Hello, I’m Kerry Guard, and welcome to Tea Time with Tech Marketing Leaders.
Welcome back to season 11!
I hope you're able to listen to my previous episodes with Hana, Kaya, Alex, Chris, and Dani’s great conversations around what marketing means to them and how they're finding success for their brands.
In this episode, I get to hang out with Rob Neumann, where we dig into his unique approach to Account-Based Marketing. Unique in his ability to personalize his marketing based on what he knows of his audience, which is a unique and niche. Not what we’re used to the cyber security and data side so it’s nice to hear of other approaches outside of these industries and maybe find opportunities to apply it.
This conversation is especially special because we’re talking just a week or so after Russia invaded Ukraine and we take a moment to sit and chat through what that means and the impact it’s had on Rob and his company from a people standpoint, which as a people-first company and my mission to bring people first to as many people as possible.
Rob is the Digital Leader of CSS Commerce. He works to create the most effective, uniquely innovative solution that will build your business, handle more traffic and transactions, move more clients to your platform and give you a real insight into your business. Basically, eCommerce for B2B. Rob knows the only way to make B2B transactional like e-commerce is to approach his clients with turnkey solutions as they are all different.
Here's my conversation with Rob. Let's take a listen.
Kerry Guard: Hello, Rob. Thank you for joining me on Tea Time with Tech Marketing leaders.
Rob Neumann: Good morning and thank you so much for having me, Kerry.
Kerry Guard: I'm looking forward to our conversation, but why don't you tell our listeners before we get there? What do you do? And how'd you got there?
Rob Neumann: I will try to keep it short. I'm a partner in an eCommerce solution provider. We provide primarily mid to large enterprises building B2B, eCommerce, and back-end systems. It's a growing and exciting market, but it takes a little work to get in front of these people. B2B can be challenging. It's not a wide-based marketing approach compared to B2C. The way I got here is the culmination of my whole career, starting as an engineer moving into finance, marketing, and working for some other company to learn how to sell like every entrepreneur. I feel confident about selling because every leader sells. I've been an entrepreneur for almost 15 years. I've been self-employed for a while. We've had CSS commerce now for three years.
Kerry Guard: That's quite the journey.
Rob Neumann: Yes, it is. The journey is long when you begin to have a 30-plus-year career. I left out a few things, but overall, a technical, and I read to run two ad agencies—the soup to nuts of a company I've done and have learned a lot because of it. Therefore, I have a few philosophies and good ideas that kept me in business. This is a good time to be in my market, and I'm having a lot of fun which is important in what you do having fun.
Kerry Guard: I agree. That is completely what matters. I have to know because I can't help myself. Why do you leave engineering for finance?
Rob Neumann: Every engineer will tell you the equations are a lot easier in finance. I started as an engineer with Xerox Corporation. I did manufacturing, product engineering and a variety of different things. They said, “Would you like to go get a master's degree?” And “ Would you like another engineering degree? Or “Would you like an MBA?” I said that those MBA people make more money than I do. I got a finance degre. I went to finance and global logistics and got involved with eCommerce with Xerox. It was simple, and they made more money. I noticed that product marketing people in Xerox were having more fun than the finance people but making as much money. I went there, and it’s a straightforward reason I did those things.
Kerry Guard: It makes a ton of sense. It all compounds in terms of the experience it gives you and the engineering mindset into how you think through finance to bring it into the fun of marketing.
Rob Neumann: It does, and back then, we didn't hop jobs as much. But I was fortunate to be part of the leadership program, which allowed me to have a new and completely effectively new job every year and a half. Training throughout the company was a great experience. Although I had 17 years with Xerox part of it, I felt like I had a brand new position every year and a half, even as a college student. It was a great career.
Kerry Guard: I feel like I'm going to tangent here for a hot second. You have such a unique background and have been at a company for 17 years, which is unheard of these days. Because of that change, one year and a half to two-year changes are prevalent anymore. You have to find that elsewhere. But do you feel that's what kept it interesting for you?
Rob Neumann: Yeah, honestly, part of the reason I'm an entrepreneur is I do get bored easily. I like to solve problems, and part of the fun of eCommerce is complex eCommerce. It's about finding a unique solution, not just turning out a Shopify. It's a very complex solution connecting the unique business of every single one of our clients. We build $500 billion clients, and they've got a lot of touchpoints. The fun is the solution, helping and seeing the improvement, and that’s important.
