International Finance
Magazine Markets May - June 2018

The real reason why research firms exude market intelligence

Global research and advisory firm MarketsandMarkets has clapped eyes on “off-the-shelf, readily available research on next-generation high-growth use cases and technologies, which will impact the future revenues of companies,” says CEO Sandeep Sugla

What inspired you to establish a research and advisory firm like MarketsandMarkets?

I recognised a huge gap in the market. Most major research companies are busy researching mature technologies and ecosystems. In contrast, we focus on off-the-shelf, readily available research on next-generation high-growth use cases and technologies, which will impact the future revenues of companies.

Every company is looking to tap new opportunities before their competitors. Ecosystems are becoming fairly complex, extended and converged. There is currently no other source that provides deep-dive market analysis on such opportunities and/or all associated markets, other than MarketsandMarkets.

Our business model has transitioned since we launched in 2010, from the sales of individual research studies to complete annual engagements with companies. Our interactive, cloud-based market intelligence platform, Knowledge Store, works on the concept of “connected markets.” At the click of a button, it brings together known and unknown adjacency in terms of markets, technologies, ecosystems and revenue impact on businesses.It also provides an extended lens on revenue drivers that will impact the revenues of our customers as well as their clients and their clients’ clients.

Can you elaborate on MarketsandMarkets’ nature of work?

MarketsandMarkets provides annual engagements with companies through a combination of research studies (delivered through Knowledge Store),advisory services (access to all of our SMEs/analysts) and custom consulting services (reports developed with a high level of personalization).

Sandeep Sugla-CEO-MarketsandMarkets
Sandeep Sugla, CEO –

Our clients can access our off-the-shelf research on any market/technology/use case to identify high-growth markets and their growth drivers. Clients can also access a deep-dive segmentation of each ecosystem and estimate what revenues can be expected from them.

We realize each client has specific needs, which may not be fully met by our syndicated research (multi-client) studies. Taking this into consideration, we decided to customize our research to match the specific needs of our clients at no additional cost.

Such customization proves handy in the backdrop of constant innovation and the blurring boundaries of ecosystems.Companies want to know what will impact their product development, prospects of tapping new markets and acquiring new targets, partnership models, customer acquisition and their position in the overall competitive landscape (within their industry and outside their industry).

While most companies provide pull-based advisory support, we provide integrated full-year engagement services combining both push and pull strategies wherein our client service team proactively maps companies’ key business objectives, key business initiatives and their quarterly goals/challenges and works proactively to provide insights ahead of their internal sources.

What type of research studies do you conduct?

We have off-the-shelf research on more than 30,000 markets and factors that have supported or hindered their growth. Our reports provide similar insights on a company-level, identifying top market players as well as what impacts their revenues (in terms of opportunities and threats).

What is the value proposition of your company in terms of its core focus and offerings to all your clients, including Fortune 2000 companies?

A large majority of Fortune 2000 companies rely on MarketsandMarkets for their revenue decisions when it comes to emerging technologies, use cases, markets, partnerships,new products and services. Our competitors cannot match the depth and breadth of our studies. They may provide about 150 magic quadrants a year while we provide research on more than 30,000 markets (technologies and use cases).

Our ongoing engagement provides proactive, personalized insights in terms of go-to-market strategies, sales battle cards, key positioning, detailed competitive market share trend analysis and life cycle management of products. Our client service team maps companies’ key priorities and initiatives and builds deliverables. In terms of pricing, we are relatively cost-effective in comparison with the Big Four of research and consulting.

How is MarketsandMarkets different from other research and advisory firms such as Information Services Group (ISG)?

We are the only company that provides revenue estimations of new ecosystems and identifies the impact of adjacent ecosystems/converged industries on revenue growth. We also provide information on the current competitive landscape.We have a competitive edge over the Big Four consulting firms because of our existing off-the-shelf research. Companies approach MarketsandMarkets before they reach out to any of these firms.

Also, later this year, we will be introducing a new, unique research platform that combines our proprietary analyst research and artificial intelligence, which will surely disrupt competitors like Gartner. Our mechanism is built to handle issues of bias, customer requirements and interactivity; with this, companies can improve their ratings. This platform will also predict ideal pairings between the buyer and seller sides.

How does your company help B2B clients seek new market opportunities and drive future revenue?

