B2B Growth: Your Daily B2B Marketing Podcast
B2B Growth: Your Daily B2B Marketing Podcast

Episode 1707 · 6 months ago

Onboarding Done Right, with Cynthia Gumbert

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

In this episode, Benji talks to Cynthia Gumbert, CMO at SmartBear.

Hiring is complex in 2022, successful onboarding is a must for the forward momentum of your department and organization as a whole. Cynthia shares how to sure up your onboarding process and create brand advocates from day one.

Conversations from the front lines of marketing. This is B tob growth. Today I am joined by Cynthia Gumbert, who is stopping by BB growth. She is this Cmo at smart bear and, Cynthia, we're so glad to have you here on the show today. I'm glad to be here. Thank you, beny, for having me. Yeah, we're gonna have a fun discussion, but let's provide some context as to your daytoday. Cynthia, just tell us a little bit about your job as Cmo at smart bear. Yeah, so chief Marketing Officers Smart Bear. I've been at this company for nearly three years now and my day to day is it's different every day. So that's my first we're growing very quickly. We've got worldwide team. We have over twenty products were marketing and selling to developers, software developers, that is, and I've got a team that's managing that and in in many different countries, and we're hiring all the time as well. So it's kind of fun growth. Then always something new and something different every day. Yeah, I want to talk to you today really about that, the hiring process, because we know it's complex. In Two thousand and twenty two on boarding is this piece of the organizational structure that I know you like. You just said, your hyper focused on it right now. So let's talk about what's made this to you such a pressing topic. And even you said growth. Like paint a picture for what that kind of looks like and why you're focused on this right now. Yeah, I mean we're a company that's growing in both products and customers and and the market interest, and with that comes the need for more people. Were also growing and different countries and adding you know, we sell through channels and sell through direct sales and sell through ECOMMERCE, so we were growing on all those areas as well. And you know, with tiring growth it's along multiple fronts and lines and each marketing team is slightly different. So we're not just tiring twenty of the same kind of people with the same skills. We need people with particular skills to help us in all of our avenues to growth, which makes it more challenging and and more interesting as well. Yeah, I know we've seen these kind of waves of change and people leaving organizations. They're finding homes and new ones. You're mentioning just the growth in the need for more hands I know a lot of things are maybe outside of our control, but obviously not everything is right. So today I really want to focus on what is in our control. What can we do to sort of sure up the onboarding process and do our best right to create brand advocates from day one? And that's some language that I'm actually stealing from the first conversation we had, and I so I want to talk about being a brand advocate. Let's start there. What what, in your mind, is this ideal employ this brand advocate? What does that look like? Well, a lot of it starts long before we even have a conversation with someone were interviewing. And you know, are we showing up as our brand when somebody's researching smart bear, any company in the first place? How are we showing up and how are we talking about ourselves? And then every touch point that we have with the potential candidate is it getting them excited about the possibility of working at the company? So we are creating and posting and and just I think this week posted a new video of our sales development team talking about why they doing smart bear, and we're doing more and more of these things and just...

...sharing employee stories of people who are here telling the stories and getting them at that out to the world. So anybody WHO's looking at coming to work for US gets a sense of the company before they begin. And then part of that, you know, once we start talking to them, do we sense that excitement in them? Are they bought into our story? You know, this is growth. Is Not easy, but yet we've done on extremely well and have a phenomenal place where at now and a phenomenal story to that's unfolding over the next few years. So do they see that? Do they share that vision with us? And you know, we can tell if they're getting excited as we are beginning to talk with them. So I want to think about the onboarding process specifically. There's definitely ways that things could sort of get lost in translation or there. If you're thinking of it as a baton in a relay race right, like there's right several spots where maybe you could fumble that baton. Where do you feel like organizations are often maybe, I don't want to like there's a chance right that the baton isn't handed off right where? Where do you see organizations fumbling that that on boarding process? Yeah, and we've done a lot of just oversight on what what the onboarding is from the employee experience perspective and it's been a multi year process of getting it updated and, you know, getting it as right as it can be. And I think you know one fumble point is that onboarding is considered really, you know, a systems checklist to maybe a first day lunch with your manager and then you're kind of off on your own to figure it out. And you know, once once you have the the you know you you have your email and you have your laptop and you're logged in and sign up for your benefits and you get a whole flew of here is where to go to get all the company information, you're considered on boarded and and that's really maybe the first three hours of your onboarding. But on boarding takes really months. You have not years, if you're doing it right. So you know, don't mistake that the system's checklist for on boarding, which I think many of us would be guilty of. So with that in mind, yeah, because the it does present some like key pain points. We wish it could be a systems checklist and then we were kind of done. But if you especially if you want culture to translate. There's so many ways we can set people up to win. So I guess on the flip side of going here's the potential pain points or the potential this is where you might fumble the baton. I wonder, what do you imagine when you say this on boarding process went well? What are like the marks of a successful on boarding in your mind? Cynthia? Yeah, I mean it's so a manager has to invest quite a bit of time. But what what we've done to make that as easy as possible for managers in our department is we've got the almost checklist for them, which is get through the all of the overviews of how we operate as the department. WHO's who? Share these, you know, it's presentations and some videos, but just go through a whole set of material. That's baseline. We consider it. You know, this is baseline to get into the Department of Marketing at the company and then, on top of that core all the people you need to be working with within the department, outside the apartment, people who are good just there's some every company has sort of a go to hub that knows anybody and everyone you know meet with them. So we have a very systematic process of cure. Thirty people to meet with. It could be,...

