by Jon Russo Jon Russo No Comments

How to Engage Prospects & Customers

Key takeaways:

  1. Post Covid, it’s worth relooking at ABM accounts
  2. Relook at your account and contact data given all the layoffs
  3. A big pivot to virtual events and new engagement techniques
  4. Start with your TAM – is it still right?
  5. Consider building an Account Persona
  6. MarTech 2020 investment is flat to increasing!
  7. Customers are relooking at their product set and how MarTech will support
  8. Downloads do not equate to ‘Meeting Ready’ leads for sales

Jon (00:30):

Those of you just joining. Go ahead and fill out the poll as we’re waiting for everybody to to come on. And you’ll also see that we’re live streaming this as a test on YouTube right now. So we’re really excited about that and we’re really excited that you joined us today. Be a phenomenal conversation with industry leaders talking about engagement. Now in this post covert world, we’ve had a lot of challenges, both prospecting as well as customer engagement and many of you have joined on the series kind of a journey that I’ve been having here with a series of webinars, talking about best practices within account based marketing. Today we’ve got three three experts that are online here and I’m going to,

Jon (01:15):

I’ve got to mute out. There we go and mute out my YouTube cause I’m getting feedback. Sorry about that. We’ve got three industry experts that have joined us today. Amanda, who’s the CMO of app Netta. Thank you, Amanda for coming in today and we’ve got Megan, the recent VP of marketing at Engagio and former head of research at Sirius, Amy, who’s the VP of strategy at calm, creative. And my name is John Russo. I’m the founder of B2B fusion. As far as the setup today what we thought we’d do is w many of you have sent in questions and we’re appreciative that you did send in those questions. I’m going to go ahead and begin asking a couple of those questions probably one or two questions. Then I’ll pause to see if there’s any questions that you and the audience have a real time.

Jon (02:04):

So this is your chance to really get anything that’s addressed top of mind with any of the panelists or all of the panelists to kind of riff on. So I would encourage you in the Q and a section to go ahead and pop things up or in the chat box. Just go ahead and pop things up as you think of them and then I’ll feel them as we go through. Our goal is to kind of keep this within 45 minutes. Depending on how fast we go. You know, we’ll, we’ll kinda do a, you know, we’ll see where we’re at at the bottom of the hour and then closer to 45 minutes as well. Before we jump in, just looking at the poll here and I will end the polling, I think it automatically shares, let me press and polling here.

Jon (02:49):

Assuming everybody has voted on the poll or as many people as possible here we’ll hit share results and can everybody see this? Maybe just give a thumbs up in the chatter or a yes or, okay. I know that the panels could definitely see it, but fantastic. It looks like a good percentage of people are looking at growing this year, which is pretty impressive. A lot of companies are obviously doing a lot of re forecasting or even pausing on the reforecast right now because we just don’t know what this is going to look like. And then for those that are really impacted specifically within specific industries, travel industries as an example there, they’re probably a little bit more effected than, than most. So with that, I’m going to go ahead and hit up our first question and I’m going to toss it over to Amanda. Let’s see if I can stop the pole or minimize it. Amanda, you’re a CMO, you’re in the hot seat. We’ve gone through this pre depost Covid transition and you’re doing a lot in account based marketing. Where have you shifted your focus on those accounts specifically around the named account side of things?

Amanda (04:09):

Yeah, so we’ve been using and kind of an ABM approach for a couple of years now and it’s been really effective for us. It’s been a great opportunity for sales and marketing to really stay very tightly aligned. And so nothing about that has really changed. We’re still moving forward with that strategy. But what has changed is the specific accounts that are on our named account list. So we had to really think about the list that we had going into this. And then we went account by account and we started to think about, well, how have their business circumstances changed? And are they still you know, are they still a good candidate for us? Right? Or have their, has their situation changed in such a way that maybe that’s not where we want to spend our time and energy prospecting into right now. So for example you know, we deal with internet connectivity and making sure that it professionals have the visibility they need.

Amanda (05:02):

So it matters very much to us where people are working from. So the change to everybody working from home in certain industries had had a major effect on this. So we had to think about what are the particular use cases where somebody might leverage Neta now versus before. And then are those accounts that are on our list still are they likely to take us up on those new use cases? So we really called through that list because not everyone that was on there before is still relevant now. And likewise, there may have been some that wouldn’t have been on Melissa before that now. We brought on there. So I think the approach still very much holds, but we did really have to think about which specific accounts were on there based on the circumstances.

