CMO Insights: Tim Minahan, CMO, Citrix

April 18, 2017

This week’s guest on CMO Insights is Tim Minahan, Chief Marketing Officer for Citrix.

In this video, Tim shares how

  • Citrix is transforming on multiple levels to stay competitive
  • Marketing needs to be a big part of this transformation by playing a more strategic role in the organization
  • Building a team that understands the core products, is data driven and willing to test new ideas, is critical for success in today’s digital economy

Learn more about Tim from his LinkedIn profile and follow both Citrix and Tim on Twitter (links to their profiles where applicable)

For more great CMO interviews like this one, please check out our CMO Insights Playlist on our YouTube channel.

Full Transcript

Jeff Pedowitz:

Hi, welcome to Revenue Marketing Television Live. I’m Jeff Pedowitz, your host, President and CEO of The Pedowitz Group. And today we have Tim Minahan, who is Chief Marketing Officer of Citrix. Tim, welcome to the show.

Tim Minahan:

Thanks Jeff. Glad to be here.

Jeff Pedowitz:

Glad to have you. So it’s been a bit of a whirlwind, right? Over the last year and a half?

Tim Minahan:

Yeah, it certainly has. So I joined Citrix about a like you said, about 15 months ago and it certainly has been a whirlwind. A widely recognized brand has been around for 26 years, really going through a transformation transforming to the cloud, transforming to enable this new kind of digital business environment and transforming and moving beyond just it moving towards helping lines of business actually achieve their business outcomes.

Jeff Pedowitz:

So now you’re known as transformer because I found it for a while on this at the last couple of companies. And so what’s your approach to transforming marketing and Citrix? What are some of the things?

Tim Minahan:

Yeah, well, first the company transformation to the cloud is not a nominal fee, you know Benioff on the Salesforce may have written the book on how to start a SAS business from scratch, but no one’s really written the book and how to transform an established technology company to the cloud. Having been in both environments, I can say we started to did the ladder is far more complicated because you need to bring your customers along on that journey. You need to bring the market along on that journey. And so when I look at the transformation at the business level, there’s really kind of three things. It’s less of, you know, technology transformation is one moving into a multi-tenant architecture and that’s, that’s interesting as a marketing guy. And so that’s the easy part. You know, the second part is the financial transformation, particularly for a public company to do this in a public environment, transitioning from a professional license model to a subscription model.

But the third part, which is I would argue the most challenging, which is kind of the cultural and operational transformation. There’s a mindset component to it where you’re moving from selling products to selling services and ultimately outcomes. And that requires you to change the way you do just about anything from how you develop product and how you deliver it to market and at what intervals to how you go to market to how you market and engage with with the marketing with customers. And so from a marketing perspective, you know, that also requires you to to change the traditional marketing approaches that were in place, which were more episodic events based relationship based to one where you’re leveraging digital much more frequently. You are mapping that to a sales process that is quickly dying to more of the buyer journey, where the buyer is in control, where they want to be informed.

And you are indeed in dialogue and establishing that trusted advisor role earlier on as they’re shaping their decision framework. And that’s required us to, to change a lot of what we do. So I would say there’s really three things there. We have a philosophy of number one is to digitize. So increasingly we’re making the commitment that all our marketing is digital marketing, allowing us to be much more agile, analytical in how we engage the market. Simple products are really driving everything from data, all of our investments being based on not just the hunch or something we’ve always done, but being much more strategic and reimagined. So shifting from selling product again, and feature function to selling outcomes that are aligned with what the market wants to achieve.

Jeff Pedowitz:

So you’re running a lot of different marketing organizations over the years. Are you finding the function of marketing is changing? Are you needing to run it more like a business than say 10 years ago?

Tim Minahan:

Yeah, absolutely. The function of marketing was changing in a number of different ways and it’s, as it should be being driven by the customer. The customer, as I said now is in the, in the driver’s seat, they’re far more informed. They’re far less trusting. They’d rather get information and do their own research from their peers in the life. And then from then from you. And unfortunately they’re far less loyal rafter. So our recent study where 60% said they would leave their current vendor for perceived, perceived better service. And so from a marketing perspective I think marketing has a much more strategic role than it did in the past. In the past, it was know traditional, you know, Hey, you can do brand awareness and provide air cover. It was, Hey, you can support what the sales folks want to do kind of in the region.

But now with the buyer in the driver’s seat, marketing plays a very strategic role in when we get out in front needing to engage that dialogue helps shape the dialogue helps shape the decision framework far before the sales cycle even starts. So how has your relationship with sales changing? A relationship with sales has, has also changed dramatically as they’re coming to that realization. And I think that the biggest opportunity in sales is to deal in data deal with fact and that really motivates them. So one of the first things I did and I’ve done in the past, which is to establish a common global dashboard one in which, you know, I wake up and that the head of global sales and services wakes up and the head of each region wakes up and looks at consistently. So, you know, that is mapping the entire engagement cycle, the funnel all the way down, we’re now introducing post-sale adoption and success as well. So it allows us to eliminate a lot of the traditional, I feel this, or he said, she said, and dealing with data. It also allows us to importantly have a predictive view into the future. So we can identify that, Hey, two quarters out, we might need to be doing something different.

