Marti Nyman recently joined NDC Technologies as President and strategic growth leader. Nyman succeeds Dave Roland, who served as NDC’s President since 2016. Nyman was most recently Vice President and Chief Growth Officer for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, responsible for the growth and successful delivery of high-impact innovative products and services for the Minnesota healthcare market.
In an interview given to Wire & Cable India, Marti Nyman talks about his role at NDC, efficient leadership, expansion of NDC’s market presence in Asia and market trends in the near future.
Here are a few excerpts from the interview.
Wire & Cable India: You have extensive experience increasing enterprise value for Fortune 500 companies, as well as other publicly and privately held companies in a range of industries. Do you think that the corporate experience you have gained over the years will help you in delivering the goods for NDC?
Marti Nyman: Most definitely. What I’ve learned in working across five different industries (energy, telecom/technology, consumer retail, healthcare and professional services) is that all companies desire to grow and, while the individual circumstances of each of the markets may vary, they all share a number of common attributes that determine whether the company will profitably grow and succeed. Included in these attributes are things such as a clear and compelling value proposition for the customers they serve; however, the value proposition must be objectively defined by what’s important to the customer. Growth-minded firms also focus on creating a sustainable competitive advantage, with the emphasis on sustainable – something that enables us to serve as a market leader and an organizational culture that is relentlessly focused on serving the customer and seeking to get better and better at this every year. These are just a few things that I’ve experienced in the various leadership roles I’ve held and they’re what I’m excited about in leveraging here at NDC.
WCI: What features make a good leader? Would you describe yourself as a good corporate leader?
MN: A good leader faithfully executes the vision and strategy, effectively meeting the stated goals and objec- tives. A great leader is someone who, by their presence and performance in the role, creates a legacy – a legacy for the people who work at the company, which becomes both a point of pride and provides a sense of meaning and purpose to their work. A legacy for the market, where the impact of their products, quality and service sets a new standard by which all other offerings are measured. And a legacy for the industry, not just delivering a product or service, but fundamentally reshaping what’s possible in that industry. That’s what great leaders do. Great leaders also make one of their highest priorities the growth and development of the people in the organization. Unfortunately, many individuals in leadership roles miss this vital responsibility. Without people growth there is no company growth. No company growth means no future. It’s important to keep in mind that doing all of what I just said takes time, commitment and a persistent pursuit of becoming a better leader – it won’t just happen over- night.
As to the second question, I consider myself to have been blessed to have worked for some well-respected companies and with amazing teams – and this has given me a solid founda- tion from which I lead. But I respect the responsibility of leadership too much to ever assume that I’m “done” – it’s a continual work in progress and I’ll never stop learning or finding new ways to grow my leadership skills and abilities.
WCI: Could you tell us a little bit about your strategy for delivering value to your customers and making NDC a vibrant place to work?
MN: I’ll share the high-level strategy of what we’re doing to deliver value to our customers. It consists of establishing a shared, company- wide responsibility and the need for us all to be more customer-centric and growth-minded. The job of delivering an exceptional offering to our customers is not just the job of sales, or customer service or production. It’s everyone’s role. We each have an opportunity to influence what our customers experience when they interact with NDC. Everything from the way we provide our quotations, to our communications, to on-site installation and commissioning, to our post-sales support to invoicing – all of these can impact the customer experience and we’re focusing the entirety of our company on this. When we get that right, growth will follow. The second area of focus in our strategy will be to revitalize our product line. But instead of centering our efforts on what we think the market needs, we’re going to engage our customers – both existing and prospective – in providing the feedback and insights that’ll drive our product and service development efforts. Our customers are living in an extremely dynamic and pressure-filled world, and we need to deliver solutions that help them address those challenges more effectively, consistently and sustainably. There are several initiatives that are being developed as we speak, that’ll guide us on this path.
WCI: Sales and marketing plays a dynamic role in the growth of a company. Could you tell us about your plan or strategy for driving the marketing and sales growth activities of NDC Technologies?
