Episode 099 - Allison Boudreau - Small Group Networking, Events at Calix

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At Calix, Customer Success Managers owns peer to peer networking in the Community called Circles. Circles is a small group, of about 10 of their customers, meeting together and helping each other solve problems. Allison Boudreau, Director, Digital Programs, Education, and Community talks about combining the digital networking and Academy into "one". There is always a learning path within the digital journey on the Calix community. Allison also talks about in-person events. This is a huge team effort at Calix and she talks about how learning and community chips in.

Chris Detzel: Perfect welcome to another peers over beers i'm Chris Detzel and today we have special guests, but she's been on before.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): allison boudreau hey everyone.

Chris Detzel: allison how are you.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): I am doing fantastic, how are you Chris.

Chris Detzel: doing well, tell me what tell me what you do and your title and all that stuff again.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): yeah.

Chris Detzel: Just for the audience again.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): No worries so i'm allison boudreaux I am the director of digital programs education and Community over at calyx we are a Telecom.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): software and hardware provider across the US and globally and my team really focuses on customer success at scale so we're really focused on enabling customers answering customer questions and really building Community amongst our customers in very different ways.

Chris Detzel: You know you have a really long title mine got long to my my title is director of customer Community engagement.

Chris Detzel: wonder yeah and I was like yeah I like that title because before it was program manager community.

Chris Detzel: Bosco can we change it.

Chris Detzel: You know, because it doesn't really justify what I do you like a program this isn't because then they were like well in the system, it says program director i'm like I don't I mean that's just boring.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): You know it's.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): We have a lot of new people starting and.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): One of my colleagues reached out to me and said, if a very long title, but it doesn't really tell me what you do at calyx and I was like yeah let's have a conversation about that, because it is.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): People don't really understand what a digital program is or what a community is until we really talk about it, so I like customer engagement that's kind of where i'm going in my next promotion for sure is having customer engagement and education, and my title.

Chris Detzel: Now I like that I like the engagement piece alive and because it to me as yes, I do customer engagement, but I also do.

Chris Detzel: Employee engagement, I also do partner engagement and potential prospect engaged is it's kind of all across the board.

Chris Detzel: But I digress a little bit today during our pre show we kind of talked about some virtual events and onsite events that Hugh are in charge of and that you are helping training the events team and.

Chris Detzel: All those kinds of things, and you know there's a lot of that going on right now and i'm interested in because it's going on with me as well.

Chris Detzel: And so, for selfish reasons, you know you're the expert in these things and been doing it for a while, would love to kind of get your view of one is maybe an outline of how you guys are thinking about events virtually maybe even the onsite stuff.

Chris Detzel: From a community.

Chris Detzel: Education space or digital programs or I don't know whatever piece.

Chris Detzel: Your title.

Chris Detzel: That deals with but.

Chris Detzel: So I just want to hear more and then i'll ask questions you know from there, because this is intrigued me.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): yeah yeah so i'm just a little bit of history about my time at calyx I actually came in as a trade show manager on the marketing team.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): 12 years ago.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): Okay, so i'd come from healthcare before coming into telecom events and trade shows was a great place to start because I got to learn about customer problems and I got to learn about the industry very quickly.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): And you know over my time I worked into marketing campaigns and communications and demand generation and overseeing the full events team.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): Until I came into customer success, and when I came over to customer success, I was a team of one doing what I am doing now, with a team of 15.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): Definitely not doing it as well, but just trying to figure out the bones of you know, we have a great premier customer success team they're the one to one engagement right they don't think about traditionally my job, and my puzzle to kind of build was success at scale.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): And so.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): That in.

Chris Detzel: I mean, at one time, that is one too many 100%.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): And one of the things that we were tasked with was this idea of what we call circles of success and so that's.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): Think about my title it's the digital programs piece virtual engagements and in person engagements for.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): Customers post sale so i'm not handling trade shows i'm not handling our large user group, we have an incredible events team that does that very, very well, but we kind of clip in two pieces of that so circles of success, we were talking about these are.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): small group discussions, so it really shouldn't be larger than 10 people because, once you get past that people won't really engage the listen.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): But they won't chime in as much, and we we bring them together to talk about a topic so, for example, marketing campaign best practices.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): will bring together a group of marketers and say okay we're not going to talk we're moderating this discussion, and we want to hear.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): You know what is the best campaign that you've run lately, and why was it a success and then they'll all answer and what's really magical about these kind of sessions is.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): The sharing that happens between the people at the table you're you're able to ask those follow up questions of like I tried that but this didn't quite work and people are chiming in saying well have you tried this or.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): And it becomes this great sharing of people who are in the job doing the work that have kind of you know, expertise in a way that we at calyx don't.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): Have right and we're just facilitating the discussion.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): We started when I joined this team, we had three a week, this was pre pandemic so in 2019 we ran three of these sessions a week, which is different audiences across our.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): business.

