Q&A with Mike Hicks, Chief Marketing Officer at Beezy

Mike Hicks, Chief Marketing Officer at Beezy, has 20 years of progressive B2B technology marketing experience, specializing in transforming disparate marketing silos into integrated demand generation engines that drive measurable pipeline. He has extensive experience leading global enterprise software marketing and demand teams, responsible for strategy, budgeting, planning, CRM, marketing automation, media and awareness, lead qualification, funnel management, renewals and upsell marketing. He is adept at creating a culture of sharing and alignment against a common set of objectives, across all functional teams responsible for bringing products and services to market.

Being successful in the agency world is all about how well you understand client needs and how quickly you can collaborate with a team to exceed them.



MEDIA 7: You have a profound experience of more than two decades in marketing. How has all this experience helped you play your current role at Beezy?
MIKE HICKS:
I’ve been fortunate to have been faced with many different types of marketing challenges, and had the opportunity to make key decisions to shape outcomes and results. I started my career at a marketing agency where I worked with clients across several industries and was able to participate in strategic planning while also honing my project management skills. If anything, though, I learned the importance of client service and speed when it comes to delivery. Being successful in the agency world is all about how well you understand client needs and how quickly you can collaborate with a team to exceed them. It’s a skill that has served me well throughout my career. Moving on to other roles, I’ve led teams through periods of significant scale and growth, through mergers and acquisitions, PE funding, and in the case of my time at BlackBerry, downsizing – and the difficult decisions that came with it. Regardless of the situation, however, my approach has always been: What can I take away from this, that will help me and the teams I work with, in the future? And how can I add value to the organization at this moment? After over 20 years, I think this philosophy and mindset is a key part of who I am today.


M7: Could you please share your perspective about how crucial it is to transform your workforce to communicate and collaborate efficiently?
MH:
We’re in a watershed moment with the shift from remote work to more permanent hybrid work models, and it’s become abundantly clear that the old ways of doing things aren’t working anymore. And there’s a lot of research out there to back this up. The fact that we’re having more meetings now than pre-pandemic likely isn’t a surprise. But the impact this is having on productivity and employee engagement is what’s truly alarming. According to Beezy’s 2021 Digital Workplace Trends and Insights report, more than half of us are working more hours than before, and that includes the time we used to allocate for our commute. In fact, 26% of employees say they’re working far more hours now than before – and 85% believe we’d be able to successfully complete our jobs with fewer meetings. Meeting fatigue is a real thing, and when you combine that with all the different apps we use to communicate and collaborate, it’s become a real mess for most workers. 41% say they’re overwhelmed by the number of tools and technologies their jobs require, and 58% indicate frequent app notifications decrease their productivity.

The interruptions to our day that make it difficult to get work done – combined with the extra hours we’re working – have created an environment where employees feel disconnected from their work, their colleagues, and their company. In the same report, 29% of employees say their happiness at work has decreased this past year. That’s 1 in 3 of us. And 45% say their company has been ineffective at transitioning culture-building events online – things like happy hours, lunches, games, birthdays. What this means is that there’s a large number of employees feeling severely isolated. In the shift to remote work, many organizations have lost their sense of personality and culture. It’s critical to get that back or businesses will face more turnover, more days lost due to stress, as well as increased frustration and decreased productivity beyond what we’re already seeing today. Transforming how we communicate and collaborate in this new world plays a huge role in addressing all these issues.


I’ve been in this industry for a long time and one of the key areas that separate companies that were more effectively able to make the transition to remote work in the early days of the pandemic were effective digital workplaces.



M7: Could you please shed some light on the recently held webinar, ‘LOOK FORWARD TO WORK: 2021 Digital workplace trends & insights’?
MH:
Yes, that webinar was based on the findings from the research study we conducted in the spring where we looked at factors impacting how employees communicate, collaborate, share knowledge, and engage with each other in both a remote and hybrid work environment. What did we find? Well, we can boil it down to 4 key issues:

1.     Remote work has amplified underlying workflow issues

2.     Meeting fatigue is the new app fatigue

3.     Employee happiness is stable, but engagement is slipping

4.     IT gaps are widening in remote work environments

If we dig into the data, we find that 45% of employees had difficulty transitioning to remote work. Let’s let that sink in for a moment because that’s almost half of employees who felt the transition was hard and, as a result, weren’t being as productive as they could be. 
We also found that 4 out of 5 major hurdles to getting work done are software and process-related. The number one issue, according to employees, is their company’s intranet. So, the one thing that’s supposed to be tying all of this together is the thing that is letting them down the most.  

