Podcast | What Does Marketing Leadership Post-COVID Look Like?

| | Time to Read: 30 minutes

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Episode topic: What does marketing leadership post-COVID look like?

In this episode, host Shahin Hoda chats with Leandro Perez, Vice President, Asia Pacific Marketing at Salesforce, about how he manages his team and executive stakeholders in the post-COVID world. 

Leandro stresses the importance of empathising with employees’ situations while working on a project. He also shares his approach to boost employee morale and ensure proper upskilling of his team. Furthermore, he talks about how he aligns his KPIs with that of the business when it comes to marketing and the internal communication structures that he has established for providing visibility on all marketing efforts to stakeholders outside of the marketing teams.

This episode’s guest

What does marketing leadership post-COVID look like?

Leandro Perez, Vice President, Asia Pacific Marketing at Salesforce

Leandro leads marketing across the Asia-Pacific region for Salesforce. Previously at Salesforce, he led the global corporate messaging team, responsible for crafting and disseminating the Salesforce corporate narrative to 50,000 employees and millions of customers globally each year. 

He has worked for TIBCO, HP, and Autonomy and holds a Bachelor of Computer Science (Honors) from the University of New South Wales. Born in Argentina, raised in Sydney, with extensive time abroad in the United States, Leandro now lives in Sydney with his wife and two children.

Connect with him on LinkedIn

Conversation segments on this episode:

  • [03:26] Think about people and their situation when executing a project.  
  • [05:03] After COVID, the hybrid work culture will continue.
  • [07:31] If you have a remote team, treat everyone as remote.
  • [08:41] Even customers are remote and hybrid, so having a hybrid culture also creates empathy.
  • [09:31] Fun in the remote world.
  • [14:07] Team and people - the number one priority for a CMO. 
  • [15:00] Focusing on KPIs and which KPIs are suitable for the stakeholders.
  • [15:51] Communicating vision.
  • [16:46] CMOs need to strive for becoming a catalyst for change.
  • [19:21] Marketing KPIs are well tied to business ones.
  • [20:18] Approach when KPIs are not met
  • [23:42] Philosophy for upskilling
  • [30:10] Approaching communication with stakeholders outside of marketing.
  • [38:50] Advice to B2B marketers - your customer is also a human being!

Resources mentioned on this episode:

About the Growth Colony Podcast

On this podcast, you'll be hearing from B2B founders, CMOs, marketing & sales leaders about their successes, failures, what is working for them today in the B2B marketing world and everything in between.

Hosted by Shahin Hoda & Alexander Hipwell, from xGrowth

Get in touch!

We would love to get your questions, ideas and feedback about Growth Colony, email alexander@growthcolony.org


Episode Full Transcript:

[00:36] Shahin Hoda  Hello everyone, welcome to another episode. I'm Shahin Hoda with xGrowth and today I'm talking to Leandro Perez, Vice President/CMO Asia Pacific at Salesforce about how he as a marketer and growth leader has changed his approach in the past year. We're going to be talking about and exploring everything from managing and professional development for your teams, keeping morale up, taking bold risks, and trying new things. On that note, let's dive in. Leandro, thanks for joining us.

[01:07] Leandro Perez  Thanks Shahin. I'm excited to be here today.

[01:09] Shahin Hoda  Same over here. I'm super excited, especially you know, your background working at Salesforce, working across multiple different geographies. I think there is, we have an awesome conversation planned out. But you know, more importantly, what I do want to start and talk about is how you've maneuvered and change your approach to marketing leadership in the past 12 months or, you know, kind of like 14 months now, since COVID started. I mean, we know everybody kind of moved to digital, but from a leadership perspective, how did you go about it and change your approach?

[01:48] Leandro Perez  Yeah. So I think that the listeners may or may not know this if they look up my profile, but 14 months ago, was actually not only around the beginning of COVID, but also when I relocated from the United States, I was in San Francisco, to come to Sydney, Australia. So there's kind of a double-barrel for me, I had a new team, a new role. And the new team was quite different to the old team. My old team was all based in San Francisco, we were working on global projects, but from the headquarters machine, the new team that I came and joined in the beginning of last year was me being based in Sydney, but or even across the Asia Pacific, like you mentioned, so team members in India, in Hong Kong, in Singapore, even in Australia, they're in different geographies, in Melbourne and other cities. 

[02:34] Leandro Perez So very different team there. And then, of course, laying on top of that is COVID, right? So for me, I personally had to think about how I was going to approach this distributed team, which changes, by the way, everything. Like, you know, it was easy to be simple to you know, rally the troops and you know, go for a drink or you know, organise a birthday if we're all in the same place. Now, and you're all distributed like even just thinking about how to have fun and recognise is totally different. And so that's the table stakes. And many people would know that they have those roles that are distributed. 

