B2B Growth: Your Daily B2B Marketing Podcast
B2B Growth: Your Daily B2B Marketing Podcast

Episode 1718 · 3 months ago

Add Friction to Your Marketing, with Jacob Azia

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

In this episode, Benji talks to Jacob Azia, Consultant & Advisor for Early Stage tech companies.

Jacob discusses what the right amount of friction looks like in our marketing and how to move away from the obsessions with MQLs.

Conversations from the front lines and marketing. This is be to be growth. Hello and welcome in to be tob growth. I'm your host, Benjie Block, and today I am joined by Jacob a Zea. He is a consultant and adviser for early stage tech companies. Jacob, it's fun to have you on the show man. Thanks for having me, Benjie. Great to be here with you and I love your role as a consultant and advisor, because here on be to be growth we're always talking to marketing leaders, right and they're sort of in the trenches of their company, but you're seeing some like trends, things that you're dealing with across company lines, and I think that could be a fascinating conversation today. Jacob, tell me some of what you're seeing. Man. What are some common issues that you see companies bumping into and maybe having recurringly? Yeah, so I'm working with either marking leaders or or CEOS themselves. What are the trends I've been seeing recently that I feel is worth mentioning? Is this strategy to really optimize the funnel as much as possible to increase conversion rates. So, for example, one of the clients that I'm working with are. They are. You know, they've switched their linkedin ads from trying to optimize for website conversions to leagen forms because on there and they saw that, you know, they would get a higher conversion rate on the person filling out a form if it was a Leegen form as opposed to website. And that's true and the data supports that. However, when you look down funnel at actual customer acquisition, you can see that the legend form isn't really even though you're getting a higher conversion rate leading to more customers. And one of the reasons I think we're seeing that is because when you make it that easy to the engage with the company, to convert via a legion form, which is really filling out one field after seeing one add you're not really giving the user really any motivation or intent to actually use and eventually purchase those services, and that's it's a bit counterintuitive, but you really want to as a company, think about how do we educate the the users are future customers, and so that you add a little bit of friction to the process, because ultimately that's the people that then convert are going to be way more high intent and actually want to do business with you. Yeah, who thought you would hear on B tob growth today that we should add some friction back into the process? But isn't it true that, like top of funnel, you can have as many emails or whatever, I mean, fill out the Legen form, whatever you want. You can get as many of those and feel real good, pat yourself on the back, but if they're not...

...not converting down funnel and you don't you haven't really done anything to let them explore your brand feel like they really align, then they're not even the leads that you really want. So the MQL, SQL, the data, the numbers, they're kind of skewed right. So I man, I think that is totally true. How do we go about actually adding the right amount of friction in, though, Jacob? I think that is the question so many of us are asking. What do you feel we should be asking ourselves to make sure where we're getting that friction right? That's a great question and and you know, just want to recognize that. Yes, as marketers we are all taught optimize the conversion right, increase that conversion and is as much as possible, and so if this does sound a bit out of the box, that's that's on purpose. As far as like the right amount of friction goes, you know, if you think, if you think about this from their customer experience right, because that's always important to keep in mind, I think asking their customer, you know, potential customer, to visit your company's website and fill out a form there is not asking too much. If you're acknowledging that, like anyone you're marketing to, is going to eventually have to come through your website to talk to you, to reach out and talk to you, then that's that's not really that that hard. You, anyone can just type in an among Google and find find the first result. What that does is it frees you up. So then mark it the way you want to market on all of on all of your, you know, channels, all of your campaigns, because then you don't have to optimize for this action where you need to get their email dres so you need to get their phone number right away so you can actually give them content, give them creative, give them product marketing that that communicates who you are as a company and your value. And then the friction comes in when you they've learned enough about your company and they're in there, they're ready to enter into like a real buying cycle. They can visit your website and fill a form on your website. Just make your website, you know, don't make it too hard to find the demoform or the free trial form, but other than that, I think you know you want people to be coming to your website as opposed to filling out forms on social channels. Why, you think so many struggle with the is it the way we were educated as marketers and just that desire to see the number of mqls rise? What? What's behind the approach that you see so often? Yeah, that's a great question. I think it's probably has a couple different sources. One of them is definitely this this notion of the mql. And you know, Oh, because we work in a business where, you know, sales cycles are a couple weeks to a couple months. We want to make sure we're adjusting performance on a, you know, regular basis and in order to do that we need metric like mpls to give us a...

