Take A Fresh Look At What's Possible

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

 In this episode, Olivia Hurley talks to Kevin Tate, CMO at Clearbit.

Yeah. Hi everyone welcome back to be, to be growth. My name is Olivia Hurley and today I am joined by kevin Tate, who is the CMO at clear bit. Hi kevin, how you doing? Good, How are you? Thanks for having me. I'm doing well. I'm so excited to chat with you today. You are going to give me a crash course on supercharging. You're Martek stack, there's a lot there that we need to unpack. I've got a lot of questions and I'm super excited to break all that down. But before we dive into it, there are a few things that I would expect influence the Martek stack and the utility of the said stack that I would love to get your thoughts on, does that sound good? Yeah, that sounds great. Let's do it. Okay. So as you've said in the last time we talked, the BdB landscape is changing. So the way that you described it to me is, you know, in the BBC world, um, people have certain expectations when it comes to buying highly personalized, a lot of agency ability to do a lot of the research on your own. And they're bringing that those that set of expectations into the B two B space. And I'm curious how does that and how is that changing the buying process all together? Yeah, sure. It's a, it's a big and very, very timely topic and and I think the consumer comparison is an apt one because we all know what it feels like to be a consumer today, right? If I'm going to look for a new pair of headphones, which I have, I have a headphones thing. So I'm always like looking at new headphones, but I would expect to be able to go and research that product and find that product available from lots of places potentially and make that transaction without having to like fill out a form and and ask someone to talk to me more about the headphones if they have time. Right? I mean it sounds silly, but there are things that we take for granted in the immediacy and the way that the buying process comes to us as a consumer that have been really different in the B two B world. And that's not to say that that be to be buying is as simple as it can be on the consumer side. But a lot of what is taking place in this current shift toward more digital B to be buying looks a lot like consumer behavior. Right? So as a as a company that is trying to make products available or explain the value of a solution and how it works, a lot more of that is now taking place on the website or in a chat window or in real time and less uh sort of offline and let me make an appointment with your salesperson until I'm really, really serious about it. Right? So it changes the shape of that, of that buying. That's something that was already happening of course, as a shift. But the last year and a half of everyone being remote and and much less opportunity to work together in person...

...has has really accelerated it. That's so interesting when we think of of those steps in the sales process and in the research phase and B two B if if we were expected to do things like that with the headphones example, there's a couple of things that I thought of, one like I don't want to sales pitch to, I just don't want to give my time like that. And three, it's just extra steps and obviously those things were put in place in the B two B space for a reason and they they're they're evolving and that's a good thing. But it's just kind of funny to think like of course we don't turn off our Btc expectations when we're in the it's not like we have a work for zona and then a a personal persona to that extent. So has that knowledge impacted how you create content and how you market to your buyers or for your buyers. Yeah, Yeah. To a huge extent. So for clear but there's sort of two pieces right? There's, you know, and for context, what clear bit provides is a is an intelligence platform that gives data to the company's marketing stack and lets it go to work and all these different customer touchpoints. So when I talk about what we're doing, I can talk about what our customers are doing with clear bit and I can also talk about what we're doing ourselves using clear bit. So in both cases, a lot of it comes down to how do you use intelligence? Who is this customer? What are they looking for? What signals are they giving me? How do you use all that to increase the speed and remove the friction from that interaction? Right. And and speed ends up being super important. Right? So, when somebody is coming to figure out, all right, I've got a problem to solve. Who are the companies who can solve that problem for me? And what's their approach and which one is right for me? I mean, think about the mindset you're in when you're doing it just going site through site. Right? Trying to give you 90 seconds tops what's going on here? And is this the right one and then on to the next one. And so for a company that's trying to understand when a good fit customer is engaged in that kind of research and looking and and find that opportunity to to talk with them or to give them what they want, figuring out how to do that in seconds or even sub seconds is a part of the game now. Right. So take the filling out of a form. If someone gets to the point where they go to your point, is that willing to give their time to say, Okay, I'm actually going to put time on my schedule to talk with someone you want to make sure that that set a meeting form as as efficient and smart as possible, right? You don't want to hit him with, oh 1st 17 questions. Who are you again? And what's this about again? And what do you, you know? And especially if you're like, oh God, I read your e book and I watched your webinar and you don't even know who I am. Like, we're starting from scratch. Like that's a really tough feeling as a as a prospect. So you want to use everything that you can to try to make...

