The Strategic Marketer
The Strategic Marketer

Episode 36 · 2 months ago

Which comes first, sales or marketing? - Cody West : 36

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

In this episode, Joseph Lewin talks with Cody West, Head of Growth Marketing at Scribe Media.Which comes first, sales or marketing? Most B2B companies start with a sales play and only bring in marketing once growth from sales begins to slow or they are ready to hit exponential growth.Scribe Media didn't take that approach. Instead, Scribe Media has grown through personal brand building, SEO, and demand generation marketing. Only now, after years of growth, are they beginning to introduce an outbound sales play.Learn more about Cody West: https://www.linkedin.com/in/codyfwest/

Learn more about Scribe Media: https://scribemedia.com/

Welcome to the Strategic Marketer, where we talk about strategies, tactics, and practical steps to help you become a better marketer. I'm your host, Joseph Lewin, and today's conversation is with Cody West. Cody is ahead of growth at Scribe Media, a company that helps experts right publish and market their book. Cody and I talk about the power of a marketing first approach versus a sales first approach to growing a business, how a founder brand personal brand can help you grow your business, and how marketing attribution can lead you astray if you're not careful. So pay close attention to qualitative measures along with the quantitative measurements that you're taking. So, without further ado, let's dive into the conversation with Cody. Yes, so, normally, you know, we don't start off by describing the company that you work for, um or you know, your particular marketing model, just because I like to jump more into the meat of the conversation. But I think with what we're going to talk about today, it would make sense to get an overview. So can you tell me a little bit about Scribe Media, what you guys do there, and then kind of the the marketing philosophy that that you guys take. Yeah. Sure. So Scribe Media is a company that helps experts, entrepreneurs, se level executives, a lot of coaches to write, publish, and market their book. UM. And so it's a service based B two B company. UM. But it's kind of interesting because there's a you know, a tangible good that's delivered at the end of a service. UM. But yeah, that aside, the way we approach marketing has dramatically changed, UM. And the big shift happened towards the end of last year. Uh. And what what we had realized is when we were looking at first party or software attribution, and it was telling us that most of our revenue was coming from organic search. And so what I ended up figuring out was, UM, that was mostly unlikely because I was looking at the landing page that a lot of those deals were coming from, and it was our homepage. And then if you looked at the keyword rankings for the homepage, Uh, those keyword rankings didn't really align with you know, top of funnel, um, like how do you write a book type terms? They were all branded, which makes perfect sense for our homepage. UM. And so what we did is we added a form field to our form and asked started asking all of the people that were submitting that form how they heard about us. We waited a month and then we started comparing the data. So we compared the software attribution to the i'll call it self reported attribution, and when what we found was they were just dramatically different. UM. We were seeing most of our software attribution telling us that people were coming from organic search, direct traffic UM, and then you know, some other small sources, but those organic search and direct traffic made up maybe of UM, all of the form submits that we were getting UM. And then when we looked at the self reported attribution, it was more like word of mouth. I heard about you um on this podcast. I uh I I know someone who had worked with you guys, and they had a great experience. UM. There's still a lot of like online UM. And so we know s c O was playing apart, but now we know it's like more like not uh sixties UM. And so that kind of like that realization turned everything on its head UH and we realized, like, oh, man, like we need to stop focusing so much on s...