...sense of performance. And I think there's some validity to that, but I think it's gotten twisted and become like the North Star leading indicator for a lot of companies, and it just mqls do not paint enough of a picture for the quality of the lead of the customer, you know, in terms of who they really are and like, are they truly interested or did you get them to take an action that was not indicative of how much they actually are interested in your products or services? So if you were like blue skying this, in a sense, we're going like Thirtyzero foot view and we're going, if this was just working optimally in Jacob's mind, like this is how the process should be, not how it always is, but like right amount of friction. Walk me through like an an example. What's how you're thinking about this? I would love to hear it kind of walked out practically. Yeah, totally. So, if we're not going to if our goal as a BDB, you know company were from a marking standpoint, is not just to generate as many leads or mqls as possible, then that really frees us up to market to people in a way where we can actually just educate them and create awareness and and not worried just solely about this like one, you know, metric of sort of conversion rate, and so what that does is it allows the company to, you know, create a series of ads, potentially if we we're talking about paid social, but we could be talking about really a lot of different channels. But the point is that these, these creatives, these ads, they talk about the product, they they talk about the benefits and the value, the features. One of the one of the ways I like to position this to clients as, like you know, my ideal state of marketing is take your sales playbook or the sale the your first call, sales deck, where that's like the first thing you're showing someone up, you know, for a demo. In that in that deck you've got all of the benefits, all the features. It's like, you know, it has the best content about your product in your company. Take that deck, cut, slice it up, reform at it and create a whole campaign around just, you know, featuring your product and service externally distributing it across channels. And then when I like to say to you know leaders, you know, CEOS, sales leaders, is how nice would it be if, when a lead came in and we're ready to talk to sales, they already knew everything you were going to say, and they really just needed to talk about pricing, and that's the cut type of marking that you can do if you're not trying to optimize for conversion rate. HMM. I love this too because, and obviously you advise for these early stage tech companies, you see this so much in early stage companies where they're thinking way more about sales and they're not thinking about marketing yet, right, because they're just trying to show proof of concept. But in this it's really saying, no matter what, you're going to have that sales day, you might as well do some marketing with...

...that, educate the market, and so there is so many benefits in that. But when you get into the sales mind, you're thinking about the demos you got to be on, the calls you got to make, and you're not thinking about how you could utilize social channels or paid social right to actually drive sales in and just a slightly different format, with a mediate with a source you already have. Exactly. These companies are already investing so many resources into these into these salesman sales materials, right, creative resources, content resources, and they are really saving these resources for the only the few people that come through their door. And my questions for these, for these companies, these these leaders, is like, why are you saving your best assets for only such a small amount of people? There's unless there's really proprietary, secret, confidential knowledge and in these sale materials, which you can also just redact, why not just share that with everyone? And so like, everyone gets the best quality, you know, creative and content that your company has to offer, and really everyone, sales and marketing both win. And in that scenario, hey be to be gross listeners. We want to hear from you. In fact, we will pay you for it. Just head over to BEDB growth podcom and complete a short survey about the show to enter for a chance to win two hundred and fifty dollars, plus. The first fifty participants will receive twenty five dollars as our way of saying thank you so much one more time. That's Bob Growth podcom. Let her be number two. Letter be growth podcom. One entry per person must be an active listener of the show to enter and look forward to hearing from you. Everyone gets the best quality, you know, creative and content that your company has to offer, and a really everyone, sales and marketing both win and in that scenario. So someone's listening to this and they're going I want to go back to my team and start to implement this. An easy first step would be what we just talked about. Go look at what your sales materials are and how you can repurpose that. Anything else you would say, Jacob, as far as like these are questions to be asking your team or things to be thinking through as far as assets you're creating? Yeah, this is really helpful. So you know this is something you're considering. I think the first question has to just be around customers and customer acquisition, because that's really going to help you sort of make the case to maybe adjust your marketing strategy to be a bit more about the marketing as opposed to the leads. And so I think you know, depending on Your Business and service, but if you look at the data and you look at what's driving the customers, from what I've seen, it's not going to be the campaigns in the programs that are very focused on just capturing contact information. And so once you have that data, it's a...