Chris Detzel: And this is the virtual piece right.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): This is all virtual digital so yeah hundred percent.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): And we did have some in person like we would link into kind of industry events and work with the event team to say hey if we could.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): sponsor like an hour long session we have something really different that's not a PowerPoint presentation right let's let your event attendees come here and have these conversations and we'll show you how to do it.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): And then covert head.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): And we went from three sessions a week to 25.

Chris Detzel: well.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): Because everything was a virtual and you know we work with telecom providers who were had a huge it actually gave me.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): I think about it getting the chills we facilitated conversations of companies who were trying to figure out how to get wi fi to the kids who now had to do.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): You know, school virtually people who are working from home how to get in and install that Internet to somebody's home without you know contracting coven are bringing so it was.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): It was a lot of work to kind of ramp from that three week to 25 but the conversations customers were grateful for us.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): They were like also hearing you know what other you know how do you put wi fi on a school bus and put it in the school parking lot so all the kids can like it, I mean it was just incredible they were grateful for us, I was grateful that we could offer that to them.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): And then we just stayed on that cadence, so we are running between 15 and 25 of these circles events in addition to other virtual sessions a week.

Chris Detzel: So that sounds like a lot of activity, and I have a question that goes.

Chris Detzel: Very good thing for me is is I kind of think about stuff like this is how do you track it, how do you, you know, are you creating additional content from that so are you recording them, then you know.

Chris Detzel: You know and and then writing blogs about it, or you know all that kind of stuff that I think introducing training into this helps somehow you know, bringing in you know I think there's lots of opportunity, can you tell me a little bit more about that.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): yeah so that's exactly what we plant, so we do not record the sessions.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): We want to make sure that people are open.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): feel like they can you know because it's a vulnerable space for people to go I don't know how to do this.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): yeah, and so what our team does is, we will take notes on the call right, we do have like a slide with questions it's nothing it's not heavy for us, we don't want people to like have to flip through you know, a whole bunch.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): Of slides, but then kind of the key takeaways we turn those into knowledge base articles.

Chris Detzel: On the cocoa coffee.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): Right so have a question about this read this article here's what other providers are doing, you know we kind of have those.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): When we start to see trends, what we do is, we take the good questions from circles and we turn them into enablement webinars.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): So as we're.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): You know, enabling our customers to use our products it's like hey and, by the way, customers usually ask questions about X.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): Here are some of the things our customers are doing.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): You know and that's more of a PowerPoint presentation, but that's a piece, for us to help enable customers at scale.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): yeah I gosh you asked me so much in that first track.

Chris Detzel: Jackie yeah, what do you what is what's kind of the kpis there are.

Chris Detzel: You know that kind of stuff.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): yeah so for us.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): What I, and this is the other great thing our leadership team has said, a circles, is a success if two people are on it.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): Because we're having.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): That at scale conversation.

Chris Detzel: went over beyond, I have three.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): Oh, my gosh amazing right we actually kept registration.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): Because we didn't want them to become a.

Chris Detzel: yeah makes it.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): Where nobody's talking right so.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): So we we have you know we want people to be engaged we ask them questions after was this useful we track that kind of like MPs score.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): You put MPs or something, and you know afterwards or.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): dinner afterwards for sure.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): And then you know from like a really tactical kind of Look, we, the system we use to host the session flows into our database, so we we track everything their automated so saves my team a bit of work on the back end they're not having to upload lists and download this and.

