Sophos’ Andrea Carter on ABX and other B2B marketing trends – Econsultancy

Andrea Carter is Senior Director of Marketing EMEA at Sophos, a cybersecurity-as-a-service company. I recently caught up with Andrea to find out more about her role. She talks trends in B2B marketing, the alignment between sales and marketing, plus lessons from the pandemic.

Image: Andrea Carter, Older Director associated with Marketing EMEA, Sophos

Tell us about your role – what does a typical day look like for you?

We run Field Marketing for North (UKI & Nordics), South (Italy, France, Spain & Benelux) and Emerging (Middle-East & Africa) EMEA at Sophos. Sophos provide advanced cybersecurity services and solutions worldwide through reseller and managed service providers.

A typical day time depends upon if I is working from home or attending face-to-face meetings at one of our Sophos offices. Predominately the purpose of my team is to drive awareness, generate demand and enable our channel. A typical day may include 1: 1s with my team members, strategy conferences with sales leadership across the regions I actually work on, a review of KPIs and how we are tracking in each region in terms of MQLs, SQLs, Billings etc. plus various project meetings working with colleagues around the globe to build the strategy around key activities such as new product launches, the latest messaging or areas like the structure and development of our teams.

What trends are shaping B2B advertising right now, plus where does your particular focus lie?

In conditions of styles I would say digital remains the huge focus and essential investment area. A specific focus right now is ABM, or more recently known as ABX (Account Based Experience), we have recently implemented new technology which will help us to drive our ABX technique and all of us are continually adapting and developing automated nurture content, target lists, sales engagement etc in order to drive optimal results.

I think that ABX brings even closer alignment between product sales and marketing and advertising teams within a business plus it’s exciting to see this entirely joined up approach taking shape to drive our own business.

Other trends associated with note would be customer experience, the importance of customer advocacy programs, AI developments such as our recent use of chat bots and a focus on engaging issue-led content material such as video, surveys, interactive Q& The webinars etc.

Finally, social media remains an important element of the strategy. An interesting trend is watching to see what happens along with the return to live events – we have all got used to consuming articles via online formats, therefore a live event needs to ensure it isn’t delivering what could be delivered more easily online so I predict more networking/social style events than a return in order to presentations delivered in a lecture theatre!

How do you facilitate a strong working partnership among marketing plus sales groups?

The partnership between sales and marketing is something I am really passionate about, especially as I started my career in product sales! I believe it’s key to have shared goals and objectives, the marketing strategy that has been built with the particular input plus approval of sales and a cadence associated with regular reporting on marketing KPIs including 2-way feedback on lead conversion/quality of leads.

At Sophos the SDR function is part of marketing and the EMEA function sits within the organisation, this is a fantastic way of ensuring that we pass qualified opportunities to our sales team and not MQLs which usually maximises conversion. A really simple thing but the biggest advice for anyone in advertising wanting to work better with sales will be to listen and be present – ensuring a person attend the sales QBR will give you a deep insight into what is working, where any obstacles are plus makes this then easy for you to translate this into a marketing strategy to support where needed.

You were named in CRN’s 2022 list of Women in the particular Channel. Do you have any advice for women functioning in tech?

I am lucky in that our experience associated with being a woman in technology has been largely positive and I have got benefitted through working directly for several inspirational female leaders. Although it is usually slowly changing, I possess seen plus still see a big difference in terms of the number of male and woman colleagues I work along with, especially in senior leadership roles.

I have experienced on numerous occasions being the only women in the room, but I am glad to say this is now starting to change. I have been delighted over current years to see more and more women in highly technical functions and we have many talented ladies at Sophos working in our labs, assistance and product development.

Tech can be complex yet realise you don’t need to be able in order to tick every box upon a job ad description to apply – research shows that often women will choose not really to apply for a role if they can’t tick every box in terms of encounter whereas their male counterparts will frequently feel happy to use with only the ability to tick half! Ask questions plus seek out ladies already in the industry who will usually be very happy to give you advice and guidance.     It is great to have a network of female role models you can reach out to plus work with.

How did you navigate the outbreak? Any long-term lessons?

We think the most important thing was to keep communicating and ensuring that Zoom calls were not just all about business and tasks, I actually added within catch up calls for my team plus fun activities like quizzes and even an online cooking activity exactly where we all took to our own kitchens and had a cooking lesson from a professional chef.

Another key learning and one that I hope to continue beyond the pandemic is flexibility – I think all of us have learned during the particular pandemic that people can deliver even if they flex their hours to make it work for their home environment, Sophos is a really fantastic employer who encourages flexibility, this particular enables the team in order to balance their own work and home lives to suit them while still getting the job done.

Another lesson I believe we learned was that will constant Zoom calls is definitely hard going on people, so as a team we do our best to implement ‘Zoom free Friday’ giving people the break from being on calls, as well as ensuring people get concentrated time with regard to projects.   I think that webinars have actually gained traction since the pandemic and we have learned that maybe some content could be delivered to larger audiences online than running costly and resource intensive live events.

What’s next regarding Sophos?

In terms associated with what exactly is next, I think deeper integration plus leveraging of ABX, a change to the format of how we run live occasions and a few really fascinating cool product launches and new messaging due to hit the market this year. Busy but exciting times!