesting because he startedoff as a tennis pros in this little...

...country club and develop thismethodology or this process of teaching people how to play tennis, and then hegot hired by companies around leadership and motivation and corporateculture, and it is a great story and for anyone eat if you're, not a goodtennis player or you're, not a tennis player period. It's a must read one toask you. If people are interested in learning more about you and a Vama,where do they go? My valves is the best one. As long asyou send my personal email, I will always reply so it Aditya at Abom, AdiTia at Boma Com or finale Linton. That's a Gr Coterie on Linton, justsearch when you should be able to find me well thanks for listen to each otherepisode of Mark Ety Spark. If you enjoyed the conversation, leave areview and subscribed by Iton spot ify or your favorite podcast APP for shownotes of today's conversation and information about a Deja visit.MARKETIN SPARK CO LA blog if you'd like to learn more about how I help Btsanies as a fractional co, strategic advisor and coach send in email to markand Mark Evans, dot, ca I'll talk to you next time.

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