Chris Detzel: Tell me, I don't know what you use but me zoom push that into like marketa or salesforce or whatever.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): percent yeah and then we can you know, look at that over.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): And what's incredible I always go is this going to be the quarter that we're going to like not have as many attendees this is going to be the quarter that you know people are going to say no, and every quarter quarter over quarter, because we add new topics.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): Because we add new products because.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): New customers are coming in it's never the same conversation twice, we just keep.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): Killing it, I mean it's awesome i'm so proud of my team.

Chris Detzel: yeah in tactically i'm just thinking about some of those tactics is so.

Chris Detzel: And i'm proud of you and your team as well.

Chris Detzel: Some are you doing, I mean I love it so you said you come up with the PowerPoint but it's just a few slides that just kind of probably helps kind of guide the conversation is my assumption.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): that's right that's our.

Chris Detzel: rules of engagement yeah.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): Great we're gonna call on you.

yeah.

Chris Detzel: yeah.

Chris Detzel: And I like I like that.

Chris Detzel: Right and there's what 510 people is kind of a.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): PM right around yeah under you know I always say between five and 10.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): kind of your golden once you get past that, then you can start to have the one to two people kind of conversing and then the others are which is fine it's great if they want to come and listen if they don't know about the topic, and they want to learn.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): that's another great benefit, but.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): If you start getting past that 10 people you.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): Have those star players right and.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): This is what group.

Chris Detzel: yeah like it and you just pick a topic and then just go up to the top.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): that's right.

Chris Detzel: got it, and this is just Community manager running that or somebody like that or.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): it's actually our customer success managers, there are moderators so my team can do what we do without that team they're creating content for the Community.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): they're moderating sessions for us they're putting it when it's enablement webinars or we have some like office hours they're putting the messaging together.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): We are really integrated like at the hip with our customer success management team.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): And it's it's um.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): i'm so thankful for them as well, every day.

Chris Detzel: Okay well that's that's I like I love that and I think that that is super important and and that's extremely helpful to me it's something that I might think about how to partner with.

Chris Detzel: The success team, because you know they should own some of this stuff and I think they probably wouldn't want to do some of this, you know I think all you need is one or two to kind of start it and then.

Chris Detzel: just go obviously from here on up you know it's probably going to be bought in to some degree, but.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): You know test it give it a whirl for a quarter say hey I want you know it's gonna take you a while to kind of get for us in our first kind of learnings customers would show up and go okay talk to me.

Chris Detzel: Right present to me.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): They thought it was more of a webinar.

Chris Detzel: yeah.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): And so that's where we kind of you know, came up with this, like all right we're going to talk about the rules of engagement on this session everybody here is going to speak, and if you don't start speaking.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): we're going to call on you, so and then also what what we find really is helpful Chris is we start with like an icebreaker question for everybody to kind of answer just to get that you know i'm.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): i'm from here, these are my top concerns we asked like fun questions you know what's your favorite Halloween candy.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): You know just to kind of.

Chris Detzel: candy corn.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): Is it.

Chris Detzel: candy corn well you know, like I used to like a lot.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): But I got some holiday package.

Chris Detzel: i'll eat it.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): All right.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): But you know just and it doesn't have to be like part of our thing is let's have some fun and let's not be so serious, so you know.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): yeah let's let's learn a little bit about the people, because then again that helps to build your customer community as well, when they start seeing each other on these sessions and.

Chris Detzel: it's pretty awesome.

Chris Detzel: Do you put like a.

Chris Detzel: Sorry for all these tech questions.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): out.

Chris Detzel: To me it's good do you put like a calendar thing i'm the Community to where hey this session, the session the session boom boom so it's always going to be the moderator I don't know, whatever it is.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): yeah so we do have a full calendar of events we have a whole journey around that as well right, so we send out emails.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): At the beginning of you know kind of a few weeks, but we go monthly with our session so it's like hey, this is the schedule don't forget sessions fill up so you know get registered.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): And then we put it on the Community as well, they can link in our customer success team talks about it on all their customer calls like have you been on a circles lately or have you been to a virtual engagement.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): All of our release kind of readiness materials talks about you know we released this new feature here are the circles that support it.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): circles yeah I mean we are.

Chris Detzel: it's like a machine.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): you've got to cut all.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): we're all interwoven right exactly and you kind of asked me to you know from a circles what other things do we talk about are kind of link them to link them into our education courses as well.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): yeah that's your city yeah so you want to learn more about building a marketing campaign, do we have a course for you right, I can link them right in so.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): it's um it's taken three years for us and we're still always you know dining kind of how we can improve but it's it's fun to see the growth, when I pull together, you know my charts like.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): Three a week and then you see the big spike and it's like oh wow and we haven't slowed down since then.

