Monday 23 July 2018

Marketing people: Ashling Kearns

Ireland, UK & Benelux Marketing Leader, Salesforce

Ashling Kearns
Ashling Kearns

John McGee

Founded in San Francisco in 1999, the customer relationship management (CRM) software firm Salesforce opened its first overseas hub in Ireland the following year and since then it has been servicing the EMEA markets. Ashling Kearns, Ireland, UK & Benelux marketing leader talks to John McGee about the CRM market and the marketing challenges she faces.

Describe your role with Salesforce and what it involves.

I lead Salesforce’s marketing efforts across Ireland, the UK and the Benelux countries. Working with the team in each market we not only work to drive awareness for Salesforce in each region but also continue to grow our pipeline of new business leads through demand generation campaigns. My team also manages our presence at major events in each market from third-party events like SaaStock in Ireland to our World Tour events in London and Amsterdam.


What marketing challenges do you face?

There is more commonality than difference within my region. We want to create targeted customer experiences for our customers, which we call our Trailblazer community. Content is king and serving it at the right time for the right prospect is crucial. To complement this is the access to data we now have at their fingertips, which helps us make sure that we’re reaching our customers and prospects with the right content in the right place at the right time.

Marketers have access to great data to make customer journeys very powerful, whilst balancing the need to achieve pipeline targets. We must be able to pivot quickly and ensure that there is return on investment. This is why I believe that data-driven marketing teams are powerful for adding bottom line for their respective companies.


What are the key trends in the CRM market?

Across every industry the key trend is the same. Companies are looking at how they can digitally transform to be more disruptive and drive faster innovation across the business that will help them better serve their customers.

We hear consistently from our customers, and their customers, that differentiating on customer experience and personalised interactions is a priority for businesses to stand out and drives customer loyalty.

We are at the heart of delivering that digital transformation, which is a very exciting place for me to be. Marketing in particular is in a state of ground-breaking evolution,  from broadcast and print, to digital and offline and now all-encompassing 1-to-1 journeys that span all channels and the entire customer experience, not just marketing.

The key technological trend affecting every business is artificial intelligence (AI). With the power of AI, marketers can unify and activate data, allowing them to predict the best time, the best channel and the best message to deliver to consumers.

Our research has shown that 48pc of marketers in Ireland and the UK are now using AI — that is only going to grow.

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