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All things ABM & Customer Success with Sanjay Kini

We’re thrilled to be joined today by a great friend of Factors — Sanjay Kini. Sanjay has a prolific track record in B2B tech spanning from sales engineering at IBM, client solutions at Responsys, sales consulting at Oracle, and of course, he’s currently the chief customer officer at the one and only 6sense — a leading account-based marketing platform. Sanjay – thank you for joining us today. We’re here to talk about 6Sense, ABM and Customer Success at B2B firms.

August 3, 2023

Srikrishna: Hello,everyone. Welcome to the Factors. ai podcast. Srikrishna here. Today, we have avery, very, very special guest. One, he's a great friend and an advisor andmentor for us. Second, he's also from a company which we deeply respect. One ofthe, I mean, pathbreaking MarTech companies, MarTech RevTech companies in thelast 10 years.

And they have done wonders in the MarTech world, in the B2BSaaS world, which is there. And that is Sixth Sense. And we have Sanjay Kinnifrom Sixth Sense. He's the Chief Customer Officer at Sixth Sense. Sanjay,welcome. to the factors. ai podcast.

Sanjay: Hey, thanksfor having me. I'm excited.

Srikrishna: Thanks.So Sanjay, firstly, before we start off with for this I mean, everyone knowsabout Sixth Sense.

It's a pretty big company. It's a kind of a company which hasgrown tremendously in the last five years or 10 years, actually, if you wouldsay but before we get into the Sixth Sense part, if you can tell us a bit aboutyourself, about your journey, into customer success, your journey into SixthSense and your journey into the growth of Sixth Sense.

It'll be great for us, for us and our audience to

Sanjay: hear aboutit. Yeah, sure. So I'll give a quick intro. I came from the tech space, so Idid my bachelor's and master's in computer science. So bachelor's in India, didmy master's in computer science here. And then I joined a small company calledPure Software where you probably have heard the name Reed Hastings.

He was our CEO, the Netflix CEO, and he was amazing. It wasdeveloper tools, and I was an engineer, and we got bought by a company calledRational. And I spent the first two years just doing engineering work, and Irealized... I could be an engineer for the rest of my life and be an averageengineer or move into something that I'm more passionate about, which ismeeting with people, customers, but keeping that technical edge.

So I moved into sales engineering, spent almost 15 years youknow, doing sales engineering work as well as leading sales engineering teams, workingwith sales and CS. And you know, that's what drew me into customer successbecause I always work for amazing companies and we would, I would be on theselling side.

And then we would sell like an amazing solution. And then ayear later I would meet the customer and say, so are you doing all thesethings? And then they would say, Oh no, we're only doing this. And I'm like,what the hell is the CS team doing? Right. Because it's such an easy solution.It's amazing. Why aren't they doing it?

So that's what kind of drew me to customer success. And then Irealized what a tough job it is to make your customers successful. But yeah, Ifeel super lucky. with Rational where we grew from 50 to. You know, I think4,000 people almost from 50 million to 800 million. And then I was at responsesagain joined when we were about 40, 50 people doing $10 million.

We grew to about 300 million before we got bought by Oracle andI p o and all that. And I'm trying to do the same thing with six sense of 30people. When I joined about six years ago customers, $5 million, and now we'realmost at 200 million. So, Wow. So

Srikrishna: 5 to 200million. And I think it had done 50 to 300.

You had also done pretty similar routes, but this is even moreexpansive, right? Like almost 40 years expansion, which is that one thing thatyou talked about was pretty interesting. You said that when you were asolutions engineer when you talk to the customers at the end of the year, youwere like, they were always like, did you use it?

Did you use it? They didn't use it. And then you're like, oh,the customer success team should have come for that. So it's in a way, it'slike identifying gaps or identifying features of the product, which could be soamazing or could be so useful for the customers, which somehow, or quite asignificant amount of times fails the customer or nobody sees it and you wantedto use that.

And that was one of the triggers. Is that the essence ofcustomer success?

Sanjay: Yeah, I wouldsay you know, there are many types of companies. So for instance, you take acompany like a zoom, right? For instance. Yeah, I think over there, the essenceis maybe driving people to the product and features and all that.

I've always wanted to work for companies that have a businesssolution that drives the results. So if you see responses as well as success.We were, the product was just there to kind of do the work, but the reality iswhy customers buy us is because they're trying to change the way they dobusiness.

They're trying to change they're trying to deliver pipeline andrevenue and improve conversions. So those are the things we try to do incustomer success. And oh, by the way, we have a product called Sixth Sense thathelps you do that. But I feel the role of the CSM is more drivingtransformation and driving results and, you know, those kind of things.

Srikrishna: That'sinteresting. One other thing, which also moving towards more into Sixth Sensepart. I've heard this about great physicists and Nobel Prize winners, like,especially like Feynman. But I think the same thing applies to companies aswell. There are, I mean, the quote about Feynman is this, like, when Some othermathematician was explaining about Feynman.

He was saying like, there are normal geniuses. When you seetheir work, you can understand how they were thinking. And then there aremagicians. When you see their work also, you wouldn't be able to figure out howthey actually came up with that. The same thing also applies to companies insome sense, where like some companies, when you see them, or when you readabout them, you know, okay, this is what they do.

And this is how I think technically they do what they do. Andthen there are companies like Sixth Sense. Where even if you read about themand what they say, you don't exactly don't understand what is the magic behindit. It's something like some form of magic which goes behind your revenue AIand other things which basically shows the output to the users.

If you can take some time to explain what Sixth Sense does andhow does it do the magic, so that would be

Sanjay: really greatfor us. No, that's a good question. So I'll start off with a funny story. Likefor the first two years of Sixth Sense, whenever I told people like, Hey, whatcompany is Sixth Sense? And they're like, Bruce Willis movie?

Like like, no, not that one, but it feels good. Now that yousay Sixth Sense, they're like, Oh yeah, I use it. Or, you know, my team usesit. It's we've come a long way. But what do we do? So at the very essence,we're helping sales and marketing teams of our customers. Figure out who's inmarket to buy their solution, right?

