Interview with David Kerr, CEO, Octiv

David Kerr Octiv
David Kerr

Tell us about your role and how you got here. What inspired you to join Octiv?

My role, as CEO, is to support, motivate, and empower people to do their best work in their own roles. I’m a genuinely curious person and love digging into the why. It is interesting to me to figure out what people are good at, what they want to do, what the business needs and fitting all the puzzle pieces together to get the best outcome. It’s very energizing to see people grow and be successful.

I’ve always had a passion for small, entrepreneurial companies and the B2B world. I started my experience with Octiv as a customer. Experiencing the software from both sides has only intensified how much I believe in the product and what Octiv is doing as a company.

How do you see the enterprise document generation software industry growing by 2020?

In a market expected to grow by more than 30 percent each year, digital transformation in the document space will permeate every aspect of businesses. Digital documents are easier to create, edit, share, sign and manage. This allows for streamlined document workflows for things such as templates, integrations with source systems and online document collaborations. We expect to see more consolidation and breadth in platforms in the future as well, as martech extends into sales tech and as organizations better align their sales and marketing teams.

What are your predictions for B2B Content Management Technologies? How should CMOs plan the inclusion of these technologies in 2018?

In 2018, expect to see a dramatic improvement for documents that transition between the web-based experience online and the file-based experience offline where many of today’s productive workers continue to live. This is a critical ‘on-ramp’ for the offline workforce to leverage the power of modern connectivity and automation with digital documents in ways they never have.

Searchable, cloud-based repositories are also crucial to this process, and the future of content management technologies. Sharing, storing and collaborating will all need to be web-based, and this online access will continue to improve team alignment and the consistent customer experience.

CMOs should look for solutions that will seamlessly integrate with the systems and platforms they’re already using to ensure the most painless transition.

How can lead-gen companies leverage document builder software to achieve better marketing and sales ROI?

I believe every element of a customer’s journey should be top-notch and customized. And, in that, it’s important for lead-gen companies to ensure their customers’ entire buying experience is not only customized, but consistent—from the very first piece of marketing collateral a prospect receives, to the appearance and function of mobile apps, to the proposals and contracts they sign—in order to close more deals and acquire satisfied customers.

One way to achieve this is through aligned sales and marketing teams. If marketing and sales are on the same page, not only will the experience for the buyer be consistent, but the alignment will lead to greater company success as well. MarketingProfs found that “companies with aligned sales and marketing teams generated 208% more revenue from promotional activities.”

As sales and marketing work toward a shared goal, their activities will align with the customer buying journey, resulting in increased lead generation and revenue outcomes. And while aligning sales and marketing teams and, in turn, internal and external collateral may seem like a daunting task, this is where document-builder software comes into play. There are several document generation tools (like Octiv) that work with CRMs to make integrations between sales and marketing teams seamless. These types of tools also often allow feedback loops, which help ensure that a company is producing the best possible internal and external documents as well as the best consistent customer experience.

In addition to creating a positive customer experience, using document-builder technology makes sales teams more efficient. When salespeople have to search around for the right logo, tagline, etc., this causes them to spend more time than they should, in executing tasks, building sales proposals, and creating marketing collateral. As you know, time lost is money lost.

A consistent brand experience builds confidence with your customers and is the basis for a lasting relationship. An arsenal of consistently-branded marketing materials isn’t a “nice to have” but a “must have.”

With the maturity of B2B selling, how do you see multi-channel marketing and sales automation integrations evolving by 2020?

We’re seeing automation becoming more prevalent further into the sales funnel than ever before, and multi-channel automation integrations are a big part of that. Document generation platforms with CRM integrations and eSignature integrations in contract management platforms are just one example of this automation in later stages of the sales process.

What startups in the martech/sales intelligence industries are you watching/keen on right now?

Drift – they’re disrupting the market, and have a strong go-to-market strategy.

What tools does your marketing and advertising stack consist of in 2018?

Would you tell us about your standout digital campaign at Octiv? 

We have had great success with allowing prospects to create an Octiv document through our website. Our goal was to increase qualified leads by allowing prospects to engage with our software and create their own customized document. We positioned this as a strong call to action through our website and collected enough information to demonstrate the power of our custom automation engine. It has increased qualified leads and been a great resource for our sales team.

How do you prepare for an AI-centric world as a marketing leader? How do you leverage AI capabilities at Octiv?

We are beginning to use predictive analytics to create content and direct sales activity. As we look at the sales activities our customers and our own team are taking part in, we can better understand what content is resonating with customers and getting engagement, allowing us to create more impactful customer experiences. We are also better able to direct our sales team on the best messaging and time to engage with prospects and customers based on trend analysis.

How does Octiv inspire people in the company to work with technology?

As a software company, working with technology is inherent to who we are.

Our employees are expected to embrace technology and use it to produce higher quality work as efficiently as possible. We enable our team to do this through a strong tech stack of collaboration tools like Slack and Google applications as well as a monthly technology stipend for team members. We’ve made a conscious effort as an organization to also standardize tools to increase adoption.

What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?

Out of all the apps and tools our team uses, Slack has proven to be a stand-out favorite. It encourages active team collaboration across all the different channels of our business, and provides an archived history of all interactions for easy recall. We also appreciate Slack’s integrations, making it easy to incorporate the app with tools we already use daily.

What’s your smartest work related shortcut or productivity hack?

My Moleskine Smart Dotted Journal & Pen is my best productivity hack—it takes really great notes and transcribes them well for me. I can tag each note to store and search for later; it integrates to Evernote as well so my library of discovery and meeting notes just got simpler to manage and became substantially more useful.

What are you currently reading? 

I make a point to clear out my inbox, which keeps me up with tech headlines (Crunchbase Daily, PitchBook News, Owler, TechPoint News). If there’s a headline I want to dive deeper into, I’ll flag it to come back to the full article later when I have more time to really digest the information.

In non industry-related reading materials, I’m currently reading Hillbilly Elegy.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

“It’s better to be lucky than good.”

Tag the one person in the industry whose answers to these questions you would love to read:
Angela Ahrendts

Thank you David! That was fun and hope to see you back on MarTech Series soon.

A career entrepreneur with expertise in building and growing businesses, David brings more than 20 years of experience in executive management, business development, sales, and marketing as Octiv’s CEO. Before joining Octiv, David served as vice president and general manager of Groupon, and as the general manager of ecommerce for Angie’s List. He has also worked with GHX Europe and GHX Mobile Solutions. In his personal time, David stays active, competing in triathlons, cycling and running with his three children.

Octiv

Octiv enables companies to build and automate document workflows that connect systems and data for a better end-user experience. Octiv integrates data from CRM, CPQ, ERP and other systems to streamline workflows, save time and accelerate sales opportunities. Founded in 2010, Octiv serves over 350 organizations including large enterprises such as General Electric and Siemens, and high-growth companies such as Lindamood-Bell and SalesLoft.

The MTS Martech Interview Series is a fun Q&A style chat which we really enjoy doing with martech leaders. With inspiration from Lifehacker’s How I work interviews, the MarTech Series Interviews follows a two part format On Marketing Technology, and This Is How I Work. The format was chosen because when we decided to start an interview series with the biggest and brightest minds in martech – we wanted to get insight into two areas … one – their ideas on marketing tech and two – insights into the philosophy and methods that make these leaders tick.

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