Introducing Andy Zimmerman – An Interview with ARInsights’ New CEO
It’s a fun and exciting time at ARInsights. Last year, we were able to launch a new Dashboard, host our first ever virtual User Forum, and secure investment from Polaris Growth Fund.
Shashank Kulkarni also shared last fall that he would be stepping down as CEO but remain on the Board of Directors as he transitions into retirement. And today, we issued a press release announcing that our Board of Directors has brought on ARInsights’ new CEO, Andy Zimmerman!
In this interview, we asked Andy to share his thoughts about the new role and his plans for ARInsights. Here’s a short video clip from that conversation. Read on below for more insights from Andy.
Q: Why are you passionate about ARInsights?
AZ: ARInsights is an amazing company for many reasons. First, we have a really talented and dedicated team. We have great customers who truly love the product and love working with our team. And we are a market leader with a great investor in Polaris. I’m excited that I get to be a part of this team now and help drive us forward and take the company to the next level. In addition, our solution addresses a challenge I know well from being a CMO at multiple B2B technology companies over the last 10 years. So I feel like I can add a lot of value from a subject matter expertise perspective as well.
Q: What do you hope to accomplish over the next year?
AZ: Our main priority for 2021 is to accelerate the company’s growth while doing it in a responsible way. We also need to maintain our focus on what our customers are doing and what their needs are. We will continue listening carefully to what our customers are telling us, being responsive, and supporting them. We will also be investing more this year in the platform. We want to build it out so that it will benefit our current customers as well as future customers. Lastly, I would like to see us raise our profile in the market a bit and increase awareness for our company and brand. Getting some more analyst exposure ourselves, for example, would be good!
Q: How would you describe your leadership style?
AZ: I believe the most effective and happiest employees are those that are empowered to take ownership of their roles. People should take responsibility for their work, and my job is to smooth the way for them. I happen to have a lot of experience across different functions at various companies, so I can provide feedback and guidance as well as run interference for people. I also view myself as a player-coach. I like to lead by example and take on a few key projects myself, particularly those that are of strategic importance.
Q: What are some lessons learned doing AR yourself over the years?
AZ: One thing I’ve learned working with analysts is that you need to have a lot of patience and persistence. We always had a steady cadence of interactions with key analysts at different firms, and we made sure to actively listen in those. You have a temptation, typically, to present what you’re doing, your products, and how great they are, but it’s very important to solicit their feedback on what you’re doing. It takes time but you want to implement what you’re hearing and then play it back to them in subsequent conversations and share how things are progressing. That steady cadence of give and take is a really important formula for success.
When I think back to my last company, in the early days when we were completely unknown to the analyst community, and we were in a category that they didn’t recognize as a category yet, we really had our work cut out for us. But we kept at it. We made sure they were up to speed on what we were doing, understood our value proposition, and understood what our clients were doing with our solution. But most importantly, we took their feedback and applied it whenever we could, and let them know when we did. We were persistent and that steady cadence of interactions helped us build our reputation up to the point where once they were ready to recognize our category and do a vendor evaluation, we were known to them and in a position to do very well.
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