One of the things that kept me engaged in the company was the opportunity for both growth and interesting problems, which is important. However, I will say, because I ran an ad agency, and everyone was trying to be in and out, like in eight months. I've told people who work for me young in their first or second job career to stay a little longer. I promised one of them. We don't pay a lot in marketing at agencies, but I promised her to give me two years. She will learn enough that she’ll go get a $75,000 job at the end of the two years, and I know she’s going to leave, but I will have had the opportunity to give her enough knowledge that she’ll be valuable to someone else. We Job hop a lot, but I always look for what I am doing, the tools, what I am going to learn, and why this job is valuable to my career. I want to jump because they gave me a 10% raise, which is not a good reason for my experience in hiring and everything else. That's not a good reason to jump. You're learning and being challenged, and you have a good boss, good leader, and manager, stay.
Most people leave a company because their boss is a pain. If it's not fun, it's not fun. But people who worked for me, I still reach out on their birthdays, and we have great relationships. I recognize that not everyone will be able to stay with us. It's about a two way, me giving them value and them providing value to the company. You have to be valuable to advance, and that's one thing that some folks missed in their career early on, is they're not following. They've got to develop value too.
Kerry Guard: It is such a good point. As business owners or team leaders, we are looking at our team and people, trying to figure out how to keep them hungry and keep them wanting to learn more. I think that's important. And I love what you said about Xerox and your ability to do that. I think that's still something we need to figure out how to cultivate. And even though they might not stay with us for 17 years, we know at least the story,
Rob Neumann: At least two to three, especially if you're looking at a guy in his lower 50s who's looking at a resume. You're not going to stay with me. If all you have is job-hopping, it creates an eyebrow that says this is someone I want to work and invest with and then lose what I've invested. A year and a half to two years of work are six months to learn the job, six months to contribute, and six months to get great, and the company gets a real return of bang for the buck because you're good at it and that's fair in those terms. A year and a half to two years is the number. If you found a great fit, and you like what you do, and want to do this, then spend the time learning it. Because if you do that, and you have some real skills, you'll like the young lady I said that you would earn some real money when you leave. But if all you do is stay eight months, you will get a 10% raise. In some ways, I'd suggest you hamstring yourself from your future by not learning your craft.
Kerry Guard: I love that. In terms of what's going on for you now, Rob. At your company, what's one challenge you're currently facing?
Rob Neumann: Hiring. I've gotten good at hiring, and I think of myself as a great boss. People want to work for us, but the truth is that our labor costs have gone up with developers by 30%. I like the inflation is 7.9%, and every business owner I've talked to is like, no.
Our developers are up 30% and just across the board. It's more expensive to find talent. There's great demand for it, which is fine, but passing on even 15% to your client is really difficult. Hiring is a major problem, but the way we're handling it was not going to increase prices by 15% or look for 10%, and then get new clients and have a rate that's appropriate for today. Finding new clients is challenging in my business. The sales cycle can be six months, nine months, on average. Sometimes things move faster, interestingly, because of the environment where everyone is waking up because of COVID to eCommerce. In some cases, I think that has cut down to the three-month mark. In a large-scale six-figure B2B business blazing fast, three months is pretty darn fast. It's typically six to nine or twelve months of effort, and therefore that's a big expense for the company to try and do so. The second one I know we want to get to is that I had to learn how to market and sell in COVID, which is very different from now. Everyone has zoom fatigue. We had our webinar, and we had an NFL football player and CIOs. We pulled out the stops to try, and we did it on a shoestring, which was amazing. We've switched back to account-based management and account-based marketing strategy to attract people who aren't going to work anymore. Keeping your customers is a top priority in this business, and we're very successful in having done that and growing those accounts as a quick account-based management story.
My first entrepreneurial effort was joining a one-man ad shop, and my first effort came in as a business partner to grow as we doubled the amount of money we were dealing with every account. Don't forget your customers to look for how can you serve them better. Acquiring customers, understanding your value proposition, what they are looking for, and how they want to be sold have completely changed. We’re in a post-COVID and tentatively trying to get back into personal sales. The advantage I have is that the decision-makers in these companies are my peers, and they're generally 50 years old. Therefore, we believe heavily in actually going out and trying to visit people.
