Why Dell Boomi is Booming
According to a Gartner Report, Dell Boomi leads the way as an innovative strategic partner for its clients in the Enterprise iPaaS category, with over 8,000 customers and a churn rate below 3%. That’s the biggest compliment you can get, especially if you’re a company with a large service component. What role did marketing play in developing these relationships and garnering this reputation? Drew sits down on this week’s episode with Mandy Dhaliwal, Dell Boomi’s CMO and certified sommelier, to discuss how she kept Boomi’s marketing initiatives grounded in company strategy in order to modernize engagement across the board.
When she joined in 2018, Mandy hit the ground running: she developed a company purpose within a six-week period (during a holiday, no less!), presented the positioning at the annual sales kickoff, and oversaw a complete rebrand with a clearer customer focus than ever before. This week’s Renegade Thinkers Unite is packed with remarkable insights. Check it out! Additionally, for a closer look at building a company purpose like Dell Boomi’s, take a look at chapter 3 of our recent guide to effective B2B brand strategy.
Full Transcript: Drew Neisser in conversation with Mandy Dhaliwal
Drew Neisser: Hello, Renegade Thinkers. Let’s start this episode with a question: what’s the highest form of praise a customer can offer you? Now, renewal is certainly a good place to start as they let their actions do their talking, but I’m thinking of a word, a “p” word, one that I know makes me proud when I hear it from our clients. If you run a company, especially a services company or a company with a large service component, I believe the highest compliment your customers can pay you is to call you a partner, or better yet, a strategic partner.
Now, this is a show about and for marketers, so you might ask, well, can marketing play a role in developing these kinds of relationships? The answer is yes, and obviously we’re going to cover that, that’s why we have this show, but I want to have another source for this. I want to read something from Gartner, because Gartner definitely thinks this way and you know I’ve had Brent Adamson on the show (2018 part 1, 2018 part 2, 2019), and I’m a big fan of Gartner’s thinking.
Anyway, they did a report that I happened to read this morning, a 2019 Gartner report on a category you may not know about it. It’s called Enterprise iPaaS, that’s a category called integration platform as a service. Gartner had this to say about one of their category leaders—the one in the upper right quadrant—in 2018, Dell Boomi invested significantly in its marketing, which has notably improved its visibility and standing to the extent that it’s now perceived by its reference clients as an innovative strategic partner. Bingo. Marketing gets you to “strategic partner.” Love that.
By the way, Gartner also noted that Dell Boomi has a churn rate below 3% percent, which is quite amazing given that they have over 8,000 customers. Now at this point, you’ll never guess who my guest is. My guest is Mandy Dhaliwal, the CMO of Dell Boomi, the very same business that Gartner had such high praise for. Mandy, welcome to the show.
Mandy Dhaliwal: Thanks, Drew. What an amazing introduction. Wow.
Drew Neisser: Well, I’ve been on one show where they have wild applause after the introduction and I’ve marveled at it, so I did the best I could. Anyway, I know you joined the company in September 2018 and you’ve held several senior marketing posts at a number of Silicon Valley-based tech companies. What I laughed about as I was looking at it was, you actually worked at three companies that were acquired, one by EMC, one by CA and another by Akamai, and finally, you get to Dell Boomi. They had already been acquired, so you didn’t have to worry about that, so that’s a nice thing. Now, I mentioned “strategic partnership,” and we’re going to talk about that, but I have a question for you that we didn’t discuss in our prep call. I couldn’t help but notice on your LinkedIn profile that you are a certified sommelier. Now, I just can’t imagine, how does a Canadian-born daughter of Indian immigrants with two marketing degrees end up as a certified sommelier?
Mandy Dhaliwal: Great question. I get this one quite frequently. Curiosity—that’s where it stems from. I found myself coming to the Napa Valley when I lived in Canada and got the bug. When I ended up moving here, immigrating to the United States, it was by design; wine country was within driving distance. It was always something on my list and it’s a nice distraction from tech as well.
Drew Neisser: I bet. Now, have you ever been able to bridge those two things, like having a client event where you’re also doing a wine tasting, anything like that?