Chris Detzel: I mean, I think I think you continue to do what works, I mean maybe you know eight months from now, that doesn't work as well, and need do something a little bit different you know.

Chris Detzel: But I feel like things like that will continue to work and and I love how you're.

Chris Detzel: Not just getting the customer success managers engaged and involved just from the beginning and.

Chris Detzel: You know it's it's probably a learning for them as well, and they learn from their customers and they get to know their customers better and probably start connecting them and then, when no time comes.

Chris Detzel: You know they have that relationship, it probably helps with renewals and upsell cross cells and it's them deeper into the accounts and all those kind of beautiful wonderful things.

Chris Detzel: And it helps training and a lot of different ways, through you know people are taking the courses because they're hearing about it more they're exposed to it more and they're like Oh, I want to learn about that.

Chris Detzel: Or, I assume that you know registrations are either consistent or continue continue to go up because of the education and working together, I love it, you know it seems really hard to do.

Chris Detzel: You know from my standpoint, but it does seem like a very logical thing to do as well well.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): And I think you know, for you, I mean again I was it where's your focus.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): Yes, your priority right and where's your bandwidth I think try a couple of months.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): And then go from you know I mean I I was a team of one supporting two and then three CSM I was a lot of what I did was logistically setting up things and.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): Getting on and helping them moderate we're trying to figure it out.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): It took us a long time to become this machine of you know okay that's the schedule, we know what to expect.

Chris Detzel: But you're focused and you continue to do it for years.

Chris Detzel: that's her and it just grew and grew and grew.

Chris Detzel: You know, and so love it, it shows consistency does pay off.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): It does.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): You know my brushing my teeth every day.

Chris Detzel: Definitely.

paid off.

Chris Detzel: I think that's an important part to do a couple at least two or three times a day.

Chris Detzel: What about.

Chris Detzel: When you think of not just virtual but you know onsite events and things like that, how does community and digital and.

Chris Detzel: You know, education, playing that.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): yeah I mean so onsite.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): Again I think my you know my knowledge of the industry events has lent well to kind of where the customers want to be, and where we can fit in.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): You know we're in the throes of planning our big customer event in the fall and again it's you know, giving customers, the right what they what they asked for, so we have circle sessions in person.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): For two afternoons registration always fills up we're always on a waitlist and we just try like it's like how many more bodies can we fit in this room.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): I think I gave the event team a Stat pre pandemic the circles, we had it took at calyx employees to help us over the course of the event to help us run these sessions, that is a huge lift.

Chris Detzel: sessions.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): You know just because it's we didn't have the same people in the room, different people moderated at different times.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): We had the events team helping us with registration, we had you know other teams sales teams pushing people in I mean it, it takes an army and cross functional help, which I think you know.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): But then, you know how do we tie that in it's our calyx champions program, which is our our advocacy program of our amazing customers.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): that's how we start to kind of weave them into an event, so if you're a champion, are you going to be a champion of education.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): Go to our education sessions, do you want to champion a circles do all of it right like this is how champions do connections, I think, is kind of one of our.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): Big messages and then just making sure that we always kind of have that lens for them, not for us, I you know I could tell you where I would want to be, but.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): let's figure out what you're interested in and work with the marketing team on the agenda and say oh you're a marketer.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): We have these amazing things for you and we pushed from sales marketing customer success that to give them the best event experience they can right, what do you want to learn about and how can we help you.

Chris Detzel: love that that's.

Chris Detzel: that's really cool it's like a side event, you know, on the main event, you know what I mean.

yeah.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): Under the underground right it's like what we always.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): Talk about like is it circles after dark we're not sure you know.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): But it's um it, it became last year when we were in person at our big event, it became like this where'd you get that were you in a circles or you're a champion to.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): It kind of became this groundswell like oh i've seen you online.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): And now i'm meeting you in person, and so our goal leading into the event this year is OK, you all have seen each other online.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): come in person.

Chris Detzel: And, yes.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): that's right.

Chris Detzel: When it when is your big event.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): October 15.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): This year 15th through the 17th.