We make an effort to do that because it's still about personal one-to-one. Do I want to do business with you? Can you solve my problem? Can you provide the kinds of solutions? But then it comes down to, do I trust you? Are you giving me advice I can trust? We're privileged in many cases, and we're trying to sell a solution. One of our strategies is to come in as a consultant and help them evaluate all our competition.
We've been successful several different times. It's because we've developed trust in giving honest assessments and opinions, trying to do the best thing for our clients. And with that reputation and approach, you develop trust, which is important. There's a business book At the SPEED of Trust that I truly believe in because sales is a one-to-one game in business to business. One of the things we do is, identify and know exactly who our niche is. It's strange for a Houston, Texas company, but our customers are in the Midwest. They are distributors and manufacturers of old blind tech. They produce widgets, actuators, pumps, and pipes, and they distribute sporting goods, and one is an agricultural distributor. These are not fancy businesses, and they tend to be family second generation, maybe the founder, but typically the second generation family business, running a half a billion-dollar business, and these folks are in their 40s because they're more tech-savvy. Whereas the more corporate ones that we deal with have older decision-makers. So we know our customers, who they are, where they are, and we believe we have a solution they want, leading us to account-based marketing.
Kerry Guard: Let's sit here for a second. How did you find your audience? Did you build something and then try and go figure out who would buy this thing? And then hope that they would come? Or did you know that you were building this thing specifically for these types of people who came first in terms of the ticket?
Rob Neumann: No, you ascribe too much process to our intention. When my partner and I started this company, I was a big believer and had a few clients first. We had some leads and some things. It was no strategy whatsoever, and it was, who will pay us to get this started? And it was essentially a couple of sales and marketing. We want a deal, and they were like, oh, no, now we actually have to deliver it. We hired employee number one, who is our lead architect and a VP in the company. He helped us do this, convince someone we could do it. It was accidental, and then one followed, and the other. We just began to go, and we have real success in this niche. It's a terrible thing to say, but every client wants to know, “Who have you done that is like me? Can you solve my problem?” In some ways, you can get stuck in a niche. We've developed a new product offering that is much wide to give us a little bit of breath in the market. But, we know that this demand isn't going away. This sector of the economy is the most laggard in eCommerce adoption. Therefore, it has great big opportunities.
Kerry Guard: I think that's so helpful. Because I feel like sometimes we set out thinking we know our audience, and who wants to buy this thing and ends up being somebody completely different that we're sort of ignoring. I love how you paid attention to your audience, and you know them down to the individuals you're talking to and what's important to them and talking about them. That's what's coming through to me.
Rob Neumann: Thank you. Case studies are important, and being able to prove that this is what we did for this company. It's attractive to certain companies when I look for opportunities to speak or meet at particular places that are opening up again. I'm looking for the same kind of people who goes there. What are they trying to learn? I have developed some unique perspectives on trade show marketing. For example, in my first software company, we did a lot of trade shows, but I came to the decision that if you're a small company, don't give pen giveaways. I don't give any of that if you want to talk to me, we'll have a conversation. I'll give you a nice thank you gift. I'd rather go that way, but you know, you've got so many people that are low level, not decision-makers, they go around and collect 10s And then stress balls, and so you know, I'm much more focused on trying to focus on the people I want to talk to not a general approach.
Kerry Guard: This brings us into account-based marketing because account marketing starts with accounts you want to work with instead of marketing to the broad public and then having the weave through the people who are then coming to find you. How do you quickly identify who your audience is? How do you identify the accounts you want to work with?
Rob Neumann: The good news is, we live in a very researchable world. Everything is online, so we use the tools LinkedIn Sales Navigator. I'm looking for privately held companies VP or above connections. In these types of industries, this size of revenue will grab you 200 of those, and we will begin by offering content. Not just the, hey, I want to connect to you, but we're always a big believer in your need to give value first and to get value back. Give to get is what my business partner has always called it. And we've run our company that way. We try to offer some superior content, short webinar, some particular study, or some of those kinds of things to offer. We've expanded our newsletter, which is packed with facts. It's not just you promoted some. It has nothing to do with what it's packed with. Here are some facts and some interesting things, and this is something we're doing. We've expanded that on LinkedIn, and I started getting invited to some things. So we use those tools, and we follow up. If we can't find their email and everything that will use Zoom info, we'll start finding everything out about them.
