THE EXACT TARGET STORY: BUILDING A SAAS COMPANY FROM THE GROUND UP
By Chiara Pensato
Jun 15, 2015
MOVE Guides had the privilege of hosting Sameer Kazi for a lunch and learn session to hear the incredible growth story of ExactTarget.
Kicking off the presentation with a video of the company’s journey, it was inspiring to see each stage of their growth and watch as they turned from a small start-up to an industry defining marketing platform. What fascinated our team the most was observing the parallels between MOVE Guides and ExactTarget in how we approach building a company from the ground up. Although we may not be hosting 7,000 people conferences with Katy Perry as the headliner just yet, the core values and drive to transform the way people work through technology are very much the same. As Sameer said, MOVE Guides is at the rocketship stage. We are rapidly putting in fuel and building the pieces to prepare for take-off.
Sameer’s presentation outlined the most important aspects of building a market-defining organization, and offered many real life examples of his own experiences at ExactTarget. Let me highlight these themes and how they relate to MOVE Guides, as we follow a similar path in building a company that inspires greatness and transforms an industry.
ExactTarget used the colour orange to symbolize its company culture and made sure everybody lived it and breathed it. Employees at any level of the organization could describe what orange represented consistently and at the same time could explain what it meant to them from their own individual perspective.
Similar to MOVE Guides, ExactTarget defined key values that were reflected in every aspect of the business and were at the core of what made them a unique company to work for. The values Sameer described that resonated with our team the most are “have an entrepreneurial spirit” and “make decisions like an owner.”
Sameer emphasized that companies should be a source of expertise in the industry. I could not agree more. Educate the market on the role that talent mobility plays in the successful 21st century organization is one of my team’s key priorities. That is why we are dedicated to consistently share insight from our experience working with market leaders – and help organizations to leverage talent mobility as a competitive differentiator.
ExactTarget hosted incredible conferences and events that brought thousands of like-minded marketers together. While MOVE Guides may not be at this scale yet, we believe in the power of forums to share insight and connect subject matter experts to pollinate best practices. Next in our calendar on 16 June is a panel on HR Tech, followed by networking drinks with PwC and IDG Connect as part of London Tech Week.
Global corporate events
Worldwide corporate events that gather employees from across the world are a great way to look back at the learnings from the previous year and set the scene for the one ahead – while having fun too. They are also an excellent way to strengthen the cultural bond through trainings, team-building exercises and celebration of success. This January, MOVE Guides hosted its first “MG Worldwide” event and brought teams from San Francisco, New York and Hong Kong together in our London headquarters.
As ExactTarget, we care about giving something back to society and to those organisations that have given us the opportunity to build our company. Our CEO Brynne Herbert joined fellow entrepreneurs from the United States and the United Kingdom in the Founders Forum for Good pledge to support charitable causes around the world. In signing up for this pledge, she agreed to donate two percent of our exit proceeds to the charitable cause of my choice.
Each year, ExactTarget focused on a theme that drove their corporate mission. From separation to acceleration, innovation and leadership, the theme would create amazing momentum around the company’s goals. These themes are reflected in all aspects of the business and should be aspirational so that employees feel empowered by meaningful and shared goals.
Sameer emphasized that to succeed in the SaaS world, you need to serve all industries and segments in the market. At MOVE Guides, we believe in the power of technology to bring tangible benefits to any organization. Whether you are in retail, finance or professional services, technology is a key competitive differentiator in setting your company up for success in the 21st century.
Like ExactTarget, MOVE Guides aims at delivering a simple and easy solution to a common pain – bloated, expensive and fragmented relocation processes. To do that, we have a strong vision for our product and work closely with our customers to make sure we are giving them what they need to be successful.
As much as ExactTarget, MOVE Guides firmly believes that great teams make great companies. Culture is driven from the top down and the CEO should be its main ambassador and be able inspire every single employee. This is especially true about our CEO, Brynne Herbert. Her passion and tenacity in making her vision a reality inspires each of us daily.
Sameer closed the session with a piece of excellent advice that applies to companies at every stage of growth: “Take one step at a time, have intense focus, communicate the next series of steps to your team and have great leaders at every level and function.”