The Center of Excellence w/ Scott K. Wilder

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This is a podcast episode titled, The Center of Excellence w/ Scott K. Wilder. The summary for this episode is: <p>This week, Scott Wilder joins us to discuss creating a seamless, integrated customer engagement experience!</p><p><br></p><p>If you want to join the discussion with thousands of other customer success leaders, join Gain Grow Retain: http://gaingrowretain.com/</p><p><br></p><p>This podcast is brought to you by Jay Nathan and Jeff Breunsbach...</p><p><br></p><p>Jay Nathan: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jaynathan/</p><p><br></p><p>Jeff Breunsbach: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jeffreybreunsbach</p>
Creating a Seamless Transition
00:41 MIN
The Center of Excellence
00:56 MIN
Customer-Centric State of Mind
00:58 MIN
Creating a Seamless Engagement Experience
00:52 MIN

Speaker 1: Welcome to the Gain, Grow, Retain podcast.

Jeff Breunsbach: All right, we've got another episode of Gain, Grow, Retain today. And our guest with us is Scott Wilder, who is the global head of customer engagement, advocacy, and community at HubSpot. So, Scott, appreciate you taking some time. It looks like very nice, sunny days on the West Coast, compared to our rainy, cold day on the East Coast right now.

Scott Wilder: Yeah. I just wanted to make you jealous of all the beautiful weather we have out here. But I do miss the seasons of the East Coast. But anyway, thank you for having me today.

Jeff Breunsbach: Awesome. Well, I always like to start off with a fun question. And you'll be unprepared for this one, so hopefully you're thinking quick on your feet today. But if you were going to start a community tomorrow, not work- related, but just about a passion, about a hobby, something that you enjoy in your life, what community would you go start yourself?

Scott Wilder: About audio and sound.

Jeff Breunsbach: Very cool.

Scott Wilder: So I think that there's a lot of... So I tend to be really passionate about some work stuff, and there's definitely a blend between work and personal. But I'm really, for the last few years, been fascinated about where audio is going. Whether it's with Google Assist, or that thing I can't say out loud but I can spell, A- L- E- X- A, Clubhouse, and Discourse also, Discord have kind of accelerated things. But it was probably about two years ago that I started working on developing Amazon skills for our company, and so I've just been really interested, both from a kind of, I'll call it text community base, but also audio community base.

Jeff Breunsbach: That is really cool. We actually went. I think Jay built a little mini A- L- E- X- A application. And we had it. It was all around customer success. We were trying to give out customer success knowledge through a skill. And so I actually have it installed on my morning briefing still, but it just doesn't say anything at the end, Jay.

Jay Nathan: Yeah. It still says our name and everything else. I could never get it to work exactly the way I wanted it to. But I think there's such huge opportunity in that. And it's relatively untapped as a channel. I mean, who actually does that today, at least in the B2B software world that we all live in?

Scott Wilder: Yeah, I mean, it's a little off topic, but I've worked for a lot of technology companies, and a lot of them are looking at how to have their functionality voice- activated, voice- driven. So you have this kind of back- end, B2B play. You have the B2C play. And then just think about, especially today with COVID, when people are outside, yeah, they have their face masks, but they also stick these things in their ears so they can listen to somebody on the phone. So it's 360. It's all around us.

Jeff Breunsbach: Man, I never would have guessed that that would have been what your answer was, which is cool. I like this question. I think I'm going to keep using it. We used it for our team internally during a big kick off that we had this week. And I don't know how Jay felt about it, but thought it was great because you just learn something intimate about somebody really quickly, based on their answers. There as a lot of people who talked about doing it for cooking, or guitar. We had people say Dungeons and Dragons. It was just a fun, diverse answer. So I like that.

Scott Wilder: Yeah, you definitely don't want me in the kitchen cooking.

Jay Nathan: Me neither, man.

Jeff Breunsbach: I'll take the burden on that one.

Jay Nathan: inaudible of the crew here.

