Taking Charge

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In the past 24 months a pack of new top executives has moved into the CRM industry's executive suites. These execs have backgrounds in sales, finance, and technology; some have moved up within their organization, while others have been recruited from related firms. As different as their backgrounds are, they share a common goal: to take their company to the market-leadership position. Only time will tell who will win the top slot, but in the meantime the real winners are customers, CRM user organizations that will benefit from the innovation these executives are bringing to market and from the intense focus on the customer that this level of heated competition engenders. Janice Anderson chair and CEO, Onyx Software Appointed: June 2004
Leadership style: "I am driven by a vision. I like to enroll people in that vision so they can see themselves in that future. I develop people and process to make that vision come to life. I look at what's going on and where we want to go and how to get there, and I don't give up. I'm all about break-throughs. I keep going for that break-through." Main message: "Onyx has a great reputation and great assets. We're going to leverage that to generate growth." Key goals:
  • Get the right people in the right place, such as hiring Jack Denault, senior vice president for the Americas.
  • Look at the market to see where we can differentiate, grow, and strengthen our position. "We find that we really do well with services companies, and where companies have partners closely involved--product, channels, and services complexity is a sweet spot."
  • Increase the number of partners. "You can create a lot more effective solutions with partners." Challenges: "We're winning in larger and larger opportunities. We have to scale to handle that." What is the best thing a customer has told you? "They went to achieve something for their business, and worked with us as a team, and we delivered on time and in budget and got the results they planned for." Wes Hayden president and CEO, Genesys Appointed: June 2004 Leadership style: "Getting a lot of feedback from customers and empowering those close to customers to make decisions to best service the customer. I'm also a firm believer in building an accountable, metrics-drive organization." Main message: "Genesys remains absolutely committed to providing the best technology to help our customer serve their customers. We're not going to lose that focus." Key goals:
  • Continue the success that Genesys has experienced over the past few years. "Genesys has continued to grow at better than ten percent per year, even through tough economic times."
  • Retain what has made Genesys a great company, while creating growth. "I try to create an environment in which we're more in tune with customers to make them more successful." Challenges: "Two things: There will still be some constraints around capital expense in 2005; and where a CRM project fits in the priority of the company." What is the best thing a customer has told you? "I've been overwhelmed by the comments I've gotten from customers. Most of them have been, 'Congratulations to you, because you're taking over a really great company.'" Michael Lawrie CEO, Siebel Systems Appointed: May 2004 Leadership style: "I have a democratic, open leadership style. I encourage diversity of intellectual thought and opinion. I assemble the best team and the best ideas and make conclusions based on those best ideas, then focus on excellence in executing them." Main message: "We have just gone through the first generation of CRM, during which a lot of success and value has been created. What we've learned is that getting superior outcomes takes more variables than what we originally thought. We and our partners are dedicating ourselves to helping our customers meet those outcomes for superior business results." Key goals:
  • Position Siebel for all delivery models. "Siebel wants to participate in the whole [CRM] market, not just a part of it."
  • Put the basic building blocks in place: change the financial model, the culture, the leadership--then execute.
  • Continue to see that Siebel Systems is valued by customers as a trusted partner.
  • Attract the best and brightest people. "They have to feel they're committing their talents to something that makes a difference. What makes a difference, what matters, is helping our customers make a difference to their customers." Challenges: "You have to perform every quarter while you build and execute your new strategy and direction. This involves cultural change on the part of employees. Executives and the board have to accept the changes that have to be made. Also, there is a lot of skepticism on the part of press and analysts on Siebel." What is the best thing a customer has told you? "That our systems and capabilities make a significant difference to compete and grow their business and differentiate themselves with their customers." Michael McCloskey CEO, FrontRange Solutions Appointed: July 2003 Leadership style: "I'm driven and focused. I spend a lot of time with customers, but am also very available to staff. My job is to break down barriers for people to get internal teams to work better together. I'm hands-on and direct; I'll talk things through if something needs to get done. We're all connected here, which has helped me communicate our message and get feedback." Main message: "We're focusing on the customers' requirements and what they're looking for. We're providing solutions with enterprise-class functionality built on a single technology, so they're easy to use, have low total cost of ownership, and have a fast time-to-benefit." Key goals:
  • Ensure that FrontRange hits the highest level of customer satisfaction for its new products by having customer service and support and dedicated professional services resources for each product.
  • Keep increasing revenue and continue to grow the top line.
  • Release upcoming new products on schedule. "I think we'll have a huge product advantage at that point."
  • Continue to focus on and feed the channel.
  • Become the leader in the midmarket. "There's an opportunity to create something that there's nothing else like it out there. Technology, channel, demand creation--we have a lot of the pieces to create a large company in this space."