Kerry Guard: Question for you about LinkedIn because I'm a big LinkedIn person, and that's how we got connected. I’m a fan of LinkedIn, but I've been asked, and I've been getting the question from other people. And I'm curious about your take on this. Are you using any other channels? Because if you're only using LinkedIn, do you feel you're missing out on your audience in some capacity for those who might not have LinkedIn or using it?
Rob Neumann: I know my audience, and 45 to 55-year-old men, primarily in manufacturing, don't tweet. I'm interested in some things that may be Elon Musk tweets, but it hasn't encouraged me to get on there and see it. We don't watch a lot of YouTube. We don't make decisions on Facebook. You need to understand your audience. The 60 to 65-year-old founders certainly don't prefer a phone call; believe it or not, they'd rather get a phone call.
Our primary method of reaching that group of people in laggard tech. In particular industry, they're Ohio people, and they like connection. They're not in California, not in New York City, and they're not even in Chicago. They tend to be rural, and most of our clients are in the middle of nowhere manufacturing place. They tend to be relational. We will try one to one approach. Now, that starts broad, and we'll identify 200, we'll try to have a relevant discussion and invite them. We'll follow up with a series of content just like everyone else. We look for permission, we connect, and after giving content, we direct one to one. Hopefully, they'll start following my posts and things. We work a lot, really hard on that. Contrary to popular belief, we email, and it's not spam. Although people mark it, there is no spam act for business emails, there is for your Gmail, but if I'm sending it to your business email, there is no spam act. I believe in email, trying to get people to sign up for my newsletters and email. I will send emails, and we'll follow up with these people. And again, try to offer value and invite them to do various things we don't get over. We don't do a ton of it. We have to wait until they're ready to buy. So finding out ready to buy is where conferences and trade shows come in this business where people are researching. But we do a heavy job of trying, and we use SharpSpring Tech. I used to be a reseller of it. I know who came to my website, and I can track down the IP and company, which typically means that they are looking for answers, which puts them into my funnel. After we've sent some content, it's personal emails and LinkedIn. And depending on the industry, like AG, we'll call them. We'd love just to stop by and buy a cup of coffee because we're in the area. Now the benefit is we are in the area. Because everyone we're going to see is in a relatively small geographic area. I'd love to have more than one client in Texas, and that client fits the exact profile, which is plumbing distribution, pipes, and toilets. It's not exciting stuff. But online is revolutionizing everything. We aim for that demographic, and we have great stories to tell, which is important.
Kerry Guard: You keep saying the value of the content that you're bringing. You mentioned case studies and webinars. What are you talking about in these? Outside of case studies, but in webinars and other content you're bringing to the table. What do you resonate with?
Rob Neumann: When I'm doing video or blog, I talk about things that aren't necessarily eCommerce to get an Operations Director, or something interesting to an eCommerce or try to talk about the problems they face, and it's not always necessarily eCommerce. I'll talk a lot about the supply chain.
Unfortunately, I was involved in the international supply chain for Xerox. I have a good understanding of what the triggers are. And I will talk about how eCommerce provides better visibility for your inventory management. It's not what other people are talking about. I try to think about if I can sit here and say something incredibly boring, like how headless eCommerce will become revolutionaries in the future. Everyone else is talking about it and wouldn't read it. I'm in the industry, and say, when you're searching for a solution, it's irrelevant. They're not down the rabbit hole of do I need a headless eCommerce solution. Customers don't think that way. Customers think about I have inventory problems and can't get freakin stuff from China. That affected one of our customers to where they were dead in COVID. They were struggling because they couldn't get supplies. How do you change the inventory? How do you change warehousing? How does eCommerce affect that? What happens to your salespeople? When do you bring on eCommerce? There is some resistance. Many of our clients are like, well, if we implement this big eCommerce, what are our salespeople going to do. I'll explain and take a little bit of challenge conflict is good. It makes your selling a little easier and frees up your salespeople to get bigger deals rather than just quarter taking and deep down. Every CEO and business owner believes that their salespeople are terrible. They may have one guy, they're like, okay, but deep down, they're like they could be doing more or working harder. Now, that may or may not, but I'm going to tell you that it's one of those deeply held beliefs. And I'm not above feeding into it. There's Ogilvy who said, “Love me or hate me but don't be indifferent about me.” A famous advertising adage was the same in the sale. You either exploit excitement, revenue, and positive growth or talk about wasting money these people aren't producing for you. It's about honestly resonating with your customers, their needs, and some of their deeply held beliefs. I was working a little consulting with an ethnic hair care company, and there were a lot of deeply held beliefs about how they sell into the CDS is of the world or what are they going to do with an online marketplace. Every business owner, even the second and third generation, as they've tried to book how it was started. There's a nervousness about moving to something new. And you have to address that as well.