...c O and start working on how we can facilitate more word of mouth. And one of the reasons I think word of mouth is so successful for us and referral um referral from existing authors is because the service we provide UM. You know, we have a lot of raving authors that get finished with the service and they absolutely loved every part of it. They got exactly what they expected. Um. And so I think that also goes to show the importance of the product or service that you're marketing. If it's not good, it's going to be a really tough time. But if it's if it's really good, it makes your job as a marketer much easier. UM. So yeah, I'll pause there. Yeah, no, And I'd like to dive into some of the details a little bit more on that. But um, in our in our previous conversation, we were talking about your sales team, you know, and how and how that works. So maybe you could just walk walk us through the process even before you got there, of how how you want to or how you're you know, the the the head of your company originally started and you know, the process for kind of growing that raving fan base that you're benefiting from now, because I think it kind of plays into what was what was effective for you or what's what is effective for you today? Yeah, So our company was founded by his name is Tucker Max. Uh and and there are two co founders actually, Tucker Max and Zach o'bront. But Tucker Max is a four time New York Times bestselling author. And so the initial uh, you know, foundation of that company was built off the back of his personal brand. He had a large personal brand because um, you know he of all his books, one of his books turned into a movie. Um. And so yeah, that was that was great, right, Like I think a lot of people are talking about Dave Gerhardt's book recently, Founder Brand um. And we we definitely experienced that I think was seven years ago or so. Um. And then when we you know, first started doing you know, having salespeople talked to inbound um. The leaders of the company at the time had an extreme aversion to any sort of like sales e or outbound motion because they believe, like, hey, all we have to do is put ourselves out there and you know, sort of tell people what we do and why it's so different from traditional publishing and that sort of thing. We can create a category and then people will come to us and not have to uh invest all this money into a sales motion. And so that was that was what we've done up until uh I'd say, like this month, we are just starting to uh create an outbound motion. But to give you some uh an idea of the scale of the company that we've got to before even considering outbound. We have two full time a ease UM and we've scaled the company to a quarter of a million dollars off the back of just two aes, no SDRs, no b drs, UM, just just two a s and I think we only had one up until last year. UM. And so that that what that does is it forces marketing to focus on quality, and so we were always incentivized to focus on the quality that we are driving through that form and so UM even with s c o UM, we figured out ways of like this, uh dissuading people from filling out the form if they weren't going to be qualified. So one of the things that's super important is showing pricing on the website, UM, because if you don't show pricing, you're gonna have a ton of people submitting the form UM that are going to be price sensitive. And so you want them to know price before they get on a call with one of the a es UM. And we also we have this field that says, hey, tell us about your book or your book idea, and so that's a good way for al right, are a es before the call. So of someone submits something...

...and they put you know, junk or a bunch of jumbled nonsense into that field, then it's like, okay, cancel that call, UM. And so we've been able to so to give you an idea of like the sales funnel conversion rates, So like our lead to sale percentage right now, UM is well over. So a lead for us is someone who submits that form. So one out of every four people that submit that form end up converting into some sort of revenue for us UM. And so yeah, like we we were forced to have that. That's sort of like efficient sales funnel because of the fact that we only you know, had very limited resources on the sales side. Yeah, and I what I really the reason I wanted to go over that and and talk to that first is UM, I really believe that what you guys are doing is possible, but there's so few companies that actually take that approach. And um, most of the companies, especially in the B two B space, but so many companies focus on building on a sales team. And it's like the first higher that you need to make is is a sales rap or you know, really early on, definitely before you would hire a marketer internally, you would want to hire a salesperson that can go out and sell sell a bunch. And there's definitely value to that. And I do think you could, uh, depending on the situation, you could scale faster with a sales team early on, but then you hit a level of diminishing returns at a certain point, Whereas if you build a really solid marketing foundation first, you can always bring in sales later on, and um, you can bring in people who well, i'll just say it this way, like you can become a slave to your sales team and the quality of your product or the quality of what you're doing can be diminished because you have a salesperson that's so good at selling, but they don't necessarily fit company culture, they don't necessarily fit your values. Maybe they overinflate things to customers. And then you know, the on the back end, you have your delivery team that has to then clean up a huge mass from a salesperson that's over selling or whatever, but you can't really get rid of them because the company will fall apart. Whereas if you've built something that's through raving fans and you've created a product that's truly interesting and remarkable in the market, then it makes the sale easy. And so to your point, you know, you have to answer customer questions up front, you have to become efficient and how you go through the process of selling and get people as much of that information up front. And then down the road when you do want to grow a sales team, it's way easier and you can hire a much smaller sales team, UM, hire less experienced sales reps and not have such a heavy burden on commission or or things like that. UM. And that's not to say that a really good salesperson isn't worth paying well or commission. I mean, I know my brothers and sales and he does and awesome job, and he's worth every penny that he gets paid in commission and more um for the value he brings into the company. But at the same time, it's like to be paying anybody D three hundred thousand, four hundred thousand dollars. That's a huge burden on the company for one person. And if that person is responsible for doing two million, three million, four five million dollars in sales and they suddenly leave, it could tank the company from one person like that. So anyway, I just I love when I see companies that focus on the product first and create something remarkable. Yeah, and and to to add on to that, it's it's really interesting when you like, I imagine we'll start to see this now that we're running an outbound motion. But when when someone fills out O A form, they've gone through the website, they've they know exactly what they're getting into, and they have some very specific questions. And so you know, they're signing seventy to a hundred thirty thousand dollars and a seventy AD contract in a thirty minute sales call. And that's it. There's...