[03:08] Leandro Perez  What COVID brought to all of that though was, and look, I reflected on my own personality. I'm the kind of guy that's going to say we're going to achieve this. There's no barrier, no mountain climb, though I can't climb, we're going to do this. Let's go, let's go, let's go. And COVID came along and meant that some people, we're obviously many working from home, but some people have very different circumstances. Some people will find themselves at home. Some people were looking after multi-generational families at home. Some people had children issues, obviously, they look after their kids and make sure that we're doing their homeschooling. Some work during that someone had babies daycare was out the window. 

[03:46] Leandro Perez  There's like so many extra complexities, which meant every project that I, you know, came across my desk, and I evaluate how we're going to execute it. I had to have this other lens, this other filter about what it meant to the people and their situation. And it's something that I've never had to think about at the same level. Of course, a good leader should always think about the people and the situations that they might be in. But now it just meant it was incrementally harder than it ever was. And it still remains that way. Like we've been chatting about the region is still not fully there across Asia Pac. We have some areas that are in lockdown, and some that with restriction. So it's still very, very present today. And it has changed me and I think it will have changed me forever.

[04:31] Shahin Hoda  As as we're moving out of this, the COVID situation and more people are getting vaccinated, we come back to the office, some of the old methods and things are coming back, what do you think they're, you know, one or two things that you're going to take from, you know, some of the lessons that you're going to take away from COVID and keep them and continuously you know, have them incorporated in your leadership or how you work with the team, does anything come to mind? 

[05:01] Leandro Perez  Yeah, well, I'll start off by first saying it's probably going to be a while before we even get to that point. So we in the Sydney office, for example, we can go back in. We've been doing that for some time, we've given people at Salesforce the ability to make their own decision till the end of the year, given the uncertainty that there is. But even after that, where we're talking about one to three days flexible kind of policies for most people, right? So I think it's never really going to be exactly how it was where the expectation is, the whole team is always there unless they're travelling and doing something, which means there will always be people that may not be in the room with us. 

[05:38] Leandro Perez  And that's why the company as well as me, I'm thinking a lot about how do you get the most out of people? How do you make sure they're productive? How do you make sure they feel heard? How do you make sure all the ideas are coming to the table, not just the ones that are sitting physically at a table, and they're not an old thing? They're not new things I should say. They're old things, right? That's been happening for many years for the Australia team joining a call with the US team, right? It's the exact same concept. But now the added complexity is that the Australian team maybe is an all in one place, right? 

[06:07] Leandro Perez  They're in, someone's in their home, someone's in the office, someone's in different cities. So it kind of accelerated, I think that future work, which I know is a slogan that's thrown around a lot, but how the future of work will happen. And so for me, what I will keep is things that I've learned, and I've had to instil even now is the Sydney team goes back into the office, just because someone's on a call now from home, let's make sure that we include them, right. So how do we change the pace of that meeting? So that they're included? How do we make sure that we hear their ideas, because they may have a great idea that we're not hearing or not bringing to the table? 

[06:41] Leandro Perez  So there are some principles that were just part of being a good leader and making sure everyone was heard and bringing them all to the front. But it really did sharpen that for me, and I'm very attuned to it now. And so that's one area that I don't think will go away. Now, as I've become used to that, how do we get the most out of people, regardless of the situation or circumstance, they're in knowing that what I've learned that people can actually be really productive and interesting. And all the ideas that they come up with are just as valuable as the ones that we came up with, in one place together, while we're all you know, riffing off each other, so to speak. 

[07:19] Shahin Hoda  I love that. I love that. I remember, there was one person that I was speaking to, and they were kind of like an expert for remote teams. And this was kind of pre-COVID. And she said, if you have a remote team, you have to treat the whole team as if everybody's remote in order to incorporate that person's team. And that time I was like, okay, cool. Like, next question, let me ask something else, right? 

[07:49] Shahin Hoda  But after we went into lockdown, I realized the massive difference there is, and how much our remote team all of a sudden started to add value and, you know, get into discussions where before, it was like, a laptop in a corner of a desk, right? And then at the end of the meeting, everyone's like, oh, John, by the way, do you have anything to ask? Forgot you were there? So, you're right, it became so clear. And I think more and more people should incorporate that and think of it that way. And now I'm like, that was such a smart comment that she made back then. And I just completely went over my head.

