Don’t hire too soon — Hiring someone too soon will not you a correct measure of their competency and will not tell you whether they are prepared for the duties that come with the job. It’s possible that the person will forever be stuck in the learning curve and their skill sets might just never be refreshed.
As a part of our series about “Marketing Strategies From The Top” I had the pleasure of interviewing Mr. Mohammad Tareeq.
Mohommad Tareeq, CEO at Valasys Media is a dynamic professional with extensive experience in handling Service delivery operations and Sales with Tier 1 and 2 companies in the IT Sales/ITES/KPO/CRM/Operation sectors. He Initiates new program implementations to give the enterprise a competitive edge hands-on, in-the-trenches, sales management that is adept at acquiring and capturing new business strategic accounts.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would love to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
I chose digital/online marketing as a profession because of the gaps and challenges it posed. Based on my previous b2b marketing experience and expertise, I recognised the need to reach out to decision-makers to fill those holes, allowing me to expand my areas of expertise. It also taught me how to tackle number of problems while promoting the products and create sales funnels through a digital platform in an innovative way.
Can you share a story about the funniest marketing mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
In the pursuit of money, one of the worst mistakes that anyone makes is to “overpromise.” As the scope of work increases so does the work load and execution. This largely results in inefficiency in programme execution and accuracy. With time, however, I realised that being straightforward and truthful is critical. For example, rather than taking on too much work, convey it your client that you can take on their project next month instead of juggling between projects. It will not only create a trustful foundation but will also prevent you from missing deadlines due to increased workload. Based on my personal experience, being upfront and honest has worked positively in my favor and clients have appreciated the same. Transparency and integrity, in my view, are critical for driving business growth.
Are you able to identify a “tipping point” in your career when you started to see success? Did you start doing anything different? Are there takeaways or lessons that others can learn from that?
Growing client’s confidence and marketing budget renewals M-o-M and Y-o-Y is what I consider my tipping point. Every Successful campaign starts with an effective ENGAGEMENT Strategy and the alignment of the purchase journey, relevant content along with the messaging that compels action by a key player in the sales cycle. Effective engagement is the key to achieve this alignment be it with a brand new product for a new market, product line extension or cross-sell opportunity to one’s customer base, we have the depth to map out whom to target and how to drive them into the lead funnel.
From awareness to contract signing, consumers, influencers, champions, and decision-makers must be engaged in the B2B room. To take a multi-pronged approach to driving demand, different platforms, strategies, and messaging can be used. Not every customer can pick up the phone or click on your bid. Alternative routes or pathways to a decision-maker are needed, just like storming a castle. This requires multiple engagements and outreach strategies.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
Valasys is more than just a B2B demand generation firm; we also provide advanced B2B marketing consulting and sales outsourcing as part of our lead generation services. Our B2B marketing advisory services include business management, sales coaching, and marketing communications, in addition to B2B demand generation services to help clients create a prospective pipeline. Clients benefit from more powerful sales funnels that are backed up by full-fledged integrated marketing systems that effectively convey the main selling points and help clients close more deals. Very Few B2B marketing firms can offer our exclusive combination of lead generation outsourcing and B2B marketing advisory services all under one roof.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
Yes, we’re working on multiple new projects with different objectives and aspirations. These projects will help our clients seal more deals and build multi-millions in sales pipelines.
What advice would you give to other marketers to thrive and avoid burnout?
They should concentrate more on optimising the use of technology to handle clients’ sales leads — not for the sake of techie “bells and whistles,” but to improve productivity in appointment setting, communication monitoring, and making the most of every customer encounter.
None of us can achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
Valasys was founded on certain essence values — trust, client success, equality, and timely delivery — and our values are consistent and continue to lead everything we do. So, I cannot attribute our success to one particular person but to our entire team which has adhered stringently to our values. We have a great set of trustworthy team members who work relentlessly for clients’ success and ensure to deliver all projects on time. Right from the Operations team to our janitor, we’re One single team and are proud to be associated with Valasys.
Ok super. Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. There are hundreds of memorable marketing campaigns that have become part of the lexicon of our culture. What is your favorite marketing or branding campaign from history? Can you explain why you like that so much?
It’s nearly impossible for us to name one campaign because all the campaigns that we have ideated and executed are super close to our hearts. Each campaign is the result of our team’s sheer hard work and dedication therefore all of them are our favourites.
If you could break down a very successful campaign into a “blueprint”, what would that blueprint look like? Please share some stories or examples of your ideas.
Within an agile environment if one is running marketing campaigns, it becomes imperative to understand how to measure the effectiveness of marketing campaigns. A large number of companies never bother defining the parameters for successful agile campaigns and jump right in focus on driving as much traffic as possible through organic and paid search. This can retrogressively impact your B2B demand generation campaigns.
