MarTech Interview with Anand Akela, CMO at Acalvio Technologies

Anand Akela, CMO at Acalvio Technologies has a few proven GTM best practices to enable modern-day marketing efforts:

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Welcome to this MarTech Series chat, Anand, tell us about yourself and what inspires you most about modern-day marketing? We’d love to hear about your marketing journey through the years and about your new role as CMO at Acalvia Technologies…

I joined Acalvio Technologies last fall, as chief marketing officer. I am now excited to lead the marketing team at Acalvio into the company’s next stage of growth. I started my career as an engineer, managed engineering teams and then moved to product management before transitioning to a product marketing role. Over the last 15 years or so I have focused on product marketing and Go-To-Market (GTM) strategy and built a GTM operating model to execute that strategy. I’ve had the opportunity to teach this model to marketers and have done so multiple times as part of the Product Marketing Alliance community.

At its core, modern-day marketing is focused on buyers and their buying journey. It is inspiring to see that marketing professionals today are increasingly focused on engaging with buyers at every step of that journey. Marketers are also realizing that B2B buying decisions are not made by an individual buyer, but rather a group of buyers that influence the buying decision together. It is fascinating to see that we are now extending Account Based Marketing to focus on these targeted buyer groups.

Additionally, the evolution of GTM strategy to focus on the cross section of marketing, sales and customer success functions is particularly exciting and important in this subscription economy where customer retention is equally or more important than initial sales.

What are some of the key trends you’re observing in cyber marketing today? For marketers new to marketing cyber products, what are some basic best practices to share with them?

Best practices of B2B marketing can be applied to cyber marketing as well. I and many of my marketer colleagues from other enterprise software segments have smoothly transitioned to cybersecurity marketing. As mentioned earlier, the trend towards focusing on the buyer’s journey with targeted messages that addresses their current challenges is an evergreen strategy that is foundational to cyber marketing as well.

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As a CMO, what are some of the fundamental processes and strategies you rely on to drive marketing output? And can you take us through some of your most-relied-on martech that has always helped drive impact?

Over the last decade and a half, I have used the GTM operating model that I built as a blueprint for success. I follow the different steps of the execution model starting with understanding the market opportunity and setting up the target goals and pipeline needed to meet those goals. The next step is understanding and prioritizing the target segments, verticals and the buyer groups that are most important. This knowledge enables you to build marketing campaigns that lead to a robust sales pipeline. Building messaging and content to target the buyers in different phases of the buyer journey is key to the success of effective marketing, sales enablement and ultimately winning in the market. Lastly it is very important to measure the progress, understand areas to improve and optimize the segmentation, targeting, messaging and campaigns on an ongoing basis.

As far as martech is concerned, having a CRM and marketing automation platform are foundational elements of the marketing tech stack. Tools that provide information on buyer engagement and intent are important as well. Additionally, personalization tools based on the buyer demographics and behavior can make marketing more efficient.

How do you feel B2B tech marketing needs to evolve to create more ROI to businesses? What can marketers do better to contribute more to the growth of their brands?

B2B tech marketing needs to evolve and focus not only on generating leads at the top of the sales funnel, but also to ensure that these leads convert to the sales opportunity pipeline at a higher conversion rate. They also need to ensure that marketing helps move the pipeline across the sales lifecycle to reduce the time to close for sales and generate a higher win rate. In this subscription economy, marketing also needs to help improve the usage of the products and solutions that ultimately will result in higher renewal rates. Implementing efficient marketing and demonstrating higher ROI becomes even more important in the current economic environment.

Marketers should focus on building brand messages that the target buyer can relate to and perceive as valuable in solving their problems and growing their businesses.

What do you feel about the future of the B2B tech industry, some key predictions for 2023?

I predict that B2B tech marketing will focus more and more on the buyers, their needs, their behavior and engagement along the buyer journey to get shorter sales cycles, higher deal size and improved ROI on marketing investment.

In 2023, I foresee Account Based Marketing and marketing in general will further evolve to focus on buyer groups and will rely on personalized and customized messaging  around solving their business problems and fueling their growth while demanding much higher differential value and experience.

Organizational collaboration between marketing, sales and customer success teams will increase and will have more common goals and success metrics in order to achieve much higher GTM efficiency in 2023.

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Acalvio’s mission is to help enterprises actively defend against advanced security threats with precision and speed. Acalvio’s patented ShadowPlex Cyber Deception platform enables organizations to detect, engage and respond to malicious activity across hybrid cloud deployments, protecting both IT and OT networks.

The Silicon Valley based company is led by an experienced team with a track record of innovative market leadership and backed by marquee investors.

Anand is the chief marketing officer at Acalvio Technologies. He is a successful marketing leader with extensive experience and an outstanding track record in GTM strategy, product messaging, product launches, sales enablement, and marketing campaigns. Prior to joining Acalvio, he was the VP of Marketing at Nutanix leading their GTM strategy, product, and solution marketing. Earlier in his career, Anand led product marketing, product management and engineering teams at Tricentis, CA Technologies, AppDynamics, Oracle, and HP. Anand has an MBA from Fuqua School of Business, Duke University, and a B.S. in Computer Science from Pune University.

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