In our latest episode on Napier’s Marketing B2B Technology Podcast, we interview Abhi Yadav, Founder & CTO at Zylotech,  who shares his journey to founding Zylotech, and how the platform adds value to present B2B marketers with the ‘full picture’, providing several sets of data to help them truly understand and communicate effectively with their website visitors.

Find out more about Zylotech as well as Abhi’s views on how intent data is changing marketing in the future, by listening to the episode here. 

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Transcript: Interview with Abhi Yadav – Zylotech

Speakers: Mike Maynard, Abhi Yadav

Mike: Thanks for listening to marketing b2b tech, the podcast from Napier, where you can find out what really works in b2b marketing today. Welcome to another episode of marketing b2b technology, the podcast from Napier. Today I’ve got Abhi Yadav, who is the founder and chief technology officer of Zylotech. Welcome to the podcast, Abhi.

Abhi: Yeah, thank you. Happy to be here. Thanks for having me.

Mike: Great. So this just talking a bit about Zylotech, can you just explain what the company does? And you know, what you’re trying to achieve in terms of providing tools to marketing professionals?

Abhi: Sure. So Zylotech is a b2b customer intelligence company. We, we take pride in building this category called CDP customer data platform. Even though we’re CDP plus, what we really help is b2b revenue ops team, kind of help with their unifying their data, build a foundation, help with data quality, and helping them with ICP enablement, ABM, and kind of revenue maximizing approach with client data at the right time, right place. That prepared content.

Mike: Fantastic. So, I mean, one thing I’m interested in is how did you get to the point of starting zolo tech, I’m not sure that people start out in their career with, I really want to build a customer data platform. So talk me through your background, because it’s very interesting in terms of some of the things you’ve done.

Abhi: Yeah, no, absolutely. So all my life for almost two decades, I have been, I’ve been a great champion of customer centricity back then. I’m an engineer, an MBA, call myself as a business nerd. You know, with product focused tech entrepreneurship by AI, I believe, what we try to help with companies is, is how to activate their data and decision into something contextual, for their existing customer. I, you know, in past life, we used to call this customer lifecycle automation. I had, from, you know, from my G days, back then, with many startups, I have tried for this infinite game of customer 360 in terms of helping, you know, revenue team, mostly marketing sales, in kind of fully leveraging their customer data without worrying about, you know, building a whole engineering capability or a data science capability, necessarily more automated fashion. And that’s, that’s what we’ve been doing my early life.

Back here in, in, in around 2012. I took a sabbatical, I was still in my 30s, early 30s. So went back to school, did my full time MBA at MIT Sloan. This is also an interesting time because we were pretty intrigued by what Netflix and Pandora rose and Amazons of the world doing is making, you know, customer centricity at a, at a whole new level, and making it very individualized, you know, individualised content, things like that. And that really inspired while I was in the school doing this MBA project, I thought all my life being a data science, data scientist, would be pretty exciting that we bring this in b2b, where things are far more complex, the individual is a moving target, and relationship matters of the individual with the company, you’re targeting. The company in itself is pretty complex, when it comes to decision making unit, what you’re trying to buy, and what you’re trying to sell into. The life stage varies, you know, content varies by individual, if I’m a CMO, I might like to, if I’m trying to buy a technology, I might look at something, you know, which will give me a return on investment, you know, kind of kind of business case around it. But if I’m a I’m a user group, I’m playing up. I’m a team trying to buy a technology solve my day to day grunt problem of data quality, or trying to get a piece of software which will keep my data live or manual And save tonnes of hours of me doing grunt work, you know, I want to, I want to hear some of those things into the appropriate content from a vendor.

And so, you know, when we were in school doing this academy project, HubSpot was in our sort of, you know, LA and often used to hear from Brian or manage the whole content marketing boom, and, you know, Todd, it’s pretty inspiring. Building content would be cool. This is the future of b2b marketing, and marketing automation and things like that. But then, you know, at some point in time, it boils down to contextual content, you know, sometimes have to dealt with individual, like, who this person is, who’s, where is he in the customer lifecycle? You know, what persona is this, you know, what, how we should, you know, connect with them, is to, and that’s inspired us, that we should be a data and decision engine, to basically activate some of these content orchestration or campaign or marketing automation tools, where, you know, a b2b marketer, or, or an optics could basically activate some of these appropriate content at appropriate time, you know, very contextual and to the right person at the right time sort of thing.

Mike: Okay, so, so while you’re trying to do is you’re trying to basically determine what would be the right content for each particular website visitor, for example, as they come on to the web? Is that, is that what you’re trying to do?

