SalesTechStar Interview with Paul Cowan, Chief Growth Officer at When I Work

Paul Cowan, Chief Growth Officer, When I Work talks about product led growth and how sales teams can drive impact with it:


Welcome to this SalesTechStar chat Paul, tell us about yourself and your role at When I Work: what does a typical work day look like as CGO?

My role at When I Work involves two things: People and Processes. As the CGO, my job is to make sure we have the right people focusing on the right processes so not only our company can thrive, but so our end users can be successful.

My day to day changes frequently, but I aim to focus on our results as a business in order to make plans for improvements. Overall, I think of my time in quarterly chunks – planning and prioritizing for the quarter, tracking the business bi-weekly, with improvement plans on the off weeks.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on what it takes to drive product-led growth in today’s B2B ecosystem?

Product-led growth means different things to different people. To some it is about doing marketing that is segmented, to others it is about driving freemium motions that eventually lead to an upsell.

To me, product lead growth is about how we are creating orchestration around the product using the different channels we have to help drive conversion and product adoption. It is what we are doing in the product to help merchandise, educate and convert people to using key features in a product — but it is also about all the surrounding communications and engagements we are doing to assist the customer in their experience with the company.

As a former CMO and now CGO, what do you feel today’s B2B leaders need to evolve into as they explore different criteria and work modes with growth as a goal?

People need to think in a horizontal mindset as they progress in their career and in their jobs. Too many people pigeon hole themselves in their discipline – whether it is in a department like sales, or in a function, like lifecycle marketing. Folks need to work to understand how a customer experiences their relationship with your company and become inquisitive about how you can improve those relationships vs focusing on your silo. You often find that challenges you may be having are not solvable within your discipline, or that the root because problems need a different approach vs always putting a band aid on the problem.

Example: tried to fix churn through running programs and engaging sales, but the problem was in involuntary churn with banks not processing cards.

Read More: SalesTechStar Interview with Karen Budell, CMO at Totango

Tell us about the martech/salestech you’ve used in past roles to drive growth objectives? And about the processes that have helped fuel initiatives.

I believe in personalization and using tools to help you understand who your customers are and why they are coming to you. You can build internal tools or use other ones – I’ve used a mixture of both.

Great personalization tools: Mutiny on website, Pendo for in product, Segment as your CDP.  The main thing is not about the tools, it is about mapping journeys and having a deep understanding of your customer – then sorting out how you can use the data to improve your journeys. Example – most people cookie a customer as they hit a site – you can track that user to understand intent signals and tailor an onboarding experience – most people don’t because it is hard and requires many depts.

A few thoughts on what you feel sales and marketing executives need to do today to boost output and scale sales ROI within shorter timeframes?

The first piece of advice I have is now your levers and your ratios. If you spend more marketing dollars, how many trials and leads are you going to generate? Secondly, know the inefficiency you will introduce and when it doesn’t make sense to spend any more. Lastly, know how many sales HC you can lay out if you are increasing your volume. Make sure they are generating incremental c/w rates outside of your self-serve channels.

If you can’t spend, work with what you have. Turn over the rocks you forgot about:

  1. c/l business with disposition codes
  2. Run programs to those who didn’t have money
  3. Get aggressive with those who ‘weren’t ready to buy’ and find out if they are now.

Read More: Some of the Best Non-Traditional Selling Methods Adopted by Leading Brands

When I Work is a market leader in shift-based workforce management software and delivers a powerful, employee-first experience.

Paul Cowan is Chief Growth Officer at When I Work

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ARPUB2BB2B ecosystemc/l businessc/w ratesCDPCGOChief Growth OfficercommunicationsCustomer Experiencesdisposition codesemployee-first experienceengagementsfreemium motionsfuel initiativesHChorizontal mindsetinterviewsInterviwesmartechonboarding experiencePaul CowanPendoProduct-Led GrowthROISales and marketingsalestechSalesTechStarshift-based workforce management softwareWhen I Work