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Vivek moved to New York from Berlin to help his current healthcare startup: Klara (a B2B SAAS) grow as Head of Marketing and Sales Operations after shutting all their international operations to just focus on the US market. He studied engineering in India and business in Germany and the US. Before taking a leap into the startup world, he worked for companies such as Verizon and Oracle in several tech roles for almost a decade.

His entrepreneurial journey started back in India when he grew his blog to a revenue generating business working part time. After several part-time startup gigs, he decided to quit his full-time job at Oracle and move to Germany to focus on his entrepreneurial path in Berlin. Since then he has worked with several startups and small businesses globally. Vivek is also a mentor at Defy Ventures.

In his free time, Vivek loves trying various foods around the city and explores new ideas changing the world.

You can follow him on Twitter: @vickks

He will be live on March 2 starting at 930 AM PT for one and a half hours during which he will answer as many questions as possible.

  • EB

    Eleanor Bennett

    over 2 years ago #

    When marketing for the healthcare sector do you find yourself more reliant on organic or paid targeting when looking for new sponsership/partnerships?

    • VN

      Vivek Nanda

      over 2 years ago #

      That’s a good question Eleanor. In general, healthcare sector is vast and there are very distinct segments in terms of medical specialties etc. As a company in healthcare, you are more or less focused on a certain or few segments, which means the organic reach is limited. Especially in the early stage, it is better to look for paid targeting for new sponsorships and partnerships. Once you start building traction, your organic partnership flow increases.

  • BI

    Benjelloun Ibrahim

    over 2 years ago #

    Hi Vivek,
    Thanks for doing this AMA.
    What has been the most effective way for Klara to acquire users so far?
    What strategies have been most effective to retain them?

    • VN

      Vivek Nanda

      over 2 years ago #

      Hi Benjelloun, thanks for your question. At Klara, we have been cautiously focused on building a repeatable and scalable growth model. There are 2 parts to it - the product and the user acquisition. In the beginning, we kept trying which segment has the best fit for the product and then what is the process of acquiring them. Once we identified, those segments, we found that the most effective user acquisition is a mix of outbound outreach and online retargeting.

      In my opinion, the key to retaining customers really starts at Klara the day we onboard users. We try to set a short term goal for the users where we try to show them the value. During this period, our account managers work hard to help users meet their agreeable goal. This works well because one you show them value, they have confidence in the product to scale their business further.

      3 Share
      • AA

        Anuj Adhiya

        over 2 years ago #

        Can you talk more about your onboarding process? What specific value are you trying to communicate during the process and what actions do they take that tell you that they've understood the value?

  • AS

    Alexis Sheehy

    over 2 years ago #

    Hi Vivek!

    Regarding B2B and B2C marketing, which are the most effective online acquisition channels for each in your opinion?

    • VN

      Vivek Nanda

      over 2 years ago #

      Well it really depends on the customer segment and industry. For e.g. if I am in B2B marketing software vs B2B healthcare software, both are very different channel mix. Generally, B2C acquisition channels are similar, but with varying mix based on your industry and product.

  • AM

    Ana Maria Dârstaru

    over 2 years ago #

    Hi Vivek,
    I have a couple of questions for you.
    1. Is there a particular reason why Klara decided to shut down their international operations?
    2. How do you identify the most important metrics you should track for your campaigns?
    Thanks!

    • VN

      Vivek Nanda

      over 2 years ago #

      Well it really depends on the customer segment and industry. For e.g. if I am in B2B marketing software vs B2B healthcare software, both are very different channel mix. Generally, B2C acquisition channels are similar, but with varying mix based on your industry and product.

      • VN

        Vivek Nanda

        over 2 years ago #

        I am not sure if you know that Klara started as a B2C company in teledermatology space. Meaning, Klara 1.0 was called Goderma and it was a patient facing app where anyone can download and send pictures about their skin issues to the physicians and get online treatment. Back then, EU healthcare market was strictly regulated and it wasn’t really allowed for physicians to treat patients online, but only consult. Klara was sort of the first companies to bring telemedicine concept in Germany. It was in 2012-2013. Because of regulatory hurdles it made sense for us to go for the US market. This is why we decided to shut international operations and focus on the US market only. As soon as we moved to the US we learned from the market feedback and pivoted to B2B model, and later moved away from the telemedicine model completely. Today Klara is a healthcare communication platform.