So typically you have a TAM or an ICP that's 5, accounts and ifyou were to go after all of them You're probably gonna fail. You're not gonnaget same conversion ratios. So we tell them Hey, if you have these 5, 000accounts, don't spend time on all of them. Spend time on these 500 instead. Andthe way we do that is we've coined this term called the dark funnel.

So if you think about all the research that happens today, youknow, it's not like 10, 20 years ago where companies would say, here's yourRFP, come back to me, and then... They look at four solutions and then decidewhat ends up happening is they're doing the research. 70% of the buying cycle isdone before you even call the vendors and then, you know, at that point, mostof the vendors become column fodder.

So you want to be able to get to them in that first 70% of thetime when they're coming to your website, researching your key, your competitors,the reading blogs about you and your competitors and the space. So that's whatwe're able to uncover. And we get them during that dark funnel for ourcustomers and say, hey, go talk to them now.

Because if you talk to them later, your competitors havealready influenced the RFP. So we help sales and marketing teams get to theiraccounts customers faster, which end up being more conversions, bigger dealsizes and shorter sales cycles.

Srikrishna: And mostimportantly, being there before your competitors are.

So what is this percentage of the stock? I don't know if thereare like let's say 100 customers in the market. What percentage would be in thedark tunnel? Or let's say a

Sanjay: large company.You mean if there are 100

Srikrishna: accounts?If there are 100 accounts in the market, or in a ICP, or a... This thing,market size is a hundred.

How much should, I mean the number of people signing up or even

Sanjay: likedepending on the company, it could be anywhere from five to 15%,

Srikrishna: five to15%. So after five to 15%, let's say 15 companies are there, barely, one personwould be the signing up. You reveal the remaining 13 or 14 of them, whichshouldn't have actually

Sanjay: come throughthe whole system.

Yeah, and it's not like you're not doing anything for theremaining 85. So, you know, we think about it as a funnel. So the job of themarketing team is to move those 85 accounts down the funnel. But as salesspends time at the bottom, when we say, okay, these guys are actually inmarket, go talk to them versus going talking to the other people.


Srikrishna: good. Andin this dark funnel, do people actually come to the website or this is evenbefore coming into the website itself?

Sanjay: It could bebefore coming. So it depends on the company, right? So if for instance, So youcan take almost like two separate scenarios. One is where you're the marketleader.

Then most companies would come to you to say, okay, here, Iwant to learn about it. But then there's also other companies like a smallcompany that's competing with a large company. So in that case, you know, theyprobably don't even know who you are, right? So then they'll probably go toyour competitor's website and research your competitors.

And you want to know. We're not able to tell them that theywent to the competitor's website, but we will be able to tell them that they'reresearching these keywords and all that. Got

Srikrishna: it.That's pretty amazing in terms of like conceptually, it makes so much sensebecause it's like, there are these people, these are in my ICP.

I would want to reach out to them. And I know they aresearching for a similar solution like us. If I'm able to reach out to them muchfaster or before or in the same time as When they are talking to mycompetitors, at least I have a better shot rather than me being totally out ofthe game is

Sanjay: interesting,but Yeah, so like a good example would be, you know, we have one customer, theydo Oracle implementations, so no one's heard of them, really small company, butall they do is they're competing with Oracle, like once a deal is done on theOracle side, they're just trying to get the services business.

So now, if they know someone is researching Oracle applicationsand, you know, those kind of things, then they know, okay, I'm going to goafter those accounts because we know that they're researching Oracle and theycompete with Oracle for Oracle services. And they just like printing moneybasically in that case.

Srikrishna: But onething is, I mean, conceptually great, but how do you do it? How does it thatyou know, like what people are searching for? How does it that you know, like Imean, this is like very top of the funnel, right? How does that

Sanjay: happen? Imean, a lot of it is our secret sauce, but at a very high level, we have thisconcept called the company ID.

So we're able to match people who are people to companies. Soeven though you're sitting in Bangalore and I'm sitting in my home in PaloAlto, like Sixth Sense will know that I work for Sixth Sense. And thatobviously they know because I'm on the VPN, but if I work for a differentcompany as well, they'd be able to tell because we do this thing around IPaddresses and device IDs and, you know, we triangulate across all differentkinds of things to be able to say, Hey, this person works for this company.

So that's one aspect like we've, we've done match tests againstpretty much most of our competitors and we're usually double. When we're ableto match our, you say a hundred people came to my website. Tell me how many ofthose, you know, which company they work for. We're really good at that. Thesecond part is the content.

So now we have to know where are these people going? And thenwe scrape, if they go and look at the content, what are they researching? Sothen we scrape the pages and we're able to tell, Oh, by the way, if they werereading this page about BI, then maybe they're looking at. You know, like aDomo versus Tableau or something like that, right?

So we're able to then Put taxonomy around all the web pages b2bweb pages and then match that to keywords and then the website is pretty easybecause All our customers basically just put a javascript on their website Andthen we can tell them like who's coming to their website typically, you knowone or two or three percent of The companies that come because they fill out aform, but what about the remaining 90 something percent that haven't filled outa form you still want them to you still want to know which companies they are.

Srikrishna: Oh,that's pretty amazing. And I think you also mentioned it's like compared tocompetitors, we have a much better match rate and also knowing like what peopleare doing the thing. So, I mean, and any certain defined category, if there aremultiple players in the ABM, what does Sixth Sense do better than most of us?

Is it the product? Is it the kind of the market they operate?Or is it the customer success?

Sanjay: What is itthey do? So I would say you know, we have to give credit where it's due. Likethere were companies before us that were doing really well, who kind of coinedthe ABM term. I think what we did well is we focused number one on the customerand trying to drive results versus trying to get them to spend money anddisplay and all that, right?

