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

Episode 1735 · 7 months ago

Prospect Experience as Competitive Advantage with Doug Bell


In this episode Benji talks to Doug Bell , CMO at LeanData.  

Discussed in this episode: 

  • Why MQL/SQL shouldn't be the Holy Grail
  • Improving prospect experience
  • Content that converts

Conversations from the front lines of marketing. This is be tob growth. Welcome back to be to be growth. Today I'm excited to be joined by Doug Bell. He's the CMO over at lean data and Doug, were so grateful to have you here with us. That's going to be your venging. So you've spent about the last eleven months or so at Cmo over there at lean data. Tell me a little bit about what's the important work you guys are focused on currently dug you know, it's a privilege to be in a place where you're at a company that's helping with some major transition, right, and that'll doesn't always happen. And, by the way, it's good to be a companies that are not helping with transitions. Life as lotties here, and this is the second time around for lean dead it being on the edge of a major transition. The first was this hyper scale that happened at the beginning of the pandemic, which was this mass move online for most commerce. Right, Yep, the vast majority of I think we would understand, though, kind of laggerate stuff all that line, and for bb marketers that meant that you know, you had an explosion of information in the market starting to come in right. So the first was this hyperscale moment where everything went online, and the second piece now is we're at the tail end of this place where sales and marketing pros are out there and they have all this information, they have no idea what to do with it. And so right now the exciting thing I'm working on is helping the market rationalize how to ingest this data. Yeah, make that data impactful so that they can sell more stuff. Yep, data is the conversation everywhere, but if you can't distill the data into actual actionable content we can use and then inform our business, like what are we doing right? And numbers can't do to floating around. So I love that. I know there is also this kind of constant question for us as be to be marketers, the audience of this show just trying to answer. Like, man, how do we stand out? Right, a lot of us go into the data to figure that out. Like how do I stand out from our competitors were in crowded market spaces? How do we win? And that's a question that really resonates with you. It's something that you've been doing a lot of thinking around. How have you felt that tension as a CMO, going like yeah, I mean that's something that we're all trying to figure out. Right. How do we stand out from our competitors and how has this become like a core passion of yours? Yeah, you don't have to say we we collect these anecdotes over time, as professional as these moments, right, and we used to share them before the before there was this explosion of channels. It's called that social media. Let's call that this podcast, right. How would we share that? We would we're going to write a blog post or email the market, like I had this great experience. But we always have these things, and so what I'm when finding now, Benjie, is that these anecdotes that we have is revenue leaders are starting to bubble up to the point that we're thinking, Gosh, we do something with these anecdotes. Let me let me give an example of that, and I just spent some time with the Cerro over it in flu two. We were just talking about this and we talked about going is an example, and they just keep coming up again and again and again. And why? Well, you're asking about differentiation.'re Talking about this explosion of byre signals. And what is an organization like gone done so well. So this is one of those anecdotes that we get to share now and I'll get to the point, Benjie, where I lead you into where I think this will take the market. But the anecdote I have is when I was on their website, this is Gush, a year and a half ago, and was looking into conversational intelligence software and I felt this really tiny lead wretch for HMM, and within thirty seconds I got a call on my phone and, by the way, my phone number was not a part of that. It was from God right. And what was that? Well, my Gosh, that was one of the better prospect experiences I think you can have. I had high intent I was a position of title and very likely ahead of a buying group, which I was. Yeah, and that experience was wonderful. By the way,...