...no there's rarely follow ups. Um. They get sent an agreement and maybe there's some back and forth over email, but it's insanely efficient. Um when you do all of the education upfront, um. And and and they get on the phone with a salesperson to really just cross the finish line. UM. And so yeah, like what I was saying is I imagine now that we're starting to do more outbound, UM, that process is going to be less efficient, and so we're gonna have to build a system for those opportunities coming in through the outbound motion. UM. But yeah, that's the that's the beauty of relying on marketing over sales. Yeah. But then the advantage that you have, UM in in having a marketing first approach is you have those pieces of content, like if your customers are able to educate themselves to that point up front, you you have the materials that you need for your sales ups to be able to have effective follow up. That's that's meaningful. So you know, maybe a customer will get on the phone with the sales rep earlier in the process. UM. And so there needs to be whatever two or three calls to get into that same point. UM. And you know, you probably would have a lower a lower conversion rate an outbound than you will an inbound. So you know, you might have half of the people that schedule a call aren't qualified and they figured that out on a call, whereas that you know they self qualify ahead of time. A little bit sooner. But for that second call, the customer brings up a question that they have and the sales represent will go, oh, we have an article that I can sinue on that UM and then they could send that in between calls and that could save the next call if it's not a good fit UM or you know, it could lead into that next call and that person is now qualified and they have better questions to answer. So either way that you look at it, your sales, your outbound sales outreach is going to be far more efficient. Dinner company that didn't do all that upfront work of creating all of that that content to self for for customers to self educate. Absolutely yeah, um yeah. And another piece of that UM marketing kind of marketing first approach is that you have to create a product that's actually interesting. I mean, you have to create something that really truly does stand out to people. Because to get somebody two fill out a form and jump on a call, UM, you really have to be able to capture their attention. And there's something, um, there's something really powerful about doing that because you're able to create much deeper raving fans. And then UM, if you can do that at scale. You know the challenges that everybody says is, yeah, well referrals are great, but you can't scale referrals. And that's true to a degree. But as you start building an audience and you you know, the more of of these fans you're able to create faster, and the faster you're able get them through the process. Um, those are much more meaningful, deeper relationships than you're going to create through a cold outbound Yeah. Yeah, And I think one of the things that you can look forward to to see if you're doing that well is you'll actually get people recommending you that have never even used you before. UM. That's how you know that that that what what you're doing from a marketing perspective is really working. Um. And you're you're like contributing to that growth loop that happens through word of mouth when people that have literally never used your service still recommend you because they view you as a category leader, um, or you know, they view you as a really good company, or you're doing something interesting that sort of thing. Um. Like I think Gong is a really good example in the like uh, revenue intelligence. You know, they created a category there. Um. And yeah, there are people that recommend Gong for sales calls that don't even use Gong, but they just know that, oh, Gong's hip Gong school.

