2020

Buyer-Focused Marketers

Jorge Granada

MGT Consulting

Kirsten Markson

LeadMD

Profile
2020 Innovator Of The Year
Profile

Winner 3 Name

Winner 3 Company

Jorge Granada

Jorge Granada has over 20 years’ experience helping businesses at all stages accelerate their growth through creative storytelling deeply embedded in the design, build-out and execution of demand engine and demand transformation strategies. He is an agile marketer who brings both hands-on and executive experience in Digital, Social, B2B, B2C and more. Jorge’s strategy allowed SAP to really listen and hear what their customers were reacting to. The company was able to serve more content to target accounts, see the results in real-time, and use that to either confirm their findings or correct their methods.

Can you share any particular achievements you are most proud of in your current role?  

SAP’s Center of Excellence looks to identify best practices by line of business (LOBs) to then standardize these across all LOBs. While at SAP, what we have found is each LOB does something well, close to best-practice level, but in aggregate it is difficult to say any one LOB is run at near-perfect level. Pursuing becoming a perfectly run marketing operation is dynamic and ever evolving, a constant challenge, and for anyone who loves marketing, immensely gratifying.

Can you share any details about how your team, or individuals on your team, have helped drive innovation? How have you maintained your collaboration and innovation despite the current WFH reality?  

SAP’s Center of Excellence ultimately is charged with identifying and rolling our best practices typically centered around innovation.  In some instances, my team seeks and find these, but in many other instances the team is the challenger that creates the need for innovation. It is that constant pursuit of excellence that really differentiates marketing at SAP.

During Covid-19, not much changed from an operational point of view. My team is around the world, many of us have never met and we always worked remote leveraging many tools that have now become popular. No one was prepared for a pandemic and I can’t wait to see it ease away, but from an operational standpoint, we can work from home, be innovators and collaborate virtually as swiftly as if we were huddled in a room.

In the midst of Covid-19, what are some lessons you’ve learned that will impact or influence the future of your work?  

I have learned to build powerful relationships in spite of being remote. Collaboration isn’t something that requires huddling in a room. We all have learned to think outside the lines, and limits are only defined by our ability to innovate and think differently. All that said, when the pandemic subsides, I do want to go and meet the people I partner with. We might never go back to the office full-time, but nothing replaces the power of human connection.

What sources for inspiration help you stay excited and invigorated in your work?    

I love observing and listening to our customers: Their evolving needs keep us on our toes. We are blessed to see our marketing stack of tools constantly grow and evolve. When you equip marketers with these tools and as they develop a deep understanding of their customer needs… that’s when magic happens. That is my source of inspiration — always being on the lookout of how to best anticipate, meet and exceed our customer needs to win their loyalty.

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Kirsten Markson

LeadMD’s Kirsten Markson takes a unique approach to go-to-market strategy, focusing on macro trends in the market, gaining a deep understanding of competitive landscapes and placing high emphasis on hyper-personalized campaigns and change management. In other words, thinking like a B2C marketer. Kirsten emphasizes what every company needs but too few invest in: Change management. She creates assets and experiences with internal and external stakeholders in mind, knowing for campaigns to succeed, internal stakeholders need to become advocates. Armed with the tools B2C marketers use, Kirsten is bringing a fresh take into the B2B space.

Can you share any particular achievements you are most proud of in your current role? 

I lead a team of consultants who are pushing the envelope when it comes to helping our B2B clients think through a more human-centered approach to marketing and revenue operations. I’m extremely proud that we’re holistically discussing buyer journey and buyer needs, and how we can use processes, technology and creativity to add value to buyers and deliver revenue and marketing effectiveness.

As an example, we recently completed a project to develop a lifecycle playbook for a company that is adopting a CDP. Their biggest pain point is retention of customers. We did research into their buyers and buyer needs, developed updated segmentations and then designed ideal lifecycle journeys that promote retention. These plays will be developed in their CDP to automate interactions at key moments in that lifecycle. It’s a great example of bringing technology, buyer intelligence and execution excellence together.

I’m also very proud that my team, many of whom were new in their roles, who doubled down on adding value to our clients. We turned to each other for support and got creative. Disruption is a buzzword, but when the world is disrupted, it’s a great time to try new things. I feel that we did that and found new ways to use technology, deliver new types of projects more efficiently and support each other in a new, fully virtual environment.

Can you share any details about how your team, or individuals on your team, have helped drive innovation? How have you maintained your collaboration and innovation despite the current WFH reality? 

I work with an incredibly curious team. The mindset during this challenging year was always: What more can we do for our clients? How can we respond to the challenging reality they face? As a result, we grew this year, in revenue and in the types of projects we deliver. The innovation opportunity really came from three things: Being agile, asking good questions and just trying new things.

Our company is built to operate remotely, which helped as well. We pivoted fast to use new tools to run these in a virtual environment. It was nerve wracking at first, but we’ve landed on some best practices and had success. (Also, some fails, Zoom bloopers and dead air along the way, but these were learning moments, too.)

Overall, I’m extremely proud of how our teams adapted and didn’t miss a beat. We miss each other, but we’ve found new ways to connect like virtual events. But the innovation happens because we’re always looking for ways to become more efficient and effective. We deliberately made time for this informally and formally, through innovation sprints and pilot projects. Although it sometimes felt “extra” in an exhausting year, we landed on some awesome ideas. This was the right time to really shake things up and question what we could do better.

In the midst of Covid-19, what are some lessons you’ve learned that will impact or influence the future of your work?   

The emphasis on empathy and agility this year is a critical real-time lesson. The most successful companies adapted fast to their buyers’ reality. They led with purpose and had to shift their approach. It wasn’t appropriate to be running typical sales and marketing motions right at the start of Covid-19. We needed to match the reality of what people in leadership roles were dealing with and add value for them. Companies that did this well saw benefits later because they built trust during this period.

I also think we’ll look back at this time as a period of strong innovation. Everything shifted, fast. Many of the conversations about digital transformation became immediate execution imperatives. It moved from theory to reality due to necessity. That is something I will take with me when things settle down. It’s always the right time to shake things up, and never the right time to shake things up. There is no right time, but it pays off to be bold.

What sources for inspiration help you stay excited and invigorated in your work?    

I greatly enjoy learning what makes people tick, what motivates them to take action and how to solve for pain points. This year offered so many opportunities to drive change and take a step back to ask if our approaches were truly effective, both for our company and for our clients. I would say that working with inspiring people who are trying to do the best for their buyers and customers keeps me inspired. All of the change this year, and stark challenges, created a great environment for innovation and simplification.

The focus on digital experiences in B2B is also inspiring. Some of the tech and approaches that are common to B2C are coming to B2B and ground is being made up in terms of aligning to customers’ needs, tracking data effectively and offering personalized approaches.

I also really appreciated seeing B2B companies coming forth with more statements of their purpose. Social purpose is not why they exist, but taking stands creates more opportunities for leadership, brand affinity and impact.

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2020 Innovator Of The Year

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