Mandy Dhaliwal - Bhaskar Roy -  Julie Kaplan
October 7, 2022

B2B Culture Wins Every Time

Guest: Mandy Dhaliwal - Bhaskar Roy - Julie Kaplan - CMOs, Nutanix - Workato - CareMetx

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When a CMO says, “We’ve been winning business lately because of our culture…” That’s a mic drop moment.  

Tune in to this episode of Renegade Marketers Unite to hear from 3 CMOs who know the true value of great employee cultures, from companies with remarkable growth and some impressive stats, like a 94% retention rate for one and 96% C-Sat for another.  

Learn how to codify brand values, bring them to life across the organization, and more from the super stars of this show: CMOs Mandy Dhaliwal of Nutanix, Bhaskar Roy of Workato, and Julie Kaplan of CareMetx. 

What You’ll Learn  

  • Why you need to codify your culture  
  • How to make brand values real (with and without office) 
  • How to measure and compensate for culture 

Resources Mentioned 

Highlights

  • [2:56] Mandy Dhaliwal shares Boomi’s 5 values   
  • [6:41] How Boomi’s employees codified the culture  
  • [8:08] Brand culture ambassadors and ERGs  
  • [10:22] Bhaskar Roy on Workato’s name and culture  
  • [13:08] How Workato’s culture has evolved  
  • [16:52] Can culture drive demand?   
  • [19:23] Julie Kaplan on CareMetx’s name, values, and culture  
  • [23:14] How CareMetx built culture without office  
  • [26:00] Manifesting culture for your team  
  • [27:11] On CMO Huddles  
  • [30:28] How to get from values to messaging  
  • [35:40] Encouraging wellness at work  
  • [37:42] Measuring culture  
  • [41:18] Compensation for culture?  
  • [43:54] Tips for building strong cultures  

Highlighted Quotes  

“Not all creativity happens in marketing.” —@1MandyDhaliwal @nutanix Click To Tweet “If you architect culture correctly, then you know when it’s working… It’s not cut and dry, but when you do it right, it’s addictive.” —@1MandyDhaliwal @nutanix Click To Tweet

“Everyone is supposed to listen to sales calls every week, to talk to customers & understand where they are so that what we’re doing from a marketing standpoint is grounded in reality rather than ivory tower marketing.” —@broy @workato Click To Tweet 

“We are all company builders.” —@broy @workato Click To Tweet

“Culture and how you manifest that for your team can have profound impacts on their productivity, development, and engagement.” —Julie Kaplan @CareMetx Click To Tweet 

“Become a better leader. Excessive stress and toxicity has a way of multiplying beyond what we can reasonably control and manage.” —Julie Kaplan @CareMetx Click To Tweet

Renegade Marketers Unite, Episode 313 on YouTube 

Full Transcript: Drew Neisser in conversation with Mandy Dhaliwal, Bhaskar Roy, & Julie Kaplan

 

Drew Neisser: Hello Renegade Marketers! Welcome to Renegade Marketers Unite, the top-rated podcast for B2B CMOs and other marketing-obsessed individuals. You’re about to listen to a recording of Renegade Marketers Live, our live show featuring the CMOs of CMO Huddles, a community that’s sharing, caring, and daring each other to greatness every day of the week.

This time we’ve got a conversation with Mandy Dhaliwal, who was at CMO at Boomi at the time of this interview and is now at Nutanix, Bhaskar Roy of Workato, and Julie Kaplan of CareMetx. We explored the role that each CMO plays in developing their respective company’s cultures and bringing them to life. Let’s dive in.

Narrator: Welcome to Renegade Marketers Unite, possibly the best weekly podcast for CMOs and everyone else looking for innovative ways to transform their brand, drive demand, and just plain cut through. Proving that B2B does not mean boring to business, here’s your host and Chief Marketing Renegade Drew Neisser.

Drew Neisser: I’m your host, Drew Neisser, live from my home studio in New York City. In a recent huddle, one CMO turned to his peers and said, “We’ve been winning business lately because of our culture.” It was a mic drop moment as all eyes turned to this CMO for an explanation. He went on to explain that the new customer saw a complete alignment of cultures and with all other things being equal tie went to the culture fit. Now imagine that, not features, not functions, not price. Culture. That of course raises all sorts of other questions like what role can and should marketing play in building culture? And how do you build culture without an office? And where does wellness fit into all of this? All questions we want to grapple with and wrestle to the ground on today’s show. To do that we have 3 amazing CMOs who are ready to as we say at CMO Huddles, share, care, and dare each other to greatness. With that, let’s bring on Mandy Dhaliwal CMO of Boomi and star of episode 4 of this show and episode 178 of Renegade Marketers Unite. Hello, Mandy, welcome back!

Mandy Dhaliwal: Thanks, Drew. Great to see you. 

Drew Neisser: So how are you? 

Mandy Dhaliwal: Doing great, sunny California.

