We are back after a hiatus and speaking to Anna Griffin, who recently joined cloud storage provider Commvault as Chief Market Officer. Anna has held marketing leadership positions at Smartsheet, Intercom, Nortel, CA and Juniper Networks, among others. That longevity has helped her gain perspective in how to operate in good times and not-so-good times, and our interview explores what she has learned from these experiences.

Anna told us about how marketers have to be careful not to let their organization appear to be a cost center. Rather, they should believe and demonstrate that they are a necessary and valuable asset to the company. Take advantage of a downturn by leaning in and focusing on customers so that the company can craft a message that’s more relevant to their needs. She suggested that marketers should fight for their budgets and focus on high-value activities that will help the company grow. “Someone has to grow, even in lean times,” she said.

Anna spoke about how she has embraced many of the tenets of B2C marketing, even though she has spent more of her career in the B2B world. “I believe that is true since the beginning of time; we are selling human-to-human after all.” Maybe we should start using the term H2H?

“We should remove any frictions in the purchasing process by understanding that community is the new B2B playbook and that customers want things now,” she said. The sales organization needs to be part of the marketing effort, and marketers should be sure playbooks are coordinated.

Being a market leader isn’t just about touting your company’s presence on some “magic quadrant” because customers don’t buy MQs, Anna said. “We have to show more specifics about how we can solve the actual customers’ problems. This means we have to be more targeted in how we can add value for them on day one.”

Listen to our 19 min. podcast here.

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