Jon (05:44):

Let me just double click into that for a moment and thinking we’ve got 38 million people that are now unemployed. Unfortunately it’s been the most seismic event ever on a database. How have you looked at beyond

Amanda (05:58):

The accounts at the contact level or is there anything contact wise that you’re also shifting as part of that account strategy? You know, that’s a great question. We’re sort of iterating on that as we go. To be perfectly honest. There’s, you know, temporary layoffs, furloughs and things like that, there’s permanent layoffs and so it’s a little bit difficult to discern that. So we’re really kind of learning as we go and as the team is prospecting into these accounts and we learn more, we try to make sure that we’re updating our database to be as reflective of reality as we can. You know, similarly as we get those auto reply bounce backs and things like that from a marketing perspective, we try to funnel that back to sales. So for us it’s really just about that kind of cross functional communication. We don’t have any sort of like great systematic approach to making sure that we know that before we go in, but we do try to always funnel back whatever feedback that we’re getting.

Jon (06:55):

That’s awesome. And maybe another follow on question or, or last question before we pause and see if anything, anybody has anything from the audience. You’re on the hot seat amongst all of us here. You’re on the hot seat. I would imagine for revenue production and marketing source pipeline. And in this time it’s really difficult to get people to engage. We’ve just shifted from kind of this environment of having events to not having events. How are you shifting your strategy to really connect the salespeople to new prospects in this process?

Amanda (07:33):

Yeah, I think the first thing is, I mean, obviously we’re all mourning the loss of in person events, right? It’s as tough as it is to organize a trade show there. They’re hugely effective for us for a reason. So that’s certainly sad. Not to be able to have those. But what we’ve tried to think about is, is not just chalking up events as a whole, as a complete loss cause certainly some events have just canceled and that is what it is. But others are really moving to digital events or virtual events. And this is kind of uncharted territory for a lot of us. We actually just participated in an industry event that was a virtual event and that had virtual booths and still, you know, online presentations. And so the form factor was really different and best practices start to look a little bit different.

Amanda (08:17):

But we’re trying to think about how we can leverage those virtual events to get, maybe not the same as we would have gotten out of the physical event, but, but not to, you know, to still be able to leverage that. So, whether it’s, you know, interacting with attendees in a virtual booth or reusing the content that we might do during a virtual presentation, taking that recording and how can we repurpose that as an asset that we can put into nurture streams or syndication or something like that after the fact. So we’ve tried not to just talk up all events as gone, which has been one part of it. And the other thing is exactly what we’re doing here today. You know, webinars for us prior to Kobe webinars were sort of like a mediocre performer relative to some of our other our other programs. But I think the appetite for this sort of event has really changed, right? People are hungry for content and information and thought leadership still. And because they can’t get it in these live events they’re doing exactly what we’re doing here, right? And turning to these sort of virtual webinars that maybe 30 minutes, they don’t have to be long. But we’ve actually seen a lot of success with webinars just in the past couple of months in a way that’s very different than what we were seeing beforehand.

Jon (09:32):

Makes a ton of sense. Makes a ton of sense. And we’re going to pivot to the audience questions. I keep popping your questions here. We’ve got an early question from Avi and Avi, it looks like it’s good timing because this relates to another question that came in as well. The question is outside of predictive analytics for gathering intent-based accounts, what are some of the other suggestions to update a target account list? Megan, you and I were talking, I think before beforehand we were talking about kind of the data and insights and you know, what you can do with accounts that are in market, who are not a market that might fit your ICP or don’t fit your ICP. What, how would you approach this question? That obvious asking?

Megan (10:13):

Yeah, great question. And, and I think it’s a really important one, Amanda. Like you just said, right? The first thing you need to start with is his understanding of the people that you normally would be selling to who is affected and how are they affected? So the first thing you kind of want to start with is really your Tam, right? And saying, okay, is my addressable market still addressable? And I would do that at the industry level, the sub-industry level and the size of company level. Because there may be different things going on in different markets, you know, travel, food, whatever it is. Those are obviously directly impacted, but there are some markets that are actually growing, you know, as 50% of our respondents just said, right? They’re still planning to grow. So depending on the market you’re in, that’s the first thing.

Megan (11:00):

And then components of those markets may be growing differently than others, but size of company is really key to larger organizations. Especially if they have a lot of cash on hand. Are pretty well insulated from some of this, right? They’ve got runway, they’ve got a comfort level with continuing with investment. And in fact, for companies who are finding themselves in the position of having an opportunity, they didn’t expect they may be forced to invest in forced to change faster. And I think this is another really kind of important lens to put on your addressable market. And it may even change who your ICP is. If you’ve got companies that have found themselves sort of behind the curve in terms of digital transformation and having to remote selling different styles of marketing. If their hand is being forced by the current market, they may have a different kind of a need you can help with.

