Building An Executive Presence (Internal/External)
The GTM Newsletter
From the sunny beaches of Puerto Escondido enjoying my last few days of “vacation”.
As someone who finds it hard to completely unplug, it’s been interesting to try to fully integrate my work with pleasure while I’m down here.
I believe that there are periods of life where you can’t take your foot off the gas. Periods of intensity where even “vacations” require a fair amount of work.
I wrote about this on LinkedIn this week and who knew that it would be such a spicy take? To each their own of course.
But just like how some days are harder than others on a micro scale, some quarters/years require more effort than others on the macro.
It all comes in waves of momentum/seasons of intensity.
Rest when you can, and work like an animal when you’re called to. And right now, for me, it happens to be the latter.
At GTMfund we officially announced our Fund II this week (hence the busy period!). Inquire if you’re an accredited investor or qualified purchaser but spots are limited.
Alright, back to business, we’re here to talk about everything go-to-market and how to scale your tech company or grow your personal impact across an organization.
Let’s get into it.
Building an Executive Presence/Brand Internally and Externally
The idea of “personal branding” sometimes gets a bad wrap. When done the wrong way it can come across as self-serving or even downright selfish.
But this is far from a new idea.
Knowledge workers have always worked hard to grow their influence both internally (at their organization) or externally (amongst their peers).
Folks would share their knowledge with others in hopes of making new connections, creating opportunities and opening up new channels for their own personal development/growth.
Of course, technology and social media have enhanced our ability to reach 1000x more people with our ideas and with that increased power comes increased responsibility (thanks Spiderman).
So that is what I wanted to focus on this week, how do some of the most well respected GTM leaders think about building their executive presence internally/externally?
Warning: these are not your typical “influencers”….
Let’s start internally.
In my eyes, as a leader, you need to gain the respect of your team and colleagues first before you worry about the external part.
Seamus Ruiz-Earle, CEO of Carabiner Group, and Chuck Brotman, VP of Sales and Co-Founder at Blueprint Expansion both make serious efforts to ensure they stay close to the boots on the ground, make themselves approachable/visible and scale their impact even as the org grows.
Unfortunately it takes a lot of work, there are no shortcuts.
“If you do the work, you get rewarded. There are no shortcuts in life” - Michael Jordan
📈 How to take action:
Ensure that you interview every person that joins the team.
Share your phone number and ensure they know they can call/text you directly.
Create a “founders corner” at every all hands where you celebrate folks who’ve taken the initiative to work collaboratively/cross-functionally to solve problems directly.
Set up 1-to-few trainings that you run with each of your operational teams. Build a comprehensive program of office hours, individual trainings, and group AMA that lets you build strong relationships with folks you wouldn’t normally interact with on a day to day basis.
Create a coffee/lunch roulette system internally - where your team is paired randomly with another cross-functional employee. Donut is great for this.
Speaking of donuts…if your team is in-office or hybrid. Everyone loves a free snack. Get in early, bring donut/pastries/smoothies, and make the rounds outside of your function... many exceptional employees get in early and this gives you a chance to learn/listen/relationship build with less distractions.
*if you’re leading a team of thousands then some of these action items will eventually become impossible to scale but more on enterprise brand building below - keep reading!
We’ve heard from Russel Scherwin, former CMO at IBM Watson and Facilitator at Force Management, before in this newsletter but he drops so many nuggets in GTM slack that I can’t help but share them.
I’m sure this won’t be the last time we hear his perspectives…
Here is his take on building an executive presence internally at a much larger company.
Follow Russell Scherwin for more here.
📈 How to take action:
Articulate a compelling vision/message.
Put it on paper and spread it through the ecosystem (again and again)
Get on individual team calls and engage team members on the vision and WIIFT (What’s In It For Them). Be authentic in adapting it based on engagement.
Actively engage ICP/deals that turn the vision/message into pipeline and revenue. DRIVE THOSE DEALS. DRIVE THE CUSTOMER TO SUCCESS. First of a Kind (FOAK) deals demonstrate a vision is achievable by the masses. They give you credibility within the entire ecosystem.
