The Compelling Case for Abandoning Email Automation for Prospecting

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

In this episode, Olivia Hurley talks to Mike Herron, Head of Marketing @ Lukka 

Yeah, hello everyone and welcome back to beto be growth. My name is Olivia Hurley. And today I'm joined by mike heron,who's the head of marketing at lucca. Hi mike, how you doing? I'm great livia,how are you? I am great. I'm really excited to chat with you today becausethe last time we talked we unpacked a lot about industry trends and the stateof B two B marketing. And one thing we came across was that you have thisreally unique perspective on email marketing which I find so fascinatingbecause email marketing is almost completely and email automation let mespecify is almost completely ubiquitous these days. Um except for how your teamat lucca operates. And so I'm wondering can you recap you know the state ofemail automation and then tell us why you don't use it at lucca. Yeah, forsure, first of all, thanks for having me. I appreciate you have to chat withyou today. So yeah, you know we we have we have an interesting, we have aninteresting take at Lucca and around around B2B marketing as a whole whereyou know, we try to avoid email automation wherever possible. And Iknow in this day and age right, email automation is a is a big tactic in alot of marketer's toolbox and the reason we at Luca really sort of havetaken that out of our arsenal is just the the sort of the mass amounts of itthat are out there. We as marketers get tons of email marketing. I can't tellyou how many emails I get a day, cold emails of people that are trying tobreak the ice and get my attention. And the one thing that we've really foundworks the best for us is sort of taking a step back and you know, thinkingabout, you know, how we would want to be communicated with, especially in theB two B space, when, when we think about sort of that journey of being,you know, interested in a product or service and interested in, you know,potentially bringing something new on to, you know, into our company, youknow, by the time that sales process...

...starts, we've probably already halfwaymade up that decision. So a lot of times what happens, especially with theemail automation, at least from what we've seen on our side is that it'sjust very impersonal. It's very can you can tell automatically that, you know,this is this is an automated system, there's no personality to it. So whatwe've done is we've completely removed it from our sales prospecting process.We focused more on the relationship, we focused more on understanding whopeople are. We focus almost exclusively on problem solving because as marketersin this space, right, we want to be marketed to, you know, in the right waywith the right message at the right time, on the right platform. And a lotof times we found what happens is if we start this conversation a little bitdifferent way and we make it more personal and we try to build therelationship first released a upper funnel, we found a lot more, a lotgreater success when it comes to reaching out cold. I think that'sbrilliant, and I want to unpack all of that. So starting at the top is emailautomation something you would consider a necessary evil or do you thinkcompanies can realistically do away with it entirely? I think I think it isa necessary evil, you know, when when we think about a tactic like emailmarketing and email automation, right? It's it's really whether or not it fitsyour strategy or not, and if we're going to stay really high funnel, whichis where most of B two B marketing tends to live and that's the mostimportant part of it. I think it can be successful. You know, we might useemail automation to update people about a new product or service, but when itcomes to sort of the sales process, I feel that you know, you really need tohave that non automated feel when that first email piece of marketing goes out.So I think it depends on. I think it depends on the brand that it depends onthe company and what strategy is put into place, but I think it's probablysomething that I think it's probably something that most people should tryto avoid. Okay, so that was for all the...

...naysayers. Right, But now I want toknow what is the essence of these automated emails that you're getting.Can you describe kind of like a typical canned email and what it makes you feel,what it says about the type of relationship? Of course, one of myfavorite ones is high. I found you on linkedin and I legally scrapedLincoln's database to find your information and I'm contacting youtoday because I think we've got a lot of possibilities to work together andthose sort of nefarious acts happen. And it's just funny that some peopleare willing to put them out there. I think they're thinking is probably youknow to go to show the person on the other side that they worked really hardto try to get your information. But they're so can it's hello, insert firstname here my name is. So and so I work for this company. I've seen referencesto T. V. Shows and I've seen references to video games and you know it's it'sjust it's just so over the top ridiculous most of the time and itstarts with them first. And the one thing that I always tell our teamswhether it's a sales team, whether it's an operations team, whether it'smarketing team is it's always customer first. We strive even when you go toany of our own properties, right? It's never product first. It's alwayscustomer first and when you get that type of email correspondence and youknow that it's can and you know that it's automated. It just, I don't wantto say it makes you feel dirty, but it's like, I know somebody on the otherend is really trying hard, right on their job is on the line and they haveto prospect. But at the end of the day I'm a human being right? Like, you know,we like to do business with friends, right? Which is why networking is sobig in our space and why we push networking at Lucas so hard. But that'sreally the relationship pieces you just don't get from from the automated email.I'd rather have something personal that comes from the heart. It's sort of likewe talked about last time, Libya, it's the handwritten note, write,handwritten notes have such a different feel than an email that a text messagesin a slack than anything else. You know,...