I got the call and there like, what do you need from us to understand whether or not you should get this kind of software in general. They were even pitching me on God right. So how do we different shape? Well, that's a good example of an antidote of an organization. It is said, I'm going to make sure that that project experience is so good that a guy like doug is going to get on a call like been with somebody like Benji and say, Hey, I had a wonderful experience. So for me right now, different Shad on really cross some credit market places that that's man surety of us are creating poor prospect experiences. If you want to stand out, make an effort towards really great customer experience, prospect experiences. That's the first thing I would say, and that's what lean data is directed towards right now. That's our entire mission, is to make sure that your prospects are having a good time. Yeah, it's interesting because so often, as in the marketing space specifically, I'll just say, we've become obsessed with like leads. That's our gold, that's our metric we're based on. So it's, you know, it's all that's it becomes all that's talked about if that's the main goal you're trying to drive. And then you're kind of turning that a bit and going o get down on a wait prospect experience, because if all that matters as leads, you're not really getting the full picture. You're not really like we don't really know where that person's actually at. So what what have we missed? Because so much of the BETOB conversations I end up in is one that's lead obsessed instead of prospect exier, experience obsessed. Yeah, and I feel like I can do this, Benjie, this meaning really hold my industry to task, and that's an industry I've watched grow up. I remember in ninety nine when sales force really started picking up steam and people like, no one's going to buy software that's that's based in this. I gave a server that I can't control. That was the voice of the market back then, by the way, if you're wonderment that was. That's the past market voice, right, sounds right on. Yeah, exactly. So really that was this this beginning of saying that we could in fact begin to think about our buyers a little bit differently back then, right, which was that we made this transition from I'm selling a lot of software for one big purchase price to a group of people, and quite often those connection points came together fairly easily, believed or not. Right. So there weren't a lot of players. It was very expensive to get a software company going your space might have had three or four companies and guess what? Those buyers would go and say, okay, here the three companies, I'm going to interact with all three companies. So there's Society of a lead, but the lead was much more like a fell it was like it would come in and be like Oh, that was from some ivy up. Okay, let's get on the phone. Boom you would go. Well, what sorted happening over time is your ability to capture leads and offer up content that generated leads just exploded right, and so we as market or started getting very, very focused, and that's d of the idea of the lead being the end all be all, because if you brought enough of the man, eventually you would find that thing we found in the S, which was the deal that just sort of walked up, because there's only three players. So I feel like a part of it is just that we could get leads. We started creating content that generated more leads and they end the day within there was always those deals and correlation causation challenges. We would be like we got tenzero leads to produce six deals. You probably could have produced twenty leads and produce six deals. So it's sort of the self perpetuating cycle because, guess what, it's a such an easy thing. Think about, Benjie. It's such an easy thing. I've stuff at the top of the funnel and all waterfalls down at the bottom are the US, and I think we just lost our way. HMM. And it's interesting because the evolutions happening also so quickly that sometimes you don't stop to just like examine where are we in this process and like have we maybe created something as the holy girl that just like shouldn't be ultimately, but we got stuck doing what seemed like it made sense at the time. I like this as an evolution. Going to why prospect experience? Now people are feeling that, they're sensing that, but I wonder, like for Doug, what does...

