The Pavilion Podcast
The Pavilion Podcast

Episode · 1 year ago

Ep 109: Take a Huge Risk w/ Adam Bowden

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Ep 109: Take a Huge Risk w/ Adam Bowden

Part of the "Is This A Good Time?" series hosted by Brandon Barton.

Hello everyone and welcome back to the Pavilion podcasts. Almost said revenue collected. Almost caught myself. I'm your host, Brandon martin, you're listening to Is this a good time the show where I put Pavilion members on the hot seat for 15 minutes. We hear their incredible stories. It's a fun job, chose her out Tuesdays and thursday. So hit subscribe here. Um All our guest today is Adam Baden. He has the longest title I've ever heard in my life. It's a global lead for sales and customer programs at workplace from facebook. And we talk about taking a huge risk, like the fact that he moved to Singapore on a whim. Really cool. This episode was brought to buy drift. More than 50,000 businesses use drift to grow revenue and increase customer lifetime value faster drift, helps their customers alliance sales and marketing on a single platform to deliver a unified customer experience where people are free to have a conversation with the business at any time on their terms, learn more at drift dot com. Alright, let's do this episode 48. Is this a good time? All right. We are here with Adam Baden. Adam Baden has a very long title. We're gonna try to do this right. Here is the global lead for sales and customer programs at workplace from facebook. Adams out of London. Adam thank you so much for being on the show. Well, it's it's great to be here and apologies for starting you off with a long title as well. That's all right, man. Look, I think the more words in your title, the more accomplished you are and you certainly have an incredible career that we're about to dive into. So look, I'll meet no filler. We get right into shit here. Tell me, just like, give us a rundown of your career. How did you find facebook? I know you worked at linked into that was it's a total interesting place. Tell us about it. Certainly. I mean I kind of look at my, my career is to two very, very different parts. The 1st 10 years, I was one of those guys who was working at recruitment firms and and working my way up and doing that in in the UK, got some stints over in Nigeria for for 6 to 9 months as well, which was which was fantastic experience. And that was...

...what kind of got me over to Singapore as well back in 2000 and seven. But I'll take my real passion in terms of career started back in 2011, that's when I really made that big jump into kind of Sas as a career, started my own company and had that for for 3.5 years before selling off the pattern right into a number of different countries. It was one of our claim to Fames was that we were actually featured in Forbes magazine in Bulgaria, which I didn't even know that Bulgaria had their own version of Forbes magazine, but if you can look it up and you can read Bulgarian, were there put that on the fridge, I love it. Fantastic. So yes, it did that for for a while and then the opportunity came up with linked in and it was a you know, a platform I've used I've known for years obviously being a recruiter, it was something that I was very much an avid user. I learned there that it's not just the recruitment platform is obviously a fantastic for content and I think most people are starting to realize that over the last few years led some really good client success and sales teams. I'm a builder by nature, so set up two new businesses for them in ASia, pacific and inside sales business and a channel sales business. And then took the opportunity to join facebook workplace On facebook is very much a communication and collaboration platform that connects everyone in the organization And that was my passion. That was something that really drew me to the role. I'd work with businesses all over the world for coming on now 20 years and I was surprised by the inefficiency in which companies could actually communicate amongst themselves. It seems to be easier for me to work with them than for them to work with their piers, their counterparts in different regions in different time zones and and I kind of felt there must be someone out there solving for this and as soon as I call wind of a workplace was like, okay, this is it, it's easy to use. People get it. You know, whether you use facebook, whether you use other social media platforms or other apps. It's that simplicity to use...

...and it's about connecting everybody. That person who works on a shop floor in a retail organization is the voice of the customer. And how do they get their message all the way back up to the ceo, which traditionally they don't get to do. So that's what kind of a really joined and I said, I was fortunate to come over to headquarters here in London and now I look at all of our sales programs, all of our clients, success programs and really design how we take our product to market, how we support our customers, working with all of the regional teams. Because what we do in Mexico versus what we do in Vietnam is very different and yeah, that's where I am today. So to really, really different careers, I'd say I have so many questions about the early part. I want to ask one of the real quick about workplace for a second. I mean customer success is, is, it's a land and expand strategy, right? Like you can have a small group within a company that's using workplace for facebook, just like slack right in this way. And so the success that that small group has might be the thing that actually translates into a larger part of the organization taking this on as internal communications tools. So it feels like is that I'm getting a sense of that correctly, that customer success after the sale really matters in this type of a deal, definitely the land and expand motion. I mean you mentioned slack. The company that I really like Asana is very, very similar. I mean they only kind of had salespeople two years ago. Everything else was self serve and you bring in amongst the team and then that expands and continuous. I think one difference with workplaces actually it generally goes in and goes company wide from the start. So that that often is a very different experience for clients success. Obviously different things you have to focus on. But there are still those scenarios where it is about a trial and it needs to be expanded and if I look at linked in previously, a lot of that was to go in for a small segment, a small business unit or a small geography and really expand that out. So they used to have quite aggressive sales targets connected with their client success teams. Cool, Cool. Alright, let's go all the way back.