Drew Neisser: Oh, there you are. So let’s talk culture first. I mean, can you describe Boomi’s culture?

Mandy Dhaliwal: Yeah, absolutely. It’s something that we talk about a lot these days. And in particular, as we’re growing, and as we’re adding people to our team in a virtual world. Boomi historically, you know, as it’s grown up through the years, as a startup, and now into an enterprise company, we’ve always been very entrepreneurial and very people focused. And that extends beyond us, you know, we’re more than Boomi badge wearers. Our culture now permeates our partners and our customer base. So that mic drop moment resonates with me completely. I love love that that CMO said that.

Drew Neisser: You know, and I’m imagining has that experience had happened to you? 

Mandy Dhaliwal: Absolutely, it has. I wanted to show you something that we do as far as culture, right our values here, and I don’t know if you guys can see this on the screen, I kind of just brought a prop because I’m a marketer, play for each other, build trust, own it, create awesome things, and go beyond. Our customer see this with us, particularly members of our advisory board, our partners that work very closely with us as well, that drive our go to market. We’ve had customers on stage with us at our user conference that really believe they’re part of the Boomi family. So that to me is a massive win.

Drew Neisser: Let’s go through those again.

Mandy Dhaliwal: Play for each other, build trust, own it, create awesome things, and go beyond.

Drew Neisser: So the first thing that I noticed is, you know, it’s pretty simple. As we say, in this show, there’s not a lot of hype, there’s not a lot of adjectives, and it feels very personal. Are there any of those that are harder in your mind for people to sort of wrap their brain around and execute against than others?

Mandy Dhaliwal: I think the bar is set very high with create awesome things. So as a tech company, right, we tend to want to add the best possible latest and greatest whiz bang stuff. So I think that one sometimes we over index on. But beyond that, you know, this was a team exercise that we did across the company during the pandemic to really start to codify our value. So this was something That was built through the masses and also checked in with our customers and partners that are very close to us. So you know it passed the resonance tests and the authenticity test.

Drew Neisser: I’m going to focus on create awesome things, because there’s a lot going on there, we’ve got create. And I wonder, so are there roles in the company like, say, customer support? Where are they go, “Okay, well, I’m not create—well, maybe I’m creating awesome experiences.” Because often, you know, folks will feel left out because they’re not in marketing, where they can create things. They’re not in product where they can create things. How do you take one like that and make sure it feels like it applies to everybody?

Mandy Dhaliwal: Well, again, it’s more about the inclusivity, right? We all have a role to play. And so when you’re on the front lines, talking to customers or prospects, if you get feedback, it’s incumbent upon you to be able to go share that with the folks that are building the product, or that are building the marketing campaign. “Hey, we didn’t like that word.” Or, you know, “Maybe we should do it this way. We got some feedback here.” So it’s more about really having that conversation and reeling back to create that awesome thing that is Boomi. 

Drew Neisser: Do these exist pre pandemic? 

Mandy Dhaliwal: They did, but not in a codified way. 

Drew Neisser: And so why was it so important to bring these out during the pandemic?

Mandy Dhaliwal: We’re all sitting, you know, obviously, A the executive team, we’re not on planes, trains, automobiles anymore, we have this cycles. So that was the silver lining as a part of the pandemic. And also, as we were bringing people on in a remote culture, how do you convey what culture is when people can’t be together in person. That was the problem that we were solving. And we also knew we had tremendous growth objectives and growth targets and, you know, new people joining on a regular cadence. So how do you start to give them a sense of belonging quickly? And that’s where it started from.

Drew Neisser: Yeah. And I’m curious, so what was the process that you went?Because, again, these are so carefully chosen words, and how involved were—with you are and who else was sort of key into sort of bringing these values through the organization, finding them, and then obviously communicating, but let’s just talk about the process of finding them. 

Mandy Dhaliwal: Sure. So it was a very democratic process, if you will, we had folks across the company being able to go in and vote and also go create some of these values in terms of what we stood for. We had healthy conversations cross functionally, as well, as we stood up a team of folks within the company that were cross functional, that became the champions of this, the leadership team didn’t build this, this was truly built in Boomi, Pan-global as well. So that was really important. So everyone’s voices were heard, and felt like they had an opportunity to contribute.

Drew Neisser: Wow, I mean, that’s giving a lot of trust to employees.

Mandy Dhaliwal: It’s our culture. 

Drew Neisser: Are there any moment that—because this is a moment where if you’re a CEO or a CMO, and you’re going, “Are they gonna get the words, right? I mean, are they gonna know…” And at what point did you sort of—was there a points where you had to sort of intervene and say, “No, we could do this better.”

Mandy Dhaliwal: It was actually the reverse. I’m like, “I never thought of that. That’s amazing!” Instead of, right, not all creativity happens in marketing.

