684: How the Right Performance Insights Fuel Growth w/ John Bonini

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

In this episode we talk to John Bonini, Director of Marketing at Databox.

Click here to connect with this guest on LinkedIn.

Looking for a guaranteed way to create content that resonates with your audience? Start a podcast, interview your ideal clients and let them choose the topic of the interview, because if your ideal clients care about the topic, there's a good chance the rest of your audience will care about it too. Learn more at sweet fish Mediacom. You're listening to the B tob growth show, podcast dedicated to helping be to be executives achieve explosive growth. What you're looking for techniques and strategies or tools and resources? You've come to the right place. I'm Jonathan Green and I'm James Carberry. Let's get into the show. Welcome back to the B tob growth show. Today's episode is brought to you by directive consulting, the BE TOB search marketing agency. Today we are joined by John Benini. He's the director of marketing at data box. John, how you doing it? I mean, I'm great. I'm pumped to beyond with the famous James Carberry. So I'm really excited to be don't know about that. I don't know about that, man, but I'm I'm really pumped to chat with you today. We've been going back and forth on Linkedin for a while. I've been seeing what you guys are up to a data box. I filled out a lot of the surveys that you guys put out. I love the content strategy, which could probably be a whole other episode on kind of how you guys are approaching your content strategy by really including a lot of your or potential buyers, potential customers, in that. But today we're actually going to be talking about how the right performance in sites fuel growth. Before we get into that, I think there's to me. I mean it's a no brainer why you guys are the are the ones to be talking about this. But tell our listeners, for those that aren't familiar with data box, and what you guys are up to, what the company does and what you guys are doing up there. Sure our mission is we help make performance insights more accessible for everyone, really so marketer, sales people, customer success, because traditionally accessing these kind of like deep insides performance in sights for the work that you're doing traditionally requires some sort of technical capabilities, whether that's writing sequel or having spreadsheet mastery to be able to pull insides from all the different channels that you're using. I think up spot put out a report that the average number of channels that marketer sales people are using is like twelve channels that they're pulling data from. So yeah, data box is a is a dashboard software that actually does much more than that. But it lets you easily drag and drop sort of the most important metrics from all the places that you're using all of these despair tools and track all of that in one place, set goals and schedule alerts and all kinds of those things. So, yeah, we're making something that's traditionally viewed as being very clinical and complex and simplifying it by essentially allowing people to sort of shortcut the whole figuring out how to get the data that they need and skipping right to the insights, because I think people don't necessarily want data right, they want insights. So we're helping people shortcut that.

And you guys are you guys work with you have a lot of agencies using the product, right, right, yeah, I mean, I mean if you think about it, right. So, you know, we just talked about how complex it can be to sort of pull data from twelve different channels. To be able to make sense of it and really have a comprehensive view on performance. You know, if you think about that challenge inside of a company, that that's a challenge. But when you think about that challenge for an agency, it needs to manage that for ten, twenty, three thousand, forty, fifty clients. I mean it, it turns into a really expensive nightmare, right, that you have to do every month and then midmonth when you get questions, they're really hard to answer, right, because it's really hard to make those sort of you know, proclamations or analysis midmonth. So yeah, it was a really natural fit, I think, and it's solved the real problem. Yeah, so we're first I want to you know, talk with you, John, about the the overarching challenge with a reporting on on performance, kind of the way that people did it and prior to you guys coming into the game, talk about talk about that and then and then we're going to dive in the kind of what needs to change to to fix that approach. Right. So this is one that I have some will most of us have some battle scars from, but but some personal experience with and really like I touched on it a second ago and that's like. So, if you think about the channels, they we all leverage as marketer, sales people, Customer Success Reps, these channels have obviously evolved in changed to say the least, over the past I mean, shoot, even like five years. But when you talk about ten years, fifteen years, right, they've changed pretty dramatically. So, as a result that, a lot of the channels that we all use and rely on every day to have an immediate feedback loop. Right. So if whether you're running an ads campaign or you sent out an email or you published a blog post, you know, these things have a pretty immediate feedback loop on them. So, you know, leveraging these kind of channels, these digital channels, has changed the expectations of your team. So, if you're managing a team, the people on your team want to know how the work they're doing impacts the business. Right. They want to know how things perform so they can do better work and people want to feel that they're contributing. Right, helps it gives everyone a sense of fulfillment. And then you have your bosses, right then want to know how everything performed, right, like how that ad campaign performed, what the cost per click is. You know and maybe how many, how many opportunities were working this week that came originated from an email campaign or whatever it is. So the channels that we've all used have really changed over the past decade plus. That's changed everyone's expectations performance and when they should be able to expect answers on it. But the tools that most companies use to sort of follow performance and report on it once they're pulling it from all the different places...

