B2B Revenue Acceleration
B2B Revenue Acceleration

Episode · 2 years ago

62: How Sales & Marketing Teams Can Use Persona-Based Marketing w/ Sri Sundaralingam


Often, messaging is focused on a product and its features — but it shouldn’t be. Messaging should be focused on a persona, and how that product (or service) impacts them at their level of an organization.


It’s all part of a strategy Sri Sundaralingam calls “persona-based marketing,” which Sri unpacks in this episode.


Sri is a CMO Advisor & Consultant for cybersecurity startups, with previous head of marketing positions at Symantec, Shape Security, and others.


What we talked about:

  • What is persona-based marketing?
  • How persona-based marketing enhances the effectiveness of ABM
  • Example of persona-based marketing without ABM
  • Example of persona-based marketing with ABM
  • Why the sales team has the answers on who your personas are
  • Driving persona-based marketing alignment with the sales team


This is an interview with Sri Sundaralingam, CMO Advisor & Consultant for cybersecurity startups.


To hear this interview, and many more like it, you can subscribe to The B2B Revenue Acceleration Podcast on Apple Podcasts, on Spotify, or on our website.

You were listening to bb revenue acceleration, a podcast dedicated helping software executives stay on the cutting edge of sales and marketing in their industry. Let's get into the show. Hi, welcome to be to be Raven your acceleration. My name is already m with shape, and I'm here today with stree soon, Darling, GAM seem, advisor and consults and for technology companies in the San Francisco Bay area. Straight. How are you today? Doing Great, early in and thank you for having me on your podcast. That's an absolute pleasure. So that you've been a leading quite a few product and marketing function walking from small to bid and large size bb companies of other less fifteen years and today the topic that we want to discuss with you is around personal base marketing. But before we go into details, with a little bit of a tradition at the beginning of every single podcast, well, we ask our guests to introduce himself or self, as well as tell us a little bit more about what they're currently doing at the moment. Yeah, so, as you meagine, know led the product and marketing functions at large and light compies and startups in the past two teen years. And this is focusing on areas. They product marketing, product management, technical marketing, demand generation, to name few the areas, and really focusing mainly on bt B businesses working for when their companies selling to large, medium small size organizations, and this is an example. Some of the companies that work for our Semantic Corporation, recently shape security, late stage start up today, sister systems, to name a few, and you know, mainly focused on industries in the cyber security, information security area. They d not working as well as enterprise software market. So that's kind of been my overall area expertise as wonderful. Yeah, we've been doing some work with some of the company you mentioned. Are Good on the something...

...of what you what you've been doing so so, Strae, I know you are big advocate of person at base marketing and it would be great if you could briefly introduce the concept of of personal base marketing to Ology and sent share with us how we can help on the certain marketing fronts. Basically, yes, lutely, really passionate about this area early and personal really means know you buy right. Such a foundational element for sales and marketing and sometimes they tend to forget that. So no, your buy there, and what I mean by that is when you're partly large into a lot of enterprise organization or medium or small size organizations, you know you need to understand the different buyers right for your particular product area that you're wanting to sell, and and knowing the buyer means knowing their pain point, you know, knowing what a critical priorities projects that they're driving and how to speak their language, and it is such a foundational element in terms of how you need to build your marketing, messaging and positioning, how you need to enable your sales team to be able to talk to different types of buyers within the organization, be able to empathize with them and know which pain points they're going through and to be able to tell the right user stories and, you know, really develop a credibility, because that early to mid part of the sales cycle is about relating to the buyer, you know, knowing what they're going through and then being able to come up with the valid proposition that will drive the you know, the sales transaction through that. That makes perfect sense and a much of the cells team do you do you involve in the finding at the outset. So let's say you start on your role, your brand new in in, let's say, a storage company, and you've never done storage before. Of course you've got an idea of who is whoo and you who you should sell to, but how...