...a lot of times, that's how we'll startthat conversation. You know, we'll send out something personal, you know, totry to get that attention, I've had tons of different crazy off the walltactics from a icebreaking perspective that have worked so much better thanemail marketing. And I think as I think as a group of marketers were justbetter than email innovation. I want to continue to unpack email innovation,but I do want you to tell the story of what you told me. Um last time. Do youknow what I'm talking about. I do I do one of my favorite prospect, probablymy favorite prospecting story of all time. I live in Chicago. I was workingfor a telecom company in the city and I had left the office one day to go graba bite to eat. So I'm in my car and I'm driving out of the building and I seethis giant mobile billboard and on the side of it is my VP of marketing faceand we're talking you know 15 ft high, 10 ft wide. And it says, do you knowthis man, question mark, have him call this phone number. And I'm like, oh myGod, what happened like if somebody looking for him, like what is theproblem? So I stopped, I take a picture on my phone. I immediately texted tohim and it was this brilliant company that had tried to reach out to him anumber of times and it didn't work and he was possibly right on their whalelist and they were trying to break through and the beautiful part of thisis that they knew their cost for conversion. They knew how much theycould spend to acquire a new customer. They knew that this was a company thatthey were really interested in. So literally they hired a mobile billboardand they drove it around Chicago in front of our office hoping thatsomebody, from you know our building which had 3000 people and it would seethis and contact them, if it worked. I'm trying to scarf a salad down and heand I are texting back and forth and I took the picture, I sent it to him, hecalled the number and we became a customer and they were an awesome avendor, they had a great service that if they wouldn't have told a crazyupper funnel stunt like that, we never would have known about it. So I meanand that's the thing is when you know...

...what that cost for conversion is andyou know what you can spend to generate an R. N. Y. On a specific prospect,like that's why I said we're so much better than automated email and it'sjust it's one example that I've seen work really well and it it probablymade the millions of dollars in return with the amount of spending, oh my gosh,I'm so glad it worked out that way because that type of, you know thattype of story also gives me like the nervous sweat because it's that kind ofboldness and encourages is absolutely fascinating and there's you leave a loton the field when you do something like that, but it's so human as well, likethat's yeah, it's completely lifts away from this this email automation but I'mcurious email automation, like we said, you know completely ubiquitous exceptfor places like Luca, what are marketers and sellers trying to achievewith email automation, why is there a tight grip on this for sure. You know,when, when you think about, you know, when you think about prospecting, right?It becomes this numbers game, you know, we all have our conversion costs and weknow all these numbers and we know all of this data. So, you know, a lot oftimes it's, it's simply just, you know, it's like playing the market, you know,we're going to send out 1000 different emails and we know that .2% of them aregoing to respond and we know that at that point, 2% this month is going toconvert and that's are costing and I think that's a fine way to do it. Ithink unfortunately we've sort of as an industry, right? The selling cycle hasgotten shorter, right? You know, the world is in an odd place, right?Everybody's trying to be profitable if he was trying to hit their numbers,which I totally understand. I think it's just easy. I think it's the lowhanging fruit, right? A lot of times, you know, a sales team will come to,you know, a marketing team and say, hey, we need this and the marketing team canjust automated in the sales folks get to forget about it. But again, at theend of the day, it's just not personable, it's not there isn't thathuman connection there, especially in this world, right? At the time thatwe're in like that human connection is...

