ViB continues our commemoration of International Women’s Day with a series of informative Q&As with successful female marketing leaders. This year’s theme is #ChooseToChallenge. How will you help create a gender-equal world?
This Q&A includes answers to questions posed in the ViB “Art & Science” panel discussion: “Women in Marketing: Career Advancement Strategies & Advice.”
Q&A with Robin Caputo
Q: What best practices have you employed to grow your career?
CAPUTO: Results matter. Attitude matters. Passion about the quality of your work matters and people notice. And that’s something you have control over.
I’ve never said in my entire life, “That’s not in my job description.”
Cultivating cross-functional teams, not just within marketing, but cross-functional, demonstrating how you can make their job easier. Marketing makes a difference to the overall company.
Help your boss. I often would go in early in my career, figure out what was stressing out my boss, and go in and take that off of his or her plate. I once had a boss who used to throw pencils into the ceiling. That was an indicator of how stressed out he was. So, I would come in and take things off his plate. Those are simple things you can do every day.
What I found I enjoy the most is where I can have a direct impact on growth. I think that’s really a mantra that marketers in this new world have to focus on: growth and the direct impact that you can have on the financial success of a company, because tangible results matter.
Q: How do you advocate and mentor for women in your organization?
CAPUTO: I absolutely think it’s imperative as leaders that when things go wrong, I take the blame, and when things go well, I give the credit. Because the buck stops here. And I think that one important way is that you give credit where credit is due. One of the things my team has told me is that I believe more in them than they believe, sometimes, in themselves.
Advocating for your team, pushing your team to reach new levels, trying new things, and raising the bar. And then helping them get there.
The other point is leading by example. Encouraging the team to take risks. Take the hard jobs. Do them well. And then make sure that, working with your boss, that you get the credit for doing that job well.
Q: What are some of the tools you use to see if a person you’re interviewing with — or for — would be a good boss?
CAPUTO: I make it a practice for every new person — after the interview with HR and then with me — that I have them interview with five or six people on my team. And that’s a two-way street. The team is measuring to see if that person would be a good fit for the team. And I also tell the person, “No holds barred. You can ask any question.”
Look, I am an acquired taste. Not every person who has worked for me has enjoyed that experience. Others keep coming back for more. So I think it’s really important to be upfront and understand the expectations and take advantage of interviewing with the team.
Q: Sales teams are often male-driven. What are some of the best practices to build bridges between the sales and marketing functions?
CAPUTO: The number one piece of advice I can give to marketers to build a stronger bridge with sales is carry a number that matters. Salespeople have quotas. They live and die by those quotas. Marketing needs to have quotas that matter. And for us, it means 90% of new logos come from marketing-generated leads. And a percentage of the pipeline and closed deals come from marketing-generated leads.
Now, we all know there’s a lot of other metrics we have to look at, but at the end of the day, what matters to the company is that contribution to growth. And the minute you start doing that, salespeople look at you differently. Because you’re carrying a number, you can also hold them accountable for pursuing those leads that you find for them because you’re trying to find the quality leads that close — not just, you know, a glamour metric.
Brand matters, but how do you take brand awareness and say, “This is exactly how it contributes to growth.” Instead, for us as a smaller company, it is that kind of bookings metric that really has made a difference.
Q: What do you do when your workload is unsustainable? Do you let things fail?
CAPUTO: This is such a struggle. My challenge to my team has been, look at the root cause. What can we automate? What can you delegate? And what can we reprioritize? There are things that I ask for that I don’t have a clue about the work that it’s going to take to create. So, tell me. It is this constant reprioritization. The answer cannot be no, but the answer can be a different solution.
Advocate for women at your business
Advocate for professional women at your company and #ChooseToChallenge. Learn more by watching the entire episode, “Women in Marketing: Career Advancement Strategies & Advice.”
If you are interested in learning about ViB and our effective marketing programs, contact us.