In this episode, I speak with Yaag Ganesh, Director of Content Marketing at Avoma and four-time book author, to discuss how his approach to content marketing has positioned Avoma’s website as an educational platform that helps prospects and customers tackle pain points outside the realm of its product while still driving demand, activation, retention, and evangelism for its product. Let’s get into it.
Adam: Yaag Ganesh host of the YAG Project podcast, TEDx speaker book author, including the revenue marketing book, How to Build a Predictable and Repeatable Revenue Marketing Engine That Works as well as the Collaborative Crow: How to Democratize Customer Intelligence Across Your Organization to Accelerate Growth.
And obviously the director of Content Marketing at Avoma, which is an AI-based meeting assistant with conversational intelligence. Welcome. How are you doing today?
Yaag: I'm doing fantastic, Adam. Uh, thank you so much for inviting me of the show, and I'm super excited to see what we got today.
Adam: Yeah. As am I, uh, been really looking forward to this, I I, I'm really excited to be able to speak with you Yag um, mostly for, for two reasons.
First, just to pick your. , uh, on SAS content marketing strategy and execution, and all the cool things that you're doing at Avo A, um, and with AVO a's website. But also just to learn, uh, about you and your journey that led to AVO a. So let's just go ahead and start there. Uh, can you tell me a little bit about yourself?
Yaag: Oh yeah, absolutely. So, I have about 13 plus years of experience in the marketing world. I started as a solopreneur, I finished my MBA in 2009, and when I came out I was offered a job in a Dubai-based company. And, funny enough, due to the recession at that time, my job was called off.
I didn't know what to do. Companies weren't hiring at that time, so I thought, you know, I'm at the beginning of my career, why not give a try at entrepreneurship. So, I started my own company and ran it for about two years. Learned a lot in that space. I did all possible mistakes that one could. Learned hands on the importance of CapEx, opex, the line of credit, and what happens when somebody delays your payment and all of that.
Then eventually at some point I switched. I was getting married and I took up a full-time role at a company called SolarWinds based out of Austin. So I was working remotely from Chenai. From there on, worked at a few companies, held positions heading marketing, heading product marketing, so on and so forth.
And, right now I'm a part of Avoma for the last one and a half years, or a little more than that. Quite an amazing journey. It's funny, the way I found my way into Avoma is that I was working for one of the companies in 2016 when the founder of Avoma, had not started Avoma at that time. His previous company got acquired by a company called 24/7 AI. At that point, he was talking about how he was not happy with Intercom because of some pricing issues at that point. And, I was working on a chat product with a different company. I reached out to him, I said, "Hey, I saw your tweet. Do you want to use my product for free for a year? Let's see how things work out."
The, the deal didn't go through, but the relationship got built. We kept in touch. I liked his value systems and the way he approached things. You know, we had a lot of common values. For example, the way I look at product marketing is that one of the key aspects as part of my research, I generally believe that it is not okay to sign up for a competitor's product as part of your mystery shopping.
I mean, it's generally believed that you can, but it's my personal value system that I don't like that. I'm okay if a prospect tells me that they found this feature of my product better than somebody else because of X, Y, and Z, but me not signing up for that product. And I saw similar value systems with Aditya and the transparency with which he was building Avoma.
And I reached out to him and I said, "Hey, I understand your value proposition is different because of this compared to other players in the industry, which are looking at it in a unidimensional manner. And I see that you don't have anybody on the marketing side of the house. So how about we get on a call. Fast forward, I've been with the company for about one and a half years.
Amazing journey, amazing organization, and I'm super excited to take care of content marketing. There's been an immense learning journey here.
Adam: Gotcha. I appreciate that. Thank you. Can you put in your own words, what is Avoma and what is its purpose?
Yaag: Yeah, absolutely. So Avoma is a combination of things. Right now the entire world of conversation intelligence and revenue intelligence is kind of getting more and more commoditized with more products coming into this section. So rather I would explain how this works and how we look at it.
So we have a different point of view to this industry. We think that every meeting has a life cycle that is a set of things that you do before the meeting, during the meeting, and after the meeting. For example, you send a calendar invite, then the meeting gets booked, then somebody goes on the call, then the call happens, and then you might either take notes on paper or you might use one of those note-taking tools where you still manually take notes and then update it to the CRM. And then you have conversation intelligence, which gives you insights on multiple aspects.
For example, you could look back at the last 30 days, all the number of calls and learn what is the most mentioned competitor so that you can prepare better battle cards. Or, for example, you could coach your sales team ,saying "Hey, these are the other people, this is how they're handling objections." You could learn from that. Or for example, if you're developing something in the product, you could also understand which features are requested the most so that you can focus on that.
So there are multiple use cases. And then there is revenue intelligence where you look at where in the pipeline at any given standpoint where the ball is getting dropped and make sure that you don't slip the deal through the cracks.
Avoma looks at the entire lifecycle. For example, we have a scheduler that helps you schedule meetings. The call gets recorded, both audio and video, and then there is a transcription. In addition to that you have notes, which is AI generated.
What I mean is a one pager note. For example, imagine if this was a sales conversation, what would happen is it would say, "Hey, Adam was comparing me to these two competitors, and then these were the three pain points that he had. Then these were the three or four features that he was super excited about."