Jeff Breunsbach: Awesome. Well, before this, we were just kind of talking and noodling around on a few ideas. And one of the things I think we noticed about your background was obviously an emphasis, first on your NASCAR logos. You've been around at some great companies. But the growth marketing angle certainly is kind of prevalent there. And so I'm curious right now, in your role, how has that growth marketing and a lot of those initiatives in the companies that you worked at really kind of established or set you up now to look on this customer engagement side? Just because I think of those things maybe a little different.

Scott Wilder: Yeah. And I'll share a little bit of my journey. I won't go into a lot of details, but I think for younger folks, it might be helpful from a career perspective. So I was fortunate, in'91, to work on some of the first internet stuff. This is going to be for browsers. And my career then moved towards like a digital marketing, digital product management. And I got into community. But I think I leaned, my opinion, too far into community in a sense. The reason being is if we look at who are the leaders and companies, there's very few CMOs who have a community, have community DNA. So when I was at Marketo, I discovered that, or came to that realization. So I realized, because I was at Marketo, I had learned Marketo, and I had learned Salesforce. And so I actually made a conscious career decision to lean into growth, growth marketing. And so there's definitely that path. And I was able, fortunate to do that at Adobe, Coursera, Udacity, some other places. But also, in that journey, I realized that product growth is really key as well. So at Udacity, we did some really interesting things to get people to sign up for another class, or not to attrite, et cetera. And that, coming full loop, full swing or whatever, fit nicely into... I've always thought of community as a product. Okay, so when you asked me what I do, putting titles aside, I focus a lot on kind of product growth. And there was somebody at HubSpot, where I am now, who worked with me at Marketo. And they were very interested in that kind of approach that I was taking. And then the second thing was community tends to be, sometimes kind of an add- on. Like you go to a website, and maybe it's a link on the homepage if you're lucky. But since Marketo, I've always taken this approach that... First part will sound cliché. You want to be customer first and not function out, as HubSpot says. And so taking this approach that all these customer touchpoints in the product, user groups, advocacy, community, even the academy, all that should be customer first and should be integrated and seamless. And so that's really where most of my energy is going at HubSpot. So I think it's important to have the context in terms of my journey. But also, even if you take... So I'm actually in two parts of the organization right now. But if you take customer marketing, for example, a lot of the pieces in customer marketing tend to be kind of separate initiatives. So I'm really kind of focusing on customer engagement, is trying to bring this all together into a seamless, integrated experience.

Jeff Breunsbach: That sounds very similar to where we're spending our time right now. And the way you described that just resonated a lot because I think we're... To your point, I think a lot of times, when you look at businesses around, especially when, I think, from the technology side, people start thinking about all these technologies that they have, which pretty much starts clouding the customer experience when you start adding all of these things. You've got community, which has its own platform. You then have education, or a knowledge base, or learning. And so all of these things start to have technology that kind of bolt on, and sometimes can feel like add- ons. And the thing I think of most is just how do you start reducing that friction among that experience and start creating that seamless transition where maybe I'm using different technologies on different sites, but I'm actually still making it feel cohesive. Like you said, kind of it's... We're interviewing a guy one time, and he said, " One continuous conversation is like the moniker that you should be having as a business so that when somebody's talking to you in sales, all the way through to your renewal, you should be having one continuous conversation where the customer feels that, and doesn't feel like they have to repeat themselves, or feel like they're going into different, kind of disparate areas." And so it's always kind of resonated with me as well.

Scott Wilder: Yeah, no, I think that's really important. It impacts the organization, impacts technology. And a lot of companies that are trying to tackle it, they're dealing with inaudible marketing, or sales stack, and then you also have other companies that will just buy a lot of kind of add- on technologies to get them there. And so one of the things that appealed to me about HubSpot was that we like to build our own technology, and that will accelerate the integrations in terms of trying to keep this continuous conversation, or this integrated experience.

Jay Nathan: Hey, Scott, you said you were in customer marketing, and that was one of two organizations that you're part of. What's the other one.

Scott Wilder: Yeah, the other one focuses on trying to get academy and community work closely together. But we can, now or later, talk a little bit about organization, because... Should I go down this path?

