Marketers, Engage Your Stakeholders – Techademy Marketing Director Switches to Zoho Marketing Plus

(Sundeep MV, CMO of Techacademy, discussion workshop)

Zoho Marketing Plus will officially launch on May 9, 2022 – but what does this mean for customers? Here’s a good marketing idea: line me up directly with a client to find out.

In the Announcing Zoho Marketing PlusZoho makes its case by describing Marketing Plus as:

A new unified platform that brings together marketing activities across campaign ideation, creation, execution, management and measurement, giving stakeholders across the marketing organization a single, shared view critical information for improved collaboration and results. The new marketing platform increases the effectiveness of digital marketing strategies by enabling marketers to better understand customer preferences.

But how would a customer see it? Sundeep MV, CMO of Techademyis quoted next:

Our previous marketing solution required time-consuming and costly customization and technical support just to provide our customers with experiences that didn’t scale or yield meaningful insights.

An all-too-common story, especially with the absurd amount of tools marketers are dealing with. MV adds:

We adopted Zoho Marketing Plus, integrated Zoho CRM, and now have a complete, unified sales and marketing solution where every relevant stakeholder in the organization has the data and tools needed to increase engagement and improve the customer experience.

“We need to meaningfully engage all of our stakeholders”

Sounds promising – but every project has an unspoken challenge or two. During a video chat with MV, he clearly explained these challenges. Techademy offers a range of corporate learning management options. But that means MV’s marketing team has to tackle multiple stakeholders when crafting its message — and finding the best ways to partner with its sales team. As the MV says:

We work with many audiences. We work with institutions; we work with individuals, and we also work with organizations… The person who buys, the person who influences and the person who uses will not be the same in most use cases.

Techademy’s marketing stack should “meaningfully engage” all of these stakeholders, with appropriate content, offers, and messaging. MV continues:

Eventually, this must lead to sales at the end of the day. How do we have a platform, where we probably start with awareness, have some kind of engagement, also introduce a lead generation mechanism, drive them to a sale where the lead is nurtured, make sure the sale takes place, where everyone across the organization at different levels has an individual vision, and people who are at the executive level likely have an overall vision for the organization?

The MV team weighed their options:

For the future, we needed a platform where we could automate these views. As for the marketing stack, our audiences might be offline today; they could be online today. What are these integrated experiences that really make sense?

Why Zoho Marketing Plus?

For Techademy, successful marketing means successful events. MV:

We happen to be an event management company. The marketing team is constantly researching which events make sense on which platforms, and so you’re able to interact, you’re able to engage, you’re able to evangelize in cases. So from that perspective, whether it’s your on-site engagement or your off-site engagement. It could be on your handles on social media [We needed] one platform where you could have all of these experiences integrated, plus everyone working on these initiatives could be on one platform.

And, as MV said earlier, “no more time-consuming and expensive customization.” Zoho Marketing Plus ticked those boxes – and the MV team went live. They have been using Zoho Marketing Plus for five months now. It’s not Techademy’s only Zoho product – they also run other solutions, such as Zoho Projects and Zoho People. This past experience was vital for MV, who had the chance to interact with a few of Zoho’s products before Marketing Plus. For the Marketing Plus project, there are useful integrations with Zoho CRM. And now? “We’re on Marketing Plus, and it seems to be working really well for us..”

But even if your new solution ticks the boxes, that doesn’t mean users will adopt it from day one. I asked MV: how is user adoption going?

I think it’s like making a change. If you’re using an Android phone, you switch to iOS, or you have an iOS and switch to Android. Other than that initial resistance, which is obviously part of the change, I think we handled it pretty well.

How have the lives of Techademy marketers changed? MV says the first thing is that they wanted to move their marketers from Excel to Zoho Marketing Plus registration system. So how do you do this? For the MV team, it was all about sandboxing. By the time Zoho Marketing Plus went live, the team was already well-honed: they did it in about four days.

Today’s marketing solutions won’t work if there isn’t an effective link to the needs of the sales team. MV told me that Zoho CRM integrations provide teams with a foundation to build on:

Since we got Zoho CRM, we were able to have the bridge through integration. For example, I’m able to show sales reps that out of the four active leads, with the contacts you have in your space, in terms of the number of emails opened, I see that those four customers are very active in that space. We would probably send them an email on how to increase their engagement [with these prospects].

Another example: Marketing Plus may indicate that the challenge is to get prospects to open the engagement mail. So the MV team might recommend another channel:

Would you like to talk to them on LinkedIn and act on it…. So I think what’s happening right now is that the information flows are very transparent. Now everyone knows where reacts. So in terms of increased engagement, we probably have the channels and the tools to make it happen.

For MV, this coordination is key, because a channel like LinkedIn calls for “intelligent conversations,” rather than just pushing offers — which isn’t going to fly. “Our business doesn’t work like that,” he says.

The Envelope – building automation from actionable insights

The tools change; companies must also adapt. MV told me that Techademy is launching a new in-house sales team. This team will be in the best position to act on the leads generated through Zoho Marketing Plus; it will be central to how they sell and who they reach out to.

It’s a promising start, but MV thinks it can go further – from insights to automation. He hopes to collaborate with Zoho on how this automation can happen:

It’s great to have ideas, which gives you a lot of information about where you need to go, or how you need to go, in terms of how much you need to invest – it could be in terms of ad spend, etc.

But I’m now thinking, “How can we automate some of these things based on the actionable insights we’ve received?” Part of it is insight. One is to move that to actionable insights. Then would you be able to automate that, where you can build some sort of marketing automation on that actionable insight?

This is precisely where MV hopes Zoho Marketing Plus will go next. In the meantime, his team has a new way of working:

I think what Zoho gave us – it probably put the control back in the hands of the team working on marketing, which I think went very well.

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