Tech Marketer Talks: Geeta Sachdev – CMO, VMTurbo
Geeta Sachdev is the Chief Marketing Officer for VMTurbo. With over 20 years of global marketing experience, Geeta has been a pioneer bringing the sales and marketing high velocity model to the B2B technology market. She initially spearheaded this approach as a senior executive in the Consumer division at Dell, followed by her role as CMO of SolarWinds, and now as CMO of VMTurbo; a rapidly growing company experiencing 177% year-on-year growth as of the end of last quarter, serving key customers such as Salesforce.com, RBC, Tribune Media, Scripps Health, and JP Morgan Chase. Geeta sat down with us to discuss how B2B High Velocity Sales and Marketing is driving VMTurbo’s high growth.
Can you give us a little background on VMTurbo?
VMTurbo is the only IT control system for virtualization and cloud environments. VMTurbo’s Software-Driven Control platform enables organizations to manage cloud and enterprise virtualization environments throughout the IT stack to assure application performance while maximizing infrastructure efficiency. It’s essentially demand management for workloads in the datacenter and cloud.
Can you describe the high velocity sales and marketing model you have implemented?
VMTurbo has a multi-pronged go-to-market model – we have an enterprise model, a channel model, and a velocity model. The velocity motion is built around an inside sales team that are not feet on the street, but who rather build and cultivate pipeline to bookings from leads that they get from marketing plus prospecting. If you think about the traditional marketing and sales handoff, there are many different ways for marketing to get prospects interested. There is search engine optimization, email campaigns, free tools, and third-party content, at which point the hand off occurs to sales to go through positioning, competitive needs discussion, and eventually, a deal. A high velocity model is predicated upon the most efficient ways of getting to the prospect, using online demand generation and content to step in front of demand to then hand off to sales. With this model, we essentially try to get the prospect further down the funnel. We use the same means to get interest from a prospect, but then nurture that prospect and answer their questions around product capabilities, prospect needs, etc. through rich content on our website and external 3rd party sites -with the end goal of encouraging the prospect to download the product. There really is no better way for the prospect to experience VMTurbo’s value proposition other than through the product itself – by downloading it in 15 minutes and seeing the value for themselves. That way, it becomes a much easier discussion for sales to take it from pipeline to close.
How do you measure with a high velocity model?
The key to all of this is ROI measurement every step of the way. As a marketing team every dollar we spend is measured from traffic all the way down to bookings. Every dollar we spend counts — so we have to be very efficient. It’s also a great conversation with sales as it’s a clear and tangible discussion: we invest a certain amount of dollars that result in a certain amount of attributable bookings — therefore we’ll continue to invest in those programs that bring the highest return. With sales it’s all about the numbers and what revenue and bookings did you close, so this type of equation and discussion gets us all on the same page. It really helps strengthen our sales and marketing partnership.
How are you working with third parties to support this model?
From a marketer’s perspective, we need to target all parts of the funnel, and online demand generation is the key to our model. We work with TechTarget in many different ways to enable this targeting. At the same time, it’s also important to drive our brand awareness which can be one of the most challenging things as a newer emerging company. Knowing where our audience is, especially when we have a finite audience that we need to reach, is highly critical. We look to increase our visibility and messaging on third-party sites like TechTarget. You may have very different messaging when building awareness at the top of the funnel than when you’re thinking about building leads. Before prospects can consider you, they need to know who you are. Once there is this awareness, you can go deeper into the communication of what you want them to know about your value proposition and how you solve their pain points. We use TechTarget properties to help us drive that level of awareness through display advertising and specific content opportunities and then scale demand generation through our own means such as email, search, content creation, and community.
With this model, what do you see as integral to your marketing and focus of your overall strategy and goals?
How we drive and scale awareness and ensure that everyone who is in our market knows who VMTurbo is and our unique value proposition in solving their pain points. If users are aware of our story and our unique value proposition, once they have a pain point, they will think of VMTurbo and experience the product themselves. The sales team can then bring it to close. It allows sales to have much more productive initial conversations with our prospective customers.
How do you work with your sales teams to determine goals?
We have this concept called “buses” which are long tables where each sales team sits and drives their business – we also have a “marketing bus” that’s right in the middle of the sales floor, so we can listen to calls and interact closely with the sales teams. So there’s a lot of real-time interaction with sales. From a planning perspective, in Q3, we will build a plan, sign up for lead and pipeline goals, and present it to the broader sales team to ensure that we’re all on the same page. At the end of the day, we have to build a plan that’s going to deliver from a bookings growth rate perspective. We challenge ourselves to aim higher than the company plan so we’re all challenging ourselves to exceed plan and support the sales team.
Do you share the ROI numbers with your TechTarget team?
Transparency is key and I think sharing ROI is the only way we and our media partners can be mutually successful. We share ROI because it provides a level of understanding of the return we’re getting. ROI is how we are evaluated and what we use to make the case for more marketing budget dollars to spend on more programs. If we’re all focused on this one number, we are able to basically make the case for further investments to build on our partnership.
Do you read the content on TechTarget sites and if so how did that factor in your decision to work with us?
Yes, absolutely. There are very few high traffic volume sites in our space that can provide the right level of content to our targeted audience. You can’t scale this on your own. TechTarget is one of the very few players in our space that can provide this.
What’s your content strategy, do you look to third parties to help and what’s the general development strategy you have for your content?
We are making Q3 the “quarter of content” . If you want to build a strong content engine, there are a couple of things we believe we need to do. First, we need to create very interesting and scalable content that can syndicate across multiple properties. Volume of content is important. Second, syndication and working with partners like TechTarget is key. Together we’ve had discussions on how we can create content to put on TechTarget properties that’s fresh and gets our name out there in terms of technology evangelism. We may not even talk about VMTurbo, but instead have folks in our product and engineering teams who are well known in the industry to be the voice in terms of educating on our value proposition. Using the TechTarget platform as a voice for this makes it immensely valuable.
How important do you think sharing customer successes is to your marketing effectiveness? What stage of the buying cycle do you find them most valuable?
There’s nothing more powerful than someone else recommending and validating VMTurbo. We’re investing a lot in our new customer community we call the “Green Circle” which is an online community where customers can be advocates and share their stories about their own experiences with VMTurbo. We find sharing customer successes is particularly valuable further down the funnel when prospects are making shortlists and want to hear firsthand what others in their industry are saying and how successful it has been for them.