Jay Nathan: Well, yeah. I want to hear your definition of engagement before we go on. Because one of things with; talking about a lot, Jeff and I work in a company that we consider ourselves an engagement company. We have community platforms and communications technologies, marketing campaign tools, so on and so forth. But how do you get all that across? It's an engagement thing that we're trying to do with our audiences, so when you hear the word, or say the word engagement, what is it that you're thinking of is like the measurable thing? For HubSpot, or anybody else that you've worked with in the past as you think about that word.

Scott Wilder: Yeah, so I start always with these guiding principles. And so one is the more human connections, the greater stickiness.

Jay Nathan: Yup.

Scott Wilder: Two is, hopefully I'll get this one right. All boats will rise with the rising tide. And so in this position, and similar positions, every group has their own metrics, but I always start with the engagement ones first. And for us here at HubSpot, it's the number of active users on all these platforms, either together or separately, at a portal level, and an individual level. And for us, portal is someone's instance. So company XYZ, how many employees are engaged overall, looking holistically at these platforms. And we have specific metrics that we track to that. Does that make sense?

Jay Nathan: Yeah. So you actually track it all the way back to product usage, because that's the ultimate outcome?

Scott Wilder: Yeah, we look at product usage. We look at retention metrics as well. So whether it's customer retention dollars, or lifetime value, or just overall retention numbers. Yes, we really try and tie it back to product itself. Now, if it's community, since you guys have a community, you can look at the engagement metrics there in terms of speed to response, who's answering, et cetera. I think one nuance is that we, as the employees, are not... I don't want to look at what percentage of responses the employees are making. I'm looking at what percentage do our customers or partners make. And then it gets a lot more granular than that. So you can break it down by different types of users as well. But it's the engagement metrics. And I have about three metrics around the product that are all tied to engagement and retention, and then three more kind of holistic ones. And I think one of the challenges too, as you're bringing this all together, is you need to look at it across the different platforms. So we happen to be on Khoros for community, and we have Bevy for events. We have our academy. So I'm also looking at this holistic view.

Jay Nathan: It's a challenge that we have is tying all that together, even for our own company. And we're a community company, but tying all that together, and having it map to... People want ROI. They want return. Like okay, we're going to invest in community, but what can I expect to get out of that on the other end? And I think what I hear you saying is for HubSpot, correct me if I'm wrong, you got engagement in some of these programs, community, training, support, so on and so forth. And then that drives product usage, which drives renewals and outcomes from a financial perspective for HubSpot. Is that the way you look at it and try to tie it together, end- to- end, internally?

Scott Wilder: Yeah. Exactly. And we know that. And probably makes common sense. It's not totally one driving the other, cause and effect. But the more people that are on this customer engagement experience, because it's multiple platforms, the more people that are involved in this experience, the more they're going to spend with us, or the more likely they're going to stick with us over time.

Jay Nathan: Have you been able to prove it out mathematically? Or are people, do they take it for granted? Not take it for granted, but they assume that, look, if we're doing this, it's... I think I understand the psychology of the HubSpot culture, which is like rally around the customer, and that's just part of how you do it. But then we have to figure out how many dollars we're going to put into that. So is it hard ROI, or soft, internally, that you guys crosstalk

Scott Wilder: It's a hard ROI. It's a little tricky with a control versus a test scenario. But yeah, I mean, we know... Yeah, it's a hard ROI. And the number one metric, because I probably wasn't clear, is that metric of the engagement at the instance level. And we look at that religiously. When you're in the CRM space, like Marketo or HubSpot, the good news and the challenging news is you're very metrics driven. So there's some other companies I've worked for where they weren't as metrics driven as they thought they were.

Jeff Breunsbach: This the path that we're going down right now, though. Like you were just talking about, like actually putting together some of these dashboards and bringing together some of these data sources so that our teams can actually look into accounts, just like you were mentioning, and saying, " Hey, this account's active on our community. Or this account's active on education. Here's some of their usage metrics." But getting some of that insight so that we can go have just more personalize, valuable conversations with customers. And being able to get back to this whole concept of driving value, I think, sometimes can get lost in the shuffle. I think people toss that word around. But when I know which type of training you've taken, or I know how active you are in our community, that's actually an addition layer that I can provide of value, where I can point you, given what you're interacting with, what you're engaging with, I can point you to areas that you're probably more likely to go consume and feel comfortable consuming, which I think is the thing that we're working towards right now.