Megan (11:54):

So if you understand sort of those industry and company size dynamics as well as the nature of the district eruption on those kinds of businesses, you can basically go back and rebuild a Tam that better reflects the current market. And then that’s going to tell you the kinds of companies that you think you can be most successful with and that’ll lead you to revisit your ICP. So who’s still buying, what are they buying, why are they buying? And then the other thing you want to think about is inside that company, are there different people who are part of that buying group, right? So maybe you didn’t have a ratifier playing a strong role, maybe procurement or finance or others really didn’t get involved before. Well, they’re involved now, so you’re going to have a buying group that’s going to have some different members in it.

Megan (12:38):

So you’re going to want to pay attention to sort of building out what I call an account persona. A company of this size and type will typically have these members of the buying group involved in making this decision and here are the things they care about at each stage of buying. So if you kind of map that out, you know who you need to get to. And then obviously to your point, actually I think gay intent is a really, really useful tool right now. I’m seeing really interesting trends of who’s looking and what they’re looking at and in what volumes and how that’s changed. Recent data that I’ve seen from Madison logic actually shows that there was a pretty significant downturn in the March timeframe as one would have expected, right? That’s when, when most of us made the shift to work from home, there was a great deal of uncertainty and concern in the market.

Megan (13:26):

Those volumes are now back up in April and may. And that’s exciting news. That’s sort of saying, Hey, we are getting back to whatever our new normal is going to be. So you’re going to have information about that, but know what that looks like and then make sure you’re applying it and thinking about it. And by the way, that data can also point you to what the topics of your webinars and what the topics of your content should be based on the themes and topics that those organizations are looking at. And again, divided by industry divided by role, all those good things that we did in the previous step. And then the last thing you really want to do to kind of revisit your your ICP, your target accounts is bring in data from customers. You want to pay attention to where you are seeing changes in customer behavior.

Megan (14:11):

And again, you can use that to kind of reapply back to who you should be targeting in the new market. So have your customers of the industries that they’re in, their company sizes, the same things that you’re using to segment your target market generally. How has their behavior changed and what has changed about it. And that can tell you a couple of things. One where you’re going to need to focus more on retention efforts, but two, it’s going to show you who is more or less impacted in your base. And then you can start to dig into why and add that to the data that you’re monitoring on an ongoing basis. But those are all some things that I think can be really helpful to revisiting what your market can and should be going forward. That’s excellent.

Jon (14:52):

And just to add on to what Megan had said as a consultancy, we’ve done probably close to 100 plus ABM engagements in this one particular one recently we did, which is relevant to here, surprised us where we uncovered that the ICP of the company was not what they thought it was. This particular SaaS company had done a lot of defining of their market a way in advance of us and thought they were going after a stratification of tier one, tier two and tier three, but through the implementation of Engagio and Salesforce and Marketo, what we found was the engagement was off the charts and the other category. So literally within the last four weeks, they have pivoted their entire marketing efforts to this other category and they’ve moved off their quote unquote ICP. So it was enlightening to us. You know, it was great that we were part of that process to kind of enable that decision.

Jon (15:51):

But it really reaffirmed to me that you, you know, just because you think you know what your ICP is you really gotta press on that. Really, really hard. And I would never have thought about that until I started seeing the data on the engagement. So I think that’s a great point that you bring up multiple points that you bring up there. Megan that are also important. Let me see if I can relaunch the poll here. Poll number two question for those that are still with us and I’m going to ask another question in a moment here. But we’re talking about intent data as part of the spend. And so this question is how are you thinking about investing in MarTech this year? Do you as your company or perhaps your client, are they investing more in MarTech?

Jon (16:40):

Will it be flat in MarTech or will it be down in MarTech? So go ahead and click on poll and vote on that. And while you’re voting on that, I’m going to ask Megan another follow on question. Particularly as it relates to the other side of the funnel, Megan, which is the customer retention side of things. You’ve seen a lot on the demand generation piece. And there’s skill sets that people have within demand gen. And as companies are transitioning to customer retention, who’s going to be focusing on what now? Like what are the responsibilities in this kind of shift from acquisition marketing to customer marketing? Where do you see that pivot of, of skill sets going?

