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Ecosystem Leaders

Episode 77

September 3, 2019

#77 Jay Vigeland: How Empathy Builds Personal Connections & Drives Engagement

Jay Vigeland, the Global Microsoft Alliance Lead for Sprinklr, live at Microsoft Inspire in Las Vegas.

People want to eat pancakes at midnight.

So, McDonald’s goes back through 5+ years of tweets about late-night breakfast cravings to personally tweet people about its new All Night Breakfast campaign.

That’s the kind of action that will make people feel heard.

I was excited to talk to Jay Vigeland, the Global Microsoft Alliance Lead for Sprinklr, live at Microsoft Inspire in Las Vegas. We chatted about authenticity and making personal connections to drive engagement.

Jay is proud of Sprinklr’s great relationships with McDonald’s and with Microsoft, where roughly 2,500 users spend all day on Sprinklr.

He’s been traveling the globe recently: Dubai, Riyadh, Singapore, and Sweden. “I’m a pretty global guy, but occasionally I have to pull out the map and make sure I understand where exactly this is,” Jay said.

Learning Takes Empathy

It’s not just geography that Jay gets to learn--it’s about people and cultures.

“In the alliance role, there's a lot of a lot of learning to be done,” Jay said.

Though alliances are global in nature, each region has its own challenges. Knowing the maturity of a given market in a given region will affect how you present your content and solutions.

“We have to shift and twist our marketing materials to understand and cater to the specific audience,” Jay said.

And that shift requires both flexibility and empathy.

“It’s a lot of people skills,” Jay said. He explained that alliance management takes both sales and marketing talents because business development takes place both internally and externally.

The challenge is trying to figure out how to bridge that gap to make both of you successful with the same alliance.

When you’ve scaled to global, you have to be able to show that understanding in Vietnam as readily as in Switzerland.

Human-to-Human Means Showing Up

Some companies are trying to figure out who can help them.

Sprinklr is trying to figure out how it can help its alliances.

“How do we get everybody on the same page?” Jay asked. “We have to get not just our team and implementation and tech-ready and approved and authorized, but then we have to get the Microsoft sales team onboard and have everybody in the same direction.”

“At the end of the day, our mission is to make our customers happier,” Jay said.

Which can be a difficult thing to do. It takes organization and alignment.

It takes showing up.

When Jay presents himself in person, across the world, with the attitude of wanting to help, that shows empathy.

“As much as we want to drive it to be a program with checkboxes and everything else, it has to be done with some level of interest and passion and consideration for all parties involved,” he said.



Human-to-human connection.

Stepping back and just giving training by rote doesn’t work.

“Making a personal connection for me is immediately more effective than me showing promotional material,” Jay said.

“If I can go make human connections, from an effectiveness point of view, that's where I'm seeing the most success,” he added.

<“Though we always think we're the most important person in any given moment, the person on the other side of the table also has their own targets and quotas.” — Jay Vigeland>

Personal Connection Is Built on Consideration

If you’ve just shown up in Sweden and you’ve only got two hours with someone you’re supposed to train, how do you form a personal connection?

Well, you don’t pull out PowerPoints over a cocktail.

“Take time to learn about the person, figure out what might be in their way, and how you can help,” Jay said.

Being sensitive to those regional nuances you learned about when you made personal connections is huge.

“In some regions of the world, it's important to the Microsoft Rep who registers the deal,” Jay said. So before he registers a deal he’s collaborating on, he asks whether it would be more advantageous for the rep to do it.

“Those little things you ask all the time become a natural part of our roles that we've learned over time,” he said.

That consideration is the difference between a client and a relationship.

Social media is a great place to leverage personal connections, too.

Jay shared a great story about All Day Breakfast with McDonald’s. “They did research with 5+ years of Twitter history inside of Sprinklr,” he said.

Sprinklr, which carries 10 years of Twitter history, found that people wanted pancakes and McMuffins at midnight.

Here’s how Jay explained it: “The reason why their campaign went viral wasn't that they turned on all-day breakfast, but because they made personal connections with every single person--over 100,000 people--who had tweeted about it. They said, ‘We heard you.’”

Connect with Jay on his LinkedIn (or see him in person anywhere around the globe).

Listen to the podcast here.

To hear this episode, and many more like it, you can subscribe to the Alliance Aces Podcast, or visit our dedicated Alliance Aces page.

To contact the host, Chip Rodgers, with topic ideas, suggest a guest, or join the conversation about alliances, he can be reached by: