“There are countless unpredictable forces that can influence the success of an idea, and the only way to know whether one actually works is by testing it.
Hi, Rishi, could you tell us about your professional background?
I’m one of those strange creatures that switched from the B2C world to the B2B space so I hope to bring a bit of a different lens to the conversation.
I started my career in the consumer internet space at companies like Mozilla and Cooliris (acquired by Yahoo). I transitioned into the mobile space in 2007 and joined the founding team of a company called Qik where we built the first mobile video chat application here in the US. We were later acquired by Skype where I was the SPM of the Skype Mobile app.
I then did venture capital for a few years before I got the itch to get back into an operational role. I joined Workato in 2018 to build growth and demand generation for the company.
Tell us about your role at Workato and how you measure success.
I am the SVP of Growth & Marketing for Workato.
My team looks after all channels that drive marketing pipeline for the company. For us this is organic inbound, paid acquisition, SDR outbound, web, and events. Essentially all the first touches when it comes to a prospect sit under one umbrella. We structured things to way as it leads to consistency in messaging as well as the ability to take a coordinated multi-prong approach to demand gen efficiently.
We generally measure our performance by using 2 metrics: 1) opportunity pipeline and 2) ARR by channel.
To accurately assess our pipeline’s strength, we have demand gen and sales align on the criteria that makes for a qualified lead. It is important that this criteria be objective markers when possible (company size, vertical, title, etc). This alignment and objectivity is critical to scaling across larger teams.
In practice, this means a sales rep would meet the lead and confirm that they meet our objective standards before moving them to a specific opportunity stage in our CRM.
It’s also important for us to look at ARR by channel as each of our channels operate differently, whether it’s the types of leads they attract, the speed at which their leads become clients, or the rate at which it converts to closed won.
Given that each channel is unique, we want to treat them differently as we look to benchmark, test, and, ultimately, maximize their respective ARRs.
What is your approach to growth marketing?
Growth, first and foremost, is a philosophy.
It’s about fully embracing a growth mindset and being comfortable with not hitting the nail on the head the first time around. This runs counter to what we’ve been trained to do in academia: find the right answer as quickly as you can. But that’s because, in the real world, we don’t have perfect information. There are countless unpredictable forces that can influence the success of an idea, and the only way to know whether one actually works is by testing it.
The team that tries 27 different ad images paired with 12 different versions of ad copy will always do better than the team that simply ran a couple A/B tests. Your gut instinct will give a hypothesis of where to start, but rapid experimentation is what’s going to lead you to the best answer.
I want my team to feel comfortable with failure so that they can take risks right from the start. I want them to throw hail marys at the beginning of the game so we can get to the biggest impact as quickly as possible.
The second part of growth and marketing is bringing process to it. Product teams for example have strong methodologies to fall on such as scrum/agile and marketing teams can learn from that. For us, we’ve incorporated funnels, benchmarks, backlogs, and sprints for every channel.
A common mistake is thinking that pouring more into the top of the funnel is the only way to increase the final output. It’s often much more effective to optimize steps in a funnel vs adding more at the top.
Here at Workato, we’ve taken this to heart by implementing the following process:
1. Creating funnels for just about any program, campaign, experiment, and role
2. Setting benchmarks for each
3. Establishing a backlog of tests that allow us to improve said benchmarks
4. Running tests in weekly or bi-weekly sprints
5. Rinse and repeat
To summarize, run growth and marketing like a product – continued growth with a predictable cadence, and measurable ROI.
What major trend have you seen in the entire marketing landscape? How does automation fit into that?
The martech landscape has become an over-optimized set of narrow point solutions for every step of the user journey. These point solutions end up leading to more bloat and data silos instead of productivity and gain.
Having an integration tool that can connect your stack and run workflows across these systems helps solve this problem and unlocks new possibilities for pipeline and revenue. Keeping your stack simple (CRM, enrichment, sales engagement/outreach, intrent) with workflows between them can help you achieve new gains at every step of the user journey.
Most marketing orgs know what they need to do and the strategic moves they need to make. It’s solving the last mile of getting actionable data to the right folks at the right time to take action is where the rubber hits the road. More tools makes this worse. A single orchestration tool makes this better.
What are some of the most powerful automations you’ve seen in GTM?
Speed to lead – Getting back to inbound leads in less than 5 mins is imperative to get to them while your product/service is top of mind. We have an automation to bring all relevant data from CRM, enrichment, intent, and the web into a dossier for our sales development team to take action on in Slack so they can act quickly without context switching across platforms.
It’s easier to farm than to hunt – Leveraging product usage data to inform triggers that initiate marketing outreach, sales outreach, or churn-risk reduction depending on certain thresholds of activity within an account.
Event meetings on the trade show floor – The badge scan process at tradeshows is fundamentally broken. It is a long and iterative process to take the leads from the conference, scrub them, pass them into your CRM/database, attribute them, and assign them to the proper reps. Instead, automation helps us bypass this process. Now once we are done chatting with a prospect, we ask them about a convenient time the following week to meet and send them a calendar invite right there and then. There is an email alias in the event invite that triggers an automation that will create an opportunity for that lead in our CRM while sending them a confirmation immediately. We can input notes from the conversation into the invite that will sync directly with our systems so we don’t lose track of what was discussed. It has been game changing for our event ROI.
What advice would you like to give to budding marketers?
Market how you would want to be sold to.
The most underutilized tool in marketing is putting yourself in the shoes of your prospect. Asking ourselves questions like “How would I respond to this email?” or “Would I attend this type of event if a vendor invited me?”. This filter is the single most powerful tool we have as marketers and it’s free 🙂
As marketing leaders, we are so eager to get the word out about our product, features, updates that sometimes we forget that our prospects are people like us. When was the last time you entered your email address to read a 20 page whitepaper?
If you have never been through a buying cycle as a buyer, I would highly recommend shadowing one. Attempting to market or sell without ever being a buyer is like trying to teach without ever being a student.
Workato is the leading Enterprise Automation Platform. Workato enables both business and IT teams to integrate their apps and automate business workflows without compromising security and governance. It enables companies to drive real time outcomes from business events. There is no coding required, and the platform utilizes Machine Learning and patented technology to make the creation and implementation of automations 10X faster than traditional platforms.