Megan (17:29):

Yeah, that’s a great question. And by the way, I’m really glad you brought up the idea of, of you know, using this as an opportunity to revisit your ICP. That’s the step. I don’t see enough companies take what you thought was true even six months ago may not still be true and it’s probably just a good moment to do that homework. Same applies to when you’re thinking about shifting over to a greater focus on post sale and saying, okay, well if we’re finding that there’s a good chunk of the market that we want to win, that’s not really in buying mode. Then our growth strategy is going to be to hold on to our base. It’s going to be to hold onto the customers that we have. So retention becomes your growth strategy. Cause if you’ve got a sound foundation, when you come out of the down market, you’re going to have that much stronger base to build on, right?

Megan (18:14):

It’s going to be really good. So that means, okay, we’re going to have to potentially temporarily or potentially longer term have to redeploy some resources in particular, most likely from demand and field because that’s where you’re going to have capacity that can’t do its traditional job well. Those marketers tend to be really well suited to making the shift over to thinking about post sale because they’re close to the sales organization. So they know kind of those needs and how to work with folks who are customer facing. So say they need to now go work with customer success or customer support, they’re going to have that habit of engaging with customer facing business partners. Right. the second thing is they are good at thinking about experiences. Amanda, you brought up the fact that, you know, your team is just saying, well we can’t do the events that we used to love to do, but we understand the goal of those events and what made those events a useful part of our buying cycle?

Megan (19:08):

Well, you can think about the same thing here in saying how do we create experiences and value for our customers and use that same understanding of how to engage and convince people to spend time with you just for a different reason, right? To, to help them understand more about how to get value from the relationship with you as opposed to, you know, moving through stages of a funnel. But those same tools apply. The third thing is those folks tend to be good at content and very creative about developing it and sharing it. And one of the biggest gaps that I see certainly in organizations is when you think mostly about content to convince people to buy you, you’re going to need to start to say, wow, well what do I need to convince people to stay a customer?

Megan (19:56):

And as you think about the stages that your customers go through from onboarding to sort of early adoption, to kind of the middle of the relationship to the renewal cycle and then even on into longer term engagement with you and hopefully becoming raving fans and advocates. There are essentially conversions from stage to stage there. And what you want to think about is what are those actions, what are those conversions, what is the path to success and renewal for our business? And then how can we create reusable content assets or other kinds of resources that will encourage customers to stay on that path and then put that in front of them just like we nurture our prospect, we need to nurture our customers and now is the moment to then redirect some of those demand resources to creating that. And the nice thing that comes out of that is even if at some point pivot back to a more pre-sale or demand oriented focus, they’re going to have such a good understanding of what’s harder, easy for your customers, what those folks need, what’s going on in their lives. Kind of that customer persona instead of the buyer persona. And that will inform and flavor the quality of the presale stuff that you’re doing. And so your buyers are going to say, wow, they really get me. And it’s because they really get customers. So that’s going to be super helpful as well. But those are, those are some ways I think you can pivot those skills. You also have to change your metrics.

Amanda (21:19):

I think if I could just add, I think that’s spot on. And the thing that’s that’s so interesting is not only do those customer insights help to inform the demand gen strategy when you do pivot back, but even before you fully pivot, you might develop some insights from talking to those customers and interacting with them. You just have a different relationship with customers than you do with prospects. Right. That can also help to identify new slices of potential ICP, right? New use cases that maybe you didn’t think about, Oh, I didn’t actually didn’t really know our customers were using our product in that way. But that can also open up new avenues to not only potentially extract more value from existing customers, but also to do some blow cost or whatever the case may be. Prospecting activities from, you know, using those insights that you got from those customers.

Amy (22:09):

Yeah, absolutely. And a real world example of a client that we’re currently working with and how they’ve shifted their ICP. So they’re, you know they work with a lot of retailers. They have a merchandising software solution. They typically have targeted apparel accessory lines your support as of the world. That obviously is not a very viable customer to sell to right now. So they really did have to revisit that ICP, think about it. And we’ve completely shifted all our strategy now to go after grocers and the kind of pharmacies, the CVS, the Walgreens of the world, really the ones that are still thriving and the ones that have such demand than they ever did before, that they really do need to have their merchandising completely buttoned up. They have the money to spend right now because their, their sales are through the roof and we’ve completely shifted everything we’re doing messaging wise, offer wise and obviously our targeting to really now go after that kind of new segment for them. And it’s proven to be very successful.

Jon (23:15):

Yeah. Just building on that, Amy, you, you certainly see a lot of clients from an agency perspective in your role as strategy in addition to what you just shared there. How else are you seeing clients approach today’s market environment differently than maybe in times past?

