- No Marketing team in place
- Marketing strategy not defined
- Lacked a repeatable sales model
- Low customer count
- Small Marketing budget
- Defined an ICP
- Refined messaging and positioning
- Launched an analyst community reset
- Targeted PR
- A 5x increase in customers
- Moved sales to the c-suite
- Delivered repeatability and predictability to sales
- Launched Qubole into National scene
Focused Marketing Strategy Nets Surging Sales and Notoriety
Qubole is a self-service platform for data analytics that is built for Amazon, Microsoft, Google, and Oracle Clouds. With Qubole, a data scientist can spin up hundreds of clusters on their public cloud of choice and begin creating ad-hoc / batch queries in under five minutes, while the platform autoscales to the optimal compute levels.
Qubole was founded in 2011 and is located in Silicon Valley. The founders of the company were responsible for Facebook’s Data Service, and have experience in a range of large scale Data Services.
In early 2015 The Artesian Network was recruited to assist as the interim marketing team at Qubole. When The Artesian Network began work with Qubole, the company had been in the market for four years, yet had a customer count of only 19. The goal was to discover what changes could be made to the company’s marketing strategy that would yield effective, repeatable sales. The challenge we faced was to work hypothetically, creating strategies aligned with targeted markets, without instigating full-scale campaigns. Working to create a marketing blueprint that would be effective for a complex platform on a small budget was a challenge. In addition, the task of experimenting with the perfect blend for potential customers without running an expensive and lengthy series of campaigns which would destroy an already thin budget, was non-trivial.
In the process of working with Qubole, we identified four specific marketing roadblocks:
Firstly, we found that competitors were able to outspend Qubole on outbound marketing by five orders of magnitude, thus effectively controlling the message in the market with PR.
Secondly, Qubole, unlike many alternative platforms, doesn’t host or store data. We identified this as a point of confusion within the industry analyst community, and in turn was correlated to the hinderance of sales.
Thirdly, the misconception that big data is pervasive, had led to the sales and marketing team blanketing the market indiscriminately with messaging thus stretching an already thin budget to a breaking point.
The final roadblock was that Qubole had previously focused sales toward managers and directors. With the focus on this management level it stymied the relationship with key company players. We knew that to get Qubole competing with the big data companies we had to get strategic, and that involved making Qubole’s service strategy of interest to senior corporate leadership.
In summation targeting, refocusing and clarifying the Qubole marketing and sales approach was the starting point for The Artesian Network.
In knowing that Qubole didn’t have the base funding for a traditional Marcomm push, the leadership team instead opted for our recommendation of a targeted, ‘baited hook’ approach whereby we:
- Developed a carefully crafted Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) — worked out what we wanted to catch
- Adjusted messaging and positioning — researched how and where we could best catch that fish
- Clarified company positioning with Analysts — checked our location along the bankside
- Ignored prospects outside the ICP, conserving resources — bought only the bait for the catch we wanted
With this ‘baited hook’ approach we were able to target, clarify, and preserve resources, thus acting on challenge points identified during our company assessment.
We began to see key changes from the messaging and positioning within four months:
- An increase in knowledge of Qubole within the analyst community
- Mentions and referrals for the first time
- Sales began inflecting almost immediately
- Winning larger, strategic sales via targeting of C-level versus engineer personae
- Merging product usage data together with proof points led to rationally minded buyers evaluating Qubole
A clear marketing campaign, both online and in print, clearly comparing the advantages and disadvantages of various platforms resulted in:
- Traffic volume and time spent on the website increased with a steady growth
- New content matched what our ICP was looking for, leading to a surge in online growth
The Marketing Team added value to their proposition by working with an outside data research team to build a data model ranking the top 5,000 companies in the company’s target geography of North America. The goal was to find those which matched the 25 found variables of the ICP. Of these companies 400 were found to be compatible with Qubole and mature enough to reap the benefits of the platform. Using this data model allowed the budgetary constraints to become less pronounced and funds could now be invested in targeting companies that were a solid match.
- Bookings hit an inflection point. In just three quarters under this new marketing plan, the company closed the year with a five-fold increase in customers, from the start of the project
- In 2017, Qubole placed No. 127 on the Inc. 5000 with three-year sales growth of 3,165% as measured between 2013-2016 — a testament to the power of the focused strategy
- Qubole exited out of obscurity in 2015 and headed into 2016 as one of the most awarded companies in its industry, including CNBC’s Top 50 Disruptor companies to watch alongside billion-dollar brands such as Spotify, Uber, and AirBnB
- In January 2016, the company closed $30M in financing at a multiple of previous valuations
With a full-time marketing team slowly recruited in time, The Artesian Network concluded its engagement with Qubole in September of 2016.
Why The Artesian Network?
The Artesian Network is a consortium of enterprise executives delivering B2B Marketing, Brand, and Customer Success, on-demand. We drive results through data-driven strategies, creative insights and targeted actions tailored to your business. We operate across typical business silos, and with an unbiased point of view to inform your decision making and deliver solutions that are purpose-built for enduring impact on revenue and value.
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