Drew Neisser: No. Interesting. So and this gets to this question of building culture without—one of the ways of building culture is to get your employees involved in defining it, right? I mean, anything, that’s the lightbulb moment here, folks, if you’re paying attention at home, write this down, think about your values. Usually, they’re like, you know, a bunch of people in a room executive committee gets together and say, “These are the values of the organization, this what’s important to me.” Here, you did it completely the opposite, went to the employees and said, what’s important to you? What’s it mean to work? And I’m wondering, how did they trigger the process? I mean, how did they get to where they got to?

Mandy Dhaliwal: So we had this team of champions that were very passionate, right? And we also tapped into some of our ERGs as well. And we had chosen some folks that we knew could really take this and be able to carry it over the line, if you will. So I think that’s really important. You know, if you’re embarking upon this exercise, it has to have strong executive sponsorship as well. That’s really important but really choose your folks carefully that are going to lead this thing and be your ambassadors. And then listen, listen well, right.

Drew Neisser: So executive sponsors is important. We got that. We have to have the right people on the committee, but it doesn’t have to be the leadership team. You can push it down. ERGs keep coming up in huddles all the time. They came up on Monday when we did a Bonus Huddle. But for anybody who’s listening who doesn’t know what an EGR is…

Mandy Dhaliwal: Yeah, employee resource groups. So setting up basically focus areas for folks that are passionate about certain things. I surprise, surprise lead the women ERG co-lead it with one of our leaders in APJ. And so we get folks together to talk about issues that are important to us and also bring material to them that would be of relevance to them as far as career as far as balancing lives. You name it, right. The topics that people get to vote on. And so we do that across young entrepreneurs. We do it  across people, diversity, there’s there’s many different groups, veterans is another one, that’s a really big one for us. So looking across your population of your employee base, and having people connect with what resonates with them, is really important for having that healthy conversation and also getting to know their peers across the company that they wouldn’t otherwise interact with.

Drew Neisser: Amazing, thank you for sharing that. We’re gonna now talk to Bhaskar Roy, who is the CMO of Workato. So Bhaskar, how are you?

Bhaskar Roy: I’m doing great. And just like Mandy was saying that I’m also from sunny California. So the weather here is awesome.

Drew Neisser: Well, hey, it’s warm here in New York, I just want you to know. So Workato seems like a textbook fast growth software company. And since work is in the company, I can’t help but wonder how this impacts the culture. Talk a little bit about the culture?

Bhaskar Roy: That’s a great question. And you know, the other part of the name stands for automation. So Workato stands for work automation. So it actually works really well for a culture mainly because we look at what a name exemplifies, which is about how we can automate these processes, the mundane and various aspects of what we do so that we can do higher order work. And you know, that has become a big part of the culture, which is a part of the name itself, doing things that we all love doing. The other thing I would like to say is the work aspect, we actually love working with each other. So that—we don’t see as a negative, I’ll give you an idea, right, just to go to the history a little bit. We all, at least a bunch of folks, initial 20/30 people in the company, we work together before Workato. It was at other companies and we did another startup together. So we loved hanging out with each other, as well as work with each other. And that has, for me, permeated throughout the organization. So we don’t see work as work, we see mainly work as a place where we get together to do amazing things and have fun. And you know, for folks who are in California, or especially in the Bay Area would have seen our set billboards, which are there when we talk about headline being the automate the work out of everything. And the work “wo” is a star, which is don’t think this as a bad thing, right. And this is calling that out very clearly. So yeah, so we like work, we like having fun with each other. And the name, you know, it stands for work automation.

Drew Neisser: Interesting. And one could think about the name as, “Oh, we’re automating work.” But what you’re saying is we’re really taking some of the hard stuff out so that you can have more fun, I think, is sort of what you’re doing. And you’ve been there seven years. And so first of all, having this core group of folks that were been part of it for so long, must have been as I’m thinking about it hugely helpful during the pandemic, right? Because you already had these strong relationships, I always feel really badly for the startup companies who are adding, you know, 30/40 employees during the pandemic or more, and they haven’t physically met any of them. And how hard that is. Anyway, you know, obviously, the company has to mature from when you got there, talk a little bit about how the culture is evolved. I mean, work has always been fun, but things evolve, they have to as you get bigger.

