GUEST: Donna Henderson, Chief Marketing Officer at Evoque Data Center Solutions
What is one of the most important career-building skills to have in your arsenal?
According to Donna Henderson, a veteran of AT&T, BlackBerry, and Samsung, producing change in these large companies is all about one thing -- building relationships.
Henderson is now Chief Marketing Officer at Evoque Data Center Solutions. The Evoque brand is a carve-out of AT&T colocation data centers that was acquired by Brookfield Infrastructure Partners for $1.1 billion in a deal finalized this year.
Evoque’s mission is simple, “to house the world's information and make it universally accessible.”
Doing that requires coordination on a huge scale.
Making All the World's Data Universally Accessible
Evoque is a multi-tenant data center service with 31 retail colocation facilities across four continents and 10 countries. They offer clients a secure place to house their data that is redundant with a five nines level of reliability.
The reports of the data center’s death have been greatly exaggerated. According to a recent report, 37% of IT spend is going to be spent on colocation, up from 24% in 2017. The same study said 58% of all deployed IT racks will be in colocation centers, up from 40% in 2017.
In short, colocation isn’t going anywhere.
Because everyone is focused on the speed of their applications, colocation is essential. In order to make all of this happen, you need to learn how to change organizations from within.
First Change Principle: Never Assume That Everyone Is REALLY on Board with Your New Strategy
When change is in the air, threatened executives frequently scurry for cover. They can’t afford a full confrontation so they just slow-walk everything, hoping the change will go away.
"Executives in a lot of cases were saying 'yes' but they really meant 'no'."
Chief marketing officer, evoque data center solutions
Second Change Principle: Get Everyone's Buy-in by Interacting One-on-One
This executive resistance happens when strategies are pushed from the top down.
Try to build a group of evangelists, internal and external, allowing more users to drive the change from different directions.
Henderson recommends shuttle diplomacy to reach out to each executive and turn underground resistance fighters into allies.
Try to spend more one-on-one time with each one of the executives, get their buy-in and implement their ideas. It's always helpful because when they have skin in the game, they're very supportive of what you're trying to do.
Third Change Principle: Learn Patience
Sometimes the resistance would win and a project would get shelved. Then years later, the market need for that change would return with a vengeance and the change would come as a fast, hard pivot that could have been done earlier and easier.
It’s like the Navy SEAL mantra, “slow is smooth and smooth is fast.” Execute slowly.
A big challenge is slowing people down and making sure that they've thought about things from an end-to-end perspective.
Fourth Change Principle: Change is Happening Fast, Don't Just Go for the Cool
There are over 6,700 companies providing marketing technology. A few years ago there were just 5,000.
"I've learned more in the last few months about the marketing tools that are now available than I probably did in the last 10 years combined, which tells you about the speed of change and the speed of deployment now."
chief marketing officer, evoque data center solutions
Many martech offerings are cool or reduce costs, but you have to be focused on the experience of the end customer. How does this new technology make the end user's life better?
Fifth Change Principle: Best Marketing Technology Is Relationships
Evoque, because it was a carve-out from ATT, started on day one with lots of data centers and lots of existing customers. Their priority became maturing those customer relationships by demonstrating value and establishing a trust to get those customers to expand their business portfolio with Evoque.
"My three top priorities are relationship, relationship, relationship."
CHIEF marketing OFFICER, evoque data SOLUTIONS
This very high touch approach must be done carefully. There are different personas for customers and there are different personas for salespeople. You need to make sure that your salesperson is a good match for that particular customer.
The best sales tools are your ears. You need to listen to the customer to understand what the end-to-end experience feels like. Sales teams need to focus beyond the middle step where the customer is in the sales funnel. The customer experience needs to be about sales providing holistic solutions, not just sales.
"Be real with people. Don't let the job go to your head. Customers should always come first because, without them, we have no reason for being."
CHIEF MARKETING OFFICER, EVOQUE DATA SOLUTIONS
Coordinating all this change comes easily to Henderson because of her hobby.
“I have a real passion for residential real estate. I have personally built five homes,” says Henderson. “I’ve found that painting walls, plastering walls, and doing things like that is a really good stress release.“
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