Over the past 12 years, Bryan Wade has built "the rocket ship of email" at ExactTarget and then "joined the mothership" at Salesforce, where he was most recently Chief Product Officer of Salesforce Marketing Cloud.
Now he's walked away from what he calls "the best software company in the world" to run his own show as CEO of Sigstr, an Indianapolis-based email signature marketing platform. Sigstr, which gives businesses central control over their company’s email signature, has about 25 employees — about 24,975 fewer than Wade's previous employer.
New Position an 'Opportunity for Growth'
He replaces Dan Hanrahan, another ex-ExactTarget employee. Hanrahan will remain with the 2-year-old company as president and will lead strategic partnerships and enterprise relationships.
Wade said he plans to bring “trust and transparency” to Sigstr — and take advantage of a new opportunity for professional growth.
“It comes down to what’s the next phase for me to grow?” he said.
At Salesforce, Wade oversaw product management, product marketing, go-to-market strategy, product vision and user experience for the Salesforce Marketing Cloud.
When he came upon an opportunity to be a CEO in his hometown, he viewed it as a perfect fit.
“It’s about becoming a CEO and building a team. I decided personally and professionally it was time. There were a lot of opportunities in the market but many of them would have required me to move my family.” Wade lives Indianapolis with his wife Michelle and two children, a son and daughter.
'New Channel for Marketers'
Sigstr raised has raised only $2 million in two rounds to date. Company executives plan to raise more money this year to fuel growth and expand their product capabilities.
They said they have has a 550 percent increase in annual recurring revenue in 2016, acquired both the NBA’s Indiana Pacers and introduced Dynamic Campaigns.
Sigstr’s technology gives marketers control of outgoing messages for personalization, content-sharing and assets sharing that ultimately can lead to conversions. It integrates with major CRM and marketing automation systems, Wade said.
Marketers can look up data and see where these customers and prospects are in the lifecycle and then offer them personalized, one-to-one messages.
“It’s a new channel for marketers, an owned media channel,” Wade added. “In advertising, you have to go through algorithms to reach customers. With ours, you’ve already got those things sitting there and marketers aren’t taking advantage of it.”
'Next Frontier for Email'
Marketers can use Sigstr to run campaigns and drive behaviors and ensure consistent branding in email signatures. Human resources departments can leverage it for timely company news and HR-related matters.
“We can put in content and inject content banners, links, new subject lines and append something,” Wade said. “If your brand uses the word 'interactive' and not 'digital' we’ll change the words as it leaves Outlook. It’s related to promotional but it’s human to human.”
Sigstr’s technology will help Wade and his team build what he calls “the next frontier for email personalization, allowing the corporate marketer to control and personalize employee email from the subject line to the signature.”
As for the company, Wade said trust, transparency and giving back will be key themes as he takes over. Community philanthropy is a staple at Salesforce, and Wade said he’s going to bring that approach to Sigstr.
“You have to be very open with customers and employees and share information with them in an open manner,” Wade said. “It makes them feel like they're really coming along with you on the journey. And I want everyone to understand the value they can bring to the organization.”