...the one thing we need more thananything else, right? It's what everybody strives for. You know, wewere we were at Luca we were at a conference and it was the firstconference coming out of Covid and you would have thought we were atLollapalooza. I mean people were high fiving and hugging and like that's whatwe need and that's that's marketers, what we need to convey. The emailautomation is just low hanging fruit. That's all it is. And frankly itdoesn't work. I've never responded to one. So is that what is this for 22years? Never responded. So I'm, I think that that that's Interesting that andit sounds like, and can you verify this for me that it's email automationdoesn't require a lot of effort. You set something in motion, you write itset in motion and then you might get, did you see like 2% or .2% responseback or something extremely low that for the effort it may be worth it. ButI'm interesting just kind of on this relational emotional side, what doesthat convey to you about the company as a whole when they do that kind ofimpersonal outreach. It's a great question. I mean the obvious answer isit makes me feel like a number, right? It makes me feel like they don't reallycare about my business, they don't care about, you know who I am, you know, asa company. I think the biggest issue we have really is that it's just generic.So it doesn't necessarily make me want to do business with that company. Itdoesn't really want to make me learn more about that company. There havebeen times right where you know I'll get those and if I'm already thinkingabout a product or service in the same space I might save it just to go backto it. But there's never been an instance where I'm like oh my God Ihave to contact these guys. They have my solution because I don't really knowme. They don't understand our business. Hey everybody Logan was sweet fish here.If you're a regular listener of GDP growth, you know that I'm one of the cohosts of the show but you may not know that I also head up the sales team hereis sweet fish. So for those of you in sales or sales ops I wanted to take a2nd to share something that's made us...

...insanely more efficient lately. Ourteam has been using lead I. Q. For the past few months and what used to takeus four hours gathering contact data Now takes us only one where 75 percentmore efficient were able to move faster with outbound prospecting andorganizing our campaigns is so much easier than before. I'd highly suggestyou guys check out lead I. Q. As well. You can check them out at lead I. Q dotcom That's L E a D I Q dot com. All right, let's get back to the show. Wetalked about how this mobile billboard was super effective. This bold move.But it came after email automation or cold outreach, I'm sure something likethat. And then it was a I won't call it a last ditch effort or anything likethat, but definitely a bolder move after Unfruitful outreach. So I'mcurious. We can back up a little bit to the beginning of that process. What doyou think that first outreach should be? You know, what vehicle and what shouldit constitute? What should be made up of? Sure. You know, I think that firstoutreach really needs to be thoughtful. It really needs to be personal. Like Imentioned, marketing is about the right message at the right time to the rightperson and the right channel and you know, with email inboxes so full ofspam anymore and the way that things can be categorized in existence. Forfor example, google, it's easy to miss that stuff. So, you know, what we liketo do is look at more traditional tactics. You know, the handwritten note,it's much more personable. It's much more, you know, sort of telling aroundwho the company is. It makes a bigger impact. Now, clearly in these timesthat can be hard wearing, knowing where to send that to while they're still ournumber of us working at home. But what we try to do at lucca is learn as muchas we can, you know, we'll do deep...

...dives, we'll do our research, we'll tryto figure out who they are, we'll try to figure out what problems they have.We'll look back at interviews and podcasts, they might have done likethis and do research on them before we reach out to try to understand theirbusiness a little bit more and when we do things like that and even if it doesbecome an email, it's just, it's just such a much better way to show thevalue of the time and the energy that is on the other side of the personwould have to take to respond to this. But it's really about just learning,it's really about understanding what their problems are and how you might beable to solve them. It's got to be customer first. Yeah, I love that. Sothe vehicle may very well be email but it's written by the person to thespecific person. It is referencing pain points or challenges or specific thingsyou've been involved with basically all of these overt ways to communicate. Iam trying to do business with you mike versus I am trying to meet my quota. Ithink I saw in Lincoln somewhere somebody called the commission breathwhich I thought was a horrible, horrible but really awesome way todescribe like you know when you can yeah, anyway we don't need to unpackthat. But yeah, okay, so definitely this highly personal and then email, itsounds like is still going to be very effective. Is there a way that youwould or that you guide your team where they're sending personal emails,they're sending outreach that that's really well crafted but they're stillnot getting a reply. What do you coach your team to do then? Sure. What wetalk about a lot is timing. We know that, you know, timing is probably thebiggest part of converting anything in the B. B. Space. So while it might notbe the right time today, that doesn't mean we give up, right? That doesn'tmean that, you know, we don't continue to reach out, we might reach out in adifferent way. You know, we might send that personalized note, we might sendthem a message on linkedin, we might...