[08:32] Leandro Perez  Yeah. And what's funny, and you know, selfishly you think of these new principles for your own team. But what I've come to realise is the world has changed, right? So if you're not considering that perspective, you're probably not doing a good thing by your customer, either, because your customer probably has that same situation in the line up as well. Right? So for example, when we were rethinking our events, we knew that a big part of them would be hybrid. So how do you rethink that there might be people that can but don't want to come to your event, no matter how fancy and shiny it is, right? So it's actually really good to have people on the team that are like that, and that has that perspective so that they can share it as well. And so I think it just becomes healthier to have that diversity of opinion. 

[09:17] Shahin Hoda  Got it? Yeah, building that empathy for it for the customer as well. 

[09:20] Leandro Perez  Correct. 

[09:20] Shahin Hoda  That's a solid point. You talked about fun, right? Thinking of fun differently. And this has been on my mind as well of how do you have fun with a remote team like people are not in the office, we don't have banter. You know, it's hard to go out for a drink. So what have you found that helps for basically, having fun, literally, for a team and for a team to be like this is, you know, awesome. I love catching up with friends. How are you balancing that now?

[09:51] Leandro Perez  Yeah, look, I won't say we've cracked the code. I tried so many things. And that's still a journey, but we've tried everything. And look at winning phases, right? Like from when COVID first started to where we are now. Like when first COVID started, it was like, oh my god, no one can see anyone. Let's go get on a Hangout. And I was like, let's all get on so we can see each other. And then quickly, we realised, we're on Hangouts, like eight hours a day, no one wanted another hangout so that we could just, you know, hang. 

[10:22] Leandro Perez  So we started to move to more, alright, what is the purpose? Right? How do you actually orchestrate fun just like you would in the physical world? So we've done everything from making cocktails, to volunteering together. A cool thing that we did was recently I, you know, I lead the Latina force, employee resource group at my company. So we did a virtual Spanish learning course, right? So we brought some people that speak Spanish, teach them to our people, we did it with Kahoot. So it's like a quiz thing. It's kind of fun. So that's something we may actually would never have done in the real world. But we might have done it in a classroom. 

[10:59] Leandro Perez  But it probably would have been more boring than the online version. We've done escape rooms, we've done lots of stuff. And it's kind of funny, the way that people can reinvent it for the digital ones, like the best example was a magic show. We had a magician, I think, who is from New York, I never would have had this guy be able to do something with the team. And he had like a multi-camera setup where he was doing like close hand tricks with these cards. He was doing other stuff, he was doing reveals, and he had totally mastered this thing and my team was blown away like they had so much fun. And it was crazy. 

[11:34] Leandro Perez  Because we would never have been able to do this unless we flew to the guy maybe would have had a local magician, which may not have been as high quality, like this guy was a magician that normally had big shows, but because COVID had to reinvent his business, right? So we've done lots of things. And I think you need to find what your team gravitates towards, right? Some people like certain activities, like the cocktail one, went down really well with the Sydney office. 

[11:59] Leandro Perez  But you know, shipping some of those materials, which is what we had to do to some of the other remote offices and some cultures and not being on drinking. That didn't work right for them. Magic, pretty much cut through across everyone. We've had comedians that are also committed to polarizing, right, depending on the culture. So I think it's pushing the boundaries, seeing what works. We are big also on wellness. So we've done mental wellness stuff, we've done yoga. So I think the main point is variety for the team, depending on how big it is, right? So that people can choose. I've never made any of them mandatory. So even if like I've tuned in and something and not everyone turns up, I just

[12:40] Shahin Hoda  They have to come in that Yeah.

[12:42] Leandro Perez  Yeah, I'm okay with that because that just means people prioritising what they need to do. And maybe it was more important for them to go and walk their dog. And that's how they were gonna get joy and fun than joining my cocktail-making extravaganza or whatever it is. But I think people recognise the intent, right? So that's to your point before like, that's at the end of the day, people recognise you're trying and maybe they don't want to participate, but you're giving them a variety of options that actually lifts morale as well on its own. 

[12:49] Leandro Perez  And then lastly, I would say where possible, you have sales that people that can get to even if not everyone can get together maybe but salespeople can get together. So I encourage, ring up someone and have a coffee with them. We send everyone, like a new batch, Uber Eats voucher to like, organise a coffee session and do something. Organise a cake, whether it's virtual or in-person, whatever, so that it's distributed as well. So it wasn't all reliant on like, a centralised planning committee, as well. 

[13:38] Shahin Hoda  I see. Got it. Yeah, those are those are. So those are solid advice. And okay, I appreciate that. I think this is a good segue to my next question where I want to know, how do you view the main responsibilities of a CMO, right? I think we talked about, very briefly just right now touched on keeping morale up. We talked about having fun, what are some of the main responsibilities that you see that you have as a CMO in the organisation?