Chris Detzel: So the typical days yeah.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): Three days Saturday Sunday Monday, Tuesday yeah.

Chris Detzel: Saturday like.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): Saturday Saturday is like golf and other customer events and.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): Then Sunday, we have training and education so we'll have.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): You know my education team will be on site teaching enabling.

Chris Detzel: And then come on Saturday and Sunday.

Absolutely.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): Every year yeah it's it's our customers are just incredible they're incredible people who just.

Chris Detzel: A weird time to do it.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): But yeah it's like historically it made sense we were team to like another industry event years ago.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): Okay, that went Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, so we would have people stay Saturday Sunday and then we would start Monday, Tuesday kind of give them that break over the weekend, where they could recharge and then.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): yeah the entire event yeah.

Chris Detzel: Interesting well, but this is this is intriguing.

Chris Detzel: Like.

Chris Detzel: I just there's so much to do, like, for us, we don't even have sorry for all the questions but.

Chris Detzel: i'm very intrigued.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): you're building it man it's awesome.

Chris Detzel: yeah i'm trying, you know, and I think there's a huge appetite for it, you know, for now, you know I think most industries are probably looking at you know the the the times with Russia and the.

Chris Detzel: You know, stock market and all these kind of inflation was crazy stuff's going on right now, and so you know.

Chris Detzel: Certain things are being put on hold right for us, and probably for most businesses if they're smart, so I think.

Chris Detzel: you're going to start seeing I don't know if its massive layoffs but you start seeing that you know here in five to six months which you've already starting to see sort of the you know some of these smaller technology companies.

Chris Detzel: But I love what you guys are doing, and you have one big event of yours all right.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): I mean our yeah our connections event is big and then, but you know we do spring events, which is our connections that local that's more we take connections to cities.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): Oh, so people who can you know travel.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): Maybe might not be able to travel to our big event can come out to the city events, I think we're doing 30 of those right now across.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): Cheese yeah it's our events team like I said, they are, I think 100 events or so a year they're amazing they are fantastic at what they do.

Chris Detzel: And so you know my CEO told me, the other day and I don't think I told you this, but.

Chris Detzel: i've sent on appears over beers, but this is so interesting that it's just right for this to say it again, he goes Chris I believe that Community it's a lot of pressure.

Chris Detzel: Say saw backup I had this is show on it's asked me anything with our cto and founder.

Chris Detzel: it's always kind of popular you know people like to ask him, questions and things like that.

Chris Detzel: And you know I think we had 100 and some people come, but you know that particular thing a lot of employee, we have a lot of new employees 40% of our employees are only six months old right.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): Okay, oh wow yeah.

Chris Detzel: yeah massive group and so they're highly interested in listening to our cto and founder right.

Chris Detzel: But you know customers and partners or two, so we had.

Chris Detzel: Maybe 50 or so customers and partners on there and then the rest were employees, which was a lot.

Chris Detzel: I agree with.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): You great.

Chris Detzel: Oh yeah yeah no I see it as a great thing, but you know he sees it, he I said oh it's it was pretty good you know, we had given the numbers will see a little different.

Chris Detzel: And he said uh I see Community is bringing in hundreds of events, a year thousands of customers and partners and non employees to these events every year.

Chris Detzel: He has community needs to be a marketing machine, you know and and I was like Okay, you know, and I had a call with them, you know just does like you know I don't.

Chris Detzel: know exactly how to do that that's what I told I go well i'm not sure how to do that because well that's the fun and not knowing is good to go figure it out.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): See brave enough to suck at something new, like something I tell my.

Chris Detzel: team all the time, like.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): we're not going to get it right out of the gate.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): Right I believe me over the past three years, there have been some major oops ease right where we just go Okay, we won't do that again.

Chris Detzel: yeah I think you don't care about that right, you know it's he just thinking you know how what I think he's barely heard is user groups and.

Chris Detzel: Things like that about communities have really brought in a lot of different people within you know coming together connecting doing all the things that you just said yeah.

Chris Detzel: which you know I really love digitally what you guys are doing, bringing people in and just having discussions and you're doing like I don't know, would you say 20 of these are morning, or whatever, a week like that's awesome.