...prospect experience all include? If you were giving US phone call, great example, the Gong example. That's that's one aspect of prospect experience, but what all does it include in your mind from the CMOC? Yeah, I think that's a really astute question, Ben Jay, and I would say I'd start with something that's more fell but deep prospect empathy being so in other words, and cause you hear this from bire persona stand like you see, there's all sorts of ways to rationalize this. No, your ice understand the buying groups within the ICEPN understand buying fire persons, Cups. That's all important, very important stuff. But I think the first place I'd start with is we're all be to be SASS buyers. Are Stacks are populated by fellow be to be set solutions. Right. Right, so we've all been buyers at some point. And what was it? What are the things that you really detested through that process? Right, so, as an example, how many of us have done this? You go to the lead reach for and you fill it out. You're like, Oh God, and you put your personally miltress in there as if it's kind of solve any problems, and then you brace for that SDR call and you brace for that avalanche right of information coming through. You like the software, you like the company, but you're still even nervous to put your information and because you like I just don't know if I want this interaction. Yeah, that that's that. You know, you ask me a question, but do I'm giving you that sort of negative experience or sure, it's that and I'm saying. Start with that in mind at a beginning. That's first thing. The second thing to recognize is this. People are looking for information to help them make a good decision and a few if that's what you're focused on, if you can focus on helping them make a good decision. By the way, sometimes making good decision is not buying your brand right. So I went back to goog would god say to me and again, guys, Gong is not the best company the world. If you look out online right now, they're getting like they're getting hammered because, guess what, their response rates are down and they're not putting reprospect e experience. It's a whole other show Venie. It's called scale, which is really hard write, you know, super hard. That's what they're experiencing right right, if you think about it, what do they say to me? They said, how can we help you make a good decision, and they meant it. Now that's sort of easy as a brand domino, which is where they were at that point. I would argue they still are. But that's the thing I'm actually referring to. Is, and they, by the way, they were like here all these resources and those resources weren't always gone resources. They actually sent me some competitor stuff and I'm like, woof, that's great. So, backing into the question a bit more, how do we create these situations where we're much more likely to create a great experience? Starts with empathy. Then it starts with putting yourself in that shopper shoes and actually going and find the informations going to help them fast. Now there's a red text st act that's got to sit behind that. There's methodology, it's got to sit behind it, but that's the first two things. I'd start with empathy for the prospect walk around their shoes and then saying how do I create a wrap around experience for that? I love both of those. I think empathy is something that, as you come into an organization, is probably caught even a bit more than it could just be, you know, taught in your onboarding or something where you're going, this is the type of people we are, but they're going to sense it in the way that you equip them and what you provide, even in that information side of things, right, like how do we distill information for those that are coming in as prospects and what do we place our emphasis on. What is that look like in your mind to have that information available? Is that just something you're equipping your marketers, your sales team with? Like what? What kind of information do you think you guys place like high priority on in that that portion of this. I'm going to start with Lee data itself and what we were to pretend to prioritize for ourselves, and then I'll talk about what we're seeing the market prioritize. So what we're prayor to what we are prioritizing ourselves is, like a lot of organizations, Benjie are red text that got big right, especially like and they.

We talked about that pandemic surge and we knew as rev ops organizations, that if there was a sales or marketing challenge, there was an application we can we could apply to that challenge. And what we're doing internally right now is we're saying, how do we optimize that stack? Now, the optimization piece, and I'm was just on my pulpit ten seconds ago talking about how we're pretty bad process that experiences. But as we're looking at the REP text act, that's what we're looking at right and actually, just before I popped on with you is fielding an email from our head of the ser organization looking at our thank you email that goes out with somebody completes a demo page and he was like there's not nearly enough good information on this like that. There's not nearly and I was like, boom, got it. Great, so this is a good example of micromment, right, but it was it for him. He was saying, how do I create a better experience for that prospects so they can make a better decision? So what we're looking at US how do we not consolidate the web text because I tell you, there's still so many holes right, but it's how do we get that to better interoperate? We're calling that orchestration. So how do we take all these buyer signals that are coming through and how are we connecting them together so that we can fire off great plays, like an email from an str that says hey, by the way, based on intent data, that's something the email says, but based on intent data and prior experience, we know that you're really on it. At the beginning of the BIERS Journey, here's some stuff to help you with that. And by then we were not going to call you right, you're not going to bug yeah, so that's we're focused on. Where I see the market is a little bit different. We have the great glory at the date of having to be in the middle of the Red Tex STAC and having to be cutting edge. Ben Jay, we sort of have to be. We have to drink our own champagne. But as I see the larger market, I'm seeing a lot of organizations super stuck in lead base systems and not doing well with those leapage systems. Am I do I have permission to quote some studies that I've recently? Yeah, of course, that's why you're here. Huh. Okay, so the first is the first studio quote is actually study we partnered with any issued in April of this year. It's the state of BB lead management. Import had some amazing partners and sales hacker outreach, Matt Hinds Marketing and sales force and good seventeen hundred revenue leaders across North America to respond to the survey. So it's the state of lead management and we just talked about how did addicted to it. I think, Benj we said twenty years right. So that that's contact. Like we started being able to really focus on leads twenty years ago and we're out now addicted to it. So this is this is fascinating stuff to me. It is evidence of what we call a regun orchestration breakdown. Right. So we did this study and seventeen hundred people spot and we said we have question for like, are you happy with you lead management system? And eight nine percent of people said yeah, it's great, doing fantastic. We said great, how do you think you're doing from a lead response time? And Eighty nine percent of those books that we're doing great, fantastic. Are you better than we? After you think you're better than the average bear out there, like fifty percent of time. Absolutely, probably beating our competition. And we said how often are you routed leads the right person? He said thirty three percent of the Times. Me, it's a lot of other events for an act wit. So I'm happy with my system. My system is faster than everybody else's system are. Half the time I'm faster and then fifty seven percent of the time I send the lead to the lead of the wrong person. HMM, right. So to saying what if that like? So what if that like for the prospect and quite often when ends up happening as we go, lead to the wrong person. Right now, I guess what wrong people, and so we'll see this a lot. And this happens that our customers, again amazing folks out there looking to make a difference in terms of those experiences. But even at our own customer base, until they get our software, this is not at this is not an advertiser related a lots of their software helps to do the stuff, folks, but you get four or five me at the emails because you filled the form right. So that's a good example for me, Benjie, and that we were addicted to something, that we're not handling that asset well and the end result is really horrible prospect or customer experience. Yeah, and if the prospect it like just because you're in their inbox doesn't...

