June 1, 2020

TecHRseries Interview with Jeffrey K. Rohrs, CMO at Jobvite

We all know how tech product marketers would benefit from greater training in analytics and data analysis. But Jeffrey Rohrs, CMO at Jobvite is a firm believer, however, that the key to success is – the ability to adapt to change. Catch this complete interview where Jeffrey discusses his journey in tech so far while sharing a few tips on how best to enhance employee engagement during the Covid-19 world crisis.

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Tell us a little about yourself Jeffrey, how has your journey as a tech marketer been so far? We’d love to hear about some of your biggest highlights!

I’m a recovering attorney who found his way into marketing thanks to early exposure to the internet and a strong background in communications and media. My path was driven by a passion for learning, adapting, and improving the ways brands help customers through evolving technologies. Experiencing the IPOs at ExactTarget and Yext are certainly career highlights, but I think what I’ve enjoyed most has been the chance to build teams that punch above their weight.

What are some of the things you are most looking forward to in your new role as CMO of Jobvite?

We have an amazing story to tell. Anyone who follows the space knows how Jobvite, Talemetry, Rolepoint, and Canvas were brought together under one roof in 2019.  Jobvite has been a product-first company.  We’ve invested first in developing our product, and now we’re at a point that we have such an exciting product to tell the marketplace about.  It’s our time to share what a truly unified Talent Acquisition Suite with unmatched breadth and depth of functionality can deliver to customers, partners, employees, and prospects alike. Jobvite has always been a brand synonymous with innovation, and I’m excited to work with the team to share the next chapter in that story.

Read More: TecHRseries Interview with Steve Auerbach, CEO at Alegeus

How have you seen the role of the typical tech marketer evolve over the years? What are some of the skills you’d say today’s marketing professional needs more of to succeed?

As with all marketers, tech marketers have certainly had to become more data-driven over the past decade in order to better connect spend with business outcomes. So, the easy answer is to say all marketers would benefit from greater training in analytics and data analysis. I’m a firm believer, however, that the key to success is the ability to adapt to change. That single, soft skill is perhaps the greatest indicator of long-term career success in tech marketing.

The HR Tech niche is still growing – what would you say are some of the biggest challenges a technology marketer in HR Tech faces – what are some of the top words of advice you’d give here?

One big challenge that jumps out at me is the need to articulate value in a way that resonates as much with hands-on users as it does the C-Suite. This is an area I’m digging into in order to better understand, accordingly, I’m in listen-and-learn mode rather than advice-mode.

Given the current pandemic, how would you advise HR teams and other marketing/sales heads to capitalize on their HR Technology to keep employees engaged during this tough time?

Clear, fact-based, consistent communications are critical in any time of crisis. We’re all working in uncharted territory with new work-from-home challenges relating to space, childcare, and shaky internet connections. So right now, I’d be looking to lean on the HR tech suite to facilitate clear, regular communications with employees to reduce stress, solicit needs, and solve that intersection of personal/professional WFH challenges.

In your journey in tech so far, what are some of the biggest leadership/team building lessons you’ve learnt?

Overcommunicate—especially in a remote working environment. And by this, I don’t mean micro-manage. Rather, take every opportunity to emphasize priorities and objectives so your team can execute against them using their expertise.

Listen first and second. This can difficult for a communicator, but if you’re going to solve challenges as a leader, you need to gather information by asking a lot of questions. Avoid the temptation to draw conclusions too quickly or assume anything. Let the facts guide your response.

Empower the team beyond leadership to step up and share success stories. Speaking to the company is an opportunity for professional growth, recognition, and relationship-building. Leaders don’t hog the mic.

Read More: Have you Considered the Benefits of Virtual Hiring During the Covid-19 Pandemic?

We’d love some of your thoughts on building / scaling sales and marketing teams for (product / HR Tech) companies- what are some of your top tips for hiring/building a strong marketing/sales unit here?