...they're using have not changed. So you're still using spreadsheets, still using slide decks, are still downloading CSB's, are copy and pasting from despair at tools. So everything's really static. So you can be asked a question like chains, how did our organic performed this week? And those kind of questions are really hard to answer when you are functioning in a static way, right when you're in you when you need to download data and put it into a spreadsheet and then visualize it like in a slide deck. So it doesn't allow for the type of on demand analysis that our teams and bosses now expect from us. Yeah, and and and if you're an agency here, clients twenty, thirty, forty, fifty of them. Yep, so the problem really is quite simply that the channels that we all use have changed a lot. We all know that. That's obvious. What maybe maybe isn't so obvious as, as a result of those changes, that's really change the expectations of everyone around us, and the way we're reporting on the performance of those tools needs to evolve with it, and in most cases it's not. So you have a lot of marketers and sales people and business people that are faced a lot of really uncomfortable questions, whether it's from their team, their clients, with their boss, about how things are. For me should to solve for that, John, like obviously data you know, it's what data box does. But what are some other kind of fundamental things that need to happen for that to no longer be a struggle, for that to be something that that you can overcome, whether you're you know, I don't organization or you're in an agency. Right, and before I answer that, I want to make sure I follow through because I said I was going to share a personal anecdote. But in that previous question, you know, at a company that I had worked for in the past, every Monday we would have a reporting meeting, and so as a result, on the weekend you would do everything I just said right because you wanted to have the most update data. You didn't want to take on Friday, you wanted to take it on Sunday because your metrics would be a little bit different. So you would, you know, pull the data, put into a spreadsheet, put in a slide AC and come Monday morning I'd be sick every morning because it was just your stomach sick that you know it in doing. Now all that so quickly. Did is everything accurate? You didn't really have enough time to really give a deep analysis of the data because you were so busy just pulling it. So every Monday it was just like a really small anxiety attack right like every single Monday. So in feeling that pain. And so what can people do about that? I mean the the obvious answer, which is it traditionally hasn't really been easy to solve, is to not have to pull all that day. It's to have everything updating in real time in one place, so you're paid ads and facebook and Linkedin or add words and then your content that you're running through hub spot or, you know, your whatever other you know tools you're using from a cms or ESP standpoint, like all of that stuff is tracking in one place and all you have to do is check it, right like that. That's the dream, is being able to have all that in one place so a you...

...could sort of check it every single day and be able to make adjustments on the fly and actually be agile. And the thing about that is most companies who say they're agile or say that their data driven, in reality it's they're more reactive. Right like I think what a lot of marketers think data driven means is I have access to data, right like I can jump into ga or I can jump into my mail chimp account or my mas account or sem rush, whatever it is, and I have access to data. Therefore I am data driven. But it's not about that. So what ends up happening is when people have access to data but it's not centralized, what happens is data driven to them means the gas pedal and the break pedal. So because they're jumping in and out of twelve different places, in most cases they're noticing things when it's not not that it's too late, but they're so, oh, hit the gas, hit the brakes, this is down, or or whatever it is. And we need to change this as APP but in reality, being data driven, when you set, when you when you put everything in a central location, when you're tracking everything in one place and you can solidate sort of all your data in one place, it's now. Now you're the steering wheel, so you're not mashing the gas, you're not mashing the brakes, you're making small adjustments in real time, right just like you're driving, and you could hopefully getting a lot of air time out of this driving analogy here. So you're the steering wheel, you're making slight adjustments in real time rather than slamming the gas or slamming on the brakes. Very few or ex obviously have that capability. So really what that entails is you need to be able to have a central location where all of your performance data lives. We're not only you have access to it. So you can you know, if you're a manager or director, that you can sort of set direction and collaborate on strategy from a more informed place, but your team also has access to it. Right like the Sun. Nobody's coming and saying like how did how does our email perform, or how did those paid ads perform? A lot of people depend on that data in that and those insights for their jobs and just for just to stay sort of in the loop right on the on the overall health of a department or an organization. So really the biggest thing is being able to consolidate performance from a lot of different places, which is traditionally very hard. This second step from there is because you know, when people pull a ton of data into a spreadsheet you're basically looking at tables of data and to a lot of people that's not helpful right like they need to be able to visualize it, to be able to understand how something is trending. They need to be able to look at it quickly. So another thing that sort of on the back end of being able to track everything in one place. The second part is there needs to be an easier way for the everyday marketer, salesperson, customer success wrap that doesn't know how to write sequel, that maybe doesn't have an analyst background, that doesn't know how to create pivot tables and all the different functions and excel. There needs to be an easy way for those people, which I'll raise my hand. I'm wanted them...

