Schneider Electric’s Model for Supercharging Sales and Marketing with Mandy Wallace (S1, Ep5)

Sales and Marketing alignment is more important than ever in 2020. Join us as Mandy Wallace, Head of Global Demand Generation for Schneider Electric, and Kalja Moolenaar, Senior Strategist at MarketOne, chat with Enrico about how Schneider Electric is bringing Sales and Marketing together globally with a variety of digital coverage models, fueled by customer insight, data, and marketing automation.

Enrico Brosio (00:13):

Hello and welcome to a new episode of Funnelocity, the B2B podcast that aims to bring you real talk around the different strategies that can help you build a high-performance sales and marketing funnel. I’m Enrico, President at MarketOne, and your host. In today’s episode, I’m excited to introduce our first case study courtesy of our friends at Schneider Electric. But first, let me give you a bit of context. We recently ran a survey of sales and marketing leaders that looked at how they’ve adapted to the pandemic. And one of the key findings was an increased focus by sales on harnessing digital tactics to help them fill the void left by the absence of face-to-face meetings, events and trade shows. This in turn has greatly accelerated many digital transformation programs. Now Schneider Electric, they’ve actively prioritized the use of digital to support sales, what they are calling their digital coverage model.

And I’m delighted to welcome Mandy Wallace, Head of Global Demand Generation for Schneider Electric, along with MarketOne’s Senior Strategist Kalja Moolenaar to talk to us today about the model and how it’s already been implemented at Schneider Electric. First, a brief intro to Mandy. In her 20 year career, Mandy has covered everything from pre-sales and customer service to marketing operations and process excellence. In her current role at Schneider Electric, she is responsible for driving demand generation strategy and process in order to have tangible commercial impact within the most local of global organizations. She’s passionate about change management and finds the greatest fulfillment when she’s helping her colleagues meet their goals. Mandy, welcome to Funnelocity.

Mandy Wallace (01:50):

Hi Enrico. Thank you very much for having me.

Enrico (01:54):

Kalja is a senior B2B marketing leader who has built a 20-year career in both global and regional strategic marketing roles in the tech industry. She applies her deep proficiency of rolling out integrated marketing campaigns to regions with a broad range of traditional and digital marketing practices. She also helps orchestrate complex behavioral programs that guide customers through a personalized buyer’s journey. This includes a deep knowledge of ABM, marketing automation, orchestration, lead scoring, and other modern marketing tactics. Welcome Kalja.

Kalja Moolenaar (02:28):

Thanks, Enrico and delighted to be here today with you.

Enrico (02:32):

Excellent. So perhaps Mandy you could start us by giving us a bit of background and what led Schneider Electric to focus specifically on the digital coverage model.

Mandy (02:45):

Thanks Enrico. Yeah, so like many, COVID impacted us quite substantially. However, this was something that we were already kind of working with. We had purchased and implemented marketing automation within our company. But what we were really starting to notice is that the true power of marketing automation wasn’t that it was just for marketing. It was really you know, a technology that would help us bring sales and marketing together. And then obviously we went kind of round in circles. You know, you don’t like to start from a technology perspective. So we started looking at, you know, our strategy overall in terms of our commercial coverage and, you know, how do we at Schneider Electric cover our customers. And so within all those conversations and the idea of the technologies we had we really kind of took a step back and we said, well, you know what, there’s really three primary ways that we talk to and engage with our customers.

So one of those ways of course, is the traditional face-to-face salesperson. The, the other way, and particularly with COVID coming in is the idea of that remote connection. So it’s still human, it’s still a person you know, but we’re all locked in so nobody can really meet face to face. And then we brought in the idea of this third modality, which we call ‘digital’ and really it’s about using technology to support our customers and to support the interactions of our sales, be those interactions face-to-face or remote. The last thing about this is really making sure that all three of these things are working together to really support our customers along their customer journey. That really is the number one priority of this. And ensuring that from a Schneider perspective, we’re using our resources the most efficiently and effectively as we can.