Imagine the idea of creating entire marketing campaign out of nothing. This might get pretty intimidating.
The lack of a blueprint will make you feel lacking in confidence about your campaign strategy and this is unfortunately true for 39% of the marketers. (Source: HubSpot).
The blueprint of a successful marketing campaign consists of the following eight parameters:
Step 1: Set Goals — Goal setting is imperative to a successful marketing campaign; marketers need to identify marketing objectives that are reasonably aligned with a tangible business goal.
Step 2: Manage Campaign Budget — Every marketing campaign needs to be optimized for effectiveness from time to time. Marketers need to decide where to allocate marketing funds and test and optimize their optimization budgets. The effectiveness of marketing campaigns needs to be tested, tweaked and optimized from time to time for optimum conversions.
Step 3: Reviewing Collateral — The assets created for campaign should match brand standards and should support campaign strategy.
Step 4: Monitoring & Optimization — Quantification of metrics to measure the effectiveness of marketing campaigns is absolutely non-negotiable. Marketers need to run tests to make adjustments to accomplish their bottom line conversion goals.
Step 5: Outline Strategy — Marketers need to create comprehensive plan to target the right audience segments and need to drive them to take desired action.
Step 6: Proper Completion & Delegation of Campaign Collateral — The copy of the campaigns need to be written and design needs to be completed to fetch optimal conversions.
Step 7: Reporting on Campaign Outcomes — The performance information is collected at the end of the campaign to determine whether the goals are met and whether any essential steps need to be taken to optimize and improve the next campaign plan.
Employing the above 7 step process blueprint enabled us to optimize our marketing campaigns for optimum conversions as well as allowed us continually morph our marketing campaigns into something new and better.
Over a period of time, my marketing company Valasys Media has helped different companies achieve zenith of success and has accelerated their growth rate. Here are a few case studies to substantiate the same:
Case Study 1: Our Content Syndication services helped Plural Sight Optimize their Conversions by 50%.
The Challenge: For a particular educational campaign PluralSight ventured into Valasys Media to scale up their conversions and improve the number of leads that signed up. Valasys Media leveraged the power of its content syndication strategies to drive high-quality traffic for Pluralsight which ultimately resulted in optimized conversions.
Apparently, the overall website conversion rates surged by 50%. The strategy was simple. We unleashed the power of original content and through our syndication network were able to drive high-quality traffic to optimize the conversions for our clients through the landing pages.
Results — Over a period of 6 six months there was approximately 200% increase in the website traffic and 50% increase in the conversions.
This campaign helped us realize the impact of storytelling, how to present the right pieces of content to the target audience groups and inspire them to take action to drive the conversion goals for the client.
The power of organic networks for syndication is a domineering factor for the success of any content marketing campaign.
Case Study 2: Valasys Media Assisted Dell achieve $40 million in incremental revenue.
The Challenge: The marketing strategy of Dell didn’t account for following up on leads for partner campaigns, leading ROI losses and an apparent disconnect between Dell’s marketing efforts and their sales channels was apparent.
Dell hired Valasys Media for a lead nurturing solution that leveraged the power of unique content to generate personalized experiences for every lead which included guiding them through interactive pieces of content including emails, landing pages, and more that would equip the viewers to explore and educate themselves about Dell’s products before ultimately making a final decision to buy.
The ultimate results were astonishing:
- Dell saw an average 35% sale value increase in nurtured leads vs. unnurtured leads
- A 300% improvement in engagement rate was established
- An incremental value of $40 million was amassed from marketing partners
The lessons learnt from this campaign was that the campaign works the best when marketers took time and employed research to understand their research.
Results — Dell witnessed a 35% increase in sales revenue from nurtured vs. unnurtured leads.
The engagement rate improved by 300% and there was a $40 million increase in incremental value from marketing partners.
Marketing campaigns are the perfect way to reach your target audience groups. We have refined and shaped our marketing campaigns to promote our services to match the brand identity, personality and emotions of our clients.
Companies like Google and Facebook have totally disrupted how companies market over the past 15 years. At the same time, consumers have become more jaded and resistant to anything “salesy”. In your industry, where do you see the future of marketing going?
As the digital sector evolves for better, the future of marketing is moving towards an environment that provides convenience over anything else. Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Data Science, and Deep Learning are taking center stage to provide solutions based on usage pattern of the consumer. Innovations like these help in developing tailored campaigns for effective engagement with a specific set of audience.
Can you please tell us the 5 things you wish someone told you before you started your company? Can you please share a story or example for each?