...it easy for them to to quickly engage. And then once, once you are engaged with a customer, just try to remove any obstacles, right? Help them friction in the funnel becomes a real, a real challenge if it's hard for them to get the information they're looking for. If it's hard for them to navigate your product, it's hard for them to get a sense of what your product does. So a lot of it is just making it easy for the buyer. So I'm curious with knowing that there's a lot of people in this research phase, especially in the way that we we assess potential purchases in the B2B space. You've got probably a lot of traffic from people who are just researching and don't have an intent to buy at this point. You are doing something really cool that I would love for you to unpack the mels. Yeah, the marketing engaged leads. Yeah, this is a this is our our acronym for for people who are in that stage, right? They've expressed interest. Maybe they read one of our e books. Maybe they are using one of our free tools like the weekly visitor report. Maybe they've attended one of our webinars. That doesn't necessarily mean that they're ready to spend time with us or or go deep on the product. It also doesn't necessarily mean that we are a company that clear, but would be right for right? Where, you know, they may not be at that stage or may they may not may not be ready to take that step. So we want to understand as much as we can about what they're doing and what signals are giving us so that we can help them find that path. But also keep them on the radar, right? You might have, I don't know, a few 1000 companies in your active pipeline, but you might have tens or hundreds of thousands there in this sort of engaged uh stage. Right. And you're sort of, you know, still becoming friends. So how do you, how do you treat them as friends and invite them to learn more when it's time, but also when they do raise their hand and say, you know, I'd love to get a demo that you're right there. Right? So you're you're both, you're both kind of hanging back and letting them find their own path but instantly ready if they say, you know I do, I would like to make time for this, this is a priority. And that's what that's tricky to do when you're talking about hundreds of thousands of people, even millions. Has that clarified having that category just for those marketing engaged leads? Has that clarified the rest of the plethora of acronyms we have in the marketing re uh everybody I think has some some version and probably some acronym of how do you look at at the top of the funnel or the high part of the funnel? And I think it just depends on, it depends on how your architect in your motion. One of the really fun things about working at clear bit is you know, we end up being a part of our customers marketing stack and that's a part of how they are...

...thinking about architect ng that funnel. Right. And so understanding from, from our customers, what's your version of a marketing engaged lead? And how do you put your BDR outbound motion next to it? And are you more like a a P. L. G. Company that's using product led growth to try to, to expand the footprint or do you have something more like a an account based motion like an A. B. M motion where you're trying to reach out and do more of an enterprise approach. Like we really want to understand all that and the and the approach they take in the way they use data to improve acquisition and conversion and so on will come down to things like how do you think about the top of the funnel and you probably don't call them mills? So what do you call them? And and how are you trying to speed them along on their journey? Oh, that's fascinating to me and I knew this because you told me, but it's so obvious that how you think about the buying process influences the Martek stack and influences how you grease the funnel and how you are going to interact with the data that you have. Um so if what we've just kind of laid out above is the guiding principle, I'm curious how how does the way that you look at the marketing funnel influence your Martek stack? Well, a lot of it I think comes down to focus. So one of the, we're fortunate to work with a lot of companies that are growing very, very quickly and and they tend to either go into like a product led growth kind of motion or something more like an account based motion. But either way they've got hundreds of thousands of people engaged, you know every week or every day with their product and the challenge for a lot of these companies just to figure out, how do I understand what's going on in that engagement and who to focus on right? Because they are on they might have 100,000 people coming to their to their website asking about the product. They don't have 100,000 sales reps. So they can't, they can't go 1 to 1. So how do you figure out who's, who's ready for what, what type of interaction And it's typically a combination of all the data and context and intelligence that you can have about what type of company that is, what they appear to want, what signals they've given you and then also what you know, tends to work. Right? So you can say, all right, well this is a pattern recognition around people who are at this stage from this type of company. This type of case study might be really useful for them to see how someone like them took the sort of next best step and figuring out what that next best step is and how to serve it up for people in all kinds of different segments and stages and buyer personas. That becomes a kind of problem that, you know, data plus intelligence is really good at solving at scale. So a lot of figure out how to architect that stack comes down to how do you put...