...mean on when you are the person creating those emails, you feel fantastic, like Oh, look at we're giving this content to them, they're in this sequence. We get obsessed with the behind the scene side of things and again, like it's just a human condition, is you lose sight of, like what that's like to be the prospect, no matter how many times you do this, you have to have like questions you call yourself back to to actually put yourself in their shoes, and I've I'm so guilty of this. Right. You create the thing and you don't think about what it's like to be on the other side of the thing, and so flipping that is is wonderful. Okay, let's I love that you were just talking with an str thinking through this email. That's a good example of like a just tactical thing we could be doing, re examining how can we make this experience better. Can you give me some other good examples, things that we can be looking at to make a better prospect experience? Yeah, I can, and that's maybe let's stay with this idea of the inbound buyers journey as as a ruler what we can't bend it. Yeah, because I think it's the easiest thing to understand. And some other stats are going to throw out there. So just as a a Miter to US sales and marketing leaders, we only see seventy seventeen percent of the buyers turning another words, only seventeen percent of the bires journey's visible to us. Right. This is Gartner study and I think at one point was thirty percent. Now we're down to seventeen percent right, so we have this very kind of limited view into their experience overall. So good examples of thinking about that buyers journey and how the prospect experiences it is this. Let's start with that information stage, or that research stage if you will, and in everybody's head right now you should have a funnel. Okay, the top of that funnel is that beginning of the buyers journey. Do you think that your organization has all the useful information necessary for that prospect to make a decision on whether or not they should move the next stage? And there were whether or not that their problem and your solution set set should match up. And know it's rhetorical, but I got to ask that, I got to answer the question. The answers absolutely not. Right. So, as marketers, if you're thinking about a really great prospect experience, and again this is the demain of marketers, right, we'll talk about sales the bottom of the phone, but at the top of the funnel, what are all the things that they've got to go and interact with? And in BB software right now it's a lot. But there are also some really great services out there. So think about trust radius and GTWO crowd. Yeah, right. So if if you go and Google a product name, you're likely to get at the top of the surf. So as you as you google something, you're to get search engine results. Right. So what are you going to see at the top of the serfs? You can see advertisements from competitors, right, if you're like you know contract management software, you can see all the advertisers and the first link you're likely going to see after that is from GTWO crowd or trust radius and get it depends in industry, might be another service, but those are usually the two that bubble up. They're going to click on that and what are they going to find? So tip number one is think about how they're what resources they're gathering not on your website and what gaps you can fill on your website. Yeah Right. So what's that? What's my balance point to the things that aren't out there? So that's that's one example. Right, review sites are really, really helpful, but if you're selling at a large enough price point, you've also got the analyst community out there. It's going to get them resources. So how are they seeing this world as reflected to the analyst. And guess what? If the analyst put you in a category and you don't want to be in that category, it may not matter. Right, doesn't happen. Point. Probably it doesn't make your stock right. So it'll try and Slove scream from the analysis, an example. But those are areas where you can stop, take a pot, take to take a beat and go. My job on my website is to fill those gaps and if you can take that perspective, and by the way, gaps aren't for the best software in the world. But no, what is it they're missing from those other sites at the top of that stage, right, and I'm I'm actually cut shortcutting and saying people generally said there's a problem, solution, match up. They're on g two, crowd or trust...