Where did you grow up? Because I find your background like hopping around, you just dropped in Nigeria that I didn't know. He said Nigeria right? Like Syria, you lived in Singapore, You live in London now. Like you don't care about any borders. I love this. I don't and I often get kind of miss can shoot around where I'm from. I get Australia a lot. I don't think the accent kind of sounds like that, but I get that quite often. I was born in Cornwall, so I'm very much a village village boy by nature. Kind of grew up in villages. Even when I moved to a so called town in the UK. I was in the villages outside of the town. I mean, I've never lived in London or or spent more than one night in London in my entire life before leaving the UK and in 2007. So I was very much a country boy. Okay. But so what give me that moment that you were like, we don't work in Singapore, that that makes it even more, you know, unique to me. So I said, I gotta be the flavor because I did that 6 to 8 months of Simon in Nigeria and that was part of my recruitment days. It was going over there supporting Eriks and they were trying to highlight 300 people and it was my account in the UK and they said, hey, you fancy. And I was like young, single like this, this must be cool work wise. It was cool lifestyle wise. It was kind of really restricted. I was very much in a compound and didn't get out of that much, but it was an experience that I never regret doing in terms of like the Singapore move. It was led by a personal matter. I was one of these guys deeply in love had this amazing girlfriend been together five years november. She dumped me and I was like, okay, maybe I need something different, different. Yeah, what's, what's different, I'm in the UK, why don't I just go to the other side of the world, that's probably gonna be a bit different to where I am now. And that was sort of kind of dumped in november. And by february I was on a plane flying out to Singapore. I never been to Asia, didn't speak another language, didn't know anyone in the entire Asia region. And yeah, I mean it was just a bold move and I remember kind of telling my group of friends were out for were playing football and...

I just said, hey guys, by the way, in four weeks time I'm moving to Singapore and that was it. It was just kind of just this bombshell. And again, it was interesting when I used to come back, I was a lot of, I guess a lot of people don't know where Singapore is, I think it's, it's become a lot more prominent now. It's, it's very big, obviously you've got the F one there, so that brings a bit of an audience, it's very much a truly established business hub, but back in 2000 and seven, if you didn't know Singapore, you didn't know Singapore and I didn't, the reason I went there is english is the main language for someone who only speaks english, that's probably a good place. It seems like Singapore, Hong kong, especially to places that expats can go. There's expat communities, I have a friend who have lived in both places and and done that. We're going wildly over on the amount of time we're talking about. I just, I just found that little nugget to be super interesting. How many languages you speak now? I'm still barely struggling with the one which is english, but I, I have to be able to speak good Indonesian perhaps very soon. My wife's from bali and my daughter speaks both languages. So unless I'm going to get caught out as a father, I need to make sure that that one is tight. I know a bit, but I need to improve on that significantly. Thank you for telling us about your family there. I love the little eat pray love here. You went around the world, probably met your spouse in relation to getting, going around the world. I would imagine very close to each other. A lot of direct flights I know from. I actually took one of them. Once we can have a separate conversation, let's get to some of the questions fine and maybe we've been covered it. But like luck and hard work makes all this stuff happen. It seems like you've taken a bunch of kind of lucky breaks if you will to get to where you are. What's an example of that in your career? I would say the Singapore move, I sort of really didn't know what I was getting myself into and it could have turned out to be disastrous. Everyone was asking me, how long are you going for? And I just said, I don't know I will go until I feel like I need to return. And...

...as I said, it could have been disastrous. I only met my then new company and new manager when I landed. I could have had the worst experience. We have a really poor manager and that probably could have sent me straight back to the UK. So I got a lot of that because he's, he was a phenomenal manager, someone I'm still in contact with now, the business was a good business people. There were very welcoming. So I'd say it is like obviously, let's be honest, you got to get, you gotta have a bit of balls to get on that plane and just jump over there and and say, hey, I'm headed into this. No question. But, but you know, maybe if you were with the manager down the hall, it might have been a different situation than the manager you had. Exactly. Yeah. I mean, look, this is exactly, this is such a prime example of just like having got the hard work to get a good job where they're willing to relocate you all that other stuff. But if you landed on the wrong manager there, you would have turned back and gone down a completely different path. I'm glad you went the way you did. Yeah, there's so much in there, man. All right. Well look, give us give us a sales and marketing or CS here tactic that you feel that people could implement in what they do every day. I don't think it matters so matter of his sales or client success. I got taught very early on the power of listening and I know it it said a lot, but the power of listening is it still stays true today. It is so important. I'm not necessarily going to get into those theories around percentages of what you should speak and what you should not speak, but it's so important to listen. I don't mean just hear what they say, but I mean genuinely listen and actually take that on board. I think those are imperative and those are things that I try to bring into my role every day and what I try and get my team to bring into the role every day. The other is just authenticity. You need to be yourself when you engage with people where its sales, whether it's client success, it's about that personal connection and it doesn't mean you have to be the funny person in the room. It doesn't mean you have to be the smartest person. It just means you need to build a relationship and you...