Amy (23:31):

Yeah, absolutely. So I think, you know, there’s been probably five major things that all a lot of our clients are re-examining right now. The first being their messaging, how they’re going to market everybody, companies, individuals, you know, all of us being on zooms every day and kind of seeing a little bit more of our personal side that’s happening with businesses too. We’re reshifting a lot of our messaging to be more personable, more empathetic, more human, not so stark businesslike. So that’s a shift that’s definitely happening. In addition to the shift of offers and what we’re putting out into the market to try to drive prospects in or having our clients we’re working with clients looking at is there something that they could offer on more of a free trial type basis where you know, clients might not be in a place to spend today, but how can we get them in, prove our value, get them to, you know, want to use us in the future when maybe spending opens up a little bit more.

Amy (24:32):

So our clients are definitely kind of rethinking what products they have, what we can offer on a more free basis and free trial basis. Another area is obviously looking at all of the outbound that we typically do. Budgets are in some cases getting slashed. In some cases. We have clients who are trying to figure out what to do with those event budgets that they no longer need to spend the money on those physical events and how they can move that to digital. So we’re spending a lot of time with clients on you know, really making their digital infrastructure and digital footprint really sounded strong. SCO, SCM and all of their very specific targeting. We’re getting much, much deeper and more segmented in light of today’s environment and a lot of what we just talked about, about having to shift ITPs and having to look at potential new audience segments, we’re really focusing on those that are going to be the most viable in the short term.

Amy (25:26):

We’re building out plays, marketing plans that offer that much more personalization, not much more segmentation about not only how we go and advertise to them, but exactly the entire process coming through the funnel and then integrating with sales teams. That’s another huge piece for us. Like Amanda talked about, events are typically a really great place for sales to be able to engage face to face with customers that doesn’t exist today. So how do we think about getting our sales teams virtual? How do we perfect? Really the zoom pitch, we’re working with a lot of clients on that perfecting really these digital virtual plays where again, you can add personality, you can build connections but you have to do it all virtually today. So we’re supporting sales teams a lot more heavily on the marketing side from not only supplying a lot of that intent and intelligence to a lot of those scripts about how to communicate in a very personalized and customized way, not only from the marketing perspective, but all the way down to sales.

Amy (26:33):

And a lot of times our sales teams don’t have, the resources are sometimes the knowhow, honestly, to be able to customize and really pull out interesting nuggets. So we’re working a lot of clients on pulling things from intent and intelligence, which I know we’ve talked about a little bit before and I think intent is way more important today than it even was a year ago, simply because a lot of audience segments are no longer in market, so to speak and intent is able to help tell that story about who is still researching solutions. It was still very active and really help identifying the right accounts and the right individuals to go after.

Jon (27:10):

Yeah. Maybe building on that if you look at our poll results here it actually beers very closely. What not only what you said there, but I had shared this identical question and a Slack channel actually one of the participants Heidi or a Slack channel and the same exact results, which surprise me that more people were planning on making investments this year in MarTech in 2020. I figured that it would be flat or or down and in both cases, although, you know, maybe not statistically significant, we haven’t had a lot of responses yet, but in both cases nobody said that they were reducing MarTech, which really, really surprised me. I thought for sure people would in this environment be looking at it, but maybe with the change to everything being a digital strategy. Now. And to your point, Amy, with intent and some of the search things that you talked about, people are doing more and more investment. Let me ask you one more question before we ask the audience a question. Amy, we were talking earlier about ABM and there are a number of challenges with account based marketing and you talked even about one of your clients that pivoted markets. In addition to that example. Are there any other examples that you could give of challenges that companies are, are facing with from an ABM perspective as you’re seeing across industry?

Amy (28:35):

Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I do think ABM in some cases and you know, what I really work on is building a robust go to market strategies for not only building out with the messages but how we get those messages actually to the right audiences and really get that channel out there. So that piece is definitely becoming more challenging in today’s work from home environment. Traditionally we can do polygon targeting where we’re able to specifically target ads out a physical building that we know a headquartered location is for that particular target. Nobody’s working in those headquarters anymore, so now everybody’s dispersed at home. We can still target them through IP display targeting if folks are still connected to their, their company’s VPNs and things like that. But direct mail has also been a really big channel when it comes to ABM and really trying to personalize and build out a really smart direct mail campaign has resulted in a lot of success for a lot of our clients.