Bhaskar Roy: Yeah, absolutely. So you know, one of the things early on—and this mainly is a fact that we all have been working together, we have a way that we love working with each other and together. So during pandemic, very similar to what Mandy was talking about, we codified it, and we created, you know, what is the operating value is, and we call it the Workato way. Another reason to do that is because we have been scaling like you talked about very rapidly. Just to give you an idea, during the past couple of years, the pandemic years, our employee size has quadrupled. So we have not met most of the folks overall in person. So how do you find this in a way where people can understand and then as we scale we can keep the culture was a very important part of this. And I’ll give you some ideas as to—or some examples as to how things carried over from the time when we were really small to what we are now. So for example, one of the key things that we all did from day one is we obsessed about our customer, right? Each and every one of us was working whether minutes, including the taking Customer Success calls, customer support calls, working very closely with them, in order to make sure that you know we are grounded in what our customers want and what the reality is. How that has translated today is we call this, in our operating value, is we call this customer is our North Star. And the way it is translated is even in marketing team. Everyone is supposed to be listening to sales calls every week. Everyone is being to talk to customers every week. Have that relationship understand what the customers are. So what you’re doing from a marketing standpoint, is grounded in reality other than I determine. Our head of product does not hesitate to put engineers in front of customers, mainly because he truly believes that that builds empathy as a result, better product for the software. So those are some of the things as we have grown, we have morphed a bit, but we have kept the core values to be the same. And similarly, you know, I have a bunch of examples, I can go for a while. The other key thing that comes out is, we are in a massive market opportunity, right? In the sense, however, you heard people talk about being hundreds of billions of dollars. And so when we look at that, back in the early days, we realized that, hey, we cannot tackle this alone. There’s just no way that that big of market, we can go and try to capture that alone. So we built this core aspect of what we look for when we hire and as we build the company was, we need company builders with us. And that’s a core value. We are all company. These are folks who are not employees, but with us to help build a company and take it forward, mainly because we know that we won’t have all the answers, we are out to capture a big market. And we cannot do that by ourselves. So we had to define that we understood that back then. But come in the past couple of years, we have to define it, saying that this is what you call a company. And this is how you’re going to look for it.

Drew Neisser: So I got customer obsession, and I just did any market or listening. And we talked a lot about this in huddles, the importance of having customer advisory boards, the importance of going on sales calls, or listening to the gong calls. But what’s interesting to me and then you add this layer of company builder, and I hadn’t really thought that the way you’re going to have to build culture in a virtual world is you have to rethink them. And you have to put them out there in a way that’s going to matter to the virtual world of employees where you might not be face to face. So my sort of last question before we go on to Julie is knowing how important and how our—look, you added 4X in terms of employees, and I’m sure that was in marketing department across everywhere. There’s so many remits of CMOs is drive demand. That’s the number one remit. And I’m thinking of the CMOs who are listening to this show. They’re saying, “This is nice, it’s culture, it’s well, and these are nice, friendly topics for Thursday afternoon.” And they’re only rewarded—this is the thing I see—is they’re only rewarded for driving demand. And so where does culture and the role that CMO play in this and fit into your overall responsibilities.

Bhaskar Roy: I think it is, it’s a code part and very intertwined with everything we do. I don’t see that as separate to be honest. So I’ll give some examples. One is one of the key things that we talk about is—and very openly right from onboarding, etc, is culture is not the responsibility of just the leadership team. It’s not. It’s everyone’s responsibility. How we keep it, how we maintain it, it’s everyone’s responsibility. And so it’s a shared responsibility that makes it easier for me, mainly because people don’t trust each other around that, they know that we’ll operate around that particular part. And so if things go astray a bit, I don’t have to take action most of the time, others do because they see this as a shared responsibility. So it helps quite a bit in terms of how we do things. Plus, there’s a part of the culture as well, it kind of defines as to where we go to market. Because one of the things that we talk about on our culture a couple of elements is we get 1% better every day. That’s a part of our culture. So how do you do that? It’s by what you’re learning. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, learn. But then what he learned, share with everyone else so that others can get 1% better every day. So there are some of these things, which are so good, so much ingrained into everyone that you might kind of makes it easy. I wouldn’t say easy, but it makes it easier in terms of how do we go about it, and how do we drive demand? Similarly, another aspect of a culture is, you know, hey, don’t accept status quo. If someone else is doing this doesn’t mean we have to do. So those elements. So we look at experimentation from a demand standpoint very, very differently than other companies, other B2B companies.

Drew Neisser: Got it. Okay. It’s inseparable. You know that. I know that. Not every CEO knows that. But that’s okay. Because you’re one of the founders, so you have a very special, I’m sure relationship with your CEO. All right, we’re gonna keep moving. I want to bring on Julie Kaplan right now. Julie, welcome back.

Julie Kaplan: Thanks for having me. I’m delighted to be here.

Drew Neisser: Now you’ve been at CareMetx for more than a year now in an entirely virtual capacity, which is a little bit different than Mandy and Bhaskar. So how did you come to understand the company culture? What was their acculturation process?

Julie Kaplan: Well, like many other companies CareMetx has a thoughtful onboarding process, which includes an introduction to the culture and what it means in terms of behaviors, practices, and tools. What’s especially nice about CareMetx is that our values, to a certain degree, are built right into our name. The word “care” represents the compassion we bring to the patient experience. While we are technology forward company, our solutions are ultimately about helping people. And the word “metx” was coined by combining metrics with Tx, which is short for therapy and for transactions. And this word mash up represents our ability to speed up patient access to therapy with transactional technology and data driven processes. Our values are then reinforced by the name of the company, we say it a lot. So if you include all of our values, its integrity, compassion, excellence, and discipline. And they’re introduced to new employees and reintroduced with regularity and a variety of different ways, including videos and company newsletters. And that’s how they’re communicated. But they’re embraced in the actions of the company with a focus on metrics, focus on accountability for delivering projects, and a focus on the beneficiaries of our services.