...lot easier to take that work with your you know your leadership team. You're exact team on how to actually craft a program that would drive customers as opposed to leads. And then, once you have that data and that by and then, yeah, you can work with your work, with your existing materials. One of them could be just taking your sales deck, slicing and dicing it up into campaigns or ads for social or paid social. Another easy win I like to talk about with companies that a lot of companies do is webinars. Right. A lot of companies put on webinars. There get a lot of them are gated, which means they're behind a form. And so, rather than creating a new content, take those Webinars, take the best three thousand hundred and sixty second clips right, add subtitles and a headline if you can, and then and then run those as a campaign as well. So you're really able to like almost up cycle this creative and content that you've already made, but was only for such a small amount of people because of the of the friction that was in place, like for the Webinar, meaning that the form and now so many more people can actually access it and therefore, you know, learn about about your company. I would say you can go one step further, than that and you could take the script of the Webinar and re record the video so it doesn't just look like a Webinar, and get someone who is enthusiastic on your team to do it so that it looks slightly different, because people will eat that up in a different way than knowing that your content was repurposed from a Webinar. But if you don't have that bar set yet and you're not even repurposing your Webinar, are just start there. Do that. But I'm saying if you're doing that and you want to raise the bar one more time, just try getting someone who is good on came off ups. I'll take it to the next one. I love that. It's good man the companies that work with or it's ability, very tight on resources. So yeah, a lot of these recommendations are basically from maximizing the existing resources and content that that you do have. But absolutely, you know, webinars. I agree with you specifically because the way that webinars get recorded, even if you are if you even if your faces on it, which is not a given necessarily for a lot of webinars. Let's say it's a Zoom Webinar, weather is you know, some sort of recording of the actual presenter, but the main focus is a slide. But the content and creative that works the best on most channels is actually talking heads. So you really want to like flip that script and prominently feature the presenter talking into the camera, because that just is what ends up like engaging the best across channels. Okay, so the pushback, I think, would be maybe at like a executive level, where you're going. We're used to seeing this number of mqls, sqls, and they've they've optimized for higher numbers. They're right, versus the approach were discussing. So there's going to have to be a conversation that's had that goes, Hey, guys, we might see this number dip because we're actually creating some friction. What are your tips there for making sure that conversation goes smooth moodily and we kind of foster that understanding? That is...