[14:05] Leandro Perez  Yeah, look, I think definitely a team and people are number one. We have a matrix KPI method, which we call V2MOM. It's vision, values, measures, obstacles and methods. And you can go and Google it. Our CEO came up with it. There's lots of stuff. But we basically have a list of priorities. And number one is a team and in a team can mean lots of things, right? So we talked about the fun side, culture, but it's also career opportunities for them, right? 

[14:33] Leandro Perez  So we do employee surveys to make sure that we're giving them everything they would expect from a role so that we can help grow their careers and keep them and retain them. But there's a lot of feedback in that and I take that very seriously because without my team being healthy, being you know, always comfortable and wanting to stay in their role and grow. It'd be very hard for me to keep achieving the other goals that I have. So that's definitely number one. 

[15:00] Leandro Perez  Number two would be KPIs and understanding which KPIs are the right ones for our stakeholders. I take that pretty seriously because, in a matrix dog-like Salesforce, we can have lots of goals, lots of people moving in different directions. But I take the responsibility of really tuning in, and it's ongoing, it's not like it gets set in January, and then it stays through December. Like it's a continual motion of what are these right KPIs for the stakeholders that we have, and you know, they change because you know, one-quarter something went really well. And then the next quarter, that's something else becomes more important. 

[15:33] Leandro Perez  So that other one that started off the year as being really important is less important. So that, to me is important, not just for me, but if I capture that, then I can get the ensure that the rest of the team is very crystal clear on their mission and the north star. And that kind of segue into step three, which is sharing a vision. I think, especially in my role is in a region, I need to have a vision that explains why we're doing what we're doing and connect it back to those metrics. A metric is really a 2d dimension that doesn't have any dimension to it, it can be seen as something that is like, okay, I need to do that, because I'm told to do that. 

[16:10] Leandro Perez  But if I can add colour, and story and narrative, I like to use this expression going from 2d to 3d, so people can really see it, and picture in their mind's eye. And then it's clear, like when you know what you're trying to where you're going, it's much easier to navigate there, otherwise, any path will take you somewhere. And so I'm very, very much someone that needs to repeat that vision, probably at every, all hands that I do monthly, quarterly, sometimes even weekly, have meetings with my directs. Make sure everyone's clear on that objective. 

[16:43] Leandro Perez  And then last, there are many things that I would say I do, but being the catalyst for change, because you've got your metrics, you've got your vision, but I like to come in and kind of instigate in lots of different areas to make sure that people are inspired to push the boundaries. And you know, we like to, you know, we pride ourselves at Salesforce in being a leading innovator, we've been ranked as one of the most innovative companies in the world, one of the top employees, but that doesn't come without continual growth and change. 

[17:13] Leandro Perez  Like we keep doing what we're doing 10 years ago, we wouldn't be where we are today. So I inject myself, I try to like inject and pretty deep but then come back out so that I have enough of an impact. So that people understand. All right, so that was the vision, but now get a bit more flavour of what that meant. And you know, you ask a few questions that just get people that may be thinking a lot about something like this to going like, alright, like, what's happening over here and how do I connect that to this? 

[17:41] Leandro Perez  And I found that that really invigorates people, I didn't leave so that they feel empowered, and then they usually keep me up to date on that going, and then I moved to another area, but I like, enjoy that part but I also think it helps push the team along into the right direction. This many, many things, but I think they're probably the top ones, I would say.

[18:00] Shahin Hoda  The top four. Okay, let's first of all talk about, I want to touch on KPIs, right? One question that I have for you is, you know, how do you approach KPIs from a perspective of KPIs how to know if it's quarterly set at Salesforce, or if there is a different structure, but at the beginning of a certain period of time, there are certain objectives that somebody needs to hit, right? What is your approach to changes during that, let's say whatever that period is, that quarter? Then you like, ah, you're not hitting the KPIs. It's okay. I understand the situation, but then, hey, that's going to impact other stuff. How rigid are you when you set KPIs? How do you, you know, how do you manage that? And how do you make sure those KPIs are hit? Or where does the flexibility for you come in?

[18:55] Leandro Perez  Yeah, it's a great question. Because, you know, in marketing, sometimes the KPIs can be seen as a bit softer than maybe sales KPIs, right? Because if you don't meet the sales number, it's quite obvious, right? Money doesn't come in. Sometimes in marketing, if you miss a little, it's like, well, can be okay. My approach is, so firstly, before you even how I approach it when you don't meet something when things change, I like to ensure that my KPIs are pretty well tied to the business ones. A lot of folks in this world come up with their own, and then lead the team to run those. 