Scott Wilder: Yeah, and that metric, you can slice and dice it based on what products or features they're using. You can slice and dice it based on is it enterprise or small business. You can slice and dice it by... For us, we have multiple products, so you can do it at the product level. And that's where it gets really, really interesting. And it's not a key metric for me, but really important is self- service, obviously. So that's another way to look at it.

Jeff Breunsbach: Yeah. Well, as we dive into this, we were about to start talking, because you're in two organizations right now, like you mentioned. And so I'm curious how you've found that division, like sitting in two different orgs, and impacting those? Is that challenging right now? Or do you feel like those are harmonious? And then we can dive in, maybe into some more organizational questions that we've got.

Scott Wilder: Yeah. So I like to tell stories. So when I was at Intuit, it was clear when we were first creating community, and that's a whole nother story, great story about how it started. But I worked out with a company there to move groups every six months. So I moved to the product group, to the marketing group, support group. And then eventually, we just said, " This is like a center of excellence, and it should be kind of floating." And the good news, bad news is multiple people were right in my rear view. And so a similar model that we've taken now, is I'm in these groups, but the people working on these initiatives, I'm the business owner of it, but it's really cross- functional. I mean, there's support. There's marketing. There's product. You can't draw an org chart because there's a few people on the team, but most of it's dotted lines. And so it's that frame of mind of just thinking of it as a center of excellence. It might sound too grandiose, but if you approach it that way, and all these dotted lines can impact that. And then you just need to be kind of structured and process- driven to make sure that everybody is aligned. Our COO likes to say alignment is key to your strategy, or alignment is our strategy.

Jeff Breunsbach: Back at those early Intuit days and creating the center of excellence, was it, generally speaking, back then, that community was living in marketing for the most part in these technology companies? Or was it living somewhere else in the business before you started this center of excellence idea?

Scott Wilder: Yeah. So it started, this was 2002. The quick story is that I was running the eCommerce website, and all the product managers and product marketers wanted me to create content for them. And I said, " Well, unless you give me money, I can't create it. I don't have the team." And of course, nobody had the money. So on the side, we created, my manager and I, pretty much I created this community, and it just grew overnight. So it came out of marketing, but when I first needed to hire moderators, I did tap into the support group there. So it started in marketing, which again, I think was a little unusual. And usually, a lot of these start in support. And then, after we got some traction, that's when we decided to make it more of this kind of center of excellence part of the organization. And somewhere there's a really good interview that Pete Blackshaw did with me about it, from that time period where I talk all about this. But yeah, so it started in marketing, which is unusual. And then I brought into support, and then I just brought in other parts of the organization.

Jeff Breunsbach: Yeah. The more and more you start looking into the community, it's crazy how much value there is for other parts of the organization. It truly does. There should be something that somebody can glean from it in every part, especially when you start thinking about how it can influence product. But then even like messaging and getting marketing involved, like what's the content opportunities we can produce? And then, clearly, trying to get our customer success teams engaged and driving more kind of connection, like you mentioned, to our actual employees, and getting that stood out. But it's... I don't know. I do think it is crazy when you start breaking that down and understanding almost all of the byproduct that can come out of a community, and then where it goes, and how do you operationalize it and process it. Like that's the thing, I think, people are maybe starting to tap into more and more now, because community is becoming such a big word in the space. It's becoming more popular, especially over the last year, or number of years. But I thought that is the most interesting part I think I've seen recently with a lot of our customers is they can kind of stand up the community, and they get it engaged, but then I think they might be missing the byproduct opportunities of producing extra content, or getting product people involved, or other things. So I always find that interesting.

