This week, the Bowery Capital team hosted Amy McIlwain, Global Industry Principal for the Financial Services vertical at Hootsuite, to discuss “Growing An Industry Vertical.” Hootsuite is a platform that helps enterprises and brands manage their presence on social media. It is the most widely used social media management platform, used by over 16 million people around the globe and trusted by more than 800+ companies of the Fortune 1000.
Amy McIlwain is Global Industry Principal at Hootsuite, the world’s largest social relationship management company with over 16 million users worldwide. She has appeared on FOX, CBS, ABC, and NBC as a social media expert, and delivers keynote presentations to financial service organizations around the world. With over 15 years experience in digital marketing and as founder of Financial Social Media, Amy’s presentations draw on her immense experience helping Fortune 500 banks, financial and insurance companies, operationalize social media to drive revenue, decrease expenses, and manage risk. She is a regular contributor to InvestmentNews, The Wall Street Journal Online, ThinkAdvisor, and in 2014 she was named by LifeHealthPro as one of the 24 Most Creative People in Insurance. In addition, her book, The Social Advisor: Social Media Secrets of the Financial Industry, has been featured as a best-seller on Amazon.
We focused the discussion on “Growing An Industry Vertical” from the sales standpoint of a software company. Amy joined Hootsuite two years ago having founded a consulting business in the financial services space and has great experience in the space. Hootsuite valued her expertise, connections, and approach. Therefore, they hired her to set up their first industry vertical: financial services. Growing an industry vertical is no easy task and Amy walked the listeners through the three phases of how to do this. We first talked about why a software company would think about a more vertical approach to sales, marketing, and customer success and how any founder should cover the analysis involved in determining whether to do this or not. Amy had a great system that she used in Excel to help Hootsuite understand the impact and thinking on the financial services vertical. Second, we ran through the set up of the financial services vertical and how the organization functions from a people, process, and systems standpoint. Amy and I talked a lot about growing an industry vertical from the standpoint of changing your sales materials, using marketing to drive your success (events, conferences, blog, case studies), and finally, how to think about the product and engineering changes as you grow out the vertical. Third, we talked about metrics for success – what has worked at Hootsuite, and the major lessons learned when thinking about growing an industry vertical. This was a very informative conversation, given Amy’s expertise.
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