2020

SMB Maestros

Kevin Sides

Kevin Sides

ShipMonk

Sunniya Saleem

Sunniya Saleem

Quick Base

Profile
2020 Innovator Of The Year
Profile

Winner 3 Name

Winner 3 Company

Kevin Sides

Kevin Sides sees the bigger picture. Since 2015, he’s diligently worked from the ground up to create fecund soil for long-term lead generation and meaningful business partnerships. With a meticulous eye for detail, Kevin has crafted a high-quality, memorable brand that stands out with a mix of engaging content and targeted SEO. From the minutiae of choosing the perfect font to run sparse paid ads, Kevin has overseen the incubation of one of logistics’ most riveting industry leaders — all with little to no overhead.

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

I’m most proud of my evolution during ShipMonk’s growth. When we first started and got tractions, I was a single-person department that handled everything from Salesforce customization and marketing automation journeys to website updates and merchant communication. I morphed into a player/coach for the sales and marketing team from $1MM to $10MM, then, officially became the CRO once we eclipsed $10MM in annual revenue. Now being a $140MM+ company, my role has changed exponentially due to the complexity of moving parts.

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? 

Not just in the Revenue team, but across the entire organization, we are open to ideas from anywhere. I try my best to listen mostly to those that are on the front lines and working hand-in-hand with merchants. Whether it’s existing merchants requesting a software feature or a new merchant asking about an operational efficiency, it’s the feedback that is driving our product and ultimately our growth.

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

I think it’s more autonomy and empowerment across each role. Giving everyone a goal and allowing them to develop the strategy and tactics to achieve the goal. I went from more giving directives and tasks, to asking what those should be and organizing them in a manner where the entire team is aligned and working towards a common goal.

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

From me, it’s the new employees that I get to train and help add value to ShipMonk. We’re growing so fast that we need to hire as many good people as possible and to see everything come together is extremely exciting.

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Sunniya Saleem

Sunniya Saleem is a growth-focused B2B marketer, planet lover, mom of two adorable kids, who sometimes dabbles in the creative arts through her watercolor paintings. Sunniya has spent the past two years at Quick Base as the Senior Director of Demand Generation and Digital Marketing. She is responsible for revenue marketing and manages the activation of GTM strategy through marketing programs.

Sunniya’s marketing approach includes anchoring on the problems buyers are looking to solve and providing solutions through marketing tactics such as digital media, personalization, ABM, etc. She has led her team to expand their strategy from a heavy transactional use case model, to thinking about marketing around the problems people are looking to solve with low code software solutions. As COVID hit, this strategy proved to be extremely successful — the team saw ~50% increase in new logo pipe generation efforts when other companies saw a decline.

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

At Quick Base, we believe that creating value for our customers is our top priority. I try to carry this customer obsession with me in everything we do and strongly believe that brand awareness and demand generation are key to driving customer value. In the last 24 months, taking customer obsession to heart, we have anchored on the problems our customers and prospects are looking to solve. In order to create customer value, we needed to have a better digital experience.

At the beginning of 2019, we brought the management of our digital experience in-house, launched a completely new website in a matter of a few months, restructured our content and started telling a powerful story. A story that put our customers at the forefront of our website. Our website today, starts with the customers and showcases how they are solving different problems by using Quick Base. In order to help our prospects find us easily, we also doubled down on our SEO efforts, optimized our content and worked to make our website search friendly. Showing ROI from our digital properties has been a huge win.

In my role, I partner closely with our three sales teams, SMB, mid-market and enterprise sales. Enterprise is the newest of the sales teams. Over the last couple of years, we have focused on developing an enterprise demand strategy by focusing on personalizing our digital experience, using ABM practices and expanding our demand mix to incorporate both inbound and outbound tactics. We also relaunched our webinar series, making the old new again by partnering with third parties who could help us tell an effective story to the market. Most recently, we partnered with TechCrunch on their first-ever partner webinar and talked about why operational agility is more important than ever right now.