Scott Wilder: Two examples. So if you just... And this is where, again, customer engagement comes in. If you start going through the customer journey, and figuring out the different touchpoints of the customer, or different people in your ecosystem who can interact with them, there's definitely a community opportunity. So two examples are even I think I mentioned to you once that one of my guiding principles for the community is we want to focus on helping our customers master the product, master their craft, and master their careers. So sometimes, it's not sequential like that. People will say, " I want to learn about marketing." So they come to HubSpot and they interact with a professor. Well, that professor can contribute a lot to the community as well. And you can integrate those two. So that's one example. And the other one, which I wish I was smart enough to think of, but somebody in our partner team reached out to me. I've only been with the company for five months, but reached out to me recently and said, " We want to look at our onboarding process for our partners, and to figure out how community, and events, and all that can play into it." So those are two kind of random use cases where this engagement platform, and again, I'm not saying community now, inaudible engagement platform, can play into this.

Jeff Breunsbach: Yeah. I like that. I love that quote that you do, the master your craft, master your-

Scott Wilder: Product, craft, career.

Jeff Breunsbach: Product, craft, career.

Scott Wilder: Master your product. Master your craft.

Jay Nathan: crosstalk

Scott Wilder: Sorry?

Jay Nathan: Is that yours? Did you come up with that?

Scott Wilder: Yep.

Jay Nathan: I read that in your AMA too that you do.

Scott Wilder: Yep. Yep. Yeah. It's not trademarked. So don't go ahead and trademark it.

Jay Nathan: That's really good. I mean, I think that's the cool part that we've learned about community. I mean, I think Jeff and I consider ourselves relative novices to community, especially if you look at somebody like you who's been doing this for a long time. But one of the things we found is that, yeah, you can learn a specific skill, but it's really about career development. We've had a lot of people that have come through our community that we get these notes back and it's like, " Hey, I found a job last year because a connection that I made through the community, or something that you guys helped facilitate." And it's just so gratifying to see that happen. And I would guess inside of an ecosystem like HubSpot, where you have access to both sides of that marketplace, you probably see a lot of that kind of connection being made to further people's careers, actually physically in that way.

Scott Wilder: Yeah. I mean, you guys are in a great, great space. Customer success has really kind of taken off in the last few years. But you still have a lot of people that are... I mean, you have a lot of people that are new to it. And they're trying to figure out what the craft is, and it's a little tricky to figure out, like if you're starting out your career, what it is. And then, what are the career opportunities? Like if I do this today, what can I do in two years, or five years, or ten years? I can never think beyond six months, but some people do.

Jay Nathan: It's because of the Intuit experience where you just went from group to group. You're just trained that way now.

Scott Wilder: Yeah, well I think also in a lot of this is another guiding principle is I try and have these bite- sized timeframes, small timeframes. I mean, just personally, you start off with a personal question. I think of the day as three eight- hour blocks. One eight hours, I'm working. One eight hours, I'm sleeping. And one eight hours, it's a trade- off between work and kids and family. But I think the same way in terms of our roadmap, with all these... I think the same with our engagement platform in terms of the roadmap. One month, three months, six months. And then I stop because the world's going to change a lot.

Jay Nathan: Yeah. I inaudible too far ahead, and you're locked in to something that's not going to make sense in six months.

Jeff Breunsbach: I'm consciously picking up how you have changed the verbiage to engagement platform. And I like that you do that, because I think as you start... In my role at Higher Logic, I'm in customer experience, but what does that really mean? But when you break it down as a customer engagement platform, to me, I can clearly see how those pieces are starting to come together. But how come you started doing that? Or do you think that's a big... Or I guess internally for you, is that a big thing to get people kind of stopping to think only about community, and starting to think more about how these engagements actually span larger than just kind of connections on a community. There's engagement in other ways, and/ or other mediums or platforms that we're actually doing.