I’ve been in this industry for a long time and one of the key areas that separate companies that were more effectively able to make the transition to remote work in the early days of the pandemic were effective digital workplaces. A place for employees to get the latest information on how the company was adapting to the situation. A place to get resources, whether that was remote IT support or access to company benefits; an understanding of new business policies given the changing health situation; and a place to connect socially with colleagues they used to see face to face. The intranet became the hub for their connected organization, facilitating workflows and processes and maintaining a sense of culture across the business.These challenges are especially concerning considering the vast majority of employees want a more flexible workplace in the future.

Our report found that 84% of employees say they’d be more willing to work for, or stay with, a company that offers more flexibility around remote work. 55% of employees say they would be much more willing to stay with that company. These are some big numbers and they speak to what our future work environment should look like. In the report, we broke the data down in many cases by generation and by job function and also have additional graphs and callouts, comparing the experiences of those in IT and those in other departments. If you haven’t downloaded the report yet, you can do so at https://www.beezy.net/2021-digital-workplace-report.


M7: As the COVID-19 pandemic has made organizations face numerous challenges with their remote workforces, how do you tackle the move to a hybrid work model?
MH:
It’s a great question – where do we go from here? Well, for many organizations, upholding the employee experience this past year and going into this new hybrid working environment has been more challenging. Why? Because our workplace cultures are still playing catch-up to the concept. Data silos, tool overload, and longer working days have placed a strain on employees, so they’ve become disengaged with their work and their company. To reverse the trend, business leaders need to think digital and inclusive and place value on creating a workplace culture that nurtures the open exchange of thoughts and ideas. If business leaders take anything from the research, it should be this: Simplify your employees’ interactions with digital workplace tech and tools so they can spend more time engaging in meaningful conversations with colleagues on things that matter to the business. Focusing on people’s emotional wellbeing and taking a thoughtful approach to collaboration will help create a level employee experience, regardless of physical working location.

The good news is that the right digital workplace solution makes collaboration seamless, centralizes communication and knowledge, streamlines processes, and creates an inclusive culture. 

Three parts of this equation are needed to be successful:

First, you need the technology. That’s the easy part and it’s what a solution like Beezy is designed to do. 

Next, you need the cultural mind shift towards this new concept of working out loud – and this shift starts at the top. Your executive team needs to be fully bought in and have the will to start this change management journey. And again, the right digital workplace partner has not only the technology but also a proven customer success framework.  

And third, you need governance to stick with it, because it’s easy to fall back into old habits.

But our research shows you the impact of doing this right. Start with baby steps around how you communicate and share information and get people used to the idea of a digital workplace that integrates with your key systems instead of all of the siloed tools they’re used to using. Before long, you’ll find you’ve created a vibrant and inclusive digital workplace that employees love and that can fully support everyone, no matter where they’re located or how they are working.


If business leaders take anything from the research, it should be this: Simplify your employees’ interactions with digital workplace tech and tools so they can spend more time engaging in meaningful conversations with colleagues on things that matter to the business.



M7: What ‘Marketing and Sales Automation’ tools and technologies do you currently use?
MH:
We currently have a few tools we rely on quite heavily, namely HubSpot as our marketing automation platform and Salesforce as our CRM. HubSpot is core to our nurture and is the first conversion point for leads. It delivers the bulk of our outbound communications and it’s even powering our website currently. Salesforce integrates nicely with HubSpot for lead routing, opportunity tracking, and account intelligence. We use ChiliPiper to help facilitate demo and quote booking. Our BDR team and global account executives leverage SalesLoft so they can manage their own prospect nurtures. We use ZoomInfo as our external data source and we’ve got a few other social media tools and website plugins to help round out the stack. Technology is just one part of the equation though. Without the right operations leader to set up and maintain the systems, there’s a big chance your organization is wasting money and not fully taking advantage of the capabilities of each product in your stack. One of the most valuable people to a business like ours is someone who can not only manage the systems but also think beyond the dials and admin tasks, and bring insight-driven recommendations for revenue growth.