[19:08] Leandro Perez  And that can make you feel pretty good, but also can be sometimes seen as marking your own homework, so to speak, right? So I've tried very hard to ensure that we're looking at business KPIs, and then the connection to those in marketing. And lately, I've actually been leaning to even use more of the business KPIs when we're talking and then marking ourselves on the marketing wants to see if we're helping push those rather than just looking at the marketing ones and saying, hey, we're doing awesome and let, yeah, let's forget about what the business ones were. 

[20:02] Leandro Perez  So that's a skill because it does mean you've got to widen your lens like if you're looking at a camera, you got to step out a little bit. And I think that's okay with a leadership team with my leadership team because then they understand the context of why it is important. But back to your question of when things aren't going well, you know, with many KPIs, if one thing is not going well usually have some other levers to try to account for that. And so I try to be very transparent, and I don't dance around, like, hey, we're down here. And I have a weekly cadence with my team, where we review everything, we inspect everything top to bottom, and it's very obvious when things aren't right. 

[20:40] Leandro Perez  And we zoom in on something, and I make everyone just like I would, I make everyone accountable for the ones that they signed up for. And we were talking about this before we know it now, prior chats. But every end of the week on Friday, I share those metrics with all my stakeholders as well, because I want to be very transparent about where we're at. And I asked my leads to put a little commentary of what is happening, and look, if we're missing, be open about, hey, we're missing, and here's what we're going to do to improve it. Now that we're going to do improve it, it's not always gonna be able to fix it. 

[21:11] Leandro Perez  But it does a couple of things. One, it shows your stakeholders that, hey, you can trust me when things are not going well, as well as when they're going well. Because a lot of times, they only like to tell you good news. So that's number one. And number two, we were aware of the issue, and we have a plan of attack is what we're going to try to do no guarantees, it's going to work because no one can guarantee anything, but we're gonna train. And it also opens up the conversation, if they feel like there's a better idea, or they'd like us to do it differently, you've made that avenue open to them as well. 

[21:42] Leandro Perez  So it achieves a couple of principles there. And I would say now, when something hasn't, and it's pretty obvious, you're gonna miss it. This is where you have to go in a little bit of repair mode is like, is there anything else you can do to help prioritise, or de-prioritise some of the other leaders you have. So for example, if I'm thinking of APAC, which is my market, I might be able to make my numbers for Asia PAC if one of the sub-regions isn't working out. And that means I gotta try to lean on a couple of folks to see can you get, can I get more over here? Or even within a region? Maybe events aren't working, but your digital's working or your syndications working like, can we get more out of that?

[22:23] Leandro Perez  And it's not always possible, but having that conversation is healthy because that means they also understand that when something won't work, there will be trade-offs. And I think that's more important than just coming in and saying, you know, you haven't met that and or being a bully or doing any of those other things that you've seen all the Hollywood movies. I think that then makes people feel like, alright, I need to be an adult about this. I need to understand that we need to do this, and then they try to get ahead of it as well. 

[22:50] Leandro Perez  And then connecting it actually back to the fun. I think it's important if things are missed, then when we're like ending that period, that, you know, maybe what we were going to do is a little bit tempered, right? Because it's just the right thing to do to show that when things haven't gone well, that's now time to reflect and we're not going to have a big celebration or whatever. But when things go well, let's go and have a party, right? I think it's really important to do that and differentiate because there are many cultures where you kind of celebrate all the time. And I think in marketing, that happens, and it's important that you don't do that as well.

[23:25] Shahin Hoda  Let's get to two boxes for the cocktails rather than one. 

[23:29] Leandro Perez  Right

[23:30] Shahin Hoda  No, that's cool. Okay, how do you approach upskilling for the staff? Is it hey, you have some budget, and you could go and take some courses? Or what is your philosophy for upskilling? We touched on this a little bit. And how do you approach that for your team? How do you put that in place for your team?

[24:52] Leandro Perez  Yeah, look, I think we're very lucky at Salesforce, there's ongoing professional development that is run by, we call it employee success, but it's our HR department. So there's a lot of access to general skills, whether that be, you know, how to hire, how to manage, you know, basic skills that you need to do, not your role, but just be a great employee of the company. Beyond that, we also give people the opportunity to go and do their own tertiary educational or certified courses and get reimbursed for it when they pass, right? So there's an annual budget for them to go and do that. So that's their choice. 

[24:27] Leandro Perez  But you know, a lot of people it's, you know, it's a busy place, tech companies are moving fast. A lot of people don't always take up those opportunities. So what I personally like to do is and I am a big advocate of continual learning. I'm always you can see a few books behind me. I'm always trying to educate myself and in more in a just in time fashion. I don't like learning for the sake of learning, because I think you do need to put things into practice to get the lessons out of it. But I would try myself first to come up to topics whether that be a first softer approach with books, audiobooks, and things like that. But I think the next level is really doing some sort, of course. 