...much involvement from the cells team do you need, or would you require, in order to define a person that days marketing approach? I would say quit a bit, because the sales managers and sales engineers who are prospecting into the account they're able to, you know, get to the different types of personas within those accounts and, you know, be able to, if they've been at that, you know, at the job for a while right, be able to have those conversation tunes. So they're really a good starting point, right, to talk to the sales team to understand who are you talking with in the different accounts, right, who has a budget versus who's the evaluator and you know, who'll make the final decision and provide the recommendation. So starting with the sales team is a great first, you know, phase. And then beyond, you know, the sales team, there are other ways to do your market research as well, you know, and those reports are all these very helpful when they look at their different analyst films that focus on, you know, different industry segments. So these are, like you typical industry analyst like Donner, forester, IDC and so on, that would publish reports on different market segments. I would would typically use them to understand the buyers. And then there's additional research you can do as a market here to collect all the data points you need to Kinde oft get to a place where you start to formulate a strategy based on, you know, who are the the main the buyers? WHO The budget holder? WHO's evaluator? WHO's a key decision kept? That makes perfect sense, and then to engage your sells team. So I'm asking your lots of question around the around the sales people, because I think sometimes we walk with great Mark Tears and people've got to fantastic at this. But unfortunately, and I will go on to account, Base Marketing AC count by setting in a minute. But See makely your person that base marketing will be as successful as a sells team using it in the right way and getting the results. So you said some Keypi is. What...

...tactics do you use to actunly get yourselves date to use orders free subjects you've done, to not just carry on doing what they've been doing but as them some feat is very difficult for sales people, which is basically changing. I'm going to speak the more people in the same account. So how do you get them to shake hands with you and be involved in supporting you? Threat Approach? Right. So one of the areas sales team always struggles with this and, as you mentioned, the market hears you can come up with great strategies but when you roll it out, you know the same messaging doesn't work at different levels. Right. Yeah, I know we talk about it convas marketing shortly, holly, you take a lot into pressure organization. If you're talking to the cyber security information security markets, right, if you're talking to engineer or manager versus you know you're talking to a director of BP or CIS, so who maybe the ultimate budget holder, you have to use different language, writing and going back to pain points. You know what is relevant to them in terms of the day to day business that you're bringing to the table. So you know, a lot of sales team, I've seen over and O again they've struggled with that. Is because the market here, if they haven't formulated the right strategy and given them the right messaging points and assets to be able to carry out that conversation and develop that to it becomes very difficult for sales team and they typically go up and develop some of that on their own. So when you formally to strategy, I think what I would advise the sitting down with your sales team explaining how you're going to go about developing the messaging at those different levels and showing them what the output you're going to produce. Will Get by it, you know, for you and they will see. I mean, if this is the sales team that's been in play, they've been engaging with customers, they will see the value. But even with others the tenure experience sales, we will know that they have to use different language, different discussion points at different levels and you know, should be,...

...you know, straightforward. We to get that buy, but your point out really and get that by show them what you're going to produce, how you're going to enable them, and then you go do it. You will get, you know, strong handshake and you know sort of the collaboration going on and then you do have to, you know, adjust the strategy as you go forward. But yeah, definitely that early engagement and agreement is very critical when you produced a strategy to be successful and, you know, to be able to implement. Did it make it work? Of course that makes sense. As coming back to to the point I was making about the the account base marketing, account base setting. So it's in. Everybody is dissociating the concept of I can't base everything, which is which is putting your prospecting the center of your marketing and serves approach, which is logic. But you know, Lens, some people are dissociating it and and I do think that actually, from from from what we are discussing today person that base marketing is actually a supper important part of the concept. You know, if you don't stop by on those, on the people and the function and the challenge in that function, how come out come, your very proposition can support them in being a better professional, then the rest of you can base marketing, the rest of you can be sitting. May Not make sense. So could you elaborate on on on that connection between ABM and and and personal base marketing is is that really a difference? Yes, and you could do persona based marketing without having to do account based marketing. Right. So let's say, for the sake of discussion here, you've decided your go to market strategy is you're going to, you know, go after line enterprise organizations, regardless of different industries. You're going to target an your organization larger than thousand employees rate, and you can employ your persona based marketing with that and be successful to putting on the product that you're taking the market. Another scenario could be you can get even more targeted without going to account base marketing, where you could say with the large enterprise, you know, accounts. I'm going to focus on...