M7: What’s top of the list for what Beezy wants to achieve this year and as you start moving into the next year?
MH:
Beezy has an amazing list of large multinational customers, particularly in banking, heavy equipment, and mining. In fact, our financial services customers – which include global banks in the top 10 and top 20 – manage more than $11 trillion in assets. So they need a secure and scalable way to work. With such great stories for these industries, one of our top focus areas for next year is nailing our account-based marketing. We’re honing our value prop for core buyers in these industries and building unique and engaging multi-touch campaigns. We’ll be relying heavily on our tech stack and close coordination between our marketing, SDR, and sales teams to ensure we build awareness and inspire our customers to want to learn more.

ABOUT BEEZY

Beezy replaces outdated intranets with an intelligent digital workplace, built for the Microsoft platform and designed to power the best possible employee experience. With Beezy, workflows are automated, communication is easy, collaboration actually works, and employees are happier as a result. Proven to scale to 300k+ users, Beezy meets the needs of large, complex organizations. Find out why the world’s leading enterprises, including Finning, ZF Friedrichshafen AG, and Monster, rely on Beezy every day.

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Ingram Micro navigates AWS partners through APN programs while also expanding their services capabilities including assessment, design, deployment, and management of cloud migrations with greater speed. Additional differentiators to Ingram Micro’s success with AWS channel partners include its wide and deep executive relationships, as well as its Center of Excellence, strategic acquisitions of technical talent, and expansion of its Professional Services portfolio as it relates to cloud and migration services. “Ingram Micro’s early adoption of Cloud, understanding of an entrepreneur's needs and focus on the success for us to become one of their largest AWS resellers is what we were looking for in a distribution partner to grow our business and improve our value in the eyes of our customers,” says Dao Jensen, CEO of Oak Rocket. Ingram Micro provides channel partners access to experienced talent and professional services that can help them accelerate the customer cloud adoption journey including the technical personnel, tools, education, technology, and technical support needed to ideate, deploy, and manage AWS solutions. “AWS is a gold mine of opportunity for an MSP yet remains a heavy lift for most,” says Duncan Robinson, vice president, growth partnerships, Ingram Micro. “We’re here to help our channel partners optimize their sales cycle and effectively design, deploy, and manage AWS solutions that improve the customer’s experience, performance, reliability, and agility, while reducing the total cost of ownership.” Ingram Micro’s long-standing and successful relationship with AWS includes earning several AWS Competency and AWS Service Delivery designations in recent years, including being the first global distributor to earn the AWS Migration Competency and more recently being awarded the AWS Data & Analytics Competency. Other designations include the AWS Cloud Management Tools (CMT) Competency, the AWS DevOps Consulting Competency, and the AWS Config Service Delivery designation. “The experience that Mxmart has had working with Ingram Micro as a strategic partner of AWS has been fundamental for our growth,” says Dario Gomez, CEO Mxmart Solutions. “The support we’ve received technically, commercially, and via programs has added invaluable strength to our company.” About Ingram Micro Ingram Micro is the business behind the world’s brands with the ability to reach nearly 90 percent of the world’s population. Our diverse solutions portfolio includes advanced and specialty solutions, cloud, mobility, and commercial/consumer technologies, while enabling a global circular economy with full-service IT Asset Disposition and reverse logistics and repair services. Leveraging investments in technical, financial, and marketing resources, Ingram Micro helps customers run their businesses better and grow their technology practices faster. Ingram Micro operates in 59 countries and reaches close to 200 countries. We have approximately 26,000 associates committed to providing our more than 161,000 customers and 1,500 vendor partners worldwide with a superior experience. Our fully digital, AI-driven business platform, known as Ingram Micro Xvantage™, eliminates the friction of doing business in IT and allows our customers to have a more insightful experience both buying and managing technology. We are also fully committed to being a global steward with world-class ESG practices.