And this is the next course of action. Now, this is something that came up from our own discussion, which gets written by AI and it automatically gets updated to the CRM so the information is not lost within there, but it's kind of democratized across the company for everyone who has access to the CRM.
And then of course, people can learn from multiple calls. Calls are available for everybody in the organization to go back and listen to. You can create playlists of different topics and learn from that.
You can also get analytics and of course the revenue insights as well. So this is why we look at it as one whole journey. That's why we call it a meeting lifecycle assistant, rather than boxing it just into conversation intelligence or just into revenue intelligence per se.
Adam: Gotcha. Gotcha. Okay, cool.
Lot of good stuff there. You mentioned buyer journey, pipeline leakage, granular tracking, which I definitely want to dive into in a little bit. One thing that I would like to first discuss, because I think it's a good place to start and kind of set the scene as far as everything that you just mentioned. I'm kind of putting you on the spot here a little bit, so I apologize, but as the director of content marketing at a B2B s company like Avoma, what's keeping you up at night? What, particularly now in an economic downturn (and we can frame this in a way that kind of addresses what you just said), but what's making you sweat as a content marketer at a B2B SaaS company?
Yaag: Right. So any given day, you can look at two different types of problems. One is creating the right content that makes sense to the customer, and second is distributing the content to the right people in the right format.
So, at the outset, these are gonna be the only two fundamental problems, but there are nuances to it. For example, how do I decide what the right content for my audience is? There are people who think about it from the point of view of, "hey, should it be layered to top funnel, mid-funnel, bottom funnel?" Or should it be focused on "hey, do I create awareness first or do I create more of bottom of the funnel content?"
What we do at Avoma is we don't blindly go based on what the search volume for a particular keyword is. Can we find topics around that? That's not how we build strategy, and for us it starts from what our customers are looking for because we have our own tool where we understand the kind of questions these people ask.
Everybody across the company listens to at least a couple of calls every day. Everybody from the engineering team to the customer success team, so everybody has a pulse on what the audience is looking for. For example, there was a prospect who asked "Hey, I see something called 'filler words' in your product. Just because you have this does it mean that you'll be able to close more deals? Or, because you use filler words, are you losing deals?"
They're asking about a particular feature. Now, we might not have specifically answered this through an FAQ or blog.
When you listen to these calls, you kind of get a hang the kind of questions our prospects are asking. Do we have answers to those in our content? So, we went back and we did some analysis and we found out three key things.
One was that, just because you use fill words, it's not gonna mean that you're going to lose a deal. By the way, by "filler words" what I mean is using a lot of words like "like," "I mean," "you know," "uh..." things like that, right? So just because you use filler words, you're not gonna lose a deal.
Number two is that if you're using 70% filler words for every a hundred words you speak, then you come across as you're not confident. Maybe you're not sure of what you're saying or you're nervous and it does not give a great experience to your prospect.
Number three, if you're not using any fill words at all, and if you sound too perfect, that also sounds way too rehearsed and it's not relatable.
So we found a sweet spot through our research that there is this one to 2% "filler usage" that can happen, which still feels normal and regular. Then I matched it to the search volume of "filler words" on Ahrefs and I found that there are about 6,000 searches every month.
Marrying these two and giving an answer through in the form of a blog that specifically answers somebody's question is gonna be really helpful rather than, you know, whatever keyword you search for, I'm in the top five. But does it really help? It's not about getting found in the top five. Yes, a lot of people compete for that, but at the end of the day, the intent of your content really matters.
And once you have that nailed down, we understand who are the different personas that we are going after. You know, for example, in our case, um, we see that our, our typical conversation starts with either sales or customer success. And then the other functions in the organization also start to adopt Avoma.
So we created an entire sales playbook wherein we said, "hey, these are the 30 or 40 topics that get frequently discussed and we need to maybe dive deep on." Then that becomes the plan for the quarter, and we go about it. And then we think, "okay, now that we have this plan, second, how do we distribute it?"
What are the different formats? Which of these should be podcasts? Which of these should be blogs? Which of these should be downloadables? Um, can we make more snippets, so on and so forth. And once we realize this, where should we distribute this? That's how the plan goes.
Adam: Gotcha. Very cool, very interesting.
And you mentioned a couple things. Again, if I could take a step back here, you mentioned the funnel and understanding the buyer journey, right? This is all about being customer centric and knowing what their problems are and their needs.
Kind of feeding into that, I think, as content marketers, everything that makes us sweat is all tied back to understanding that buyer journey.
Yaag: Maybe I can tell you an interesting story here. At the beginning of my career, when I was doing sales and I moved from sales to marketing, my reporting manager was having a discussion with the sales team in a conference room.
They were discussing about launching a product. And the VP of sales there goes, "who's gonna create content?" And the discussion was like, "we have a couple of content guys who will be able to pull this off very quickly." The next question asked by the VP of sales really changed the way I look at things. He asked, "alright, so the person who is not in this meeting who does not have any context of what we discussed is going to work on this content." I'm like, "wow." You know, the moment you understand that, that's where the actual gap is.
Many times, I've noticed that the content marketing team sits somewhere else in the organization, far away from sales. I'm talking in the physical world as well as in today's remote world still. What happens in the majority of organizations, is the sales team is not necessarily aware of the all the existing content, even if it's on the website.