...try to find them in a different space.So we understand that the timing isn't right for everybody, but we just sortof keep at it. It's everybody's time is incredibly valuable, right? Like yourday, like my day, like the people listening right? Like our day is filledwith meetings where to the point where we don't even probably get to work aheck of lot anymore, right? We're just talking and and helping our teams, butthe timing will be there if we get the message to them at the right time andit makes sense. That's good, right? That's that's the best part and if theydon't respond then then they might not need us. But we do take a look atconnecting again. We do look at connecting further on down the road. Wedon't pester them. You know, we we don't send the stereotypical like threeor four email chains. You must be really busy. You know, I I don't thinkyou saw my email from before. Here's exactly what I said and please contactme again. I was telling you, you know, I actually got that's probably thefourth email from a specific company and they offered me an amazon gift card.Like here's $500 on Amazon. Please respond to this email. It's like, Imean that I mean $500 is 500 bucks, right? But at the end of the day likethat's not a company, I want to do business, but that's going to buy me.And that becomes a mean, that becomes a big problem, right? Is that ethical? Isthat not ethical? I'm sure there are tons of things my wife can find onAmazon to spend $500 on, but that's just not the type of company I want todo business with. And I love what you said when you were telling me that yousaid $500 500 dollars, but my time is so much more valuable. And I was like,oh my gosh, I wouldn't even think of that. I'm just I would just be like,you know, for sure. You know, and that becomes the thing when we look atbusiness professionals, we look at our day, you know, it is so full ofeverything, right? And, and we're trading time, you know, with our family,with our significant others, with our loved ones, right to work and providemuch, you know, to earn money to support them and to provide for themAnd $500 at the end of the day isn't...

...worth me taking an hour out of my daywhere I could be doing something to push the business forward wheresomebody can give me a sales pitch. It's just not, it's just not worth itfor me. Like if I have the need at that time and the messaging is to the pointwhere I think they can actually help me solve a problem, then I'll reach out.But it's gotten to the point where it's just like I don't even open themanymore except what I told you about because I was just looking at it whilewe were chatting. Yeah, yeah, exactly. And I, I think that's such a, just atotally different rabbit trail to go down. But like I was that kind of isthat ethical. That's so interesting. I'm so glad you said that because nowI'll kind of have that on on alert as I start getting these types of, I'mcurious just just for the sake of like scope. how many of these emails do youthink you get in a day in a week? I probably get a dozen a day that I seethere. You know, again, I'm usually always a day behind on my email. Youknow, the ironic part is at Luca, we actually don't use email very much. Weuse email when we correspond with people outside of the company, we useother channels inside, so we've sort of trained and then trained to use emailless. So again, I mean, I'll go through there, but a lot of times we've got agreat spam filter, like if it's not somebody like I've communicated withbefore, most of the time, it probably doesn't even get to me right, Oh mygosh, well everybody listen up. So this all sounds like just really not onlythe direction the industry is moving with this, you know, direct mail andhighly personalized experiences and seems to be right on track with that,but I also love this. And I think I've heard this and almost everything yousay you've said just of this like deep respect for human dignity and deeprespect for time and you know, want understanding like on the other end ofthat automated emails, person trying to do your job, but the other end ofautomated email is you a human being with a, you know, with time and thingslike that. And so I'm curious that's so...

...compelling, but how would you convince,you know, a diehard automated emailer that either it isn't worth it or theycould do, they could do what you're suggesting at scale. Sure. So, you know,totally understand that, totally understand the game, right? There arepeople on the other side that are emailing me that are trying to do theirjob and I totally understand and respect that, you know, one of thethings, one of the things that that we've done, you know, to sort of takethis is a different direction. You know, when you talk about scale, it reallyallows us to do this differently. There's so many other uses for an emailaddress. There's so many other ways that as marketers, we can use that tocommunicate with someone, not just in the email space, right? That can beloaded into media programs that can be loaded into social media channels. Thatcan be put again into the channel that the person is using at that specifictime, that might not necessarily be email. So a lot of times we look atalternate ways to do that, right? You know, you can you can go on linked in,right, Which is just a great B two B channel that we utilize on timetogether. Information. And you can load that customer listen to lengthen andyou can provide messaging to them. You can put built ads around the hole inmale products, right? Is there? And while that's a little bit more personalbecause there's a face tied behind it, right? Like we sort of rely on the oldschool sort of upper funnel tactics and then use retargeting, you know, to tryto build that and to try to get them to take an action and serve them contentand warm them up before we start throwing meetings on their calendar orsending them personalized emails with unsubscribe at the bottom. Right? So,you know, we sort of look at it from a different perspective, but there's justso many other ways that you can do it, even if you have their email address,it's just considerably more effective. I mean, again, everybody knows theiremail statistics, right? I mean A good a good open rate in our industry is 10right click through rate is, you know, 2/10 of a 100,000 people, you justplaying the numbers game like you're...