[25:08] Leandro Perez  And what I like to do is, I would do that course myself, because I feel if I'm going to be recommending it to my team, I need to have experienced it to see, what is it all about? What can I get out of it? And so you know, I've done probably more presentation courses than most people could enjoy doing because I want to see which ones are the better ones so that then I can then go and work out how to deliver that for my team. So I'll go do it. If I'm then bought into it, I bought the T-shirt, I've drunk the Kool-Aid, then I can come back to my team and say, folks, like, I've done this course, you might have noticed me doing ABCD, I'm really excited about it to your point, you need to connect budget to it and make it available. 

[25:48] Leandro Perez  But I would like to offer this to you. Are you interested in this? I always give the people that question that asked that I want to give them something that I want. Usually, something I've done is gonna relate. But the only maybe question would be as to when to do it, given people's busy schedules. And then the next part is trying to give them access. But then kind of like what we talked about before with the well-being and joy. I'm like, I'm not going to hold you accountable. It's like I'm going to give you this opportunity. But I'm not going to check in whether you did your homework, whether you're tracking well, that's on you, it's my responsibility to give you this opportunity. And I hope you take it, and I hope to see the results from it. But after that, I'm going to leave it on you because I think if that person doesn't then take some accountability for their own progression and education, it's probably not going to work anyway. 

[26:36] Leandro Perez  So that's kind of where I pause. And that's more I'd say for my leadership team because I try to curate a little more of the path for them. For the wider organisation, I think it's a little bit about giving people an understanding of what's out there, making things easier for them to be able to jump on board and then having other people do what I would do with my directs, which is hey, you did that Jimmy or Joanne, do you mind being a little bit of an advocate in our next meeting and telling people whether that was good, what was useful for you so that we can drum up some excitement as to what you benefited from that course. So that's my very simple, homegrown philosophy of, you know, how I approach, you know, training and education.

[27:18] Shahin Hoda  I love it. I love it. And it's, you know, it's just so crucial for team growth. I yeah, that's, that's great. That's great, okay.

[27:26] Leandro Perez  And one thing that you've just triggered just reminded me, that's all formal. So much of what happens in the workplace is informal, right? So if it's not proper training, cause I do love mixing it up a little bit. And keeping people's stretch projects, moving them around a little bit like a very different way to get people to learn skills, probably the way that I learned many of my informal skills through just osmosis. But that's not always as easy to scale, right? Like, that's opportunistic with certain individuals that show promise and you want you to want them to grow, and you're moving them around. But that's a totally different question about more career opportunity and growth I would say.

[28:06] Shahin Hoda  Interesting, interesting. You know, I really love your answer. And I try to ask that question and get more insight into what people do because I mean, for us is also really important, especially from the agency side. I mean, people hire us, because, you know, they're like, you know, this, so, but so then we have to, like, incorporate it into the team's kind of OKRs and the objectives that they have for the quarter. So I think there are some really interesting, valuable points that you've raised. It's really interesting that you take all the courses yourself. I mean, jeez, that is, that's hard. That's hardcore. And that is hard. Because I mean, especially you have like five direct reports. And if there are things that are maybe relevant for someone, but it's not relevant for the other one. Yeah. 

[28:54] Leandro Perez  And one example, the one example where I didn't, and know I tried is, I have a direct who looks after our digital, very interested in Chinese and for the China market, and I've tried on Duolingo I tried all these things, and I failed miserably. But I did really try to leave for now and then I'm like, you're on your own.

[29:19] Shahin Hoda  You just find the one that you want. We'll cover the cause  Don't worry about it.

[29:24] Leandro Perez  You did an amazing job and you pass it but yeah, I gave up on that one. 

[29:28] Shahin Hoda  I love it. I love it. Okay, the, you've touched on this a little bit, especially when we talk about KPIs that you try to tell a story, but also you try to communicate regularly, especially with, your approach to people external to the marketing team, still internal to the company. How do you approach that? How do you approach you to know, your communication and your, you know, what is happening in marketing, whether it's KPIs you talked about, you know, you try to make a 3d, how do you approach maybe it's its sales, maybe it's the C-level, all the people on the C-level? Maybe it's at the board level? How do you approach the communication with them?

