Spring 2015
Select Page

The Final Word / Conversations with Business and Technology Leaders

Sangram Vajre is the co-founder and CMO of Terminus, a new online B2B advertising solution. Prior to Terminus, he was the head of marketing at Pardot, a Salesforce company, and spent several years in other startup companies. His passion for ideation and his expertise in digital marketing have earned him accolades as Marketer of the Year from the Technology Association of Georgia. He spoke with us about his new venture and why the time was right to jump from an industry juggernaut to a startup.
Sangram Vajre
Co-found and CEO, Terminus

How did you end up at Terminus?

I’ve always been a startup guy at heart. I’ve had some great opportunities: early on in my time at Pardot, we were bought by ExactTarget, and then acquired again by Salesforce. They really let me run with the startup mentality and making things happen. With all the change going from a startup to a huge company, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. Salesforce was really great to me by letting me take a few months and figure out what I wanted to do, either internally at Salesforce or somewhere else. I went and saw Eric Spett, CEO of Terminus, do a pitch at a local event, and spent some time talking to one of Pardot’s co-founders, David Cummings. I thought the idea for Terminus was really cool and ultimately decided to make the move.

What’s different about Terminus?

B2B marketing used to simply be about generating contacts and leads. But now you can run a simple query on LinkedIn or through SalesLoft and get your list of leads cut up any way you want. So now for B2B marketers, the issue isn’t finding leads, it’s how do I put my message in front of them at the account level instead of the individual level? In B2C you usually have one decision maker. In B2B, the average is seven. We market to the entire decision-making chain within an enterprise, not just the single target. If you sell tech widgets, you might usually target the CIO. But involved in that decision are product managers, IT, marketing, and maybe other C-level executives. We target all of them. We heavily target influencers, not just purchasers.

How did you get interested in entrepreneurism?

I always wanted to run my own company. I came to the U.S. 12 years ago thinking I would be a computer geek. I’m still a geek, but now I’m a technology and marketing geek. I had some exposure from previous jobs to how marketing works and the blend of technology and creativity was appealing. Throughout my roles, I’ve had the urge to continue to push the envelope and keep trying new things. At a startup, you get to do that every day, so that’s a real positive for me.

The best advertisers used to have the best creative. Are the best advertisers today the ones with the best data?

Not really the best data, but the best analytics. Everyone today has data. Lots and lots of “big data.” But if you don’t have the analytics and the ability to get insights from your data, then you have a bunch of spreadsheets that don’t mean much. Creativity is still very important, but it’s one thing to find the right person and make him laugh at an ad, versus find the right person and compel him to take action. Analytics helps control the risk associated with investments in marketing and advertising.

What’s the next big thing?

I think we’re going to see a lot more CMOs becoming CEOs. You have the CMO who has the best data, the best access to customers, the best insight into how you move from a prospect to a lifetime customer, and insight into product R&D. It just makes sense to have someone like that running the company.

Share This