...not going to get scaled that way. Whatabout the other 80% of people that did nothing with your email message, whatare you doing to contact them? So it can be used. And I understand thatthere's a time and a place for it. I just think in the B2B space, you know,the decisions made before you even contact us, right? You're not sellingme anything, I haven't thought of before build the relationship, explainto me how you're going to help you and how you're going to solve a problem?Because at the end of the day, that's what we're doing in leadership, right?Like my job is to solve the problems that come up for my team and help mycompany move forward if you can help me. I'm all in. Yeah. Especially because Ithink, I don't know if this is true across the board, but certainly in myexperience, people have a lot of agency with, with researching solutions,they're, you know, not sitting around waiting to have somebody come and solvetheir own problem. They're already starting to find solutions. And I thinkthat's why marketing is always this like phalanx approach of S E O and allthese different elements, Right? So they can they can find you wherever youare. But email automation, I do think kind of the language, the typicallanguages, like you don't even know you have this problem yet or something oryou've never even, you know, so I think everything you're saying just kind ofat least in my mind with fairly limited B to be experienced. Yeah. Is like itall is just lining up in this in this way that stacks up with everything, allthe other initiatives and goals within the B two B space. And I think that Ithink I think you hit the nail on the head, right? Is the way that the waythat we utilize technology, right? The vast majority of people are searchinggoogle with a question, right, how do I do this, this product versus thisproduct? Right. Who are my providers for this, Who our competitors of thiscompany? And when you think about that, we're trying to solve our own problems,right? We're already thinking about it.

All you have to do is a marketer istrying to drop that right piece of content into the right person at theright time on the right channel. And now you become part of thatconversation again, nobody's ever sent me an email and I said, wow, I don'thave that problem. I need to talk to you. Right, right. It doesn't work thatway. Our minds don't work that way. I love that you said all the market needsto do is drop in a content right time. Right. Place, easier said than donefrom what I can do. Well, it is, it is, but that's why we test and that's whywe run big campaigns and that's why we study the funnel and find out wherepeople are. Yeah, Well, I'm curious if first of all, did was there ever a timewhere Luca used email automation for this initial outreach. So, so I've been,I've been at lucca for about six months now, I don't know of any time thatwe've actually done it. We have a we have a very complicated product in thecrypto Blockchain data and software space. So, so our sales force and ourmarketing team have always been very focused on specific companies andspecific people. So instead of having this gigantic broad list of prospectsright? We know who we know who we would best work with, right? We we look atour culture, we look at their culture, we look at how our product's fit, howare companies fit together. So our prospect is is it going to be very bigat the end of the day, we try to find those people where they're at. We dolots of conferences, we do lots of speaking engagements, we do lots ofpodcasts, we do tons of content and that's been it's been a big initiativefor us, is trying to get out organically into the space, like wejust talked about, Right? So when you search for these things right? We'recoming up as thought leaders. We like to do business with our friends, right?We like to do people we have relationships with. So if I can get ourteam are we have we literally at lucca have the most smartest financial mindsin the world and I wholly believe that. And if I can get them out there asthought leaders and you can see them in that space talking about a problem thatyou have. That's a hell of a lot better...

