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Yaniv Masjedi is chief marketing officer at Nextiva, a business cloud-communications company based in Scottsdale, Arizona, where he manages the company's marketing and branding efforts.

Growing up in LA, Yaniv went to UCLA for political science, fully intending on going to law school afterwardbut that changed when he took a job at IPOWER, a web hosting company in Santa Monica. The company was growing rapidly, and he found it exciting to be part of a team on the cutting edge of technology. He worked in sales at first, and a few months in, a marketing role opened up.

Even though Yaniv never took a marketing class, he jumped at the opportunity and immediately fell in love with marketing. IPOWER merged with Endurance International Group, and in 2006 its founder, Tomas Gorny, came up with the idea for Nextiva. Tomas wanted to transform business communication, starting with phone service. He was tired of the lack of innovation and poor care for customers and employees. Nextiva was the answer for an entire industry. Inspired by this, Yaniv joined him at Nextiva and was part of the founding team. Nextiva welcomed its first customer in 2008.

From the beginning, Nextiva’s leadership team has always been focused on growing the business for the long term, not having an exit strategy and doing right by their employees and customers. Today the company has expanded beyond VoIP, and is growing more every day.

In his role as CMO, Yaniv initiates programs related to brand management, demand generation, advertising, marketing communications and thought leadership. In addition to his work at Nextiva, he also writes on various business topics for leading publications.

Follow him at:

www.linkedin.com/in/yanivmasjedi/

https://twitter.com/nextiva

www.linkedin.com/company/nextiva/

https://www.facebook.com/NEXTIVA/

  • VM

    Vijay Mandeep

    24 days ago #

    Hi Yaniv,

    Glad to have you here!

    1. How has your transition from sales to marketing been?
    2. What marketing challenges did you face when Nextiva came into existence?
    3. What is that one key learning you'd like to take away from your marketing journey?

    Looking forward to an interesting AMA.

    • YM

      Yaniv Masjedi

      13 days ago #

      3. I’ll give you three:

      #1: Always be willing to learn new ways of doing things. There is a humility that the best marketers possess, even when they are at the highest levels and have been around for decades. Marketing is an incredibly dynamic field; it is really important to not act like a know-it-all, but instead be willing to learn new things at every curve.

      #2: Get to know your customers. It is always vital to know your end users. Talk to them, develop real relationships with them. Those relationships, and the conversations that come from them, will inform how best to market to your ideal customers.

      #3: Focus on customization. Today’s consumers want marketing messages tailored to their specific needs.

      4 Share
    • YM

      Yaniv Masjedi

      13 days ago #

      1. Having a background in sales has helped me tremendously in building my foundation as a marketer and I’m always thinking about how I can improve the experience for prospects, customers, and our sales team.

      One of the primary ways to determine the effectiveness of marketing is by looking at sales: are your activities in marketing resulting in the growth of your business?

      Marketers should always be thinking about the sales experience and sales funnel, supporting the sales organization, and ultimately trying to take as much of the sales process out of the sales person’s hands. But don’t get me wrong - sales teams are critical to the success of most B2B software companies.

      3 Share
    • YM

      Yaniv Masjedi

      13 days ago #

      2. Nextiva welcomed its first customer in 2008, a time when the concept of VoIP was relatively new, and the market was dominated by large telecom companies. This created a ton of challenges, marketing-wise, just to get noticed.

      Honestly, though, those challenges felt to me more like opportunities. It was (and still) is an exciting time to lead Nextiva’s marketing efforts.

      Back then, we talked a lot about how to get noticed in the marketplace; how to become the first company a business would look to when it came to business phone services. We tried a lot of things - some of them worked and some didn’t. We’ve always been agile in terms of pivoting - it is one thing I’ve loved the most about Nextiva.

  • DD

    Dmitry Dragilev

    16 days ago #

    Yaniv, congrats on everything you have accomplished, your story is inspirational. Bootstrapping a company to $170M/year is pretty damn hard, especially flat out rejecting any VC capital. In terms of marketing you must have been living with a limited budget all your life, can you talk about some of your creative experiments/marketing stunts you did to keep pushing forward in the early days (pre $1M/year) also at $5M/year level, $20M/year and so on. Very curious on how your "Out of the box" innovative marketing initiatives evolved. Thanks!

    • YM

      Yaniv Masjedi

      13 days ago #

      As marketers, we can always be better, and our work is never done. I’m always pushing myself to think out of the box and not get comfortable with sticking to the same approach in marketing.

      We’ve done so many things in marketing at various stages of our growth. A few years ago, we splurged and hired Dennis Rodman to shoot hoops at one of our expo booths at a big conference. The cost was tremendous (and he was a trip), but it totally paid off. Attendees at the show were so enthralled by seeing him that they passed up the larger players in our industry just to stand at our booth all day. We did this because we wanted to be different and provide a great experience for people at the event.

      I wouldn’t call this a stunt, but one of the things we’ve done for a long time is show genuine gratitude for our customers through short videos posted on social media. Several years ago, anytime a salesperson had a positive interaction with a customer, that person would get on camera and thank the customer - by name. We’d then post it to social media. This low-cost effort (we used an iPhone) ended up having a viral effect. People shared those videos with their friends, thereby doing some marketing for us.

      5 Share
      • DD

        Dmitry Dragilev

        13 days ago #

        Those short videos - amazing tactic, I've seen it work in my business as well. Great reminder to do more of this!