Amy (29:39):

That’s also much more difficult. So a lot of our partners are starting to have to pre ask for physical addresses before sending. We can’t send to that business location anymore. Everybody’s home. So verifying addresses, verifying information before anything is sent is very much key right now. And I think, you know, so thinking about again the scale of everything. In some cases, like I said, some of our clients have a little bit more to spend on digital. Some cases we have to scale back. That’s where we really are. Increasing, as I said, our efforts with intent to be able to take that budget that might’ve been this big to shift down to this size. But making sure we’re focusing on the right accounts at the right time. That is what’s most important about intent is it not only gives you the insight into exactly which accounts might be in market for you, but when, so we are doing a lot of things with our clients now in terms of shifting week to week, week to month our targeting capabilities, who we want to go after based on that exact intent we see in market at that particular time.

Amy (30:48):

We can see the intent that very next day or week we serve them very relevant ads about what they’re showing intent on. And we shift that constantly week to week with each of the accounts to try to limit that budget to not go too expansive.

Jon (31:08):

Got it. Amanda and Megan, do you guys have anything to add based on your experiences with ABM?

Megan (31:16):

Yeah, well, I, I see we have a question about conversions. I don’t know if we want to go there. Maybe.

Jon (31:21):

Yeah. Yeah, let’s, let’s definitely go there. And I think the, the question, well, it’s kind of a statement if I’m understanding it correctly, is ABM marketing download leads are not converting to the meeting. However, there are 20 that are sales driven. It’s not scaling right now. Less than 1% of the downloaded meetings are converting to prospect meetings marketing downloads. So it is, so it’s the, you know, the classic question of the quality that marketing is producing. I don’t know if you, you know, we’re all marketers, so obviously we’re gonna have a, probably a pretty biased point of view on this one, but any perspective to add to this?

Megan (31:58):

Yeah. And, and Michael, I understand why you’re asking, right? Because it can be incredibly frustrating if you’re getting people to raise their hand, but then it doesn’t seem to go anywhere. Why? Right. Where did we go wrong kind of thing. And it’s super frustrating. And then you’ve got, you know, sales pointing fingers and and I would say, you know, there are a couple of things. Let’s see. So an issue is that marketers are not driving programs that directly to deliver meetings. I guess it asked the question, are they supposed to? I mean, yes, but it’s maybe not a one for one correlation between download and ready for meeting. I would say there’s a couple of factors I’d keep in mind if I’m trying to unpack this one. One is do I have a data problem? Am I doing and that in, and maybe not for you specifically Michael, but just generally if one’s trying to unpack, why aren’t my, you know, my hand raisers, turning into meetings, I would say, are they, I just don’t know.

Megan (32:48):

So am I doing lead to account matching? Am I connecting the people and the accounts, the people that I’m engaging through marketing to the account that they’re associated with. So I know, well, maybe that person didn’t take a meeting but somebody else did. And kind of what’s that influence relationship? That’s one thing. So it could be a data thing. Could be a conversion thing too. Sometimes you got that age old problem of, yes, marketing sent the lead over to sales, but they created their own anyway. Which continues to make no sense to me and hasn’t for 15 years, but there it is. It’s a, it, it just is. And, and that’s one to look at too. Then the other one would be, okay, if we don’t have a data or a process problem then why are we attracting people who ultimately don’t choose to meet with us?

Megan (33:35):

Is it that our content is targeted at somebody in the organization who isn’t maybe necessarily the right buyer? Am I actually attracting people with my content from companies that aren’t in my target account group? So my sellers are incented not to meet with them. They’re not really trying that hard. Am I reaching out to slowly? Potentially. One of the things we see is that if you get a name right, somebody takes a download, the faster you follow up on that. As much as we all probably like to think, but I don’t want somebody stalking me and calling me the second I’ve downloaded the white paper. I haven’t even had time to read. There is evidence that says the faster you follow up on that, the better the conversions are. So is there a speed issue? Another one could be that you haven’t sort of pro a properly assessed to the buying group that you need to engage well, who would take the meeting and then who is your content targeted at?

Megan (34:27):

And if those are different people you’re going to, you’re going to have, you know, downloads that don’t take a meeting. So I think the trick is to sort of unpack the why. And then the other thing of course is to go in and say, are the people who are downloading content, I’m also in market for a solution now. So what’s the intent data telling us about those folks? I would add that one into our, are they the fast moving water or are they people that are not ready to buy? They’re just homework, right? They’re doing their homework but they’re not ready to buy. That’s why they’re not taking a meeting. So then we need a longer nurture strategy and we need to understand that complete buying group and what they’re going to need to engage. But those are all, you know, those are, those are some things that I would unpack. I don’t know if that speaks to your specific situation, Michael, but, but those are the questions I’d ask.