        Klara is moving communication away from the inefficient phone onto it's secure healthcare communication platform. No more wait times, voicemails or unwanted phone-trees. The Klara platform improves operational efficiency for the practices, encourages higher patient retention rates, satisfaction levels (for both medical professionals and patient) and reduces the amount of time lost on unnecessary communication among multiple parties. Klara is building a streamlined communications channel for healthcare where everyone in patient's journey is in one place.

        2. The approach that I take is - start from the end goal and work back towards the campaign. For e.g. if the key metric for marketing is setting demo meetings then I start from there and work backward to the campaign.

  • AL

    Arsene Lavaux

    over 2 years ago #

    Bonjour Vivek,

    Thank you for doing this AMA.
    Your entrepreneurial path is inspiring.

    Here is my question:

    Do you believe new forms of food experience could change the world?

    Merci!

    • VN

      Vivek Nanda

      over 2 years ago #

      Bonjour Arsene :)
      I love this question.
      Yes, I absolutely believe new food experiences could change the world. My personal philosophy while I am traveling has been in this order:
      Food, People and place.

      I think, a lot of good conversations happen over good food experiences. Food is a huge part of our lives—it gives us sustenance, it brings us together and damn, it is delicious (most of the time).

  • JP

    John Phamvan

    over 2 years ago #

    Hi Vivek

    Can you talk more about why Klara decided to consolidate Marketing & Sales under one person vs having two separate department heads?
    What would you say are the opportunities and challenges of being the head of both of these departments?

    • VN

      Vivek Nanda

      over 2 years ago #

      Hi John - thanks for your question. I am not the Head of Sales. I am only taking care of Sales Operations. We have a separate department. Sales operations in my role consists of responsibilities such as - Process Development, CRM Development and Processes, Sales Tool Development, Targeting Analysis and Definition, Reporting and Analytics, Scripting and coaching with sales development reps, infrastructure for sales productivity enhancement, automation etc.

      However, the opportunities are huge, considering it allows me to align sales and marketing teams together. Right from sales pitch on the phone to messaging on the marketing collateral, keeping it consistent is one of my primary goals.

  • JF

    Javier Feldman

    over 2 years ago #

    Hi Vivek,

    What would you say are the biggest differences/advantages/disadvantages between the startup ecosystem in Berlin and NYC?

    • VN

      Vivek Nanda

      over 2 years ago #

      Big difference between Berlin and NYC:

      Berlin startup community is tightly knit because it is small, so everyone has met everyone in one event or another. Sometimes having a tightly knit community is helpful because there is a more personal connection between people.

      2. In general, there are more open-minded investors in NY as compared to Berlin, however, there are few VCs that doing a great job in Berlin. In my opinion, we will soon see growing number of startups in Berlin than in NY.

      3. Berlin startup culture is more laid back, but disciplined at the same time. There are more artistic vibes in Berlin. Obviously, very diverse too because it is startup capital of Europe. NY is hustle bustle. However, I am surprised in a pleasant way about the confidence of founders in NY. This is also very important to grow the company.

      Overall, I have liked to enjoy the best of two worlds and I am grateful :)

      2 Share
  • DH

    Dani Hart

    over 2 years ago #

    Hi Vivek,

    Thanks for joining us today!

    I'm curious... does Klara have a one specific metric that matters? If yes, how did you arrive at this? If not, why not?

    Looking forward to hearing what you have to say!

    Cheers,
    Dani

    • VN

      Vivek Nanda

      over 2 years ago #

      Hi Dani - glad to be here.

      When we first moved to the US, we started with charging customers, but there was something unusual. We had paying customers but they weren't using the product much. It didn't really matter to them if we would take away Klara from them. So, we decided that we need to make our product more engaging. During this period, we moved into freemium model. We started to give product for free and set a target to achieve X number of engaged medical organizations on the system. This was important because we wanted to nail the product and prove that even if it is free customers use it because they find value in it. Once we past that stage, the next goal was paying customers. Since then it is highly important for us to keep growing our new user base, and that is our key metric for now.

      2 Share
  • PH

    Paul Hopkins

    over 2 years ago #

    How have you found the start up culture different in Berlin compared to New York?

    • VN

      Vivek Nanda

      over 2 years ago #

      Oh I just posted the answer to similar question above, I will copy paste here -

      1. Berlin startup community is tightly knit because it is small, so everyone has met everyone in one event or another. Sometimes having a tightly knit community is helpful because there is a more personal connection between people.