Enrico (05:07):

Well, I love the imagery there, Mandy, thank you for that. So, I guess this, by bringing these different modalities together, how does digital support the customer journey and the overall sales engagement process itself?

Mandy (05:24):

So we wanted to, we took a step back and said, how can we better support the customers? Knowing that we have restrictions on how much our Salesforce can actually speak to them. And this is really where for us, the, the idea of digital came in. So, we know from our data that on average a salesperson on a yearly basis is touching their account. You know, once every time period. And there may be once every time period that a CCC or a remote or field service person is touching that account. But from a digital perspective, we today can augment that with at least three additional touches. And of course, we are trying to even accelerate that more. Really for us, it’s about making sure that those customers have the message of Schneider in front of them, from a digital standpoint, a human standpoint, to help them move along their buyer’s journey.

Enrico (06:37):

Excellent. So this is a great segue into the actual model itself. So perhaps could you walk us through the, well, speak a bit more about the digital coverage model and then specifically looking at it from the marketing and sales perspective?

Mandy (06:54):

Absolutely. So one thing that we kind of struggled with a little, is that the idea of digital isn’t just marketing. So you of course have many marketing led digital engagements. The traditional ones that we think about around email, media, banner ads, events, webinars, all those types of things. But there also can be sales led digital engagements, right? So, there’s this concept of social selling and, you know, these other digital engagements from sales. So, we really wanted to be very clear of how all of this digital touch points kind of work together and have clear roles and responsibilities and understand who’s leading what, so, what we don’t want to do is we don’t want to have our sales and marketing tripping over each other, trying to speak to the customers. We really want to make sure that there is a cohesive message across the customer journey. And that’s really where for us, this sales and marketing automation comes into play.

Enrico (08:06):

And certainly from, from our point of view, Mandy, the fact that Schneider Electric has called it sales and marketing automation, I find it’s actually quite unique and really puts that kind of stress punctuation mark on the fact that you are trying to drive that alignment. And you are one team engaging with the customer and supporting that customer journey.

Mandy (08:29):

Absolutely. One of the concepts, you know, we kind of struggled with was we don’t do marketing for marketing sake. We do marketing because we need to ensure that our customers are getting the information that they need. And of course we do that to drive a commercial impact. And so we do that in support of our sales. And so it was very important us to you know, make it understood in the organization that this wasn’t just marketing for marketing. It was marketing for a purpose, and that’s why we chose to bring that S into the SMA.

Enrico (09:09):

Love it. I love it. So let’s move to the model itself, the digital coverage model and how do we put this into practice? So Kalja, what was the starting point for this project?

Kalja (09:24):

Yeah, the starting point was really you know, how do you really in the world where the customer expectations and their behaviors have changed quite significantly and where they’re, the customers are expecting a more personalized and transparent messaging. How do you then take all the digital touchpoints and making sure that the interconnection between the sales and marketing touch points how do you really look at an approach towards your customers that is more dynamic and orchestrated, right. To make sure that you follow them through the buying journey. And the only way that you can achieve that is by taking a very much data-driven approach and then align your communication strategy to that data-driven approach by facilitating always-on programs that respond to customer signals that we’re capturing.

So let’s talk a little bit about how you can then take that really into practice as a step-by-step approach, really. So everything starts with customer segmentation. So using the data-driven approach, understanding more about your prospects and customers and the context that you have in your database today is crucial because it gives you insights into where they are in their buying journey and in their relationship with you it is also designed to make sure that nobody in your database is left untouched and ultimately drives better engagements as you tailor your communication to the different stages and where people are in the buying journey. So you can use technically any data that you have available to inform yourselves on who is a prospect, for example, versus a buying or an existing customer, who was active versus inactive in what’s a sales stage, they are etc. As a result, by bucketing and segmenting based on those data points you will be able to better measure also the movement of your contacts through the funnel.

So, Mandy, maybe you can tell us a little bit about how you applied this module at Schneider Electric and operationalize that.