Amanda (35:07):

The thing I would layer on top of that, and I thought those were all fantastic ideas is, it sounds like this is implied in this question, is that there was a change, right, that before marketing downloads used to be converting at a much higher rate. So what I would look at is do a little bit of analysis and compare, you know, do kind of a cohort analysis and look at who worked where the titles, the accounts, how do those compare to those you know, those that were on our ABM lists before and after, like maybe something has changed about the type of people or titles or something that are coming in. And that’s that’s driving that. And similarly, you can also compare on what you’re seeing now from those marketing leads to the sales leads that are actually converting. Is there a distinguishable difference there in terms of who we’re attracting?

Amanda (35:57):

Right. And start to dig in there to see if maybe something due to the buying behavior and, and you know, what’s changed in the world right now. Maybe that’s affected who’s actually coming in. And if I suppose if you find something relevant there or even if you don’t it may just be the case that that people are researching, but maybe they’re in that bucket that are saying like, I’m actually not spending as much right now. And so this is me researching because I have the time and I’m home and I know that I’m going to need to do this when I get back, but I don’t actually have the budget or the readiness to kind of make the decision and take the meeting right now, in which case that can be a really good opportunity to really invest in some meaningful nurture strategies, which is frankly what we have to do for, for almost all of our marketing leads.

Amanda (36:44):

Right? It’s very seldom for us that someone will download content and immediately convert and want to talk to us. So we have some pretty robust nurture programs. I think that can be a really effective way to you know, move those people through the funnel. I’ll be at perhaps at a slower pace. But if we assume that those people are researching and hoping that they’re going to convert at a later date, but they’re just not able to right now, then let’s at least keep them informed about what we can do for them, the value we can deliver, the types of problems that we solve. So that we stay top of mind.

Amy (37:17):

Yeah, that’s great. Amanda, and just quickly building off that, as you said, if this is a more recent issue, that would be very much in the trends that we’re seeing across the board. We’re seeing that convergence since this pandemic has definitely dropped pretty significantly across all industries. It’s interesting because traffic is up big time website traffic for most of our clients. All of the click rates and CPCs are down, but conversions are that much more difficult to get today. A lot of folks are more in that research. I want to, I have a little more time. Maybe now that I’m at home, I’m not sending as many face to face meetings. I’m doing a lot of research on topics and education, but I’m not ready to take a meeting and buy yet. That is definitely a trend that we’re seeing. And to Amanda and Megan’s point, it’s all about capturing them, understanding that intent and staying in front and nurturing until the time is right.

Jon (38:12):

Yeah. And just building on a point that Amanda said and these are all fantastic points. I think you said something about kind of looking at the cohort of the sales conversion versus the marketing conversion. And I would go maybe one step further on your org structure. If the SDR BDR is responsible for their own prospecting, their cold to qualify prospecting beyond what marketing is, if that’s all in one function, there may be some tension there in terms of how that person gets compensated. So I’ve seen organizations where it’s all piled into one person. I’ve also seen organizations where we’ve split it apart where you have an inbound MDR or BDR only. And then a separate SDR function which is doing its own prospecting. So you can really do some clear comparisons based on Amanda’s suggestion there. So you just maybe want to look at that now.

Jon (39:06):

I think you make a very valid point though, Michael, because I think marketers are guilty of kind of the the nineties marketing or the early ages of marketing automation and batch and blast of sending a bunch of stuff out and seeing what sticks. So the SDRs are a bit jaded, like, Hey, marketing just keeps sending me all this stuff and it’s not converting, therefore I’m going to go work on what I know I can control. So maybe there’s some historical baggage but these days with, you know, all the data privacy and personalization and how challenging it is to get the conversion. Hopefully the yesteryear marketing gets sunset and we, you know, we transition a little bit into a more modern marketing approaches. Excellent question. We were just doing a time check here. We got about five minutes left and I’ve got a couple other questions that have since come in as well. And maybe, you know, going back to Amanda being an operator, your having to probably juggle around your marketing budget for 2020. What you thought was going to happen in Q1 now has been blown out the window. What are you doing? Like where are you refocusing? Where are you doubling down? What are you dialing back on for the remainder of the year?