...this top by verticals, right this top by industries, financial services, great, healthcare on, and these five you're going to go really luck in. The next level after that is the account based marketing that you're mentioning, which is really say look, out of all of the alloted enterprise accounts, there are these fivezero accounts that we need to sell and it you could have filtered that based on industries, rate, based on geographical region and so forth. There you're really getting targeted, right. So cons some of the base marketing can be employed regardless of using a count based marketing or not. When you do use the account based marketing, especially when you go up a lot of enterprise organization, it could be a lot more impact and powerful when you also, you know, added Persona based marketing, because typically in a lot of enterprise organization, as we talked about earlier, you're going to have different levels of fires or influencers you're going to be working with, from your sort of the major evaluate or level to somebody perhaps midmage most level, holding the budget. So we need apply the persona based marketing. You could produce a lot more high impact results for Acom Marketing, account based marketing in a tactic that you employ. Yeah, now I agree with you. I agree with you and coming to do this influence and evaluate urs and think you mentioned the people get the budget and all that. So we are big believers, maybe what to traditional and to all school but to are big believers in the fact that to be successful in search process it's very important to have a connection with the authority. So the see level contact that that CIO, CIS or CTEO and in the line of business, CMOS, Cro ceocfo is ext t exeter right. Of course, the the larger the organization, the more difficult it is to market to these people, to sell to the people. Two, to have some time in fount of just be and I also know that in summer...

...in some veralty cores particular, if we look at if you look at infrastructure security, when you look at the c CEO, the CIS, who was just two titles, everybody wants to speak to them. So I believe that those guys are probably getting approach a lot and probably not responding towards of prospect but coming to my question, and in your opinion, all Ma Cheffor, should you put into targeting, influence so and key evaluators in that person that based marketing approach? Yeah, great question earlier. And Look, the reality is when you're at sea level right, whether you're see so or Cteo, you have very limited time, right, and you're not going to be the person who's going to be doing the initial research and evaluation of your different initiatives that you have rolled out. So it's very important not to overly pivot marketing, you know, to the c level by and now I'm not saying you don't market to the C level, by absolutely do you employ the right tactics rate when you're using a cant base marketing and you target to sea level, buyer or what's really important also is to understand, you know, all different initiatives within the organization. Who's going to be the folks doing the research, right, the initial research, and right, who are going to be the doing the evaluation? And you need to target those people, those those persona right. And again, going back to myself, a security you know, information security areas. You could be an engineer doing the initial research, right, a security engineer or security architect. And you know, the person who's going to short list the winders to bring them in for proof of concept could be somebody at manager level, not not, you know, directly meet your see level for that matter. So it's very important to be able to develop the right material, right, iducate them, especially when you're developing the marketing...

...funnel, right, engage those folk to be able to get invited to the party right. But when you're in these large enterprise organization or even midsize organization, you do need to influence, you know, who are actually going to be holding the budget. When you get to that stage, you want to be, you know, successful in converting the opportunities. So right. So I think again, you employ the right tactics. You know, CEE level folks don't read emails very much. They just going to afford it. Sometimes they may or may not take a phone call. They may be will link to attend networking events with other see little folks. So it's like, how do you employ the right tactics? Yes, you should target them, but really know. You know who in the organizations are going to, you know, perform the evaluations and the recommendations so that you have a balance approach shop. Yeah, it's not a one trick putty that that makes perfects and appreciate that so quickly. Coming to Jennifer of our conversation today. So the really appreciate your time and orgins that you you shall with us at that's great fall audience. If anyone wants to get in touch with you free and he's not carrying on the that conversation or I'll seemply potentially discuss your selvie season, what you could have felt to that company. What is the best way to to get in touch with you? Yeah, definitely, thank you for offering that. The best plays to faces me through Linkedin and just find me on Linkedin. Send me a message, connect with me and I'm happy to engage and two questions, as well as sect this particular opportunities to work with different companies that would be excited to do that as well. Okay, that's one enough ful. Well, once again, thank you very much for a time. It was absolutely a pleasure to have you on the show today. Street great. Thank you early and really appreciate it and into the discussion with you. operatics has redefined the meaning of revenue generation for technology companies worldwide. While the traditional concepts of building and managing inside sales teams inhouse has existed for many years, companies are struggling with a lack of focus, agility and scale required in...

...today's fast and complex world of enterprise technology sales. See How operatics can help your company accelerate pipeline at operatics dotnet. You've been listening to be to be revenue acceleration. To ensure that you never miss an episode, subscribe to the show in your favorite podcast player. Thank you so much for listening. Until next time,.

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