        Great answer, thanks.

  • JB

    Jonathan Bentz

    about 1 month ago #

    I've been fortunate enough to have the opportunity to work with Yaniv in the past - super bright marketing exec. You'll definitely want to attend and learn a thing or two about how they have scaled their growth and service offerings.

  • AL

    Arsene Lavaux

    14 days ago #

    Bonjour Yaniv,

    Thanks for doing this AMA.

    What did you do to achieve product-market fit and be aware of it in the early stages at nextiva?

    Merci beaucoup!

    • YM

      Yaniv Masjedi

      13 days ago #

      Bonjour. Tomas Gorny (Nextiva’s CEO) always says - we look for a gap in the market, and we make sure there’s a market in the gap.

      When we started Nextiva, we knew there was an issue with business communications because we experienced it first hand. But any time we introduce a new product, we first do research and talk to real businesses to address their needs and concerns. This helps us ensure we’re on the right track, and solving real challenges.

      2 Share
  • HA

    Hari Ayyappan

    13 days ago #

    Hi Yaniv, Thanks for the AMA.

    As a Sales guy moving into a marketing/growth role (Non-marketing background) at an Enterprise Tech company, what is one piece of advice you have on the transition?

    • YM

      Yaniv Masjedi

      13 days ago #

      First, use your sales experience to drive your marketing approach. As a sales person, you have a good understanding of what you need to do in order to earn a customer. Now take that and focus on bringing awareness to your business and educating customers and prospects.

      And, if you can, find a marketer that you want to learn from - someone who can help you along the way who has done it before.

  • AH

    Amanda Hewett

    16 days ago #

    You know what I would like to know? When does kindness stop being a way of life and become just a marketing term? You said it in one of your recent articles as the thing that you look for most in people who work in your marketing department, and I just thought that was odd.

    How many resources are you willing to put forth in order to uphold an image of kindness when, as a marketing executive, you must realize - marketing is about...marketing - with a very real goal, to generate leads, which generates...money (also known as value).

    When was it exactly when you stopped knowing the name of every person at the company? Going from just a few people to 1,000 person company, there must have been a moment when you decided you could no longer spend the time to get to know everyone.

    You’re only one man, with only so much time, so I wonder how do you make that choice with your time? How do you know where your time is best spent?

    Do you know the name of the man who sits downstairs every afternoon who greets you as you walk in the door? Do you know what his dream is? If you took the time to ask,it might just inspire you to practice some kindness (just a suggestion, since Nextiva seems to be so concerned with kindness, or at least marketing themselves that way).

    • YM

      Yaniv Masjedi

      13 days ago #

      Hey Amanda - Business growth is a side-effect of providing value. Revenue and teams grow when you’re providing value to your audience or community.
      Kindness is important to me on a personal and professional level. I always want to surround myself with people that make me better.

  • AS

    Aswin Shibu Abraham

    13 days ago #

    Hey Yaniv, props to you and Nextiva.
    Building a bootstrapped business is tough, but to do it with such consistency and to the stage that Nextiva is at right now, is just amazing!

    I have a few questions;
    1. How do you make the first marketing hire? What qualities do we look for when we're looking for marketer #1?
    2. How do you ensure there is as minimal a disconnect (if any) between the sales and marketing teams?
    3. How do you build a consistent loop between customers and product teams? How do we ensure we're building the features that are wanted, and more importantly, will be paid for, by customers? :)

    Thanks!

    • YM

      Yaniv Masjedi

      13 days ago #

      1. I recently shared a video about 3 things I look for when hiring marketers. Essentially:

      #1: Finding people who are freakishly obsessed with marketing. I want people who live and breathe marketing.

      #2: People who can get shit done and move projects forward. Nothing kills me more than seeing stagnancy - back and forth discussions, pointless meetings with no actions or outcomes. I don't care about big fancy strategy documents or presentation decks either. Show me what you can DO.

      #3: Authentic with a genuinely kind spirit. I look for people who are respectful, courteous, and have a good heart.

      When hiring marketer #1, I’d recommend looking for someone with a wide range of skills in marketing. You want to hire someone who can fill multiple gaps rather than one area because marketing is dynamic and there are many moving parts.

    • YM

      Yaniv Masjedi

      13 days ago #

      2. Sales and marketing need to be aligned in understanding each other’s role and focus. Ongoing communication around performance of the metrics that each group is responsible for is the key to success.

    • YM

      Yaniv Masjedi

      13 days ago #

      3. Striving to understand how businesses are using your solutions and what they want (that they don’t have) is vital.

      This information can come to you via feedback forms, your own team’s product suggestions, and interactions with current customers where they explain what they’re looking for.

      Also look at why businesses don’t sign up with you - what’s holding them back? If you’re lacking a certain feature and it’s affecting sales, that’s a great indicator.

      3 Share
  • SP

    Sanjay Patel

    13 days ago #

    Transform one profession to other profession is hard in general. Have think about any negative point when you change profession?

    • YM

      Yaniv Masjedi

      12 days ago #

      There aren’t many negatives – just new challenges and opportunities for growth. I would suggest learning as much as you can about the new profession, trying to find someone who has done it before who can guide you, and going into it with an open mind.

  • AS

    A Salam

    6 days ago #

    good profele

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