Scott Wilder: Yeah, no. You're very observant. So I think I try and put a lot of energy into the words that are used to describe these things. And I think when you say community, it creates certain thoughts in people's head of discussion threads, maybe a little bit more than that. Or 50% will say support, and maybe some will say marketing. Customer engagement has a much... It definitely has different meanings for different people, but I consciously use that term. And when I came to HubSpot, that was the title, position name that I really wanted because it just will create different behaviors in the company. You don't get pigeonholed. And one of the problems we're all dealing with is I start out by saying we're a function first sometimes, versus... Or customer function out versus customer first. So you have the user group person doing this kind of siloed. And you have the advocacy person here siloed. And you have the support chat people siloed. But if you say, " We're all in this together. Let's all take this holistic approach. We're all trying to solve for the customer." And build out this customer engagement platform or journey, that creates different behaviors, different outcomes.

Jeff Breunsbach: Yeah. I like that. And it reminds me a lot, we had Lisa Pratt, who is one of our friends, an old colleague of Jay's, and somebody that we've gotten to know. And she led a really big transformation at Kronos. And she had this great quote. And I'm going to paraphrase it or butcher it, but it was basically the consensus of the quote was if we can get our entire company thinking in a more customer- centric way, then everything we do, every decision we make, is thought about with the customer first, instead of, the example she gave is she goes, " What if I could think about a designer or a developer who is now questioning the design of a button? And is it customer first, and are we thinking about what the experience is going to be like, rather than just trying to put code on a page and trying to get something out the door?" So paraphrasing and butchering, but what you just mentioned resonates a lot, because I think they had this great case study about how they were transitioning to the cloud, and transitioning to driving customer outcomes, and becoming a SaaS product. And along that whole thing though, they talked about just that whole transition was really about transforming the thoughts in the minds of their employees internally. And if we can get people thinking more about the customer and putting ourselves in that empathetic position to understand what they're going through on a daily basis, how they're interacting with our platforms, then we're going to make better decisions, rather than the reverse. So that made me think about that a lot.

Scott Wilder: One person who really influenced me a lot was Scott Cook, the founder of Intuit. And two things. One is, he's the one that started the follow them homes, where in the old days, you bought software at retail stories. And you would follow the person home and you'd see how they used the software in their environment. But the other interesting thing is when I would go present to him, I try and be like a really cool MBA with my numbers and all this. And he kind of threw it aside and said, " I want to hear from the customer, what the customer's saying. I want you to tell me. I want you to document it. I want you to share it with me." And the customer, most of the time, is not saying, " Well, I did a little bit of advocacy. And I did a little bit of user group. And I went to a chat bot." So that really stuck with me. And he's pretty amazing. And he's written some really... There's an HBR article that I helped him with back in the old days about user- created content, which is another dimension to all this. So you might want to look that up. But just thinking about walking in the customer's shoes, which a lot of people say we're customer first, but what does that mean and how do you implement that. And in Scott Cook's case, it was he was challenging me to repeat what the customer said so that I understood it.

Jeff Breunsbach: Yeah. And boiling it down, one of the things that I always try and be conscious about, I think like you mentioned, is words matter, especially when you're talking to customers. And if we start using language that is just not normal to their day- to- day, you're going to lose... It's almost like watching a presentation that just becomes boring in the first minute because you don't know what's happening. You don't know what's going on. And so I think about that example a lot too that you just gave, where we throw around words in customer success, like customer journey, and retention, and, " Hey, you're in the adoption stage. You're in this stage." But to the customer, that's not the way that they think about their journey at all. And so actually, like a lot of the things that I think we've tried to consciously think about are sure, we can design a customer journey, and that's going to be something internally facing. But we also need to create an external version of that that mirrors and mimics the language they use, how they think about their evolution with our product. Like what are some of those next, key steps and things that are happening. So I think about that a lot when you start talking about words mattering and how you're trying to align yourself and make it feel more comfortable for the customer as well.

Scott Wilder: I mean, no, that sounds great what you guys are doing. And another story is, so when I worked at American Express as my first job.

Jay Nathan: I didn't even see that one on the list.

Scott Wilder: Yeah, it's not even on there.

Jay Nathan: crosstalk

Scott Wilder: That's my first job out of business school. So we were all set up by a green card, gold card, platinum card. When I got there, the reason they did this was interesting. But basically what they said is, " Yeah, we're going to have these cards. But we're going to take our whole customer base and look at it based on tenure." Because I could be a one- year gold card person, or a one- year green card person, and that's how they set up the org. The reason they did that was because they also were coming up... Well, I can go into that later. But so that, again, like how your org is set up, that changes a whole different mindset. Like all of the sudden I was thinking of the customer, how long they used the card, versus did they actually spend on the card or not.