So we don't even care. If they spend money on display with us,what we get is driving the results. So our product was built for that. Theother thing is, we were the first company that started doing intent as a wholeand then saying let's take intent and buying stages and use machine learningand AI to figure out what accounts to go after.

A lot of the other companies were profile based and then theywere Oh, if you sold to United, go sell to Delta, right? So that was theirpredictive. which to me doesn't make sense. It, it is a starting point, butit's not very good. But then the other part was the AI. So what we're doing iswe're saying, Oh, is it, did they come to your website?

Did they research keywords? Is it one person or is it fivepeople? Is it decision makers? Are they engaging with your marketing campaigns?So all these together, we put together in a thing and we say, okay, now,instead of. going off of these 5, 000 go off of these 500. So all that goesinto that. And then we do a research across all our customers every quarter.

And we have this concept called a 6QA, a six cents qualifiedaccount. And we say, okay, how does 6QAs do versus non 6QA account? Andtypically it's anywhere from, conversion is like anywhere from 5 to 20X. Wow.So, 5 to 20X.

Srikrishna: So yourpredictor, so who you predict would be a customer is more likely or by 5 to 20xas a factor, but let's say 10x factor than who you don't predict to be

Sanjay: as acustomer.

So if your conclusion is 1% for non 6 people, it would besomewhere from 5 to 20%.

Srikrishna: That'spretty impressive in terms of how you explain the thing and focusing on thecustomer part rather than how the customer is driving success, rather than howmuch they are spending or what they're doing. And also. One interesting pointyou mentioned is like it's not general rule-based thing that you sell toairlines, you sell to similar companies.

It's a lot more into what's there in the market. Who are theones who are actively looking for a solution like yours and then selling tothem for you to build up. Yeah. That's pretty

Sanjay: interesting.Yeah. I think I'll do a disservice to my CSS team if I don't give them a kudosbecause. I think that's a big part of why we do well, because it's not just theproduct, right?

I think in the end it's change management. We're telling salesand marketing teams to do their jobs completely differently. And if you justhand them the product, there's no way they know how to do it. And I think, youknow, kudos to my CS team where they're actually driving change there. We callthem change agents you know, and they're telling them how to.

You know, completely rethink about their job, how to do theirjob and, you know, drive more results.

Srikrishna: That'sactually a very good point for me to segue into the next set of questions,which I had, I mean, 5 million to 200 million, 40x growth. Yeah. I mean, thiskind of growth, of course, it happens because of more and more new customerscoming and other, but it also really happens because one customer stick formulti year deals.

Customers stick to pay much more than what they had originallycommitted to pay for. It doesn't happen, and all that happens because of thecustomer success team. So if you can tell us the path from five to 10 to 50,200 to 200, what is, what is the secret sauce from the customer success or thechange agent part, which

Sanjay: been here?

Yeah. No, I think, you know, like everybody asks me like, Hey,what have you been doing for the last five years? Like, you know, same job.And, you know, honestly, like it has been a completely different job everysingle year, even though I have exact same title. So, you know, first year waslike, honestly, like firefighting I pretty much knew every customer, not justevery customer, every person at every customer we grew from, you know, 5million to 10 million.

And then so it was just getting to know the customer. I thinkyou asked me earlier what made us successful. I think one of the big pivots wealso made was we said, ABM is not about ABM. It's about ABX. So we focus notjust on marketing. We focused on sales as well. So we built like a whole salestrack very early, like five years ago when everybody else was doing marketing,we said it's marketing and sales.

This cannot be successful unless sales gives you the thumbs up.And honestly, like we turn zero customers when sales says yep, we like success.So then we kind of pivoted in that sense. But coming back to like yourquestion, I do feel like, you know, five to 10 was that 10 to 20 was buildingthe right leadership team under me to say, okay, now let's go build.

But get the right people. And I think people is honestly one ofthe most important things when you are building a small starting from scratchand building a small team. And then once you have those people in place,they'll get people like them. So then 20 to 40, I think it was more aroundscaling and, you know, building other orgs.

So back then your CSM did. Support and training and onboardingand everything and CS, right? So then at that point we started building outthose functions around support and training. And then, you know, 40 to,actually 40, we didn't go to 80, we just went 40 to 100. And then, you know,from that point on it was building a separate onboarding team, putting in moreprocess, getting in, like, more tools, like a game site and things like that sowe can inspect more.

So I would say at a smaller stage, it's more of an art as youkind of go and become larger. It's still an art, I believe, but there is a lotmore science into it because now, you know, your team has grown like I could gotalk to five CSMs and now and 50 customers I can keep in my head. But right nowwe have over 100 CSMs customers, so we still need to know exactly like what isgoing on with each customer.

So putting that into like process of, you know, dashboards toinspect out and things like that

Srikrishna: becomevery important. That was very interesting point which you also made that likewhere it moves from R to science. I think the early stages as a customersuccess person is more like, you know, the customers very well.

You keep talking to them and it is more like conversation andtrying to understand their problems and solving for the problem with theproduct. Very, very clearly. But going into the science part. What are the kindof metrics you follow as a customer success person and which were the, what wasthe stage at which the metrics changed?

Sanjay: Well, that'sthe question again, it changes over time. So in the beginning, you know, you'renot caring so much about profitability and all that. It's more about what is mygross retention and what is my net retention. Those are kind of like yourlagging indicators. They obviously like a bunch of leading indicators aroundadoption and things like that.

But then as you grow up. Then you start to see, okay, nowshould I look at NPS, right? So, because now I can't really like haveeverything in my head because when we were 50 customers, I knew our NPS in myhead, like doing the calculations myself. But over time you want to get NPSgive me a second.

And then the other thing you start to look at is also book ofbusiness. So you want to make sure that you're starting to move towards thatscalability. Perspective where you say, okay, each customer success managershould have like a book of 2 million and, you know, maybe 10 to 20 customers.And then we started doing segmentation as well.

We didn't have segments like all CSMs were the same over time.We ended up saying, let's create a strategic enterprise growth. Yes.