...radius. Right, I'm sort of skipping down on that stage, but that's a really good example I can give you. Think about your overall content strategy in the context of what information they're missing. And guess what, guys are going to have a much better they're gonna have a much better experience and they're going to think of your branded a more positive way. Yeah, and having some sort of way where your resourced really well to know what's on your site and how you equip sales leaders marketing leaders with that information. Hey, we've already done this, don't try to do the work again. That's something I notice is like we have so much information in our organization. So we're like maybe at some point I've covered this right, like we have to have a content piece on this somewhere. We've have to have created something that would answer this question. If you can index that really well, you win, because then you can, you know, you can shoot that over in a very personal way and I've, I mean I've had that happened a couple times where it's just a link to something they've already created on my those very extremely helpful. So I like that. As you're moving down you we started with like top of fune marketing, but go maybe closer as they come into sales, because you had alluded to that. Yeah, so one thing I want, it just such a great call up Benji by the way, is that there's an explosion of content our own websites, around blogs, because we're doing the SEO thing right. We're looking for that reach right. We were also thinking the cuss there's going to be content to address every moment in the biers journey, and I applaud organizations that think that way. But quite often when ends up happening is they confuse Seo con content, nother words top of funnel stuff. It's going to get people through with content that's going to help people make a disclude decisions for the yeah, right, so don't confuse the tool. They're very different and you're the term you're going to hear is ever being content. If you're ever being content, produced Seo resalts for you, that's great, but please God, don't make it try and be an SEO instrument. Recognize what it's doing. Okay. So as we get further into the funnel, good things that I'd recommend. This is this is where that partnership with strs and sale starts really kicking in. Is when you're getting engage with a prospect and other words they have raised their hand and they've said interested in your product or service, take that as an opportunity to create expertise and understanding, not pitch your product. So if, and I want everybody who's listening in, Beni know a lot to st our leaders are listening in. I have a challenge for you. I want you to listen and use your Gong or whatever, your conversational intelligence software. I want to I want to understand if, in your first discovery call, how many times your brand is mentioned and how many questions they ask, and if your brand and the number of questions are at a wonder one ratio, you have a problem. Hmm, what's happening? I'm not asking enough questions and I'm pushing my brand. You should. You should literally be looking for and guys again going might give me a different number, so apologize to this, but you should be in that eight to nine to one ratio, meaning for every time you mention your brand, should be asking at least eight questions before you mentioned your brand and start their please. That's such a great heuristic for the likely success of that conversion, because the more you mention your brand put your creating a brand in pressure that the person goes away and goes I didn't a single question answered. Right, so you wanted to to walk away exhausted. You want them to go, Oh my God, I don't think they talked at all, and that's just human nature. Yep, right, that's just human nature. So another great thing that I just would point to as well on the way there, Benji is, because that's that's sort of a the crux, right, but it's when folks actually say they want a demo. What are you doing to ensure that you understand that their context? Yeah, we have these amazing tools. So there's so much intented out there, but just go pop in Linkedin, go check out Linkedin, and good example is if you have a software that's coming software byer that's coming through and has certification a competing product, as an example, that should inform you. Right, if you get a buyer coming through that's in Rev ops, guess what they bought? Loss of software, that should inform you. So there are all sorts of ways to look at this, like their profiles. But the other thing you could do is you...