  • Get the company on the NASDAQ. Challenges: "The tools business is a competitor; CRM versus patch management, for example. Everyone is looking for fast ROI. Any type of tool that has a fast ROI is what people are buying today. They're going to use their limited budget on what gives the fastest ROI." What is the best thing a customer has told you? "When they saw the new products, a large customer said, 'Your customers are going to be blown away and your competitors should be very scared.'" Bill McDermott CEO and president, SAP America Appointed: September 2002 Leadership style: "I lead by example. I spend ninety percent of my time [absorbed] in creating success for our customers. I have a vision and have been clear about it. I set high goals, but am personally involved in setting a plan to achieve those goals. But I'm also highly empowering: I'll give them the keys to the Ferrari and let them take it for a ride. In other words, I let our leaders do the jobs they were hired to do. I'm also focused on accountability: I hold myself accountable and hold my staff accountable, too." Main message: "Businesses win when they have inspired, motivated, and passionate employees taking care of customers, and we have created a culture to do so. We're all about building a trusted partnership with each customer by building solutions that deliver value by helping our customers better serve their customers." Key goals:
  • Continue to align ourselves with the customer as a trusted advisor by providing all the software and services they need, and helping to create a business case that demonstrates value.
  • Keep CRM our number one priority.
  • Consistently create perfect customer experiences. "We set the bar high, and we execute on it."
  • Remain the growth engine and the marquis diamond of SAP AG. "We will push aggressively to do so."
  • Continue to grow the midmarket and SMB business. Challenges: "I remind our people every day that the enemy of intelligence is complacency. We can't take our headlines too seriously, nor can we take for granted our focus on the customer. That will never happen on my watch." What is the best thing a customer has told you? "You are the reason I'm going to take my million-dollar business to a billion-dollar business." Karen Richardson CEO and director, E.piphany Appointed: July 2003 Leadership style: "People know I will be painfully honest and blunt, and they know they can trust that. There's no hidden thoughts or agenda. People think I'm tough, because a blunt style takes getting used to, but I'm very fair and approachable. I have a style that people feel they can relate to." Main message: "What's different about us is that we can leverage what a customer already has. It's not about rip, replace, and replicate. It's about organizations moving from transactions to intelligent interactions. We're taking our customers through that channel to highly interactive cross-channel interactions that generate revenue." Key goals:
  • Articulate this message to the marketplace. "In the past we would get lost in the shuffle of who we were versus who we are."
  • Marketing to establish E.piphany as "a company that's known for something. We're not just a full-footprint CRM vendor. We're analytically rich."
  • Remain a significant enterprise CRM provider. "The number of competitors is shrinking, and in two to three years we plan to catch up to Siebel in dominance of customer-facing systems." Challenges: "I don't think any of us expected to see the economic recovery be as bumpy as it has been. We're very much on a roller-coaster." What is the best thing a customer has told you? "One executive who was a dissenting opinion prior to implementing E.piphany, mainly because he wasn't asked to be involved by an executive who [then] left, was hugging the CRM sponsor" because [the company] went from a six-minute to a three-minute transaction time in the call center. Divesh Sisodraker president & CEO, Pivotal Appointed: July 2004 Leadership style: "My job is to set the overall direction, and give our executives a place to excel and get the job done. I make sure others understand their jobs and help them get their jobs done." Main message: "Pivotal has emerged in a strong position to be the number one company for midmarket CRM going forward. We have the people, the product, the financial backing, and we're growing and adding customers and making money--and as a result we're in a position to take market share." Key goals:
  • Shape the plan that will see Pivotal become the definite CRM leader.
  • Focus on executing against plan and maintaining profitability.
  • Grow based on the strength of relationships with current customers. Challenges: "There's still this lack of understanding among some organizations of what properly implemented CRM can do for them, so they'll do small internal builds that focus on solving one pain point. That will disappear with the market maturing. If you take small, concrete steps with a view to future growth you can be hugely successful." What is the best thing a customer has told you? "I love your product. I couldn't run my business without it." Patricia Sueltz president of sales, marketing, and technology, Salesforce.com Appointed: February 2004 Leadership style: "I tend to be pretty democratic, but not a consensus-based leader necessarily. I will communicate and get opinion, but I get paid to make decisions. I like to coach people, which means you have to listen well. To me, leadership means serving your staff and remembering that every employee is a precious asset." Main message: "Everything starts with customer success. We make sure we execute flawlessly in delivering that success. We focus maniacally on customer success; it's part of the magic of what we do here. We execute on customers' behalf and add new technologies and assure our availability and security." Key goals:
  • Scale the company and grow it commensurate with the growing demands and needs of our customers.
  • Continue to deliver new releases every quarter.
  • Ensure that Salesforce.com doesn't lose sight of any of its customers. "We need to remember each customer for the value they bring."
  • Get best talent on board. "I plan to hire only the best, [those] who can perform at the high level our current employees do." Challenges: "The sheer velocity of growth--you can expect growth, but ours is pretty phenomenal. And, the demand that's being created by people who are now ready for on-demand CRM." What is the best thing a customer has told you? "'I can tell you why this is great for my company,' a customer said to a reporter asking me a question. Customers have an enthusiastic story they want to tell."
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