Kerry Guard: This is yes to everything you're saying. As marketers, we tend to write about the product and the content and the problems that the product will solve a lot of times. Not necessarily what I want to be thoughtful about here. Intentional acts, I think you are prob, are about the problems your individuals face in their job and day-to-day. So, regardless of what your product can or can't do, trust that you're talking about—thinking about what's keeping them up at night and do you bring knowledge to help them navigate that. And maybe it'll impact your product and what your product can do, but maybe it won't, and that's okay, too. I love that. Especially if you're talking about building trust, and you're doing it one-to-one.
Rob Neumann: I used to say, why is it important to the customer. It's important to us, but why is it important to the customer? Now, different levels of a customer have different concerns. If I'm talking to a product manager or an eCommerce manager, their concerns are not about salespeople. Their concern is I have a million skews. I have assembly parts. I've got to handle a huge number of complex parts, and it's unmanageable. I spend days dealing with updates or getting the new content up is an extraordinary task that my leadership does not understand. How do you cut 90% of the time out of building your product catalog? How do you handle a million SKUs and still do it fast on your eCommerce platform? Those are technical questions, but it goes to how they accomplish their job, and we have to speak to both. Our newsletter will address a lot of those things, and you have to understand who in your company addresses each thing. I'm a business owner. Business owner to business owner, business owner to VP, and then we'll have some of our staff write some of the more technical pieces bylines. And we're not afraid to share other people's good content. It helps us because everyone knows content is hard. It's a lot of work.
Kerry Guard: There is so much emphasis on it now, especially these days, and its importance. Our newsletter isn't about any of our content. We'll drip it in if something comes up that we think is powerful, but it's really about what's happening, what happened last week, and what's major parts of the news of what people are talking about. A lot of our clients are in cybersecurity. We're putting a lot of news in there that has nothing to do with marketing but about cybersecurity and the Ukraine war and how that's impacting the industry. I agree about leveling other people's content that's powerful and being relevant to getting people the news and the information they need as fast as possible.
Rob Neumann: I think that speaking to those things is important. Two of our customers get hacked by Russian hackers and get held hostage. Unfortunately, they do not understand how cornfed Indiana businesspeople react to being held, hostage. They will spend more to fix the problem than they will to save you money, and they did, and it was painful. It was very painful, but there was no way for Pay Per Click to pay a ransom. It's not going to happen.
The hackers need to understand their market better. The Ukraine war has certainly affected us. I have developers in Ukraine and the IT infrastructure. I don't think people understand how many Ukrainian developers in Kharkiv support the United States. We are a global economy, and it's more than Russian oil. I've been to every one of those countries personally. I like it as my personal goal is to visit everyone who works for us worldwide. And I'm working on it hard, trust me. But getting people to Poland, getting people set up with temporary places to stay, or sometimes. For our Ukrainian, how do we just keep you safe, and how do we help your family. Those are the areas that engender, and we do it because it's the thing. People talk about businesses like family. I think that's a little far. In my business, you are family first. For the last decade, I've had people working from home. And we all work to take care of our families, not the other way around. If someone has a family need, I've always told them to go, and need to take care of their family. We are a tight-knit team, and we care about each other. So helping people is the thing to do, and it absorbed a lot of my time. I'm not going to talk about how we've done things that people will never forget. And that's one way we keep people for three years.
Kerry Guard: I so enjoyed this conversation. And it's so how you said so many important things that I think in a post COVID world, we have to figure out how to connect beyond the masses, make it personal and find ways to people want relationships now they want to feel connected. They want to feel belonging, and as the marketers and facilitators of that, we want to make this purchase, and I just love what you're doing. Thank you.
Rob Neumann: Thank you for having me. I told you, I enjoy talking about anything. But I hope we've provided value. My goal in these things is to give some perspective that has worked for me, and I hope your listeners enjoy it. Thank you.
Kerry Guard: Before we close out, I have my people's first questions, my frequent because you're more than your job. What you do and say is to pull back the curtain. So in the last two years, Rob, what's one hobby you've picked up given the pandemic and are going upside down and topsy turvy?
