What We Learned When VMware Came To Visit

April 29, 2015 Matt Davis

The VMware Team and Allocadia Co-Founders

Standing with the VMware Team at the Olympic Torch in Vancouver. From left: Allocadia CEO and Co-Founder Kristine Steuart; Jared Bradley, Financial Analyst, Global Marketing, VMware; Chethan Chandra, Senior Manager of Business Operations, VMware; and Allocadia CPO and Co-Founder Katherine Berry.

It’s always a pleasure and a learning experience when we get to meet our customers in person. This week, our visitors came from longtime marquee customer VMware.

Read the VMware case study

Chethan Chandra, Senior Manager of Business Operations and Jared Bradley, Financial Analyst, Global Marketing gave our staff an intriguing summary of their roles, how they use Allocadia, and some of the benefits they’ve seen from using our software.

For our team members who work behind the scenes, hearing first-hand how Allocadia is used at VMware was a rare treat. (This presentation was part of our quarterly customer visit program; read about our visit from Juniper Networks.)

Here are some of the things we took away from Chethan and Jared’s visit.

Finance folks have a unique perspective on Allocadia

Chethan and Jared are the main business sponsors of Allocadia within VMware. Interestingly, both have financial roles, yet are dedicated to supporting the financial management needs of the company’s global marketing teams. (Allocadia is typically “owned” by Marketing Operations, but Finance users are always key stakeholders and users in the system, and we do see Finance taking the lead in some cases.)

They’re both finely-attuned to the needs of marketers, but are able to apply specialist financial knowledge to the way they use Allocadia. For example, with their integrated financial actual reporting in Allocadia, VMWare can ensure that their Actuals tie completely to their General Ledger, which means that Marketers can trust the numbers 100%. (Learn more about how we work with Finance actuals and accruals)

Many of our customers are marketers who find that their relationships with the finance department improve over time, but at VMware we have finance professionals paving the way for the marketing teams.

Alignment in action

Like most global software companies, there are numerous Field, Corporate and Product Marketing teams, each with budgets separately managed, organized and reported upon. No one person oversees all marketing activities.

With so much marketing investment happening, it can be a challenge for the various global marketing teams (VMware employs hundreds of marketers worldwide) to be as efficient as possible by sharing best practices, doing internal benchmarking and avoiding redundant spending.

Chethan and Jared spoke about how Allocadia has helped with this. Since our tool provides a global view of marketing activities and spend, the various teams can see what each other are doing and can become more closely aligned over time.

Chethan cited the example of an advertising agency: if one marketing team at VMWare has found a particular agency to be cost-effective and satisfactory, why shouldn’t more teams use the same one?

Or, it may come to light that one region’s Field Marketing teams are spending 25% on events, whereas another is spending only 10%. There might be a perfectly good reason for the difference, but as Chethan says, “Allocadia raises questions in a good way.”

As Chethan alluded to in a webinar with IDC’s Kathleen Schaub on the topic of marketing budgeting & alignment, “Allocadia facilitates conversations you may not been having before.”

Managing change: “Like crossing a chasm”

Chethan and Jared shared a few anecdotes about how they overcame the biggest challenge of any software deployment: change management. For them, this meant everything ranging from getting IT support, to securing executive buy-in, to changing the workflow of end users.

“People get attached to their spreadsheets and existing ways of doing things,” Jared said. “But it’s never too hard to show them the value of managing their investments with Allocadia – it’s clearly a better way”.

This was a good reminder for us at Allocadia, and for anyone selling a product that involves change: recognize the challenge customers face as they “cross the chasm” of internal change management – and support them however you can.

Continuity is the backbone of a customer relationship

When VMware was evaluating Allocadia alongside other solutions, they valued cultural fit just as highly as pricing, features or technical specifications.

Chethan shared how, after speaking with the Allocadia co-founders back in 2011, he felt that Kristine and Katherine were in tune with VMware’s stated needs and would evolve as necessary to meet them.

“There was a very personal touch,” Chethan said. “Since then, we’ve seen that every single [Allocadia] release contains features we’ve talked about – things that help our business move forward.”

Since VMware came on board as a customer, Allocadia’s Customer Success department has expanded significantly. It’s a challenge to maintain continuity during that kind of growth, as roles change and new staff get added. Anyone interacting with the customer has to be up-to-speed with the full context of the relationship.

We’re proud that our Customer Success has risen to the occasion. As Chethan put it: “we haven’t missed a heartbeat in our conversations with the Allocadia team… we always feel good after our calls.”

This is something we can never become lax about or fail to focus on during our company’s growth. Customers like Chethan and Jared not only make our business possible – they make it rewarding. Our number one mission needs to be continuing to make them successful.

Read more about how Allocadia uses our Path to Performance framework to enable our customers.

Thanks again to Chethan and Jared for coming to Vancouver and speaking with our team!

The post What We Learned When VMware Came To Visit appeared first on Allocadia.

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