Last but not the least, I am extremely proud of the team we have created. Our culture is a good mix of honest, creative, passionate people who are not afraid of racing to the conflict. Our team really embodies the “one team” mindset. Quick Base is going through hyper-growth and to fuel that growth, you need a team that can own it together and a culture that is performance driven. I love the team we have formed and especially love how everyone owns their expertise, really cares for each other and comes together as one unit to drive value for our customers.

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? 

Two of the marketing teams report to me – digital experience and demand generation. They are a very close-knit team and I have been incredibly impressed by their creativity and resilience during the current WFH reality. The team started by checking in on each other daily. We use Slack heavily to stay connected and during this remote time have discovered that we all love baking. Sharing of new baking ideas and recipes keeps us happy and engaged during the day and often the ideas lead to passionate discussions about how we can improve the projects we are working on too.

There has been no shortage of innovation and ideas on the team. I think it’s fair to say that they have been innovating beyond limits. For example, the digital experience team launched a number of new projects and ideas in the last six months, including the launch of a new home page of our website, a content hub to help customers easily find content that previously lived across many different places, improving the experience of our 30-day product trial and, most importantly, they have helped support our Quick Base cares philanthropic efforts by launching the SBA (small business administration) loan resources and application on our website to help small businesses that were impacted by COVID-19.

The demand team has been innovating by doubling down on personalization efforts and incorporating account strategies not just on the web but also through media programs, email, ads, nurture and chatbots. One of the people on my team recently won an award for their optimization of the different chatbots across our site, too. They have been partnering with our SDR teams to ensure the knowledge sharing continues between the two teams and they can continue optimizing our funnel-focused programs. We have also incorporated things like Kahoot games and virtual happy hours into our mix to keep that office vibe going.

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

There are a lot of things that come to mind that will influence the future of my work. However, the two things that Covid-19 has reinforced for me are the importance of leading with empathy and being resilient even in the face of disruption. I have realized that right now it’s more important than ever to be an empathetic leader.

Every single person is dealing with this new reality in some way or the other. I know I have had days where the lines between work and my personal life have blurred. In those situations, I think it’s important to remember that it’s okay to bring your whole self to work and it’s important to let others do the same. It’s really important for us as leaders to be compassionate and lead with empathy. We have had a number of new folks start on the team during this time and onboarding has been a very different experience. I find that in this situation as a leader you have to go the extra mile to ensure the experience is amazing for your new hires and also for others on your team. It’s important to ensure that you are creating a welcoming and inclusive space.

Secondly, I have seen my team be extremely resilient during this time. Their can-do attitude has helped them problem solve. Even during the toughest days, they have come together and marched forward. I think this resilience is admirable and helps them shine. It is something that I’d love to continue building on.

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

I am an extrovert, so when Covid-19 hit, I found it hard to be at home all the time. I get inspired and excited by meeting, talking and interacting with others. However, like everyone else, I was now in a situation where Zoom meetings weren’t providing that in-person connection. As hard as it was for me, I found that my children (who are also extroverts) were having a much harder time. To bring balance back in our lives, we started focusing on activities we could do as a family. We learned that we really enjoy gardening and it’s something that all of us can participate in. The children loved digging the dirt and this year, we planted snow peas, blackberries, grapes and a pineapple. Watching the seedlings grow into little plants has definitely been a source of inspiration. It has given me time to think and reflect on my work.

My first few attempts at gardening failed miserably but we kept at it and eventually saw many little plants sprout. This in particular helped provide inspiration for how we can continue to have conviction on direction and keep iterating on our approach. I had never gardened in my life before, so I also learned a lot through this activity. Most importantly, I learned that stepping away from your computer for an early morning or evening activity can be very invigorating.

Taking inspiration from our family activity, I have tried to incorporate newer ways of working together with my team, as well. To keep motivation levels up, we have switched the format of our team meeting. We start our weekly team meeting now by sharing one new thing we learned that week. This serves as an ice breaker and gets everyone to share new ideas. It also helps provide inspiration for things we can incorporate into our work. As a result of this, we have tried and tested new digital tools to make collaboration better, we have increased our digital testing capabilities and have started relying on data more than ever to inform our decisions.

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2020 Innovator Of The Year

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