Rob Neumann: It's probably a hobby you wouldn't expect. But I travel heavily. I look for places I can go internationally. My daughter's in college, and she was home. My attitude was if I ever hit silver status with the airline, that's traveling too much. Unless I'm of the highest status every year, I'm not traveling enough. As I said, it's my goal to visit everyone in the company. I did visit a number of places. As soon as Croatia opened up and dropped, I'll give you an example. It's heavy COVID requirements. I was there, and the first day in May is the first start of the tourist season. It's the weirdest thing. But I got off the plane, and they had TV cameras and gave us flowers and gifts. It's a fabulous country, and it was empty. It's been fabulous, travelling heavily during COVID because there's no one there, and you can spend time seeing the things you want to see. And then the second thing is, looking for opportunities to get together, and everyone is craving that personal connection, even the opportunity to talk. It's a big deal.
Kerry Guard: When you are with your team or your business partner, and you're shooting some movies in the office and riffing, what song do you want to play overhead to set the vibe of being together?
Rob Neumann: I have to figure out how to couch this so, and believe it or not, it is a little before my time, but there was this incredible TV show with Shatner and George Foreman, the boxer, and they travel all over the world. George Foreman is a massive Abba fan, and he would warm up before every fight to dancing queen. So, believe it or not, I am a huge Abba fan. I will be going to London for the Abba experience this summer. It's anything energetic by Abba. Mamma Mia, you name it, and I sing it, and my business partner does too. We're weird. I admit it, but I still love it.
Kerry Guard: I like to add it to our Spotify playlist so everybody can get that. I have to be of the hasn't been playing now all day. Now that the world is opening up and you can travel anywhere. You've gone to Croatia, where else do you want to go? What's next on your list?
Rob Neumann: I'm flying into Munich to visit. As an entrepreneur, you always combine business and pleasure. Flying into Munich to visit one of our partner companies, I'll be driving down to noise Feinstein to see the castle that Disney based their castle on. I've never been there. I'll go to Austria. Salzburg is one of my favorite cities, so Europe is finally getting open. And then I'll be on my way to Santorini with my girlfriend and to Greece, and it's beautiful. I haven't been to Egypt. I want to go to Rome and Israel. I'm heavily focused on Europe, and she lives there. But I go to Mexico, and it’s awesome all the time living in Texas. It's a two-hour plane ride, and you get awesome food. They're pretty COVID open. So those things kept me sane. I go as often as possible. I went to Peru, which was heavily COVID closed. It's an interesting story.
Kerry Guard: Yeah, I bet what stories you have.So good to meet you out. Thank you for hanging out with me and sharing your stories and journey. I appreciate you. Thank you so much.
Rob Neumann: I appreciate the opportunity, and obviously, it was a lot of fun. Thank you, Kerry.
That was my conversation with Rob Neumann. It takes a turn at the end there, and I just didn't see it come in, but so powerful and meaningful, especially now as we all look around to find ways to help. Thank you, Rob, for sharing your story.
If you'd like to learn more about Rob Neumann and CSS commerce, find Rob Neumann on LinkedIn and connect and experience the personalization for yourself.
In the next episode, I chat with Jada Holst. I love this story because it's the farm world to the big city because the marketing industry is at a crossroads now where we need to figure out how to bring new talent in, and this talent will be found in the most unexpected of places like in Jada stories, so go freshen up your tea while autoplay takes you there to my conversation with Jada.
Thank you for tuning in to season 11!
This episode is brought to you by MKG Marketing, our digital marketing agency that helps cybersecurity and data companies get found via transparent measurable digital marketing.
It's hosted by me, Kerry Guard, CEO, and co-founder of MKG. Music mix and mastering were done by Austin Ellis.
If you'd like to be a guest, please visit mkgmarketinginc.com to apply.
Rob Neumann is CSS Commerce's Managing Partner. His experience as an engineer, financier, entrepreneur, and board member has sharpened his business acumen. He has over 25 years of experience in manufacturing, corporate strategy, marketing, sales and channel development, and IT, and software expertise. His twenty years in Houston have seen him work with the 21 largest electric utilities in North America, and advise energy services companies, including oil and gas, petrochemical, and technology companies – giving him a unique understanding of the energy space's growth, connectedness, and community. Rob works with serial entrepreneurs to maximize their investment by bringing growth innovation and digital effectiveness to portfolio companies. Neumann's expertise is in digital solutions for productivity, growth, and efficiency.