Mandy (11:33):

Absolutely. Thank you so much, Kalja. So prior to our launch of our customer engagement life cycle that we have, that was based on the work we did with Kalja and MarketOne, we really struggled with a couple of different things. So the biggest of these was helping our countries to understand why their engagement programs weren’t performing as expected. And of course, now that we have this philosophy of digital as a coverage, we really want to make sure that we’re optimizing the way we do that coverage. So due to these non-performing campaigns, we started to do a deep dive analysis with the help of MarketOne. And it was clear that we were talking to everyone in our database, the exact same way, regardless of where they were in their journey.

So once we started to break down that journey into, you know, who’s active, who’s not active, who was active, but has gone quiet, who’s never been active. It was clear that while our programs were driving positive engagement in that active audience, it wasn’t really having the same impact on the inactive audience. So the mentality of our marketers really was, I’ve put this enormous effort into creating these great engagement programs for a particular segment. You know, I want to put everyone in my database into that. And so obviously we know that doesn’t work, now, but in our first attempt with the countries you know, we started to kind of show them some of this data but the trouble was they, they just really weren’t getting it and we weren’t getting much traction. So, from there, we really worked a lot with MarketOne to create our first customer engagement lifecycle.

And it was very visual. It looks like a fish which sticks in people’s mind. And I think sometimes, you know, when people have a visual that sticks in their head they understand it better. You know, and it allowed them to see how we break out our data, you know, are they brand new? Are they active with us? Are they super active with us? Are they starting to get tired and go quiet? Is it a name that’s coming from our salespeople, but they’ve never interacted with marketing? And we used that image along with the idea of, we have different types of programs and different types of communications based on where they are in their life cycle. That really started resonating with our marketers. And they started to understand what we were trying to do in terms of speaking to those customers differently based on where they were in that life cycle.

Enrico (14:55):

So it sounds like step one was really about the data, get a clear understanding of the SMA database, who’s engaged, who’s not engaged you know, level of activity, I guess. And so now that you’ve done that, and you’ve got that kind of segment model in place, how do you go about then operationalizing to create always on engagement programs, you know, throughout that customer journey. Kalja, could you start on that?

Kalja (15:27):

Yes, absolutely. So based on the segmentations that you have now implemented, it allows you to have the insights that you need to understand the requirements for your communication strategy against each of those segments that you just defined. So designing and executing the right type of programs, the right time type of messaging and the right type of content for each of these stages in the buying cycle will ensure that you are relevant and timely towards the customers and what they would expect from you these days, right? So some of the examples here would be programs like a welcome program for net new contact that comes into your database. A nurture program for contacts that have expressed an interest in your solutions. A pipeline acceleration type program for contacts that are on an opportunity with you already. A retention or a loyalty type program for your existing buying customers or reactivation program for those who have become dormant along the way.

So, through the use of marketing automation, you can create these programs once, and then you have them as an always-on program. So contacts will always be triggered into those programs based on the segmentation criteria that you set for any of these programs at any time. So it’s very efficient and you only have to build these programs once, and they have a very long shelf life essentially. So Mandy, maybe you can talk to us a little bit about the approach that Schneider Electric took to achieve a similar targeted approach based on your segmentation exercise.

Mandy (17:17):

Yes, of course. Happy to. So as I said before the customer engagement lifecycle really helped us, right. And it helped us be able to understand that depending on where someone was in their journey, we needed a different sort of program with a different tone of voice, and we needed to be speaking to them different. And that concept worked very well. But our next challenge was then how do we bring all those together to really what the journey is. So how do we make sure that all of those different pieces and all the different programs, how does somebody flow through them. And that orchestration again, our Marketers kind of struggled to really visualize and understand how those contacts would flow through that. And the fact that we needed to ensure that we were speaking to the entirety of our database. And so again with the great help from MarketOne, we created what we called the communication blueprint. And it really tried to break that journey down into the different chunks, and it showed how our customers and prospects would flow in and out of various different programs, again, you know, based on, you know, where they were in their lifecycle and also where they were in their buyer’s journey.

