Interview with Neha Varshneya, Marketing Manager at Dooly
When you first meet Neha, it’s apparent she’s inherently passionate (or as she likes to call it, obsessed) with building brands and marketing teams from the ground up. Having been the first marketing hire in all of her roles, she’s no stranger to tackling everything from leading the inbound engine to PR at high-growth technology startups. One look at her LinkedIn, and it’s clear those who’ve worked with her will say she was the “sprinkling of secret sauce the organization sorely needed.”
Neha currently heads marketing at Dooly, a real-time sales enablement platform trusted by the likes of Asana, Intercom, and Contentful. Dooly helps teams drive productive customer meetings, close deals effortlessly with notes that update Salesforce, and champion transparency and teamwork across the organization.
Your Journey as a Marketing Professional.
My first foray into the world of marketing began in university, all while attaining my business degree specializing in the field. A friend of mine was volunteering at a not-for-profit organization that desperately needed help in recruiting volunteers to assist inner-city children in developing essential literacy and math skills through free, 1-on-1 tutoring. I offered to step in and thought, “it’s a win-win situation, I don’t exactly know what I’m doing, but neither do they… this is my chance to give this whole marketing thing a shot!” Through constant experimentation and doubling down on what worked, our not-for-profit brought home first place at UBC’s Not-For-Profit Annual Awards, beating out 100 other organizations and extending the reach of our program’s offering to several more elementary schools. The work was fulfilling and moreover, making a real difference in people’s lives. My love for the not-for-profit world led me to work in this space all throughout my degree, including being the National Director of Marketing for Miss World Canada.
I realized I had a knack for being scrappy and trying out different strategies with whatever resources I had, to make the highest impact. I wanted to see if my experience in the not-for-profit space could lend itself well to the fast-moving startup scene. When I experienced the first technology company I was at going from 30 employees to 200 in just under a year, and witnessing a similar growth trajectory at the next company I was at too—I knew this is where I was meant to be. I haven’t looked back since.
I joined Dooly as their very first marketing hire to the team. Working with a blank slate can be quite exciting (but daunting) at the same time. For me, there’s nothing more rewarding than having the opportunity to shape a brand’s voice from the get-go. I run our blog, build out our content library, lead our media strategy, launch our email campaigns… define our entire inbound strategy. But I’d have to say, my favourite part about my role is interacting with influencers in our space and interviewing them on best practices. It’s a means for me to constantly learn from the best, and in turn, establish Dooly as a sales enablement thought leader!
What are the primary marketing channels you have worked on? What will be your advice to young marketers on each of these channels?
Any marketing channel you can think of, I’ve worked on at one point or another in my career. One thing I’ve realized over the years: what may have worked best at one company, won’t necessarily translate over to the other—even if it’s in the same domain. My number one piece of advice to marketers starting out would be to understand which platforms or resources your audience frequents and engages with the most—and to pour your energy into that. Stop trying to do everything, just because that’s what you see your competitors doing. Do what works best for your company.
At Dooly, I focus my time on building out our inbound engine which comprises of;
You’re probably thinking; “I’ll just look up what others in the space are writing about and I’ll just add my own spin to it.”
Content has the best chance of performing and serving you well when it comes from a fresh perspective. When I interview leaders in the sales space, I do my thorough research as to ask them questions that other’s haven’t already interviewed them about. When the content you’re producing is unique and explores a topic that not every other blog out there has already written about, you have a better chance of being seen. Others are then more likely to share and engage with your pieces. I’m a strong believer that 30% of the battle is writing the content, but the remaining 70% is your distribution strategy. It’s important to have a list of go-to blogs and content libraries your audience frequents which you can submit your content to for a wider reach.
Email will never die. When you have someone subscribed to your newsletter, you can talk to them for free.
Most how-to guides will teach you the importance of testing subject lines (which you absolutely should), but don’t forget to test copy within your emails as well. Write different headers, different CTAs, and different openings to see what format gets the most engagement, and leads to the highest conversion rates.
There’s a common misconception that you always have to pay for “high profile” PR. Get creative in your approach! Ask to become a guest contributor on their blog, collaborate on a value-add piece of content (but do the heavy lifting for them), offer to put together a webinar and feature one of their team members… even offer to make introductions to people in your network if they need access to thought leaders for their articles.
Give, give, give, and in time… you shall receive!
What are some of the important marketing software that you have used and found to be really useful for your company?
Contentful has made content management a breeze for me! I no longer have to switch between different CMSes and it allows me to make changes and upload content to our website effortlessly.
Hubspot will forever remain my go-to marketing automation software of choice. Its intuitive layout allows me to run inbound marketing campaigns at scale, all while delivering easy-to-interpret analytics.
G2 Crowd is helpful for aligning my marketing efforts with that of the sales teams. The buyer intent data we receive helps us gain a better understanding of our personas and helps direct our retargeting efforts.
Intercom is the customer messaging platform we use to bring together sales, marketing, and support. I love how every part of it is completely customizable!
Google Analytics goes without say. It gives me all the tools I need to analyze data and get a deeper understanding of our website visitors.
Your advice to people entering the marketing domain.
For marketers just starting off in their career, I encourage taking time to go through any training to help establish your understanding of specific software. I recommend getting certified for social media, content marketing, inbound methodology, email automation, and analytics, for starters. Hootsuite, Hubspot, and Google offer great online courses where you can go at your own pace. It’s not about the “certification” per se, but about the exercises these online courses make you go through, helping you realize the full potential of each of their platforms.
For marketers who have been in the field for a little while now, don’t forget to give back and recognize the people and the programs that helped you get to where you are today. I started off my marketing career in the world of not-for-profit, so it holds a very near and dear place in my heart. I was even able to represent my university in academic case competitions for this very discipline. If it weren’t for the coaches that dedicated countless hours in helping me brush up my case analysis, problem-solving, and presentation skills, there’s no way I would have progressed in my career. We’ll always have a lot going on in our lives, and at times, it’ll seem like taking on one more commitment isn’t worth it. But something I’ve learned from the best leaders is; you make time for what matters most. This is why I’ve dedicated myself to coaching our local university’s academic case competition teams for the past three years—and you guessed it, that too in the field of not-for-profit! It all comes back full circle.