Mandy Dhaliwal: Absolutely. I live for that and most of my field marketing teams know that. We do womens’ Sip ‘n Shares now as a Boomi program. Also, in the past, I’ve been known to take clients out with the sales team and have four-hour wine pairing dinners that result in some really great conversation and teaming. It’s my golf course, that’s how I like to refer to it.
Drew Neisser: It’s your golf course, I love it. Real quick, what’s your favorite Napa winery?
Mandy Dhaliwal: Wow. Multiple wineries. For me, I think Palmaz Winery is one that I really like.
Drew Neisser: Okay, cool. And favorite restaurant or wine bar in Silicon Valley.
Mandy Dhaliwal: Favorite restaurant, Manresa in Los Gatos, my hometown here.
Drew Neisser: There you go. All right. So perfect. We’ve covered wine, which is always a good place to start for any episode, considering that a large part of the consumption of the show is when folks are driving to work in the morning or running, so I’m sure they’re ready to be thinking about their glass of wine anyway. Well, you started at Boomi in Fall of 2018. What attracted you to that role?
Mandy Dhaliwal: A combination of things. For me, I saw a lot of potential. The company had tremendous product/market fit, which was exciting to me because I’d been in startups trying to get to that promised land, so to have a company that was actually already there and selling very effectively was important to me. Also, the marketing leadership, the customers. When I met with the Head of Sales, who’s become a very strong business partner for me in this role, he said to me, “Mandy, the product works,” which, in B2B tech can sometimes be a challenge. When I dug in, there was a lot there that I felt I could add value to and really be able to tell the story differently. The cultural fit as well. I think the team, the focus on the culture in terms of winning and focusing on the customer were things that attracted me to the business.
Drew Neisser: I’m going to pause for a moment and remind folks that not every product or service is as good as some other competition and in in the tech world, this is often very true. The marketer in those cases is really expected to work miracles. I mean, sell this despite all the flaws that everybody knows about that you see in every single report. So, here was a case where the product was really strong, but I think I remember there were some things, that there maybe was a positioning opportunity to think about. I’m just curious, as you mention, you felt there was an opportunity. You didn’t need to fix the product, which is good, so what were the opportunities that you saw for your role?
Mandy Dhaliwal: The biggest thing that struck me was the balance of the brand and demand. As a marketer, this is why we exist in this modern digital era and, for me, the narrative was something that needed to be refined. We were selling in a very tech-centric motion, which is awesome because we’re selling to tech-centric buyers, but we were missing the why. Why does Boomi exist? Also, because it’s such a horizontal platform—I could literally start my car with the platform, it’s that capable—how do I monetize that and drive a business to a billion-dollar trajectory without some use cases that are repeatable? We were selling everything to everyone and were Wild West, had great startup trajectory, but it was time to start to harness that growth. So, the why: why did we exist?
Drew Neisser: Let’s pause for a second there. I want to help people understand. In the old world, those of us who had been in tech a long time remember a notion called “middleware,” and that was the notion of things that connected other things. In my understanding, which is really primitive of what you all do, you’ve moved middleware to the cloud in a sense. In as few words as possible, explain what iPasS is in relation to it being a platform as a service kind of notion. What are we talking about here?
Mandy Dhaliwal: Great question. It is the glue. If I were to really simplify it, it’s the glue between your data, your systems, your processes, and your applications in the enterprise.
Drew Neisser: Give me just a quick example of what that means.
Mandy Dhaliwal: If I’m looking to have an interaction with a customer, I need to figure out how it goes. I call into Dell’s call center, for example, and I have a security-related question. Which division do I need to be routed to? How do they have that single record of me to understand, if I call into a generic 800 number, where I belong in their portfolio of companies? I exist in Salesforce, in probably two to three companies, I exist in some customer success platform, how do you triangulate all that data and route me to the correct place? Customer experience is king these days so how do we start to take those data synopses and drive a unified experience for the customer?
Drew Neisser: Ok. Now I want to get back to why, and it’s a question that a lot of companies are asking. It’s obviously very important. Tell me where you started the investigation of why your company exists and so forth.
