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Q&A with Tara Pawlak: Senior Vice President of Marketing at Revenue Grid

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Recently named one of SalesIntel’sTop 100 Female B2B SaaS Pipeline Pioneers of 2024,” Tara Pawlak, Senior Vice President of Marketing at Revenue Grid, shares insights into her career journey, challenges faced as a female leader in B2B SaaS, and strategies for success.

Congratulations on winning this prestigious honor as a Top 100 Female B2B SaaS Pipeline Pioneer! Can you provide an overview of your career journey leading up to your current role as Senior Vice President of Marketing at Revenue Grid?

I consider myself an “intentional marketer” as I have two degrees in marketing – an undergraduate degree and an MBA. When I first started my career, I had very niche roles. I was a media coordinator, digital merchandiser and eventually a SEO specialist. I gained a lot of experience in functional areas out of pure interest. From there, I moved up to be a generalist marketer manager in B2B tech and eventually a people leader running global teams. I’ve always worked for startups because I find it exciting and rewarding that you constantly are challenged and need to figure out what you need to do to problem solve and move the needle.

What initially attracted you to the field of marketing, particularly within the B2B SaaS sector?

I found myself drawn to the B2B SaaS sector somewhat by chance and have remained engaged in it due to its unique challenges compared to B2C. Navigating buying committees and budget allocations adds a layer of complexity that I find intellectually stimulating. I thrive on strategy, operations, team dynamics, and execution, and I’m at my best when I’m driving impactful outcomes.

Is there anything specific that drew you to your current role and what is the main selling point of Revenue Grid that you believe marketing should hang its hat on?

From a marketing standpoint, I was initially drawn to Revenue Grid’s product because of its emphasis on visibility and transparency. As someone who values collaboration and problem-solving, the platform’s ability to facilitate these aspects across entire go-to-market organizations greatly appealed to me. Transparency is particularly challenging yet essential in today’s GTM landscape, and Revenue Grid has the potential to significantly enhance a company’s pathway. I’m a people helper and I view my role in marketing as facilitating this value and ultimately aiding in propelling our customers toward success.

Could you describe a pivotal moment or experience in your career that significantly influenced your trajectory in marketing?

One pivotal experience in my career was when I joined Job Target, which was later acquired by Community Brands. It was during this time that I had the privilege of working alongside Tristan Jordan, an exceptional mentor who set incredibly high standards. His mentorship, characterized by support, coaching, and empowerment, played a crucial role in my professional growth and he really helped me grow over those years. Building a marketing team from the ground up at Community Brands was a transformative journey, and Tristan’s guidance fundamentally altered the trajectory of my success.

How have you navigated challenges and setbacks throughout your career, particularly as a female leader in a male-dominated industry like B2B SaaS?

Maintaining a strong voice has been paramount in navigating challenges and I believe it’s your best asset particularly as a female leader in a male-dominated industry. I firmly believe in being authentic and unafraid to voice my opinions while also prioritizing forging strong relationships. Building strong relationships fosters mutual respect and understanding, which is crucial in overcoming obstacles. Additionally, I encourage women to embrace disagreement and feedback constructively, advocating for their perspectives while remaining open to learning and growth. My approach centers on fostering alignment between marketing and sales, even in the face of differing opinions, to demonstrate my value and contribution to the conversation. You may not always agree with differing feedback but you need to continue to work hard for everyone to realize you deserve to be there.

What strategies or approaches have you found most effective in driving growth and success within your marketing teams and initiatives?

In driving growth and success within marketing teams, I’ve learned that not everything can be quantified, and resilience is key. Establishing clear goals and metrics for each campaign is essential, as it provides a framework for evaluation and learning. Even if a campaign is a failure, having predefined goals and metrics allows for constructive feedback and provides key learnings for the next campaign for better alignment in the future. Building a culture of accountability and continuous improvement is vital for long-term success.

How do you stay informed about emerging trends and changes in the B2B SaaS landscape, and how do you incorporate these insights into your marketing strategies?

Remaining growth-minded and open to new ideas is critical in staying informed about emerging trends in the B2B SaaS landscape. Actively seeking out opportunities for learning and development, whether through volunteering for projects or participating in relevant communities and events, helps broaden my perspective and knowledge base. Embracing a growth mindset also means being comfortable with experimentation and accepting the possibility of failure and I strongly believe good marketing leaders do this all the time. Figuring out where you can make the biggest impact is something that is always top of mind for myself simply because you have to wear so many hats as a marketer. By constantly testing and iterating on new ideas, I ensure that my marketing strategies remain agile and adaptive to industry shifts.

You touched on this a bit already but can you talk more about the importance of mentorship and networking in your career development, and how it has influenced your growth as a leader?

Mentorship and networking have been instrumental in my career development and I believe it’s a very exciting time in marketing right now with networking playing such a huge role in today’s world. Marketers need to know a lot of things about so many aspects – a little bit of everything to be successful and there are so many resources available for young marketers particularly in today’s digital age. Slack communities offer opportunities for continuous learning and collaboration. Investing in mentorship and networking is not only investing in yourself but also fosters a sense of community and shared learning among peers. Networking serves as an ongoing source of education and inspiration. I will always be a life-long learner.

Finally, what legacy do you hope to leave as a marketing leader, and what are your aspirations for the future of your career in this dynamic field?

As a people-first leader, my primary focus is on empowering and supporting my team members to succeed. I firmly believe that investing in people fosters a culture of excellence and drives long-term business success. I aspire to be known for my commitment to nurturing talent, particularly among women in their careers and I aim to pay it forward by continuing to advocate for individuals in marketing and leveraging my platform to create opportunities for growth and advancement.