...you know, Fifteen, twenty or thirty in your first three weeks and we'll help you just get those meeting setup so you have all the right oneonones. Then we're going to share our sub department's goals and objectives and key results and start to work on yours as a new hire, you know, right from day one. So it's getting to know the right people and then beginning with the objectives and key results for that individual. And the other piece is really integrated with our core values as a company and we are our specific core values are smart, open, driven, accountable and curious. And with onboarding we focus in on openness and curious and encourage every new hire, no matter the department, to ask anybody any thing, because we are very open right for about everybody is very, very willing to share and help and provide information and think some folks who are new sometimes are a little bit shy or scared to ask anybody anything. But we make it a real point to encourage everyone at the company to be available on answer questions of new hires. And there's no question that's like to basic or you know too dumb that that people won't, you know, want to answer. So we really do encourage that interaction from the get go as much as possible. Hey everyone, if you've been listening to be to be growth for a while, you know that we are big proponents of putting out original, organic content on Linkedin, but one thing that's always been a struggle for a team like ours is easily tracking the reach of that linkedin content. That's why we're really excited about shield analytics. Since our team started using shield, we've been able to easily track the reach and performance of our linkedin content without having to manually log it ourselves. It automatically creates reports and it generates dashboards that are incredibly useful to determining things like what content has been performing the best, what days of the week are we getting the most engagement and our average views per post. Shield has been a game changer for our entire team's productivity and performance on Linkedin. I highly suggest checking out this tool if you're publishing content on Linkedin for yourselves or for your company. You can get a ten day free trial at shield APP NOTT AI, or you can get a twenty five percent discount with our Promo code be to be growth. Again, that's shield APP DOT AI and the Promo Code is be. The number to be growth. All One word for a twenty five percent discount. All right, let's get back into the show. There's no question that's like too basic or, you know, too dumb that that people won't, you know, want to answer. So we really do encourage that interaction from the get go as much as possible. HMM. I remember I had a director report at a previous employer and one of the things that I found so great about department meetings was when you were a first time staff member in that room, they would lay out like the ground rules for the meeting, in that they gave people permission to disagree. They talked about how we come here to like disagree and we always leave unified, and setting the ground rules even in that way allowed new hires to feel that sense of openness and that sense of like, Oh, I can be curious here or this is a good room to push back in. They have this core value of like not fighting in a bad sense, but like fighting for the best idea to win right. So and laying that into the groundwork of a company is so...

...valuable. I love what you said. You said material is kind of the baseline, right, but you still have to provide it and then you let them know who to connect with. That's the people aspect of it, especially in a virtual world where you're working with teams all over the place. Setting up and helping people set up one on ones is so important, and then share goals and help them build their own. And then this core values piece, which is probably at the very heart of all of it, right. So I'm in. This is great. That's in a perfect world. Now take me to like maybe it's an example. We know the things we wish would happen, but is there like a successful on boarding that you've had and the last few months we're going, man, this one really worked or signs that you're going, we're on the right track with this, like how does it play out in real life? Yeah, I have one. One of my direct reports just started a couple of months ago and that we followed pretty much exactly that that process, and I'm not usually the one hiring personally a CMO. It's usually, you know, there's several layers and a lot of teams in a lot of managers who are hiring more frequently than me. But I took the playbook that's been used for more than a year and use it with her and she created, you know, a pretty tremendous twenty page slide deck of all the different possible goals she was thinking of after only two weeks and after meeting. She spent her first two weeks often meeting. I met with her one on the first day and center on her way to meet with people and really didn't check in until a little bit later to go go get to know everybody. And then our next check in was twenty pages of care of the things that I think we can do, and we went through that spend a couple of hours and and you know, she's kind of off into the races working on some of the most critical projects. But you know, I also found myself, you know, week or two later, introducing her to people in larger meetings and they came back and said, oh, we already met, we already met. Well met, and I'm like, okay, my Dob's done. I don't need to do any any more of that. So she had met people through people and her first couple weeks, you know, on boarding and and just they took the initiative to connect, you know, without me needing to interfere too much, so that that was great to see. Yeah, that's always the the dream, and so I appreciate sharing that. I know one sore spot that I wanted to touch on is this lack of documented process, because you could hire a great person and they could come in with a lot of ambition but not knowing like exactly where you fit or where you get tools and resources, that all the stuff that adequately helps kind of lay out their stuff for them. So what have you guys done the kind of streamline and help make that process a bit more smooth. So when I came in I was fortunate, you know, many years ago we had some very, very organized brand creative brand director at the company who was a big user of wikis tool and the on wikis are checklists. That's one of the formats you can create. So there were he'd he had done this for brand on boarding and we took that and really morphed it into it's evolved a ton over the few years, but he had come into rebrand the company many, many years ago and created an onboarding to learn. You know, how we talked about our brand and all the assets and all that, and then I hired a program operations lead who loved that format and just took...