Jeff Pedowitz:

Let’s, let’s jump on it now, before it becomes a problem or an issue. So as marketing’s changing outcomes, are you looking for a different type of person? And are you setting up your teams differently today?

Tim Minahan:

Yes. On both accounts. So you know, I want to count, obviously we still need court domain knowledge, right from the bottom up with your product environment, but you need a much more dynamic and data driven organization thing that you have in play in the past. And why, I mean, from a dynamic standpoint is part of the beauty of shifting a lot of our efforts towards the digital environment is the fact that you can react much quicker. You can be much more agile and you can do AB testing and really understand what the market wants and how they’re reacting and what’s working. And that takes a certain mindset from you know, a traditional approach where, Hey, we walked in and campaign for a year, or we’ve always done this event. So we have to do the event. So it’s a constant, constantly challenging that, and then backing it up is making those decisions, you know, based on data. And the good news now is from an infrastructure standpoint, we’re beginning to have the infrastructure in place that we have access to the data, not just the data pipeline and conversion and how we get folks in, but post-sale data understanding our folks adopting to not adopting what offers or engagement should be, be assisting with, from a marketing perspective to make sure that they’re,

Jeff Pedowitz:

So the team has to be more data driven and more analytical. What about the structure? You know, cause there was always the traditional product marketing, corporate marketing, are you building different types of teams?

Tim Minahan:

Yeah, I think I think we are, I think one of the most significant things we’ve done is putting our money where our mouth is. We say all marketing is increasingly digital marketing. We have organized in such a way where we take your traditional demand or campaign organization and we’ve embedded it within the digital web team. So end to end fully integrated a team that is doing two things. Number one is, you know, making sure our integrated plan includes primarily and first and foremost digital engagement methods you know, and number two, making sure we have the data to quickly test and adapt our campaign. So we’re not so fixed and rigid and paid. We set this out last December. So it’s now July, if things aren’t working, let’s adapt, let’s adjust them. And so I think organizing is really helped reinforce that I’ve even kind of reinforced that further by saying we’re cutting the volume of email that we do in half and that’s not a magic number.

Don’t tell my team. It is dramatic. There’s, I’ve been told there’s been lots of discussions including in the regions around, okay, how are we going to support that? And that’s the dialogue that I wanted to generate. It’s not about getting into a certain number or volume of emails. It’s about saying, okay, number one is how should we be changing and adapting our methods to leverage digital more? And number two is when we do send out that email, we’ve gotta make sure that it resonates, it lands. It achieves the objective with the target audience that we’re trying to reach say, do you have a formal marketing ops team or both? In fact based they sit on the same team. So a marketing ops strategy and planning is a common team that has the, has the demand center has, you know, has our, has our analytics as well. And we are actually as a company, which which helps for where we’re going with the cloud marketing also kind of the NPS components. So we have a good understanding of what customers are doing post sale as well.

Jeff Pedowitz:

Okay, so what’s AXA processing for events?

Tim Minahan:

Yeah. So there’s, there’s a few things I mentioned, you know, I mentioned around, around digital and mentioned around decisions being a database. And data-driven the other thing we’re putting in place is some common governance models globally. So we have begun a unified marketing. We have a centralized or CML model, I think you would call it where product marketing you know digital marketing comms, et cetera, all are all integrated. We have dotted line brochure from the regions and what we’re doing there is established, established some common governance models around what you would think brand messaging campaigns, events spend. And that’s, that’s really helped us do a couple of things. Number one is gain alignment. They first came in, we began a process of trying to develop an integrated marketing plan. I think last year we were getting the muscles under us this year.

It’s a much more focused folks understand how you really leveraged the power of the team to execute, not just globally, but also locally. And this governance model is helping us take it to the next level and make sure that we have a consistent branding and messaging and make sure that we have, you know, minimum thresholds in return make sure that we are infusing, you know, that digital component and everything that we do. So I think really getting that that good alignment which may not have existed in the past.

Jeff Pedowitz:

Okay. So I know Citrix always been an early adopter of technology, so what’s your MarTech stack look like and what do you guys do differently?

Tim Minahan:

Yeah, I mean the core of the core of the MarTech stack, that’s a good thing, a bad thing though, by the

way, if you were an early adopter with Citrix was of of sales, marketing automation you know, you’re out in front, but you also don’t get the benefit of years of best practices and the like, and that tends to be a lot of customization. So as a company, we’ve kind of gone through that Reid implementation our mirror, the end of the implementation of the of Salesforce so sales cloud and we’ve kind of taken the approach of taking the vanilla deployment and taking guidance from them and others around how do we, you know, smooth out our processes, make sure we have the, you know, consistent global processes, global dashboards and the like, and that’s really helpful augmenting that we have we have more keg that we really used, we’ve mentioned the demand center before.