Jeff Breunsbach: Yeah. I think we've spent a lot of time in internal debates, or debates with a lot of our community, around segmenting and how do you segment customers, and how do you think about putting like- minded, or like- things together, and when you start thinking about segmentation. And I think the challenge, or the tough part, or the thing that maybe I go to a lot, which is segmentation becomes really malleable. Like I just think of people who actually move segments and it actually starts to... You start thinking about sub- groups more and more that can be analogous with one another. Because I think sometimes people think about segmenting too rigidly. They're like, " Oh, this is a tier- one customer. This is a tier- two. This is a tier- three." And then we just go build those journeys and we go. And I think, again, the more and more you start digging in is people move in that journey of tiering system. But then people also move on different ways and different scales of the customer journey. So to me, it's continuing to figure out how do you drive more small groups, and then how are those small groups then having similar experiences, or they have similar tendencies that you want to follow. But I think a lot of times, Jay and I, we were doing a consulting business for three years, and digging into these B2B SaaS companies. And they would think so rigidly about segmentation. And I think it was really hard for us to describe to them how we were thinking about how, yes, there needs to be some formality and some rigidness, but then you also need to allow for fluidity in that process as well. It's kind of a hard thing to describe. But I think it resonates when you start thinking about your own journeys as a customer.

Jay Nathan: It gets back to Scott's point, too, about how do you think about those segmentations and then organize accordingly? Which one do you choose to organize how you set up your business processes internally? That's a hard question to answer, and we struggle with it ourselves even now.

Scott Wilder: I mean, it's great to hear you guys focus on that, or trying to tackle that. So yeah, people are going to be part of different segments as these communities form kind of smaller groups, or as user groups become more virtual. You might have the woman in technology group. So that's one type of person. And then you might have them use product A. So they might be spending more than anybody else. So how do you... And it's probably for another discussion about automation and predictive modeling and things like that. But that's where it gets interesting. I mean, you don't want to be totally robotic with the two things I just said in terms of automation and predictive modeling. But on the other hand, that can help figure out how to serve up certain messages. And I know Higher Logic is doing a lot of good work in the automation space.

Jay Nathan: And then, how do you share the impact of something that's cross- functional on all the different segments? It comes back a little bit to the metrics discussion we had up front. Where do you tie things together? And so it becomes a pretty complex story to tell if you're not careful. So I like the way you keep coming back to guiding principles and some of the big ticket items that you're looking to do there. So at HubSpot, when you joined, HubSpot's been in business for, I don't know what, is it 20 years now? Almost? Has it been 20 years?

Scott Wilder: Something like that, yeah.

Jay Nathan: Okay, close enough. Somebody will come back and correct us, I'm sure. But when you joined, what was your mandate with community and engagement? Because I've always looked at HubSpot as like sort of a shining example of how to drive great, not just customer engagement, but engagement with the market at large. I learned stuff from HubSpot. When I google certain topics around things that we're trying to accomplish, HubSpot articles come up. So anyway, what was your mandate? Were you looking to revamp, or continue what was already working with community and engagement? What was your mandate as you joined the org?

Scott Wilder: Yeah, to take these different initiatives and platforms and marketing programs, so webinars, user groups, advocacy, community, customer stories, and basically create a seamless experience to help draw that engagement number I mentioned earlier. That's my true north.

Jay Nathan: So it all goes back to the product usage and the different ways you can lever that and impact it?

Scott Wilder: Yeah. So if you believe one plus one equals three, I was an English major, not a math. So if you believe that this integration and reducing friction will drive engagement, which will drive those retention, revenue dollars, then that's my true north. That's what I need to focus on. So I think we do performance reviews and all that, which are great. HubSpot is really good in terms of leading with the heart and focusing on the individual. But I think people evaluate the success based on those true north metrics, and I believe the inputs to them are the... Those inputs include creating the seamless experience.

