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Achieving 1000% Growth for CipherCloud in a Year with Marketing Automation

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This project is a great fit for startups that want to build their marketing efforts from scratch. Pankaj can implement CRM, marketing automation tools, nurturing programs, marketing acquisition programs, data management practices, and more — both for businesses who understand exactly where they are and what they need and those still in need of some inspiration
In this case study, you’ll learn how I built the marketing and sales infrastructure that helped my client acquire their first major sale and eventually grow from a young startup to a 400-strong company with a bright future.
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First customer acquisition worth $3M
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Growth from 2,500 to 200,000 leads
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Overall company growth of over 1,000%

Young Cybersecurity Firm with Winning Product Hoping to Upscale

The world was slowly coming to terms with SaaS. With data being stored in clouds and regulations varying internationally, people now wanted concrete data security measures, including in banking, where CipherCloud stepped in.

CipherCloud both encrypted and tokenized data. The advantage of this is that if some brilliant mind somehow manages to crack your encryption, there’s still a library where the data is assigned random tokens which they cannot access.

When I joined, the company had big funding for this concept, but only a handful of leads and no clients. Everything was in its infancy. My goal was to attain some customers and revenue and begin to grow.

I had previously worked for Zscaler, the very first company providing SaaS IT security. Now a Nasdaq-listed billion-dollar company, when I joined their pre-sales team, it was a handful of people operating from a small room. I did lead generation, closed SMB deals, and assisted the enterprise sales team.

I once saw this show on Discovery where a team of adventurers got their SUV stuck in the mud in a jungle. A local started inquiring about the situation but was waved off as the team went through a list of prescribed solutions. They got nowhere. Only later did they accept input from the local man. He suggested that they remove some air from the tires and the adventurers quickly came unstuck.

You cannot possibly prepare for everything, but with courage and intelligence, you can be a good problem-solver. This is how I view my career. In the beginning, I chose practical experience over academic learning. This means that when I see a problem, I often don’t have a theoretical point of reference, nor am I hemmed in by book-learned solutions; I trust my natural instincts to fix it.


Building CRM & Automated Marketing

Customer Relationship Management

When I first joined, there were only 2500 leads — but they were there. So the first thing I set about doing was lead assignment and allocation so that if we had a sale the next day, we’d know exactly where that lead came from and how it got to us.

I also set up the relevant dashboards in Salesforce to figure out whether or not we were performing well. A team needs to see how many leads they’ve got and how many they have followed up on, are qualified, and have led to actual sales.

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Lead Generation

Step two was to ask, “How can I get more oranges to make more juice?” In other words, I wanted to improve lead generation processes and tools to increase the number of leads.

This is where marketing automation comes in. In fact, in 2011, I was one of the first people to implement marketing automation in India. I needed data on who was landing on our website, how much time they were spending there, where they were, and what information they were consuming. And I needed it all to be automatically piped to my sales and pre-sales people alongside the leads themselves.

Thankfully, identifying those who may be interested in your company and acquiring their data is far easier these days than calling a long list of people and asking them over the phone.

I also taught the sales team how to cold call, follow up, and close deals.

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Lead Nurturing

Now, we needed to get more out of our marketing automation tool.

We created a nurturing campaign: 20 to 30 emails with their own workflow. Based on whether a person opens an email, whether they react to it or interact with it, they get another email, and so on. Some people will opt out or not react, which gradually narrows the lead funnel. By the end, we were left with those who had high enough intent that they were worth following up on.

In order to run 20 million leads through this system, it of course has to be automated.

But I automated the campaign so that I only had to build it once. I implemented drip marketing: a set of pre-written e-mails sent to people depending on their interaction with the website or similar. Then, I wouldn’t even have to look appraise prospects anymore; marketing would start automatically once leads started interacting with us.

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Content Creation

The more leads you can feed your sales engine, the better. So, with automation set up, everything ready, I wanted to attract even more people, reaching beyond the scope of the e-mail campaigns.

We decided to divide our attention between paid campaigns and organic growth to combine a powerful kick-start with a prolonged, sustainable effect. Organic growth keeps happening no matter what you do, whether you are working or sleeping.

To that end, we created ebooks, webcasts, webinars, different landing pages, different ad campaigns, and presented what we did at conferences. We also spread the word on LinkedIn and other social media. We kept the basics of SEO in mind, meaning a lot of backlinks, keyword strategies, meta descriptions and the like. Evergreen content works 24/7 for you. I still receive e-mails about articles I had written three years ago.

Because I had the dashboard and data setting set up, we were able to effectively track the performance of any content we created.

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Long-term Growth & Future Success of the Company Secured

CipherCloud now had CRM, marketing automation tools, nurturing programs, and marketing acquisition programs. I also created data management practices within the team to ensure data hygiene and growth.

When I started, we were 22 people with 2500 leads. At that stage, on a limited budget, I got us our first customer, Bank of America, for a $3 million per annum deal. From there on we had a steady pipeline of leads, qualified leads, and sales.

By the time I left, 13 months later, we were over 400 team members and close to 200,000 leads. In one year we saw more than 1000% growth.

The big deals we secured allowed us to expand the range of solutions and integrations we offered. Others clearly saw our potential, because after just two years, the company received an $80 million round of funding.

Having a fantastic product and concept is important, but it won’t get you anywhere if your marketing and sales are out of shape. I’ve seen several instances where a lower quality product or service beat the best performing one by several tens of millions on a market, simply because they ran their business better.

As a freelancer, it’s good if you’re good at your function, even better if you also have domain expertise. But it is absolutely best if you have a function, domain expertise, and an area of focus. When I took part in this project, I was focused mainly on sales and marketing, but I’ve since honed in on user design and experience, and feel I’ve grown as a marketer as a result. I know I can deliver the most powerful work in this field and I know it gives me an edge over 99% of my competitors.