An Interview with DemandFarm's Milind Katti

Now I know why buyer personas are at the core of inbound marketing. Because it allows you to capture the person for whose pain you are working to alleviate (and making money in the process).
Here I was fresh out of a premier B-school in my initial days with Inbound Mantra (green as I could be) as an Associate. We are an Inbound Marketing Consulting Company and my vertical was Software-as-a-Service.
For every vertical, we have our own set of personas, like you have in your industry. And being an "MBA," I did my research. Demographics, geographies, growth trends, what not to create my SaaS Entrepreneur persona.
But as green as I was, I know that my persona is not finished with just secondary research.
Buyer Persona is not just a profile or a target segment, its a character.A character you know works for you and will benefit from your offerings. A persona that you can connect with and start delivering results from day one.

So, Rajagopalan set-up an interview with the CEO of one of our most valued SaaS clients, DemandFarm. Here is what we learned from a persona Interview with Mr. Milind Katti.

1. Persistence is the key to success

When we asked him about his life story he told us about being the founder of 5 ventures, 3 of which found success. He truly believes in working hard with the motto - "You can't be lucky forever and you can't be unlucky forever." Being persistent will always pay off in the long run.

2. Major SaaS marketing challenges

Being the CEO of a growth-bound SaaS company his success is associated to reacing new revenue targets which gives more than a fair share of it's challenges. Building a SaaS product out of India with U.S. as a market is very hard.

"The balancing act where in, on one hand you have to spend a lot to increase revenue and one the other hand you have to make sure that you do not run out of cash."

The other issue is user onboarding. Milind told us that product vision is a must have skill for a SaaS team for which they do a lot of discussion and testing. The reason is, should be easy for the user to pick-up the product. "SaaS adoption requires a lot of Configuration and setting up which is a major challange."

3. Creating a SaaS user persona

Lucky for us (Inbound Mantra), we only have to create one buyer persona for a vertical.But Every SaaS product company has to take care of two personas:

  • A buyer persona - who makes the purchase decision
  • A user persona - who is the end user of the product
User_persona.png

To make the product viable and be able to market it well (to actually make a customer out of a free trial), it is necessary to understand the end user beyond the technical requirements of the product.

For DemandFarm the Key account Managers are the end users. Milind tells us that his trick is to speak with the customer users that they have. They discuss a lot to create a viable product that they can go to market with. Get the valueable feedback from customers and keep upgrading the product.

4. Searching a vendor

Here's where we come in. "When you are a small company, you should go for referrals. It is important that they exhibit the same values as you," he says.

For DemandFarm, he said, those values are sincerity in effort which is what they look for in a vendor. Also, the vendor should understand the complexities of marketing SaaS very well.

One challenge that he faces with vendors is demarcate where the vendor's role ends and the role of in-house tasks begins. He also places a lot of value on meeting in-person with their vendors. At least once in a month.

Buyer Persona Interview with Milind Katti

5. The humanist movement

When we asked about Milind's personal life he told us about how he is an avid reader, interested in non-fiction, especially autobiographies. He added a spiritual detail about his life that he is pretty influenced by the Humanist Movement. He likes to be called a humanist, which really reflects in the way he presents himself.

Conclusion:

I have been working on understanding the SaaS Industry and it's marketing needs for weeks now. But the quality of insights I gained from this interview are unmatched by any secondary research. This interview allowed me to understand the character of a buyer persona.Thank you so much, Milind.

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