...intelligence and action together so that you can do that, Put that next best step for each buyer into into effect across hundreds or thousands or millions of them. This is fascinating. So here comes the crash course, I want to know, how do you do that? How do you supercharge your Martek stack? And I'm sure you, you've gotten dad did a little bit so far. Yeah, yeah. So you know, there's a lot of pieces to this and so we want things that is a little different about clear bit versus I guess other other types of solutions maybe is, um, we're often an end to somebody's Martek stack. Right? So we're not coming in and saying, um, hey, you've got these seven things, you need to blow them all away and use our one thing we're saying you've got these seven things and they could all be better if they had more better data. So here's here recipes, we talked of them as recipes. Here's some recipes you might use to make your forms convert higher or make your ad campaigns better and more efficient at bringing people into your funnel. And so those recipes are really dependent on what people have in their stack and what goals are trying to achieve. But broadly we try to break it into three different areas of supercharging if you will, there's things related to acquisition. So how do we bring more great people into the funnel, There's things related to conversion, you know, once somebody is engaged, how do we help more people sort of raise their hand and engage one on one with your sales process and then there's a whole host of things related to operations and and broadly the complexity of these stacks makes it that more and a rich, real time consistent data you can have across all your marketing systems or revenue systems has a huge impact. So those are kind of the three areas that we dive into and ask customers. Okay, where do you want to, where do you want to apply data? Okay. So acquisition top of the funnel conversion, bottom of the funnel and then operations, can you, can you break that down even further with maybe an example of how those three players? Yeah, sure. Like what does that, what does that really mean? Acquisition is often the role of the role of intelligence in an improving acquisition is often about targeting and tailoring. So on the targeting side, whether you're trying to bring new people into your funnel through advertising or through email campaigns or through outreach on social channels, the more you can refine who you're trying to get the attention of based on rich ideal customer profiles, you know, like this is exactly the type of person at the type of company and the type of...

...industry that I'm trying to start a conversation with that almost always improves your, your campaign success or lowers your cost per lead. So it's the, it's the targeting side to really get precise and again, a lot of the things that were kind of paved through the B two C. Advertising and the way it can target are now available from a B two B side. So really understanding rich company profiles and then on the tailoring side it really comes down to personalization and so how do you, how do you show something based on what you know, how do you show something to a prospect that they're more likely to connect with? And so really, really basic example would be um, a lot of our customers sell to both big companies and small companies, right? And, and they would like to show the logos or the case studies to a given company based on whether they're a big company or small company. Right? If you're a 50 person company and coming to check out a solution and all the logos are of, you know, Fortune 100 companies you go out maybe, but like, I don't know, that's not, that's not really me, whereas if you see, oh look, there's 10 logos in a case study of other companies who are about my size and are in my industry and that I've heard of and even know people at, wow, okay, wow, this feels like my place. Right? So even something simple like that, what industry and what size company can be super powerful and figuring out what do I present on my website and how do I make it look like it's the, you know, it's the most relevant to you and what you're trying to do. So targeting and tailoring are are a big part of acquisition. Does that make sense? Yes. And I want to get into conversion but before we do that I have a question that I'm sure most people know the answers to. But your persona ends up on the website and this person is from a smaller company. How is it possible that that you're able to switch out the information on the website that they're being shown based on based on who they are? So in broad strokes there's sort of two parts, there's the data and then there's the application of the data to the experience. So on the data side part of what clear bit brings the table is we are we are aggregating publicly available information about basically every company with a website. So 44-plus million companies. And so and we can also tell a lot about who somebody is based on their IP address and how that links to those companies. Right? So not every time. But odds are very good that when you land on the website we can tell what company you're at and where you're coming from. And so in in clear bits world we have over 100 attributes about every single one of those companies. Right? So you go from being an anonymous visitor to. Oh. Oh got it. So you're a dental practice in...