Existing revenue sources of companies are depleting, and new revenue sources (newer technologies, use cases, markets, partners, clients, value-added services and products) are expected to replace them. The introduction of new use cases and technologies has equalised the playing fields for legacy companies and startups.The key is to stay ahead of the curve. As a result, companies desire these insights now, if not sooner. They approach us, as we are ahead of our competitors by at least six months to a year.

Drop quote

New market entry is determined based on existing market opportunities that affect a company’s revenue expanse

Being the world’s largest research firm, how do you identify new market entries for growth?

This is a very interesting question. What is critical to market entry is to evaluate all the possible adjacent markets, technologies, use cases and partners which are likely to impact a company’s revenue in a new market. Other research firms cannot match our broad coverage on adjacent markets. As a result, companies decide to work with us, as the chances of missing out on important next-generation revenue opportunities due to unknown adjacencies are relatively less.

How do you also help clients with product strategies and releases?

We identify the potential use cases and applications for any product. We are probably the only firm, which helps companies to gauge what revenues they can expect from the product in each of the micro applications/markets. We provide information on “connected markets” and ecosystems for the product, proactively identifying opportunities and threats, positioning and gaps in the offerings. Our engagement goes to the extent of identifying key clients and their burning issues and gaps with existing products in the market.

What are the key challenges you faced while enabling your company to achieve 100% revenue growth over the last two years?

Growing was easy; we were researching critical topics that no one else had, and we provided free customizations. This was enough for us to grow 100%.

However, since our business model is now changing from transactional to annual engagement,our single biggest challenge is building a client partner team that services our pool of our existing 6,500 clients. Therefore, we are rapidly hiring client services associates. The role will be based out of client locations in most large cities across the U.S. with an initial 3-month training period in our Pune, India office. Out international training program enables employees to learn from some of the best minds in the world while gaining a global perspective on the connected market ecosystem.

What is the one thing you swear by as an entrepreneur?

One thing I swear by is growth,growth of my clients, and the growth of my employees. We cultivate our employees by empowering them to lead and make decisions on their own right from the get-go. We encourage the employees to think of the management team, myself and our chief operating officer, Shailendra Singh, as resources to use to achieve their goals.

We highly value continued learning of all our employees, both within the company and within their personal careers. MarketsandMarkets Academy (MMA) was started with this purpose. Training and advanced certification programs are available for employees at all levels of experience – on the research as well as the client services side. MMA’s vision is to be a hotbed of learning not only for our employees, but for our clients, as well.

We also believe in creating an environment that allows our employees to follow their passion. It is common in MarketsandMarkets to see analysts with years of experience in research switch to a business development role and vice versa if they so choose. We take pride in shaping the all-round development of our employees as citizens of the world.

What are your insights on retaining top talent?

We have a simple belief at MarketsandMarkets, “See dollars, show dollars.” If my analysts or sales team can create a tangible impact on the revenues of our clients, the same will be reflected in our business with these clients. We simply share the upside with our people.

We have launched a strategic growth program wherein each analyst is mapped to a few clients. If they bring tangible revenue impact to the businesses of these mapped clients – and if the same is measurable – we share the upside of our growing business with these clients.This brings our analysts unmatched growth in the industry, making it a win-win proposition.

Can you tell us more about the international training program for your employees? Why was it launched?

We launched MarketsandMarkets Academy, which train our employees on how to consume research and map it to clients’ businesses;this helps them ask the right questions to our clients.Our Academy Graduates bring high energy and unmatched zeal. We have married their growth to our clients’ growth.

What are the challenges and opportunities you identify with as an entrepreneur in this industry?

As a bootstrapped startup, our initial focus had been on growth. Now that we’re growing 100 percent year over year, we’ve consciously decided to focus more on establishing a healthy work culture and team building, which is key to sustenance and operational scale-up.

Your company received $56mn in growth equity led by FTV Capital. Can you tell us more about this?

We raised funds to acquire companies in this space. We are still evaluating target companies for the same. A portion of these funds shall be consumed for organic growth, which currently looks promising. We have diluted a minority stake to raise these funds.We chose FTV for their experience of working with Indian companies and networking support, which will be key to our growth.

What are your plans in the pipeline for 2018–19?

We intend to convert our transactional relationships with our existing 6,500 clients into annual subscription relationships along with engagement with a team of 120 client partners. We are hiring a CMO to position our brand more effectively and expanding our staff to handle growth efficiently. We aim to double our base of client partners every year till we reach our goal of 10,000 subscriptions.

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