Chris Detzel: And so that brings in you know if you're only having five or 10 people if you did 10 times, would you say 20 or 30 whatever a week.

Chris Detzel: that's crazy.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): Totally you know 200 customers a week 800 customers a month roughly yeah.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): 800 times, sometimes it's down but.

Chris Detzel: you're not.

Chris Detzel: you're gonna hit your thousand within two months.

yeah.

Chris Detzel: But also.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): You know, with his with his statement, what is his goal, because for me I just got done talking about this a larger group here community, for me, is more than it like you said more than just a platform right it.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): It becomes the relationships that you have with your customers and again it takes like Chris I mean how many times have I said it takes an army.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): yeah people at calyx to help enable my team to do what we want to do.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): And that, like you said, if he supports that then perfect like.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): bringing peace, you know and let's start small.

Chris Detzel: I think he supports that, in a way, you know but it's also up to me to figure out how to go do it.

Chris Detzel: Right, you know and.

Chris Detzel: And he will support me and kind of saying this is what i'm thinking and I expect others to think that way too.

Chris Detzel: Right and so, but then it's up to me to kind of build those relationships internally to really communicate the way we should go about it, the way we should, and I am doing that today and i'll be honest like it's a struggle, you know i'll give you an example is.

Chris Detzel: Some bringing this kind of I like things that you're doing because it's a little different.

Chris Detzel: And thinking, but i'm trying to bring together this you know it's a buzzword in the Community space, but i'm using it is Community led growth.

Chris Detzel: And, and I think that's important and and the way i'm trying to bring that in is thinking about.

Chris Detzel: Yes, we have this technical Community today, which brings in our customers and we have some Community shows that go deep into the product and help them understand the product better I mean all the things that you do from.

Chris Detzel: enablement and things like that, and so we're doing a lot of good stuff with rel to today, I believe that real to or the master data management space has kind of an identity problem and.

Chris Detzel: And that it's really hard and it's valuable if you can do it, you know but.

Chris Detzel: But it's also not the first thing on the minds of the business leaders, you know as master data management.

Chris Detzel: So I believe that.

Chris Detzel: Within the data space, in addition to this technical Community there's a huge opportunity for us to go after and.

Chris Detzel: When I say that is bringing kind of those thought leaders together, whether it's cto chief data officer ctos VP of enterprise architecture or VP of data governance those kind of people.

Chris Detzel: In a sense, together that's one the two is is having them and being kind of the broker between the thought leaders bring him in have a podcast.

Chris Detzel: Creating great you know video podcast podcast you know even thought leadership papers around these different kind of.

Chris Detzel: Content pieces and things like that you know push them out pushing them out on the behalf of that person, and it could be influencers within the space right and so trying to create that.

Chris Detzel: So that's in a nutshell, what i'm trying to do and and and because we're not doing that today we're not you know not really we're just trying to think about reel to reel to reel to master data management, you know.

Chris Detzel: That works those people that know what master data management is.

Chris Detzel: yeah I mean.

Chris Detzel: But they don't really.

Chris Detzel: Point is is you know my CMO is on board some degree right like and he's like all right great i'm gonna give you the audience and so you know he's given me the audience to kind of present this to our leader.

Chris Detzel: The leader of you know, our person that's really focused in on thought leadership with our cto and things like that you know.

Chris Detzel: it's hard, because then you know one leader would be like you know of digital and she's you know she's like well you know that's really hard because we're going to put in this campaign, and that campaign and do this and it's like.

Chris Detzel: yeah we can start small we don't have to boil the ocean.

Chris Detzel: You know, like.

Chris Detzel: But it's a lot of opinions and a lot of thoughts and it's hard, it is hard to just bring it around because you have to make it relevant to them and i'm thinking to myself.

Chris Detzel: I still don't have everybody on board right because they don't because there's still don't get it, you know, and maybe I don't.

Chris Detzel: i've got to figure out ways that is going to help them do better, you know what I mean so gotta get off a little bit, but I think it does it does have stuff to do with the events that they get has something to do with the content and getting the awareness of.

Chris Detzel: Some of this out there and I think the way to do it the best ways to do it, and you know tactically when you think of quick hit videos quick hit audio video type stuff.

Chris Detzel: Think of blogs, on behalf of those people and things like that using that community to really drive the content.

