A Conversation with Raj Khera
In today’s conversation, we chat with Raj Khera, the head of growth at SalesIntel. Raj gives us insights from a long career in SaaS marketing into everything from using content to optimize the customer funnel to the struggles of scaling a new business.
SalesIntel is a revenue acceleration platform that helps people find, reach, and win their ideal customers. The idea behind it is to save businesses an immense amount of time locating contact information and buyer intent information so that they can drive revenue faster. We can predict a lot of the buyer intent signals, and we couple that with contact information so you can reach out to companies who could potentially be looking for your specific types of products and services.
We've found that when people use our service, they've seen response rates increase dramatically. Where people used to get 0.6 or 0.8% response rates, that jumps to 6 or 8% response rates.
We integrate with Salesforce, so you can create all kinds of wonderful reports that can show you the people you need to talk to and their latest contact information. Or, if you have a form-fill with somebody's name, we can help you get their phone number and all kinds of other insights, like how many employees they have, their ballpark revenue, what tools they use—we actually track that. So, you can find your ideal client profile (ICP) much faster and find people who match your ICP much faster.
In terms of competition, we are an ideal alternative to ZoomInfo: We get many, many clients who pick us over ZoomInfo because we provide an all-inclusive package.
I've founded several other companies in the past. As head of growth, I'm really working on developing the pipeline, accelerating our sales, and delivering value to our customers.
All of the marketing falls under growth, and then we have a separate VP of sales. In terms of the team, we split things up by performance marketing, content marketing, design, special projects, and, hopefully soon, event marketing. Content plays a huge part in everything we do. For your sales teams to be successful, you have to have really good content; for your success teams to be successful, they also have to have good content.
We've got different metrics for different team members. The metrics would include how many leads we're driving, how many of those are converting into demos, and how many of those demos are converting into sales. So, your standard MQLs and SQLs. Then there's the deal sizes. We've also got an SEO team, so we write content with a very specific purpose. One thing we measure is, "If we're getting this much traffic, what happens if we add these additional pieces of content optimized for SEO?"
We use SEM Rush, Salesforce, and HubSpot CRM, and we use our own tool to reach out to people as well.
When you're in a fast-growth environment, one of the challenges is actually finding the right team members to help accelerate your growth. If you looked at my LinkedIn profile, you'd see repeated posts for new job openings that we're creating. Hiring team members fast enough and getting them onboarded is a challenge. So, we're working on building onboarding processes—we've got to make sure that we're building in a very structured, methodical way.
When you're writing content, you don't always have to use paid tools. If you just go to Google and type in something in the search bar, the Google auto suggest tool gives you a whole list of other potential searches. One clever technique is if you're writing a piece of content on one topic, type words related to a topic inside Google, and it will come back to you with related terms that people are searching on that match what you just typed in. Then, in your content, you can then take those auto-suggest ideas and use them as section headings. This helps to make your piece optimized for terms that Google knows people are searching for—so that's a quick hack.
When managing the team and managing the environment of fast growth, you have to look at what you're trying to accomplish in terms of a customer journey. So if someone out there could be a potential prospect for us and they don't even know that they could be a prospect, we have to figure out what problem they’re trying to solve and ask ourselves where they would go to find solutions. That's where we try to be—whether that's advertising in different publications or if it's just creating content that could potentially address a wide variety of solutions that could drive people to our website.
But then, once they're there, we want them to experience something. And it all depends on who the decision makers are. We ask ourselves, "Who in the organization could be potential champions? And what kind of content or information could we share with them?" So the CFO is going to look at stuff related to how much it's going to cost. A manager might look for something completely different, like how it’s operated. A user of your software would ask, “Can I get support when I need it? Is this going to solve this specific end-to-end problem?" They might not be the decision maker, but they're certainly the decision influencer. So when you do an account-based marketing strategy, you want to know what that org chart looks like so you can start sending messaging that addresses these different people inside the group with the messages they would want to hear.
What we're constantly doing is testing different lead generation campaigns. We'll invest in a new keyword strategy, for instance, and we have to ask ourselves, "Alright, if we're advertising for this keyword, is that working?" And we've tried different keywords that haven't worked. Maybe the keyword drove people to the page, but then they didn't convert. So, is there something on the page that didn't resonate with them?
That’s why I go back to that big customer journey. Our objective is to then figure out ways to see where in the funnel these leads are. What we'll do is drip out different pieces of content that help us gauge where they stand. Depending on where they are, we nurture them with the appropriate type of content.
We're seeing a much bigger demand for data to save time. If you're in sales and you're spending most of your time doing stuff that is just available to you in a subscription, that wasted time can end up costing you a lot of money. And there are ways to improve it. We're seeing more companies become aware of that and start to lean on data providers like ours to solve that problem for them. And it makes their jobs much easier; it makes their sales targets much more achievable. People have been doing this for a little while now, but getting human-verified data, that is big.
We've actually created a team to build our content and that's been really helpful for us. We educate them on SEO techniques. One of the things we'll do is just continue to add to our team so we can put out more content faster.
I would say if you want to see the gold standard of content creation, go to HubSpot. You want to follow a model of what works really well? They're the ones to look at. I don't have a content team nearly that large, but that's what we're working towards—just building up a good flow of content and making sure that the content that’s resonating with our audience is highlighted more. There are lots of intricate processes we put in place after the content is built: How does our sales team use the content? How can we use that to figure out where in the funnel is a potential prospect? How do we use certain pieces of content to isolate messages for our ABM campaigns?
You can find Raj Khera on LinkedIn and Twitter and get more information about SalesIntel on their website. You can also register for SalesIntel's upcoming Annual Summit to learn more from MarTech industry leaders.
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