Even since Mark Robinson first started in the AppExchange ecosystem around 2011, he was evangelizing the Salesforce platform. “I would volunteer to present. Especially back in 2011, Salesforce was recruiting partners to write ISV applications. That’s what I did then, and what I do now,” shares Mark, now Co-Founder and Chief Marketing Officer at Kimble Applications. Mark’s love for the ecosystem, helping others and stories over the years makes him a trailblazing partner. Hear more from Mark in this interview with Holly Rushton on the AppExchange marketing team.
Take us back. Where did you get your start?
Mark: I've been in consulting -- in the IT industry -- for the last 30 years. I started my career in Oracle, but then founded a few consulting firms and grew one to about 200 people in a few years, and another to 500 people. After I sold them, I was looking for what was next. I saw there was a gap in the market for a solution for people like me: growing fast-growth consulting firms. That's where Kimble came in.
So explain Kimble a bit more.
Mark: Kimble is the system that we wished we would have had when we were running our professional services organizations. It runs everything from the projects you're trying to win, the resources you're trying to line up, time and expense, and billing.
At Kimble, what do you love most about your job, and how does it fulfill your passions?
Mark: It’s fun meeting the prospects and customers. We can relate because many were in my role in the past, and I genuinely know the problems they've got.
What advice do you give them?
Mark: It’s not about implementing a piece of software. The software is there to enable some business outcome, some change in your business, some real benefit.
It’s about solving a problem, and making change. When it works that way, we’re excited. But sometimes, we have to give customers some tough love and say, ‘You're treating this too much like a software project; and this is about driving business outcome.’ That's not just a Kimble thing; it’s an industry thing.
What have been some of your challenges and how did you overcome them?
Mark: About 50% of our customers in Europe don't actually have Salesforce Sales Cloud. We're the people bringing the Salesforce world to them, evangelizing that. That was a big struggle. However, having the Salesforce name, even in Europe, gave us the opportunity to punch above our weight, to kick some of those questions into the long grass. And from our customers' point of view, then clearly they're getting a great solution, but they're also leveraging not just our own application; but all of the other fantastic solutions as well.
How do you -- with your great career for 30-plus years -- continue to learn and grow and be at the forefront?
Mark: I’m constantly learning how the industry is changing. I’m learning about the different organizations and models, and making sure that I'm able to add value and adapt. That keeps me on my toes.
What does being a Trailblazer mean to you?
Mark: A Trailblazer is evangelizing work with other partners. It’s enabling technology that's kind of best of breed. It’s not about trying to kick over your competitor; it's saying, "Let's work together to make fantastic solutions." and I think sometimes people lose sight of that on the platform. And I kind of hope that we are blazing a trail from that point of view and we'll continue to do in terms of volunteering our services to contribute to things like this, but also to present at Dreamforce and so on and just evangelize that story and support that message. Because now there is such a wide range of things that Salesforce is doing, then the whole idea of the platform doesn't get as much publicity as it used to.
How do you blaze trails outside of work?
Mark: I took quite a bit of time out of work and sailed across the Atlantic. Typically I'm still on my mobile phone. I'm addicted to making sure that I know what's going on. But when I sail, for obvious reasons, I've got no connection and being in the middle of the Atlantic, where you are totally cut off from everything, it's kind of weird. But I did it anyway. I've also got four grown-up boys ranging from 18 to 25. We've always been into things, trying to get out and about.
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