...way to start that relationship, then Hi,my name is steve what are you using for your google page search campaigns,Right? So so build that human piece, right? Like we are people at the end ofthe day, and again, we use content marketing a heck of a lot more than weuse email, and it works a lot better and it stretches a much wider netbecause again, if we can talk about how we've already solved the problem forsomebody else and somebody in your space that you might respect or yourcompetitor, I'm going to be much more engaged to try to learn more on how youdid that. Is that a strong inbound strategy as well? Oh, for sure. Yeah.You know, I mean when we do that, that's a huge amount strategy, because,you know, we'll use our partners, you know, for example, we've got we've gotgreat partners, great backing with with State Street and S and P. And a lot oftimes they're out there doing the same things. We are, they're putting contentout there, they're building thought leadership. So, you know, we'll postsomething, you know, that that s and P might have put out there, for example,we power their new crypto in the sea. So we've got this great back and forthrelationship, we're trying to help each other and what it really comes back tois it's a huge driver. You know, they might post a piece of content on theirblogger in their social channels, it's a whole different audience that wemight not reach. So it does help greatly fill that upper funnel. So youhave to do less prospecting. And if the content is right and you're doing itthe right cadence and you're telling the write stories, then then we'll dovery, very little outbound. It's all about filling the upper funnel and bondwith that type of content and then the magic happens and the relationships arealready strong and warm and you get to come. You really do you really do? I'm like,yeah, ok. I'm thinking that I'm ready to go do that kind of thing. So, butI'm curious which as we know would not be a good idea and is far morecomplicated than, but I'm really for...

...people that work for me that do all thework. I just talked, I love it. And I love the nod to State Street becauseI'm from boston. And so the big, the big building with the beautiful scriptacross the top, I see that all the, all the time. So, so that feels so familiarto me. Sure. I love a great time, but I'm curious if there was one thing thatyou wanted listeners to get from this episode, you were just really wanted todrive it home. What would it be? I guess really what it comes down to isis it's cliche, but think outside the box, right? Think of put yourself inyour prospect of your customers position on the other side. Think aboutwhat works best for you. We get as marketers, right? We have this toolbox,right? And we use all these big words and we have all of these things thatbecome on trend. But at the end of the day, a tactic is just a tactic, right?It has to meet your strategy. There are no bad tactics, but there are terriblestrategies out there. And if you focus on what matters, if you focus on thepeople's side, if you if you think about it from a human being perspective,there's another person on the other end, right? You're asking for their time andif you can tell them and prove to them that you can solve their problem.Marketing, email, marketing and automation could be a great tactic foryou. But for the most part, you know, it seems to be a little bit played outlike traditional email marketing, right? Spam folders, those types of things. Sothink differently, understand your metrics, understand your numbers, knowwhat you're trying to know what you're trying to achieve and try to be bold ifthere's really a prospect out there, If there's a whale out there that you'retrying to connect with. Try something different, you never know. I mean, youcould put somebody's face on a billboard in mobile billboard and driveher on Chicago and, you know, close a $2 million piece of business all in anafternoon. But you know, you never know until you try and that's what marketingis, it's testing right? We don't have all the answers we have the technologyto allow us to figure that out, but we're all just learning every day andjust keep testing and trying and...

...thinking bigger. Yeah, and I love thatare really one of the really practical ways that you shared about thinkingoutside of the box was what else can you do with an email address? And Ithink that's just like a really easy way for people to implement, go back totheir desks wherever they might be and start brainstorming about other waysthat they can get that email address to work for them and have really greatrelationships. It's a great way to scale your email numbers. Let me tellyou, I love that. Okay, mike how can listeners connect with you and learnmore about Luca if they're just want to know more totally. So first of all, ifyou have anything to do with crypto, if you're a crypto buyer trader sellerLFTs, if your company does crypto or finance, you have to know about Luca soyou can find us at lucca dot tech. We've got a lot of great products andservices like I said, we power sort of all of the crypto data across the globe,so really, really fun space to be in lucca is also on linkedin and twitterand I am on Lincoln as well. So I would love to talk shop every once in a whileI post some interesting tidbits so please feel free to follow me and Iappreciate the conversation with anybody that wants to chat marketing.Well, I have so appreciated this conversation. This has been so greatand I'm so glad that you join me today on BtV growth Olivia. Thank you so muchfor having me. I appreciate your time. Is the decision maker for your productor service of BB marketer. Are you looking to reach those buyers throughthe medium of podcasting? Considered becoming a co host of GDP growth. Thisshow is consistently ranked as a top 100 podcast in the marketing categoryof apple podcasts And the show gets more than 130,000 downloads each month.We've already done the work of building the audience so you can focus ondelivering incredible content to our listeners if you're interested emailLogan at sweet fish media dot com.

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