      2. In general, there are more open-minded investors in NY as compared to Berlin, however, there are few VCs that doing a great job in Berlin. In my opinion, we will soon see growing number of startups in Berlin than in NY.

      3. Berlin startup culture is more laid back, but disciplined at the same time. There are more artistic vibes in Berlin. Obviously, very diverse too because it is startup capital of Europe. NY is hustle bustle. However, I am surprised in a pleasant way about the confidence of founders in NY. This is also very important to grow the company.

      Overall, I have liked to enjoy the best of two worlds and I am grateful :)

  • DO

    Danielle Olivas

    over 2 years ago #

    Hi Vivek,

    Thanks for taking the time to be here today!

    Can you talk about an experiment that was either a big win or gave you some great insights?

    I look forward to your response!

    • VN

      Vivek Nanda

      over 2 years ago #

      Hi Danielle - thanks for question.

      Yes - sure. Couple of experiments:

      1. This is big one. Usually, one of our funnels for paid traffic was - visitors will see the online ad, come to the landing page and submit their information. After that someone will reach out to them in order to schedule a demo. So, I did a small tweak here. I started to send traffic after filling the landing page on the meeting scheduling tool. This way we were able to convert 60% of leads to a demo call by massively shortening our sales cycle. Healthcare is tough because it is hard to get prospects on phone, but this little hack has been giving us great results.

      2. This is a cheeky hack :) .. When anyone unsubscribes to your marketing newsletter they see the mailing list name (in mailchimp). We named the list as - "Top Doctors of America", so this physician wrote back to me saying he mistakenly unsubscribed the list - he wants to be part of that list ;-)

      5 Share
  • GH

    Glen Harper

    over 2 years ago #

    Hi Vivek, thanks for being here today. I had issues in past roles with trying to grow business, but running into HIPPA compliance and stringent regulations for health records. Can you discuss how managing the regulations has affected your ability to sell, and how you have dealt with it to help grow your business? Thanks, Glen

    • VN

      Vivek Nanda

      over 2 years ago #

      Hi Glen - thanks for your question. There are always few must haves in the business and for us HIPAA compliance is one of those foundations that we cannot afford to be reluctant on it. Therefore, from the very beginning we focused on it and made sure every single product iteration has a HIPAA checklist. We also assigned couple of people within the company to take ownership of it so that there is no chance of this falling through the cracks. Few established practices like internal audits and trainings teams on compliance and regulations. These are few things that have helped us a lot. Hope that helps.

  • MD

    Mark Anthony de Jesus

    over 2 years ago #

    Is there something you learned from your time at Verizon & Oracle etc that you've been able to apply at Klara?

    • VN

      Vivek Nanda

      over 2 years ago #

      Hi Mark - I am glad you asked, thank you.

      My background is engineering. At Verizon, I started as a C++/Unix developer. So, working at companies like Verizon and Oracle gave me a strong handle on technical side of product development. It helps a lot because I am able to leverage my tech background a lot better on the business side.

      Second most important thing is - in today's work sale and marketing tech stacks are growing, having a background in tech especially with big companies helped me create a distinction for myself at the skillset level. This is also the reason why I tool Sales Operations role at the company.

  • PM

    Pierre Martinow

    over 2 years ago #

    Hi Vivek,
    Thank you very much for giving the opportunity that we can learn and interact with an experienced startup Marketing and Sales ops expert like you.
    I am going to start working in a very similar environment like yours - an early stage, 2yrs old, 10ppl startup, which just received funding and is also focussed on a niche market with a limited number of addressable clients.

    I am going to start in Sales and Marketing, with a certain "operations demand" on this position as well and I will be the only person (we may add a second one) having this responsibility. A few questions I have to understand your journey, your challenges and how you solved them:

    You clearly have had investor goals in terms of revenue to hit, how were you laying out your plan to achieve these goals?

    I saw you joined Klara around 2014 (one year after they started), can you please explain the state of the marketing and sales department at this point and which first actions you took to build a strategy.
    How did you evaluate the right tools?

    Did you involve outside resources to support you with certain aspects (contact list sourcing, engaging with potential buyers over social media, building content) of Marketing?

    How did you build an analytics platform for a small startup marketing and sales department? How did you make sure all data was captured? Which KPI's were you focussed on?

