Forrester analyst Lori Wizdo calls Act-On marketing automation platform founder Raghu Raghavan a “technologist at heart.”

He’ll now have the chance to be closer to his company’s technology.

Raghavan moves from CEO to CTO for the 7-year-old Beaverton, Ore.-based company today. Andy MacMillan, who was named CEO of Crushpath less than five months ago, is replacing Raghavan as CEO.

“I’m the guy who founded this thing, but it doesn’t mean I’m the guy who wants to be CEO forever," ” Raghavan told CMSWire. "I’m very technology focused. We were looking to bring in a leader to be at the helm of the next phase of growth. It is all about product, but it’s also about other things to make things grow successfully.”

Quick Switch

MacMillan left his position at Salesforce in June to take the top spot at Crushpath, a service that helps marketers more easily find leads. He said at the time that he "saw something in Crushpath I just simply had to be a part of," but has apparently changed his mind to take over a larger company.

MacMillan previously served as chief operating officer of the Salesforce product division and senior vice president and general manager of its product. He also held the vice president of product management role at Oracle after it acquired Stellent, where he also served as vice president.

At Act-On, MacMillan is taking over a company that went from 10 employees in 2010 to close to 400 now. Forrester named Act-On as a leader for small marketing teams (along with Salesfusion) and large enterprises (along with Oracle, Marketo, Adobe and Salesforce) in its Lead-To-Revenue Wave report last year. It made Gartner's Magic Quadrant as a "niche player" for CRM lead management.

“Marketing automation really crosses the chasm — in (author) Geoffrey Moore language — of being an intrinsic part of what every marketing department needs to do,” MacMillan said.

It’s about “driving the brand and engaging with your existing install base.” Act-On, he said, has been able to attract great talent and still focus on midsize companies.

Raghavan said MacMillan has a track record for "driving business demand and furthering customer adoption,” and predicted that “his experience and background will be a huge asset" to the company.

Learning Opportunities

True to Midsize

Wizdo, vice president and principal analyst for Forrester, called the executive leadership change for Act-On a “sign of well-managed growth.”  

“Act-On needs a different kind of leader to get to the next level of growth. And kudos to Raghu for realizing this," she said. "I have been told — and I believe — that the decision to step down from the CEO role was Raghu’s. Getting from $5 million to $50 million requires one sort of leadership style. Getting from $50 million to $200 million requires a completely different leadership profile.”

Wizdo said Act-On’s consistent focus has been small companies or small marketing teams in larger companies who have decentralized marketing. She sees the former of those segments as large and growing, the latter probably decreasing. 

Raghavan is particularly proud of Act-On Anywhere, a business productivity application that extends the use of marketing automation across web-based environments.

“They have made smart decisions about the depth of functionality they provide,” Wizdo said of Act-On. “They are aiming for a simple, intuitive, easy-to-use solution that gets the job done for companies with smaller portfolios, marketing teams and sales forces. That means that sometimes, some features — like lead scoring or landing page development — are less ‘functional’ than in a product like Eloqua. It also means that marketing practitioners can use the product as part of their day job – they don’t have to specialize on it.”

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