So I think that's a that's a if you start seeing that, you know you're doing something right. Yeah. Absolutely, yeah, So I'm kind of interested. Um. And And one thing that that described media had an advantage in is you have the the founder of the company that already had a personal brand, and so not everybody can replicate that. You know that there's a certain level of success and credibility up front. But I think there's value in in in taking a second to stop and saying we'll look at the power of building that personal brand. And if you haven't started before you start the company, that doesn't mean it's not too late to do that now. And yeah, and so yeah, we have a have an interesting story there. So the founder of the company is no longer like active as part of the company, and he's a pretty polarizing figure. Um. So if you like look into him, you'll see a lot of people that love him and a lot of people that hate him. Um. And I think that's that's generally good, probably from a marketing perspective. Um. But what we've done over the last few years is really try to transition away relying on that personal brand. And now it's it's very few people that are coming through saying, oh I heard about you because of this person UM. And so what we realized that was like, we we don't want to lose that UM. Now that he's you know, no longer superactive within the company. He's still an owner, but he's not in an active participating role. What do we do? And so our CEO, his name is Jevon McCormick. UM. He's got a book out called I Got There and he has a new one coming out called Modern Leader. UM. And we've been really really focusing on his personal brand. UM. He's he you know, grew up in I guess the hood, UM. You know, just like an insane story, you know, going coming from nothing to where he's at now. UM. And yeah, we we recognize that it's super important to have that that face of a company that that founder brands Dave Gerhardt would put it UM. And so yeah, we've been working very hard to transition you know, the you know, that figurehead from Tucker to Javon UM. And and yeah, we're already seeing it like I think Javon people who say they heard about us because of Javan has surpassed uh Tucker and so yeah, I think that that's it's interesting because it shows that you're actually able to switch who the you know, the founder brand is built upon UM and so even if you can't switch, like you can create that yourself. Yeah, that's really fascinating and it makes me think of UM. I. I interviewed Patrick Handlon on the podcast. He wrote a book called Primal Branding. Have you heard of ranting before? Yeah? Um, it's interesting because he has these uh seven elements of what he calls primal code, and it's it's the different pieces that make a brand more of like it's something that people want to follow versus just you know why, you know, why would people get hardly tattooed on their neck or our face or whatever you know that you don't see that for you know, like a P ANDNG product. People don't tattoo PNG on their face typically. Um. And I mean I've personally seen people with Apple tattoos in places that are pretty visible that they can't just like cover it up. There's a lady that was a manager at Apple and she had the brand tattooed on the back of her neck, like where you can see it. There's no way for her to cover that without like a scarf for something, and that's a pretty hardcore thing to do. But anyway, one of the seven elements is is the leader. You know, you have your creation, creation story and I'm trying to remember all of them, rituals, creeds, icons, you know, these different pieces that are um, you know, more tribe, something that a tribe of people would and have that brings them together. But then there's the leader,...

...um and you really do need some kind of figurehead and that can change over time, you know. And there are companies that have successfully made that transition, but there's also a lot of companies that that don't, you know, and as soon as the founder is gone then they tank and so um, yeah, that's that's pretty fascinating to see you guys being able to make that switch. Yeah, it's it's it's just important, you know. It's like if you want to do like a lot of people think of it from like a revenue generation perspective, like, oh, if we have a personal brand, that means we're gonna you know, drive more revenue and growth for the company. But what people don't typically think about is how much easier it makes recruiting. UM. If you have a founder or a CEO c level UM that is extremely well known, people want to come work for that person. UM and so that's that's something that we've been thinking a lot about, is like what we are extremely selective on who we hire and and we've been doing a lot of higher hiring over the last twelve months. I think we went from like forty five people or something like that, UM and we can't hire fast enough. I think we have twenty thirty outstanding roles right now. UM. And so you know, we're thinking, like do we do outbound to try to you know, you know, poach people, you know that sort of thing. And what we'd ended up deciding was like, no, we just need to double down on the personal brand because it literally kills two birds with one stone. It will help top line revenue and it will also help recruiting efforts. It probably helps a lot of other things as well, but those two things are are massive for the success and growth of a company. UM and and so rather than putting your eggs into multiple baskets and trying all these things it's like, why not just do the one thing that you know is going to work extremely well? Yeah, no, And I actually started working at my in my current role. UM the it's a husband and wife that owned the company, Mike and Gabby Grinberg, and I found out about the company from their LinkedIn posts, and especially Gaby talked about the things that they value as owners of the company, and you know, that was really interesting to me, and you know, I followed her content. But then I saw her husband, Mike, comments about building relationships at scale and that's what marketing is really about. And so I was like, oh, man, that's interesting. Might you come on my show? And so then I had him on the podcast. And you know, that's both uh showcasing, that's showcasing personal brand on both sides. The fact that I was able to have my future boss and interview him on the podcast, and that's how I ended up planning my current role. But also, you know, from a recruiting standpoint, the value that they have in doing that, and that's that's one of the main reasons that they have focused on personal brand and encouraged everybody on the team to focus on it as well, because for that reason, you know, it's a lot easier. UM. You know, there's there's the obvious reason, which is to bring in new customers, but then there's the added value of being able to find people to come work for your company. And then beyond that too, if the people at your company are sharing their expertise outwardly on a consistent basis, it also shows that you're hiring people who know what they're talking about. And so even for retaining customers or you know, at any point of building relationship with customers, having a team that is visible um and seen as as industry leading experts, is it's going to add value to what you're doing. Yeah. Yeah, Today is actually an interesting day, uh, piggybacking off that point, because yesterday we announced that we're giving a blanket eight eight point three percent salary increase to everyone in the company to um, you know, help with all the inflation that's going on, and you're not. At the same time, you're seeing all these...