...can only truly do that when you have authenticity. And you know, I've worked in companies and they talk a lot about actually kind of trying to interpret other people's styles and you really just need to focus on yourself. And I would say if you adapt a strong listening focus and bring your authenticity then you're definitely going to be successful no matter what role you take on. I like that a lot, as long as you're not an asshole because yeah, you can do play for those and be a jackass and then you're still going to probably struggle to be, to be successful. Right, Right. I totally fine. I even had a call yesterday with the prospect of ours and it was the end of the day and I just like the shield was off, you know, I was like 7, 10 hours of zooms in and I was just like, and it was the best conversation I had all day. I was just being totally realized my kids might run in the room right now. They're like, oh I have kids and like did that whole thing, but I totally agree with this, but I owe, you can find myself now when I, when I get cold cold about whatever it is, whether it's a new kind of gas supply or whatever it is, I listen out for those and I test them and I've had sometimes people on the phone for 15 minutes and I want, I want them to go through that experience. I'm not gonna buy what they want to buy, but I'm going to listen to them, I'm going to take their name and I'm gonna feed back to that company that you've got a sound salesperson and keep this person and help them to be successful because if they show that on a cold call for a, a gas company or water works or whatever it might be, they're good talent. Otherwise you get the usual ones where they're selling you something when you straight away said, By the way, I'm not interested in buying anything today. And those are the ones I don't give any time too. But those that actually show those skills, I do listen, because if I can give that feedback to that company, maybe that's the opportunity that person needed to get the next role in that company. Well, I mean kudos to you for giving back in that way. I try to get off cold calls as quickly as possible and realize that this goes out to thousands and thousands of people. So you may be getting an influx of new people call every sales. It is going to be like, let's get Adams number. We're gonna call him and he's like our secret shopper. This is perfect keeping my...

...number very, very safe now. For sure. It's going to be in the show notes, folks in the show. No, I'm just kidding. All right. Well look, anything you're hiring for or you know, I know you said you might be hiring more for like or like looking to meet people of a certain type rather than hiring for specific positions. Yes. I mean I guess I'm fortunate the moment I've got a fully capacity team, which is which is fantastic to work for. And I think they're a great symbol of what I generally higher. And that is true. Diversity and diversity is me is not maybe the traditional forms of diversity that get a lot of important public awareness, but I get diversity of ford and diversity of life. I love to see how people traveled. I love to see where they've done something completely random or like me took a major shift in what they did and the reasons why, because I often feel that those types of people will bring me something completely different than if I'm hiring a client success kind of sas person and all that person has done is client success and sas I'm probably going to get a lot of what I already have in terms of knowledge within the business, what I love to get there and is someone who has done something very random, got a friend who set up a yoga studio for a year after doing SAS sales and then went back in and those are the types of stories I'm like that's just fascinating like why how those are the types of people I want to bring in because they're going to give a different perspective. Love it, Love it. Alright, cool. Well, lightning around through this next to two or three what some shoutouts companies, people company wise, I'm, I mentioned earlier asana, I'm a big fan of Asana, I love the product as a user. I'm really excited for what they're gonna do next. As I said, they've been that company that is a land and expand but they are definitely grown as a pure enterprise company wide platform paradoxes one, it's probably not well known, it's effectively a recruitment ai tool. I've done a lot of advising to competitors of, there is in Asia, they've been...

...doing fantastic in the U. S. There now launching over in asia pacific so I can't wait to see what what they do coal and of course very important to me, most important to me where we eat man. Well I mean it's good that we can actually now get out any for several months, like most of us around the world, it's been home cooked dinners and I think we've all horned up our cooking skills, but I'm gonna keep this close to home. I live in Notting Hill, which is an amazing part of London and there's a restaurant here called Gold and it is just to die for. It's nothing extravagant. It is good quality products cooked with the simplest of techniques and skills, great food, great vibes and every now and then you do spot a little celebrity in there. So having a few little celebrity crushes every now and then you just get a little bit fan like so uh, you gonna hold yourself back because no one wants to be the guy that steps over that celebrity at their dinner. So it's a great place to go. I love that. Alright. We're going when I'm, when I'm in London bonus question for you, which is your favorite hawker fare? These are you if you go to Singapore? Yeah. Talking about, I was gonna say you threw me from that. I had to kind of think about the hawker centers. I would say my favorite hawker center is going to be. It's a really, really small warning sibling. It's, I don't even know the actual name. It's in sibling. It's basically bottom of the fish market. The best fish you can get in all of Singapore in my boy. This is like the Bourdain level tip shoutout R. I. P. Yeah. Alright man. Adam. So good to have a conversation with you, appreciate you being on and uh, you know, keep doing what you're doing man. Yeah, well thanks for having me. It's been great to chat with you. All right. That is our show. Especially enjoyed this one today. Thank you so much for listening. If you love the show, rate and review in the apple podcast or Spotify app, send it to some friends, make sure to smash that subscribe button reminder. This episode was brought to you by drift. The new way businesses by from businesses. You can learn more and get the conversation started at drift dot com. I had fun. I really hope you did too. Go crush your...

...numbers. Say something. Mhm. Yeah.

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