Wisconsin and today. Okay, got it. So now so now trying to build the second part, how do you apply that data to a personalized experience? A lot of it comes down to segmentation, right? It wouldn't be practical to say, oh, I've got a rule just for dentists from Wisconsin because I would have an awful lot of rules at that point. But I can have high level rules like small company versus big company technology company versus not technology company. Right? And so if I'm in the business of selling practice management software, I might have it split into, you know, dentists versus medical practitioners. Right. So those are, those are the types of rules that people can easily create. And then on the front end can use a tool like google optimize or a tool like mutiny or even optimized lee to govern that personalization. And so what those systems do is say, all right, we're gonna show the big logos or the small logos and someone comes into the website and that system goes and ask clear bit, hey, which one, which one have I got here. Oh sure the small logo's so that's and that happens sub second before before we even know the pages loaded. So that's that's brilliant. I think that's absolutely fascinating. Can you believe that people have come up with all of these fascinating ideas. It's funny. It's a lot of this stuff has been around for a long time in different forms. But what I think has really changed is the availability of the data to power that kind of stuff in real time. Um and I'll get, it's funny, it's an analogy that I thinking about is not too long ago. If you think about music, right? And I love music, I've always been a big music fan, but collecting and having music was this very arduous craft process. You don't have to go buy CDS and LPS and you'd end up with stuff on all kinds of different formats and okay, this is my music collection and that sounds silly now. Right? I mean with Spotify and with what happened was like I guess, but all the music is available everywhere and I just use it. Right? And so we're going through the similar transition around this type of intelligence, like a lot of intelligence for a long time has been locked away and this one is in the data warehouse and this was back in the Crm somewhere and I think this one's probably in our in our email management system. Okay, But soon it's going to be like Spotify. No, it's all right there. You can have whatever information is useful on tap real time to to personalize that website or to inform that chat window. And and that change is not just what you can do, it changes how you think about the role of data. That makes sense. Changes the entire industry. That's that's that's awesome. I love that analogy, that's super helpful, especially it's something I'm just super familiar with. Um okay so the way that you unpacked acquisition with. Talking about targeting and tailoring and breaking down what that...

...really means in terms of supercharging the Martek stack, can you do the same thing for conversions and that that part of final. Yeah the conversion is often where the reduced friction part comes in. So really really common thing that people use that on tap data for is to take out all the unnecessary questions from a form. Right? So let's go back to our dentist from Wisconsin example. We may not know who that person is but if they're asking to learn more about our practice management software then we don't need to show them all 12 fields on the form that include, what company are you at? What industry are you in? And are you in the U. S. Or in another country? Like we know all that. So let's let's take away all the stuff we already know And let's get that form down to three fields right, what's your email address and what are you really trying to accomplish maybe? And then the fill rate goes up dramatically. And so and that's a huge part of this. I mean, you know, if we look at something you can you can see these examples on our website but you know, live storm is a customer. They talked about a 50% increase in sign up form completion, right? 50% is a big number. You know, we're not, we're not talking about two or 3% on the margin here. So things that allow just again, remove that friction, use all the information available to make it as easy as possible for that customer to engage with you is often what we're doing at the conversion stage. There's another interesting version of that that plays out with conversational selling tools. So things like, like chat chat windows and, and real time real time engagement again, if you can, If you can do things like alert a salesperson that somebody from one of their top, you know, 10 most important target accounts has been on the site, go into these pages for 30 seconds then that salesperson can literally pop that chat window and you know, and instead of just saying, hey how can I help? And he's like, hey, it looks like you're interested and so and so and you know, have you seen this? Right? I mean really start a conversation knowing who they are and what they appear to be looking for and that's a huge, huge advantage versus sort of hoping they fill out the form. So that's kind of where conversion comes in. Oh my gosh, that's fascinating. That's so cool that it's, there's no delay there either with the sales Process and with interacting with the salesperson that that's something they can do immediately while the person is still on the page because so much of communication and the B2B space, but probably just the entire world is like following up. Yeah. And that's it. It's really funny because in some ways following up becomes not a bad thing, but maybe not the first choice, right? Because if you, if you can just do it right away, that's better than having...

