The Latest from the ABM Experts
March 26, 2019
What Makes a Great Evangelist
Written by Sangram Vajre
This post is based on a podcast with Ethan Beute and myself. If you’d like to listen to more #FlipMyFunnel Podcast episodes, you can check them out here and listen to this episode below!
As you know, on Tuesdays we have been doing our Takeover series. For this series, Ethan Beute has been hosting awesome interviews, all focused on this idea of evangelism.
Well, for today’s episode of the Flip My Funnel podcast, we thought we’d shake things up a bit. Our guests host today is…me, Sangram. That’s right. Today, I’m a guest on my own podcast!
On today’s show, Ethan and I talked about what makes a great evangelist.
Here’s what we’re unpacking today:
- How I came to be Chief Evangelist at Terminus
- How to measure success as an evangelist
- What types of companies should have an evangelist
- What makes someone a great evangelist
My journey to Chief Evangelist:
If you’re the co-founder of a company, you’ll find yourself doing anything from sweeping floors to doing customer calls. Your role is…well, everything.
A few years in, I started to realize that it is extremely hard to focus on just one function when you’re a co-founder trying to influence all of the functions. It became clear to me that i wasn’t doing a great job balancing my travel, my team, and managing all of the other function.
So, I made a change. I decided that instead of having large departments report to me, no one would report to me. That’s right, no direct reports.
I knew I needed to be a part of the strategic conversations we were having internally, but that I also needed to be out there evangelizing in the community. I needed to be an inside out, outside in leader. And that’s how I became Chief Evangelist at Terminus.
One of the biggest challenges any evangelist faces is how to define and measure success. This is such a new role, so no one really knows how to measure it. There’s not really a clear set of metrics like those a typical, functional leader would have.
So, I came up with my own goals. Last year, we had three primary goals: to double our number of speaking engagements, align our messaging, and really own the customer relationship.
Since we made those goals, I’ve done about 29 different speaking engagements, compared to 6 or 7 I did the year before. This podcast has allowed us to be out there, aligning our messaging. And we’ve started our customer in the office program.
My goal now for 2019 to keep those accomplishments running like business as usual. But we still have new focuses. My main goal for 2019 is to identify 2 or 3 strategic partnerships we can build that will 10x our business and the really turn this FMF community into a mega community. We are hoping to see if this community can become synonymous to HubSpot and Inbound or Salesforce and Dreamforce.
As an evangelist, be prepared to create your own definitions and measurements of success.
Who needs a designated evangelist:
Every company should have an evangelist. Even better, everyone in the company should act as an evangelist.
Of course, having a designated evangelist puts a bit more focus on getting the job done. But everyone in a company – the CEO, the other founders, the executive team, the developer – we all have networks and connections and should all aspire to act as an evangelist of the company.
You should love where you work. And if you don’t, perhaps find a new job.
Evangelism is especially important for companies who are trying to build an entirely new category. To do that, you often need to build a movement. Which means you need a community. Which means you need evangelism.
Consider Flip My Funnel, Dreamforce, and Inbound. Each one of us is trying to build a community. We need to put forth concerted efforts to build communities who will follow movements. And movements are key when you’re trying to build a brand new category.
Becoming a great evangelist:
A great evangelist only focuses on the problem. Not the product. I hardly talk about what Terminus does or what our product does. That should happen through the marketing and sales engines of our company.
My job is only to talk about the problem, thereby create a bigger market and creating future customers of Terminus. Evangelism is about looking out into the world instead of being so operationally focused.
Oh, and one more thing. Remember how we talked about evangelists who are building communities? Competitors are part of your community, too. If you’re trying to build a movement, one of your goals, as an evangelist is to raise up the whole community. That includes your competitors. Bring the community together to help lift everything, instead of trying to do it by your own power and might. Great evangelists bring people together.
Find what your greatest superpower is and just double down on it. Maybe your power is to create and write content. Maybe it’s to understand the product. Find what your superpower is and be extremely self aware of that.
If you don’t know what your superpower is, ask five people around you. Or ask your spouse. They will definitely tell you.
So, find that one thing, whatever it is for you, and double, or triple down on it.