Per my prior comment, I always interview for agility. The best tech marketing teams are built with people who can adapt in the face of change and are not rigid about their titles, roles, and responsibilities. High-growth companies evolve quickly, so you need people who can seize opportunities as they present themselves and do not have to wait for instructions to do so.

It is also important to invest in Marketing leaders who can collaborate, rather than compete, with Sales. Both teams share the same goal—driving revenue, but too often they are structured in ways that undermine true alignment. It is not enough that the CRO and CMO share a collaborative vision; their teams must be structured to partner and solve the challenges of growth together. Demand, Field, Product, Content, and Brand Marketing should all have peer relationships within Sales as well as regular interactions to ensure Marketing efforts are delivering the desired impact.

What would your top 5 tips be to tech companies who are redefining their virtual training strategy?

First, nothing happens without an adequate internet connection. If WFH lingers or expands after or because of the current crisis, then ensuring high-speed connections for employees will be critical not only for training but for employment itself. As a result, companies should consider adding home internet as a standard employee benefit.

Second, training is only effective if leadership is committed to make it happen. That means blocking time for training that cannot be swept aside by other priorities. It is the priority.

Third, mix up your media. Our attention spans can only handle so many hours of PDFs or back-to-back videos. The best virtual training efforts should mix up the media of presentation and weave in interactive elements (surveys, tests, etc.) to hold attention because attention delivers retention.

Fourth, be personal where possible. People respond to people—especially when they have a personal relationship. Tap employees for on-screen roles and voice-overs. They’re presence will increase participation.

Finally, and this could have been stated first, survey your employees and customers as to what training they want to see first. Don’t assume anything. Let your audience lead you straight to the content that will have the highest completion rate and build from there.

Read More: How to Establish a Work Culture With a Distributed Workforce

How would you advice tech companies to optimize the use of their HR Tech stack – what are some of the glaring lags you see when it comes to the adoption/implementation of HR tech by larger teams in tech?

Invest in program frameworks and training. Technology alone does not solve problems. It requires the classic combination of people, process, and technology. We work in an industry of continuous innovation.  But oftentimes companies aren’t using the full value of the systems they have.  Work with your vendors through regular processes, like quarterly business reviews, to better understand where you are using the tech to it’s full value and where there is functionality you aren’t yet using.  And take the time in the face of this historic slowdown, to encourage employees to invest time in training on the tech tool set at their disposal. The knowledge they gain today will produce new efficiencies and automation as you emerge on the other side of this crisis.

Tag (mention/write about) the one person in the industry whose answers to these questions you would love to read!

Joel Cheesman and Santiago Jaramillo

A few tips for businesses worldwide dealing with the current world pandemic

First, don’t “market the virus.” People are inundated with news about COVID-19. The content you create right now should be tailored to address the top-of-mind concerns and challenges your customers are facing. Those are likely universal and evergreen topics. You need not plaster “COVID-19” all over it to draw attention—in fact, doing so will likely turn people off.

Second, now is the time to be thinking about serving first, selling second. There is no uniform response to this crisis, so you need to understand the personal and professional challenges your customers are facing. Only then are you in a position to truly help.

Finally, be truthful, be direct, and overcommunicate with your employees. They are the lifeblood of your organization, and they deserve as much clarify, compassion, and candor that you can muster.

Read More: Keeping the Human Touch in a World of Tech Recruiting by Aman Brar, CEO at Jobvite

 

Jobvite™ is a comprehensive talent acquisition suite that offers a marketing-inspired approach to recruiting by intelligently attracting your dream candidates, automatically screening for the highest quality, engaging employees invested in their future, and retaining the people who care the most about your organization by combining the power of data and the human touch.

Jeffrey is a recovering attorney and currently the CMO at Jobvite.

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Paroma Sen

Paroma serves as the Director of Content and Media at TecHRseries.com. She was a former Senior Features Writer and Editor at MarTech Advisor and HRTechnologist.

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