$500 million and counting


Saket Toshniwal, Senior Director of Growth at MoEngage

Get ready for a deep dive into the dynamic realm of customer engagement with Saket Toshniwal, Senior Director of Growth at MoEngage. In this episode, we explore their international sales strategies, remarkable milestones, and their journey to achieve over $100 million in revenue. You’ll also gain a sneak peek into MoEngage’s latest cutting-edge product developments, and for a dose of fun, we’ve got an entertaining rapid-fire round with Saket. Don’t miss out on this enriching and enjoyable episode, packed with valuable insights.

SMoEngage, an inside-led customer engagement Platform for customer-obsessed marketers and Product Owners.

Saket Toshniwal
Senior Director of Growth at MoEngage

Hello, everyone, and welcome to another episode of Wytpod. My name is Harshit, and I’m the Director of Business Alliances at WYTLabs. We are a digital agency specializing in SaaS and e-commerce SEO. Today’s guest is Saket Toshniwal, Senior Director of Growth at MoEngage, an inside-led customer engagement Platform for customer-obsessed marketers and Product Owners. A big welcome to you, Saket. I’m so happy to host you today.

It’s my pleasure, Harshit, thank you for having me.

Let’s start with your journey, Saket. Would love to know about your fascinating professional journey so far and how exactly MoEngage happened.

Yeah, it’s been like a decade since I joined this space of customer engagement and retention. It’s been pretty interesting. I first moved to France, then did my Masters, then moved to the Netherlands, then moved to work at Philips, one of the global digital marketing teams, and then moved to Germany in the space of customer engagement in different roles. But my biggest stint has been where I started as a product manager and then moved up to the head of growth, product marketing, and CRM. Then the last two years have been at MoEngage and it’s been really good. It’s been on the other side, the vendor side of the SaaS business or the CRM customer engagement. But it’s been pretty interesting for me to see from this lens as well and learn, contribute, and grow the company and myself.

That’s brilliant. Let’s talk a bit because like MoEngage is known for its customer engagement. Please tell us more about the key features and advantages of your platform for your main target audience.

MoEngage is an insights-led customer engagement platform. So when I say that one of the core differentiators why MoEngage has been winning so much more is because of the insights it brings to the entire orchestration of campaigns, reporting, and segmentation, like each level of insights it brings. Now these insights are not just, let’s say, manual or generated by humans. There are insights, such as behavior from user behavior made by AI, and insights that have made for marketers to make it easy for them to find out which segments they could target, which segments they could engage, and which segments are best performing. And not just from a segmentation standpoint, but also when you do the campaign, build out the campaign. When I was a marketer, I used to think, okay, this is my onboarding journey. People follow this journey. And then we used to have probably five or ten different ways of onboarding journeys, depending on the customer and region and our language and so on. But the space has evolved so much in the last two years. We have something called Intelligent Path Optimizer, specific features you mentioned, wherein you do not have to decide on which channel to choose when to send the message, and also which route to do which A/B test to productize.

The AI engine decides by itself, depending on how your campaign is performing. I think that’s a leap forward when it comes to customer engagement. Those are the key differentiators, I would say.

Got you. And what strategies do you follow for your customer engagement? And what is the churn rate in your industry?

So churn rate in my industry is very cyclical and the customer engagement… Normally in SaaS, the churn is not pretty quick, specifically in enterprise and mid-market SaaS. I’d say for us, it’s been almost close to 100 % retention. That’s all thread goes to the customer success team and the innovation and product, and of course, to the marketers and customers who use the platform. But above that, I’d say when it comes to the SaaS as an industry, I think one is total customer retention, but the other is net ARR, the amount of customer retention revenue that you have. So for us, that has been growing over 100%. I cannot tell the exact number, but it’s been pretty very good. And that is what comes. That means the existing customer base is growing significantly. Now, coming back to your question on how do we engage. Of course, we have different steps in the customer journey from a SAL to conversion and the new feature launch and upsells and all that. But at each journey, when we nurture, we, of course, nurture through emails, we have field events. We also do community events. We do have engagement through our hash growth community.