    These are all questions for the moment, I will ask you more offline :)

    • VN

      Vivek Nanda

      over 2 years ago #

      Q. You clearly have had investor goals in terms of revenue to hit, how were you laying out your plan to achieve these goals?

      One thing that I really appreciate our founders is for setting a vision for the company. Investor goals are important, yes, but having the investors who believe in your vision is more important. If you have the right investors, there are less chances that your goals are different from your investors. And this is founds or company owners biggest job - aligning expectations.

      Q. I saw you joined Klara around 2014 (one year after they started), can you please explain the state of the marketing and sales department at this point and which first actions you took to build a strategy.

      I joined Klara when it was a B2C patient focused app. Back then it was called Goderma. I came with a diverse skilled set and joined Klara as - Entrepreneur in Residence. The goal was to take projects within the company in different functions and achieve to set goals. The first thing, I happen to do at Klara was build the in-house marketing team. I hired one more person and both of us were our marketing team acquiring patients and app downloads. Sales department consisted of 2 people. It was a different sell as doctors will get patients ready to diagnose online. And they do not have to pay anything. Very different business model.

      Q. How did you evaluate the right tools?

      This has been more like learning by doing. Especially in the initial stages we looked at similar companies and evaluate tools based how they have worked for them.

      • VN

        Vivek Nanda

        over 2 years ago #

        Q. Did you involve outside resources to support you with certain aspects (contact list sourcing, engaging with potential buyers over social media, building content) of Marketing?

        O yes - i had freelance content writers in one point in time, we did source lists. Whenever, it made sense we did it. You only have so many things to do.

        Q. How did you build an analytics platform for a small startup marketing and sales department? How did you make sure all data was captured? Which KPI's were you focussed on?

        In the beginning - it was all google docs. The challenge, however, in the initial year was - the product is changing, the kpis are changing, for us even the entire business model changed twice. So, there was always a catch in building a stable analytics. However, more recently we worked with our investors - Project-A and they provided us with help in compiling all company data into an inhouse dashboard, which is obviously super helpful.

  • RK

    Renato Kuster Neto

    over 2 years ago #

    Hi Vivek, thanks for helping us!

    My question is related to the first 1000 customers! I am working in the well-being industry and would like to know if there is any advice you could give in order to achieve the first 1000 customers :)

    Thank you

    • VN

      Vivek Nanda

      over 2 years ago #

      Hi Renato - thanks for your question.

      In my opinion, the first few customers on the product is all about getting the feedback. Right now, you have put a product that you think is right, but the customer validation is huge. So, in the beginning the goal should be to get customers to use your product in the most engaging way possible. Until you achieve that it won't matter to them if your product is dead today. Once you get to that phase, next acquire users whichever way you can - scalable or unscalable. Once, you have enough customers and data, then you can start trimming and working towards the scalable methods or channels.

      Hope it helps.

  • TN

    Tri Nguyen

    over 2 years ago #

    What is Klara's conversion/analytics stack? Why did you pick the tools you use over alternatives?

    • VN

      Vivek Nanda

      over 2 years ago #

      Hi Tri - thanks.

      We have used tools like optimizely, unbounce, hotjar etc for improving conversions.
      Analytics primarily has been Google Tag Manager and GA.

      The primary reasons were: ease of establishing tracking infrastructure, not increasing overhead on dev resources and getting the true picture on our traffic and conversion sources.

  • AA

    Anuj Adhiya

    over 2 years ago #

    Hi Vivek - great to have you on.

    Can you talk about any impact the macro climate of all the political back and forth on the ACA in the US on Klara?
    If there is any, how are you dealing with it?
    Also just on a broader level, do you think there is anything any startup can do to mitigate macro-factors that impact their industry?

    • VN

      Vivek Nanda

      over 2 years ago #

      Hi Anuj - thanks for having me here :-)

      That’s a great question - thank you. Fortunately for us, we are a communication platform (technology piece) and have nothing to do directly with the payers or insurances, which means ACA has no impact on Klara.

      To answer your other question, it is difficult to mitigate macro-factors especially if the business is built on the foundation of a particular regulation. However, one this about macro changes is that they do not happen overnight. In most cases, good leaders and founders are able to foresee such changes, and there move accordingly.

  • AU

    Alejandro Urizar

    over 2 years ago #

    You mentioned outbound outreach and online retargeting as the most effective user acquisition channels. Could you give us more details on this mix, please.

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