Srikrishna: Anyindustry level segments.

Sanjay: Sorry. Noworries. And then I would say the last thing, like, as you grew up, like nowwhat we're thinking about is more. Metrics like gross margin, you know, wealways had gross margin in there, but we didn't pay enough attention to it. Andthen other things like, what is CS as a percentage of your ARR? So, you know,what does CS spend as a percentage of ARR?

So you want to start measuring that and you want that to golower and lower as time goes by. Verticals, we just created one recently, butyou know, like, I think as your team grows, you want to do that specializing.It's like, for instance, our strat teams have five to 10 customers managing 3million each.

Whereas our commercial teams have one and a half to 2 millionmanaging 25 customers. Right. So


Srikrishna: does. Andthat also got me to ask a couple of more questions as well. One thing is like,how do you expand? You don't land a customer at 200, 000, right? You might landthem at 50K. How does the expansion happen? How does the customer expand? Thattoo for a product which is revenue marketing because it may not be just users,right?

User level expansion might happen for something like a kind ofAsana or similar products, but this should be more something else significantlyfrom a product usage point of view, right? How

Sanjay: complex theproduct is. Yeah, so pricing you know, like we have actually grown quite a lotover the years and we've, if you think about what we do.

We serve multiple personas, so you think about there'smarketing ops, sales ops, call them revenue ops. Then you have digitalmarketers, you have demand gen marketers, you have AEs, BDRs, the CMO, allthese are different personas and we have use cases for each persona. So the waywe can expand is one dial is that we say, well, you have digital marketersusing us.

You want sales to start using us. Okay. We'll end up, you know,turning on that use case. It's more dollars for that. So that's kind of thebreadth. And then you have the depth, which is each of those use cases have abunch of dials we can turn, like, the number of users or sales, or number ofdisplay accounts you want to sell you want to target through display, or numberof API calls you want to do to do, like website personalization.

So each of those use cases have different, And then there's thelarger companies where you're talking to one department and then there could befive different departments. So Cisco was a customer, you know, they, they spenda lot of money with us, but at the same time, we're just scratching the surfacebecause we're not talking to 80% of the tools.

Srikrishna: And moreimportantly, I mean, given that from my research, I know like Sixth Sense has.Been pretty acquisitive in the last couple of years as well. So a lot of Imean, new people coming into the team new set of even products actually cominginto this thing. And that would also change your overall a c v or even thesegments at which you're selling to, or even the industries at which youselling to, et cetera.

How do you handle

Sanjay: that? Yeah,no, that's a good question. So we have done three or four acquisitions in thelast couple years. And a lot of companies do acquisitions to increase theirrevenue. We've not done that, so we bought very small companies that we feelcan be game changing for us. That's been our strategy.

So, for instance, we bought a company called Pipeline calledFortella, which was for Pipeline Intelligence. So that gets us to the CMO andwe're able to like tell our CMOs, Hey, where's your gap for pipeline for thenext quarter? We also bought a company called Slintel, which is now completelyintegrated with our platform.

We did a big launch a couple of months ago which puts usstraight with ZoomInfo. We'll be able to compete with them. And again, allthese companies were like, you know, single digit million dollars. So it's notlike it improved our revenue a lot. And then lastly, we bought a company calledSales Whale, which has been game changing.

Again, you know, like 10 customers, less than million dollarsin revenue when we bought them. But at the same time, what it does is it doesthe job of a BDR and it goes back and forth with prospects. till you get to apoint where they want a meeting and then they'll pass it on to the AE. So, youknow, it's not taking the job of the BDR away, but it's, if you have 10 BDRs,you can only go after, let's say a thousand accounts, but your ICP is 5, 000.

You're not doing anything with the remaining 4, 000. So why notput AI to work on that? Right. And that's what all

Srikrishna: I thinkin all sense, it's somehow gets aligned to the original six cents, the thing,right? There is so much of companies in the dark, which you might not bereaching out in one way or the other, either through your sales methods or orinto your marketing methods and six cents finds a way to reach out to them insome level and all the acquisitions.

Fill in the pieces, but given the market and also given now withyour acquisitions, your ACVs would also range from anywhere from 10K to all theway up to, let's say, 500K, et cetera and also segments, you would be servingsome small mid companies as well at some level and the same. How do you handlechurn?

Sanjay: Not verywell. I feel like someone just stuck something in my heart when I see acustomer churn. No, I'm just kidding. We try really hard to keep our customers.You know, the good news for us compared to a lot of other companies out therewhere you have a single product, sometimes like a customer might say, Hey, thisis not working for us.

And we don't believe in this. Then first thing we try to do islike, okay, why don't you try this other product instead? And, you know, a lotof times we're able to save that customer for that in that way. I think one ofthe advantages we have, which is also a disadvantage is that In the end, whatwe're doing is we do our EBRs, our Executive Business Reviews, where we'reshowing them the value that we've driven in the last quarter.

So how much pipeline have you generated? How much revenue? Whatis your conversions compared to before? So that really gets customers to apoint where they're like, Oh, shoot, can I live without SIG Sensor?

Srikrishna: So giventhat you are directly into the revenue and pipeline and people see you assomething which is necessary for them to keep their jobs, it's very difficultfor them

Sanjay: to...

And you are going to get the occasional, oh, budgets have cut,you know, teams have been laid off, companies going out of business. Even like,Hey, the director or the CEO knows the competitor is someone. Sometimes you endup using deals like that, but you know, like we've been pretty proud. We'vemaintained over 90% gross retention over the last few years.

So you know, that's something we're pretty proud of.

Srikrishna: And let'ssay going into 2023 and also given that you have seen the whole journey from 5,10, this thing and currently we are hearing stories of even companies at 10million or 20 million totally revamping their product or even moving out intonew segments and the same given that the market has changed and a lot ofthings, assumptions, which Might have been true maybe one and a half yearsback.

