Selected work

Marketing & Sales for Obvious

TL;DR

For a decade, clients came to Obvious almost exclusively through word of mouth and referrals.


As time went on, we wanted to break out of the Indian market to tap into opportunities elsewhere, including South-East Asia and MENA. We also wanted to envision a clearer and more predictable growth trajectory.


With a multi-platform, multi-approach strategy that included a brand repositioning and the creation of new client acquisition and lead nurturing systems, I achieved a 20% increase in market reach and increased TOFU leads by 50% in under 3 months.

Challenge #1

There was a huge untapped market outside of existing networks that Obvious had the skills to cater to.

However, venturing beyond this bubble meant running alongside a wider track of competitors. Obvious needed to stand out.

To begin with, I identified our target personas and growth opportunities to find the intersection of "they need" and "we have" that Obvious could claim as our niche.

In collaboration with the exec suite and lead designers, I refined the consultancy's value proposition: articulating what sets Obvious apart from competitors, why our expertise is several cuts above the rest in the market, and the kind of ROI clients can expect after engaging with us. This helped us not only clarify our vision but also to correctly qualify leads early on in the process.

Challenge #2

A steady stream of warm referrals meant Obvious didn't have a robust marketing and sales system in place.

However, given the variety of approaches out there, we were misdirecting valuable time and effort towards high-effort low-return activities, which needed to change.

Rapid experimentation and measurement Over the course of many months, I rapidly experimented and measured scores of outreach and inbound lead generation tactics that would work for our uniquely positioned consultancy. Through extensive research, I gleaned valuable insights such as:

our target audience was more responsive to personal outreach than brand-level signals

  • sales loops for big ticket projects are typically long, and so it was necessary to engage leads for months before getting a green signal

  • value prop messaging should accurately reflect the economic buying unit that matters most to the buyer profile, not what we think they need

  • As more and more traffic flows in, pre-qualification and alignment checks are necessary to surface serious enquiries and weed out the rest

Through this process, I identified the right mix of approaches and platforms that would give us high returns on time and resources invested.

Challenge #3

To break into new markets, we needed a more proactive approach to nurturing potential clients.


Given how long sales loops are in the consulting world, it was critical that we had a system to engage and re-engage cold leads, build trust and stay top of mind for when a problem does arise that we could solve.

To set all this into motion, I identified the right mix of software to achieve this, mapped out complex if-then sequences, and automated them to nurture leads over time, hands-free.

In collaboration with the founder and a writer colleague, I turned our clarity of vision into aspirational material that engages and nurtures leads at every stage of the funnel. These were triply important: they cemented our value proposition in clients' eyes over time, demonstrated our deep understanding of the industry and market they inhabit, and significantly reduced the ambiguity you'd typically expect from a high-level engagement.

Through this process, I identified the right mix of approaches and platforms that would give us high returns on time and resources invested.

Challenge #4

The team had been manually engaging and following up with potential leads.


However, as more enquiries flowed in, we quickly realised this manual process had a low bus factor and needed to be systematised to work at scale.

I built up a sales flywheel mapped against each stage of the client journey, from awareness to advocacy. By doing this, I created a self-sustaining loop where the pipeline was fed both by satisfied clients and outbound strategies that brought in clients from outside our existing network.

Through this process, I identified the right mix of approaches and platforms that would give us high returns on time and resources invested.

Challenge #1

There was a huge untapped market outside of existing networks that Obvious had the skills to cater to.

However, venturing beyond this bubble meant running alongside a wider track of competitors. Obvious needed to stand out.

To begin with, I identified our target personas and growth opportunities to find the intersection of "they need" and "we have" that Obvious could claim as our niche.

In collaboration with the exec suite and lead designers, I refined the consultancy's value proposition: articulating what sets Obvious apart from competitors, why our expertise is several cuts above the rest in the market, and the kind of ROI clients can expect after engaging with us. This helped us not only clarify our vision but also to correctly qualify leads early on in the process.

Challenge #2

A steady stream of warm referrals meant Obvious didn't have a robust marketing and sales system in place.

However, given the variety of approaches out there, we were misdirecting valuable time and effort towards high-effort low-return activities, which needed to change.

Rapid experimentation and measurement Over the course of many months, I rapidly experimented and measured scores of outreach and inbound lead generation tactics that would work for our uniquely positioned consultancy. Through extensive research, I gleaned valuable insights such as:

our target audience was more responsive to personal outreach than brand-level signals

  • sales loops for big ticket projects are typically long, and so it was necessary to engage leads for months before getting a green signal

  • value prop messaging should accurately reflect the economic buying unit that matters most to the buyer profile, not what we think they need

  • As more and more traffic flows in, pre-qualification and alignment checks are necessary to surface serious enquiries and weed out the rest

Through this process, I identified the right mix of approaches and platforms that would give us high returns on time and resources invested.

Challenge #3

To break into new markets, we needed a more proactive approach to nurturing potential clients.


Given how long sales loops are in the consulting world, it was critical that we had a system to engage and re-engage cold leads, build trust and stay top of mind for when a problem does arise that we could solve.

In collaboration with the founder and a writer colleague, I turned our clarity of vision into aspirational material that engages and nurtures leads at every stage of the funnel. These were triply important: they cemented our value proposition in clients' eyes over time, demonstrated our deep understanding of the industry and market they inhabit, and significantly reduced the ambiguity you'd typically expect from a high-level engagement.

To set all this into motion, I identified the right mix of software to achieve this, mapped out complex if-then sequences, and automated them to nurture leads over time, hands-free.

Challenge #4

The team had been manually engaging and following up with potential leads.


However, as more enquiries flowed in, we quickly realised this manual process had a low bus factor and needed to be systematised to work at scale.

I built up a sales flywheel mapped against each stage of the client journey, from awareness to advocacy. By doing this, I created a self-sustaining loop where the pipeline was fed both by satisfied clients and outbound strategies that brought in clients from outside our existing network.

This reduced our reliance on direct selling and created a momentum-driven growth model.

Outcome

In under 6 months, I:

  • achieved a 20% increase in market reach by identifying and capitalising on growth opportunities

  • increased TOFU by 50%

  • increased online engagement by 30% and web traffic by 40% through effective digital marketing strategies

© Sindhu Shivaprasad 2022