I've seen discussions where they would say, "I would be happy if we can have a help document to help this customer install this part of the product or tweak, or make this customization." And I'm like, "there is help, the help documentation right within the website, you know, just go click on it. Search for this, you're gonna get it."
So these kind of conversations do happen from time to time. But, that's exactly where it starts. If you don't get the pulse of what the customer is looking for and don't understand their entire journey and what their questions are, then how much ever detailing you do with your marketing strategy is not going to help.
Adam: Well, I feel like we're complicating the issue almost by simplifying it, right? Like the funnel, the flywheel, they're a bit dated, right? We have a new, modern understanding of what's actually happening before somebody lands on your website. They already know about you.
They've done that research. Um, and, and this actually, like this approach that we're taking, uh, towards the funnel and, and the flywheel and, and, and this linear journey, um, to your point, like, and, and I was just watching. Uh, a webinar with, uh, with Tara Robertson, who's the, the head of demand, uh, DemandGen over at Chili Piper.
She was explaining an experience that she was having, um, about, uh, she was, uh, researching a product, I think it was an experimentation product, uh, uh, for, I think this was a company before she was with Chili Piper, but she had done all the research herself, uh, before she actually landed on the website. Um, and she, she scheduled, uh, some time, uh, on the website and I guess three days later, um, uh, a sales rep reached out and she was ready to talk pricing.
She had everything done, and she was sitting through this, uh, presentation about the benefits of the industry, uh, let alone the benefits of the product. I, I have a problem even further, I'm like, why did it take three days for the rep to reach out? Yes, yes, exactly. , why did it, right? And, and there's, there's a disconnect there, right?
So, so it's like by mineralizing and, and simplifying this, we're making it. Awkward and confusing and, and, and, uh, sometimes angering, uh, yeah, our, our prospects and, and that's exactly what happened. She was, she was so kind of annoyed at that, at, at the issue, yeah. Um, that she drops this solution completely from, from, from consideration.
Yeah. So, um, that, I just wanted to lead into that point, you know, understanding the buyer journey.
you know, I would also like to add one more point.
Why I think funnel as well as the flywheel is a little more flawed, is that 90% of what we do is based on the journey that we want the customer to take. Right? For example, you know, um, if you think that, , there is gonna be top funnel, mid funnel and bottom funnel, you are making somewhat of an assumption saying that hey, a person is going to consume 12 different pieces of content, uh, multiple days before signing up for your product or a trial.
It's like you're not even attempting to, uh, make the journey easier. And as you rightly alluded to with the Chili Piper example is that today we have so many communities. In fact, I've seen people who ping me on, uh, LinkedIn and they start a conversation saying, Hey, uh, have you used XYZ product?
And I'm like, yeah, I'm using it currently at my company. And they're like, Hey, can you gimme a quick demo? We are trying to solve this problem and I wanna know if this helps. We quickly get on a Zoom call and I show how I solve that with that. And imagine this, you know, this is not even a showing it, it's me talking with somebody in the marketing community saying how I used this product to solve my problem.
It might be selling, it might not. I might even talk about what is not working, what is working. Sure. They, they go into the conversation with that knowledge, even before the A shows the screen for the first time.
Now you said that you, uh, your team is, uh, listening in on sales conversations. Um, it sounds like there's, uh, much more alignment between the market and sales team. Were there any direct conversations with customers in any kind of cold calling there, or, uh, any other ways that you're understanding, where prospects.
Have heard of you, um, yeah. Before you're reaching out to them for that first time.
Apart from, uh, us listening to these conversations, we also look into the data, right? Within our product. There are certain times where we talk to the customers as well. Uh, for example, if it's about case study, it's about interviewing them or getting them on a podcast. It depends on, uh, different situations.
But it's very important also to understand that not everybody in an organization should be reaching out to prospects. It's, it's like nobody wants to get, uh, you know, 20 emails on the same day from the same company Right.
We, , draw out our entire journey and say , alright. Uh, any given day, this is the max number of emails that can go out for a particular customer. Or say for example, even when the onboarding happens, these are the times where the max emails goes out, right? During signup, during the onboarding, and, uh, you know, the conversations that happens just before, uh, they get into the groove of adapting your product.
Now coming back to the core question of, uh, how do we get information, right? We work very closely with sales as well as with customer success for two reasons. We need to know what is the experience of the customer with our product.
We also need to know the kind of questions that people have before coming in so we have set up trackers right within, um, the beauty of conversation Tarin is that you're not making any assumption. I'm not saying that I am competing with that x, y, Z company because they're market leaders, and I think I should be competing with them.
No, I'm, I'm making this based on what comes up in the conversation. Somebody says that, Hey, yag, I'm right now evaluating these three products and I want to know how you are different from them now, the conversation is very precise.
It's like they're aware of who we are. They're aware of who the competition is. They have very precise question. Now, my job is to dig deeper and understand why they have not chosen them. Rather than jumping in and showing my feature. Uh, it's very important for me to understand why they were not satisfied with it and understand their entire workflow and then showcase my problem.
Now, second thing is how do I learn from sales conversations is that we increase the sales team to consistently ask questions like, Hey, you came in inbound, um, looks like, you scheduled a demo with this on this day, but how did you find us? How did you get to know what about Simple question at the start of every sales conversation.
