Sridhar Ramanathan

September 16, 2020

Video Transcript

Speaker: Sridhar Ramanathan, Co-founder and Managing Director, Aventi Group

Please introduce yourself and tell us why you chose Product Marketing Community?

Sridhar Ramanathan: Hi. I'm Sridhar Ramanathan and I'm the co founder of aventi group. We are a product marketing agency based here in Silicon Valley, and we have over 100 professional product marketers on staff. And I'm excited about the product marketing community because it's really here to nurture and develop product marketers so that they could become truly growth architects.

What is targeting? Is it the same thing as "firmographics"?

Sridhar Ramanathan: So let's talk about targeting a lot of people. Start with firmographics. And the good news is that according to Circle Research, 91% of B2B marketers do use market segmentation for targeting purposes. The bad news is that 81% of them only rely on firmographics. And when I say firmographics, I'm referring to Industry vertical. Also companies size and maybe geography. Those three tend to be most predominantly used. We recommend. Actually that targeting is far more than just firmographics. Let's start with firmographics because that is important. Instead of just those three, we recommend a total of seven criteria for firmographics. Number one is company size So if you can ideally get annual revenue, that's great. Good proxy. Could be employees and certain companies. The number two criterion is industry vertical. Definitely. So maybe it's healthcare financial services, telecom technology, etc so vertical would be very important for a number of clients. Customers of yours number three would be geography and region, and I don't mean just country I mean region. So perhaps it's in the US Northeast or in Europe. It could be the Nordic region as an example. Number four criterion is legal status So is it a publicly traded firm that you're targeting? Or are you targeting privately held companies? Maybe you're going after nonprofits, perhaps government agencies like the federal government or municipal government, state organizations, education, etc. So get very clear on what the legal status is. Number five movie growth rate is the target you're going after growing. Are they stable or maybe even declining? Number six is persona in your targeting. We need to be very granular. Let's go after specific job titles. Are you talking about the CIO? Or maybe the chief information Security officer? Chief Risk officer, Chief financial officer. So let's get very granular on the title. Number seven is the department. So within the organization you're targeting, what department are we going after? Is it I t. Is that customer care? Is it HR or sales Marketing Engineering. So the more you can cover all seven of these criteria, the better off you are on firmographics and we'll cover now.

Why do product marketers need to go beyond firmographics?

Sridhar Ramanathan: so it's important to go beyond firmographics when you think of targeting because the more laser focused you are on your target prospect, the higher your ROI I will be on your marketing spent. So let's add a couple more criteria to our list. We talked about seven firmographics criteria. Couple of what we're gonna cover right now is one is strategic initiatives, and two is adjacent purchases. So strategic initiatives. If you do a little bit of Internet research, you can learn a lot more about your target company, and you could find out if they have some big strategic initiatives like GDPR for example digital transformation. This is very hot these last few years. Hybrid Cloud, 5G, IoT, ai Artificial intelligence machine learning. All of these are trends are areas of spend right now that our growth areas so you can also find out more about these strategic initiatives through public filing reports. So if the company's publicly traded, they have a 10-K report annual report and a lot of times in the narrative you'll find out some of their key initiatives. You can also go to customer forums like G2, Gartner Peer Insights and even vendors like Trust Radius and Capterra that have fantastic granularity on your target customers and exactly what some of their initiatives might be. You can also have your demand gen company, your list vendor, for example, crawl linkedin post to find out specific clues around these kinds of important strategic initiatives that might be part of the companyies you're going after demand base and Tech Target or another couple organizations that do a very nice job for targeting services, and they look on user behavior. They'll look at purchase intention. All of those give you clues about some of these big strategic initiatives that have typical lot of budget and resource and urgency behind them. The second one we want to add is adjacent purchase. Your target company might have already deployed some technology that is, ancillary or adjacent to the category that you are in. So an example of that would be in the AI space business intelligence space SAP. Hana is a solution that's deployed very broadly. Your target firm might be a bolt on two s a p hana. So you wanna look at the SAP Hana installed base. Or maybe you're looking to do a bolt onto salesforce.com So, one of the search criteria you could have for your list firm, this rental firm is Do they have SAP and Salesforce installed? Third one might be HR. So perhaps you're targeting companies that have workday or some very large HR solutions SAP Successfactors as an example. So these all are examples of what I call adjacent purchases. They give you a clue about the infrastructure that's deployed in that which you may want to attach on top of.

Why is it imperative to consider your competition as you target where to play and how to win?

Sridhar Ramanathan: Okay, We've covered nine of the 10 criteria for targeting the first seven of which, of course, were about firma graphics. Then we added strategic initiatives, and then we also added purchases adjacent purchases. Number 10 is actually most important in my mind, and that's choosing where you want to do competitive battle absolutely essential. And we think of competition. I have throat. Three buckets, I think about one is the do nothing scenario where the customer has inertia and doesn't want to buy necessarily. Number two is a flanking strategy against your computer, and number three is a frontal attack. Let's go through each one of these. So for do nothing, customer may have quite a bit of inertia or status quo is sufficient. They may not have a compelling reason in their mind to make a purchase. So in targeting, you will want to look at evidence that this customer might be prepared to overcome that inertia. So look for other technologies. They may have deployed that our early indicators of the category that you're in and might be conditioning the purchase behavior for you to come in and overcome the do nothing competitors. Er number two is a flanking strategy. Maybe your formidable competitors, is too strong to take on head on, but you could attack them where they're weak. Good example with the Splunk, Splunk went after IBM in the security space, specifically Security Information event management. Splunk did not go head to head with IBM. They went through the I T organization, where they had longstanding built out relationships and the IT organization. And then they laterally moved into security and Splunk chipped away at IBM strong both in security. So it's a great example of flanking, and you may wish to do that when your competitors is a very entrenched and very difficult to unseat. The third approach, of course, is a frontal attack. This is where you have a strong value problem, excellent differentiation, and you feel like you could really go head to head and good win ratio. good example. A couple examples come to mind. One is Octa. Octa is in the security space, specifically identity access management. They went after IBM frontally and they went after them with some very strong differentiators. similarly, Salesforce did that, ofcourse. You all remember Salesforce went after Oracle and IBM. If you remember that the big logo with an X through it, saying no software. So they were turning the competitors upside down by this frontal attack, taking on the categories sort of on brand software move to the cloud. So if you feel like you've got something like that, then you could spend your money on differentiation. You don't have to category building, just differentiate. So when it comes to targeting, target your primary competitors where they have established accounts where you might build on seat. So those are three additional criteria to add to the number 10 around competition. I hope these 10 criteria in total. I'll give you a lot more clarity and focus to pick your customers. That's what targeting is all about, so I wish you all the best.

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