And then we have, of course, regular webinars or emails and things like that. And of course, MoEngage has a podcast channel as well where we have our customers talk about or we also engage them with specific videos, doing testimonials with them, and so on. So it’s multiple engagements before they become a customer and after they become a customer. It’s like a loop that continuously evolves for a customer. Got you.

All right. Since MoEngage operates internationally, what unique challenges and opportunities you have encountered in managing international sales and expanding your reach globally?

So MoEngage does have offices in 13 countries. I think the major challenges when we go to a new country are cultural differences, and language barriers, if I were to club them together, like understanding the nuances of the communication styles, business practices, speed of execution, procurement styles, and customer expectations. And from the language barriers, of course, offering multilingual support from presales to customer success to localized content also helps in overcoming those barriers. And just from a customer experience, if we have good documentation, then it always helps the development team to integrate faster. Specifically in SaaS, when you go region by region, there’s another major challenge. Because when you go as a new entering to, let’s say, a growing or a developed market, you do not have brand recognition in the region. There is already competition that exists to understand the local brand has connections with the partners, and that competition is very crucial. And by competition, you just can’t lower your prices and win. So you need to have strategies that compete effectively in different markets while maintaining the uniqueness of your brand and engaging with the people and the community there. And then you can focus on specific verticals.

And the other big challenge, of course, is whenever you are entering a new market, you have to generate a pipeline. So demand generation is a big challenge. But the first stage is like the demand creation or awareness stage when they know about the brand. So you have to invest quite a bit and then you have to fill in those gaps to create a pipeline. Once you have those initial set of customers, then you have a flywheel that connects and then you can invest more in the market and that market becomes stronger and stronger.

And since you mentioned demand gen, I could sense it when you were speaking. So, I understand I guess you must be one of the channels that you leverage. Do you use any other channel for your own B2B lead gen?

Oh, yeah, we use a lot of channels, not just at the end say, we have a tool for demand and demand-based, for example. Then we have things for content syndication. We do also email marketing quite a bit to our potential customers. We have webinars, then we have physical events. We do have different channels in the way we engage our customers. Specifically, our existing customers, engage quite a bit on Slack. Then we have these QBRs and things like that, which is a continuous improvement for the customer to grow along with us.

Got you, Can you provide an example of a successful go-to-market strategy that you have implemented at MoEngage and the results you have achieved?

Yeah. Without taking specific names, because I don’t want to take specific names, but it was specifically this year, for example. There was a competition with one of our major competitors in the US, which had a lot of customers. And of course, that competition came in every single day. We first prepared as to, okay, how do we differentiate against the competitor? We wanted to address that problem so that our sales folks in the US start believing that we can be the competition in the home ground. How do we beat them? What are the differentiators? What are the ways we can show the value to the customers better? So first off, we did this training on got those differentiators, did those training, create those value-selling decks. That was the first to get the internal team’s belief in that. Second, we found specific customers from a list of customers of that competition that are interesting. And then we had specific parameters of that competition, like who are the leads, who are the which industry, which region, which state, what MAU. Then we prioritized those accounts based on the focus of each sales rep. Once we had done that, there was a strategy that involved marketing outreach and sales outreach.

There are some marketing digital campaigns and sales outreach. So sales outreach, of course, we can’t just have regular cadence or going out. We need to personalize for specific accounts and cadence for a broader list. Because our prospects get hundreds of emails in the inbox and you don’t necessarily get attention, and unless otherwise, yeah. What we did, was we had specific messaging with pain point, with solution, pain point solution. Then we also customized it. Also, we surveyed a lot of customers from all those existing, competition, and found out what are the pain points that they are facing. And then once we surveyed that, we made sure that we have that insight into our decks, into the training, into our assets that we are communicating into our messaging and positioning. So from a product marketing perspective, we were all set. From a training perspective, from a sales outreach, we were set. We had the account enriched, we had the leads enriched, and then we started the campaign. Then we had iterations of phase one. You can’t do all sorts of campaigns at one go because as I mentioned, there are different phases as to when you have awareness, engagement, and then more generation leads or pipeline.