...to be able to take the insights from having all that data in one place. So that's basically the output of what you see on that now, James, is the slide decks that you end up seeing in meeting. So yeah, you see line graphs that show trends, you'll see bar graps picharts. All those sort of visualizations are what help people learn the story and see how everything is, is progressing towards goals or how with things trending and how people need to make adjustments. So those two things really have to happen in concert. The data needs to be all in one place and there needs to be an easy way for for you to be able to visualize that data so everyone can understand it, from, you know, the executive, you know the sea level executive, to you know, your midlevel managers, to your customer support wraps and content marketers, and everybody needs to be able to understand that data quickly. And that's one of the things, I think that really drew meat to data box last summer was that they had this really, really intuitive functionality that allows you to just dragon drop, almost like it was like you were dragging and dropping a song into a playlist on spotify or something. You can drag and drop like a block of data, like new versus returning visitors from Gi you would literally drag it into your dashboard and he would visualize. You had to do nothing except connect your Google analytics account, and that, to me, is what the ideal state needs to look like in order for people to have that on demand capability. Is I had the data available and I was able to visualize it in literally a click. All right, I want to tell you a little story about clear company. This HR Tech Company was doing a lot of things right. Their messaging was clear, their product produced incredible results, but they were struggling to drive qualified traffic to their website. Then they found directive consulting, a Bob Search Marketing Agency. Within the first twelve months of working with directive, clear company was able to increase their qualified lead volume by a hundred and fifty seven percent. Now I have a hunch that directive can get these kind of results for you to so head over to directive consultingcom and request a totally free custom proposal. That's directive consultingcom. All right, let's get back to this interview. So so, John, with you, with you being, you know, director marketing at data box, she you know, you guys are drinking your own champagne over there. You're you're using the product. Obviously, what are some of the adjustments that you've been able to make that you wouldn't have otherwise been able to make? Just to give some people some ideas on how how they can be leveraging the visualization of the data that they're going to that they get access to and they're using a tool like this. Right, right. So I think one of the first things that it enables is that we're not in meeting obsessed company. We're still relatively you know, we're you know, we're not a hundred plus employees or anything like that. But what did, what it enables the team...

...to do, is you're able to sort of cut down on status updates and meetings in general. So when everyone has live access to those sort of performance in sights at all times, what happens is your team will end up being more focused on sort of the deep work and execution that that sort of will go along with improving whatever the key metrics are for your company that you identify. So I mean just just to use us as an example, like I said, we're not a meeting obsessed company. A lot of the people on our team are focused on, you know, getting stuff done every single day. So during weekly meetings that we do have, what we end up doing is we catch up on what we call, depending on what the meeting is, our company top five or company top ten, which is sort of top five or top ten metrics that we've sort of identified as a company that really contribute towards our growth. Right. So that's something that we we all agreed upon. You know, some somebody is accountable for all of those metrics and individually, not one person is accountable for all those metrics. But well we end up doing is we have these really productive meetings, and we do have them. is so everybody has access to these dashboards. They they update automatically. It's all automated. You don't have to do anything. So what ends up happening is these meetings, instead of focusing on the what, like how how did this performer? Where is this data? Where can we get this data? The three things that we end up talking about is, what are the things that we did last week? What affect did it have on you know, if it's these five metrics, are these ten metrics? What are we going to do this week and you know sort of what's the perspective? How do we think that it's going to have an impact on our on our on those top five or top ten metrics in the week coming? So what it ends up doing is it enables the team to have more productive and less meetings. So you eliminate the status update and really what it allows is more focus on the deep work and execution part of things, which which only happens when you have you know what, when when performance in sites are accessible to you? Could you share, you know, would you be willing to share one or two performance in sites that you've been able to tap into recently by having access to this, to the data that you guys have? Yep, sure, some of the metrics that you know we're able to track is, you know, by so one of the cool things, one of the big benefits of having a place that you're sort of consolidating all your data is you can manipulate data from different tools with one another. So, for example, up spot and Google analytics right, you can sort of you can draw correlation more easily between despair tools and when they're living in different places. So yeah, we we obviously use tools like mixpan out to track APP engagement and you know what people are doing in the APP, whether it's converting to a paid user or using specific feature or clicking on something specific. So one of the insights that marketing here it sort of owns is is sign up to paid, which is which is a big one right, very standard in the SASS space...