It's not true anymore. What is any suggestions on how youhandle the market like this for especially companies which are at 5 to 10

Sanjay: milliondollars a year? It's all about adoption. I think, you know, you just have tomake sure at your core, you need to understand what is it that your product isdoing for your customers.

And then what are the key metrics that will help me understandwhether they're going to. Churn or not. So, you know, I was talking about someof the lagging indicators earlier. You want to know what the leading indicatorsare. So understand like, Hey, if they do X, Y, and Z, there's almost a 0%chance that they'll churn.

So what are those things? And if you don't have those things,then rethink your product because you need to have something like that, thathelps you feel. Talk to your customers. You're like, okay, what do you need tomake sure that you would continue to use your product? So I think in thesetimes, it becomes like 10 times more necessary to find those metrics that areleading indicators and then measure them, you know, inspect what you expectthem and make sure that your customers are hitting that in these times, I thinkwhat ends up happening is budgets are tight.

Everything is scrutinized. You know, what will end up happeningis the strong companies will actually get a lot stronger. I've been old enoughto see this and, you know, been through the dot com bust and the globalfinancial crisis in 2010. And what you've always seen is, you know, there's alittle bit of a slowdown and then the companies that do well just suddenly takeoff.

So also during this time, I would say, just make sure you'regetting everything lined up, your ducks lined up. Figure a process out becauseit's tough to do those kind of things when you're growing like crazy so I thinkyou know, those are the kind of things I would give advice to

Srikrishna: teams Sofor startups or even series a companies the thing is to go to keep going toback to customers specifically keep asking them like Are there metrics or arethere goals or are there expectations out of the product being met,consistently being met, and then work around the metrics around that?

Yes. And yes, I think that makes a lot of sense for us to our,and even companies like us and also so many others to actually look at. Alittle more moving away from the customer success part and the metrics part,and you talked about the art and science of that. Thank you. I have gonethrough the legendary book from the Six Senses marketing team, which is no, noforms, no spam, no cold calls, and which talks a great deal about how The darkfunnel and the marketing part goes on.

And I think the second edition has just come out, which alsotakes in the revenue aspect also of this thing. Of course, there's, customersuccess is very entwined into both parts. It's like revenue very much clearlyinto the revenue. Where does customer success comes into play with marketingand revenue at Success?

How does the Trinity work in a sense, or the

Sanjay: tripod work?Yeah, no we're lucky at Sixth Sense because, you know, Latney is our CMO. Markruns sales and I run CS and we're like a very close team, like we're the go tomarket team. I get comped on, you know, upsells, growth and renewals. So, sodoes Mark on the upsells as well.

And then LATME also, like for us, it's all about how do we growthe company. So we consider ourselves one team in the end, whether we're salesmarketing or CS. But, but if you think about the future of ABX, for instance,CS will play a much bigger part right now, it's more about marketing and sales,but as companies move into this SaaS.

Model, like forget about like software now, even car companiesare moving towards SAS. They're like, Oh, you know, so it's all about renewingevery year. So in the end, like 80 to 90% of the revenue comes from yourexisting customers. So and if you spend like time trying to figure out how toget new customers, you know, you're doomed, right?

So we as a company are also thinking about how do we get CS inthe fold as well. Because you, you could do things like churn models to say,okay, this account has more affinity to churn. So here's what you need to do.So those are the kind of things we're thinking in the future. But I think, youknow, we have like a lot of synergies between say CS and marketing.

So our head of we have a head of customer marketing. She'samazing. Heather she's built this amazing community for us, for our customerscalled Rev City. So our customers are in there, like there's all the stuff thatwe put, but they're also talking to each other. So, and trying to figure outhow to help each other, which is amazing.

They, they own our customer references. So we work with them onthat. We put together a lot of local customer events where communities of.Customers can meet and you know, we put that together and we have ourconference breakthrough which happens in october And honestly like i'm beingbiased but you know, most of our customers say it's the best conference they'vebeen to So that's all run by marketing And they do like all these digitalthings as well, like around, you know, for customers display ads or you know,email marketing based on the stage of that customer or things like that.

And to be honest, like I would say Latme, I always joke withher. She's our number one CSM because she talks to so many customers. And inthe end that ends up feeding our product as well. Right. So, you know, bothLatme, Markme, we have a very big say in what goes in the product. Becausewe're talking to customers more than they are.

Srikrishna: That'sactually very good. That's like actually the marketing team of every company orat least a B2B SaaS company being the first CSM. In a sense, one is like notjust a customer evangelist, but more importantly, a customer success person. Sothat one, they get inputs on to, or they feed inputs back into the customers onwhat all the product can do.

But more importantly, get inputs and feedback also. on how theyare doing it and then return it. That was one very important point. The secondpoint which you also mentioned was very interesting. That is like you have abig say on what goes into the product. How do you use Sixth

Sanjay: Senseyourself? Yeah, so I think that's like the number one thing we focus on.

So for instance, if you ask me who's our best customer, I wouldsay Sixth Sense. We have this internal term called Sixth Sense for Sixth Sense.And, you know, whether it's the marketing team or the sales team, everybody is.using Sixth Sense and, you know, like we can say, Hey, that's why we grew somuch because we were able to focus on the right accounts.

In fact, even our CSM team CSM teams use Sixth Sense to try andsee, Hey, are they researching our competitors? Like six months before they seethat their triggers that come to your Marketing teams gets formed because theywant to be like us. So the kind of results we've driven for each of those usecases is Pretty tremendous. And then a lot of what they do ends up, you know,saying, Hey, in fact, they're like the worst customer for the products. There'sa product team, like for us, they're great product teams.

Like, Oh my God, guys are on my case, but yeah, they'reactually making product better. It's a product. I was just joking. Productappreciates them.

Srikrishna: That'shaving the, being the customer zero. Yeah. Right.

Sanjay: Alpha betaprogram is usually alpha is our team using it beta. We get a bunch ofcustomers. So we're lucky in the sense that our best our customer like is ourmarketing team, right?