...it and said, I'm going to extend this checklist to become, you know, the like do not forget these things, and it's not so much a row a rote checklist of like just check the boxes. It's like, don't forget to learn all of our products and here's link and it and it winks to all of our sales training. You know, don't forget to meet with these people, and so it's really a great jumping off point for everybody to kind of access everything, and that's been building up over over a few years. So we've got a couple years under a belt of that working, you know, pretty well for us and it manages, you know, really they don't really miss a step without on boarding. So that's it's been working pretty well. One thing that you guys have the unique about you, because of the size right, is that you have this place that sort of acts as the hub for marketing program operations. What types of things are they kind of running and overseeing at this sort of hub? Oh my goodness, so outside of onboarding, our head of marketing program operations runs every major cross departmental projects. So integrations, mergers and acquisition. So onboarding isn't just hiring new people. When we acquire a company, we just announced last week and new acquisition of smart acquiring pact flow. So there's people. It's not just a were, you know, acquiring company. There's a lot of people that come into our teams with that and we use the similar, you know, process to on board them and also just on board systems and everything else we need to when we're integrating somebody and through that operations team we run. But a lot of cross departmental product launches and and you know in major industry reports and surveys that we do and then publish that require every department within marketing to coordinate and facilitate big announcements that we're doing around analyst reports and things like that. So it's just really great to have somebody who's really keeping all the trains running a time. Yeah, across areas and, you know, making sure there are isn't really a misstep in any of these large projects with many moving parts. Hey, B tob gross listeners, we want to hear from you. In fact, we will pay you for it. Just head over to be tob growth podcom and complete a short survey about the show to enter for a chance to win two hundred and fifty dollars. Plus the first fifty participants will receive twenty five dollars as our way of saying thank you so much one more time. That's BB growth podcom, letter B number two, letter be growth podcom. One entry per person must be an active listener of the show to enter and look forward to hearing from you. Yeah, the reason I bring that up because I know we're talking primarily about on boarding, but that word coordination is so vital as things scale and I know we're talking to marketing teams that are all over the map, but a lot that are in this growing growth cycle where you're thinking, not only are we consistently on boarding and having new people show up, but like we got to have that coordination piece really locked down so that communication stays good and can continue to like man cross departmentally, like no one's getting siloed. Things know how they flow. Like I like the analogy you gave there of trains on the track and letting know who can go right now and who needs to stop. So I think not only is...

...this on boarding, but this is going okay. We have this way of ongoing coordination that everybody should be thinking through and always looking to optimize, and so I wanted to point that out for a second. All right, as we start to wrap up here and we we're thinking of onboarding, what do you see as the procedures or the meetings that are like most necessary to really make that beginning thrive? I know we talked about some of what you guys do, but if you're just talking to those that are in charge of this process, what are those procedures, are meetings that we should be focused on? I think it's the ceremonies that we have on a regular basis in our department or very important we have. We make a point of having a weekly all team stand up. No matter what's going on, everybody comes together every Wednesday morning and it might be sometimes a very short ten minute meeting, sometimes it's forty five minutes with a formal preson patient, but every everyone knew who comes in, you know, starts to join those weekly team meetings and just see. And there's some things that are ceremonies we provide. We give awards every two months to, you know, the best of different marketing programs and best, you know, brand advocate, and that's been very inspiring for New People coming on board who see like Oh, I can win one of these one day, and we have a lot of people who've been here less than six months winning one of those awards. So I think that's been really important, just to create really brand advocates, people who really like our culture and, you know, are looking for ways to shine and go above and beyond. Something new we're doing this year that we feel is very important is we're celebrating biggest mistakes, bigause marketing mistakes like that. And you know, one of our goals is to at least twenty percent of our time and budget spent on experimentation and eighty percent spent on tried and tru things that work well. And with experimentation come things that don't work sometimes. So right, making a point of one of our awards is around, you know, the best mistake you want to share and sharing that it's okay for something not to work. It's not okay to never try anything new. So I think that's really going to point to our culture. Also on especially new hire. Seeing who I'm, it's okay if I make a mistake, they're not gonna, you know, be mad at me. They're in fact, they'll celebrate it. So I'm excited about kicking that off this year. I think more teams could implement something like that, even if it's just, you know, on a slack channel. We have a winds channel, but we also have, like our team, our core team, marketing channel where we're always highlighting things, whether good or bad. But I always talk about the shininess of marketing and how easy it is to think that everybody's marketing is just on point because it's meant to be shiny most of the time. But in reality, when we highlight those tests that didn't go so well, man, how many times is that like where we learned the most as marketer? So right, you'll have to report back on that one. I will another hour on that. And on slack channels. Lots of slack channels are a lot of our process happens around slack too. Slack and Lookay, as we start to tie the bow on this this episode together, anything else you kind of want to leave with us on on boarding? Any final thoughts that kind of can can take us home, Cynthia. Things to be considering as people are listening to us, as there may be doing the dishes right now or they're running and they're thinking. When I go back to my marketing team tomorrow, I want to be thinking about whatever fill in the blank. Yeah, I think just because as you've...

