In this installment of Women of NetMotion, we had the pleasure of sitting down (virtually) with a member of our marketing team, Michelle Base-Bursey. Based in Toronto, Michelle has been with NetMotion for two years, and currently serves as senior marketing manager of global alliances and channel, as well as recently taking on the role of product marketing.
Michelle jokes that her title is very long, but it may give you a glimpse into all of the work she does at NetMotion. When you consider that the lion’s share of the company’s sales are handled through channel partners such as CDW, SHI, Mobliciti and others, it’s easy to understand what an enormously important role this is.
On the alliance front it’s a similar story. NetMotion has partnered with many globally recognized technology companies like Microsoft, Cradlepoint, and our latest partner, Okta, to ensure that any customers using the NetMotion platform have a completely seamless experience across their devices, networks and operating systems.
Prior to joining NetMotion, Michelle worked in product marketing for another technology company in the UK. That experience gave her an edge when it came to working for NetMotion.
“Product marketing is all about knowing the product inside and out. Once you understand the technology, you have to be able to explain its benefits in a simple way. That’s especially true when channel partners are involved. Ultimately, you have to equip those partners with the knowledge to market and sell your product.”
When Michelle first joined NetMotion, she was focused primarily on channel marketing. That soon expanded to include alliance partners in North American, Japan, Australia, the UK and across Europe. And now she is shifting to a product marketing role.
“There’s never a dull moment. I’m always learning from everything I’m doing. The role can change but at the end of the day it all comes down to relationships, and being able to, simplify and scale our message across the world and across every kind of partner in every market.”
Channel partners are the backbone of NetMotion’s business. And they’re growing. NetMotion now has hundreds – if not thousands – of channel partners worldwide. One area that is particularly growing is carrier partnerships. Michelle notes that two years ago NetMotion didn’t have the global carrier partners it does today. That number has expanded rapidly in North America, Asia Pacific and Europe, particularly as more people work remotely using a variety of LTE (and 5G) enabled mobile devices.
Always looking for new, creative ideas
One thing that Michelle emphasizes about working with so many external partners is the importance to keep NetMotion’s brand and messaging as simple and consistent as possible. In a crowded marketplace, competing for the attention of any sales representative is going to require cutting through the noise.
“Channel account managers are always looking for new, creative ideas that help generate opportunities and bring in new contacts. This is why our content needs to be engaging and laser focused. We constantly need to find ways to leverage successful activities across our regions.”
No cookie-cutter approach
Being sensitive to local needs is also key. For Michelle, it’s all about listening to the sales team in each market and learning what they need. Sometimes it can be as simple as translating a piece of content from English into Japanese or German, but at other times the approach requires more finesse. Figuring out whether certain sales tools will work in region, and even knowing what needs to be prioritized, is usually a balancing act of knowing what resources are available and then relying on regional expertise to choose the best course of action.
Again, the primary goal is to keep things simple. That can be difficult in a technology-driven company like NetMotion, where there’s a natural tendency to for a lot of industry jargon to creep in. As Michelle puts it, our messaging needs to resonate with end users and how the product will make their lives better and easier, not just a laundry list of functions and features.
What do you love about your job?
Turning the conversation closer to home, we asked Michelle what she loves about working at NetMotion.
“The different personalities, the number of different cultures and markets. It’s such a great experience working here and being exposed to such a global market. There aren’t many companies or roles that offer this variety and global presence. And there’s so much variety – it feels like I’m leveraging stuff from PR, content from marketing and digital, and bringing it all together.”
Michelle also highlighted some parts of NetMotion that she finds unique, like the company culture. “Everybody talks about the culture at NetMotion, but it really is second to none. Because I work remotely in Toronto, that could have been so difficult. I was nervous about it before I joined, but I quickly realized that NetMotion is such a tight knit group of people – located everywhere – that it really doesn’t matter where people are. Everyone is so supportive.”
She continued, “Everyone is willing to sit down and talk to you. I haven’t been at a company where an enterprise sales rep and a C-level executive will take the time to sit down and answer any questions. There’s never any judgment, there’s never any seniority. It’s truly a flat organization. Because of all that, it never feels intimidating to talk to anyone.”
Rising to the challenge
But that doesn’t mean that Michelle’s role is easy. Far from it. Especially in 2020 when most travel has been curtailed, there are far fewer opportunities to meet people face-to-face or attend events.
Rather than feeling isolated, Michelle has taken this year in her stride. What she quickly noticed was the way that the marketing and channel teams made such huge efforts to proactively stay in touch with each other. Whether it was individual daily check ins, catch ups or group chats, NetMotion’s teams have used a bunch of different collaboration tools and even online team games to stay as connected as possible.
Speaking of roles, Michelle says that it’s important to take ownership of your job, and work to become an expert at what you do. Her advice to anyone starting a new career is to give yourself the latitude to learn. And as you do that, it may be challenging at first but one day you’ll realize that you’re actually comfortable talking about a product, interacting with customers and partners, and having the confidence to put together a plan that you know will work.
Michelle has definitely put this belief into practice, quickly becoming a go-to resource for so many people within NetMotion. She has not only helped to bridge the gap between marketing and the channel team internally, she has also helped the company strengthen its relationship with channel and technology partners around the world. There’s always something to do, but Michelle wouldn’t have it any other way.
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