So we're able to do that. A lot of marketing teams don't havethat luxury where, you know, they understand their customer that well.

Srikrishna: That'spretty interesting. One thing which I also want to know is like, given thecustomer success is so much about making the customers successful. the firstlevel. Can you relate some stories, no name basis also, the thing aboutcustomers who have phenomenally

Sanjay: succeededthanks to Sixth Sense.

Yeah, I think, you know, like there are so many to talk about.Like, you know, we go to our conferences and some startups,

Srikrishna: if youcan tell about some startups using six cents and becoming unicorns down theline, that would be really interesting for us also to talk about.

Sanjay: Yeah, no,I'll tell you, for instance, like three, four years ago, we were primarilyenterprise software, so large companies.

And then about, I'd say three years ago we started our, what wecall commercial space. And that's our fastest growing market right now. So, forus, commercial is 500 and less employees. And, you know, about three years ago,we had zero customers in that space. Now we have over a thousand. So, like,what we end up seeing is they start, and if you think about them, like, one ofthe big challenges we had was change management was very tough.

When you're telling companies like HP or Dell to change,because, you know, it has to go through this whole process and you need 25people to approve and all that. And you need the sales up. Bill, I'll do it infour months, right? But at the same time, your smaller companies are moreagile. So you talk to the CMO or the CRO like, what?

We can do this. Boom. So it's much easier for them to take onlike a six cents. What they need from us is more guidance to say like, Hey,what do I need to do to get better? But you know, we've seen like customersstart very small and then they end up using more use cases and they've gonefrom like 20, $30 million to, you know, a hundred, $200 million.

And you know, a lot of times they're saying, Hey, if it wasn'tfor 6 cents, we won't get there. In fact, like there were some accounts that wehad. where they use our data to figure out which markets they should go intoand which markets they should not go into. So they can say, okay, should I moveto Australia?

Should I have a new team over there? They'll build an ICPthere, see if there's any intent, see if the profile fit is there and then say,you know, yes or no. So sometimes for these smaller companies were even moreimportant because you could have made a big mistake. Like putting a go tomarket team there and then suddenly realizing there's not enough accounts andthings like that.

Srikrishna: One otherthing which when you talked about also as companies when SexSense grows theyalso make companies grow pretty big. What other products does SexSense workwith? which are the products or which are the use cases

Sanjay: which becomevery complementary to SexSense? Yeah, so I would say you know, Salesforce likeCRM and marketing automation is central for all our customers.

So whether it's Salesforce or HubSpot or Microsoft Dynamics onthe CRM side, and then on the marketing automation side, it's Marketo, Aliqua,HubSpot, some of the other ones over there. So that's kind of table stakes. Nowif you talk about the ecosystem. You know, we work pretty well with a salesloft or an outreach because the BDRs live in there.

So, you know, we have an iframe that goes into Salesforce, butif the BDRs or the in outreach or SalesLoft, then why should we put it inSalesforce? So we push all the data to those products. And then so you highframe and outreaches. Correct. And then we also create like we integrate in thesense that you can create automatic sales loft or outreach cadences from ourproduct itself.

So you can automate that. Oh, this person just came to thiswebsite and they reached out. So now let's put them in this cadence. So we dorecommendations as well, based on what we've seen in the past and what we'veworked using AI to say, go run this cadence on this person, things like that.Then there's the whole ecosystem around the website.

So there are companies like Drift and Qualified who would, youknow, interact with customers that are coming to your website. So we give themthe intelligence to say. Oh, you know, instead of blindly talking to them, theymake an API call to us. We'll tell him the account name and then you know, sizeof the company, are they a customer or not?

And now the conversations can be a lot more intelligent throughthe chat bot. So there's that aspect. There's this there's also the giftingplatforms like Sendoso and Alice and all that. So based on where they are, youcan do the right kind of gift and spend right amount of money, right? And then,you know, LinkedIn, Google again, we can do marketing campaigns through there.

So it's a pretty big ecosystem. I'm missing probably another 25things, but we do have a slide with. You know, we think of ourselves as what wecall the central nervous system. So, where we have all the data and then we'lltell all the other products.

Oh, did we lose it for a second? Yeah, just

Srikrishna: lost itfor a second. Central nervous system.

Sanjay: Did we loseeach other

Srikrishna: for asecond there? Yeah, we

Sanjay: did lose eachother for a second there. So so yeah, we think of ourselves as the centralnervous system and then, you know, we have all the data and what we tell ourother products, like I said, you know, whether it's drift or sales loft ormarketo, we're giving the intelligence and those channels to continue then go.

And use that intelligence to communicate with the prospects andcustomers.

Srikrishna: This isactually interesting and last part which you mentioned is the marketing whenyou were having multiple channels and also gifting and field events andcontent, art factory and few others also which remain your partners and how itruns into your central nervous system.

One thing which is something. So, which was, how does SixthSense deal with the attribution process? Or what is the thought leadership fromSixth Sense on the attribution side? How do, what, how do you look at differentchannels and different activities from the marketing side driving ROI andoptimizing your marketing costs?

Because in a sense where, like, if we want to conserve costs,and this thing, of course, it starts with some of the spends as well, apartfrom generating more revenue. Your thoughts on that?

Sanjay: Thoughtsthere? You know, like I came from B2C marketing I spent almost 10 years therewith responses and everything was about attribution, right?

You won't spend a single dollar without knowing what theattribution is. In B2B, it's a lot more difficult to do attribution, I wouldsay, because Like in the end, everybody wants to take credit. It's like, oh, Igot them to the website. Or I was the rep who did the good meeting, or we tookthem to this nice dinner, or, you know, oh, the c e O comes in at the end andthey did a good negotiation or something like that.

So it becomes a tough thing. But I would say that everymarketer really wants to know what is helping me close deals. Right. And whatis helping me build more pipeline. So there is that appetite for it on the B2Bspace, but it's tough because it's a considered purchase. So most marketerswould say, Hey, if I have these hundred opportunities, can you tell me whatcaused me to get these opportunities?