The answer, they say that, um, because an SDR reached out or because we read a blog, or, uh, because we, uh, clicked on an ad. Of course we can see all of that. But when you can see this on your c r m, it's still not a hundred percent. You know, sometimes the attribution can be, uh, a little, uh, mystery.
The beauty of my is that I can track all this over a 90 day basis or a 30 day basis, and I can understand what worked in this month. And, uh, if I can say that, 70% of the customers said that they came in because, uh, they read a blog post, then we understand that organic is really converting.
Now go deep and understand which of the blocks that really converted or which of the landing pages that really converted. Then you understand why it worked. The next thing that we do is, um, improve the experience of content on the page.
I myself have reached out to, 25, 30 of our, uh, content consumers, like our prospects and our customers, or even our regular blog readers. You know, I've gone and asked them, what do you do after consuming this content? What does your journey look like? The moment you come on this page, you read this, what next?
What we learned is that certain things that most SaaS companies do on their blog posts or on their content, um, is not really useful.
For example, you might have seen that a lot of, um, a lot of blogs have a list of social media buttons, you know, um, LinkedIn, Facebook, uh, blah, blah, blah. And we asked ourselves when was the last time we read somebody's content. In fact, Hey, wow, this is so good. I should share this on Facebook.
I should share this on LinkedIn. Never really happens. And, and, uh, how do you reach content? Is that when you're trying to really solve a problem, um, you're searching for that question and then you're reading prob probably, you know, four or five different blogs. And if you feel that this particular blog answers that question, You, you're gonna, uh, drag that link and drop into your slack to somebody with whom you want to collaborate within the organization and say, uh, Hey buddy, take a look at this.
This is how somebody assaulted. This may be useful for us. So that's, that's the first thing. And when I interviewed people, I identified, uh, two key aspects there. One is people always try to skim the entire article first. Mm-hmm. , uh, by the headings and understand the, they do a mental mapping of, is it worth my time?
And next, , they, , look at it in detail. Or sometimes they might want, they might want to read only about one article. Article They might know, uh, out of the 10 things that you have said there, they might know. Seven. They wanna know only. And they're just skimming to that part and reading just that, and then they're copy pasting.
So what we did was when we, went to our blog post, we realized that our generally most CMSs uh, identifies content based on categories. So, for example, if we have written 10 sales blogs, uh, and if I categorize this blog under sales, then uh, it's gonna say, Hey, also read these three blogs, and it's gonna be very random.
It's not gonna take them through a journey. Uh, these three blogs might be repetitive, might not be even relevant to the blog they just finished. So what we did was we changed two things. If you go to a walmart.com and search for, uh, you know, look for, um, sales Playbook, you'll find that entire journey that we have built there.
So what we have done is we list. Set of topics that would be relevant for a set of topics that would be relevant for SDRs, set of topics that would be relevant for sales leaders and sales managers, and categorize this in the left. And on the top we had another, uh, table of content, which is foldable.
the idea was to just click open and, um, you don't get a skim of, these are the topics that we have discussed. Make it clickable so that if you're interested in only one topic, you'll be able to go there and then say that, uh, because these people are sharing it on Slack or through their internal, uh, communication system, which could be Microsoft Teams or anything that they're using, we realize that they're only copying this Euro URL and pasting it there, which means I can just have a simple ct.
Uh, they're saying that, did you find this useful? Do you want to share it with your team? Copy this, your, just a click. Right? Gotcha. Mm-hmm. So the whole point is, The moment you start understanding how people are behaving, what they are doing, you can make every single thing far more meaningful. It, these, these can look minor, but the kind of impact that it has when everybody takes the same amount of detailing, the kind of collective CX that it gives you to your company is massive.
Totally, totally. Um, lot of good stuff there kind of curious, how does this conversation change between product led and sales led, uh, organizations?
And correct me if I'm wrong, a Ooma is a product led SAS organization, or is that how you, you would categorize He.
That's a very interesting question, , uh, because, uh, you know, we at Amar talk about something called product led and sales assistant. This is, , the unique model that we talk about.
People assume that if you want a big ticket, uh, big ticket sale, you always need to be sales led. Many times we've so found that some of the bigger deals that we have closed, uh, have actually started product lit as well. So what we decided was let's do product lit and sales assistant.
So when we look at, um, anything led, we are either talking about, uh, acquisition or we are talking about, um, conversion. But that journey has both, even if somebody is acquired through product, there is somebody else who is activating and trying to convert.
And there is not gonna be one single journey all through. There are gonna be different touchpoints. And, when you look at abo, , you will see, , Two options. Write on the website. You will see, uh, the trial sign up. You'll also see the scheduled demo.
And even if you go through the trial sign up, there is always somebody available to assist you wherever you're getting stuck with the product. Um, let me give you a real life example. Let's say you walk into, um, a departmental store or a supermarket and, uh, you want to walk through the aisles without somebody breathing behind your neck.
You want to be left free, right? Mm-hmm. . But still, when you're not able to find something that you're looking for, you know, you, you look around and you want somebody at the corner of your eye to come in and say, Hey Adam, how can I help you? Um, you know, what are you looking for? And get you that. rather than walking with you all the time and saying, what do you want?
