Could you tell us about your role and the team/technology you handle at G2.com?
I recently joined G2 to help us accelerate our business across the Asia Pacific region. This means a lot of things, with the key goals this year focused on building our team, engaging with our customers and prospects, and building awareness of G2 across our buyer and vendor communities. It’s an exciting time as we are bringing new insights and innovation to the market and disrupting the traditional analyst firms.
We are currently building teams that will engage with Asia Pacific based vendors, as well as helping our global customers wanting to leverage G2 in the region. With our expansion, we hope to grow our Asia Pacific team to 100 employees by the end of 2020.
Which Marketing and Sales Automation tools and technologies do you currently use for your Sales and Business Development at G2.com?
We use a number of tools, with many of them now integrated together. Salesforce is the heart and soul of our SalesTech. Integrated with it are HubSpot (Marketing Automation), Clearbit (account and contact data), LinkedIn Sales Navigator (Sales Intelligence), Datahug (forecasting), and Docusign (eSignature). We also use tools like Slack (collaboration), Guru (Sales knowledge), and Canva (for design needs) to collaborate better. I’m also excited about adopting some of our MarTech tools, with Engagio (for ABM) being one that we are starting to dive into.
What services and solutions does G2.com provide to customers?
G2 is the world’s largest software review marketplace. Our vendors gain the opportunity to view real-time reviews from thousands of consumers on their software products, all for free. Not only does this provide direct feedback on products for vendors, but G2’s reviews also serve as a continuously growing repository of valuable information on what companies are doing well for future and potential customers. Our users get the opportunity to access in-depth data and 900,000 + user reviews on 90,000+ products to help them find the best software for their businesses. G2 takes the uncertainty out of purchasing business software – saving time and money, while increasing productivity for businesses.
How do you set your Customer Experience benchmarks in this competitive landscape?
The best and simplest benchmark I’ve found is the simple question, “if you had to renew your subscription with G2 now, would you?”. Nothing beats the direct answer and the explanations provided – it’s a gold mine in better understanding how your customer is getting value from you. It’s a simple question to ask and an easy question for the customer to answer – the difficulty is having the confidence to ask the question. While other data points like number reviews, engagement, performance on G2, traffic, etc are valuable, without knowing what the customer is thinking, the data can often be just noise.
Could you tell us more about your plans for APAC and how you intend to expand your customer base in the region?
Singapore was a natural place for G2 to expand. Earlier this year, we acquired Advocately, a Singapore-based Review Management platform, which helped us to establish a presence in Singapore. Additionally, 25% of buyers researching on G2 come from the APAC region and 6 out of our top 12 global markets are in Asia Pacific.
Although we do plan to expand our reach across Asia-Pacific, a major part of this expansion is to better serve our large customer base that is already located in the region. Expansion has been a significant priority for G2 over the last year, and we’re now a truly global company with offices in Chicago, San Francisco, London, Bangalore, and now Singapore.
What are the unique opportunities and challenges in APAC for MarTech companies compared to visibly leading ones in Americas, and EMEA?
For businesses in general, Asia Pacific has emerged as a key global driver of growth, with the gravity of global business now shifting to the region. According to McKinsey, Asia Pacific will top 50% of global GDP and represent 40% of global consumption by 2040. Given the growth of the region, there is a significant opportunity for all B2B software companies to grow, including those across MarTech.
I think the primary challenge here stems from the global nature of the way we do business today. Major companies from across the globe are targeted APAC for expansion and growth. Leaders across the Americas and EMEA are already doing business in the region, or have plans to do so. This creates a highly competitive landscape, but in a unique way also creates more opportunity for fast-paced growth and innovation.
How does G2.com enable these companies to sustain growth over the course of next phase of disruptions?
G2 plays a unique role in regard to business growth. On one hand we’re helping our customers choose the right software for their business, which can have major implications on a company’s bottom line. Business leaders typically don’t know what software tools to buy and it’s leading to massive global overspend on software. Companies spend an estimated $1.4 trillion on enterprise software and IT services each year, and an additional $30 billion on unused software. A big part of what we do is help businesses navigate this highly-complicated software market, and now that we’re in the digital age it’s more important than ever before as almost all businesses are run through software.
On the other hand, our user generated reviews help our vendors improve their products, which over time can lead to more innovative thinking across hundreds of industries. Before G2, there were limited ways that a software company could access user reviews, but now, genuine real-time feedback is at their fingertips. This continuous feedback allows software companies to enhance their products, and in turn, helps make the millions of other businesses that use these products more productive.