And if you could tell me for sure, then I want to spend moremoney there. Right. So that, that is the Holy grail. I think most companieshave not cracked it. I hope factors is the one that, you know, is thegroundbreaking company that does. They are on

Srikrishna: the, weare on that path and also thanks to, we are building more partnerships also onthose lines with the central nervous system so that we are able to map theentire journey and show the users of like what started the conversation, whatare the parts which influenced the conversation and what are the parts whichended the conversation.

And as in B2B, the interesting part is. It's not like any onetouch is important. There are multiple touches across multiple stakeholders,which is important. And it's like itself is a big puzzle to unravel on its ownfor

Sanjay: people. But Ithink if you solve it, I mean, people will come in hordes because, you know, itdoesn't have to be 100% accurate.

Even if it's like, you know, 70, 80% accurate directionally,people will say, Hey, I'm going to spend more money here because that got methis.

Srikrishna: Got it.That's thanks for the affirmation as well. The last. Technical question beforewe move into more non serious stuff. What are the trends you have seen in theABM market, at least for the last six years, you have seen from let's say 5million to 200 million, how the ABM market has evolved, both including whatyour competitors are doing, other adjacent players in the ecosystem are doing,how maybe you might get even more competition and other things.

Where do you think it's... Evolving. You did mention some partabout ABX and customer success being key, but what are the trends? Neutraltrends, 2022, 23, 24, 25 trends in ABM. And

Sanjay: also numberone, I would say that probably the ABM term will disappear because it's notabout marketing. So it's all about revenue ABX and revenue is sales, marketing,customer success.

I think to me, that's like number one. Number two, I thinkit'll become more streamlined. So like if you ask me like four years ago, likeI said, Bruce Willis, like I see dead people, that's what Sixth Sense was. Butyou know, it used to be like more of a research project like four or five yearsago. Oh, I'll throw like 50 K to see if it works or a hundred K.

And then it went from that to being a nice to have in the lasttwo, three years. And now it feels like it's almost like a must have. So youwill see that happening. What is my CRM? What is my marketing automation? Whatis my ABI X platform, right? So that trend will appear. And then I'd say thethird one is more around like have more AI.

So like previously, it was more like, okay, let me do the, youknow, the smarts versus having AI be at the center of ABX and it telling youlike, Hey, here's what You should be doing right? Maybe you may not may or maynot do it, but what if they can say, Oh, why don't you do these three campaignshere and spend this kind of money here?

Because it's going to do that or go and go into this market.Like, it looks like you're not spending enough money or time in these kind ofaccounts. So it'll start to be more AI driven. We're already seeing that. LikeI mentioned, our A conversational email product. Literally, I think we did onefor our existing customers.

And we just had like Janine, who's our head of customer successon my team. And we did a Janine bot and we said, Hey, are you interested inconversation? We did a conversational email upsell a bot and we send it to, Ithink, 5, 000 people and we got in two weeks, we had 150 meetings set up. Wow.And it was zero CSM work, zero BDRs, and that was like 3% I think was theconversion.

And you know, so just think about like the power of what AI cando. And it was not like one email, it's like going back and forth, back andforth. Multiple emails. To get the meaning.

Srikrishna: Actually,yeah, it's not people say it's not never the first touch, it's also not neverthe first email, but there are multiple emails and also nuances and changeswithin each email.

And if all those are automated, then it's basically like makesthe b d a far more powerful, or BIA himself has a quasi itself to generateconvert meetings itself in the first place. So that's amazing. One thing is, islike I mean, you've seen the market, you are in Palo Alto and the value, youhave seen so many MarTech tech companies.

As one person fondly used to tell me is like MarTech is likethe graveyard of so many founders and companies as well, because it's likehighly competitive and it's very difficult to shine out, which is that. Can youname some of the companies which you have seen in the last year or, or whichyou are thinking, which are kind of like.

Can break off or can are solving for something unique, somepredictions or like these are the use cases which you think should be solvedfor which you mentioned, but which are the companies which are working on thoseuse cases, which is something any suggestions of that.

Sanjay: Yeah, I thinkthere's a lot of AI coming around you know, the customer success side as well,which is again, you would think, oh, that's customer success.

But I think that's again revenue. So trying to predict, like,what is the Chance that you will end up renewing this or what is the chancethat you think it'll work or not? I think you guys are doing some good workhere. Like, you know trying to figure out Hey, can I help my customersunderstand where my money is going and what I should be spending money on?

The graveyard thing, I think, you know, like our board used totell us that like four years ago. But I would say in the end, it boils down tohow much value you're adding for your customers. Like you look at companieslike zoom info, they've done really well. Like when obviously we're going to becompeting with them, but we have a lot of respect for them.

And you know they're Martek. We're Martek. We've done well. SoI think there'll be a bunch of companies that emerge in this space that will dowell. And I think Bambora is like another good one. I think they... We nowpartner with them, you know, initially we were like, Oh, should I use SixthSense or Babura for intent?

Now it's like a good partnership with them. I think, you know,companies like Gong and Clary, you know, they're all in the RefTech space aswell. So

Srikrishna: a veryinteresting part of what you said is like a lot of your competitors are alsoyour partners and also with deep respect and also kind of focus. And that'spretty amazing the way how 6NC is the world where it's not like a zero sumgame, but it's more like as partners and other parts serving different markets,you can emerge.

That's very interesting to see that. What keeps you awake atnight?

Sanjay: So for me,it's the customer health. Like what is the red that we're not seeing so a lotof times it's you know, we'll go into a customer meeting and find out somethinglike, why did we not know that

Srikrishna: we shouldhave known never a competition, never a new tech or

Sanjay: anything likethat.

No, I think we're in control of our own destiny. I think. Youknow, obviously, like competitors are going to do their thing, but in the end,you can only control the controllables. I think that's, that's our philosophyand, you know, like I have this thing that I heard long time ago is like, playgood golf for the golfers who listen.