The five things I wish anyone had told me before I started my company are:
• Don’t hire too soon — Hiring someone too soon will not you a correct measure of their competency and will not tell you whether they are prepared for the duties that come with the job. It’s possible that the person will forever be stuck in the learning curve and their skill sets might just never be refreshed.
Also, it doesn’t give you a correct measure of whether they have ample amount of empathy and soft-skills that are required for the job role. We once hired an experienced employee for HR profile. She had all the essential skillsets and seemed to be a perfect fit for the role on paper. However, when she started working soon thereafter we realized that she had an adamant mindset and lacked the soft-skills required for the job. When in human resource department, one needs be empathetic and should handle the processing of confidential and sensitive data related to employee welfare in a confidential and effective manner. These were the basic skillsets that the employee was oblivious about and we soon faded her goodbye for the same reason.
• Don’t underestimate the demands of the business — The business organizations need to keep abreast of the demands of the business in orchestration with supplies in order to drive growth. Mapping and preparing for increased demand is essential for businesses. To enhance your brand equity and omnichannel reputation management framework, you need to keep up with the evolving trends within the marketplace. Marketers need to map out any kind of idea that will be big in times to come and should generate pre-cognitive insights to optimize the business results.
The core difference between the leaders and challengers is that the leaders adopt to the changing marketing conditions quite in time.
A core example of adjusting to the evolving trends just in time was our ABM (Account-Based Marketing) campaign. We analyzed the evolving B2B marketing trends amidst the pandemic and this helped us adopt the best tactics. We hyper-personalized our campaigns and served them with a sprinkle of empathy and this helped us in skyrocketing our revenue margins even amidst the pandemic.
• Don’t be afraid to fail — Failing is entirely fine as long as one is failing fast, heading the lessons of the failure and trying again, maybe this time failing in new way but this would ultimately establish that he is learning new tricks to thrive in the marketplace too soon.
Being afraid to fail prepares you for a catastrophe, not only you waste too much of time incapacitating yourself but you also deliberately close your doors to learning.
While we have always been surrounded with the fear to fail, we haven’t actually failed. Most of the times the expectations of the clients might seem unrealistic. We work through such fears and turn them into success stories by being self-assertive of ourselves, by setting up high-expectations from ourselves, by overcoming procrastination by constant small and self-assertive steps and by moving on from failure.
Sometimes, the fear of failure might also surround you when you set high expectations of yourself. As soon as a competition erupts, marketers may find themselves in complete shambles. At this point in time, it is extremely advisable to be self-affirmative of ourselves and our teams. I realized that in order to realize our strengths, we must first subject ourselves to tough times and should successfully see through them, with dignity. The more we do that, the more we have an existential realization of the limitedness within us.
• Don’t hire the wrong people — Hiring the wrong people increases the cost of training, depreciates the talent pool, leads to declined productivity, leads to complacency and boredom and depreciates the turnover. Before hiring an employee, the benefits and risks of hiring that employee should be carefully monitored.
For example, once we hired an employee for handling the critical data of our customers. He didn’t quite understood the security concerns and how to fully secure the environment for clients. A lot of time was wasted in training him and at last we found that he was a complete misfit for the role.
• Don’t expand too quickly — Before you decide to expand the geo-presence or even the team-size for your company, you must do the correct resource assessment and allocation. Logistics and supply chain management becomes a critical part of geo-expansion plans. Once you’re quite sure that you are prepared for expansion and have all the essential resources at hand required for expansion, you may make the final decision to expand.
For example, we decided to expand to European market only after the correct evaluation of resources, stakeholders, and competitors in the marketplace. We didn’t expand before we had everything in place.
Q.12) Can you share a few examples of marketing tools or marketing technology that you think can dramatically empower small business owners to become more effective marketers?
Our internal VM tool (database tool), HubSpot Marketing Automation, SendinBlue, GetResponse, and ActiveCampaign are all incredibly useful tools that help us market more effectively and specifically.
What books, podcasts, documentaries, or other resources do you use to sharpen your marketing skills?
Who is your hero? Can you explain or share a story about why that person resonates with you?
My father is a hero to me. I still look up to him because of his discipline, punctuality, honesty, and devotion to work and family after he retired from the Indian Army. He instilled in me his liberal ideals and taught me to respect everything. He was always encouraged and challenged me to engage in sports, succeed in school, and participate in extracurricular activities. He believed that children, as well as adults, learn best from their own mistakes. He taught me how to get over failures and learn from my own mistakes.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
There is no substitute for putting in the effort. As Swami Vivekananda famously said, “ arise, awake and stop not till the goal is reached” This is a statement that I believe in and live by. Have patience and perseverance, and you will get the desired result.
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