MN: On the marketing side, we’re spending a considerable amount of effort on several areas: market communications (including application notes, case studies and editorial), more applicable use of social media and the leveraging of multiple mediums for communicating our value and benefits (e.g., video, webinars, podcasts, etc.). Although we live in a B2B, industrial market, customers still desire to know the value we provide and how we can help solve their problems. Our marketing efforts will be increasing the focus on activities that will help to accomplish this. We’re also going to be revisiting most of our market- facing materials to make sure that they effectively express the full value of what we do. In my time here, I’ve come to see that there are many core assets that we have that are not receiving the full measure and attention that they deserve. On the sales side, I’m excited about bringing John Perry on board to lead our global sales and marketing efforts. John has an incredible wealth of experience in leading high – performing sales organizations and he’s going to bring a new level of energy and focus to our global sales efforts. His background in sales tools and value-selling will fit wonderfully with our increased efforts to communicate the full value that NDC brings – which starts with the measurement and control solution, but extends well beyond. Look for more exciting things from John in the coming months.
WCI: What is the most stressful part about selling across global markets? Are you planning to expand NDC’s market presence in Asia, especially India and China?
MN: I would say that the most stressful part of selling across global markets is that while each of them may share some common attributes (with other regions), they have their own unique practices and preferences. The challenge comes in making sure that, despite these differences, we’re able to solve their problems in a way that is of great value to our customer, and perhaps to their end customer, so they receive the full benefit of our solution. This is not a unique aspect of serving global markets, but a challenge, nevertheless. On the other side, however, is the opportunity to learn from these global markets and bring those learnings across borders. For example, how a customer may have solved a unique problem in Hyderabad may be of great interest to a customer in Houston.
As for expansion plans, we’ve historically had a strong presence in the China market as well as in India; and given the economic activity taking place in those regions, we will continue to pursue growth opportuni- ties there. The good news is that we’ll be able to do this from a position of strength, by leveraging our in-country teams and resources.
WCI: Do you worry about any unintended consequences from what you are trying to achieve?
MN: That’s an interesting question. I’m not sure they qualify as unin- tended consequences, but I do know that when the culture and direction of a company shifts towards intentionally serving the customer and driving more growth opportunities, the culture of the company must also change. The old ways of operating are in conflict with this new focus and cannot be sustained – they must be replaced with the new direction. As a result, the executive leadership team and I are intentionally focusing on the cultural aspects of this transfor- mation, including the way we develop talent, how we communicate inter- nally, how we hold each other accountable for the results and how we meet our commitments and deadlines. But as I mentioned, this is a very intentional part of our efforts and not unintended.
WCI: Do internationally renowned industrial goods events, trade fairs, and exhibitions yield worthwhile results?
MN: The right events do. While it’s always good to participate in industry events to exhibit your latest solutions and share the value you bring to the marketplace, some shows are more valuable and impactful than others. And like all companies, we don’t have an unlimited budget (in terms of people and money) to attend every event. But we will continue to participate in the events and venues that enable us to meet the maximum number of quality customer contacts.
WCI: Could you share your views on the wire and cable industry? What market trends do you foresee in the near future?
MN: At a very high level, the wire and cable industry is continuing to address the confluence of five dynamics: product cost pressures (keeping COGS low), quality expectations of end markets, pressure on decreasing operating expense budgets, ever stringent capital expenditures and the ability to find resources in tight labor markets. While these aren’t necessarily new trends, they are what we’re continuing to see, in greater magnitude, from our customers. And it’s these trends that will drive us to deliver better solutions that help our customers more effectively address these drivers. Beyond those trends, we believe that, increasingly, the value that customers are looking for will be found in the information or insights that are generated from our gauging solutions. Note that there’s an important subtlety here – there’s plenty of data being generated in industrial process control systems. But it’s just data, which by itself has limited value and impact. It’s when data becomes information or provides insight, that it really adds value. Like many industries, the winning firms are those who can find new and powerful ways to translate the data they generate into meaningful, valuable operating information. As a crude simplification, Google set out to be a powerful and effective search engine, but its enterprise value really took off when they realized that the data (search queries) was able to be translated into value – for both the individual searching for something and the merchants (or content creators) who delivered something of high relevance.
WCI: Is there anything else you would like to add?
MN: I thought these were thoughtful and relevant questions and I’m grateful for the opportunity to spend some time with you in answering them. Thank you!