Drew Neisser: So list them again, and these existed before you got there, right?

Julie Kaplan: They existed before I got here yes. Integrity, compassion, excellence, and discipline. 

Drew Neisser: It sounds like a bunch of doctors got together and decided.. I have to laugh, because this is just me to sort of thinking about it. How do you get from there to sort of inspiration? How do we get from there to actionable values that affect behavior, right? Because those are words on a page, and they’re very common words. But you started to list some of those things in fairness, I’m not sort of digging your predecessors for picking those. I mean, they’re good. They’re very important. And they’re good words. They’re not differentiating and they’re not exclusive. So the question, I guess is, how do you make them your own? How do they become part of the fabric of—and as a new person to the company, they must have sort of found ways to bring you into that culture?

Julie Kaplan: Right. Well, it’s interesting, because if you listen in on conversations at every level of the organization, it really doesn’t matter who you talk to, you will almost near 100% certainty hear the word “patient” or “patient focused” or someone talking about the patient, we don’t have patients! Our customers don’t have patients. But patients are the beneficiaries of our services. And we are very patient focused and very patient driven. And really, that’s what the focus is all about. And integrity and compassion, excellence and discipline are things that are required in order to be patient focused. So it might come across as a little dry. Maybe not as dry as gin but…

Drew Neisser: Depends on the gin I think. 

Julie Kaplan: Yeah I guess it may, it may come across as a little dry the way I’m saying it, but every day we are really talking about patients, we’re talking about helping them get the therapies they need faster, sooner, better, more effectively. And that is really how we embrace our values.

Drew Neisser: So what kinds of things does the company do that in your mind has really helped build the culture in the absence of a physical space?

Julie Kaplan: Well, interestingly enough CareMetx was founded over 10 years ago with the intention of creating a remote or virtual organization. So when the pandemic began, CareMetx was ready for it and had already given some thought to culture in a remote environment. Some of the programs that were implemented are all still in place like mindfulness Monday, where employees can join guided meditation session. Trivia Tuesday, employees can join after hours trivia night that’s fun and engaging. If you pop in, you’ll hear people talking and chatting and socializing with each other and laughing. We have Feel Good Friday. We have a social impact day off, employees can take the day off to do something good for their community. A diversity, equity and inclusion program, the metrics of which are monitored all the way up to the board level. It’s not really a program. This is a way of life for CareMetx. It is about creating an environment where every employee can be seen and feel heard. We belong to an organization that shares common values. But before you can embrace and embody the values, you must feel that sense of belonging and DEI is not a moment in time thing. It’s helping all employees achieve and reach their full potential. And that’s a forever thing for a purpose driven company like CareMetx. We have weekly newsletters and there’s a lot of other cultural support activities that we engage in over the course of the year.

Drew Neisser: And that’s interesting, really interesting that your company was sort of thinking virtual long before every company was forced to think virtual. I wonder if you know, the Monday the trivia nights, those things have sort of carried through. It’s funny we have a group of friends that we did for a while it was every week, and then it was every other week and so forth. And we just, we kind of stopped some of that. And then the same thing at Renegade I noticed, we used to have two coffee breaks, now we have one we got enough. And part of it is just we’re so virtualed out, I’m wondering if those things are still working.

Julie Kaplan: You know, people are attending them, they’re participating in them, I’m sure over time, some of the attendance has waned over time. But some of those programs predated the pandemic, and will last long after the pandemic. Our DEI program is not a moment in time, everybody has to feel like they belong to the organization for the values to mean anything anyway. That’s a forever thing.

Drew Neisser: And so now I’m thinking about this, you inherited those, you haven’t needed to adjust those, do you see culture building as part of your domain? Or you’re happy that it’s there, it’s where it is at, and you need to focus on demand generation.

Julie Kaplan: You know, there’s no way to separate what you do every day from the culture of the company. It’s important in terms of managing your team and making them a productive part of the organization. So culture and how you manifest that for your team can have profound impacts on their productivity development and engagement. I don’t see them as separate things. I inherited them, but we embrace them. It’s not hard to get behind a purpose driven company that’s about in the end about helping people get therapies that they need to have a shot at a healthy existence. In some cases, it’s life saving.

Drew Neisser: Yeah. And I again, sort of like the interconnectedness of all of this from from purpose and values to recruiting and retention in this time is not to be underestimated. Okay, I’m gonna switch gears here, and I’m going to plug CMO Huddles. So we’ll be back with you, Julie in a second. So CMO Huddles was launched in 2020. It’s an invitation only subscription service that brings together an elite group of CMOs to share, care, and dare each other to greatness. One CMO describes huddles as timely conversations with smart peers in a trusted environment. While another called it a cross between an expert workshop and a therapy session. Now, we just happen to have 3 huddlers here today. And so while you’re here, Mandy, Bhaskar, Julie, if you want to share your experience so far with huddles, I’d love to hear from you.

