John Bates talks to DRAX about the success of the CMO search

Rana Barker

March 17th, 2023

John Bates talks to DRAX about the success of the CMO search

At DRAX Executive, we take pride in our collaborative and expert approach to understanding the market space and our clients' needs. We value our client relationships and are committed to delighting them with our data-led search experience. Our focus on building long-standing partnerships with our customers has led to a trusted process and search methodology that consistently exceeds their expectations. Our successful working relationship with SER Group is a testament to our commitment to delivering powerful and impactful results that drive business growth.

The SER Group is in the enterprise content management space backed by Carlyle - capturing, digitising, storing, managing, searching, and archiving enterprise content, your documents and other content. SER comes from a particular perspective called intelligent content automation. They believe there is a convergence happening in the market between process automation, enterprise content management, and intelligent document processing.

We spoke to John Bates on this topic and about his relationship with DRAX and the DRAX CMO search. Watch the full video to find out what John thinks about DRAX and how we helped him find an extremely gifted and qualified CMO with the latest demand-generation techniques:

John Bates Video Transcription:

00:00:06:08 - 00:00:10:09

Hi. I'm John Bates, CEO of the SER Group. SER is in the Enterprise Content Management Space, which means we're coming from a market that's all about capturing, digitizing storing, managing, searching, and archiving enterprise content, your documents and other content. But we come from a particular perspective which we call intelligent content automation because we believe there's a convergence that's happening in the market between process automation and enterprise content management and intelligent document processing.

In other words, AI can actually understand documents that can actually then launch the appropriate workflow for whatever kind of document that is and be able to identify the various elements and logic within that document and then manage that document through its lifecycle. And so that enables you to intelligently process things like invoices, human resources information, contract information and so on. We believe that this is the next generation of automation that's all-around content.

Our company is one of the larger players in the enterprise content management space, where over a hundred million in revenue. We're a very profitable business. We're headquartered in Bonn, Germany, and we're backed by the Carlyle Group, which, as you know, is one of the world's biggest and most successful private equity groups. Yeah. So, I worked with DRAX and SER worked with DRAX on a recent chief marketing officer search, and we recently appointed Will McInnis in this role. He was the ultimate result of our fantastic search with DRAX, and we're absolutely delighted that he's joined the business.

And Will is an extremely gifted and qualified CMO. He was the CMO at Brandwatch which is a very successful company that had a very successful exit in the social media, you know, monitoring for brand space kind of defines that market. And he was recently CMO of a very innovative start-up in the AI space called Ultimate AI So he's absolutely ideal.

I worked with DRAX along with our chief people officer, very, very closely in this search, and I've known Ruby and Patrick at DRAX for quite a while. We've been looking for the right context to work together, and this was the right context and we really it was a very difficult search. I'm not the easiest person to work with, you know. I know I seem lovely, but it's quite demanding gave a very demanding specification and, you know, wanted somebody who was cool, very hot on the latest demand generation techniques, very hot on how to really amplify the message about how cool a company SER is, somebody who can be part of a transformation and can work miracles without spending massive amounts of money.

Sounds like an impossible task, doesn't it? I got really good guidance from the DRAX team on exactly you know what we should pay and some guidance on, you know, to try and refine some of the things down.

But ultimately, they ended up finding me not just one person that would have fitted the bill, but actually several. But I can tell you it started off with very direct feedback from me and I encourage people to give direct feedback.

And DRAX likes direct feedback and actually takes it and evolves and evolves the process. So, you know, look, I, I don't like this, I don't like that I'm worried about this. I think that. So, we went through, you know, a few candidates in a few phases.

And interestingly, another thing that DRAX does that's different from others is that they have an in-house team that can do an analysis from a number of different angles on personality type and match that against your leadership team. So, they can tell you, is this person going to be a fit in the team and is this person going to be a diverse person in the team versus, you know, very Samey?

And he is very different from me. But I see that as a very positive thing and adding to, you know, diversity of thought in the team. And so, he brings a different aspect. But, you know, a practitioner in this space of a very, very high calibre. So, you know, I can tell you working with DRAX, it's a very structured, and communicative process where direct feedback is valued, it's acted upon, and it's very, very friendly.

It's a lot of fun. We have a lot of laughs. We get things done quickly. We have, you know, at least weekly calls. We're also reviewing profiles and giving feedback all the time. And, you know, I value, as I told them, getting guidance. I don't want to give and have them be, you know, an automaton. I want to get their guidance because they're in the market all the time. Super well connected, I should say. Another good thing about DRAX is they know a lot of people that I know and we're often, you know, triangulating different aspects of the market.

They know private equity really well. They know many of the people that I know. If you like, we have a really nice sort of ad hoc network situation. And that's one of the nice byproducts of this. This is not just a yeah, we'll find you this person. This is a long-term relationship that brings value beyond even this search and is a sort of connected ecosystem type of scenario. So, would I work with them again? Absolutely. And in fact, you know, I continue to have this is just one project in a long-term relationship. But as I see it and I know DRAX also work a lot with other colleagues at the Carlyle, other companies at the Carlyle Group.

00:07:11:03 - 00:07:15:14


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