Jay Nathan: Are you really focused on the CRM side now? I've heard you say CRM a couple of times, and that's a big initiative.

Scott Wilder: Yeah. Yeah. So we're focused on we have a lot of customers who are scaling their businesses, and so we have all the pieces for a real customer relationship platform, customer relationship approach. And so bringing that all together, yeah.

Jay Nathan: Very cool. We were happy HubSpot customers for a long time on CRM before we sold our company.

Scott Wilder: Yeah, I know that Higher Logic has some of their own products.

Jay Nathan: Well, yeah. I mean, we use Salesforce now, which is probably not nice to say. But you probably run up against that a lot, right?

Scott Wilder: Yeah.

Jay Nathan: But I mean, it was a great product because it was so much more simple than vending with Salesforce is for a lot of organizations.

Scott Wilder: So one of the nuances, which where we started was that because... I mean, HubSpot's known as a marketing company, but because there's so much energy going into this product, the products that they create, we mostly build all our own products, we try and have a common code base, all this stuff. It's going to make my life easier as I go through my HubSpot journey in terms of stitching this all together.

Jeff Breunsbach: Yeah. The backend data piece, and stitching these programs and platforms together is the name of the game these days. If you can get that, that's like the holy grail.

Scott Wilder: Yeah.

Jeff Breunsbach: Awesome. Well, Scott, we are coming down to the end here. And I've got maybe like one more question that I'm thinking of in my mind. Getting back to a personal level, what is your favorite fruit?

Scott Wilder: Kiwi.

Jeff Breunsbach: New one. Okay. I've asked this a lot. I've gotten a lot of strawberries. There's people with mango. Kiwi, that's a first. So I appreciate that.

Scott Wilder: So I never had a kiwi until I was like 15 years old. So that's why. And then I really like the texture of fruit. So it's just something about the kiwi, those little seeds, and all that.

Jay Nathan: Sweet, sour, yeah.

Jeff Breunsbach: I haven't had a kiwi in so long, now that you said that. I can't remember the last time I had an actual kiwi.

Jay Nathan: My kids love them.

Jeff Breunsbach: Man. Well, Scott, if people... This is your chance to do some self- promotion. But if people want to find you, do you do any writing? Are you on LinkedIn? Are you a big Twitter? Where can people come find you and engage with your content and those types of things? So don't be bashful.

Scott Wilder: Yeah, you can always stalk me on LinkedIn, or reach out to me. I pretty much get back to everybody on LinkedIn. That's probably the best place. One of my New Year's resolutions is to start writing about some of this stuff. But LinkedIn's probably the best place. Or you can send an email to SWilder@Hubspot. You can also come to the HubSpot community. If you're a traveler, you can come to San Francisco. I'm on Meyers- Briggs an ENFP. Or on the Enneagram, a seven. So I love meeting people. So feel free to reach out whenever want. And that includes you guys.

Jeff Breunsbach: I love it. I appreciate that. Yeah. One day we'll have to do this live, out in San Francisco, and be able to hopefully enjoy maybe a little bit more normalcy some point soon. But, Scott, I enjoyed this. I've already written down a ton of stuff on my notes. And I feel like we're going to be having to do this again at some point soon, because there's some good stuff that you've got here. So appreciate you sharing.

Jay Nathan: Hey guys. Thanks so much for taking the time to listen to the Gain, Grow, Retain podcast. If you liked what you heard, please take a moment and share the podcast with your friends and colleagues and subscribe. We really appreciate it. Talk to you soon.

DESCRIPTION

This week, Scott Wilder joins us to discuss creating a seamless, integrated customer engagement experience!


If you want to join the discussion with thousands of other customer success leaders, join Gain Grow Retain: http://gaingrowretain.com/


This podcast is brought to you by Jay Nathan and Jeff Breunsbach...


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Today's Host

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Jeff Breunsbach

|Director of Customer Experience at Higher Logic
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Jay Nathan

|Chief Customer Officer at Higher Logic

Today's Guests

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Scott K. Wilder

|Head of Customer Engagement