It's like, you just have to play your game. If someone elseplays better, you're not going to go and try and kill them with a knife orsomething, but you can just go play your best and You know, that's all you cando. And that's what we do. I mean, obviously we can learn from our othercompanies or learn from competitors if they're doing something well, but in theend you have to control your own destiny and be the best.

I mean, that's

Srikrishna: a, Ithink I take away a lot from that and I might make a post on that as well. Sothanks for that. Borrowing that. Yeah. Anyways. Moving into the non seriousparts of it. One thing which I do ask leaders and specifically leaders and SaaScompanies which have grown immensely and this, what are, let's say if you lookback into your own career and where you are What are the kind of key inflectionpoints you feel that are very, very important?

And if you are let's say advising someone else who was 30 yearsold, 25 years old what would be that to tell them to basically to get into asuccessful carrier or carrier outcome?

Sanjay: Yeah, I wouldsay like number one for me has been surrounding myself with really smartpeople. people who are better than me and getting like a good mentor who hasyour back and helps you through your career.

A lot of times I find younger people, they're like, Oh, I'mgoing to jump to this next job because they give me like 10 or 20% more. Andyou know, that's a short term fix. I think, you know, just putting your effortand working with a team for a long time and building your craft and your brand,I think, pays for itself in the long term.

So, so I think for me, that's number one. And then, you know,like with LinkedIn and all this, your brand is your brand, so you cannot hide.So. You know, like, do good work and it'll come back to you if you do like badwork. It'll come back to you too. So so I think, you know, like all the thingsaround like hard work you know, doing the right things putting in the rightamount of effort.

And I think, like, I wouldn't underplay the whole networkthing, like, for instance, just making sure you surround yourself with peoplewho are smarter than you. Thank you. If you're the smartest person in the room,then for a long time, then you're in the wrong room. You should try and workwith people who are better than you.

And, and, you know, hire people who are better than you too.Like, I think that's a big. Thing that it's tough to learn in your young agebecause you're like, Oh, if I'm the boss, I need to hire people who are not asgood as me because you know, I don't want them to take my job, but I think it'sthe reverse.

So you should have people who are way better than you. So whenthey do good work, you look actually much better. So,

Srikrishna: yeah,lastly any personality, I mean, historical or current personality, which reallyinspired you through

Sanjay: your journey?

You know, there are obviously quite a lot. I feel like verylucky, like, you know, like you asked about what got me here and there are alot of people who are, you know, not like Bill Gates or Steve Jobs or anyone,but there's people who If it wasn't for them, I wouldn't be where I am today.But you know, I do admire like, you know, Bill Gates, for instance, what he'sdone, like he changed the world once with windows and all that.

And then suddenly quit. And now he's doing the same thing inphilanthropy and, you know, making the world better. And then Steve jobs, Iwould say is like just the simplicity of the product and customer centricity.And I aspire, like, Hey, can we be like apple because it. Customers run inhordes like to spend double what the competitors.

I mean, we're trying to do that, but I would say if it boilsdown to one person who like I really changed my life, I would say it's probablymy mom she grew up in a small village in Karnataka. She didn't speak English.And then she learned English when she was like 16 or 18. I got married to mydad, moved to Bombay and then she did like MBA in when I was about eight ornine years, she started her career at that age and then you live in India, soyou probably know the company Pidilite.

Oh yes, of course. So she joined Pidilite like me when Ijoined. She was like 50, 100 people. Okay. Joined it and it's now like for theUS folks, it's like Johnson and Johnson or Procter

Srikrishna: Gamblekind of company. Yeah. It's I think one of the best stock stories as well. Ithink almost every single stock.

Yeah. That's best investors. That's pretty amazing. That alsoshows a .

Sanjay: Yeah, but Ithink she ended up gonna, yeah, she became like a leader over there. She wasstopped like 10, 20 people. in the company at MidLite and then she ran likepretty much the CEO would say, Oh, you know, she started in people, then shewent into sales, went into purchasing and she was leading those teams and, youknow, she didn't move there because she wanted to.

She moved there because the leadership team thought there's abig problem there and she had nothing, she didn't know anything, but they wouldstill put her as head of that. So, you know, like I learned a lot from her. Shehad this never give up at you know, attitude that she just took on new thingsthat she had no clue about and excelled.

She had this thing, everything, anything is possible and theninstilling in your leadership that, Hey, I can do anything, but also in yourteam that I have your back. So she was pretty awesome at doing that. She reallybelieved in our team and, you know, the hard work was another big thing.Thanks. You probably heard that, you know, hard work beaks talent when talentdoesn't work hard.

So she believed, but I think the other two things is like shealso believed that family was more important than work. And I think for me,it's the same thing. So a lot of my management style and what I believe in.

Srikrishna: I thinknext time I use Ferricot, I'll surely run with a story for

Sanjay: sure. Yeah. Imean my grandfather gave me 10, 000 rupees in 94. And I just bought pit lightshares back then. And right now it's actually better than my six cents. atleast investment

Srikrishna:percentage wise. So that's amazing. Sure. So finally, thanks.

Thanks. Thanks a lot Sanjay for this. I mean, it was, theending was far better than the beginning. Do from maybe a mark tech standpointor even a customer success point standpoint, or even from a businessstandpoint, I might have learned a lot. The last. 10 minutes was mind blowingand gave us a lot to think at least for me.

And I think it will also be the same for our audiences, butthanks a lot for spending this time for us.

Sanjay: Hey, thanksfor having me and good luck to all the entrepreneurs out there. You know, likeparting messages, just don't give up you know, sometimes you're at the brink ofgiving up and then. You put in that extra effort and then you never know what'sgoing to come.

Like, you know, every company struggles. We were that company,I think in 2018 and again in 2020 during COVID. But just, you know, think abouthow you can do better for your customers and good things automatically happen.

Srikrishna: Thanks alot, Sanjay.

Sanjay: All right.See ya.