[30:13] Leandro Perez  Yeah, look, I think it's multi-pronged. So obviously, there's the in-person one to one combat, right. And that takes up a big part of my calendar, which is meeting those stakeholders, listening to them. It's really hard in those meetings, though, to share everything that's going on, right? So that's where it's more about, they're making them feel heard about what they feel is important. And then connecting the dots on a couple of initiatives that might be going on. Or they might have an idea that you then take, and then they see come back in some other manifestation, right, because you listen to them. 

[30:50] Leandro Perez  But again, there are only so many hours in the day, and they're all busy. So that's not going to really hit on everything that's going on. So I'm really big on a weekly cadence of sharing. And I and I try to share at that high level like this would not be applicable to the account executive on the street, like the reporting that I'm doing, but I try to do executive-level communications to all the stakeholders in one go once a week that I have my team helped me craft. And look, it's an ongoing thing. You know, sometimes it's probably too, it's got too much information in some areas, maybe not enough in some, but to my principle of before, where it's going out there is, A, I think the weekly cadence means they know to expect it. 

[31:34] Leandro Perez  So they trust that I'm going to tell them what's going on. So that's number one, too. If they are curious, they can always open it up and check out what's happening there. And if they have any questions that give them permission to probe because if they don't know what they don't know, then they're not gonna ask. And it's usually a good segue. Then when I do meet in person, I'm like, by the way, I'm not sure if you saw that we updated on that. And usually, they say they saw that and that's a good conversation starter, then give them more detail on that. And then beyond that, that's probably that weekly cadence. We try to have a quarterly look back. 

[32:08] Leandro Perez  So the biggest moments, but that goes to everyone in the region, actually. So actually, one probably went out while we were talking, it was scheduled for today at 2 PM EST, that's the quarterly look back. That's like the biggest moments like we sponsored the Mardi Gras here in Sydney. Big moment, big, big moment. We sponsored a UN Women's, International Women's Day activity that we did. Like the big moments for the brand and for our campaigns that everyone should be aware of. And that just makes people feel good that where we're doing some pretty meaty work. And that lets people know a) what it was and b) how to maybe leverage it if they missed it, right? 

[32:47] Leandro Perez  Beyond that, though, there are many opportunities where we at the beginning of the year, and I delegate this responsibility to the leaders of those individual regions. So for example, a and z or ASEAN, but they have an opportunity to present in the kickoffs. At the beginning of the year, whether it's the sales kickoff, or those regional kickoffs, where they will present like yearly plans, I think it's important to share that vision there. But that's really like more what we would like to do than what it is that we're doing. And I love being the kind of person that's sharing what we've already achieved. Rather than just here's what we're going to do, and I'll touch base with you in two years where we're at, right? 

[33:28] Leandro Perez  I like being the guy that's continually and I know I've mentioned it a few times, but I am pretty particular about it. It's systematic, continual updates. Like I very rarely, like maybe over Christmas or the holidays, because most of the company might shut down but rain, hail, or shine, there's an email coming on Friday from my team or a slack post. We're now when are using that after that acquisition or disclosures hasn't closed yet. But there is comms coming at you on Friday, whether you want it or not. And it's going to tell you what we're doing and it's expected. And then it builds on that cadence of trust that I like to have with our stakeholders.

[34:09] Shahin Hoda  Got it? Got it. Okay. Now, I have some rapid questions that I want to ask you towards the end. But before we get there, is there anything that maybe I haven't touched on, you think it's important for us to cover especially around, you know, marketing leadership, that you think that we should cover?

[34:26] Leandro Perez  Yeah, something we didn't get to, which I think about a lot every day. And when I look at the ecosystem of CMOs here, most of them are either brand marketers or performance marketers. And today, we've talked a lot about more, I would say on the performance marketing side. And I think about it a lot because in my old role in San Francisco, I was leading corporate messaging for the company and it was all brand rights like the narrative, the message, how's that going to come across in our Dreamforce keynote? What are the customers that are going to represent that? Who the partners are going to be there? What's the story? 

[35:00] Leandro Perez  Now my role is all of that, but also very much on, are we meeting this KPI and what can we do to launch this in that market and so forth. It's my two sides of my brain, right? It's definitely working there. And we haven't touched so much that I think for many folks in the region, they definitely lean more one way to where, as I've noticed in other parts of the world, especially in the Americas, where there is a better blend, I would say of that. And so and I don't know that I have any advice or anything like that but I just know, it's a tension point for many people. And I don't have necessarily any answers, but I know that both are important. 

[35:39] Leandro Perez  And I know that in the region, sometimes, especially in B2B companies, if they're a regional company that is linked to a global company, they might be a bit more disconnected from the brand side and the evolution of that. I think it's important, though, that you have some element of that, and control because as your market grows, and as you become more self-sufficient if you don't have that muscle, you won't be able to do that. And then on the performance side, I think, again, there is areas that are changing given, especially a lot of the digital stuff we've been talking about. 

