Who’s New at Demandbase: Introducing John Dering

One of the perks of being at high-growth technology (in addition to using innovative technology, attending exciting events, getting a stream of news coverage and eating tons of snacks) is that you get new coworkers all the time. We’re hiring at a pretty nice clip here, so to help you (and us) figure out who’s who at Demandbase, we’re chatting with some of our new employees about what they’re doing, where they’ve been and why they’re excited to be here.

Today, we’re talking to John Dering, the newest addition to our integrated marketing team.

Your official title is Director of Marketing Programs. What exactly does this mean?

If only I knew? Just kidding! As Director of Marketing Programs it’s my responsibility to plan, implement, measure and iterate on the various types of marketing programs used at Demandbase to drive market awareness and demand generation for our sales organization. Thankfully, I have a rock-star team and set of colleagues to support me who have already been killing it. I’m really excited to join them in finding new, innovative ways to up-level the great work they’re already doing.

You’ve worked at lots of great technology companies in your career, including salesforce.com and StrongView. Why Demandbase and why now?

I recognized that Demandbase was innovating in a different way than I’d experienced before. Salesforce wasn’t revolutionizing CRM, they were revolutionizing the way it was delivered. When I did sales there, I was telling them how they could start using it, not selling the value of CRM. Right now, the way we do B2B marketing is changing, and you’re either going to be on board or you’re not. Demandbase is an early stage technology company that’s driving this change. Looking at all the key cloud players, they’re all working with us and they see us an integral part of Account-based Marketing for their cloud. Having been around the valley for 10 years, being able to spot a company in that place is like finding a diamond in the rough.

What did you notice about us as you shifted from being a customer to a candidate to an employee?

The caliber of people. I’ve been at companies that have really strong employees and companies where employees are not as strong. Job satisfaction, the ability to be successful and the ability to innovate are dramatically different between the two. If you’re not being successful, you can’t innovate. And Demandbase is all about innovation in B2B marketing.

What Excites You About This Sector?

It’s a young industry and a young sector where there’s a lot of potential to make an impact. In my opinion, it’s a space which there are at best two key players – one is doing it right and one has a legacy approach which only delivers marginal results. That’s pretty rare these days. For example, search engine marketing: how many vendors are there out there for that? 100 players or two to three? Regardless of how you slice it, when there are only a few key players, we’re all going to help each other build awareness. We can help each other rise to the top together.

What’s exciting about working at a marketing-focused company?

For obvious reasons, it’s exciting to me as a marketer because there’s a lot of respect for what I do, and you’re not hanging out at the bottom of the totem pole the way you might be at some companies. But a strong investment in the marketing team impacts the rest of the company as well. For example, most of the engineers I know really don’t want to be working on something that doesn’t get sold. At a company like this, they can trust the marketing team to evangelize and sell what they’ve built. And we know that we’ll be getting recognized for working on cutting-edge technology.

You were in sales before you got into marketing? Tell us about that.

My first job was at Hertz doing upsells on rental cars. Another job I had was selling websites to real estate agents on the phone. We had no computers and managed all of relationships by hand. Then I got a job at salesforce.com. That was like night and day. You had intelligent conversations with businesses. From there, I moved to managing inside sales at a networking and buyer intelligence service. In that role, I worked very closely with the marketing team, so when they had an opening, it was a natural transition.

Why did you move to marketing?

I have a background in art so I wanted to be more on the creative side of it, rather than selling side. When the opportunity came up, I was ready to transition. After that, I did some consulting and ultimately landed at StrongView, which is an email and cross-channel marketing company. I really like being a marketer at a marketing company. I like the idea of drinking your own champagne. [note: we no longer eat our own dog food, as… well, have you ever tasted dog food?]

Having been on both sides, what are your thoughts on sales and marketing alignment?

Actually I saw [Demandbase CMO] Peter [Isaacson’s] presentation on sales and marketing in Q3 and that was a big part of what drew me in. The goal is to have processes that are all aligned between departments. If the two are working in lock step, then the finger pointing stops, accountability is owned by all and it becomes quite clear how much success you can achieve when we’re all working together.

You seem pretty passionate about B2B Marketing? Does that leave room for any extracurricular activities?

In my eyes, a balanced work-life experience is key to remaining successful in life. If I were to exclusively focus on work, my wife would probably have some issues with that and who knows what my dog would do in retaliation for not getting his evening walk! There are other things for which I hold a similar passion, such as music and sports, like surfing. It’s important for me to pursue those passions in order to retain a healthy perspective on life. For example, I help start a NPO during my consulting days, called Surf For Life (www.SurfForLife.org), which is now thriving. The beauty of that project was it allowed me to cross two of my passions, surfing and marketing, by applying my digital marketing skillset to grow awareness and volunteer involvement for their efforts. For my band, I do most of the digital marketing to drive awareness and promote our shows. Speaking of which, if you’re interested in hearing how Demandbase employees #DropTheBass, come check out one of my bands, Koobi Fora on Nov. 20th at The Boom Boom Room in San Francisco. Shameless self plugs aside, I find the key is to find ways to follow and merge all your passions. Then life calls you into action, which, I find, is where the real fruit of your labors is enjoyed.