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Ask an Iterator: Leon Grant on the Power of Experience

The martech community is flooded with a lot of noise: With thousands of companies pushing similar messaging and selling “the best” marketing solutions, it’s hard to know which suits your business’s particular needs.

In our latest installment of “Ask an Iterator,” we ask Leon Grant, Enterprise Account Executive here at Iterable, to demystify the process and help navigate your brand through the noise.

Ask an Iterator: Leon Grant

Leon was Iterable’s first Account Executive in the London office, which opened officially in 2019. While his primary responsibility is growing Iterable’s business territory in EMEA, Leon mentors others in his professional network and is a husband with two children under four years old.

At Iterable, Leon is also an active member of the Black at It affinity group, which was created as a space for community, discussion and empowerment for Black employees at Iterable.

After completing his BSc (Hons) from the University of Nottingham, Leon jumped right into the marketing world. Now he has more than 12 years of experience in sales and marketing under his belt, having worked for key players in the tech industry, like Microsoft, Salesforce and Norwegian scale-up, Gelato.

Leon is here to share his experience in sales and partnerships, and to celebrate Black History Month by providing insights and guidance on how brands can effectively champion diversity and inclusivity, and make an impact on the industry at large.

Let’s get into it!

Tell us a little more about your work.

As an Enterprise Account Executive or AE, I am responsible for growing our business, by recruiting new business. The key for me to do my job well is to really understand the macro and micro goals of the organisations that I’m speaking with. 

Once I can fully wrap my mind around their goals, I can then ask important questions about the roadblocks that are getting in the way of reaching their full potential. Many of the issues I identify with the client have to do with a “how-to,” like, “how-to” grow their audience and scale effectively and efficiently.

This process allows me to share appropriate opinions, recommend accurate tools and provide helpful documentation to add value to them. I want all of our customers to be successful. I know I’m doing my job right when they have had a memorable experience.

What is the most common question you get asked on the job?

The martech marketplace is crowded with a lot of noise, and companies have similar messages. As a brand, it’s hard to decide who to partner with when you’re pitched the same thing over and over again. So understandably, the most common question I’m asked now is, “What makes Iterable different?” 

Of course, I have the freedom to go in a few directions when I respond, but I typically turn to the two themes that I believe make our work stand out (I mean, they were pivotal to my choosing Iterable): culture and tech.

In culture: Our four company values—trust, humility, balance, and maintaining a growth mindset—guide us as we grow. They inform everything we do, so our partners are rest assured that transparency, ethics, performance and empathy are always prioritized.

That’s something that, as a brand, you don’t usually find out until further down the line. It makes me feel confident in my work, and the experience I’m providing when I can point to our core principles as key differentiators.

In tech: Think about this for a minute. Let’s say you keep your customer data in Salesforce, and use another platform to nurture leads, and use Sprout Social to manage your social media marketing efforts. You probably have Google Analytics set up on your website and on and on and on. 

Each platform was built with the idea that their insights and data are the most important. Therefore, you end up wasting a lot of time bouncing from report to report in each platform in order to try and piece together the whole story. The odds are pretty high that you’re missing critical pieces of the story.

That piece is likely the difference between a good and a great customer experience. 

With Iterable, you do not have to look for your data or hope you have all the pieces together to create a cohesive customer experience. Our customers can leverage all of the data they have. Ultimately, they can do more clever stuff, faster.

Data flexibility is a unique differentiator. It’s what powers unified customer experiences and enables you to leverage all your data and engage customers with messages they love, on channels they prefer.

What’s next for brands?

2020 was a hard year for everyone—especially brands. From the COVID-19 pandemic to social justice issues like the Black Lives Matter movement and the 2020 U.S. election cycle, consumers had a lot to digest. At the top of their list? How brands responded to these issues and built brand trust.

While building brand trust seems like an uphill battle, I think it’s pretty simple: Stand for something. Customers shop with brands they connect with emotionally, so sending out messaging that resonates with their base is really critical.

What does this mean in action? If your customer base is mostly Black women, then you should communicate your stance on reproductive rights and send out supportive messages during Black History Month. If your customer base is made up of parents, communicate how your company provides competitive parental leave or share work-life balance tips during this difficult time.

The point is—be authentic in your messaging. Take a stand on issues that matter to your audience. And be open-minded and ready to learn. That’s how you will reach customers.

How can brands get smarter about their marketing?

It was really cool to see all of these companies turn to cause-driven marketing and social activism to connect with customers last year. And now customers are talking about how they can augment their efforts in 2021.

I think the most effective way to level up their authentic selves this year is to get smart with their tech. Or, in other words, get “smart” tech.

Last year, our product team set out to build easy yet powerful AI tools that complement today’s marketers. The goal was to create an intuitive AI solution to empower marketers to deliver more meaningful experiences to customers—all without replacing the authenticity and empathy in their messaging.

With the focus that brands will have in 2021 on building brand trust and authentic experiences for customers, Brand Affinity™ is really a no-brainer for our customers this year. My accounts are really ecstatic to try it out. They’re excited to finally understand how customers feel about their brand, in real time and across channels.

Who wouldn’t want to use a tool that helps marketing teams develop intelligent and informed strategies?

It is no secret that the tech industry has had a long-standing diversity and inclusion problem. From your perspective, what do you think the wider tech community could be doing to increase diversity in the workplace?

I think it all starts with education. STEM ambassadors here in the U.K. play a vital role in opening the possibilities and options of careers to children of school age. I strongly believe that those working in tech have a responsibility to share their experiences and encourage the next generation.

You mentioned that culture was a primary driver of you joining us, so how would you describe Iterable?

There are three words I would use to describe Iterable: supportive, inclusive and creative.

Supportive, because our entire company lives by our four core values, one of which is Balance. Of course, we have formal measures in place to cement this value in our culture—like our monthly Balance Days, flexible time off and sabbatical leaves.

But the support is more ingrained, and I really feel that everyone around me cares about my health, happiness, personal and professional growth. It’s a great feeling.

Inclusivity is, of course, hard to pinpoint, but I think our Iterable Affinity Groups are indicative of this trait. Affinity Groups are created and run by employees who share a common community or identity, and they play a vital role in ensuring an inclusive environment where all are valued and empowered to succeed.

I’m a proud member of Black at It, an Affinity Group with a powerful mission—to promote an inclusive environment through community, events and discussions that create cultural awareness and uplift Black employees at Iterable.

The group has allowed me to connect with people in the company that I wouldn’t in my usual day-to-day job. The best part is the education. I leave each session more informed than the last, and that is what we need for a progressive society. We have a ton of fun—from debates on Black hair to guest speaking engagements, our group is helping spread education and inclusivity, and have fun doing it!

As for the creative, all you have to do is join this year’s Activate Live. It’s a virtual event, available to everyone around the world, and really drives home a message: the best customer experiences are facilitated by the best products and enabled by the best people. You’ll find all of that here at Iterable.

Take the Next Step With Iterable

Your customers have high expectations for your brand. They want to feel connected, respected and valued. To accomplish this, you must build an unforgettable customer experience—one that’s cross-channel, cohesive and personal.

Take a step closer to your customers this year and request a demo with our team! You’ll be connected with a member of our team who, like Leon, is passionate about progress and personalization. 

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