Mandy Dhaliwal: It started in the interview process. I started digging in there. Why are customers buying? What problems are we solving? Once I got on board, I did a listening tour. That was critically important to me. We’re a small division within the portfolio of Dell Technologies so talking to stakeholders within Dell, talking to our sales teams, talking to product teams, success, other executives, and customers to determine the value that we were adding and why they were choosing us.
Drew Neisser: And what do you do with all these interviews? Customers talk to lots of customers. How did you sort of synthesize all of what you heard?
Mandy Dhaliwal: Well, I needed a good partner, so I had an agency that helped on this as far as the positioning goes, because we were looking to get really pithy, if you will, in terms of the value prop. Lots of conversation, lots of consensus building, lots of conversation with the executive team in particular to rationalize and vet and drive alignment. That was critically important as well. Having said that, we did this all within a six-week period over a holiday.
Drew Neisser: I’m so glad you pointed that out. That is very fast, and it’s interesting because I know what can be done that fast. The challenge is that, with something like this, the need for foundational support is so important too. You have to touch a lot of people in a very short period of time so that when you report back with the “ta-da,” there’s the potential for buy-in, right?
Mandy Dhaliwal: I didn’t do the “ta-da.” I’m not a fan of the “ta-da” because it sets you up sometimes for failure. I like to collaborate and involve people and have stakeholders at the table so it’s a team project versus marketing, building something, and unveiling it. There’s plenty of opportunity for that when we do ad campaigns and fun stuff that we can push the envelope on, but stuff such as messaging and positioning that is mission-critical to any business has to have a lot of fingerprints on it and it has to have the right fingerprints.
Drew Neisser: Ok. We’re going to take a quick break because I want to get back to no ta-da, and I really dig into that. Stay with us.
Drew Neisser: Ok, we’re back and we’re talking about a six-week process that you went through to determine what Dell Boom’s purpose is. Tell me, what was the purpose? How did you articulate it?
Mandy Dhaliwal: Our mission, the reason we exist, is to accelerate our customer’s business outcomes. The things underneath that are, we have a visual drag and drop interface to our platform, we are cloud-native, we were the very first cloud integration company, and we invented the space. Time to value and agility are core to our platform, so “acceleration” is a word that we competitively own in our market space.
Drew Neisser: So, it’s all about accelerating, being able to help your customers do that. That’s sort of internal language, was there external language?
Mandy Dhaliwal: That is the external language. That’s what our customers were telling us. Boomi sped up a project that would have taken 16 developers a year. We did it with five and we did it in three months. Those were nuggets that we were able to establish from our customer voice.
Drew Neisser: All right. You have that expression of your purpose, if you will, or you use the term mission. You then say we’re not having a ta-da. How do we bring this to market? How did you introduce it?
Mandy Dhaliwal: We unveiled it, to the extent it wasn’t unveiled, to the broader sales organization at our sales kickoff. I presented the positioning there.
Drew Neisser: To an internal which is really critical. How did you get feedback from them at that point?
Mandy Dhaliwal: We did it in a couple of segments. The first thing I did was introduce the notion of accelerating business outcomes in a keynote. Then, day two we went back and had the panel of executive leaders within the organization do a Q&A. I walked through the pillars of the messaging with each of the executives and they chimed in. It was live Q&A, but it was a live conversation. From there, when we rolled into the customer-facing sales decks and so forth, we had an opportunity for feedback across all the geographies. They were involved as well in the upfront rootwork but then we were able to battle test it with some customers as well once we got everybody smart on it. We also went through an accreditation process with our sales makers, so sales kickoff happened in February and by the end of April everybody was accredited on the new story and the new pitch.
Drew Neisser: First I want to understand, you mentioned battle test, what you mean when you say you battle-tested with a customer?
Mandy Dhaliwal: You go in and have the conversation. We’re fortunate to have a very strong, exceptional customer advisory board so I presented to them. I got on the line and started talking to them and said, “Give me your feedback. Is this what resonates with you? Is this a fair representation of how we’re solving your problems, how we’re partnering with you? Really listening hard to them and also having some of our sales makers go out and test with some of their partners as well as customers. Because we are a channel heavy led organization, we also tested with some of our GSI partners as well as ISV partners.
