Aventi Group Q&A: making the grade as a product marketer

As part of an ongoing series, we’re reaching out to agencies, marketers and marketing consulting firms to get their insights on collaboration. I spoke with Sridhar Ramanathan, managing director and co-founder of Aventi Group, for insights on collaboration from an experienced product marketer’s perspective.

What’s the Aventi Group and what’s your role there?

Aventi Group is a high tech marketing agency specializing in product marketing. We help clients with high impact growth initiatives in three primary areas: go-to-market planning, product launches, and sales/channel enablement and training. My role as Co-founder and Managing Director is ensuring overall successful operations for the practice including client satisfaction.

As an experienced product and channel marketer, what have been some of your biggest collaboration challenges?

Since we’re often engaged as an interim Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) or other sales/marketing leadership roles, we work intimately with the sales, marketing and product teams for product launches. The “virtual teams” we lead must collaborate across time zones, distance, levels of management, and even cultures. The challenges this presents include technology, meeting management and process management.

Sridhar Ramanathan, Aventi Group co-founder and managing director

Sridhar Ramanathan

How does one move beyond these hurdles?

  • Technology – Ensure everyone is trained on how to use web conference, and have it running properly on their desktop as an app.
  • Meeting management – Model for the client how to prepare for, run, and follow-up on meetings. A checklist might include preparedness on agenda, meeting process flow, “homework,” action items with due dates, etc.
  • Process management – Develop a high level flow chart for new process including inputs/outputs for each step, roles, and metrics. Map out dependencies and any tools and training needed to execute the process.

With your experience in cyber security, what are some challenges facing organizations and the cloud?

Some of the top issues that our technology clients selling security solutions are hearing from their customers include:

  • Security infrastructure is generating way too many false positives for the security professionals to sort through, prioritize, and act upon in time to address a threat.
  • Security personnel are way too understaffed, overworked, and not keeping pace with the technical advances of threat actors.
  • Security technology is still a patchwork quilt of component solutions that really don’t pass information back and forth in a way that quickly calls attention to the top threats and breaches that might already be underway. There’s also a challenge in knowing what the right mix of software should be across cloud, on-premise, and on-devices.

What are your collaboration success stories?

One of our clients is Symantec, one of the world’s foremost information technology companies. The company was investing aggressively to ensure the sales team’s effectiveness in achieving their revenue goals. One of Symantec’s executives engaged Aventi to address a few key challenges since he was short-staffed and expectations were high:

  • Develop and distribute world-class sales training so every rep is fully prepared to lead customer conversations.
  • Create a set of assets that sales reps can use at various points in the sale cycle.
  • Enable a process for the ongoing development, distribution, and measurement of sales enablement investments such as online training courses, videos, competitive battle cards, and sales playbooks.

We collaborated extensively across a very diverse and highly distributed set of teams consisting of sales management, product marketing, product management, finance, and more. The results? With the Aventi team providing the client with insights, guidance and high quality solutions, the client was able to realize significant gains in their sales team’s ability to execute.

Thanks for your time! Any additional insights?

The following are articles to discuss elements covered above such as meeting effectiveness, process enablement, leading distributed teams, and marketing leadership:

Post by Roger Park

Roger Park is a writer and marketing consultant based in Los Angeles. Previously he was the blog editor for the YP corporate blog and a staffer on the Yahoo! search marketing blog. He also served as the news editor for iMediaConnection. His articles have appeared in Huffington Post, Wired, LA Weekly, Los Angeles magazine and various publications.