We started this and then it was pretty successful not just from an outreach perspective, but also from a digital campaign because that message resonated to the audience and then there was very high engagement and clicks on LinkedIn ads, etc. We had, of course, generated lots of sales, several SQLs, and a few opportunities. One opportunity we did close, and that was pretty big, seven digits in dollars. So it has been a success story. So my strategy for go-to-market that we’re doing specifically in SaaS B2B is not just to look at from the lens of outreach or specific accounts. You have to do your multithreading. You have to ensure that whenever you’re doing specific events or webinars, you’re engaging those people. We experimented with different ideas. So it’s a cohesive thing where you have to bring in the synergy from marketing, product, and sales, and I would say marketing operations and sales mostly to win this customer base.

That’s brilliant All right, so let’s talk some of the other angles as well. Context data-driven decision-making plays a role in your strategy. And how do we use insights to drive customer engagement and business growth? What are the key metrics that you look after? That basically, drives you?

Say, for MoEngage customers, of course, we are looking at channel-specific metrics when it comes to email, open rate clicks, and what are push, all that stuff, delivery, reputation, and all that. But when it comes to engagement, we are more looking at, okay, what outcomes are what are the retention metrics? What are the engagement metrics? What’s the volume of sends? What’s the deliverability? Are there sends reaching the benchmarks of that specific industry? Or if the send volume is too much, are the customers uninstalling the app? Or if they are opting out from this push notifications email. There are metrics specifically for outbound channels that we look at for the customers. Then we also look at your inbound channel. So when you have your outbound channels and when they come to your in-apps or your website, are there other users converting it? Are they buying more and more? For example, if it’s e-commerce, are they making a purchase, and then the frequency of purchase, the time between two purchases? If it’s a subscription business, then they’re looking at your retention, resubscription rates, win-back rates, and all that stuff. They’re looking at it from a cohesive standpoint from customer engagement, retention, and revenue metrics.

Revenue is something that differentiates, MoEngage again. Then we are not just from those vanity metrics, but really from those sanity metrics on the things that drive business outcomes and outputs and prove the ROI from a customer standpoint that we look at. From a more engaged business standpoint, we are also very data and insights that we do look at. What’s the pipeline generation? How is the deal progression happening? What’s the total number of accounts that we have reached? What’s the SAS generated? Because if we need, let’s say, 10 accounts, enterprise accounts to conversion, then we need to work backward. X number of opportunities, X and Y number of things and deals in the pipeline. X then Z number of, let’s say, some SQLs and SASs and out. You have to work backward and you need to know your proportions and how is your funnel and different regions and different funnels. You look at and then you try to optimize those funnels and also increase those sales velocity.

Got you. Let’s talk about, it because MoEngage has achieved quite a lot of growth in the recent few years. Can you share some of the key milestones and lessons that you have learned along the way?

For any SaaS business, there are several milestones. The first milestone is any customer starting to pay. Then you get a few customers starting to pay and then you realize, okay, you need a product market fit. Then once you have certain customers who are paying for you every month or repeatedly, you know, okay, there’s customers driving value from your product. Then once you find out that customers are driving that value you’re able to retain the customers because the searching cost is high or you’re able to make the value in such a way that the searching cost is high and then you get your product market fit. There’s a milestone of zero to 500K of revenue, then 1 million, then 5 million dollars. Then, of course, there’s a milestone for $10 million. Then once you have 10 million dollars, there’s a milestone of 25 and 50, and then there’s 100. Of course, you start with the very interesting thing, One is your number, the goal of total revenue that you have, or the milestones. But the other is also the amount of customers that you have and amount of enterprise customers you have.

Then you are smaller, when your brand vitamin B or brand is low, then you’re getting more and more SMB customers. When you are growing more and more, then you’re getting mid-market and more features and more security and things like this, then you’re probably getting one enterprise and then you’re getting multiple enterprises as a flywheel of enterprise. Very interestingly, what I have seen in my last two years, the way we used to call our enterprise customers or our SMB customers or mid-market, the levels for each customer have changed. For example, let’s say we used to call our SMB customers, pay us $20,000 a year, or let’s say we call it $10,000 a year, now it has moved to 20, 25, 30, for example. Let’s say our enterprise customer’s card paid us, say, before 60, 70, 80, or 100K, now our enterprise levels are a million dollars. As you grow and mature as an organization, your benchmark or the baseline for that specific category also grows. You will not be speaking to customers who will just pay you a few thousand dollars, like 2, 3,000. We see that if you can, because enterprise customers, once you have it and there’s a flywheel, it’s easier to grow them, and they are much more profitable.