[36:09] Leandro Perez  It's evolving from how it used to be like, how many leads do you get on a webinar, to like all these other tactics that have now become open to you, from you know, whether it's YouTube, Programmatic, Display, Quora, like all these things that now are coming at you that you can do, we don't do many TikTok things. But I know some people might be out there doing that. There's a lot of stuff that's going on. And I think it's important that you have that muscle too but also pushing the boundaries on it. So there are things that I really, you know, every day, I'm thinking about how can I be a catalyst to my team? And really be that agitator to ensure that we're not leaving anything on the table and those dimensions. 

[36:47] Shahin Hoda  Got it? Yeah, that balance is so important. And I feel like maybe we're a little bit more on local companies, maybe more on brand. And then it's I know, it's a sore, kind of the sore point. And it's a tricky conversation to have here. And I've been in a few of them, but I appreciate it. 

[37:12] Shahin Hoda  Alright, let's see, I got three rapid questions for you before we wrap up. So the first one is, what is one resource, it could be a book, it could be a blog, podcast, talk, that fundamentally change the way you work or live?

[37:24] Leandro Perez  Yeah, look, I think when I first started out as a manager, I started listening to a podcast called Manager Tools. This is now ageing me a little bit because this was decades ago. But it taught me a lot. Like when I was and you know, my background was an engineer, so then I hadn't manage people, then I moved into marketing. And then I started managing people. Things you just don't learn and definitely not in computer science degrees, and not in most even development courses that most workplaces, but how do you even have a one on one? Like, what are you talking about? Like, how do you tell, how do you give people feedback? So that if you haven't, well, you're new in your career in marketing, I would definitely recommend that.

[38:03] Shahin Hoda  Thank you very much. So it's, what was the name again? Management 

[38:07] Leandro Perez  Manager tools. It's a podcast that written a book as well. If you want a more marketing one, I can give you another one that popped into my head and more marketing resource that changed my life is Nancy Duarte's Slide:ology. So like I mentioned before, I used to pull together the messaging for the company and translate that into our biggest keynotes that we ran around the world like Dreamforce and our world tour. And Duarte is an agency that I started working within the US and the CEO is Nancy Duarte. And she's written several books, one of which is Slide:ology, which helps you describe or tell a story through pictures, and less words. And it's a pretty amazing resource. Love that.

[38:47] Shahin Hoda  We'll put that in the show notes for sure for people to access. Okay, question number two, if you could give one advice to B2B marketers, what would it be?

[38:55] Leandro Perez  That your customer, even if they're a company, they're made up of human beings. Because I see so many things that we come up with, where we've forgotten that we're talking to a person, and like they at some of the other side of this company probably is a mom and dad, daughter or son, they have all the same, you know, ambitions, aspirations, and challenges in their life that you do. But the way you just pitch that thing makes it almost feel like we're talking to a robot or something else. And if you can, you know, come a little bit more to the B2C side there and bring in some of that human element, you'll probably do better with your work.

[39:30] Shahin Hoda  What do you mean? I'm not talking to a financial services organisation with 5000 people as employees? 

[39:36] Leandro Perez  No, you're probably selling the one person. 

[39:40] Shahin Hoda  I love it. I love it. Okay, third question. What are some of the influencers you follow in the sales and marketing space? 

[39:48] Leandro Perez  You know, this one might seem a bit of a cop-out, but we're a pretty big company at Salesforce and we have some pretty amazing people. So I had the pleasure of working with our CEO Marc Benioff, very closely in my last role. He is a brilliant CEO but also a marketer and salesman. He's definitely someone that I look up to and I learned a lot from and I continue to learn a lot from. 

[40:11] Leandro Perez  But we also have some other incredible people that have come in almost as like, advisors or evangelists in our organisation like a valour Asha or Brian Solis, Tiffani Bova like these are all pretty incredible marketing minds. And I'm just blessed that we have them on the payroll, where I get access to them a bit more, but they're incredible. They're very available to everyone else. They tweet a lot, they do, they create a lot of articles for us and they're out there and they were out there before they came to Salesforce as well. So they've got good followings.

[40:41] Shahin Hoda  That's so cool. And I don't think Marc Benioff is a cop-out. I mean, he is a legend. And I've learned a lot from him. And I love listening to his talks and, and, and I have his latest book Trail Blazers on my reading list to go through. But look, I Leandro, I really appreciate you jumping on the podcast and having a chat. I've very much enjoyed our conversation. And thank you so much.

[41:09] Leandro Perez  Thanks for having pleasure.


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