Chris Detzel: You know and talking about how they've solved problems are talking about how they've haven't solved the problem but they've tried these different things you know around films that they tried to solve, you know, I think, to me, is a huge opportunity, you know and so.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): It is, and you know finding its those adjunct audiences that are close enough to it.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): But it might look at it with you know that slightly different you know, so you have kind of your core right and then it's Okay, who kind of sits in the office next to that core group of people that might know whether you know you don't want to like jump from super technical to not.

yeah.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): And that's kind of where we started as well you know, we had kind of two different you know groups of people, we were talking to they will never talk to each other.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): I mean they do.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): But like it wouldn't make sense for us to blend so we just haven't had that kind of goal clear.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): This is what these people want to talk about and that's what we're here to do is it's not talk about what we want to talk about it's what they want to talk about right.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): And so I think especially around thought leadership like that it's what do they want to talk about and then you can weave in kind of the benefits of your customer your company.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): it's not all I mean we don't talk about I mean not circles it's not about our products.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): yeah so is that.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): If you're not a customer so for at like industry events if you're not a customer of ours, and you want to come and attend to circle you'll fit right in.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): yeah come on in and it's just another benefit that we give to our customers is that we allow we enable these conversations to happen, and I think that's what they start to see us, as you know, it's not about selling it's about helping them do their job better.

Chris Detzel: Industry lead focus really.

Chris Detzel: Rather than you know product lead.

Chris Detzel: And I think that's to me is what i'm trying to get at.

Chris Detzel: And i'm trying to communicate but it's not easy allison.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): Because you know what it's an ally.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): it's a new business model right, I mean you talk about like marketing i'm very lucky we have again just an incredible marketing team here who understands the it's it's.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): They don't see us as a marketing they know that our function is very different from a modern and traditional marketing function but they understand what we're doing.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): But that's I think At first it was like well you know how are you going to track leads from this or how are you going to and we're not this isn't a lead, generating activity.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): Yes, is.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): You know customer enablement and I think that clear delineation as well really helps kind of set the.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): You know there's calyx calm and then there's my calyx which is for calyx customers only there's a very clear delineation between what my team handles online and what the marketing team handles online, but we absolutely have to be in lockstep.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): Together yeah.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): But it's it's those kinds of heat swim lanes but swim lanes really help.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): them to under I I know what they do and I spect and you know understand how hard it is they know what we do.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): And so I think, but it took a while it's because it's outs Community customer success it's new I mean relatively new to the business world right so.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): You kind of I think you're doing all the right things, and having the right conversations you just might have to kind of tell them seven times and show them.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): You know.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): I mean that's I felt like you know I kind of went on, like the tour of like i'm gonna say the same presentation about 10 times to different people.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): yeah you know because it felt very office space like what would you say you do here, you know it's like, let me tell you.

Chris Detzel: it's hard you know I love to tell my struggles, because then you always can be really good advice, like you just did so, I appreciate that is.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): yeah.

Chris Detzel: You know because I own two pieces right now is the technical community in the reel to reel to Executive Council, which is just made up of.

Chris Detzel: executives and so it's.

Chris Detzel: it's completely different.

Chris Detzel: And agendas are different like this is higher way higher touch.

Chris Detzel: You know, and those kinds of things, and you know and then me also trying to go into this thought leadership Community lead kind of thing it feels a little different than but it's bringing.

Chris Detzel: In a sense, some of these executives on the Executive Council to help provide some of that thought leadership.

Chris Detzel: But also bringing in influencers and it seems bigger.

Chris Detzel: And it's hard to manage because it's just me right now so i've got a girl, you know ways to kind of think about that.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): I have a great exercise for you, I just had my champion advocacy manager do this.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): Okay um I had him put together a venn diagram.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): hmm because we also have very disparate audiences that sometimes we're like.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): How does this make sense together right this there has to be a connection but we're not sure what and so he did like.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): A circle of you know, our technical champions over here i'm going to use your kind of audiences and then we have a circle of like our executive.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): You know audience over here and then there's like that third of like thought leadership is there anybody in any of those circles that might be in the middle.