I do agree. To be honest, everything changes when you grow concerning revenues. The way you acquire customers and the strategy that we’ve been working for you when you were less than a million won’t be working for you when you’re more than, say, 10 million or whatever. So yeah, to be honest, it’s not just one aspect of it, but yeah, everything changes.


Now, coming to my last question, can you tell me what’s new happening with MoEngage product-level-wise? Just in case our listeners are looking out for maybe something much more is on the plate.

Yeah, so there are a lot of product updates that happen in MoEngage. In the last year, we did 70-plus product updates and product features. The speed of innovation in the industry is high, but also for MoEngage has been phenomenal. Specifically, because there’s a buzz around AI, we have prioritized a lot of features that, Our first feature of AI was in 2018. Since then, we have added so many features around AI. We recently launched Merlin AI and HachGrowth New York, which generates content for your different channels. You can A/B test, all that stuff. The things that we’re doing a lot around, say, AI, then we’re doing email deliverability, then we’re doing things around making it easier for marketers to track revenue. We have we’re also improving the way our journeys customer journeys and flow mapping happen. And when I say AI, it is not just in terms of your segmentation or sending the campaigns or reporting, but how do you copy-paste from the flow stages, your wait till or wait for stages, or different channels that you are trying to integrate? I think another very defining product or product development that we would have is around how fast are we integrating with the other tech partners or tech ecosystems in the industry and making it easier for the customers to get the data, get the data in, get the data out, do the reporting, and making it much more real-time for the customers and easy for the customers to reach to their consumers and engage with them and grow revenue.

I think one of the challenges, because you said tech integration, especially for the enterprise client, even the security, data protection, all those things is paramount. We can’t deny that factor. And even convincing them is pretty hard on these norms altogether. How do you tackle that?

Yes, of course, we need different certifications for security and compliance. We at MoEngage are ISO-certified and SOC 2-certified. It’s certified for security and compliance for multiple different certifications in different regions, different industries or enterprise customers need different, For example, one of the biggest banks in the world works with us as well, if I can say the biggest bank in the world, if not. So work with us. They ran through three and a half months of security checks with us. They go through a very thorough. They also had their physical people come to the office to our data centers, and check all that stuff. There is a need for upgradation of security and compliances and let’s say making data available. For example, with GDPR, you can send the data out of the EU. We have our data centers in Germany. As we enter new and new markets, we do have to comply with the specific markets and the rules of that compliance and so on. But we know those challenges are there, but we do adapt and we do have a strong team, not just from data security and also from an engineering standpoint, but also a team that looks into what are the things that they can develop when it comes to data security and privacy.

For example, we have PII tokenization. We’re aware and nobody from the customer side or a marketer can see any personal data of a consumer, everything is hashed. So that’s necessary in certain countries. We have that and that helps.

Got you. All right, coming to an end, I would like to have fun and rapid-fire with you. Are you ready for that?

All right, let’s do it. Okay.

What is not a big deal to most people, but is torture to you.

Interesting. Okay, torture to me. While watching Netflix for three hours. Seriously? You don’t binge-watch. I don’t binge-watch. That’s very funny enough, so I never owned a TV until very recently. Anyways.

This is quite interesting.


What world record do you think you have a shot at beating?

World record? Yeah. How interesting. I was a state-level gold medallist in swimming, but I was nowhere close to a world record. But maybe the youngest PhD doctor in the world? I don’t know. Because if that ever can be after Google who is the youngest PhD doctor in the world. How is that? Dr. Sheldon Cooper.

Okay. Are you more cautious or bold?

Bold, for sure. Okay.

What is your hidden talent?

That’s a real skill.


What never feels to make you laugh?

Yeah, a lot of comedy with my family. I live in a joint family of 22 people. Back in India, there’s always some humor happening.


Thank you so much, Saket, for all the time and all the wisdom that you’ve shared in today’s session. I appreciate it.

Thank you so much, Harshit. It was a pleasure and I asked very thoughtful questions. I enjoyed this podcast as well. Thank you.



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