Building Community: B2B Marketing Lessons on Upgrading Your Growth Strategy with SVP of Community & Learning at Automation Anywhere, Kristen Engelhardt

In this episode, we’re talking about how to build community with Automation Anywhere’s SVP of Community and Learning, Kristen Engelhardt. Together, we’re chatting about driving content to one part of your TAC (and what the heck is TAC anyway?), arranging a forum for deeper audience listening, and starting small.

Episode Summary

When does your “audience” become a “community?”

The word “community” might make you think of the relationship you have with your neighbors; a sense of friendliness and having something in common. It’s a word that relates an emotional closeness or bond, even loyalty. We’re talking about how to build that bond with your audience today.

And who better to talk about it with than Automation Anywhere’s SVP of Community and Learning, Kristen Engelhardt. Together, we’re chatting about driving content to one part of your TAC (and what the heck is TAC anyway?), arranging a forum for deeper audience listening, and starting small. So get ready to upgrade your growth strategy with this episode of Remarkable.

About our guest, Kristen Engelhardt

Kristen Engelhardt is SVP of Community and Learning at Automation Anywhere, having joined the company in September, 2021. Prior to her current role, she served as VP of Trailblazer Marketing and Community at Salesforce. She has also worked for companies like PeopleSoft, Cisco and Gartner.

About Automation Anywhere

Automation Anywhere is the leader in intelligent automation solutions that put AI to work across every aspect of an organization. The company’s Automation Success Platform is infused with generative AI and offers process discovery, RPA, end-to-end process orchestration, document processing, and analytics, with a security and governance-first approach. Automation Anywhere empowers organizations worldwide to unleash productivity gains, drive innovation, improve customer service and accelerate business growth. The company is guided by its vision to fuel the future of work by unleashing human potential through intelligent automation.

About Community in Marketing

The idea of community in marketing suggests that customers are more deeply engaged than just purchasing from a company. These customers are aligned with the company’s brand values, mission and brand promise. They are loyal to the brand, recommend it to friends, family and colleagues, write reviews, post about it on social media, and generally evangelize the brand. Like the Apple community where users offer suggestions and answers to customer questions separately from Apple Customer Support.

What is a community flywheel? It’s a community-centered approach to building a brand, in which your brand joins or creates relevant communities that promote amazing experiences and engagement, translating into sales.

To use the community flywheel approach to building your business, there are five key techniques:

  1. Know your communities
  2. Make your brand story talkable
  3. Zoom in on hero products
  4. Fuel the conversation across channels
  5. Make transactions effortless

According to McKinsey, when you’re successfully leveraging the community flywheel approach…

  • More than 75 percent of content about the brand is user generated.
  • The influencer engagement rate—that is, the percentage of viewers who go on to like, comment, or share the content—is greater than 2 percent.
  • More than 4 percent of online traffic is converted to sales.
  • Brand-related posts by either the brand or a consumer go viral at least twice a year (triggered, in some cases, by marketing support).

Key Takeaways

What B2B Companies Can Learn From Automation Anywhere’s Community-Building Strategy:

  • Focus on driving content to one part of your TAC. You get better payoff with a focused approach to community-building. Kristen says, “The most successful communities we've seen are when you identify what part of the TAC you need and want to focus on to drive transformation together. It may be we're going to focus, like in Salesforce on the administrator, and we are going to surround them with the input into the product and the career support and the peer ecosystem to make them wildly successful in their role. And we found out by listening, by hearing what they're trying to solve for, that we could advance their careers and their companies through an investment in them. And in return, they share their expertise, they share their content, they speak on stage for us, they tell our brand story through theirs, but they also help us drive the business. And you get that magic flywheel.”
  • Arrange a forum for deeper audience listening. Create a space to talk with customers and ask questions beyond your product. At Automation Anywhere, they created their Pathfinder Workshop, which is now scaled globally and has had a massive payoff. Kristen says, “We have a bright, hard line between that program and our upsell, our pipe gen, and our version of the ACV. And all of that came about the community workshop as our number one go-to-market lever because we took the leap and listened beyond the product: ‘What are you trying to do as an automation leader?’ So I love that example and the team did a phenomenal job listening, building, iterating together.”
  • Prioritize the four pillars of community building: Destination, programs, content, and learning. These depend on how mature your business is. Kristen says,For an early stage company, don't go out and build a destination right away. Start with the product tour or the dinner series. If you are already mature and you have so many connections and your community, your part of the TAC is saying, ‘Where do I give and get help? Where do I connect with more thought leaders? Where do I get that content?’ That's when you want to invest in the destination. So make sure you're prioritizing your pillars based on where you are and where your community is.”

*“Community is a category creator and an enabler that allows a company like Salesforce, like Automation Anywhere, to build an ecosystem and a job economy. And whether it's in CRM, or it's in automation, or AI, at the end of the day, community is essentially your constituency of people, regardless of role, region, market, title, that you want to use more of what you have to offer, buy more of it, and tell others to do the same, and that's the magic of community. ” - Kristen Engelhardt

*“Who you go and talk to and invest in will be different in an early stage than when you are in hyper growth and you are scaling and you want to make sure that you have a nurtured relationship with your most strategic partners and your most strategic customers. It’s a growth spectrum.”  - Kristen Engelhardt

*”The key is just to know when you're starting out, ‘What problem am I trying to solve, for which stage of growth I'm in, and which sliver, slice, piece of the TAC do I most need to invest in, understand, know, and serve?” - Kristen Engelhardt

*”You do need to invest in yourself first to create that reach. It's just that the level of investment is much lower. It's very low lift and you can pick and choose some very easy start by starting strategies before you have to go and build a 15 million member trailblazer community to drive the type of impact that McKinsey statistics are sharing.“ - Kristen Engelhardt

*”There's a push and a pull. So like, your content is supposed to push your community to react and engage and to talk to each other and to spur conversations. Whereas for community, you have to be listening, you have to be responding, you have to be doing those sort of things.  And it's a very different sort of emotion. ” - Ian Faison

Episode Highlights


Join the Pathfinder Community

Connect with Kristen on LinkedIn

Learn more about Automation Anywhere

About Remarkable!

Remarkable! is created by the team at Caspian Studios, the premier B2B Podcast-as-a-Service company. Caspian creates both nonfiction and fiction series for B2B companies. If you want a fiction series check out our new offering - The Business Thriller - Hollywood style storytelling for B2B. Learn more at

In today’s episode, you heard from Ian Faison (CEO of Caspian Studios), Colin Stamps (Podcast Launch Manager), and Meredith Gooderham (Senior Producer). Remarkable was produced this week by Jess Avellino, mixed by Scott Goodrich, and our theme song is “Solomon” by FALAK.

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