Drew Neisser: Again, these are all before it goes out there, it’s not on the website. We’ve got internal buy-in, then we’ve got customer buy-in. And then you mentioned something called “accredited.” Talk about a little bit about what that meant.
Mandy Dhaliwal: Sales enablement was the vehicle that got us there, but in terms of building narratives and building brands as a marketer, how do you get everybody to the same narrative? How do you get us all on the same song sheet? I’ve got a team of almost twelve hundred folks within this organization now, how does everybody stay on message? That was one of the challenges. When I got to Boomi, everybody had a different interpretation for the value of Boomi, and rightly so, it’s a horizontal platform and it can mean many things to many people.
A funny anecdote: our CEO was so invested. This is critical too for CMOs, this is advice that I took to heart from another leader that had shared this with me, you really need a strong relationship with your CEO, and you need the support. He would walk around the office, mostly with our engineers and folks that didn’t get the original pitch when we launched at sales kickoff, he’d walk around with a wad to $5 and $10 bills and ask people who we were, what we did, and why we existed. We had cards printed, everybody had them up in their cubes, and they were able to internalize the new messaging. I’ve never experienced that in my life. Getting everybody to internalize it was critical to our success.
Drew Neisser: In order to do that, you need something sort of broad like accelerate business outcomes. It’s a nice umbrella, and then they need to understand how to tell that story in the context of what they’re doing with their customers, right?
Mandy Dhaliwal: Exactly.
Drew Neisser: Talk a little bit about that process, because it’s so interesting. If you read the special B2B Brand Strategy report on renegade.com, you’ll see this is exactly the process that we’re talking about. You’ve got to get your employees on board, get your customers on board, but we don’t go into really great detail in this first report. I’m saving that for the book so, thank you for these. How do you get these folks to take this big idea, accelerate business outcomes, and make it personal?
Mandy Dhaliwal: Great question. We have all these customer-facing people, so giving them the power to be able to have that conversation and own it was critically important. First of all, understanding it, accrediting them like I’d mentioned, and then what I encouraged them to do was start sharing on social. We had an awareness problem when I joined. We were using our corporate channels, but we really didn’t have buy-in across the company. Our brand ambassadors are our staff. If we don’t believe in our technology, who will? Unlocking that was important. We went through social media certification for the organization. We need to do that in order to have folks go out and push that material out, so in day-to-day interactions, I was starting to see from reps all over the world, “oh, I ran into this customer, spoke at this partner event and had this conversation and proud to be accelerating their business.” Those words started to show up. Unifying everything in your digital ecosystem faster than anybody else, you know, the Boomi value prop. There was interpretation on that all under the umbrella of accelerating business. I still light up when I see it on social media. It makes me so happy because it’s just, yes, they get it and they’re galvanizing around it.
Drew Neisser: I want to understand, so “certification” means a lot of different things depending on where you are. Give me more detail on what that means. Did they take a test that they had to pass?
Mandy Dhaliwal: Yes. We’re serious about this, right? Again, great partnership with the sales organization, we needed to move to a solution selling methodology. That was the strategy behind this. In addition to having the words on the slide and the elevator pitch around accelerating business, we started to galvanize and sell around four pillars that CIOs, our core buyer persona, and enterprise architects and developers were having challenges with. There’s tremendous complexity and fragmentation right now in the IT ecosystem, so what we did was build four pillars of messaging underneath the accelerating business outcome story.
First one is “connection,” which is core to integration by connecting A to B, connecting Salesforce to Marketo, to Adobe, et cetera. Got to go make that happen. And then this is not linear. There are also customers that have challenges around “modernization,” especially when you have a multi-hybrid cloud situation in your enterprise with various stakeholders and various lines of business. How do you get to a state where you can go modernize your infrastructure to be more cloud-first and reduce tech debt, turn off old servers that are sitting in the basement that you’re not sure what is on them? Modernization is a play that we run within fed and large enterprise to make sure people understand that Boomi can help them accelerate their modernization effort.
