Tell us about your role at SpringCM and how you got here. What galvanized you to join the company?
As Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, my focus is growing awareness and market share for SpringCM, and helping to build a brand with which customers want to do business. At SpringCM, we help workflow for businesses and organizations worldwide through adoption of a cloud-based document management and automation platform. I worked at several companies that were in related businesses, notably SteelBrick, which sold its quote-to-cash business to Salesforce, and BigMachines, which sold its Configure Price Quote (CPQ) business to Oracle. Most recently, I was part of the marketing team at Salesforce, and in all of these roles, I watched SpringCM grow and develop a leadership role in the document and contract management space. When I decided to look for my next opportunity at a fast-growing company in a hot space, SpringCM was my number one choice. In addition, I really liked the people and culture, and that’s so important because I spend so much time and energy here.
Given the changing dynamic of self-service data access to business groups, how do you see Workflow Management platforms evolving by 2020?
Workflow is becoming increasingly important across many parts of a business. Where we used to see workflow mostly in limited areas, such as contract management, reviews and approvals, we now see more it broadly used across all parts of an organization and across more vertical markets. Workflow Management platforms need to be increasingly flexible, intelligent and able to support more data and content use cases.
How is the global market for Workflow and Document Management technologies shaping up with the greater maturity of DMPs and AI-driven analytics?
The global market for workflow and document management technologies is growing steadily, with the biggest expansion in cloud-based solutions. AI-driven analytics will become common and even expected in document management technologies in the coming years. It can help provide deeper insights that can feed into workflows, but AI is a supporting technology, not a replacement for workflow and document management technologies.
How could CMOs better leverage SpringCM to better manage contract lifecycle?
Managing contract lifecycles is at the heart of what SpringCM does for many of our customers, and this applies to marketers, as well as other teams across all organizations. Whether it’s for sell-side contracts, where you are selling products or services to your customers, or buy-side contracts, where you are managing procurements, contracts are at the heart of every transaction. Managing those contracts, routing them for reviews and approvals, tracking the movement and location of those contracts, and then archiving and retrieving them, can be overwhelming without contract lifecycle management tools. Automation not only ensures that contracts get executed faster and with fewer resources but also ensures visibility and accountability through the process.
How do you see the recent changes in data privacy laws (GDPR) impacting Document and Workflow Management platforms? Would the gap widen between data sets and experience delivered to customers?
GDPR and data privacy laws are impacting companies worldwide. Even though GDPR is a regulation coming out of the EU, it impacts every company with customers, employees, partners or suppliers in the EU – which includes most businesses these days! GDPR requires companies to take reasonable data protection measures for sensitive and personal information.
Marketers, in particular, need to be cognizant of anything from personal information stored in marketing automation systems to stored IP addresses. Now more than ever, we need to be incredibly transparent regarding opt-in protocols and how we will use data subjects’ information.
Other examples are contracts, resumes and other types of documents containing signatures and other identifying information. These are all subject to GDPR data management guidelines and EU citizen removal requests, as are other more public-facing forms of data. So if you are dealing with EU clients or customers in any capacity, the documents that underpin your relationships with them must be accounted for, and your IT setups must meet the GDPR regulatory burden.
Having information stored and searchable in a central, cloud-based location – rather than scattered across various servers, in hard copies, and in disparate formats – makes managing the type of requests that could arise under GDPR easy.
And even for data that is necessarily unstructured, workflows that allow for the easy identification and full deletion of a given piece of requested data can help meet GDPR requirements.
How does SpringCM democratize disparate and complex data sets to build a singular definition of a customer?
SpringCM facilitates collaboration and productivity across organizations, enabling users to organize, manage and find any document, anytime, anywhere. You can create and store your documents in one central repository to eliminate time wasted searching for content. This can help eliminate silos of information within an organization, enabling a single view of all customer information and interactions. Advanced search options let you pull up the exact document you need in record time. You can filter your search by folder or file type, or conduct a universal search of your entire repository. The search function in SpringCM isn’t limited to document titles, either — it will search the body of the document too, so you can find what you need even if you don’t know its title.
What challenges CMOs tackle to make their social selling decisions work with accurate marketing attribution?
It’s a challenge to get accurate marketing attribution for social selling. We track attribution through a number of systems and I feel like we’re getting better all the time, but it’s a work in progress. We’re always learning and evolving in this area.
What startups are you watching/keen on right now?
I like startups that solve a real need and bring new ways to solve existing problems. That may include AI and machine learning applications, or just applying creative approaches to solving real challenges.
What marketing and sales automation tools and technologies do you use?
Could you tell us about a standout digital campaign at SpringCM?
Dreamforce is one of the nation’s largest B2B events with 170,000 attendees and 400 partners and customers for four days. SpringCM’s marketing team developed an idea for a Dreamforce Twitter campaign centered around SpringCM’s social media guru, James Serra, and featured the hashtag #BenioffMeetJames. James admired Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff for his philanthropic work and set a personal goal to meet and take a selfie with Benioff at Dreamforce 2017. The plan was to release a series of Twitter posts for the campaign and every time someone tweeted or retweeted the hashtag #BenioffMeetJames, SpringCM would donate $1 to UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital.
The campaign set out to accomplish three goals:
- Increase brand awareness
- Create a buzz
- Encourage engagement
SpringCM faces social media challenges common to many B2B brands — establishing a voice, sharing relevant content, and generating engagement. Unlike consumer brands, social media isn’t a place where a buyer makes the decision on the spot or purchase on a whim. Instead, for B2B brands, social media is one of the small pieces that brings the entire buyer-journey puzzle together.