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ServiceNow Unveils Next Wave of Partner Program Transformation with New Specializations

Business Wire | January 24, 2024

ServiceNow (NYSE: NOW), the leading digital workflow company making the world work better for everyone, today unveiled the next wave of partner program transformation with new Specializations. As part of the revamped ServiceNow partner program announced in January 2023, the recently developed Partner Specializations are the next step in the partner program evolution for partners to unlock new revenue opportunities and earn a range of benefits to further grow their practice. Announced today at ServiceNow Partner Kickoff in Las Vegas, partners can obtain three Specializations which include Service Operations, Serve the Customer, and Power the Employee. ServiceNow is on a path to significantly increase the percentage of net new revenue sourced by partners in the coming years by supporting partners who build the ServiceNow platform into the core of their business models. Partners can acquire the new Specializations by showcasing a combination of product and sales expertise through customer wins and a go-to-market strategy. The new Partner Specializations showcase partners’ unique strengths in the market and encourage innovative ways to continue to grow their ServiceNow practice. “Last year at this time, we made a massive commitment to our partner community by completely transforming our partner program to ensure that partners are front and center in everything we do as a company,” said Erica Volini, senior vice president, global partnerships at ServiceNow. “With the launch of Specializations, our customers can easily identify partners with the best experience and expertise they need to help solve some of their biggest digital transformation challenges.” Obtaining a Specialization will help partners in three critical areas: Differentiate among the ecosystem:Partners will receive badging that will appear across their ServiceNow profiles with increased visibility on the ServiceNow Partner Finder. Prospective customers will also be able to search partner experts in Partner Finder based on the current Specializations. Unlock new revenue opportunities:Each Specialization addresses a pressing customer need that presents a large, untapped market opportunity and high year-over-year growth. Earn benefits to grow ServiceNow practices:ServiceNow will offer additional benefits for partners to build and grow their business through invitation to the ServiceNow Partner Advisory Council to ensure their needs and counsel are being addressed across the broader ServiceNow ecosystem. Qualifying partners will also have access to ServiceNow co-marketing programs and the ServiceNow Partner Development Fund announced last January. The program is launching with three Specializations, Service Operations, Serve the Customer and Power the Employee, that present large market opportunities with high year-over-year growth and a large total addressable market (TAM). All Specializations can be obtained at the regional and global level as well as two levels of achievement for further differentiation. Additional Partner Specializations are expected to be launched in 2024. The three Partner Specializations are expected to be available for partners to obtain starting in ServiceNow’s second quarter of 2024. Many partners have already expressed their feedback on the importance of the ServiceNow Partner Specializations including: Jason Rosenfeld, Senior Vice President at Cask: “ServiceNow’s new Partner Specializations offer an opportunity for Cask to showcase our unique consulting expertise and change management solutions to drive digital transformation across enterprises. Program updates like subsequent badging and product line achievements provide greater reach and visibility with organizations looking for the best partner to meet their specific needs. We believe Specializations and the partner finder are a winning combo for connecting customers with the right support and implementations.” Michael Lombardo, Chief Executive Officer at GlideFast Consulting: “We’re thrilled about the new designations to ServiceNow’s Partner Program. With new Partner Specializations, we can continue expanding our technical consulting services and delivering deep ServiceNow expertise to new markets. We look forward to helping customers find value in the Now Platform.” Michael Vadini, Chief Executive Officer at Infocenter:“Today, organizations are looking for a collaborative partner for support with the adoption and scale of new technologies. ServiceNow’s new Partner Specializations will help Infocenter build industry-specific solutions and accelerate technology for customers and their businesses more quickly. We are excited about the enhanced benefits offered by ServiceNow and the continued focus on partners.” Jon Reynolds, Senior VP Global Alliances & Corp Development at Thirdera, a Cognizant Company:“As our company looks to further expand our work across different industries, we’re focused on differentiating our services and ServiceNow platform expertise. ServiceNow's comprehensive Partner Program provides valued guidance and incentives to improve how we advise, implement and optimize technology for businesses worldwide. ServiceNow sets a standard for what it means to be an innovative partner.” ServiceNow is also launching a brand-new partner channel on LinkedIn. Join the new social community for the latest ServiceNow partner news here. For more information on the ServiceNow Partner Specializations visit here. About ServiceNow ServiceNow (NYSE: NOW) makes the world work better for everyone. Our cloud-based platform and solutions help digitize and unify organizations so that they can find smarter, faster, better ways to make work flow. So employees and customers can be more connected, more innovative, and more agile. And we can all create the future we imagine. The world works with ServiceNow™. For more information, visit: www.servicenow.com.

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