...but traditionally is something that can be tougher to track and I've been a part of teams in the past where it's like you're kind of falling all of yourself to try to be able to track these metrics. But a few that we were able to easily pull in and track every week is like, all right, obviously the sessions and sign up some things like that, but also visit to sign up and sign up to paid are bigger ones because you can sort of more clearly see the effectiveness of your marketing. So sign up to paid is a big one that we're heavily focused on being a SASS company and having a free model. So that's one that we're, you know, constantly optimizing for and trying to improve the experience and improving onboarding and education within the APP. Did that sign up to paid conversion rate go up or down, you know, the last week, based on this kind of visualized data that we now have, what did we do last week to make that try to go up? And basically your then just kind of able to make an assessment on the fly to say, okay, whatever we did last week. So say if it did go up, okay, that that thing that we did. Because I would imagine you're doing this kind of microtest at a time. Is that right? Like you're only tweaking one thing at a time to see so that you can identify what actually works and what doesn't. Right. Yeah, our team has like one week sprints. So we're got it. We yeah, we we run not not as many tests as if we were bigger team. So yeah, they're they're usually it's definitely always one thing at a time. We're able to track, yeah, if things are improving and depending on what the metric is, because the data updates in real time, you could you could see. You know, I'll look at it a couple times a day to see. You know, sometimes our Brian Mosley, who works closely with our agencies here, if he closes a few agencies, obviously that numbers affected. Or if our if we have an email campaign that's going out or a high number of sign ups, obviously that means a lot of people are going into the onboarding program so you can see numbers fluctuate daily and I think that's that's even more helpful to for for for me, when it comes into the execution right, because I think executives they want to see the cumulative like progress is at trending towards the goal. And then when you're when you're sort of when you get down to the folks that are doing the work, they want to see those daily fluctuations. They want to see what did I do? What we do yesterday? What was different, so they can identify sort of any sort of anomaly or or thing that me have, you know, influenced growth that they can either do again, do more of do less, stop doing. Yeah, we're stop were stop doing right. So yeah, I wan't like like sign up to paid in that example that that's one that you'll see fluctuate, but that's one that you probably look at it, as you said, probably on a weekly basis and at the start of every month. It's going to take, you know, seven days for that number to really mean anything because you know, at the beginning of the very month, you're starting at zero sign ups. The sign ups are going to take a little while to be able to evaluate the product and start paying. So so that that one is one that you definitely track on a weekly basis and see...

...we're at at the end of the month. But then you have a lot of leading indicators up to that. You know sign ups and and how specific pages are performing, and being able to see the daily fluctuations without having to do anything or what, from you know, twelve or numerous different APPS. Is What it ends up doing is allows us to be able to spend actually, believe it or not, less time with data, because you're able to just come and go you ever, you know where everything is. It's tracking automatically. You have a look at it and then you can get back to to do in the work that is contributing towards that growth. Yeah, I love it that you spend more time thinking creatively about how to make those numbers go up, the numbers that you want to go up, and as opposed to that time otherwise being spent trying to collect the data that is trying to enable you to be able to make those great decision right now it's probably disproportionately waited towards you spending more time just trying to find the data. Yeah, input it somewhere that makes sense, communicated to everybody, and then you spend a little bit of time talking about, right, here's what we could do next year's five things, whereas what we what we've been able to do as a team is we've reversed that. So, because everybody has access to that, there's virtually not a ton of time spent talking about where the data is and most of the conversations are more just about, okay, cool, what do we what are we doing next? And and you know the stuff that we did last week. Why or why not? Do you think it didn't have an impact? So it's, like I said, it's much more productive conversations and meetings and strategy. I love it, John. This has been fantastic. If there's somebody listening to this, they want to stay connected with you, they want to learn more about data box, they want to subscribe to your podcast. What's the best way for them to go about doing that? Yeah, so, I mean I'm just on twitter at Benini eighty four data boxes really easy. It's just data boxcom and and yeah, as you mentioned, we do have a podcast of our own. It's called ground up, and we spend some time talking about our own sort of growth trajectory and the things that we're doing and things that are working and not working and sort of telling our tale. But we also have a ton of guests on just talking about the the real stuff, the hard stuff, that of growing up business, and we've had, you know, ran Fishkin and Jason Freed on and folks from up spot near Y'all, who is who is one of my favorites. So yeah, wherever you listen to podcasts, it's it's just called ground up and it's by data bucks. Awesome, John. Will thank you again so much for your time. I think our listeners are going to get a ton of value out of this. I really appreciate it, man, sure thing. Thanks a lot of James, a lot of fun. There are lots of ways to build a community and we've chosen to build the be tob growth community through this podcast. But because of the way podcasts work, it's really hard to engage with our listeners and without engagement it's tough to build a great community. So here's what we've decided to do. We're organizing small...

...dinners across the country with our listeners and guests. No sales pitches, no agenda, just great conversations with likeminded people. Will Talk Business, we'll talk family, will talk goals and dreams, will build friendships. So if you'd like to be a part of a BEDB growth dinner in a city near you, go to be to be growth dinnerscom. That's be to be growth dinnerscom. Thank you so much for listening. Until next time.

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