Bhaskar Roy: I couldn’t go first, because I’m one of the newest members over here. So I was introduced to huddles by one of our CMO for customers, precisely Kevin, like, you know, it’s been what maybe couple of weeks since I’ve joined CMO Huddles and has been great. You know, apart from participating in events like this, just listening to the various huddles, participating in that. Just having everyone, meet all my peers next to me, and learning from them. It’s just been amazing. In fact, I was exchanging LinkedIn messages with Mandy the other day, that how come we never met previously, we are in the same space. So it’s just crazy. I would highly recommend to everyone to come and join this.

Drew Neisser: I love that I as I’m thinking about your values of getting 1% better every day. Certainly that’s part of the huddles program. Julie, Mandy, any other thoughts?

Mandy Dhaliwal: Yeah, I’ll chime in here. You know, I was introduced to huddles, Drew, through you. Thank you. I’m one of the founding members and I take that really seriously. It’s been incredible. The connections I’ve made with other CMOs, and I think kind of the biggest “aha” for me personally was, I’m not alone, right? Our jobs are big, and they’re they’re scary things that have huge impacts on the businesses that were a part of. And, you know, for me, it’s always, “Am I doing this right?” And sometimes we can’t ask that question internally. But when you have this peer group that are there to support you, or validate, it’s just very rewarding. It helps me sleep better at night, and I get smarter every time I talk to my fellow CMOs. So thank you. 

Drew Neisser: Oh, my gosh, I loved that! Sleep better at night. That’s amazing. Julie, while you’re here, any comments?

Julie Kaplan: Yeah, I have very fond feelings for CMO Huddles. I have learned a lot from—I consider everybody on huddles, my external colleagues. They’re really smart. I get to learn a lot faster than I would on my own. One of the things that’s really important for me is like when you learn about your job sometimes it’s a little academic. But when you learn in huddles, it’s for the moment, you’re learning something that you’re going to be able to implement or use right away, that makes you better faster now, not just in the future.

Drew Neisser: So there you have it. If you’re a CMO who you think you can share, care, and dare with these 3, check out CMOhuddles.com. And we’d love to at least talk to you about huddles. Anyway, we’ve been talking about this intersection of marketing leadership and company leadership and the corresponding intersection of marketing and culture. Let’s shed some light on why this is such an important consideration for CMOs right now—and again, I tried to get at this earlier, and y’all called me out on it—but how does the CMO who’s thinking about, “I’m being measured by demand generation.” Step back for a moment and say, “You know what, you got to think bigger.” And just talk a little bit about this intersection of marketing leadership, company leadership, and culture? Mandy, any thoughts?

Mandy Dhaliwal: Yeah, I feel like we’re being looked at differently. And, you know, I think about myself in my own personal consumer life. Like what brands do I interact with? I respect the brand, I respect what they stand for. And that’s where I put my dollars, right? And the converse is true for us, as B2B marketers, right? We are custodians and keepers of the brand. And so how do you take all the goodness that’s happening within the company and be able to go share that with the market, so they understand what you stand for. And so I think that’s what’s happened as far as our consumer conscience. And I talked about this a lot, you know, the consumerization of B2B, right? We are the same human. And so that is one of our Northstars as consumers and as B2B buyers. So you want to be associated with companies that are working with your peer set that have you know, pedigree, have leadership in analysts communities, as it relates to the B2B world that you want to be affiliated with the brightest? And so how do you go share that? And how do you shine a light on your customers, your partners, your employees in that vein? So it all matters.

Drew Neisser: I get the big picture. And then I’m gonna go over to Bhaskar next and ask—you know values are something in my mind that you always sort of live. If you talk about them too much, it becomes, you know, if—you’re just preaching a little bit too loud. And I’m wondering, again, what’s the through line here from values and—Mandy talks about, “Okay, we need to be purpose driven. We need to be human because we’re dealing with humans.” But how do we get from these values to marketing and messaging and communications?

Bhaskar Roy: Yeah, so you kind of echo what Mandy said. A key part of this is, even in B2B, at the end of the day, people do business with people. It’s not with, you know, companies or anything like that. People who you relate to people who you believe in are people who actually are you know, who you can say that, “Yeah, these are good, folks. And those are the reasons why I want to do business with you.” People do business with people. And I think there’s an old saying, as well, which is people buy emotionally, and then justify rationally. So when you look at from that particular part of it, who you are, and who you are, as a person, and as a company matters a lot in terms of how people buy from you, you know, whether it be demand gen or anything like that, being authentic, and being able to actually portray that, but at the end of the day, we are here for you to be successful than us matters a lot. And I think that’s what we at least like to portray to our customers that, “Hey, we are here actually to help you. And we are just the guides, you’re the heroes in this journey.”