Share the success, and the WIIFT to different ecosystem segments.
Turn the FOAK deal into a systematized, repeatable process.
Take a vacation. Clear the apparatus.
Go back to step 1 and repeat.
Alright now we have built up our executive presence/brand across the organizations that we’re apart of (both big and small).
Now it’s time to scale up your external presence.
But why even do this in the first place?
Easier to hire great candidates
Sharing your thoughts publicly leads to interesting problems/interesting people finding you (like little content beacons or magnets)
Helps you create pipeline/revenue
Helps you multi-thread/get higher in accounts quicker
As your own brand builds, it builds your company brand
Personal organic content outperforms paid company created content
Leads to new friendships, job opportunities, advisory gigs, board seats.
Builds up distribution channels for internal messaging changes, big announcements and allows you to influence the perception of your technology category.
Etc, etc, etc.
“Look for opportunities to appear on lots of podcast. Writing a book or having a blog is also very effective (if you have the time)”
- Oliver L’abbe, GTM at Testbox, former President at Metadata.
“I'm biased - writing on Linkedin and getting into a habit of doing it. Doesn't need to be daily. Any topic that you're passionate or have expertise in is worth sharing.”
- Adam Jarcyzn, Venture Partner at Ripple Ventures
“SAY YES .Most of the interesting opportunities I’ve gotten are from saying yes to random inquiries. A founder needed some advice, speaking at an event/webinar/pod regardless of how big/small, helping in a startup incubator etc. Saying yes to the little things, gets you seen and if you know what you’re talking about they often lead to something more.”
- Kyle Norton, SVP Sales at Owner.com
“Write (I write a lot and share what we do with others), work out loud and be genuine, be clear with what you stand for, focus on giving and helping first. It will return many times over. Be approachable and open to people reaching out. Talk with user/customer A LOT.”
- Andy Mowat, CEO of Gated.com
📈 How to take action (specifically if you’re a busy exec):
Set aside one hour per week to brain dump your unstructured thoughts into a Google Doc (stories from the past, what’s working, what isn’t working, views on the landscape, exciting launches, what you truly care about, etc)
Meet with a content marketer or EA (who can write well of course) for 20mins each week to go over the doc together.
Have that person be in charge of turning the brain dump into a min of three LinkedIn/Twitter posts/week
Give them access to your LinkedIn/Twitter account and have them post at the same time each day.
Have them watch the post for the first 40 mins and respond back to comments (this will juice the algo)
One post per week can be as simple as an employee spotlight (very low lift)
Have them connect with 20-30 of your ICP/week with a simple note like “Looks like we swim in a lot of the same lanes - would love to connect (Name)” to build up your network/distribution
Over time, that google doc will grow which will be your content library for any podcast appearances, panels or talks that you’re invited to give.
Once that google doc hits 100 or so pages…well you’ve now got yourself a book. Go work with a writer and publish it!
*if you don’t have the luxury of assistance (don’t worry, I’m not there yet either), you’ll have to set aside extra time on evenings/weekends but trust me, the juice is well worth the squeeze.
👀 More for your eyeballs:
It seems like everyone this week is talking about the collapse of FTX, here is a great thread to get you up to speed (it’s pretty wild…)
👂More for your eardrums:
Ashley Hansen Grech, former Global Head of Sales at Square and now COO at Recharge, and I went deep on her story, how to scale “you” and building your executive presence at a company experiencing hyper growth on the latest episode of The GTM Podcast.
🚀 Start-ups to watch:
🔥Hottest GTM job of the week:
GTM Growth Lead at Gantry, more details here.
See more top GTM jobs here.
You made it.
Thanks for all the love/comments/feedback on each issue.
See you next week to break down more go-to-market tips/tricks/hacks/playbooks from some of the best of the best.
Adios, back to reality (in snowy Vancouver) next week.