Chris Detzel: And absolutely.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): Then you start there and it's like either have them speak on a panel about a topic that they might have in common, or you try to get those folks on a circles, because then you start to understand, maybe what the timing between the three groups is.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): yeah That was a really I I geek out over that because that was like super fun for us to like not realize oh gosh these core 10 people.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): have influence over the three kind of circles we're trying to influence.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): yeah right let's introduce them and see what they can tell us about their job, and you know how their struggles might be the same.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): Just yeah sorry venn diagram again like put me in a way.

Chris Detzel: I love it.

Chris Detzel: This is great like I learned so much from you the last couple times and anytime I talk to you it's it's just a it's just an eye opening to me an extremely helpful.

Chris Detzel: You know, because give me some real juicy things and go after right.

Chris Detzel: And then, some of the things that you're doing you've already done it or the things i'm thinking about doing you've already done it.

Chris Detzel: You know I.

Chris Detzel: love it.

Chris Detzel: Anything else, because this has been great.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): yeah that notice, I will want I hate to leave you with like another like piece, but I do want you to pause and like look back over what you have accomplished, because I don't do that enough until I like put charts together, for you know.

Chris Detzel: The executive team and i'm.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): Like wow.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): But you Chris over the time i've known you have done incredible things with the team, I mean the content, you produce the blogs you produce.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): What you're putting together is I mean i'm like how is he doing all this with the team, he has so just recognize that, like you're doing the right things I think it's inspiring to me because you're awesome so.

Chris Detzel: Well, thank you, that that's that's a really great to hear, and I appreciate that you know, but I also think some of the things that you've done to scale your team.

Chris Detzel: Are things that I haven't done today, yet right, and so we can learn from each other, because you know there's only so much one person can do even one of my bosses said, Chris you're doing great and I love the scrappiness but you know you can't.

Chris Detzel: You can't continue to do this forever, you know and grow and that kind of stuff so.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): At some you know, give me some headcount.

Chris Detzel: yeah but it's not as easy say that right, because what happens is is that you know.

Chris Detzel: This thing happens right with Russia, and then you know all this other stuff so they're like whoa whoa let's not do any ads and.

Chris Detzel: And so, then they're very strategic in who they go after and they don't you know and that kind of stuff right like just my thousand get somebody i'm not but.

Chris Detzel: You know you just have to figure out okay well this year, what, what can I do and how can I be has or more successful than I was you know, and I believe that.

Chris Detzel: You know you again if an extremely good job and you've spent many years doing it, but you've done very well and you've got a whole team of like 15 people or more, you know and so and it's only gonna get better for you, because the way you have done things the way you've kind of built.

Chris Detzel: Your your teams and your.

Chris Detzel: and your your company is just phenomenal so you know kudos to you as well.

Chris Detzel: But.

Chris Detzel: awesome it's been great yeah.

Chris Detzel: Thanks grassy.

Chris Detzel: Had most that I think we have just a few minutes but.

Chris Detzel: Thank you for coming over on piers over beers again, I really do appreciate it.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): me too man, this is awesome.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): Love chatting with you.

Chris Detzel: Well i'll make sure to after this is schedule another one for us.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): hey we still have a whole arm of education to talk about.

Chris Detzel: We do, and I wanted you know something that I, I told my education going Maybe you can help influence on in will get them on peers over beers have the three of us just sit down and talk about the education part and then you can bring in a Community piece.

Chris Detzel: Because.

Chris Detzel: You know, he wants to work with Community but right now he's overloaded right on the listenership that he's working on, and so you know it's like well.

Chris Detzel: You know how does he start thinking about that you know with the tea, because you know he has a bigger team than I do have four or five people I am be.

Chris Detzel: And so, how do we kind of think about that, and how do we work together and start where's that you know how do you start on the journey, you know because.

Chris Detzel: we're not we talked about it because he's a very cool guy and he wants to do the right things, but you know, with time and stuff like that, but we can't Let that be an excuse.

Chris Detzel: Right so.

Chris Detzel: So it might be beneficial, maybe for the next one, is to have him on and just have a discussion around it, you know.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): So that would be a blast.

Chris Detzel: I love that let's do it okay.

Chris Detzel: All right now listen thanks so much for coming on another piece of beers i'm Chris debts will end.

Allison Boudreau (she/her): allison boudreaux.

Chris Detzel: thanks again allison.

Thanks.

Episode 099 - Allison Boudreau - Small Group Networking, Events at Calix
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