Abhi: Yeah, and, you know, more appropriately to say, you know, market is always have gone down. But they don’t know, when Mike, who just came up on my website, who is Mike, you know, your cmo, you see a potential user potential buyer. You know, what is he looking at? From that context, we try to bring that identity, you know, instead of unbundling that identity, but also kind of, you know, helping Connect dots with respect to what you would call as contextual content to the mind.

Mike: Okay, okay, that that makes sense. So, I mean, I think one of the things people listen to podcasts might be a bit confused about is the difference between different sort of platforms. So you’ve got your customer database, you’ve maybe got a marketing automation platform, you’ve then hear about customer data platforms. And I think, you know, if you go to the xyla, tech website, you start talking about customer intelligence platforms, which is your CDP plus plus, can you just explain those terms? And what each of those particular solutions do? And how they differ

Abhi: Yeah, no, absolutely. So we often use this, you know, framework to explain everyone that if you look, if you, if you have these three DS, you know, data management and decision management and delivery management, you can sort of bundled all kinds of data management orchestration and ableman. Storage, you know, all kinds of those solutions into that data management. Well, decisioning is more the algorithm the models, the AI, the analytics, or, you know, which kind of tells you what’s the potential score for churn? What’s the prioritisation? Where do I, you know, what do I do when you know, how do I sort of apply something at the right time. And then the delivery is basically the everything to do with sort of activation layer, depending on what’s the channel could be a chat bot, it could be an marketing automation tool, it could be your CRM, it could be anything, which helps you kind of activate take an action, you know, the last mile. So if you look at a typical marketing scenario, people have been focused mostly on the lead funnel, all this while being poor getting all kinds of spray and praying, campaign lead gen.

And then when this account-based marketing boom came in, people have started realising the importance of what we call hybrid funnel, or something where you do need to lead but you also need to focus on the accounts you cared for. And we took this, you know, into a more advanced form of what we call as ICP enablement, because in b2b, there’s no concept of like customer per se, so we call this as ideal customer profile. So going back to your question, you know, it the customer intelligence platform for us is, is basically one source of data and decision system which Helps unifying first and third party data for the accounts you’re going after, so that you could basically do a con prioritization, you could do ABM enablement, you could basically activate all kinds of kind of proactive campaign, then instead of doing reactive marketing, and you get a lead, you got to enrage, you got to do this, you’re gonna find out who this person is, and then send the content, this basically helps in kind of automating the marketing automation systems, who has a lot of content, but they just don’t know how to segment the data, how to segment an individual how to segment an account, and who may be the relevant account ID relevant time, you know, to basically activate a content. So we’re the data and decision engine, we call this as customer intelligence platform, because it helps in, you know, curating your first party data, also in an appropriate set of trusted foundation. You know, we have our own proprietary data where we allocate kind of, when we call them as z IDs, you know, for an appropriate account and individual. So you’re not see at any given time, you know, what account Do you have, you know, which are the one net new contacts has just come in? What do you already have in the foundation? Who are anonymous? What do you do with that, since basically, a nice kind of data decision kind of a platform where you can play around with tagging and data quality and, you know, kind of leveraging this data into like, activating, because one other thing was, you know, once you have this unified data, what do you do with it? So, we saw all of this. And that’s why we call it as customer intelligence, because it enables insights and identity and intent all at the same time.

Mike: And it sounds like to do this, you’re pulling data from an awful lot of different sources, is that right?

Abhi: Yeah, yeah. So it has a pre build, you know, set of connectors and integration with numerous SaaS applications, you know, where could be a CRM, marketing automation, your customer success, customer support desk, you know, apps, things like that. But it also helps you unifying your first party data, wouldn’t these apps do also, like third party data providers, you know, potentially an Indian provider, potentially, you know, dnb, or, you know, because all these, all these even third party data vendors have, you know, some part of information where you just need two fields and one field, but then their data model is different than what you’re maintaining. So, you know, all of this comes down boils down to not at an integration level situation, but actually at an ID level unification. So unification of people, activities and companies. That’s what we enable.

Mike: That’s interesting. It sounds like, I don’t want to put words in your mouth. But it sounds like you’re saying that one of the issues with a lot of marketing technology as it tries to keep you in, you know, that particular products, little island, whereas what you’re trying to do is share that data, so that you’ve got access to all your data sources at once. Is that, is that really what you’re trying to get to? 100%?

