Sprinklr marketing leader Grad Conn is looking for (enterprise) love

Sprinklr Grad Conn
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Most martech CMOs would be satisfied if their company’s products and services were seen as innovative, easy to use or at least useful. Grad Conn’s mission? To make Sprinklr “the most beloved enterprise software company, ever.”

The former CMO of Microsoft, Conn took on the role of chief marketing and experience officer at Sprinklr, a New York-based firm best known for its social media management tools, last April. The word “experience” in his title is deliberate, he says, reflecting the need for marketing leaders to contribute to how customers engage with a brand from the moment of awareness to making a purchase and beyond.

Conn told B2B News Network he joined Sprinklr after being one of its first customers, and noted its willingness to not only listen to feedback but act on it near-immediately.

“Some companies, you’d say, ‘I wIsh the button was red or blue,’ and they’ll say, ‘Okay, thanks,’ and put that on a list. Sprinklr would not only do that stuff right away, they would come back and ask, ‘Is this the right shade of blue?’” he said.

Conn is leading marketing at a time when the company, which is now in its 10th year, needs to ensure it is one of the core pieces of a typical martech stack — such as Adobe’s recently-acquired software from Marketo, for example, or Micorost’s Dynamics CRM — that is riddled with point solutions. That means raising awareness around not only its flagship social and messaging suite (which handles listening, publishing, engagement and measurement), but its other tools as well. This includes Sprinklr Care, Sprinklr Advertising, its marketing automation application and Sprinklr Experience, which pulls in data from customer surveys and reviews.

One way to do that, Conn said, is by marketing the fact that Sprinklr’s social media tools can help enterprises establish a common customer ID, which will allow for greater personalization and contextualization throughout the relationship. And, like Amazon, he said Sprinklr needs to be customer-obsessed and fast in how it can cycle through changes to its products and services.

“I wouldn’t put down a vision of being the most loved enterprise software company ever if I didn’t think it was achievable,” he said. “It comes out of customer truth. If you look at a site like G2Crowd, there’s something like 343 Sprinklr reviews and videos all these CMOs have filmed. You read through and watch that and you see that people really love the company.”

One thing that Conns believes will increase the odds in Sprinklr’s favour is that he describes as a shift in attention among CIOs from back-office types of infrastructure and applications — such as ERP, inventory management systems and the like — to applications that serve front-line professionals in marketing, sales and customer service.  Across all those areas, he argues social media, blogs, review sites and forums are a huge headache for many large organizations.

“The typical setup today is that most companies have pretty solid e-mail. The web, CRM — those things are are reasonably mature,” he said. “But there’s chaos in the modern channels.”

Conn is a big believer that what any B2B firm is ultimately selling is career success. In his firm’s case, that could come from helping reduce the total cost of ownership with fewer point solutions, or simply helping those in marketing feel like they’re working with tools that are innovative, future-focused and make them more marketable in the future. Most importantly, however, is how Sprinklr can build the reputation of Conn’s fellow marketing leaders.

“For CMOs, one of their core needs is that they are desperate to prove the value of marketing to the organization,” he said. “As you see organizations become more data-based, marketing has to be able to say, ‘By spending a dollar on my function, we’re generating X dollars for the organization.'”

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Shane Schick

Shane Schick

Shane Schick is the Editor-in-Chief of B2B News Network. He is the former Editor-in-Chief of Marketing magazine and has also been Vice-President, Content & Community (Editor-in-Chief), at IT World Canada, a technology columnist with the Globe and Mail and was the founding editor of ITBusiness.ca. Shane has been recognized for journalistic excellence by the Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance and the Canadian Online Publishing Awards.