Sakina Najmi, Vice President Marketing at Sandvik’s Applied Manufacturing Technologies division has been recognized as one of the top 20 most influential women in B2B tech. As a newcomer to Sandvik, we sat down with her to get to know her.
How would you describe yourself?
I’m a growth marketer - a marketer with a laser focus of tightly aligning marketing with the commercial ambitions of business. A desire for consistent and positive growth and development is the compass that guides me in both my personal and professional life. I am a passionate advocate of customer-centric marketing – putting customers at the heart of any campaign – and finding new, innovative ways to engage and inspire them and increase the level and longevity of their loyalty to a brand.
What’s it like working in a male-dominated industry?
For me, the important thing is to have the right people with the right skills and attitude and for everyone to be recognized on the basis of their ability and contribution, not gender. My experience of Sandvik so far in this regard has been positive. Everyone has been extremely respectful, and I haven’t felt like I don’t belong here or have anything to prove above the skills and experience I am expected to have. There have certainly been many times when I am the only woman in the room, but I have never felt that I am not listened to or that my views and ideas are not respected.
What are you passionate about (work related)?
Success! This can have multiple meanings. Success in my new role, the individual success of each member of my team, successful products and solutions, successful customers as a result as their investment in our products, and ultimately, the success of our business.
I have a vision for the next 12 months based on creating a truly world-class marketing department that delivers constant growth for our customers and our business through the flawless execution of scalable digital marketing campaigns. I love data and have always used robust data that has been thoroughly analyzed and stress tested to inform and guide my marketing strategy. By testing and deeply analyzing the results, we often find unexpected and interesting patterns in our data. We can then use these discoveries to form hypotheses and then run experiments to determine whether those hypotheses can be effectively harnessed in our marketing. The results of those experiments are often the most valuable inputs into data-driven decision making.
What is the inspiring challenge today?
The inspiring and big challenge today is finding the right technology to use big data in the best way possible so we can create the most meaningful and relevant conversations with our customers. The irony is there are so many continual advances in technology it can be difficult to keep up and be confident of your marketing technology investment. For example, AI and machine learning are hot topics today and in my opinion are incredibly potent tools, which will eventually enable the experience a customer has with a business or brand to be a truly deep and personal one. But the challenge is how to introduce these ‘hot ideas and technologies’ to transform the way we market our products and solutions in an industry where things are still done in a very traditional way. It’s keeping me awake at night (in a good way). It is a delicate balance to achieve and deliver and there’s some distance to go between where we are today and where we can ultimately get to. But, I am determined to get us there!
What is surprising about Sandvik?
It’s a thrilling time to be in marketing and these exciting and emerging technologies give all of us at Sandvik a great opportunity to reinvent the way we express ourselves as a business and interact with customers and the wider industry. Sandvik has an incredible heritage of innovation in manufacturing. In my humble opinion, it now needs to use this culture of innovative thinking that has made it such a success and apply it to the way we analyze, engage with, and sell to, our customers. We need to become a leader in the way we digitally transform not just our products, but also the business models we use to market and sell these products. If we do this, we won’t be just looking towards the future, we will be playing a leading role in defining it.