Abhi: Yes, we think, you know, point based solution, integration is still like a band aid, and you’re just, you still have a lot of blind sight of that individual or activity, which may be happening in a different silo. So how about having it all at one place where you would know that, okay, all my 100,000 accounts, or about 1 million contacts of people? that’s what that’s what my playground is, you know, and how do I prioritise How do I activate it? How do I segment and activate them into campaign that’s good. But anytime any new contact of person comes in, I would have a base foundation to know this is a net new person, which has come in and you know, what, what to do with it. So

Mike: that makes sense. Definitely. I’m interested, you mentioned as well that you create some of your own data with these IDs that you associate to contacts. Can you just tell me a little bit more about what you do there?

Abhi: Yeah, yeah. So when we started, we obviously built in integration framework across these third party vendors of data provider, and then we realise this tremendous challenges there because most of these third party data vendors, data is billed for sales and prospecting, but not for reproducibility or not for GDPR compliance. If I’m, if I’m, if I’m on brand, I’m trying to build my first party data Foundation, you know, can I can I be compliant with GDPR? Can I combine with privacy norms at a global scale with each country? So what if I wanted to enrich my first party data with the third party information, and that’s where there’s a lot of disconnect, you know, with how some of these third party vendors, has managed, you know, information by, you know, company name could be, you know, they’re like, five xylo tax in United State, just because we have five offices, and what somebody else had maybe just the legal name, what legal buying company may not be the company will actually making the purchase, maybe just the name on the invoice. So these kind of challenges were there. So we ended up, you know, started creating our own database, we started by account because there’s only a given quantity of, you know, longtail accounts, where everyone is kind of after. So we build a global foundation of accounts curated on our sort of, you know, one basic data model, which could be leveraged for unification for this purpose of enrichment, primarily. And similarly, then we started, you know, getting hold of a lot of public information and, you know, getting the same thing done for like, people graph as well. So it’s both for people and companies, we have like curated IDs, we don’t sell this data like that, we just use it for identity resolution. This is one of our unique differentiation. And it’s a trusted ID resolution, where you’re not relying on the any particular one source because these are very curated ideas where we we have, you know, have kind of even gone ahead and manually curated this particular entity that this mic is the same mic, and this is his LinkedIn, and this is better. And so kind of real person and real company kind of when, when it comes to unification and Richmond and resolution you have trust, which one do you know rely with while you’re building this foundation?

Mike: That’s great. That’s, that’s incredible. See already adding value by the, I guess, building on the third party data sources as well?

Abhi: Yeah, yeah, I guess. Yeah. I mean, most of these, like I said, you know, database is great from a sales prospecting. But, you know, they may have 60 million company and like, I know, 300 million people. But if you’re an enterprise, a b2b Enterprise, and 95% of revenue is coming in from 200,000 accounts, what would you do with this 60 million accounts of this database, then it’s creating a whole grand exercise for you to build a whole capability to extract what you want, which you know, where diving is, in essence, you need agility, you need trust. So we set a wind and, you know, did it all all by ourselves and this in some way, this also helps them at some point in time, they also want to, you know, still leverage some third party vendor like an internet provider, they can still use rz ID as a unique sort of matching point with some of them. So basically, shorten this whole cycle of one year long building capable p, engineering and data and then doing it yourself. losing a lot of time there.

Mike: I make sense. I, I’m interested to know, when people start working with you, what’s the the bit of that data puzzle, then they’re most missing? Or they really want to get? I mean, what’s the is it, you know, contact data enrichment, or are they looking for something like intent data? Or where are people really looking to move to in terms of the next step with their marketing campaigns?

Abhi: Yeah, yeah, that’s a, that’s a great question. So what we have done is as a platform, we have, you know, come up with more sort of modular approach, where we obviously help our clients or new companies, a customer kind of onboard on a crawl, walk run strategy as their programme matures internally. So we have companies who have a marketing automation and CRM, and they just don’t have a foundation in place, because they’ve been trying a lot of integration and past with just putting CRM in the front, and then doing all kinds of system integration. But then they realise that Wait a minute, you know, we don’t have a data governance framework. We don’t We didn’t we we just mark it 200,000 accountants, why not build a foundation.

So we help them start off with building this foundation. In certain scenarios. There’s also a low touch module or product, we have call enrichment. Where if you’re a marketer, and you may be doing an ABM, but you don’t have the relevant contacts for the accounts you’re targeting. So you may, you know, you could leverage AI enrich product and, you know, start off with his maybe MLS, then how do I get to the decision making unit here, or based on that decision making unit of the product I’m selling, what would be your relevant contacts, you know, this, the contacts I have. So, you know, we help with that intelligence is also as kind of crawl walk run strategy.

