Interview with President , Rollworks – Robin Bordoli


“The gap in understanding between marketing and sales is a problem of both language and meaning.”

1. How do you think RollWorks is different from other businesses in your market?
Robin Bordoli: What makes RollWorks different from other businesses in our market is the unique combination of the energy and focus of a one-year-old startup targeting ambitious B2B companies—coupled with the scale and experience of AdRoll Group’s 12-year history and core technology. With the recent acquisition of Growlabs, we’ve enhanced and augmented our platform to help generate leads for Sales Development Representative (SDR) teams. Now, along with new sales automation capabilities, we have one of the largest B2B databases of over 320 million contacts and 12 million accounts. We also benefit from AdRoll Group’s proprietary technology legacy, which provides us one of the world’s largest intent-based data sets, machine learning algorithms that make over 70 billion predictions per day, and one of the industry’s most advanced attribution and measurement capabilities. It’s a powerful combination of technology and capabilities that we believe no other company can rival.

2. What are the major steps you are planning to take on as President of the RollWorks business unit?
Robin Bordoli: Like any leadership position in a high growth company, my time will be balanced between external and internal responsibilities. My external focus will be to listen to and learn from our customers. We’re still early in the adoption cycle of account-based marketing (ABM), so we have to co-develop our platform and solutions in close synchronization with real-world usage. Internally, my focus will be to make sure we are greater than the sum of our parts. We have strong capabilities, but the art of management is to bring it all together in a way that makes customers successful on their terms.

3. Why do you think account-based platforms are starting to boom in B2B sector?
Robin Bordoli: Account-based platforms are starting to boom in the B2B sector because they address two age-old marketing problems. The first problem they address was famously identified by pioneering merchant John Wanamaker over a century ago when he said: “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.” This is a problem of targeting the right buyers and being able to measure your efforts. Account-based platforms allow you to target the right accounts and the right people within those accounts. The second problem account-based platforms address is the different languages that marketing and sales teams have historically spoken. The gap in understanding between marketing and sales is a problem of both language and meaning. Marketing teams have historically focused on leads or people. The phrase “marketing generated 100 leads from this event” means 100 people. Sales teams have historically focused on accounts or companies. Salespeople don’t say “John Doe just bought our software”; they say, “GE just bought our software.”

Account-based platforms bridge this gap so marketing and sales teams can align on how they plan and execute. This involves a data model and engagement approach that connects leads and people to accounts and companies. So finally, with ABM, marketing and sales can speak the same language.

The future of account-based marketing is bright and promising. Ambitious marketers are learning how to successfully and quickly implement ABM strategies as they learn more about the benefits of targeting specific accounts and working together with sales to affect revenue.

4. What are your views on the future of account-based platforms and the B2B market?
Robin Bordoli: Even though we’re at the beginning of the adoption cycle for account-based platforms, the pace of adoption is accelerating. I’m convinced that this is a new category and will become the third “must-have” platform for successful B2B revenue teams; the other two being a CRM platform—like Salesforce Sales Cloud, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Oracle Sales Cloud, SugarCRM, Hubspot, Copper, and so on—and a marketing automation platform like Marketo, Oracle Eloqua, Salesforce Pardot, Hubspot, Act-On, etc. I believe this will happen over the course of the next three years.

Artificial intelligence will continue to influence ABM as adoption increases. AI’s success hinges on high-quality data to power the algorithms that drive it. This was the strategic rationale for our recent acquisition of Growlabs, so we could couple their high-quality account and contact data with our deep machine-learning capabilities.

5. What book are you currently reading?
Robin Bordoli: I just finished The Taste of Empire by Lizzie Cunningham. It’s a history book but written through the lens of how the quest for food drove the growth of the British Empire over 450 years. In each chapter, the author selects a historically documented meal, and then places it in a historical context and explores the socio-political and culinary impacts of empire and global trade. It’s a fascinating and informative read. I chose it because my history education spanned from 1066, the last time Britain was conquered, to 1603, Elizabeth I’s death, and then jumped to the 1900 to 1945 period that covers the two world wars. So I have a 300-year gap in my historical education that I’m always looking to fill.

6. What is the one piece of advice you always follow irrespective of circumstances?
Robin Bordoli: Listen to learn, not to reply. We live in a fast-paced, impatient, and “always-on” world. It’s easy to reply too quickly with a pre-formulated answer. Often the right approach is to listen longer, digest what you learned, reflect, and then respond later when you have had time to wrap your mind around the situation at hand.

7. Rumor has it that RollWorks has an amazing work environment. Could you share some insights on this?
Robin Bordoli: The RollWorks business unit has an inclusive and inviting work environment based on the foundation put in place by our parent company AdRoll Group. AdRoll Group has been recognized as one of the top companies in the Bay Area by San Francisco Business Times’ Best Places to Work. This emphasis on an authentic culture based on openness and inclusion was very important to me as I made my decision on whether to join AdRoll Group.

The company culture is codified in a very unusual way—we use six animals, each of which represents a core company value:

  • Owl–we hire great people and help each other grow.
  • Dog–we do right by the customer and community.
  • Bee–we build innovative products that work for lots of people.
  • Beaver–we do more with less.
  • Monkey–we take work, not ourselves, seriously.
  • Jellyfish–we’re open and authentic.

I like to channel all of our animals, but I most closely resonate with the Monkey and the distinction between doing serious work and not being too serious. Great companies need to be prepared to support employees taking risks, failing, learning, and ultimately succeeding. You can’t encourage that behavior if people take themselves too seriously.

There is an intentional and central focus on diversity and inclusion initiatives that include hiring diverse talent, fostering an inclusive work environment for all Rollers, and ensuring all Rollers have the opportunity to grow, contribute, develop, and be successful at RollWorks. I am proud of the impact our D&I program has had to date. For example, we’re close to having equal gender representation amongst both employees and managers in the RollWorks business unit, and we’ve increased our hiring rate for underrepresented minorities. That’s good progress but we have much more work to do to build a work environment where everyone feels truly included.

Robin has spent the past decade at the forefront of innovations impacting digital marketers at companies such as Marketo, Jive Software and Yahoo. He has over 10 years of executive-level leadership and B2B marketing and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) expertise. He is currently the President at Rollworks. He is currently responsible for the overall strategic direction of RollWorks and driving sales and product development goals for the account-based platform.

RollWorks is the Newest Division of AdRoll Group. From the beginning, we’ve invested in our technology and collaborated closely with customers to learn what worked for them and what didn’t. This customer-centricity has led us to create two divisions, RollWorks and AdRoll. While we at RollWorks are focused on the success of B2B marketers, AdRoll is focused on helping ambitious commerce businesses grow.
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