Interview with Narayanan (Rayn), Co-Founder at Unschool & Ex-Head of Marketing at Clap Global
Narayanan has over 6 years of experience majorly in B2B Sales and Marketing. Currently, he is the Co-Founder at Unschool and served as the Head of Marketing at Clap Global for a brief period in 2018. Unschool is an early stage Edtech startup based in Hyderabad. Unschool is transforming the way we Teach & Learn in the 21st Century by creating a marketplace for experts who are eager to coach curious learners across India. Narayanan has served as the Country Director for AIESEC’s Nepal chapter, the world’s largest youth-led organization with 50,000+ members and 300+ employees. He has also been awarded as Youth Icon award 2016, Chennai for his charity campaign called Dil se Diwali.
Your Journey as a B2B Marketing & Sales Professional
My journey with Marketing started almost 5 years ago and it has been experiential ever since. I had days of confusion to understanding the portfolio and I had struggle leading my teams to achieve the necessary targets. It was then when I started concentrating on the basics when things started to move around. I was into BTL marketing initially and slowly started B2B which I eventually excelled at. Being a marketing professional in today’s scenario needs a lot of reading and learning. Through constant growth, I achieved various contracts for projects I ran with a bunch of college students. There were deals struck with car dealers – Volkswagen, Mercedes Benz, etc. I went on to closing deals with Teach for India, Coca-Cola APAC for India, Nepal and Sri Lanka, Plan International, UNDP Nepal, and many more. Everyone is out there trying to capture the market and standing out requires a greater grasp on current developments. I have in the recent past started using Inbound strategies, Digital Platforms and campaigns to reach out to my customers. So far it has been an exciting experience for me. One of my major learnings is from Gary Vaynerchuk on using social media as the new market scope and learning that has been a major revelation.
What are the primary marketing channels you have worked on?
I will broadly just divide the channels into offline and online. I have worked in both and I have realized both have their own set of challenges and positives. I’d suggest young marketers experience both sides and always stick to the basics. Keeping your feet on the floor will never drag you down it will only give you a launchpad to shoot up. While online gives me the leverage to sit and earn and reach to my customers wherever they are, offline, on the other hand, gives me a better opportunity to learn about my customer and that is even more important. Never will on-ground replace offline ways in Marketing & Sales and vice-versa. Knowing your customer and connecting your product’s ‘why’ with their need becomes your go-to strategy.
What are some of the important marketing software that you have used and found to be really useful for your company? Which one would you recommend?
I have used Hubspot, which offers a powerful inbound marketing solution as a personalized and more effective alternative to traditional marketing strategies which can tend to harass consumers. It gives you an easy way to track your customers’ journey with you. We need to understand that any software is just an added element but not the only element. There are many other softwares that allow you to extend your reach, expand your business and accelerate growth. MailChimp, another tool, makes it easy to customize emails to suit a particular marketing campaign. Other features include analytics, the option to A/B test and geo-target as well as spam filter diagnostics. There are various CRM tools that can support you simultaneously like Salesforce, Pipedrive – this allows businesses both large and small to organize, automate, and synchronize every facet of customer interaction.
My recommendation would be Hubspot because I’ve used it the most but it is not an economic asset for smaller companies but definitely gives you an edge if you have the capital to invest and have efficient teams handling this. Easy to use and great customer service as well.
What are some of the challenges that a Marketing & Sales executive might face in their career that can be overcome by these Marketing Softwares?
Both marketing and sales teams face challenges in developing buyer relationships and communicating effectively with clients and prospects and with each other. Challenges like overly-complicated workflows and passing marketing qualified leads don’t just make for less efficiency, they can also have a direct impact on the customer experience.
CHALLENGE #1: MULTITASKING; | SOLUTION: Marketing automation tools like salesforce engage allow quick communications to occur so more opportunities can be effectively managed without sacrificing your nurturing and prospecting efforts.
CHALLENGE #2: MISCOMMUNICATIONS BETWEEN SALES AND MARKETING | SOLUTION: Marketing automation can streamline the process of passing marketing-qualified leads (mqls) to prospects. marketing can then turn their attention to supporting sales with content and driving engagement.
CHALLENGE #3: VISIBILITY INTO PROSPECT’S ACTIVITY | SOLUTION: Marketing automation tools like Salesforce Engage not only show the sales rep who opens the email, but it also shows valuable marketing automation insights as to the prospect’s specific activity and engagement with the email; from what links were clicked to whether the prospect landed on the website or a landing page afterward.