Yesterday afternoon, I had a quick conversation with Mark Morel, Procuri's President and CEO. On the call, I talked to him about what hiring Tim Minahan as Senior Vice President of Marketing would mean for his company. In Mark's words, "Attracting a guy like Tim shows our great presence in the market place based on the success we’ve had. From Tim's perspective, it will allow him to execute and apply the great research that he's been carrying out at Aberdeen all of these years."
What is Procuri looking for from Tim? According to Mark, "We're looking to leverage his vast experience in observing and analyzing the marketplace -- from looking at the largest companies down to the smallest. He will help us answer questions such as: what is important to what segment of the market? What is the ideal delivery and business model? What type of functionality is important for what types of customers? This will be invaluable for us. As important, Tim will not just drive our messaging and positioning. He will also be playing a significant product management leadership role as well."
Based on what Mark had to say, I'd call getting Tim a serious coup. I know that many other folks have tried to hire Tim over the years (even recently), so it says a lot that he finally agreed to move to the vendor side of the market by joining Procuri. It's certainly a vote of confidence for the Atlanta-based vendor. But the hiring also brings up another issue. Even before the news was distributed to all of Aberdeen’s clients, I received numerous calls from executives in the industry asking me how Tim will separate the privileged information he learned as a strategic advisor to Procuri's competitors from the public information he learned as an industry analyst talking with customers.
I raised this to Mark on the call, and he does not believe that it will be an issue. When I asked him about, Mark responded by saying, "Procuri has always been a highly ethical company. Morality and ethics are a mantra within our four walls. Given the sensitive nature of recruiting and hiring Tim, we discussed from the start that he would not disclose one iota of non-public information to us. I personally told him that as he was walking our halls, that if someone approached him from Procuri asking about sensitive competitive information, not to share anything with them. I also told him that if this happened, I wanted to know who asked about it. We take this issue very seriously, and feel that Tim is the sole arbiter of what is public and confidential and what is not."
On a different subject, I'm sure that Tim did not come cheap. There was an old rumor from years ago when another analyst firm tried to hire Tim away that their jaw dropped when they learned of his total compensation package (relative to what most analysts made). Now, I believe that many industry analysts are under-compensated relative to their market value, so this is not saying much, but still, it's a big commitment for a rising vendor like Procuri to make the leap to hire someone of Tim's stature. I asked Mark if this was a signal that Procuri was going to ramp up its marketing investments. He responded by saying that, "When we look at our future, our plan is to evangelize the market in a measured way. But we're not going to spend $25 million like Salesforce.com or buy a Super Bowl advertisement. Rather we will do this in a correct and appropriate way to get the name Procuri everywhere that matters to our customers. Our marketing will continue to focus on pushing out our name and business model. We believe that we're the clear leader in the on-demand model for supply management globally, and our marketing will reinforce this."
I've known Tim for nearly a decade, and given his commitment to the sector -- not to mention his unbelievable work ethic -- I have no doubt that he'll be a huge contributor to Procuri, even if this is his first marketing job on the vendor side of the world. Tim has spent the better part of his career listening to customers. I know that this direct feedback has greatly shaped his perspective on the market. By joining Procuri, he'll have the chance to translate these ideas into applications and services to push the Spend Management market forward. Mark summarized this at the end of our call by saying that "We think that bringing Tim on board is really important because he’ll be guiding us based on what the market wants. Tim has been the visionary in the market for what is necessary based on the voice of the customer."