How to Boost Your Career and Profession: Tell Your Success Story
In my role as Vice President of Customer Success Marketing, a big part of my job is recruiting customers to tell their Coupa success stories on video. That’s an easy yes for some customers. Others are not so sure.
I’m here to tell you that telling your success story does not just benefit Coupa. It can also boost your career, and help elevate the perception of sourcing, procurement and accounts payable within your company.
But, I understand this can be a big leap for some people. Maybe they’ve never made a video before. That’s okay. We bring in a professional video crew, so this is the perfect way to make your screen debut. Maybe they’re nervous about what they’re going to say. That’s also okay. We listen to your story, review your goals and metrics, and help write the script for you. Maybe they’re worried that their corporate communications department won’t let them do it.
Well, you can always ask. When I was Director of Global E-commerce Integrations for Dell, I did numerous speaking engagements with Coupa and other partners. I had to get permission from corporate comms every time. They always wanted to know what I’d be talking about, and to make sure I wouldn’t be revealing any sensitive information. I get it. Their job is to protect the brand. This being a scripted video, they can not only say yes to the ask, they can review the script, as well as the finished product.
Goodness and positivity
So, what’s in it for your company, and for you? Well, these are success stories that show you both in a positive light. They demonstrate that you can roll out a new technology system, set goals around that, and reach or exceed them. We focus on quantifiable successes—millions and millions of dollars in savings, and measurable efficiency gains. That shows goodness and positivity for your brand as a modern, well-run company.
Internally, it portrays your procurement or finance team in a good light. That can help net future investments, because they can demonstrate they are providing measurable value. That’s critical when competing for limited investment dollars.
At a personal level, memorializing your success on video can elevate your professional profile. Colleagues and peers see you as a doer, helper, and leader.
Success with success stories
But, you don’t have to take my word for it. I reached out to some of our customers who have told their stories on video and asked them about the experience.
Richard Landerholm, Indirect Materials & Services at Woodward, whose story involves getting A/P to 86 percent electronic invoicing and saving about $8 million, had this to say about his 15 minutes of fame:
“For me, it was really about wanting to help others to understand how to realize savings using Coupa. Telling my story from a manufacturing perspective about how Woodward is using Coupa to process requisitions, purchase orders, receipts and invoices is a contribution to helping other manufacturers utilize Coupa in a positive way.
This was also a great gateway to speaking with people one on one at Coupa Inspire. People will recognize you and want to hear more about your story or how you overcame hurdles. When sharing my story with others, I also benefit from the conversation. I often get to brainstorm, troubleshoot, and learn of other methods for improving my experience in Coupa.”
John Preis, Manager of Procure to Pay at Bankrate.com, used Coupa to transform A/P from a cost center regularly incurring late fees to a 100 percent paperless strategic cost savings center capturing early pay discounts. His video story helped his department win fans internally:
“Communicating our success story through a high-quality, professionally produced video has given our department a tremendous boost and is proving to be invaluable.
With the help of Coupa, we were able to bring attention to an often-overlooked function. The very nature of procure-to-pay is not glamorous and tends to fly under the radar. Being able to spotlight our ongoing positive contributions and the wins we have achieved has brought a level of clout and respect internally.
The fact that Coupa brought in a film crew and produced our story set the foundation of credibility even before anyone hit the play button. After viewing the video, I’ve experienced a greater level of interdepartmental collaboration. Not only do my colleagues now have a better understanding of the goals we are trying to reach through Coupa, they want to help us achieve them.”
Any time you do a video, or get up in front of a room and talk, people see you as a leader. They want to learn from you. They come up and ask you questions. They want to connect with you on networking sites. You get asked to speak at other events because you've shared your story. It opens doors.
A platform for personal and professional expression
I can give my own testimonial on that. My speaking appearances about the ease of integration between Dell and Coupa helped me land my job at Coupa. I spoke at Coupa Inspire, at other industry events, and on a webinar with Ravi Thakur, Coupa’s Senior Vice President, Services, Customer Success and Adoption. Ravi and I hit it off, and he eventually ended up hiring me as the Vice President of Customer Success Management. After about three years in that role, I transitioned to my current role as Vice President, Customer Success Marketing.
One of the things our CEO, Rob Bernshteyn tell us constantly is that Coupa is a platform for professional and personal expression. I see customer success marketing as a way to extend that to our customers as well. It’s a skill building program that helps people learn to articulate their story.
Last year, we saw more customers than ever take advantage of that opportunity. We’ve even have a few customers who have made their second or third video highlighting new successes they’ve had as their journey with Coupa continues to unfold.
It’s not often we get to tell our stories, and to memorialize our professional successes. Sometimes we’re so immersed in our work that we just move on to the next project, or simply see what we’ve done as part of the job, without stopping to recognize the real achievement. It’s a privilege to be able to help people do that on video, and it’s also a lot of fun. Those two and half minutes of video can have a positive impact for you, your colleagues, your company and your profession, on the web, 24/7. There’s no telling what other opportunities that could unlock.