...to follow up. And so a good example would be back to the forms thing. We have a number of customers who use again that that that intelligence to once you start filling out the form and someone, you know, you give give, put your email address in and now and you've shared that. So now we know we can tell a lot more about who you are and where you're coming from if you are a great match for the ideal customer. Like, okay, you know, we, we got, we got a live one then popping up the set of meeting calendar, right then is a great way to just, hey, let's just, yeah, let's just skip right to what, what time works for you instead of well, at the farm and we'll get back to you and then I'll email you. Then we'll go back and forth on dates and then I'll send you that. I mean let's just right to it. And I mean that's almost common practice for companies who are really trying to make sure that they are ready to engage when customers are ready to engage. And I think it also puts it puts the control in the hands of the, of the buyer, of the customer, right? So salespeople aren't chasing them an email and interrupting the day this right now you said you want to meet, let's do it. I mean, which is great. I love that somebody you said to me last time we chatted was they deserve that the buyers deserve that kind of, that kind of treatment. And and it goes back exactly what you're saying earlier of hanging in the wind, the wings being very laid back. And then as soon as somebody puts up their hands, you are there to serve and man, I probably saved so much time, so much energy and so much, so many things fallen through to people than just getting distracted and and other priorities coming up the world is noisy. Yeah. And it's interesting as you, as you, you know, play it back. I think part of the shift is to the extent that the quote old b to be buying process was, hey, how do we, how do we drive this customer down the path? You know, how do we control the buying process and that there's certainly a place for strategy and for architecture and buying process. But I think sort of recognizing that the buyer is going to choose their own path, really takes it from the, how do I, how do I lead them to more, how do I let them choose their path? And then as soon as they're ready, make sure I'm ready with them. And those are really, it's almost like, you know, the front end and the back end and realizing they're going to find their own journey to get there. So I'm curious if there's one that's obviously each version comes with its unique set of challenges. But do you think this, this new wave of buying with the buyer being in the driver's seat? Um, do you think in some ways like that is an easier process on both the buyer and the seller? I think it's inevitable, you know, and I, and I think, and that's part of why to your point, I think it's it's sort of where where that process want, how it wants to happen. I think the part that's not...

...necessarily easier for a company is that you you have to re think how you understand those signals and understand those buyers in a way that you, in some ways that kind of relinquished control of that process, right? And, and instead of saying, well, there are going to be seven steps to how somebody, you know, buys our service. There may not be seven steps, There may be two steps and there may be 14 steps. And that's okay. And but you've got to be able to see those and recognize those and also see the patterns in those. Um, and so that you sort of embrace the complexity in a way that you can you can manage an influence. Um It's overall a little bit less uh deterministic of a process, right? And it's more one that's a bit more sort of emergent, but that's a uh I think that's a big shift and there's a lot of systems and processes that shift as a result. And uh you know, that's that's a lot of where companies like ours who can offer intelligence and consistency across those processes can help. And that's actually kind of to the third piece, that's where the operations benefit often comes in, right? So you're trying to shift your systems To be this more B2B by or driven digital process, the information that you're collecting and the information that you're trying to put to work really needs to be consistent across all the acronyms, your crm, and your M A P and your C. D. P. And your and so how do you how do you really do that? You need a data layer of like, like what clear bit provides and there's a lot of different approaches to that. So I ask a lot of people this question and I would love to get your thoughts on this, but with a twist. So I ask a lot of people, you know, if if somebody a marketing practitioner wants to apply what you're suggesting and go go get the most out of their data, which is a very reduction is summary of what you just shared. You know what step one. But the twist I have here because I'm really curious about what you'd say about this is is what if you're the marketer and you want to apply these strategies and tactics, but you're not the decision maker at your company or not the one who's going to be saying like I need a clear bit or I need these types of marketing tools and technology. Mm hmm. Good question. Good question. So, to the first piece, I think starting with a very specific part of the funnel or customer touchpoints in mind is really helpful, right? So to the examples earlier, you might choose form completion rates or you might choose social advertising, campaign engagement rates. Like let's pick something that we know how to measure and we know has a meaningful impact on this by your journey. And let's learn...