That’s been kind of a forcing function to make sure that we have common processes and standards in Marco, or we’ve identified an asset map and we’ve mapped the buyer journey. And we’re beginning to set up those plays in a much more consistent basis. And then we have some interesting things, you know, around the end, around, you know, around the analytics we use we use Adobe to manage all of our or digital components. But one of the interesting things is as I mentioned earlier, Citrix is moving to the cloud and different parts of the product portfolio or business are moving at different paces. One particular area is around secure file sharing what we call our share file part of the business considerate an, of a Dropbox for the enterprise with added layers of security and workflow and so on.

And that was born and bred in the cloud, a true SAS business. And so we’ve been able to just state a lot of innovative ideas there where as you move to the cloud and taking ownership of a lot more of the customer engagement cycle. So it’s not just about driving awareness, driving demand and getting into the trial for my marketing team is also responsible for trial conversions, post post sale actual adoption. And so we’re using called Pendo that’s helping us not only map the buyer journey, but proactively pushing highly personalized messages to drive those actions at the right time.

Jeff Pedowitz:

So now you’re seeing, you mentioned kinda post-sale, so there’s this big push for customer life cycle engagement. You know, marketing’s not just supposed to fill the top of the funnel, but really engaged throughout buy cycle. So how are you set up to deal with that? Do you have a team that just works on customer programming and campaigns?

Tim Minahan:

Yeah, so we are, the answer is we will we are in the process of building that out. It’s to your point as you move to the cloud you introduced from marketing. What I would call the fifth discipline. If the first four are really overly simplistic are, you know, driving awareness, building demand, qualifying demand, and nurturing demand. You then have this new post-sale effort around driving customer adoption and success. And so we’re building a customer adoption marketing team that will take some of the learnings that we’re already seeing in the sheriff hall part of the business, and kind of scale them off to support the Citrix cloud. And it really is about identifying those moments, right? Understanding what the customer is adopting, what they’re not adopting helping to be sort of their trainer. You know, I use the metaphor of, you can buy that treadmill and soon it becomes a towel rack, or you can go to the gym and engage with the trainer who teaches you how to use the treadmill, make sure you show up every day, make sure you’re doing your routine. And that’s kind of the role of a adoption marketing, working closely with our customer success team to make sure that we are injecting at the right moment to move that customer along their journey. Post-Sale just like we did

Jeff Pedowitz:

Presale. So what do you mean as your mind boss and then what are you measuring your team on? Yeah,

Tim Minahan:

So we were undergoing a three year transformational journey. We call it the, the March to world class. And so we’ve identified some kind of big five objectives that that we’re going after once that you would you would typically consider but also adding an employee ones around kind of building this modern marketing vision. But from a marketing from my boss standpoint we have, you know, measures around awareness. So around aided awareness, unaided awareness share a voice that these are on the corporate scorecard. So that is a big thing as we’ve gone through this kind of reinvention of Citrix, you know, the brand as needed to evolve. And, you know, the challenge of having a strong brand is that it becomes very, very challenging to evolve that brand and change people’s mindset. So, so we’re, we’re doing that both through that aided awareness, and then shared voice both in media and social.

We obviously have metrics around that and linked to not just read a pipeline, but also read them you where, you know, we’re trying to have that shared goal. So it doesn’t do us any good if marketing sources above target and a low target, it just creates a new level of friction. So we’re kind of, you know, trying to you know, eliminate that. And then we’re beginning to build, I wouldn’t say we’re quite there yet, but taking on metrics around adoption and customer satisfaction. Great. So what piece of advice would you give to a marketing tactic just to getting your transformation? You know, I would, my key advice would be to do your research first, right? Spend a lot of time talking with the constituents both within your organization and outside, including the customers, analysts, folks like yourself.

But also look to to other industries where you know, good ideas are not be to only do your industry. And then, and then once you’ve settled on a common vision being revealed, be very consistent in in communicating that vision both to your team and to to your constituents focus relentlessly on data to help drive towards that. It doesn’t mean you can’t adjust, but that should be driven by fact, and, you know, and by data and you know, I would, I would say that in the last part is, you know, constantly, you know, be that agitator you know, not in a negative way, but constantly be pushing your company. I think we’re at a interesting time in, in marketing in that because the sales cycle is that because the buyer was the journey marketing has to play a much, much more strategic role than it ever has.

And you know, I constantly challenged my team to take up that torch to get engaged in key dialogues in the market to make sure that we’re injected into those areas of discussion early on, which may not manifest themselves in sales for, you know a year to two years, but you’re building that reputation. And I think reputation management is going to become so much more important as you try to establish this role as a trusted advisor.

Jeff Pedowitz:

Right. Well thanks, Tim. Thank you.

Tim Minahan:

Great.

Jeff Pedowitz:

Appreciate you being on the show today.

Tim Minahan:

Thank you. Yep.

Jeff Pedowitz:

All right. Thank you everybody, that’s a wrap.

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