How employee buy-in drove results for a B2B marketing campaign
Most B2B marketers consider internal audiences important. Before a new campaign is launched, employees are gathered in a town hall in which the big news is shared by senior leadership. These are often followed by departmental sessions and the distribution of new sales materials. For many companies, indoctrination stops there.
Not at IT service management company Boomi, a Dell Technologies business. After announcing its new corporate mission of “accelerating business outcomes,” the sales team was required to become accredited on the new brand story and the new sales pitch. Other employees were encouraged to share the story on social media. Explains Mandy Dhaliwal, Boomi’s CMO, “Our brand ambassadors are our staff. If we don’t believe in our technology, who will?” Unifying the staff behind the campaign accelerated marketing results for the brand, whose share of voice and lead flow increased.
What is Boomi's mission?
Our mission, the reason we exist, is to accelerate our customer’s business outcomes. Underneath that, 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. That’s also what our customers were telling us. We sped up a project that would have taken 16 developers one year. We did it with five developers in three months, so those were nuggets that we were able to establish from our customer voice.
How did you introduce the new positioning internally?
We unveiled it to the broader sales organization at our sales kickoff. The first thing I did was introduce the notion of accelerating business outcomes in a keynote. Day two, we went back and had the panel of executive leaders within the organization do a live Q&A. 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 in the upfront root work, but then we were able to battle-test it with some customers as well once we got everybody smart on it. We went through an accreditation process with our sales makers, so the sales kickoff happened in February. By the end of April, everybody was accredited on the new story and the new pitch.
How did you get employee buy-in?
Our CEO was really invested, which was critical. He would walk around the office with a wad of $5 and $10 bills and ask people who we were, what we did and why we existed. Giving our customer-facing people the power to be able to own that conversation was also critically important to our success. First it was about getting them to understand it and accrediting them, then encouraging them to start sharing on social.
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, and then, in day-to-day interactions, those words started to show up. We were unifying everything in your digital ecosystem faster than anybody else—which is the Boomi value prop—and there was interpretation on that all under the umbrella of accelerating business.
Do you cater messaging to specific personas?
We needed to move to a solution-selling methodology. We started to galvanize and sell around four pillars of messaging underneath the accelerating business outcome story that CIOs, our core buyer persona, and enterprise developers were having challenges with, which are connection, modernization, transformation and innovation. We started to change the narrative and the market around those pillars and started to target based on those and on personas that would be interested in those topics.
How are customers telling your story for you?
Boomi World is our annual user conference. Last fall, we were in Washington, D.C. and over 85 percent 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. We’ve got a very strong user community. We actually just branded it and now it’s called the Boomiverse, which was critical because we have such a strong customer-first focus. We get 65,000 to 70,000 monthly interactions happening on that portion of our site. We also do user groups, so we’re bringing folks together to talk about challenges on the platform, and it’s all customer-led. They’re interfacing with each other and helping each other innovate on the platform.
Talk about your customer certification program
We made our training and certification program free for everybody last year. We train around all these different elements of 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. This was not marketing-led. The community team led it, but marketing’s role was to amplify it, to 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. We worked with the education team to put this structure in place and then we elevated the Boomiverse with the launch of the astronaut, B, our ambassador and mascot for the program. Then, we hosted community events that correspond with it.
How have you measured marketing’s success?
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 percent of all of our direct customers as publicly referenceable, and the industry average is 15-20 percent.
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. We’re No. 1 in Share of Voice compared to our competitors. During the week of Boomi alone we were up 20 points because we also created a digital event around the main one. Now marketing is driving north of 40 percent of the pipeline for the business.