...how using data, using intelligence or applying personalization can change that, that figure. That sounds obvious. But without that framing you're kind of just trying stuff and it's very hard to know what's working or why it's working because again, it's a less sort of deterministic system, right? You know, you're trying to trying to create this outcome of more customers and bigger funnel. So you've got to be able to to look at it on a sort of stage by stage basis. So, so all that is to say pick a spot and then form a hypothesis and then apply data to, to see if you can, you can affect the outcome now in terms of doing that at the highest level versus doing that, you know, somewhere more in the mid level of the organization. I actually think these types of changes often come from not the top level, like, okay, we need got five systems today and we're going to rip them out and replace them with these four systems that I think that that can happen, but more often what people are doing with with solutions like ours is saying, how can I apply this to a very specific part and then bring that to the rest of the stack as it as it shown to work. And that is a more evolutionary and more, you know, department driven initiative a lot of times. And so we find that a lot of our conversations are actually, you know, with the demand managers or growth managers or go to market leads, who are saying I've got a couple of points in my funnel, but I really want to measurably improve. But then I want to do so in a way that I can start to bring to the rest of the funnel, you know, without having to reinvent anything. And so they look at again that an intelligence platform like ours is meant to do that. So you can start small, but you're gonna have everything, you need some Oh, good advice. What results could they expect to see? I know you mentioned one of your customers 50% increase in form rate I would look at. So yeah, it depends on where you're targeting, right? So if you look at the forms, look at the complete rate. A lot of it comes also down to quality and so which is which is which depends on your manager. So a lot of our companies, a lot of our customers work off some version of an ICP an ideal customer profile. And when you're trying to figure out, not just did you get more people engaged or did you create more leads from a given campaign? Being able to measure the quality or the match against your ICP is often a really useful way to tell whether or not the targeting and tailoring is working because it's not just about can I get more people? But I get more of the kind of people I think are really going to value and what I'm doing and how to get more of those types of people engaged. So looking at all the acquisition and engagement and...

...conversion metrics against your ideal customer profile is a really nice way to try to get a sense for quality. And then later on we see that manifest in an increasing close rates for sales. An increase in average deal size. Right? Again, more of the types of customers that ain't get more value. And so you're sort of feeding this system with better quality fuel if you will. And then you start to see the results of that with the systems already have, oh gosh, this seriously has been a crash course. You have given me so much to think about and I've learned so much. I'm curious if there was one thing that you'd want me or any of our listeners to walk away from this episode knowing what would it be. You know, I just, I would invite them to take a fresh look at what's possible. I mean, this a lot has changed even in the last couple of years around, you know, kind of back to the Spotify analogy like the availability of intelligence right at the, at these customer touchpoints and it really changes the way the immediacy with which you can engage customers in an intelligence with which you can engage them. So I would say take a look around and see see what companies are doing and experimenting with in this intelligence space. And I think the, you know, in some ways the biggest mistake would be not to try stuff. So, you know, I, I can't say for sure what will, what will work for you or what the best solution would be, but get out there and try stuff because it's, it's a really fun time to take a fresh look at the buyer journey that is so hopeful. Take a fresh look at what's possible and try stuff stuff. So if people wanted to connect with you, kevin and learn more about you or learn more about clear bit, how could they do that? Clear bit. Dot com is probably the best place to start. I'm kevin dot Tate at clear bit dot com. So bring me uh and then Lincoln. Beautiful. Oh man! Well, it has been such a pleasure to have you on the tv growth. Thank you for joining me. Thanks for having me have a great day. You too, is the decision maker for your product or service Abebe marketer. Are you looking to reach those buyers through the medium of podcasting? Considered becoming a co host of GDP Growth. This show is consistently ranked as a top 100 podcast in the marketing category of 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 on delivering incredible content to our listeners if you're interested, email Logan at sweet fish Media dot com. Mhm.

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