Let me put this into your basket. That's, that's not what we like. Mm-hmm. . So that's what we mean by product led and sales system. We mean that the idea of this sales assistance is not to push something, uh, down your throat, but it's basically to be available and reduce friction through the path. Because, you know, in a typical product led environment, what happens is every product is different.
Now, not everybody is going to use the product the way you intend, and people are gonna have different problems that they're trying to solve with your product. And the moment they start using it, they might have some questions and uh, some of them might be hand raises who might come and say, Hey, um, you know, I have a support question.
Um, can somebody from your CS team reach out and solve? If they do that, great, but if they don't and if they, uh, you know, feel that, Hey, I'm not getting this product, this doesn't make sense, and they leave. We are gonna lose a great opportunity. You know, it could have been a much bigger conversion, but maybe we lost.
So that's, that's what we do. This is what, this is how we look at product led and sales system. Does it make sense?
It does make sense. And, and I I'm curious, I, I was thinking about this, uh, uh, a little bit and I totally get that, that you can, there can be a fusion, right? Can be product led. There can be sales letter can be a, a, a combination of the two.
Yeah. And, and, and correct me if I'm wrong, with a sales led, uh, approach, it's typically gonna be a little bit more complex, right? It's, it's more of an onboarding process. It's more of a custom setup. That's why you need those kind of face-to-face interactions.
Um, but then take into account the fact that, okay, our prospects are completing 80% of their buyer journeys before they, they reach their website. How does that affect that, that journey? It seems to me that for if we wanna go sales led. There's gonna be much more lean into content production and volume of content in order to simplify, that journey in order to, to make sure that we are, uh, doing our best to educate, um, you know, that buyer journey, that more complex buyer journey.
Do you agree with that?
I'll, I'll give you an example. Uh, so what happens is, um, still we do also get a lot of our, um, you know, our customers through the sales set motion wherein, uh, people, instead of trialing the product, people also schedule a demo.
See, it, it depends on the people's preference and sense. Like they feel, Hey, I want somebody to, to, uh, you know, take me through a journey and showcase that this is how I can use this and answer all my questions before, uh, so that I can use those 14 days of trial more effectively. That also happens, but.
The difference today, um, that we can do in a sales led environment is that you need to understand where somebody comes from. As we spoke about, people come in all informed, you know, they probably might, uh, have figured out a good 50 to 60% of the things, and here's the beauty, right?
Some of it might be right. Some of it might be assumptions that you want to correct, uh, and say that, Hey, no, no, this is not how we look at it. This is why we do this, and this is the basis of it. So those kind of questions. So the, the entire sales lead game here in, in our typical, uh, B2B SaaS company, the way it's changing or it should change, is more towards a phase where we, we are looking at it as, there's so much information already available online and through communities and all of that.
What does that additional value that I can add, um, as a human factor entering into this conversation? You know, uh, I need to understand where you come from. The discovery is the real game changer here. You know, whether I'm dealing with a competitive situation or whether I'm, I'm supposed to do a consultative, uh, selling by trying to understand what somebody's trying to accomplish.
There are end number of possibilities and, uh, the, the depth of discovery and actual curiosity that you, uh, take to that conversation is where the real game is.
Totally cool. Thank you. Thank you for that clarification. Um, okay. So let's get into good stuff. Yag, um, Content, the stuff that you're doing. You know, you, you dove into the blog and, and some of the playbooks and I kind of wanna dive into that.
Yeah. Uh, like how that came about, what you're doing to improve it. Um, cuz to me the, the, the beauty of, of, of content marketing is, and also the headache at the same time is just the sheer variety of, of everything at our disposal. Right. And, and the content types and the formats and the, and the functionalities and the bells and whistles apart from the topics that we can write the sky's the limit. Right. Especially when it comes to the website. So I'm curious, diving a little bit deeper, you know, you've got your blog, you've got your software comparison guide, your playbooks, your eBooks, your webinars. How have you prioritized that? Um, and just kind of curious about the ideation process and improvement process.
I could, I could speak about this all day. I enjoy doing that. Let's do it. . , right? So I'll, I'll give you a couple of examples maybe that will give you, uh, um, a better understanding of how the thought process happens. So, um, I joined the company in April, 2021, and at that time I was a one person marketing team doing product marketing, content marketing, a bit of brand, uh, sometimes a bit of selling, sometimes, uh, you know, uh, doing demos like typically what a startup marketer does.
Mm-hmm. And spending that kind of, uh, time across multiple aspects gave me a lot of clarity, um, into. What our limitations are, what, what we are really great at, and, uh, what is our unique differentiation and what gives us trust. And at that point, when you're creating content, you know, um, unlike a big company which will have probably, you know, 10 people just in the content team, or probably, um, six to seven people right in just in the product marketing team, uh, so on and so forth, um, you know, we, we had to focus our energies on the right things at the right stages.
Um, so what we decided to do was, uh, first step, we decided to create a lot of, conversion related content based on the questions that our prospects had. I'll give you a very, very, uh, precise example.
One of the, um, hedges in the conversation, uh, intelligence sector is gong, okay, so everybody knows Gong. Mm-hmm. And sometimes people would ask us, um, how are you different from Gong?
