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Building a Human-Centric Approach to Executive Engagement

Anamika Gupta

Anamika Gupta

Director and Head of Customer Marketing at Fujitsu Americas, Inc.

Anamika Gupta, Scott Jackson, Fujitsu

Aligning with the needs of executives – while demonstrating that you care more about helping their business than getting their business – will go a long way with today’s busy professionals.  

The sales and marketing teams at Fujitsu stand behind this philosophy.

To learn more on the topic, Quartz Network Executive Correspondent Britt Erler sat down with Anamika Gupta, Director and Head of Customer Marketing, and Scott Jackson, Sr. Client Executive, to discuss the best way to build executive engagement strategies.

Anamika and Scott draw on decades of experience to offer insights on:

  • How to identify the executives to influence
  • What does and doesn’t work in building executive engagements
  • How to devise a plan for an executive engagement strategy

Quartz Network: Could you both share some background about your careers at Fujitsu?

Anamika Gupta: I head customer marketing for Fujitsu Americas. As part of this role, my focus is to create superior customer experience working with Scott and our fabulous sales team here.

We are a human centric organization. It’s not just a lip service. We bring that into every aspect of our discussions with the customer and employees.

Fujitsu is actually the fifth largest IT service provider and number one in Japan. I’m most proud of the supercomputer we brought to the market recently called Fugaku. Fugaku was developed with the application first mindset. That means it is not about creating more business, it’s about solving the key problems we have in society such as climate change. It is also being used with COVID to see how we can expedite things around the drug discovery. I’m very proud of the innovation Fujitsu has brought to the market.

Scott Jackson: I’m blessed to work with Anamika Gupta and her team on the marketing side. I’ve been in sales with Fujitsu for 21 years now. Anamika really hit the nail on the head. We’re all about human centric innovation, and really serving and solving customer problems.

I work specifically in the Manufacturing industry and serve our Manufacturing clients. We’re partnering with our marketing team to involve deeper engagement with a lot of the executives among our clients.

Quartz Network: How do you identify the executives to influence?

Anamika Gupta: Make it purposeful. When you make it purposeful, you know who you’re engaging with and why you’re engaging. What has changed is the channel of how you’re going to engage with the executive. The basic story remains the same. What is my goal?

So first understand what you’re trying to achieve and align it. I try to align it with a sales goal. Sales goal is aligned to the organizational goal, which is all about growth and creating value for our customers.

When I understand that goal, then it’s all about where they’re sitting. Who are they and why would they even speak to us? That’s the question you need to ask.

We do that with a lot of data which is behind us to make those decisions, it’s all data backed. In fact, most of it comes from sales, because they are front and center with the customer. So a lot of sales insights. But there’s also the technology layer, like intent data, and others, which comes into the picture to bring that together.

Combine it with secondary research and what we can hear in the market with social listening. Then you say, “This is who we need to be engaging with, because this is the purpose we’re trying to solve.” And the purpose is aligned with the customer goal as well.

There are not 200 people you will be going after. There’ll probably be 20 to 25 people who you will be talking to at the same time. None of us have a tremendous amount of budget and we don’t have enough resources. So you really want to optimize and target a place where the value can come.

Scott Jackson: I think the question goes back to identifying those executives to influence. As much as we deliver technical solutions and great solutions for our customers, we still operate in a relationship economy. The businesses that we serve are all humans. We can develop AI technology and blockchain technology to really automate a lot of processes, but we still deal with people.

At the executive level, we really start by aligning to their purpose. We do a lot of account planning and we used to do that in silos in sales. We used to map out our account strategies and the account relationship maps, and then we would barely talk to marketing. Now we’ve started doing a lot of account planning that includes marketing.

So we identify the executives that we want to align to while understanding their business strategy and their personal strategies because we want to engage them. And we’ve had some great success. Our executives and organizations do move around so we have to continually use our account planning process as a living process, not an activity that we do once a year.

Quartz Network: What works and what doesn’t when building these executive engagements?

Anamika Gupta: If you’re not being extremely relevant, whatever you have planned will not work. And if you’re being extremely relevant, whatever you’re planning will definitely work because now you’ve listened to the customer. You’re not just hearing, you’re actually listening.

It’s a journey. It cannot be done in a day or two. You need to take that journey with your customers. It’s all about being extremely relevant when you plan things. Go back to the goals, align it, make it purposeful and say, “Should I even be talking about this?”

It’s about being relevant in the scenario with your customer. Customers are not looking for the cool giveaways from you. They’re looking to be relevant. And their time is valuable. So you really want to utilize that. And when you’re extremely relevant, they’ll come and listen to you. They’ll ask for Anamika and they’ll ask for Scott. They’ll call you directly.

Scott Jackson: We want to demonstrate that we care more about helping their business than getting their business. Helping their business means we have insight into their challenges, insight where they want to go. We come prepared. That’s the whole relevance where we actually do our homework before going into a customer.

As a Japanese organization, we think long term, so relationships are long term. We certainly want to accelerate the pace of the relationships with the people we work with. But it takes time and you have to have that long term focus.

The other thing we bring to the table is empathy for what they’re dealing with and what their challenges are. I was looking at a recent study that 90% of executives believe that relationships are the strongest factor for their success. But about 25% of them intentionally invest in those relationships.

We’re actually being proactive to try to align and build relationships with these executives, and really show them the breadth and depth and capabilities that Fujitsu can bring to a room and really deliver on the trust that a partner needs to have. The way you develop trust is you understand what they need, and then deliver. And that is what we’re called to do.

Quartz Network: How do you start planning the strategy of building executive engagement in an organization?

Anamika Gupta: By going back to the basics of marketing; the right people, the right timing, the right content, the right channel. That’s how you create the best engagement.

You won’t know what the right timing is unless you’re listening. You won’t know the right content unless you’re A/B testing with couple of them.

Nowadays, nobody wants to read six pages of a white paper. You’ll see many marketers on the bandwagon of creating snackable bite size content. So remember, in creating snackable bite size, you have only few seconds to deliver your message. And you also need to give a CTA. And it all needs to happen in 30 seconds or a minute of the video. How are you going to do that?

That is why you pull up content strategy. You’re going to build that awareness at a point. You’re going to convert it at a point. You’re going to engage. That’s how you build that content engine and this is how we decide what the right content is.

And now the channel. Not every channel is suitable for every customer. So find out how they digest information and put them into that place. Because that’s how they’ll listen to you. That’s how they’ll see you.

So to go back the basic of developing the strategy – look for the right people, right timing, right content and right channel. And that’s how you can create the best engagement with your executives.

For more industry best practices and insights from leading Marketing executives like Anamika and Scott, join Quartz Network.