...done it once successfully doesn't mean everybody will remember know how to do it the next time, because we have so many new people coming on board, documenting what worked and rettrowing, you know, if it's a big project, for a big announcement or lawn to be retro everything as well after the fact and say what worked well, what didn't, what we need to change, and then you can't document enough just for the next time because there might be different players. If it's something that happens only once a year, you've got that to go back to and be able to use the next time. So that certainly helps. My other point to I think, especially for marketing, is get together in person. You know, a lot of companies are still highly virtual. We are hybrid with a lot of flexibility to work. You know, come in whenever, but a lot of people come in three, four or five days a week and we're seeing those that do want to be in our headquarter office or one of our offices love it. They're just like, this is what we've been missing for two years. And encourage it without saying you know, thou shalt come into the office, but have a meeting, have a reason to come in, have a lunch together, and then we found people just want to come back. They really do like together, especially the marketing team. They get noisy and starting to have a little too much fun, but it's good. Well, this has been a great episode, I know, for so many marketers listening to this. As marketing leaders, were thinking about on board and we're thinking about how our teams are growing, thinking about the fact that even in this great resignation time period where we're seeing so much transition like this is stuff we need to shure up. We need to have systems around document so you've laid out a lot here that I think people can go back to. Think my main takeaway from our episode was that list of just those few material as the baseline, making sure we know who we're connecting these people with, sharing our company goals and helping them with their individual goals, locking in early on that the core values are instilled in these and those that are being on boarded. I think that's worth the whole price of the episode, which the price was zero. So she gave away a lot of value today everyone. So, Cynthia, thank you so much for being here today for sharing your wisdom with us. Tell us a little bit more about the company, what you guys are up to, and then also how people can stay connected with you. Yeah, for sure. SMART furst off where we sell to software developers and development teams who are trying to create, you know, anything from Mobile APPs, two games to airline bookings to some of the biggest banks in the world, and we provide them with tools to just get a little bit above their development environment and make sure they have it well documented, that they have the quality tested. Were automating their tests, were managing their tests, were managing their Apis for ensuring their working and then all the way through to tracking bugs out in the wild. If they do really software and it has a bug, we can feed that back to developers. So we're really visibility and quality and to end, and with our twenty plus tools that all kind of work work together in that sense. So we sell to very technical audience. It's a lot of fun because very dynamic groups of people creating software these days and we're in twenty seven different countries around the world right now, so we're all over the place. Half our customers are in the US, half our all over the place. So there are people creating software anywhere right now. Nice. For those that want to connect...

...with you personally, how would how would they go about doing that, as linkedin usually best for you. I'm on Linkedin. Cynthia Gumbert, on Linkedin. You can find me there, and I'm on instagram and facebook as well. So and twitter, so all the socialist of them. Yeah, that's so good. Well, thank you for being here on BB growth today. Thank you for sharing your wisdom around on boarding and man for listeners listening to this. If you have yet to follow me to be growth, be sure to do that on whatever podcast player you're listening to this on so you never miss an episode. We are wanting to have conversations just like this one Cynthia and I just had, because we want to help fuel your growth, your innovation, your company's continued work around things like on boarding, but then specifically right within marketing as well, and what our teams are doing. So thanks for listening to today's episode. Keep doing work that matters. Will be back real soon with another episode, and Cynthia, thanks one more time for being here with us today. We're always excited to have conversations with leaders on the front lines of marketing. If there's a marketing director or a chief marketing officer that you think we need to have on the show, reach out email me, ben dot block at Sweet Fish Mediacom. I look forward to hearing from you.

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