One of the things that I realized was a lot of people, uh, in that journey, uh, were comparing two companies. You know, it was either, uh, people who were buying Gong were also comparing another product called Chorus and people who were buying Chorus, we are also comparing Gong.
Um, and they ended up buying, uh, one of the two. And when I saw that majority of the new players who were coming in into, uh, the sector were playing the same language as Gong, they were talking about the same sales coaching and revenue intelligence kind of a story.
And they were, they were bringing in that, um, you know, 80% of what they do at 20% of the cost game, which to me was like, you don't win a game by playing somebody else's style, you know, uh, if I'm gonna play their playbook and expect to win, that's, that's not how things work, right?
So we, of course, we had a very unique point of view as I spoke to you about the meeting lifecycle instance and all of that. But if people had not heard of a Ooma at that time, you know, all this U s P and, uh, de positioning goes out the window. So I wanted people to first know that there is something called a Ooma.
So what we did was we wrote an, um, a blog called Gong V Chorus. , okay. Mm-hmm. . Simple as that. It was, uh, again, let me irate Gong versus Chorus and not Gong versus Chorus versus a Omar. Okay? So why am I saying this the moment I have these three and you see that this is on a omar.com. Mm-hmm. , even before reading, however unbiased I might be, even before reading, you're gonna think that this is oma.com and these guys are going to one up the other two, right?
So nobody had heard of Oma back then. So when I started this. We will, let's just talk about Gong versus Chorus. And it's an in-depth 3000 plus word blog where we have very clearly spoken about where Gong is graded, where, uh, chorus is. Great. And what is conversation intelligence? What is revenue intelligence, uh, feature by feature?
Uh, you know, we took about, uh, four categories saying ease of use, uh, and then we spoke about features. We spoke about, uh, pricing. We spoke about scalability of the product, integrations and all of those things. And there are certain areas where we also set, um, Hey, but what are these guys missing?
There are certain things that these guys are missing, uh, like AI generated note taking, uh, automated updates to the crm. Um, and, they're not focused on the SMB segment. They are, uh, they are focused only on, , enterprises and they're focused only on sales audience. So 90% of a blog was focused only on Congress's chorus, and there was a 10% mention of a WMA sprinkled in between in certain places. Um, as a matter of fact. And not saying that you should buy a WMA or not saying that this is how Omar is.
Awesome. None of those things. So what happened was we realized even till date, you know, we have, we have had several, uh, big deals close from that one particular block. So the whole point I'm trying to drive is, um, at the beginning when you have limited resources, you need to identify the right opportunities and say that, hey, these are, uh, the kind of bets that you need to take.
These are the kind of blocks where you need to invest your energies and start promoting those things better. And then, um, when you have a slightly bigger team, you can have different people working on, uh, different bets. For instance, last quarter, , when we build this, uh, sales playbook, , we were very clear that this quarter we are gonna focus more towards the sales audience.
Um, so the moment we do that, because, you know, uh, one of the key door openers where the sales community, either the VP of sales or, uh, the AEs , and each of them had, , a unique story. We even use specific languages like say for example, it's not a tool that monitors your calls, records, your, uh, things, and, uh, asks your VP to coach you. It's not a big brother that is watching over you all day. It is an assistant that works with you, uh, and it takes notes for you, updates for you, so that you can focus on the right things to do.
So these are differences that you can look at and the stories that you tell, and you say that, okay, this, this quarter, let me focus only on sales. And what are the questions that salespeople have? You know, what are the different topics? Um, they might have leaders might have questions around, uh, how to set up DevOps.
They can have question around, uh, how do I, uh, do my pipeline reviews? Um, or people might have questions around, what should I focus on when it, when I talk about revenue intelligence? Similarly, you know, an a might have a different set of questions. How do I take notes during the call?
How do I learn from my peers? How should I collaborate with my S D R, so on and so forth. So once you have this, these are not necessarily topics that are selling avo, uh, but very specifically helping this audience. And when they have these questions and they look for it, and they find answers from avo, AVO becomes a trusted source.
And we are here to, help by offering answers. And we, we have few fundamental aspects for every piece of content. You know, we, we even have a rule book, uh, where we say that we don't write content based on, Hey, everybody's writing this topic, so I'll also write topic because it's, it's fair, it's getting a lot of search volume.
That's not how we approach it. Mm-hmm. . Um, we fundamentally ask our question, what is our tone? Do we have experience in it that we can talk about it in our own voice? You know, um, it's a, it's like you can always search five different blogs and, uh, stitch something together. and, uh, regurgitate it. But what's the point?
You know, uh, we internally ask ourself this one question saying that, Hey, if I randomly read four lines in a blog post, and, uh, can somebody, you know, without looking up the brand, can they say that, Hey, this is the point of view of ama. This makes sense. So unless we have a very specific point of view, or unless we have very specific experience doing something, and unless we can talk about it with specific examples and use cases, we don't talk about things.
So we list these topics. We also vetted out saying that, do we have the right kind of expertise? Many times topics like pipeline reviews, for instance, I or anybody in the content team might not have the core expertise. We interview internal, um, VPs and uh, you know, we even talk to multiple VPs and ask them what do they do?
And it gives you a great opportunity to do two, three things. , you can use it as a blog because you've taken it from your VP and all of that. It, it becomes a great snippet for you to share on social media because he says, this is how I do it. You can create 10 different pieces of content just from one conversation, and that also is very authentic and helpful.
