Meet the Marketer | September 2022
Kristina Alstermark, Chief Marketing Officer at global SaaS company
“How can you ever communicate to someone, and meet the buyer and answer their questions if you know what they’re looking for?”
In order to understand the ever-changing climate of marketing and adapt to the rapid shifts, we wanted to understand the marketers of tomorrow and to benchmark the leaders of today. We wanted to learn about their mindsets, but also to shine a light on the marketer. This is an interview series where we present leaders within marketing, creating a forum for them to speak their thoughts and share insights for the marketers of tomorrow.
Kristina Alstermark is the CMO at Rillion, an accounts payable automation company. Kristina has extensive experience from almost twenty years in the industry in various marketing roles. In 2022, Palette Software and Centsoft were merged to form the new brand Rillion. In the interview, Kristina discusses the need for clear internal communication, a requirement for successful external communication.
Rillion just underwent a significant rebranding process – what learning do you bring from that project?
Launching this new company name and identity is the most complicated project I have ever done. When you change the name of a company and your products – that’s open heart surgery, and you need all hands on deck.
When starting new projects, especially large ones, the first thing you need to do is to define why it’s done. Going into this project, we knew that a key component was ensuring the entire organization was on board and well-informed about the rebranding.
Whatever you do, communication is the key to success. Communication is a cornerstone of our organization. In a way, everyone is a salesperson, so everyone at Rillion must be aligned in one message and clear communication. This gives me many more communicators who can ace external communications, be it to the media or potential clients.
What tips do you have for aspiring marketers?
I would say that knowing your buyer is what’s most important. How can you ever communicate to someone and meet the buyer and answer their questions if you don’t know what they’re looking for? Not only do you need to know where you can find your buyers, but also where they can find you. And when you do meet, make sure to answer any questions they might have – use this to understand where they are in their buyer’s journey and meet their demand.
If you have aspirations to become a leader, you need to think about what drives you. Management requires motivating people or having tough conversations. If you’re interested in that, set up a plan. If you work for a good company, they will see your leadership fit. You can be an informal leader today, and if management picks up on this and invests in you, maybe you’ll be the CMO in two years.
What do you look for when building your marketing team?
When I look for new talents, I look for two things. The first is to find something that complements the existing team. For instance, since I have been in this industry for twenty years, having an outside perspective has been very valuable to my team. The second thing I look for is attitude. For me, attitude is what I value the most. If you are in the right place for you, you’ll be fantastic, but if you can’t be true to yourself in your role–or don’t know what you are striving for–it’s not going to work out well for anyone. You can always improve skills and develop expertise, but who you are is what will let you excel.
What do B2B marketers need to succeed in a world with complex purchasing processes and increasingly independent buyers?
A major theme for success is adaptability. We can see that the customer journey has changed – buyers now know about you before you know about them. The challenge today is knowing who your buyer is and how to make them find you. For example, we were recently contacted by a small company in the outskirts of Texas, so it’s my job to find out how they found us and enable a similar journey in more companies.
One of the success factors for Rillion as a growth company is that we focus on being agile. We use a rolling budget, meaning that we look at the budget every month and make large changes on a quarterly basis. We need to be agile like that because otherwise, you can be stuck in a budget that is going to stop you from developing when the world outside changes.
No matter if we’re talking about a marketing strategy or budget, you need to be open to change.