SalesTechStar Interview with Katherine Kostereva, CEO and Managing Partner at Creatio
A unified CRM system that blends together rich functionality for sales, marketing and service on one platform is a good way to increase team alignment and foster better business outcomes. In this interview, Katherine Kostereva, CEO and Managing Partner at Creatio talks about her tech entrepreneurial journey while sharing her thoughts on the benefits of low-code salestech and martech automation.
Tell us a little about yourself Katherine…what are some of the biggest highlights that you’d like to throw light on since you started Creatio?
For the past 20 years I’ve been helping organizations accelerate their customer-facing and operational processes through automation. I still feel grateful for a unique experience at IBM, where I started my career and learnt how to think globally, working with multiple industries and geographies. At the same time, from a young age I’ve always dreamt of becoming an entrepreneur. I believe being an entrepreneur is a calling that you can’t ignore for long. Thanks to my previous experience, I knew enterprises can’t build excellent customer relationships without powerful business processes. There was no unified solution in the market that would both help manage customer relations and streamline business processes. So together with a small team of enthusiasts, we set out to build a company that would fulfill the needs of organizations and help them accelerate their operations.
Today our company is known as Creatio (formerly bpm’online). We have a team of 600+ like-minded professionals in five offices around the world. Our products are highly recognized by key industry analysts, and we help midsize and large enterprises in different industries accelerate their operational and customer-facing processes. We enhance sales, marketing, service, and operations by offering a new approach to enterprise software – a low-code platform to automate business ideas in minutes.
How would you say that optimal implementation of a CRM can create better alignment between Marketing and Sales teams – what tips would you share for this?
Selecting a unified CRM system that blends together rich functionality for sales, marketing and service on one platform is the best bet to create better alignment. It has the very same, sleek interface and data base, which helps to coordinate not only marketing and sales teams, but also service and operational teams. This is an alignment that savvy leaders, including leaders of sales departments, are aiming for. It fosters collaboration between employees, smooth transition of data about prospects and clients from marketing to sales to service, and guarantees cross-departmental operational transparency. When you can track back all the steps made throughout a customer journey, you can identify both best practices you’d want to leverage, as well as white space you’d want to notice early on.
How have you seen modern or newer sales technologies evolve with time: what are some of the latest innovations that you feel will be game changers for the industry?
Salestech has matured within the last decades and allowed for automating all routine processes, precise forecasting and omitting errors – thus, increasing conversion rates. However, the COVID-19 outbreak revealed that too many organizations are not leveraging company-wide digitization of operations, and are falling behind as a result.
The technology that has helped many companies keep up, is low-code. It’s the game changer because it enables users to build custom apps and automate operations with little to no IT department engagement, which is big since IT specialists are often overwhelmed with requests. I feel that the penetration of low-code technology will influence all industries with a huge impact on Salestech, CRM, MarTech.
What are the biggest takeaways you’d share with business owners the world over (who are now forced to be remote) given the current world situation and related challenges?
The world has changed in 2020 – COVID-19 catalyzed a reinvention of the future of business. Adapting quickly has become more important than ever before for organizations that want to stay afloat. The coronavirus outbreak has accelerated digitalization and automation for many companies. Digital transformation happened almost overnight. Automated processes have proved to be the primary drivers of efficiency.
In times of uncertainty like this, we should be investing all of our energy towards the outcome we desire, be ready to change fast, and make sure that technology is not holding us back.
Given the way technology sales and marketing teams are being forced to work remote: what are your top suggestions in terms of the ideal salestech/martech stack that they should employ?
The ideal tech stack for both sales and marketing is a powerful unified CRM system with low-code capabilities. It ensures alignment of teams and processes, allows sales representatives and marketing specialists to build software they need without coding skills, and it allows them to design, automate and rapidly adapt processes with minimal to zero IT support.
Tag (mention/write about) the one person in the tech/startup/salestech industry whose answers to these questions you would love to read!
I admire the story of Bracken Darrell, President and Chief Executive Officer of Logitech. When he joined the company, it struggled after the market of PCs had stopped growing. Bracken turned the business around and tripled its profit in less than three years. It’s an example of accelerated change and an outstanding business transformation, which many leaders would be happy to relate to today.
Tell us about some of the top sales/salestech/fintech/ other (virtual) events that you’ll be participating in (virtually, given the current global pandemic) (as a speaker or guest!) in 2020!
Since week one of quarantine, we’ve made the decision to launch an extensive series of digital events as we felt the urge to address pain points of both our clients and prospects. They have been seeking insights and solutions on how to act during this crisis, how technology can help them overcome challenges, and what they should focus most of their efforts on. Last month we’ve hosted over 30 online events of various formats, including live debate series, product battles, peer-to-peer discussions, and industry specific webinars. In June, we had over 50 more events…
We’d love to know a little about your future plans!
All of our latest activities have revolved around our vision of creating a world where everyone can automate business ideas in minutes and become a developer without learning how to code. It is a completely new way of doing enterprise software. We are very excited to see how our platform impacts the future of CRM helping businesses automate their sales, marketing, service and operations faster and easier than ever before. We plan to continue enhancing Creatio to help organizations accelerate their growth.
Creatio (formerly bpm’online) is a global software company providing a leading low-code platform for process management and CRM. The company has been highly recognized as a market leader by key industry analysts. Its intelligent products accelerate sales, marketing, service and operations for mid-size and large enterprises. Together with hundreds of partners Creatio operates in 110 countries worldwide. Creatio creates a world where everyone can automate business ideas in minutes.