So that's, that's how it usually flows.
Gotcha. Yeah. A lot of good stuff there. Um, I'm, I'm, I'm trying to tease out like a, a, a grand narrative for, from all that, because it was so good. , uh, you know, you, you touched on, um, there, there's almost a sense of piggybacking off of, off of existing content or, or perhaps leaning on that existing content in order to bring to light, uh, yeah.
Uh, you know, what, what your solution is and, what does that awareness, uh, play look like? Uh, jobs to be done mentality, right? Yes. Where it's not, we're not just talking about. What everybody else is talking about, but it's really understanding what customers are looking for and how they're using the product and speaking to that and perhaps how we can lean on what's already out there.
It's almost like clarifying the information that's out there and helping them understand it better rather than adding to the noise. And I feel like that's, that's a big issue right now is that a lot of marketers we're just, okay, well we should probably do like this listicle or we should probably do like, you know, this, uh, cuz everybody else is doing it, but it's thinking about what is that extra 10% that we're adding?
What is that spice that's separating us from all of the other content out there and driving that action. Yeah. So you said that you're actually,
maybe I can, I can even give you one, one very specific example. There was one blog post where we wrote about, how to go about building, um, a referral system for your company, right?
So Omar has nothing to do with the referral system, but. You know, we write it because it's, it's, our community is looking for topics like this. , we, we ourselves have gone through this journey, uh, when we were building a referral system for a WMA within the tool. Uh, we went through, uh, we went through talking to, um, five or six different players and we had a process of evaluation.
We also had a very specific journey of the things that we wanted to solve for and what was our, uh, rewards model and all of those things. So when we wrote down the blog, we also gave away what we were looking for. What wa what are our reward system? and what we were trying to implement. Why the regular e-commerce, uh, um, you know, e-commerce, um, referral systems, 90% of the referral systems available are mostly e-commerce.
There are very few SaaS, uh, products for that. And when you look at each of these things, what were available, what were not available, and how exactly we did that, and many times, you know, uh, looking at that, people, uh, schedule calls with us and say that, Hey, I wanna understand, uh, how you implemented this particular product for your organization.
I'm looking towards that.
And for example, a lot of people, have asked me why the software comparison? You know, you're, you're, you're comparing CRMs, you're comparing customer success softwares, you're, um, comparing, um, tools that are not, not what you are selling.
You know, uh, if, if you are, um, comparing other tools within your own section, it makes sense, which we, we have done that as well, but why are we comparing others, the whole point is when you're creating content, we, we think about it from a very different perspective. Our experiment, there was like somebody who's investing in Obama, , has already invested on A C R M, um, they have a set of tools in their sales stack or, uh, tech stack per se.
And , ABU is an addition to that to make the most of that, right. The thing is, everybody talks about generate demand. And don't just capture demand, but how do you generate demand? You know, uh, generating demand is, are you building an. You want to be genuinely helpful, , in the pre stages.
Also, if somebody is trying to find a C R M, you still have to be helpful there. And of course, you know, I cannot go as broad as what a HubSpot would do. You know, for example, I cannot, um, write blogs on how to create a gift. , right? Mm-hmm. So, uh, I don't want to go that extreme. I want to still be relevant to, you know, in, in the realm of what our audience is looking for, who are, if I'm talking to say, uh, a revenue focused audience, what are the different tools that they use?
And if I can offer help there, that makes far more sense. We, we came up with a e-book that was focused on, , how to do remote meetings, you know, a remote meetings handbook, um, and end-to-end, uh, focused e-book, or we also had an e-book called Collaborative Selling .
So at the end of the, it's about building that relationship, which, which is not about always selling your product, but yeah, if the topic is relevant, rather than beating around the bush, you can showcase a screenshot and say that this is how you can go about doing it, which makes it far more authentic and believable.
When you dig deeper, uh, you understand that this is the real pain and unless you uncover the real pain, um, you will be treating symptoms and which is not very helpful, uh, not through the entire journey, and it might fall off any time.
So I'd like to discuss, this idea of doing more with less, uh, with your content. Right.
This is a very, very hot topic now because of the economic downturn that we're, that we're operating in. Um, one of the best ways to boost content's impact is by recycling, repurposing, and revolving it. Uh, you know, but at the same time, we should always be keeping a pulse on net new asset opportunities.
Uh, if it addresses an, an unmet need or, or eases the buying journey. How do you prioritize? or balance, creating net new content versus improving existing content. Um, you know, I guess from the light of experimentation, right? Cuz that in and of itself is a whole, whole process that can be, um, kind of resource intensive.
Uh, do you have any frameworks that kind of help you through, through the, those conversations of, of content prioritization and what's needed?
So, I, I personally don't believe in a lot of frameworks. I, I rather believe in, uh, you know, uh, looking at it from first principles and saying, does it make sense?
Because you know, many a times when you look at, uh, frameworks, it's gonna give you some model. For example, you could look at it as an okay r model saying that, okay, what is the objective of it? Is, are these achieving these key results? If not, let's check it out. And sometimes, we get, , over fascinated with this idea and, uh, we start, uh, pulling out, um, several content from our website saying that, Hey, we don't want to have content that is not doing well, but.
it's actually not really affecting your website. So the, the point is, it's, it's about understanding, , what is doing really well. Why is it true doing really well? Which part of the conversation is it helping and pushing those into those right areas of conversation is where the actual magic is.