And then there is this full blown, you know, kind of what we call CDP platform, which, which has insights module, a whole data operations suite. Because, you know, with b2b marketers, or, you know, lists, and XML files are not going away, even if you have, and foundation bill, you know, you you’re doing a lot of digital events, and you’re getting a lot of csvs floating around. And every campaign, you you got to, you know, do a lot of scrubbing work, we have a lot of, we have our UI or app, which helps them in kind of running these XML files and kind of dedupe and merging with some of the existing foundation data, help them scrub it in a more automated way. So they save tonnes of hours of work. And, you know, nowadays, when specificly marketing is not so fully resourced, with marketing operations, there’s an emerging, you know, new revenue kid on the block, but they’re not, you know, you know, kind of resource appropriately. So we fit in pretty well, because we, we help them do this data management governance with, you know, sort of how marketing and sales can understand and connect, instead of like, building an IP capability or building a data science capability. And, you know, cm, a lifecycle is 14 to 16 months, you know, they need to still perform quarter and quarter. So we help them, you know, in kind of making this kind of short-circuited and getting towards more revenue marketing or revenue, customer experience or that kind of thing.

Mike: Perfect. Yeah, that’s really interesting. I mean, in terms of data sources, you know, obviously, one of the hot areas at the moment is intent data with, you know, companies offering different types of intent data how, how do you see that changing marketing as we go forward?

Abhi: Yeah, I think intent data is one of the it’s been pretty good buzzword for quite some quite many years. Now. I look at it slightly differently. I look at a lot of these third party data vendors as intent signal providers, which is basically just a piece of puzzle, not the entirety. So what do you and and don’t take me wrong, there’s tremendous value in the signal. But how are you utilising that signal with your first party data is the make and break situation. So we have seen some of our clients, you know, who has built a foundation with us, they leverage these third party intent provider. And we have some partnerships as well. You know, somebody like bombora, tech, Darian, and all that, where you could help, you know, we can help them kind of unify this third party signal with the accounts and with the first party foundation they care for. And that’s where the real magic happens because you have this first party engagement data. And then you have third party intent signal combined, which this in that combined form helps you with a con prioritisation, conduct prioritisation, you know, activating appropriate content in the buyers journey, you know, things like that. So, you know, Where, where, what’s trending, you know, what, what, in a kind of, in a combined way worse than looking at it in a sort of silo thing, and then, you know, going into that rabbit hole of chasing and then you realising, well, this is just a research exercise with this intense signal. So,

Mike: yeah, absolutely. That’s it. It’s really interesting. So I think there’s, there’s still a lot of hype around intent data, but a lot of people are failing to really get the benefit. I think, you know, what you seem to be saying is that actually in send data on its own is not going to solve the problem. You’ve got to combine it with other data, particularly your own first party data. Is that right?

Abhi: Absolutely. No, absolutely. Thanks for that summary.

Mike: So I’m interested, I mean, the product sounds incredibly powerful. And obviously, it’s connecting to, to, you know, a large range of pretty expensive enterprise tools. I mean, what sort of company buys into xyla? tech? Is it really only the largest enterprises that can afford this sort of technology?

Abhi: Well, we have, yeah, I mean, we have from the large enterprise, of course, is our sort of prime focus, but we were seeing increasingly a lot of like mid market, upper mid market companies as well. Companies mostly was getting mature with their marketing operations capability, or their customer success, or customer experience, teams, or the larger bit of audience were, we were our fitment is pretty spot on. Companies are also kind of trying to now focus on product intelligence. And they, they, they want to, you know, focus on retention, and cross sell upsell. And, you know, we’re seeing a lot that’s happening. And that’s driving a lot of need for somebody like us. But yeah, it’s mostly around the mid market to enterprise where they have a mature sales operations team and a marketing operations team. And, you know, they want to integrate them well, or they have a mature customer experience team, or, you know, somebody who’s just starting, you know, in this pandemic, situation has accelerated a lot of those companies as well, we literally had very less kind of maturity around customer success or marketing ops has been reeling around. So we’re seeing pretty good excitement in this mid market space as well.

Mike: Interesting, I was going to ask you about the the impact of the pandemic, actually, because, presumably, that’s, that’s something where, you know, you can really help because you’re, you’re very much bridging that gap between marketing and sales and with sales, not able to go out and visit customers, it seems like, you know, sila tech would provide a great opportunity to level up your your marketing activities to drive more sales ultimately.