Drew Neisser: Yeah. And as I hear you talk, I think about all the energy that’s going out right now into sort of micro messaging persona based both sales and marketing, messaging, messaging, messaging, and I don’t see values in a lot of that work. I don’t see the value is coming through in the emails, or the sales calls or the LinkedIn outreach that I’m getting. So there’s a disconnect. Either you folks are enlightened and the rest of the marketing world is unenlightened. Or there’s some something’s going on here that I’m missing, because I don’t see enough of what you’re talking about.

Bhaskar Roy: There are a few things that we start to, you know, just to amplify that particular part of it. If you go to our LinkedIn profile, and if you look at it, there are things that you have started talking about, which is what we are calling “Humans or Workato”. And our customers are humans. So we are highlighting them and this is individually as employees as to what they have done. What does that look like? And you’ll see as a part of that as well. What we are calling human interest stories is our customer stories we are highlighting about them. What happened with them? How did they get promoted? What are the things that—and Workato is just something on the side, in the sense it may or may not have helped achieve for the day. But we are highlighting our champions as who they are as individuals. And that’s a core part of our team that we do. So it is not about what we are saying, “Hey, this is Workato, this is what we do.” It is more about, “Hey, these are the customers and they’re becoming successful. And here is a champion, they got promoted, etc.” You played a small part in it. And we were happy to play that part.

Drew Neisser: It all makes sense. And I hope a lot of people are listening to this, because these are highly successful companies that are growing based on taking their values and expressing them through all their other activities. So Julie, let’s get specific. What’s the best thing that your company did in the last 12 months related to culture or more specifically to wellness. Because we did promise we would at least touch on wellness in this conversation.

Julie Kaplan: I mean, I think that maybe by accident or on purpose, but the COVID inspired remote work enabled an awful lot of people to trade their commute for workout time or family time. So in terms of wellness, that’s pretty important. Wellness, for me personally is really, really important. It is a core personal value of my own. So I think what’s most important, at least for me is—the truth of the matter is that the single greatest impact I can have on the health and wellness of the employees that work with me and work in the broader organization is to do no harm, you know, excessive stress and toxicity has a way of multiplying beyond what we can reasonably control and manage. So become a better leader. That’s not easy. It’s not simple. And we’re always learning but bad leaders harm the health and the wellness of their staff. And that is very related to culture. And number two, you don’t know everybody’s health situation or triggers. So you have to listen up and applaud when you hear them and observe them taking healthy actions on their own behalf. So for me, that’s personally my own personal value in addition to the company, as I mentioned earlier in the show having a variety of health related activities that they support.

Drew Neisser: Got it. Okay. Well, this is the moment in the show where we would say, “What would Ben Franklin say?” What he would say, as a man who looked forward to the future. “Can anything be constant in a world which is eternally changing?” And so I think if there’s one takeaway, and all of this that we’ve been talking about so far is that you do need to sort of be thinking about these things and adapting them just a little bit as the world changes. All right. Are you all sort of measuring culture? And if so how?

Julie Kaplan: I mean, we don’t have a specific culture measure, but the best proxy we can find is retention. So retention seems to be pretty good at measuring whether you have a healthy culture and our retention is pretty high around 94%.

Drew Neisser: That’s particularly impressive right now in the middle of this Great Resignation, or reshuffling at some call it. And I think that’s really hard, because now we’re looking at a case where an employee is getting $50,000 offers for a lateral move. That’s a big test of culture. I don’t know how many cultures will survive that. But Mandy, Bhaskar? Are you measuring culture?

Bhaskar Roy: Not in the way that you’re measuring. But we look at what outcomes are we getting from the origin values? And you know, yes, culture may play a role in it, there are multiple variables in that. To give an example, we talked about, you know, customers are number 1, 2, & 3. And we have a CSAT, which is 96%. Our NPS is 79%. You know, so we are doing something right over there, right? So those are the things that we’ll look at. So very similar to what we started talking about. Recently, one of the large enterprises switched on the automation and the platform to Workato. And the reason they say is one of the reasons there were multiple reasons, one of the reasons was we are aligned as a culture. And when you look at those things, you say that okay, we are doing something right over here, which is resulting in certain kinds of outcomes. So we look at those outcomes and correlate that to, you know, that was the CSAT part, a part of the customers, you know, what we have customer is number 1, 2, & 3. Get 1% better every day, we can actually look at that to see, are we learning? Are we growing? Are we really disseminating that information? How transparent are we? These are some of the outcomes you looked at which we can correlate back to the culture but not very specifically, certain specific metrics like you’re discussing.

Drew Neisser: Mandy, I’m wondering, I’m gonna throw this one at you. In a huddle, the question came up salespeople are rewarded based on sales, right? And marketing people are often rewarded for their contribution to say opportunities and they may be even rewarded on closed deals. That puts all the emphasis on is the business results that in theory come through the culture. But as far as I know, no one in marketing is getting bonuses if aspects of the culture improve. And so if you’re not compensating anybody for that, and maybe I’m missing something here, so help me understand how do we inculcate and make sure that people are behaving according to culture? And I’ll give you the classic example is the sales guy who sells more than anybody else, but everybody hates. How do you think about the through line from culture and values to compensation? 