...big tech companies layoff thousands of people. UM. And so there was I was going through LinkedIn today and there's so many people abscribe posting about how grateful they are and how lucky they are to work at the company because of the the increase and UM, you know, the first thing, it's it's doing right by people like UM, we we you know, we worked as an executive team to figure out how do we make this happen um, and then obviously announced it and and all of that. But on top of like the blanket increase, it's super good for recruiting because when people see like, oh, look at what this company did like that, while everyone else is laying off companies, Um, they're giving salary increases to literally everyone. UM. Yeah. It's it's things like that that that really set you apart. UM, make the people that do work for your company want to work harder, or you know, make them more grateful, you know that sort of thing. Um. And yeah, so it's a it's a win win. Okay, So we covered quite a bit of ground. You know, at the beginning, you started to tell a story about, UM, how you guys started getting this qualitative data coming in about how people were finding you and how that kind of redirected your focus and in marketing and UM, and then you know, we kind of went into more of what you guys are doing previously and and you know how the company grew to where it is. So I want to kind of step back to that beginning story and um, you know, as we're kind of moving towards the end of the episode, I want to dig into that a little bit deeper. So, UM, you know you're you're growing from word of mouth and and partially from the personal brand of the founders. You know that kind of that helps to get the kickstart, and um, you don't really have this huge outbound team focusing more on driving through marketing, create a lot of content to answer questions pricing on the website. You know you're hitting hitting on all cylinders there. Um, but I'm kind of interested to know about, well, why there was a focus on SCO to begin with. You do you? I don't know if you were there when that porsche for you know, creating content STEO driven content, um, or if you could kind of shed some light on that. Yeah. So, I actually I founded a company called Assisted Reach that was a SCO and content marketing agency. It got acquired last year. Subscribe was actually one of my clients. Um, I think it was like three or four years ago, and so, um, we worked together for about a year and built a a content engine to get all that content created. There was a ton of opportunity in in the space, pretty low competition for a lot of top of funnel terms that you know, showed that someone was in market. UM. So it's a you know, a captured demand strategy. And and yet today we rank extremely well for a lot of pretty much the whole ecosystem of keywords. I wouldn't say everything's in the top three, but most things are on first page UM. And that contributes to of our revenue. But that's again that's just capturing demand. And so what we saw UM, really it was like mid last year. Uh, that's about the time where things kind of leveled out. We saw that there was this that we we we sort of stopped growing UM. And that's because we had essentially extracted everything we could out of s e O and so the big question was, then, okay, how do we continue growing now that we've exhausted this channel UM. And so yeah, the the first thing that we did was we built a growth model, or I think I like the term revenue model better, but it's essentially like measuring each step within the sales funnel and seeing where there's big drop drop offs UM. And for us like I, you know previously mentioned it was super efficient. There wasn't anything from like once the form was submitted to the sale where I was like, oh, there's a lot of opportunity there things to fix. The biggest opportunity was making more aware of us,...