...a that is a very uncomfortable conversation that I've had before. So I do want to acknowledge that. It's not an easy one, right, because you're you know, you're basically telling you know, whoever your leaders, your exacts, that listen, like we are the the mql, the SQL volume that we've been seeing is going to go down right, and that that you immediately on the on everyone's faces. You see this panic set set in, that, oh my God, like what's going to you know what? What does it mean for the growth? We have these enormous girl growth targets. What does that mean sort of for our trajectory? And again, is there's a lot of just go back to the data, right. So reassure them that that these programs are not actually driving any customers, so changing the strategy won't affect the business bottom line. And then really, you know, the conversation, yeah, just needs to be about how we are taking a customer acquisition of e centric folk approach and you know, that will allow us to do better marketing. That also we are more excited about, and and that's something that I've seen work really well, is to use the data right, to use DRT, like, to use strategy rooted in data, but then also flip it back on them and ask them like, are you excited about the marketing that you've been doing, like these these legenforms, right, like this, this this type of a process, is this something that you're excited about, because if you're not excited about it, then I promise you that your customers and your future customers are not going to be excited about it either. That's such a huge shift that's needed, and especially in those early days where, if you're so in the weeds on things, it's easy to just go we just need these amount of form fills, versus, if you were on the other end of that form fill, would it even make sense for you to be filling that out? Like would you even so, that's such an easy switch. That again, like, as someone that does marketing, I'm so guilty of still opting for the form creation and you need someone outside sort of asking you those helpful questions, which you're doing for us today. And it makes sense. Companies have such aggressive growth targets that then it has they have to do this. They have almost are forced into this, like well, let's work backwards if we need this money customers and we need this money as growls, and I'm cusn't it makes it feel almost more manageable and more tangible to do it that way. But you'll end up going down this, you know, this path of being really limited in terms of the way you're doing marketing and how much you can actually grow the business long term. Okay, so I got one more follow up question before we start to wrap up here, and that would just be around the transition period. So if you were again to you're talking to executives. They're going on. I'm a little nervous on this, but you're asking these questions. is a transition a swift one? Is it when you're kind of proving out the value of the new way over a couple months? Like how do you advise is that transition actually...

...taking place? Yeah, that's a great that's a really important question because I think you know this. All this strategy is is great in concept, but execution is just as important, if not more important. As far as implementation, I think it depends a lot on the business and sort of the current state and how things are going, for example, there and they could be a spectrum right where I would recommend to clients generally that they just pause on all of their advertising, assuming that it's most almost none of its converting to customers. Again, that can be really scary thing to hear as a leader of one of these companies. But budget is not infinite from host companies and so I really encourage them to deploy it when they have newer, creative and newer content that is more optimized for consumption as opposed to, you know, conversion. So you could do you could do a hard switch over. It depends how much buying you have. You could also let some of the stuff you're doing keep, continue to run as you sort of build up this library of newer assets or up cycled assets and and that will hopefully give you just a little more time to feel like you have the the the bandwidth to test and iterate as you're going. But to you really need buy and no matter what, because it's like you're basically starting from scratching a lot of ways in terms of the way you market took to people, and that's going to take time to actually show in the market. Yeah, I think that buying is key and the way that you get to buy in also is by just admitting that you're testing things right and that continued test you're going to prove results over time. But also marketing gets this view of being shiny and if we can be a little less shiny and just show, Hey, this is what we tested on, this is what didn't work, this is how we're iterating and changing, you gain trust and you can do with that over time. Early I think that learning is actually one of the best KPI's in marketing. As far as how effective it is is obviously you know first and foremost, as is revenue, but short of that is what are we learning like? What are we learning about our customers? What are we learning about the marking that we're doing and us? As long as there is this active feedback cycle where we are are gaining tangible learnings, then I think that is a really good signal for leaders and executives. This is a good conversation talking about adding friction intentionally, the right amount of friction as marketers and we know that it's extremely important. Jacob, thanks for walking US through this. You mentioned at the top consultant advisor for early stage tech companies, but tell people, are there some ways that you would want those that are interested to stay connected to the work that you're doing, or what are ways that maybe someone with a question could reach out to you? Yeah, I'm on Linkedin, so you can you can find me. They're happy to happy to chat and answer any questions...

...anyone might have. Love it. I am over on Linkedin. As well and would love to chat with listeners on this up about this episode, about marketing or about business, about life. Always wanting to connect with with folks over there. So fantastic episode. If you have yet to follow, be to be growth on whatever podcast platform you're listening to the song, be sure to do that so you never miss an episode. Will be back real soon with more content for you want to help you continue to innovate and be the best you can be in your marketing efforts. Keep doing work that matters and have a great one.

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