“Transformation” is the third one. Transformation means customer experience, employee on-boarding. We have that our that problem ourselves, so how do you transform an experience using data at the core? And then finally, “innovation.” How do you go create new business models, leveraging the data assets you have within your organization? We started to change the narrative and the market around those pillars and started to target place based on those and based on personas that would be interested in those topics.
Drew Neisser: Ok. That was a lot.
Mandy Dhaliwal: Yes, it was.
Drew Neisser: And I’m not going to possibly unpack it all, but I am going to take a break. And then when we come back, I think we should talk about what this meant to your customers in particular. Let’s just think about that. We’ll be right back.
Mandy Dhaliwal: Thank you.
Drew Neisser: We’re back, and we’ve been talking about having a purpose, which is awesome. We certainly believe in those. If we’re helping our customers accelerate business outcome, the proof of that ultimately as the customer saying, “Hey, they accelerated my business outcome.” That’s the only way any of us will ever believe it, because you can say it as loud as you want. Let’s talk about what you’re doing in the area of getting customers to tell the story for you.
Mandy Dhaliwal: Great segue. Boomi World is our annual user conference. Last fall, we were in Washington, D.C. and over 85% of our breakouts have customers and partners co-present with us. They were sharing stories and quantification of how they were able to accelerate their business using our platform. One of my personal favorites is a story with American Cancer Society (ACS). We were able to work with ACS to help build an application where we could aggregate data between volunteers and patients to provide rides to and from chemotherapy treatments. We built an Uber-like app because we have a low code application development platform on top of our immigration technology, that’s part of our IPASS platform. From your cell phone, if I’m going into treatment, I can arrange for a ride to happen within my window and be able to be taken to my appointments and not stress about that aspect of it. That took 5,000 data point integrations, if you will, to go make that happen on the back end. What Uber does is incredibly genius. It’s very technologically complex and so we were able to partner with ACS to help deliver a seamless user experience, i.e. transform the patient experience around getting chemo.
Drew Neisser: Amazing and cool. Was Uber a customer in any other way?
Mandy Dhaliwal: Uber is actually not our customer. We built an app that modeled Uber for American Cancer Society.
Drew Neisser: Oh, I see. I got it. All right. So, it interesting, Boomi World is obviously an amazing way of getting your customers together and celebrating everything that you do and for them to learn from it. I love the number of 85% of customers are the presenters. That’s probably a very good goal for anybody who does a user conference. I bet it’s not usually that high, so that’s amazing. What other things did you do to get these customers to tell the story for you?
Mandy Dhaliwal: It didn’t take much, luckily. We’ve got a very strong user community. We actually just branded our user community and launched it at Boomi World. It’s now called, surprise, surprise, the Boomiverse.
Drew Neisser: Yes, it is. I saw that. I wanted to ask you about that, too. Was that rebranded under your watch?
Mandy Dhaliwal: Yes, absolutely. It was critical because we have such a strong customer-first focus. It was just the natural extension of what we needed to do. We get 65,000 to 70,000 monthly interactions happening on that portion of our community of our site. Once we put word out, people tend to get excited. We also do user groups, so we’re doing a lot of interaction with the users, bringing folks together to talk about challenges on the platform and this is all customer-led. They’re interfacing with each other and helping each other innovate on the platform. It’s exactly what you want in a community.
Drew Neisser: And that existed before you got there, you renamed it. Were there any other things that marketing did to help it along?
Mandy Dhaliwal: Yeah, absolutely, so adding that umbrella of branding, we have, again, strong customer loyalty and customer satisfaction, which, again, are the underpinnings of marketing, being able to do what we did, and also the training and certification program. We made that free for everybody last year. This was not marketing-led, the community team led it, but how does marketing amplify that? How do we create gamification around training and certification to make it fun for people and have them promote the levels within the platform that they’ve been able to reach? How did they get rewarded?
