Profectus Group inaugural CMO on building a marketing-led B2B company culture

Compliance and recovery solutions vendor has brought on its latest marketing team member as part of plans to shift from sales-led to marketing-led business

Charissa Lee (left) and Megan Thorley, Profectus Group
Charissa Lee (left) and Megan Thorley, Profectus Group

Pivoting an entire organisation from a sales-led to marketing-led culture is firmly in the sights of Profectus Group’s first chief marketing officer.  

Charissa Lee joined the compliance and recovery solutions business as CMO six months ago from Rimini Street, where she was APAC director of field marketing. During her time with the enterprise software business, she grew the marketing function and established marketing strategy across region, including brand, communications, demand generation and pipeline conversion.  

Lee’s resume also includes marketing roles with Forrester, Saba Software and Intergraph, as well as business communications advisory at National Australia Bank.  

As CMO, Lee is tasked with building Profectus Group’s first internal marketing engine and pivot the compliance and recovery solutions business from a sales-led to marketing-led culture. To help, Profectus Group this month appointed Megan Thorley as marketing manager. Thorley is also formerly from Rimini Street and previously worked in demand generation at A2K Technologies. She commenced her career as a market research analyst with Ipsos and TNS.  

Profectus Group CEO, Chris Hutchins, said the 20-year-old business has never had a marketing function, and noted an absence of marketing structures, processes and metrics.

“We needed people with the calibre of Charissa and Megan to show us what we were missing – they’re effectively charged with building this all from scratch,” he said.

The road to marketing-led culture   

The reason is a five-year vision to reposition Profectus Group from a sales-led to marketing-led company. The company provides compliance and recovery services and technologies for mid to large-tier companies, including a pay-per-claim audit model and rebate deal management system.  

“To date, we’ve been sales-led, with many of our clients coming aboard through word-of-mouth or referrals,” said Hutchins. “We wanted to change it up and we believe taking a proactive approach to enabling awareness of our offering will benefit the business greatly.  

“In five years, we want to be known as a marketing-led, technology-driven company. With Charissa and lead-gen guru Megan aboard and steering the ship, we’re very confident in our ability to meet or exceed that goal.”  

The company has a lot of work underway to establish a marketing function, according to Lee. Among the first priorities have been building out a marketing platform for CRM, lead and pipeline management. 

“We had to define what is considered a lead, how to score a lead and route it properly so as to garner all the right touchpoints to deliver the highest conversion rate. There was also no lead nurture program at all,” she explained. 

Thorley also highlighted the need to build out its content pipeline, including blogs and marketing collateral.  

“Every campaign needs content and we’re having to do this from scratch – which is exciting for a marketer as we get to get our hands dirty and add our own personality and flair to it,” she said.  

Sales outreach is another area of transformation, having been too Profectus-centric, Lee continued. “We tend to speak too much about ourselves, and not about our client,” she said.

“We have to build the bare bones of a marketing dialogue; basics, such as establishing that it’s not about us, our products, our brand. It’s about the client, their challenges and what’s going to make them successful.  

“With all that said, the company managed to still get major customers aboard through word of mouth and referrals, even cold calling. It’s a testament to the service and what the company delivers.  

“But can you imagine what we can do with a proper marketing program?”  

Building the marketing team is clearly an ongoing project. At a personal level, Lee said the opportunity to build a greenfield marketing function was too good an opportunity to pass up and was what drew her to the role.  

“It’s everything, from branding to managing pipeline, simplifying messaging and setting up a customer program so as to maximise customer lifetime value,” she said. “There’s a wealth of data and expertise in this company, but you’d never know it and they’ve never understood how to best articulate it to a broad audience. Their solutions are so complex that simplifying it is already a challenge, as is trying to make compliance ‘sexy’.  

“But it’s like moulding something from fresh clay – the process in establishing a marketing function, a fresh brand and a renewed go-to-market message for a 20-plus year-old company already has been incredibly rewarding.”  

A milestone for Lee so far has been a change management program, work which has included re-launching the brand and revamping the website, look and feel. Lee said she’s achieved employee buy-in for this new direction from day one.  

As part of the change management program, Profectus has also simplified and distilled the messages and established a new value proposition for the company.  

“Importantly, we’ve re-aligned the executive thinking and achieved board buy-in to the new direction – previously their thinking was product led, now it’s ‘marketing led’,” she said.

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