Mandy Dhaliwal: That’s a great question, Drew. I think the way we do it at Boomi slightly nuanced. You know, you mentioned earlier, the superstar sales guys that everybody hates, we embrace. And we embrace our team success, I think that’s something that sets us apart. And also our customer success, right? And at the end of the day, when we succeed as a business, we all succeed as individuals. So that is an inherent part of the culture. So I think we’ve done something different than you may see in other companies is my suspicion. Because at the end of the day, if the company results are hitting the targets, the culture is driving that.

Drew Neisser: And so then the next question is how do you—I mean, we got revenue targets, which are going to be based on upsell, cross-sell of existing customers retention, and of course, net new logos. And this is—we were talking a little bit about how you measure the impact of that. How do you put an impact and a value on everybody as delivering against the values that we prize at this organization?

Mandy Dhaliwal: Another great question. I think, if you architect it correctly, you’ll know when it’s working. From where I sit in the organization, what I see—I’ll give you a tangible example. We have a customer at Moderna that came out during the pandemic, and was a strong customer reference for us. And the CIO talked about how he and his team “Go Boomi” it in other parts of their business, so they can be successful in terms of their race to go find a cure for the COVID pandemic. And so what happened was, we took what the customer was saying, we brought it back internally, and there was deep resonance around “Go Boomi” it. And so now all of a sudden, it’s become this rallying cry for the organization. And what is that driving at the end of the day, it means “go win for that customer, go create awesome things, build trust, play for each other.” I know it’s working when I see it. I’ll log on to LinkedIn or Twitter and all of a sudden I’ve got one of our 1,400 employees out there evangelizing the “Go Boomi” hashtag. It’s also going external now, right? And so all of a sudden, it starts to ignite a movement, but it’s founded on those cultural values. And ultimately, yes, it drives the business and it drives the growth, it drives more inbound in for as far as employee referrals. So it’s not cut and dry. But when you do it, right, it’s additive.

Drew Neisser: Okay, amazing. Julie, do you have a thought on this through line? 

Julie Kaplan: Well, you already mentioned it a little earlier, your bonus is impacted by culture. If your environment is unproductive, and inefficient, and you’re constantly dealing with turnover, it’s going to be hard to earn your bonus that way. Culture is very much subject to that Red Queen effect. And as the Red Queen said to Alice, “Here, we must run as fast as we can just to stay in the same place. And if you wish to go anywhere, you must run twice as fast as that.” The culture needs to support all of those metrics, and anything you’re measuring should be supported by the culture. And yes, there’s going to be people who step out. But they need to be, you know, managed carefully. If there’s any genuine authenticity behind your culture, right? 

Drew Neisser: In theory, these things, these values show up in employee evaluations and things like that. Bhaskar, final words of wisdom for your fellow marketers on how to build strong work cultures.

Bhaskar Roy: I think the main thing is just be completely authentic, as to who you are, and who you are as a company and what you stand for, and try to codify that. And you know, from a culture building standpoint, like I was saying, it’s everyone’s responsibility it’s not just the leadership team. And once you have codified that in some way, put that to light from hiring principles all the way to how you onboard people, how do you really ensure that the culture is alive and people are doing something about it? So that entire thing takes time, but I think culture wins it overall. If you have a great culture and if you have something that other companies love and you love being a part of that culture, you’re just in a great, great environment. Something that you just, you know—like Julie, you were talking about retention rates, etc. Those things become just a no brainer at that point in time. 

Drew Neisser: Amazing. Julie, last words of wisdom.

Julie Kaplan: I think, you know, culture is like many other things you really care about, you have to invest in it. It is one of those investments in your business that acts as a multiplier. So the more you put into nurturing it and developing it and making sure you’re genuine and authentic around how you behave related to your culture and your values, the greater the yield.

Drew Neisser: We’ve reached our time. I really want to thank you three; Mandy, Bhaskar, Julie, you’re all amazing. Really enjoyed speaking with you. And thank you, audience for staying with us. To hear more conversations like this one and submit your own questions while we’re live, join us on the next Renegade Marketers Live. We stream to my LinkedIn profile, that’s Drew Neisser, every other week.

Show Credits

Renegade Marketers Unite is written and directed by Drew Neisser, hey that’s me! Audio production and show notes are by our friends at Share Your Genius. The music is by the amazing Burns Twins and intro voiceovers Linda Cornelius. To find all the transcripts of all episodes suggest future guests or learn more about my new book and the savviest B2B marketing boutique in New York City. Visit renegade.com. I’m your host, Drew Neisser. And until next time, keep those renegade thinking caps on and strong!

 

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