Like all great PR and marketing campaigns, SpringCM supported this idea through a variety of mediums and channels. The company created a new landing page to showcase its presence at Dreamforce, which included a #BenioffMeetJames section with an introductory video.
A series of eight videos (all of which were filmed and produced in-house) showcased James preparing for his meeting with Marc Benioff and gearing up for his trip to Dreamforce.
The sequence of videos established James as a character, allowing the campaign to not take itself too seriously. These videos spread virally after Marc Benioff himself retweeted the first video. This was followed by other Salesforce executives and employees also retweeting the posts, reaching a larger audience than SpringCM could have imagined.
In one of the final videos, James stumbles upon a rock climbing wall at Dreamforce and decides to climb to the top to see if he can locate Marc Benioff in the crowd. While at the top, a colleague yells that they’ve found Marc, telling James to hurry down. James accomplished the video series’ goal, meeting Marc and capturing a selfie. That video alone received over 15,700 impressions and more than 500 engagements on Twitter.
The videos were able to take viewers on a journey, and SpringCM’s social media accounts acted as the broadcast medium for James’ mission.
Through retweets, uses of the hashtag and booth scans at Dreamforce, SpringCM raised $10,000, which it donated to UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital. Total engagements driven by the campaign reached 2,200+. The hashtag was used more than 800 times. Throughout the campaign, which actively incorporated mentions of SpringCM’s Dreamforce presence, SpringCM was able to build awareness, create buzz and engage with users, with Marc Benioff himself tweeting about the campaign.
How do you prepare for an AI-centric world as a marketing leader?
While all marketing leaders will eventually use AI in one way or another, a major pitfall of AI adoption among marketers is a rush to automate tasks prior to thinking through the ramifications and defining the very task that is being automated.
As marketers, our thinking has to be completely planned and applied to the long term. We create personas to predict the buyer’s journey and plan drip campaigns around predictions of the actions of potential leads. AI has to be thought through in the same way; it should not be applied to a process until the risk and error is fully understood. Our team is preparing by identifying the processes with the potential to be automated, and from there, creating a roadmap for how that will look when put into action.
How do you inspire people to work with technology?
As a technology company, it’s part of our mindset so the people I work with aren’t afraid of technology. It’s more about inspiring creativity and pushing people to identify and create new opportunities that serve our customers and our market, and continually trying new things. Technology is an enabler of that. Using tools like Salesforce, HubSpot, Google and social media we can test new ideas and get immediate feedback about how they are performing. We’re not afraid of launching new campaigns and making changes on the fly based on the results. I encourage people to brainstorm new ideas and then run with the most inspiring ones. It’s empowering and builds new muscles that make us stronger as individuals and teams. Technology supports those efforts.
One word that best describes how you work.
Collaborative — In my marketing organization, we work as a team. Everyone has ownership of a unique area or program and each person has their own skill set, but I strive to ensure that we work as a team. Together we are smarter and more creative than any one of us can be alone. There is a lot of cross-pollination of ideas and teamwork. That extends beyond the marketing team, as we partner with other teams (product, customer success, sales, alliances, etc.) but we try to lead by example.
What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?
Salesforce is one. I’ve been a user for 10 years and it’s been part of my day-to-day activities for the past decade. SpringCM is another. It easily enables my marketing team to store, archive and share documents within our team and across all our partner teams in organized and reliable ways. It’s a lifesaver!
What’s your smartest work related shortcut or productivity hack?
I’m always looking for smarter ways to stay focused and filter out the distractions that arise throughout the day in order to increase my productivity. For me, it’s the simple things like blocking out time on my calendar so that meetings don’t get scheduled during every hour of my day. I’m always open to learning how to be more productive but I don’t believe there is a single, magic shortcut. If you find one, please let me know.
What are you currently reading?
My guilty pleasure is reading the New York Times on Sunday mornings. Sometimes I realize that the entire morning has passed and I have not even gotten past the first section of the paper! Other than that, I consume most business and technology information in short bursts — reading articles online. For mental escape, I read things related to my hobbies to detach from my hectic work schedule and open my mind to think differently.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Rather than a piece of advice, I’ll share a quote that I think of often: “If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?”
Something you do better than others – the secret of your success?
One way I measure my success is by the success and growth of my team. If I can enable them to be successful in their roles, learn and grow their careers, then I am doing my job. I want them to shine and be stars. But I have to be a role model and provide them with the tools, support, inspiration, mentorship and direction to help them achieve that. If they are successful in their roles, we all win (and I don’t have to do it alone). I have had several talented marketers follow me from company to company as they’ve grown their careers so I feel I am doing something right.
Tag the one person in the industry whose answers to these questions you would love to read:
Marc Benioff, Among his many talents, he is a master marketer.
Thank you Will! That was fun and hope to see you back on MarTech Series soon.
Will has a successful track record of building best-in-class brands and growing market share for emerging tech companies.
He has substantial experience in all areas of marketing strategy, creative development, messaging, brand positioning, and marketing analytics, as well as partnering with Sales and other teams to drive growth.
SpringCM helps people save time, grow revenue, increase productivity, by automating and transforming business processes. SpringCM empowers individuals and teams to get work done efficiently and with confidence. Transform your documents and let work flow.
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.