Where do you see the real-time AI movement within the MarTech and SalesTech industry as we move into 2020?
While a lot of what we read is about how AI will change how we work in the future, what has amazed me is how quickly smaller, incremental changes are happening. Every application I use is SaaS-based and I keep seeing AI-enable features rolling out that help me be more efficient. Text auto-complete, automatic scheduling, content recommendations, smarter search based on past behavior, etc. – individually smaller features, but in aggregate providing big efficiency wins for Marketing and Sales.
I don’t believe we are going to see a “big bang” when it comes to AI. As platforms and applications continuously add AI-enabled features, we keep adopting and using these. At some point, we’ll be in an AI-enabled world, but it will only be in retrospect we’ll realize this. What’s important is to know it’s happening and it’s happening now – you can’t ignore it.
How do you prepare for an AI-centric world as a Sales leader?
As a leader in an AI-centric world you have to be prepared to move fast. The way we do business is changing faster than ever, and with the injection of new technology like AI and Machine Learning, it’s only going to speed up. One key element to this is knowing where the value lies in regard to our work. AI makes things easier, but it also automates a lot of what we do on a daily basis. I think this creates a massive opportunity for people to do better, more meaningful work. AI allows people to do more of what they’re great at, such as communicating with their peers and making human connections.
As a company, we’re very aware of the rising adoption of various AI platforms across business. From general AI platforms, to Machine Learning, G2 has been actively monitoring this growing industry, and we’re glad to be in a position to help our customers navigate AI to gain a competitive advantage.
How do you inspire your people to work with technology?
Storytelling; show through stories how people have used technology to be more efficient and get better results. Everyone can relate better to stories and they help my team understand how others, that are just like them, have benefited from the tools we have available. It’s also important to make the stories relevant to the employee and what matters most to them. If someone values work-life balance, tell a story about how a tool is going to help them achieve this.
One word that best describes how you work.
It’s a skill I’ve learned from my managers and it’s something I always try to embed in my work, whether it’s smooth sailing or times are tough.
Which superhero character or movie do you most profoundly relate to?
Batman because at the end of the day he’s human just like the rest of us. He’s using technology to become a superhero – something I aspire to do with MarTech/SalesTech.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
My first Sales Manager told me about Sterling’s Law (his last name was Sterling!). It’s simple —
Your Effort x Your Skill = Your Results.
It’s as simple as this – don’t overcomplicate things.
Tag the one person in the industry whose answers to these questions you would love to read
Charles Ferguson – I always love his LinkedIn updates and insight he provides.
Thank you, Chris! That was fun and hope to see you back on MarTech Series soon.
Chris is a seasoned leader and entrepreneur in the Asia Pacific region, having a background in general management, sales, marketing, and business development. His experience includes helping businesses set up and expand in the region, as well as being an entrepreneur through co-founding of Springboard and successful exit through our sale to Forrester.
He is currently Vice President – Asia Pacific with G2, the leading B2B marketplace which helps connect buyers to vendors based on authentic customer reviews and real-time, algorithmic ratings of business software and services.
Prior to joining G2, Chris was a Director with ProductReview, Australia’s leading reviews platform. In this role he built a commercial team selling SaaS, data, and digital advertising subscriptions, as well as managing marketing and partnerships.
Before ProductReview, Perrine was Vice President, Asia Pacific for Forrester. In this role, he managed sales and business efforts with CIOs and CMOs that used research subscriptions, advisory, and consulting products. Key focus areas included Customer Experience, Digital Business, eCommerce, Big Data, and Mobility.
Chris came to Forrester through the acquisition of Springboard, where he was a Co-founder and COO and EVP of Sales and Marketing. In this role, he made contributions from the company’s founding to leading our global management and growth.
During his time in the Asia Pacific region, he has lived in Australia, Hong Kong, Malaysia, New Zealand and Singapore. He has a Bachelors degree in Business Administration from The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina and also holds an MBA degree from INSEAD.
G2 is the world’s leading B2B software and services review platform!
Until recently, selecting business software or services was difficult, risky and inherently biased. G2’s real, verified user reviews help you objectively assess what’s best for your business. G2 is disrupting B2B technology buying by connecting buyers to vendors based on authentic customer reviews and real-time, algorithmic ratings of business software and services. G2’s unbiased reviews help you objectively assess what is best for your business.
G2 has become the leading B2B review platform with over 750,000 reviews read by more than 3 million business buyers every month. We’ve brought G2 to Asia Pacific to help better serve our growing buyer community and customers located in the region.
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.