So again, the fact that we were able to bring this blueprint, it’s very visual. We were able to use it as a map and even have, you know, little figurines walking through with different examples of how someone’s journey could flow through this blueprint. It was super comprehensive yet still super simple and really helped us to on the local level, on the global business level for our campaign teams allowed them to truly understand and embrace what we meant by this always on strategy and kind of how our customers would work through this. You know, and it definitely the results for us were super after releasing this in only four months, we were able to increase the percentage of our database receiving always-on communication by about 60%, which was a huge, huge win for that.

Enrico (19:52):

That’s great to hear Mandy and I guess, how do you take that pilot, the success of that pilot, this, you know, this new strategy together with the right programs, how do you take that and scale it globally in a decentralized model like you have there at Schneider Electric?

Mandy (20:11):

So again, a fun challenge Enrico. Schneider Electric we pride ourselves on being one of the most local of global companies. And so all of our marketing is done very much at the local level, but of course you know, we’re a large organization, we want efficiencies. And so, you know, we have our global divisions that are creating content and we have our experts in campaign and marketing assets, putting those things together. And so what we do is you know, all of that stuff is created globally, and we have processes and communication channels that allow us to present the breadth of what is available for all the different segments and channels within our intranet. And anyone in the company can access it, see what’s available. But in particular for the marketers then on, on the local levels, you know, it’s very clear what’s available and through our annual sales and marketing planning process, we have a very formal handshakes that the, you know, the countries agree with the global divisions, you know, these are the campaigns we’re going to put into the market. These are the goals and ambitions, and all of those assets are available to them.

And on a regular basis, we have check-ins right, because we always need to be able to turn the boat when things happen that are unexpected, COVID of course being a perfect example. I think everyone’s marketing plans were, you know, tossed up in the air as a result of that. And we, of course, were no different but the strength is really in that alignment, that conversation and the fact that we make everything very much available in terms of being able to easily deploy the campaigns on the local level. And everyone is super clear on what they have in terms of availability.

Enrico (22:30):

So Mandy, you’ve already started to kind of deeper tone to the concept of change management and all that goes with that, the training and enablement. Could you speak a bit more about how the Schneider Electric, global team supported that process?

Mandy (22:47):

Yes, of course. So number one answer, it’s not easy. We have been through a journey ourselves in terms of how best to kind of bring about this change management and adoption. And really one thing that we learned. And of course, I think this is known by most is that the key is repetition. The other thing is that different people learn in different ways. And so you also maybe need multiple ways of presenting kind of the same information to really drive home the messages and the ideas that, that you’re trying to bring into kind of the normal way of working. For not only our marketers, but also for our sales and, you know, for the understanding of the functions that kind of work around them. So what we did, what was the, we tried to make it fun and we tried to make it simple.

And we came up with this concept of a cookbook for sales and marketing automation. And that cookbook was broken down into some key ingredients and those ingredients were based on our kind of initial learnings in terms of kind of the key things that were needed in the country in order to be successful with sales and marketing automation. And so for each of those ingredients, we also have recipes. And in those recipes, we have a very strategic objective for each one. And we try to lay out specifically the plan for how you reach that objective using the various ingredients in this idea of a recipe. And so the fact that we kind of, you know, brought it back to cooking, which not everybody likes to cook, but everybody likes food. You know, it made the conversations a bit more interesting and fun and helped both our sales and marketing folks really understand kind of the messages there that we were talking about. And go ahead.