Drew Neisser: Let’s talk about some of those things because those are really interesting. What specifically did you change in training, for example? Because, you know, I’m imagining that there are badges and you could be certified as a Boomi Integrator, etc. Tell us what those titles are.
Mandy Dhaliwal: Right so, developer, and then we train around elements of our platform so core integration, Flow, which is our low code platform, as well as Hub, which is our data quality piece of our platform, as well as B2B/EDI, which is the partner management piece of the technology. There are all these different elements to our platform, so to get full certification on the platform, you have to go through each of these gates. There are badges associated with it. What marketing did was help work with the education team and put this structure in place as well as the elevation of the Boomiverse with the launch of the astronaut that has become the ambassador for the program, and just starting to create much more of a galvanizing effect, if you will. Then, having community events that correspond with it.
Drew Neisser: Ok, what’s the astronaut?
Mandy Dhaliwal: Great question, I forget that you don’t know this. B is our astronaut that has become the mascot for Boomi. We launched him, or her, B is gender-neutral. We launched they. We launched this character with some great fanfare onstage during our COO’s presentation because this piece of the organization works and reports to him. We launched that at Boomi World and created some fanfare and just created some excitement to have people be able to take photos with B and have B represent the success that they’re having on the platform.
Drew Neisser: That’s so funny. You know, I just read an article, in I think was in The New York Times about how Japan was mascot crazy and every little town had a mascot. But I haven’t heard of a lot of companies having a mascot, what was the thinking behind that? Why did you need one and what did it do for you?
Mandy Dhaliwal: It’s, again, a way to have fun with the technology and I think, you know, developers don’t gravitate towards Mandy’s enterprise B2B marketing plays. Let’s get real.
Drew Neisser: Oh, c’mon!
Mandy Dhaliwal: I know this about myself, I’m humble.
Drew Neisser: Really? You can just do a quick little demand gen campaign for them? “Hey, here’s a piece of content. You’re going to love this. Let me tell you why this product is so darn good.”
Mandy Dhaliwal: “Let me just tell you all about how awesome we are when you take everything at face value,” right?
Drew Neisser: We’re going to make your life easier and better so just click on this link and give us your name and we’ll take care of you.
Mandy Dhaliwal: Right. Gleaming superhero smile here, right?
Drew Neisser: Okay. So that doesn’t work, but an astronaut cracks the ice?
Mandy Dhaliwal: Well, it’s a way for people to relate. We’re creating a personality for the community. We’re giving them a representation of something. I go back to Jenkins. They’ve done a fabulous job with the butler, if you’re familiar with that ecosystem. For us, it was a fun way to take the Boomiverse and actually make it real, so we had to go for the astronaut. It was a natural extension, and hopefully, the astronaut will get some friends soon. We’ve created this narrative as a way for folks to interact with the company that’s not so institutional. That was the thinking around it. To make us much more approachable. B shows up at events, there are photo opportunities of B, people are tweeting out their photos with B. It’s just a fun way for them to get more excited about this platform that’s really helping them move their businesses forward.
Drew Neisser: It’s amazing how a little bit of fun in that world can go a long way. Several times we’ve worked with companies that were targeting developers and if you do it right, they’re so happy and it’s so not about your brand, but it is about bringing them together. If you can do that in a creative way, it’s amazing. So, we have this Boomiverse, we have an astronaut, is there any other program that supported this effort that we should share that you think you’re particularly proud of?
Mandy Dhaliwal: I think at the 30,000-foot level, you know, we did the positioning of the company, we launched the Boomiverse, we also rebranded the business. That was critically important, and Boomi World was the coming-out party for the new brand. What we did was, my events team was just genius on this, we set up a new store on the show floor. We set up a Boomi store and when everybody checked into the conference, we gave them a $25 gift card to redeem something that had the new logo on it. I actually was able to turn a profit on that store and we actually made money, so people spent their $25 cards and then they bought more.
Drew Neisser: They just wanted the gear. What were they buying?
Mandy Dhaliwal: They were buying baby onesies. They were buying stuffed animal sloths. They were buying mugs. They were buying chargers, you name it. T-shirts, hoodies. We sold out of most of that stuff within the second day of that store being opened.
