September 12, 2023

From Solo Marketer to Marketing Manager

Srushti Isave
Srushti Isave
From Solo Marketer to Marketing Manager

Saroj Hange's career path has taken unexpected turns, but it has led her to success as WhizAI’s marketing manager. After earning her master’s degree in economics, she worked as a trainee decision scientist at a pure-play analytics company. She says, however, “I wanted to be closer to sales.” 

She realized that she wanted to make more of an impact in the industry, and joining a startup team would give her that chance. She explored a few opportunities and then met Rohit Vashist, WhizAI’s Co-Founder and CEO. She recalls, “I asked to see a product demo, and from the moment I saw it, I understood the power of the technology and how it will change the entire analytics landscape forever.”

WhizAI is an advanced analytics platform for life sciences companies, pre-trained with domain-specific data and leveraging large language models (LLMs). Users can simply ask a question—there’s no need for business users to wait while the IT team builds a dashboard and runs reports. WhizAI is also highly scalable, able to analyze billions of data points in less than a second and respond to users with accurate, contextual answers on demand. 

Saroj knew she was seeing the future of analytics. “The old ways of doing things no longer fit,” she says. 

A New Venture

Saroj joined WhizAI early in its history, the twelfth person on the team that has grown to more than 100. However, she didn’t join as a data scientist. She took on the task of marketing the new product. 

“I hadn’t done marketing before, but I had a good understanding of the role and had experience in consultative sales,” she says. Taking full advantage of helping to build a startup’s organization, she worked closely with the leadership team to define her role and become a better marketer every day. She learned to put herself in the customer’s shoes to build campaigns that address their unique needs and resonate with decision-makers. She also learned how to handle the rigors of the role—doing 10 things at a time—and learning about every detail of WhizAI and its value proposition. 

“Working in a niche startup, you experience accelerated growth. You’re always in a position to learn and grow,” she comments. 

For about two years, she was the solo marketer on the WhizAI team. But as more life sciences companies discovered and implemented WhizAI, the company, and its marketing department, grew. At that point, her role expanded to finding people who were the right fit for her team. 

“I have a screening process, but it’s not by the book,” she says. “I don’t like to focus on resumes. I look for technical marketing skills, of course. But I look for people with the ability to learn, take on challenges, and outgrow their current role.”

Saroj now manages a team of two  as well as several contractors, and her team members work at WhizAI locations around the world. Her team members brought new skills to WhizAI marketing, which has helped move the brand forward. For example, one team member has expertise in marketing technologies and was able to evaluate the impact of campaigns and initiatives. 

“He helped us put the right stack together, and with him on the team, we have a view into everything—which asset generates the most traffic and leads, how our ABM campaigns perform, and where it’s best to spend and where not to spend,” she explains. 

WhizAI leadership also trusted Saroj to play a role in evaluating the right fit for marketing leadership. WhizAI brought on Rick Clements as VP of marketing, another important milestone in Saroj’s career. 

“Under Rick’s guidance, I have continued to develop into a responsible and strategic leader,” she says. “I’ve learned how to build an outstanding team and lead everyone on the path to success.” 

Lessons in Leadership

She recalls from her early days with WhizAI that Rohit and co-founder Amitabh Patil had a philosophy of leading with “responsibility, not authority,” 

“Our entire company has that culture,” Saroj comments, and she leads her team in the same way. 

For example, even though Saroj has helped to build what WhizAI customers have called a “stellar team,” she encourages them to continue to learn and develop. They hold a range of certifications, from GA4 to HubSpot, Salesforce, and Instagram, and continue to pursue them. She also gives her team the opportunity to learn by experience. She rarely tells her team how to do things; she allows them to discover how to accomplish tasks on their own. 

“If they discover a different way from how I’d do it, now we have two ways. We can choose which one to use or combine them to find a better way to do things,” she says. 

Saroj and her team also have the agility to pivot and constantly improve marketing performance. “Some things take time to gauge their effectiveness, but if the ROI isn’t there, it’s time to move on. It’s a hard pill to swallow, but you need to decide to make a change and try something new,” she says. 

The Future of WhizAI Marketing

Even though Saroj has built a team, she still finds herself the go-to person in many instances. Her history with the organization and detailed knowledge of marketing activities from the beginning allows her to help people locate archived information, like competitive analyses or business cases, that can help with current presentations. 

But she also knows that growth and changes to her role are inevitable. “I’m fortunate to have this team,” she says. “But I can’t wait for it to grow from five to 10 and then from 15 to 20 and more. Some competitors have hundreds of people on their marketing teams.”

She adds, however, that growth must also occur with her overarching goal for WhizAI marketing, which is to make WhizAI the go-to brand for pharma analytics, ‘just like you think iPhone when you think of mobile phone.”

“It’s not an easy job,” she says. “We’re changing the whole norm.” 

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