Exclusive Q&A: Speaker Liz Cope Talks About The Thrill Of Being A Champion Of Change

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Before Liz Cope expanded her view of solutions that could give partners easy access to marketing materials shared by ARO, a division of Ingersoll Rand, she had never heard of what ultimately caught her eye — partner relationship management software.

In a Channel Track presentation at the B2B Marketing Exchange, Cope will review the martech, process and people roadmaps behind the channel transformation at Ingersoll Rand. Channel Marketer Report, sister publication of Demand Gen Report, spoke to Cope about how she’s advocating a new perspective on B2B marketing.

Channel Marketer Report: The event theme this year is “seeing B2B through a new lens,” something you’ve been pioneering at Ingersoll Rand for quite a while. What advice would you give marketers who may be putting on their “new lenses” for the first time?

Liz Cope: Being the champion of change is exciting, especially if it centers around the customer. But this can also be daunting — you may face entrenched processes, competing priorities, constrained people and financial resources. So with your daily dose of morning motivation, focus on the problem you are trying to solve and be very clear about what success looks like.

CMR: What new trends in B2B channel marketing are you seeing in the industrial products space?

Cope: I am pleased to say that like our B2C counterparts, I am seeing a customer-focused renaissance in my circles. I’m most excited about: reducing complexity for customers, crafting personal moments for customers by “listening” via the insights they share with us in each digital moment, and, in the channel space, digging into how we can help them grow revenue.

CMR: Are more companies following your lead and implementing channel program technologies to streamline processes?

Cope: I chat with companies several times a month and the number one topic is the channel — programs, technologies, organizational structure — so I would say, yes. Not only is it beneficial to the customer to do so, but it also streamlines things internally as well.  

CMR: What can channel professionals do to get other teams at their companies to look at channel programs differently?

Cope: A mentor of mine, Keith Pigues, advised me that being customer centric is not the same as being customer compelled. You must balance what customers want with what can be done, so both can achieve their profitability goals. I love that guidance and have used it to shape my thinking and advocacy for the program and initiatives I champion internally. I suggest teams look at the programs currently in place and ruthlessly assess them based on whether they:

  1. Help the customer make more money;
  2. Help pave the way towards future growth for both sides; and
  3. Are internally sustainable.

CMR: What else can attendees expect to learn from your presentation at B2BMX 2019?

Cope: In the past, attendees have been most excited about the processes and roadmaps that accompany our story, and I’m bringing those again for this presentation. I know when I began this customer-focused journey years ago, I wanted to get my hands on as many other methodologies as I could, so I could customize and apply them to our own business. I’ll also share the key technologies we are using to reduce complexity and an example of organizational structure.  

CMR: What are you hoping to learn more about at B2BMX 2019? Are there any sessions you’re looking forward to?

Cope: I’m passionate about using marketing technology to automate everything that can be automated in order to humanize what should be personal. We need to have meaningful relationships with our customers, but marketers struggle to do that when they are caught up in daily drudgery. So, I’m most excited about those sessions and the Boot Camp!  

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