Drew Neisser: You know, this is a great moment to just revel in marketing. When it’s done right and people really like your company, one way to know it is they wear your brand around with pride. It’s like, “I’m part of the Boomiverse. I’m part of this world and I feel really good about it.” Ok, that’s a victory to some extent and we could spend a lot more time on the rebrand because that’s a huge thing in and of itself. What did you change?
Mandy Dhaliwal: We changed the entire look and feel of the brand. When I got to the company, we were using the old Dell Hardware logo and then Boomi in an aerial font. It was just something we hadn’t done as an organization to modernize the brand. I walk in and bring on an agency partner and my first words out of my mouth are: “We need to modernize this brand to be a young hip software company and it needs to have swagger and it needs to be badass.”
Drew Neisser: Love that brief. Yeah, for all your listeners, if you have a brief like that, please call me immediately. I want that brief because that’s awesome. What’s interesting is, you know, it was a clear mandate. It wasn’t a case where you were the new CMO coming in and saying, “Hey, I just want to tweak it. They rebranded three years ago.” This was a case where there really wasn’t any attention paid to the brand. It was a Band-Aid brand. There was the Boomi brand and the Dell brand and we’re just going to just mash them together.
Mandy Dhaliwal: Yes, and we were too busy selling. That was the story at Boomi. We had tremendous product/market fit and we were growing a business.
Drew Neisser: Right. From a lessons learned standpoint, because all of this can be connected, it was a rebrand, right?
Mandy Dhaliwal: Yes.
Drew Neisser: And you were repositioning the company at the same time. You were taking a step up in terms of how you described it. You were telling a new story about the brand. All these things are really important because one of the things that some people do is that they just change the logo to change the logo and there’s no news. There was a lot of news here.
Mandy Dhaliwal: Absolutely. The logo was probably the lowest amount of noise that we made. That just quietly went up on the main stage. We didn’t make hardly any fanfare about it because it’s the Achilles heel of many marketers. You come in, you’re new, what do you do? You go change the logo; you paint pictures. I did not want to be known as that CMO. I needed to come in and make some strategic updates to how we positioned ourselves to the market. We led with that. We led with the Win With Boomi campaign that highlighted the voice of the customer. We then started on the rebrand project and rebuilt our website, culminating at Boomi World with the launch of the Boomiverse as well as this new user conference. That was the new face of this organization, so we had rolling thunder of momentum throughout the year and Boomi World was the launch point for all of it.
Drew Neisser: I’m just going to emphasize a few things here and then you’re going to correct me on a couple of them. If you’re thinking about rebranding your company, what we have here is a playbook for that. What I love is purpose first. Internal buy-in first. Then customer buy-in. Then, in some ways, it’s funny because it wasn’t about words and pictures and a new logo at that point. It was about why do we exist. Then we get to words and pictures and we say, “Oh, well, you know, the mission has sort of changed and elevated, let’s elevate what we look like.” And then, when we launch this thing, let’s launch it to our customers. The opportunity to launch at your annual conference, the wonderful thing about it is, god forbid there was something wrong, but at least you were only doing it among family, right?
Mandy Dhaliwal: There were a lot of sleepless nights, let me say. Huge team effort to make this happen.
Drew Neisser: But I would also remind you that you did say you had tested this with customers. You would talk to your customer advisory board; you had gotten their feedback on it. You were always listening “Is this true?” “Does this sound real?” which is important. One of the interesting things about it is, I think, going back to the language that you said about accelerating business outcomes, is that that never stops. It’s not an endpoint because whatever fast is today, it’s going to be 20 times that tomorrow. Thank you, Moore’s Law, right? It’s just going to be faster, so I think that’s an interesting part of it. I also think it’s interesting that there was a campaign in there called Win with Bhoomi. Well, what is winning? Winning is essentially a different way of saying accelerating business outcomes. So, you don’t want to get stuck necessarily in thinking you have to always use the language of the purpose statement, particularly in headlines. If you do, then you’ve set yourself up for, oh, this is just a campaign and, in the end, that’s really problematic when you’re doing a rebranding. It can’t be perceived as a campaign. It has to be perceived as something that is game-changing, that is an organizational change, that we’re all moving in this new direction, which is awesome. Ok. How’d I do?