Amanda (40:21):

Yeah, I think the first is like anytime we have major changes where it feels like we kind of just blew everything up, I think that’s really an opportunity for us to first and foremost refocus and realign with sales and just make sure that we’re still pointed in the same direction. Operating off of the same playbooks as I mentioned for us. You know, we have some new use cases that are kind of much more relevant for us in this new world order. And so making sure that we’ve provided sales with relevant content and that they have the right sales scripts and all of that sort of stuff. And because it’s also new and it’s hot off the presses, like making sure that we stay really aligned. There is definitely been a focus of ours. I think the other major thing that we’ve taken this opportunity to do is to spend a little bit of time and effort on our own channels that are easy to ignore.

Amanda (41:13):

Even though we know we shouldn’t, there, they’re still easy to ignore things like optimizing our website conversion, taking a look at those email nurtures and what’s performing, what’s underperforming, where can we AB test and try to eke out more from that. You know, those are things that we know are good, good hygiene, right? It’s eating our vegetables, but not always easy to prioritize when you’re getting ready for a major trade show or something like that. So we’ve taken this opportunity to to do those things and really refocused in areas that had kind of gotten pushed to the wayside a little bit. That, and just the other thing that I think we brought up a couple of times already, which is like really honing in on that intent data, right? Especially now that every, everything is different and we can’t count on the same buyer behavior as we knew and could kind of predict a little bit better before leveraging intent data. To just be as smart as we can be about where we should spend our time, what we should be creating content on. And kind of bringing it full circle right. How we can better arm the sales team with that information has really been a major investment for us.

Jon (42:25):

Got it. Anybody else have anything to add? I’ve got one other question here if not, okay. Maybe a question to Megan since we’re talking about customer attention earlier and now that you know, think about Amanda’s situation where we’re having to reset expectations. How do you look or what would you advise a company in terms of pipeline and revenue contribution? If you’re now supposed to support customer engagement and retention that you really haven’t been compensated on before? Like what do you w what would you suggest there in that scenario?

Megan (43:04):

Yeah, Amanda, I think you called it. And that is make sure you are aligned with sales on what their target changes have been first and foremost. I heard a comment the other day that sales is revising their targets but marketing isn’t Hmm. That doesn’t seem like a very good idea to me. So if you know your market is being impacted clearly make sure you’re aligned with sales and in terms of who you’re going after as well. Second thing is make sure you’ve got your facts right. Back to the question about is the, is the conversion for marketing a change and is it a sudden change? Right. Well, if it is a sudden change, you know that something outside of your organization has made that happen. Unless you, you know, suddenly blew up all your marketing and put something new out there, but you probably didn’t.

Megan (43:48):

So all things being equal, the market may have made a change. Have your facts, know what your inbound lead flow looks like, your inbound contact engagement, your target account engagement, know what your conversion rates were before and now what are they? And look at them in March, look at them in April, look at them in may, right? Because those months are very different. And you want to understand what’s happening so that you can go back and say, based on the world we’re in now and the trends that we’re seeing and the contrast with before to now as well as the expectations of the business for revenue and for pipeline going forward. Here’s what we can reasonably expect marketing to deliver. So that’s the first thing, but have your facts, have your numbers, have your trends. As I think it was Matt Heinz that said, you know, all benchmarks are out the window now you’re going to have to start from scratch, build your own.

Megan (44:38):

But you can still compare them to see why and how they’re different. And then I think the other thing is with retention, right? We can say as a business, our goal is retaining as many customers as we can at as high a dollar value as we can, you know, and growing them. So the difference between gross and net retention but you also can’t just say, okay marketing, now you have a retention number, right? You have to specifically break that down and say what components of retention can marketing have an impact on? Well, they can help to engage customers. They can show that there is consumption of content, participation in events participation in advocacy, but break it down and say what behaviors do we want to see in our customer base that we know are going to help us get to a renewal outcome?

Megan (45:22):

And then what things is marketing doing? What, what things can they do to help that number? And what are leading indicators then that are that say you’re getting there. So what activities can you track? And then ultimately that’ll roll up to the company retention number. But marketing needs to break that down for the business in, you know, a fact based way and then go in and make a case to say, these are the things we can do to help with the goals that we have. Here’s how we’re going to track it. And here are the numbers based on where we’re at, we think we can deliver and then let the negotiations begin.

Jon (45:55):

Excellent. Amanda, Amy, anything to add to that?

Megan (45:59):

No, that was fantastic.

Jon (46:04):

Terrific. Well, I think we’re at the end of time here. I wanted to thank in addition to the audience and the great questions. We want to give you a few minutes back here so you can get to your next zoom. Amanda for taking time out. Megan Amy, thank you ladies for joining and putting up with my football headsets that I hope you have a terrific holiday weekend and thank you again for joining us.

Megan (46:28):

Great. Thank you everybody and thanks John. Thanks.