In working with Viralheat, the Social Suite of Management and Monitoring products for any Social Media Manager, I have witnessed the company’s explosive growth and global media attention. I can also attest to the multiple marketing benefits the software as a service has provided for all of my Social Media Strategy and Management clients.
And so, I decided to sit down with Viralheat co-founder and CTO, Vishal Sankhla to get the inside scoop on the company’s rise to stardom in the world of technology and social media.
Read on to learn how a company went from good to great and has delivered something special to the world of Social Media Marketing:
Q. Where did the idea for Viralheat come from? What’s the story?
(VS) When Viralheat started in 2009 it initially provided viral video analytics to large brands, but as social media continued to quickly gain popularity brands began to request more platform coverage and monitoring capabilities.
As the product’s capabilities expanded, so did the team. We’ve built a team of top-notch engineers, marketers, and salespeople who work together to ensure we are providing our customer’s with the most comprehensive, easy-to-use, and affordable social media marketing tool. Viralheat understands the importance of social media to every business, big and small, so we continue to build and innovate our product based on customer feedback and requests. Thanks to ongoing conversations with our customers, we now offer our users an abundance of management, monitoring, analytics, publishing, and engagement capabilities across multiple social media platforms.
Today more than 25,000 clients in 72 countries around the world trust our services.
Q. What makes you better and different from the rest and how many great tools are there really in this SMM marketplace?
The advent and subsequent popularity and use of social media has developed a niche for social media marketing tools. While there are a handful of great products out there, we found that they are all lacking an all-in-one unified suite that encompasses management, monitoring, analytics, engagement, and publishing across a plethora of platforms that include Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and more. Many of the tools today offer these capabilities but in separate packages or add-ons that add up to a large expense when looking for a comprehensive tool.
Q. Tell me about your executive team. Who does what and what’s so special about you guys?
The executive team is made up of our co-founders, Raj Kadam (CEO) and Vishal Sankhla (CTO). Raj and Vishal are both engineers who have dedicated their lives to building, growing, and seeing Viralheat succeed. They are special because they see the bigger picture of where Viralheat fits and can run the company based on what it needs rather than what they personally want. Raj and Vishal can separate their co-founder titles from their c-level titles depending on the situation which is a valuable component to the company’s success.
Q. Give me a picture of your growth as a company. What type of clients did you start with? How did they find you? Where are you today?
Viralheat started with customers looking for video analytics. As time passed, social media’s prominence grew, and we evolved our product we found that our customers were businesses of all sizes, from small startups to large enterprises to agencies. Most of our customers find us through word of mouth or recommendations while others come to us from search results for a particular capability.
Q. How have you built and grown a consistent customer base?
We built and grew our customer base by building and growing our marketing and sales teams. These teams do a great job putting our name out there and showing people how Viralheat can help their companies with their social media marketing strategies. One of the main factors to our success with our customers is maintaining that two-way, open dialogue relationship. These teams are always on top of developing, building, and maintaining a relationship with our customers.
Q. How does the media see you? How have they found you? What do they say is the Viralheat difference?
The media sees Viralheat as a viable, successful social media management tool for businesses of all sizes and types. They find us by our press releases, news announcements, online reviews, or feature articles. They see the Viralheat difference as the combination of affordability and efficiency.
Q. What type of PR events do you do? What do you do in and for the community?
We recently hosted a Blogathon which was a “hackathon” for community managers. We are also starting an educational series of Micro Webinars with known influencers in the space to provide helpful resources to the community on the current trends and topics in marketing.
Q. Where are you on your own financial trajectory? Have you hit any major milestones and how do you think you got there?
We raised our Series A financing in June 2011 in the amount of $4.25M from Mayfield Fund. The company recently started successfully monetizing the product for Enterprise businesses, and we are looking to raise another round of funding in the next 6-8 months to grow and expand the team.
Q. What are your characteristics as a leader that your team thrives on that makes them excel?
I give the team the freedom and chance to innovate and execute their own original ideas. I’ve found that when we give the team their own space to work without breathing down their necks or constantly peeking over their shoulders, they respond with the quality work that has gotten Viralheat to the place it is today . We try to be a help resource and do our best to remove any and all obstacles the team might be facing in getting this work done.
Q. What is your specific focus, exact target and global reach?
Our specific focus and exact target is enterprise businesses looking to seamlessly manage their social media presence. Globally we have over 20,000 customers across 72 different countries.
Q. What do you have planned for 2014?
We want to stay close the problems our customers are facing when it comes to social media and content marketing and continue to build solutions and tools that will make them successful.
To learn more about Viralheat, visit http://www.viralheat.com