Mandy Dhaliwal: Awesome and what I’d like to add is: the hero is the customer and that’s what we’re focusing on.
Drew Neisser: At the very beginning of the show, I had a rather lengthy introduction about how the highest compliment that a customer can pay you is calling you a strategic partner. And I’m curious, if you think about this journey that you went through, you knew already some of them were already doing it. Are there any lessons learned on things that companies can do, CMOs can do, to really impact this ultimate goal of getting your customer to say, “Gosh, they’re our strategic partner?”
Mandy Dhaliwal: Fantastic question and I’ll share my journey within Boomi. My natural inclination is one of teamwork and collaboration, so working across the organization is critically important. I mentioned buy-in from the CEO and the relationship there, but equally important is working through product, sales, and operations success services. Making sure that all those legs of the stool—yes, it’s a big stool—are covered. If you can do that, you start to uncover what the most important things to the business are, what the pulse of the business is. That to me was critically important to success. It was that reaching across and making sure that we were all aligned and also sharing along the way in terms of the changes we were making, because, again, as a new person on the team, don’t want this to come across as marketing has got another harebrained scheme. This has to be grounded in company strategy, so that was critically important as a part of this process.
Drew Neisser: Love that you said that. Step #7 in the 12 Steps for B2B Strategy is “Welcome We,” folks. It’s right there. “Welcoming We” says, you the CMO, sadly, can’t do this alone. You are not the hero; you are the glue. You are the person who does what you talked about. Going to product, going to sales, getting the organization ready and making sure that everybody is aligned. You just can’t do this alone, sadly, right? As you summarize this whole process that you went through, do you have to do’s and a don’t so we can wrap the show up? Now, you know what, I’m going to pause and say, you already answered that question. You said you already answered that, it’s silly. All right. Strike that, and I’m going to ask one last question. How have you measured the success of all of these things that you’ve done?
Mandy Dhaliwal: Again, awesome question. Any good marketing program needs to be grounded in quantification, so for us, we didn’t talk specifically about demand generation, but we have a remit to the organization, the reason we exist. CMOs need to start acting, if they are not already, like general managers, so what are you driving in terms of value for the business? As of today, we have 36% of all of our direct customers as publicly referenceable. Making sure that customer marketing is doing the job and globally sharing local stories, that’s critically important. Share of voice we’re #1 in comparison to all of our competitors. During the week of Boomi alone we were up 20 points because we didn’t focus just on the event, we also created a digital event around it. That was critically important. And marketing is driving north of 40% of the pipeline for the business.
Drew Neisser: 40% pipeline. There you go, hard to argue with. And it’s funny, whenever I get together with a bunch of CMOs, we’ll have that conversation. It’s interesting, it ranges anywhere from 15% to 70%. I look at the 15% folks and am concerned and I look at the 70% folks and am in awe. But 36% is really good, and I suspect that’s higher than it was when you got there.
Mandy Dhaliwal: Yeah, an industry average for customer reference ability is 15% to 20%. These were assets that were given to us, marketing didn’t create this, but we’ve been able to up-level and create a movement to drive more customers to share their stories with us.
Drew Neisser: All right. I feel like we have nailed it completely. If you listen to this episode, you have so many ideas to take away and if you don’t, I apologize, but I can’t help you at all. Mandy, this was awesome. Thank you very much for taking the time to be on the show.
Mandy Dhaliwal: Thank you, Drew. This was so much fun. Great conversation. Really appreciated it.
Drew Neisser: Well, speaking of really appreciating people, to the listeners of this show, I’m so grateful that you spent the time with us, as always. I encourage you to go to renegade.com and check out the show notes and probably you’ll find some links. We’ll be having a quiz on what iPasS actually is after the show. Feel free to offer your own suggestions. And until next time, keep those Renegade Thinking Caps on and strong.