Enrico (25:11):

No, I was just gonna say that I love, I just love that the use of the cookbook, the ingredients, the recipes, and you know, those ingredients being really foundational elements, right? You can’t get those recipes cooked if you will, or programs into market, unless you’ve got certain foundational elements in place. So it’s a really nice way or metaphor to bring it to life. And I know it’s certainly Kalja and the team on the MarketOne side, we spent a lot of time with the field organizations, the country teams, specifically on this element. And it goes back to your point about repetition, repetition, repetition. You know, one thing is to train people on the cookbook and ingredients and recipes. Another thing is actually getting programs built and into market. So it’s kind of that full cycle that goes over and over again day after day, week after week, month after month. But I certainly know we’re making progress.

Mandy (26:08):

Yeah, it definitely has been an adventure. And I think the thing that has really helped us also is that as things started moving and of course with the help of Kalja and the team, you know, all of the best practices that we see in the various recipes and we create new recipes, right. Because our countries and our marketers they’re creative, right. Which is great, you know, so bringing those best practices and making sure we have solid communication channels to take those examples that have tangible results within the company so that our other countries can pick those up and run with them has been super important for us. And, I would just say, you know, the hardest thing we had to do was make complex topics simple. But when you succeed, that’s when you know, we truly start to see the understanding and the lights going off in everyone’s eyes.

Enrico (27:16):

That’s the breakthrough, that’s the breakthrough, isn’t it?


Mandy (27:23):

It is.

Enrico (27:24):

Ah, it’s amazing. Yeah go on, Kalja.


Kalja (27:28):

I want to also want to add to that. I think what also helps a lot drive to success of this is the education and the change management is one piece of it, but handholding, the people that really need to execute this into the execution, I think was a major factor into the success. And as many have already stated, if you can show the impact of having that success with one country, for example, it really helps drive also the change management with some of the others that might, you know, be slower in adoption or having a harder time getting the concept or getting into the execution. So I think that, you know, the not just preaching what you want countries to do, but actually helping them get there is what made this really successful.


Mandy (28:28):

Absolutely Kalja and our decentralized model, you know, that’s really what we have to do. Right. We have to do the handholding and then we have to show those success stories, you know, create the process we went through into how-to guides so that our other countries can benefit from the help that you know, we’ve given in a particular country.

Enrico (28:44):

Okay. So let me perhaps a question I have around the kind of before and after of implementing this model, going from sounds like initially before you had a database that was, you were hitting the database equally, and then we were able to segment it and really understand who’s active, who’s inactive, break it down into more kind of micro segments and be more targeted. Could you speak a bit about to the lift that you saw by, you know, by making that shift?

Mandy (29:17):

Yes, of course. So one thing to know is that here at Schneider, the way that we measure ourselves and, and push ourselves around engagement is we use absolute numbers. So for us in this last year, we’ve been able to double the number who are actively engaged with us. So both from an end user perspective and from our partner perspective.

Enrico (29:46):

That’s great. I mean, and I guess that speaks to the power of ultimately, you know, in marketing, I always say that the marketing Nirvana is actually marketing to a segment of one. If you could, right? But it shows that if you can be more targeted, more relevant, more timely with your message, you’re going to get better engagement. So, well, thank you for that.

Mandy (30:10):

Yeah. So, it really was a great accomplishment for us to see and know that we doubled in a year what we were able to do. But I think another really important thing was that you know, when we were doing some of the analysis at the start of the year, we saw some customers who weren’t being communicated to at all. And then we saw other customers that were being over communicated. And so, you know, by kind of evening that out again, through the lifecycle, through the always-on engagement, knowing how that orchestration should work, you know, it allowed us to provide them better experience for all customers. So talking to the ones that we hadn’t been talking to and, you know, pulling back on the poor people who were definitely being over-communicated to in some of the areas.

Enrico (31:12):

Well, that’s great to see how Schneider Electric has made the most of this crisis to accelerate its transformation program. And thank you, Mandy, thank you, Kalja, for outlining the story so clearly.

Mandy (31:24):

Thanks so much for having me today Enrico. It was quite fun. And very excited to be able to share the successes that we’ve had here at Schneider Electric this year.


Kalja (31:38):

Yeah. And it’s been a pleasure for me working with the Schneider team on this transformation.

Enrico (31:46):

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