...can start establishing who that likely buyer group is. Right. So that's the moment we can start to research. Why is that important? My Gosh, because if you can understand their context a little better before they show up on that call, your conversion rates got to go up. It's interesting on the expertise and understanding conversation, because I think it's easy to just want to prove expertise right, like that's the depp the typical demo where you're just information heavy. Look at all that we can do, we are the experts in our field, and it be. It's a little counterintuitive, but you see the best in class. They know that balance of saying hey, we are experts and the way that we show that we're experts, as by asking highly intelligent questions at the right time that help you diagnosed it yourself and actually coaching. This is something I think of off my dad actually got his doctorate den and did his doctor in Coaching and leadership coaching specifically, and that was a huge part of it. He's like, if you ask the right question, you're actually helping them discover the solution on their own. They're going to just approach it in a completely different way than feeling like they're drowning and information, and so having that switch and letting that flip and not being so nervous about well, have we covered everything our product can do for them? But they stumble into Oh, you can also solve this problem. Yeah, this like the best situation you could be in. And talk about providing great prospect experience, it does is often start with that, because that's also, the more questions you ask, the more they feel the empathy as well, which is what you were talking about earlier. So how these things all start to correlate. You guys can feel that kind of the momentum that could happen in these conversations, right. Yeah, that's exactly right. That's exactly right. I love this. I think it's practical in that there's so many systems we already have in place right that we can just be reevaluating as we go. We can equip our teams to do that as well. Hey, put yourself in the prospects shows. You could do this in a quick marketing meeting, right, like, just look at your systems this week. What would you feel like if you're the prospect and we can start analyze and stuff? Do that in one on ones as well. About anything else you would want to leave us with here, Doug, as we start to wrap up as far as those practical house and I always say the mindset. If I'm sure people are sick of hearing me say that, I'm be to be growth, but I will never stop saying it. What's the shift for us as we leave this this episode? Yeah, so, look, it's going to be easy for us to go back and to stare at our same sell sports dashboards after this conversation. It's going to be super easy, right, because that is our context and everything we just talked about, Benji, is hard, really hard, right. So here's what I would say. Think about how you can put yourself in a position where you can beat the competition, and right now very few organizations are thinking about the prospect experience as the way to different Shit. We are literally, Benjie, we talked about eighty nine percent of people being satisfied with their lead routing system. Get fifty seven percent of people are sending to the wrong person. HMM. If you can focus on prospect experience, conversion rates are going to go up and you're going to win the market. So it's worth the pain and I think you're dead on, Benjie. You can get folks into a room, and this is what I call the friction momentum conversation, and evaluate each step. You have Google and all the ex data. Check it out. Here it is, and you can evaluate each step of the buyers journey through the prism of the website, if you will. You can see your stick points really quickly, right and so what are they sticking on? What page is that? By the way, you can take a look at your prospect emails right, lay that journey out and give it scores. HMM, ABCD. Right, give it scores and if your average score is less than a see time to make the change and go find the D's and the east and the s. So they have ease anymore. Go find the US in the US and never had ease when I was at school, but maybe eight hundred years old. So we had ease out of here a solid ease student. They're dog. I love it, absolutely love...

...it. Awesome. Well, thank you for taking time and being here with us on bdb growth today. For those that want to stay in touch with you, and also anything you guys are doing over at lean data, can you tell us what the best way to do that is? You get a hold of me. My handle is market advocate. You can check out lean data to lean Datacom or you can listen to the revenue generator podcast, that Rev Gen podcom Bengie's like traveling me on. For sure, privilege and honor and great episode here and I want to say to everyone listening thank you for checking out this episode. If you haven't followed the show yet on your favorite podcast platform, be sure to do that so you never miss these wonderful conversations we're having. We want to help you continue to innovate, continue to grow, and so that's it, man. That's what fuels me, that's what feels these conversations. Head over to linkedin connect with me over there. Would love to chat with you about marketing, business life and keep doing work that matters. Will be back real soon with another episode. Be Tob growth is brought to you by the team at sweet fish media. Here at sweet fish, we produce podcasts for some of the most innovative brands in the world, and we help them turn those podcasts into Microvideos, linkedin content, blog posts and more. We're on a mission to produce every leader's favorite show. Want more information, visit Sweet Fish Mediacom.

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