Abhi: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Not just that we’re seeing a lot of, you know, because of this whole job market, changes going on, and company and doing a lot of reorge a lot of these contact information is getting stale. And, you know, companies are more and more getting very account driven. And, you know, ICP driven, ABM is a big, their company is doubling down on that. And, you know, they were trying out with just 100 accounts for ABM, and you know, that they are going out for a global marketing operation style, kind of at a volume. So we’re seeing a lot of that, we, we also see that it’s not going to go back to where it was, I don’t see that’s gonna happen pretty soon, even with the medicine out and everything. And but what what has helped in the sort of mindset changes that companies have now, you know, kind of switching gears from a spray and pray marketing approach, where basically, you know, there used to get all kinds of data by all kinds of third party information, put it down in the campaign, and, you know, spray and pray so, and then see what leads happen, which we’re seeing increasingly now companies are adapting the approach of, this is my ICP, I got to have a data governance framework, I didn’t want to invest on you know, sales and marketing alignment. I want to activate the b2b customer experience kind of lifecycle, digital lifecycle, like some of our clients says, that’s, that’s some of these are kind of key projects, or this is going pretty mainstream in coming 2021 I see this is going more and more with the, with the with the majority companies.

Mike: That’s great. I mean, as someone who used to be an engineer, I love the fact that marketing is becoming much more focused on process rather than, as you say, just on spray and pray or, or perhaps opinions of, you know, what looks good on paper.

Abhi: Yeah, ya know, it, it is. It has come a long way. I think earlier, the focus of marketing was, you know, of course, like you said, you know, creativity content, things like that. Then I saw We all saw that, you know, off democratisation of integrations with iPads, and all kinds of these traditional cdp’s, that all kinds of like, Oh, I want to unify, I want to integrate this system and that system. So that became a commoditized. So now you have the data, but you don’t know what to do with it. You know, so that’s where, you know, these, these kind of more what we call customer intelligence come in place where you, where you have some sort of a governance framework, you know, what this contact is and how it is relevant to me at what time. So it’s kind of getting mature from where it started off, it’s come a long way. But I’m pretty, pretty psyched and excited about the future and coming here with, you know, more than marketing and revenue marketing and in the works.

Mike: Brilliant. So I’m interested, if anybody’s listening, and they’re wondering, you know, whether it’s right for them, or whether they should start looking into it, what’s normally the thing that drives people to come and look at the product, is it the fact they’re encountering problems, the fact they’re being pushed to deliver better results? Is it just that they’ve got so many different data sources, they can’t integrate, you know, what’s driving people to come to the product?

Abhi: I mean, I think the outcome are, for, you know, everyone is kind of working for growth. So if you’re a growth driven team, or growth driven marketing team, or growth driven business, you know, and you’re, like, struggling with resources around, can’t afford a whole CEO of marketing ops centre, and, you know, buy tonnes of data tools, and they want to spend the whole year and kind of building that team and want to get your quarter going, because, you know, retention is getting more and more critical in the b2b world. And so is your customer relationship, you know, customer has been unprecedentedly more demanding and, you know, in because in our subconscious, we still we’re all human to human right. So we’re still using Netflix, and we’re still using Amazon. And, you know, if I’m, if I’m signing up a check a million dollar for my technology provider, I expect bare minimum, I expect that these new new guys and new new account reps keep coming at least recognise me enough that who I am and what I’ve been doing, and what’s my relationship with my brand, your brand. So I think all of this is, is kind of, you know, reeling to the fact that we need to change our mindset quite a bit also with just not looking at as a campaign white policy, but also like, how do I make my business more customer centric when it comes to b2b and, you know, focus on more proactive work then sort of reactive, you know, firefighting daily. So things like that.

Mike: Excellent. And in terms of finding out more is the best place to go to go to the sollatek website.

Abhi: Yeah, that’s, that’s a good starting point. I would say we have a, you know, the same usual contact form there. But you know, my email id is, I’ll be DOD yada, which is a bhi DOD ya da ve at xyla, Feel free to write me in now. I’ll help you connect with the right person help, you know, what are the unique thing about our businesses? We’re all we’re a solid team, very passionate trying to make a difference in the b2b customer intelligence world. So we’re all pretty passionately committed in try to work with our clients is making them win. That’s, that’s my personal motive to so happy to help.

Mike: Wow, that’s great. So people can contact the founder and the CTO directly if they want information. That’s, that’s definitely a direct route. Thank you.

Abhi: Absolutely. Yeah.

Mike: I mean, it’s been fast that he’s been really good. I mean, hopefully, some of our clients and our other listeners will be in contact with you in the future. I really appreciate your time. It’s been a great interview. Thank you very much.

Abhi: No, thank you. It was, it was great. Thanks for having me. I really enjoyed the conversation.

Mike: Thank you.

Mike: Thanks so much for listening to marketing b2b tech. We hope you enjoyed the episode. And if you did, please make sure you subscribe on iTunes, or on your favourite podcast application. If you’d like to know more, please visit our website at Napier b2b dot com or contact me directly on LinkedIn.