At Blend, we believe the key to digital transformation in the financial services industry is the ability to build personalized human connections with customers, and at the center of this is breakthrough technology. In that spirit of connection, we’re excited to share that Naman Khan is joining Blend as our new Head of Marketing.
Naman brings a great set of experience leading marketing teams at Microsoft, Autodesk, Salesforce, and Dropbox. He’ll focus on evolving our corporate narrative as we continue to grow beyond our core mortgage solution, build our longer-term brand identity, and provide highly tailored experiences during the buyer journey. We’re excited to have Naman on the Blend Leadership Team and know his experience across product marketing, demand generation, and brand will help unlock the power of Blend’s cloud-based platform for our customers. We hope you enjoy getting to know Naman as much as we did.
Q. Tell us a bit about your career path. How did you get into marketing?
I grew up in wonderful Toronto, Canada and actually first started my career in enterprise sales at Microsoft. My first exposure to marketing was while attending a sales enablement session at the corporate campus in Redmond, Washington. A marketing manager was speaking to us, a sales audience of 100+ sellers, and I was just blown away by how impressive this person was. This person seemed to know everything about the target customer, the competition, the market trends, and more. I saw how marketing was in the middle of it all — across product, licensing, pricing, growth, and sales — and that was super compelling for me. Looking back now, that moment represented the start of my marketing journey. Ironically, that marketing manager is still at Microsoft and is the CMO today.
Q. What excites you about Blend?
So, I’d say that there is a special class of “I just can’t believe someone hasn’t built a better way to do this yet” problems that are out there. Often, these problems fall into areas like healthcare, education, or the public sector — super tough problems in highly regulated industries.
- Why does this medical specialist not know what my family doctor knows about me?
- Do I seriously need to provide a printed copy of my financial records as proof?
Solving problems of this caliber is what I wanted to work on next, and helping transform the financial services industry to provide the simple, easy, and personalized experiences customers expect today was really inspiring. I even sent Nima [editor’s note: Head of Blend Nima Ghamsari] a random email back in 2020 saying “Hey, I love what the team is doing at Blend, hire me!” I hadn’t cold emailed a founder before and knew it probably wouldn’t work, but here I am two years later.
Q. B2B banking software can be a relatively complex business, and people don't always understand what we do. How do you approach this?
Well, a good starting point is defining the audiences we want to reach and understanding why they hold the perception that they currently hold. Why do they think of Blend as a mortgage-only solution? What has been our message to them? Has it been consistent? How has that message been promoted and over what timeframe?
A clear and opinionated corporate message is super important for standing out in the market, and I think it’s even more critical for complex businesses. It’s actually easier to explain what you do to someone if you have an hour, it’s much tougher if you have five minutes. I find it’s often a balance between completeness versus simplicity — it’s tough to leave out all the great stuff your product can do but you also have to consider your audience and how they will consume your message. Building such a narrative is also a cross-company process, bringing together product, sales, customer success, business development, and more.
Once the corporate message is defined, then it’s all about consistency. Everything from sales calls, case studies, blogs, events, and more should all share the same corporate message. This is how you become known for the message you want to tell, all of these channels working together amplify the message. Companies like Salesforce do this masterfully, attending an event in Tokyo or Berlin is remarkably the same experience.
Q. What is our biggest story to tell?
Well, I’m not sure just yet, I’ll need to spend some time with our customers, our sales, success, and product teams before I get too opinionated. However, I do know that the technology at Blend unlocks incredible value, not just for our customers, but by enabling personalized and effortless experiences for our customers’ customers. The value that we enable spans across individuals, families, and even entire communities, which is pretty amazing.
As we tell our story to customers and prospects, sharing the end value we enable them to provide can be very powerful. Particularly earlier in the sales cycle (we marketers call this top of the funnel) when you are trying to build awareness and start to establish the basis for trust, end-user stories can be quite effective. At that stage, it’s not about your product, lines of business, or even benefits — it’s all about easy-to-understand, humanized stories that represent who you are as a brand. Whether it’s sharing how we helped someone access credit for the first time, get a second car for their growing family, or unlock equity to start the business they’ve always wanted, end-user stories can build powerful impressions unlike any other approach.