One fundamental issue that I've often found is 90% of content marketing is often targeted only at prospects. We forget that it needs to cater to customers as well.
Mm-hmm. . Um, and what I mean by that is many a times your existing customers who might have signed up with you about one year back, might not necessarily have the awareness about all the new things that have happened within your product.
I spoke to you about scheduler. I spoke, uh, spoke to you about revenue intelligence. There, there were certain features that were not available one year back. And if I'm not educating them internally, can I use this resource as part of my internal product communication?
Um, wherein in-app messaging can I say that, Hey, , this is the new feature that we have launched. , and it'll help you do X, y, z, show a couple of screenshots and then say, Hey, if you want to know more about it, click here, take them through to a blog, , and showcase how exactly are the different use cases through which some, somebody can use it. The whole point is you have to find opportunities to show you care, and you cannot look at content from the perspective of, I have content and I have to use it.
That's not how it should be. That's, that's the whole problem with this mindset of, how I do more with this? It's, if it starts from the point of view of what is my customer going to find useful? What is my prospect going to find useful? Then we'll do a lot more things.
You know, in fact, when I joined Ooma, um, in the first week when I asked my, uh, CEO at that time, uh, what is my, what are my core KPIs? He said, for the first six months, don't even think about KPIs. Uh, the whole idea is. We need to ask ourselves questions that will really help our customer.
Genuinely. Our whole point is to make their life meaningful with every single thing that we do. So question yourself with every single touchpoint and go in as much detail as possible, saying that if this is great. How can we do even better to make sure that this is the best ever piece of content possible, or if this is the best way to answer a customer's question.
Makes sense, makes sense. Um, cool. Cool. So, uh, got a couple of rapid fire questions here for you, uh, b before we close out.
Um, yeah, I love. First one is any coming, uh, any, any upcoming speaking events that, uh, you would like our listeners to know about that you're gonna be participating in?
Yes, so I have one that's coming up, in March. So I'm gonna be in, uh, Ivan Armenia at, uh, leadership school. So that's gonna be, uh, one important thing that's coming up in the new year.
But apart from that, I just, uh, rebranded my ABM conversations podcast to, uh, the Yacht Project. I'm , rebranding it to seeking answers, , because, I wanted to make sure that it's, it's not about me, uh, talking about my point of view.
So all the time it's about seeking answers to the questions that I have on my mind. So that's, that's where, uh, the whole change came from.
Awesome. What about other resources or experts, uh, that you recommend, content marketers check out?
Uh, in terms of books or in terms of podcasts, whatever comes to mind. Yeah, let's go podcasts and then books. Okay. So, um, in terms of podcasts, um, you know, I I really love listening to, uh, the allin podcast, uh, which, which gives me an overall, uh, view of what's happening in the USS industry, SaaS market, and also a bit of world affairs as well.
Specifically in terms of, um, marketing, I, I like the, the podcast of Refined labs, uh, the Demand Gen Life, uh, which is, which is really, really good. And I, I've also recently started to appreciate, uh, the topics that Dave Gerhardt is bringing up in, um, you know, exit five as well. So these are my go-to resources.
In terms of book, uh, books, I would say, um, you know, the, the classics are always better. , uh, than, uh, the recent books, which always have an agenda . So, um, I would say, you know, one of my favorite books of all time, I would say, purple Cow by Safe Garden, uh, is my all time favorite and, um, highly, highly recommend, uh, obviously Awesome by, uh, April Dunford, one of the best books I've ever read on positioning.
Um, and then of course, uh, 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing by, uh, uh, all Race.
Uh, and, and I'm, I'm, I think I know what your answer to this is gonna be, but what do you wish more content marketers doing more of , right?
So, uh, listen more to your, uh, prospects and customers day in and day out.
Beautiful. Um, and last question, what's the best way that listeners can get a ahold of you?
Yeah, LinkedIn is my, uh, the easiest way to reach. So it's, you know, just type Y a a G and, uh, probably mine will be the first name to pop up.
Sure. . Uh, if, if not, you know, you can also reach, uh, reach me at yag y a a g.com. By the way, if any of you are wondering what AMA means, um, it is an acronym for a very organized meeting assistant.
Beautiful. Thank you so much. Y this was great. Um, such a fruitful conversation. I learned a lot. I'm gonna be taking a lot of this stuff back to what we're doing at Webstock. Um, and hopefully this is not the last time that we have a conversation.
No, absolutely. Thank you so much for the amazing questions. I, you know, I love this conversation. There is so much that, uh, we have discussed today and, um, I'm, I'm so happy that the questions that you asked were very thoughtful and you dug deep in certain areas. I, I enjoy these conversations. It, it, it's not about talking too many things in the air, but these were very specific great questions.
And, um, you know, as I always believe, um, you know, we, we need to build long-term relationships. Um, and invest in, uh, you know, long-term people. So, yeah. Uh, as you rightly said, this is not the last conversation and I look forward to, uh, staying in touch with you.
Awesome. Uh, on that note, thanks for listening and, uh, we will, we'll definitely be on, uh, again in a bit.
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