...and so we needed to learn how to create demand for our services. And so that that was like of December and January December of last year in January of this year where we kind of figured all that out UM and then so we had tried paid social previously, but we had done it in a way that was like legion, like the typical gated e book or push people to a webinar, you know, that kind of crap, and it just does not work for the service that we sell. It's super expensive. There's a lot of education that needs to happen prior to the sale. And so what we realized we we needed to do was completely shift the strategy for paid social. And so what we did was rather than you know, anything gated or sending people to UM these these webinars that were sales e things like that, UM, we just started distributing content that we knew was really good on LinkedIn and so I'll give you like an idea of like how we went from never advertising on LinkedIn and what we ended up doing was two K and revenue. Let let me stop you there, because I want to hear I want I want to dive into that. But first of all, I just want to make a comment on what you said. You said it doesn't legion doesn't work for what you guys are doing. But really, legion doesn't really work. I think it works if you're selling a product that's like under five K, maybe maybe even even under a thousand director consumer like TikTok advertising that you know that that can work if you've got a cool product that's like fifteen dollars or whatever. But yeah, absolutely not for for high to C B B two B yeah. And and it's kind of funny, and I'll let you keep rolling. But it's it's interesting when I've thought back through the purchases that I've made, even when they were smaller purchases, like when I was running a small business um and I was looking for um CRM and email automation and you know, website building and all this stuff. When I trace it back, it was from listening to certain people on a podcast UM, and then from there I trusted them. I started following their content and I did read articles from them that they had written, but it was because I already trusted them from hearing them on this podcast. And then I joined I got a free a free access to the content that they created UM for a limited time, and through that, I got access to their like paid group, So that was part of that group. And I'd asked questions in there about what other people were doing for you know, website builders and email automation everything, and these people who have been doing this way longer than me are like, oh, yeah, we've tried twenty of them. Here's what you landed on, and I go do that and it worked great. I mean it was so much more efficient. But then you know, to the uh, to that point, I did download the books and stuff from some of these companies, but that had nothing to do with why I made the decision. It was just interesting, it was okay, But if they would have had that content undated UM, it wouldn't have made any difference for whether they would have landed me or not, because that decision was made way before from other people referring and again to your point, some of those people hadn't even used it. They're just like I work with other people and this is what my customers use or or or whatever that would be. So I think that that shift towards demand generation is is scary, but it really is what makes sense. I mean totally yeah. So I'll I'll give some value to your audience. UM. First, I think before you can do demand generation via paid social, which what I was going to get into, I'll first talk about like the importance of how you're you know, sort of measuring UM, the way you're attributing the value that marketing is bringing to the company UM. And so obviously you should be paying attention to revenue UM and pipeline created and and things like that. UM. But when it comes to attribution, UH self reported attribution is it tells you essentially what created the demand UM, and then your software...

...attribution tells you what captured the demand. And so when you look at those in conjunction, you can see, okay, this is this is really what made the person UH interested in buying the service, and this is what eventually this was the source that they came through to UH say hey I want to talk to someone, let me buy whatever it is that you're selling, and so uh two things. We ran two tests on self reported attribution. So adding a form field that asked how do you hear about us? That greatly increased the amount of the length of the responses we are getting. And when you think about self reported attribution, like most of the value comes from the insights that you get by just reading it. Like we we also categorize the data so we can look at it quantitatively, but the qualitative aspect of this is where the real value comes from, because you get people describing what they did to eventually come to the realization of Hey, I need what it is that you're selling. And so the first thing we did was, um, we added uh what what was it? It was like, please provide as much detail as possible. So we just asked the person filling out the forum to give us more detail and they did, I think, here, I'll pull up the numbers. The uh average character length UM before we added that. So we just asked, how do you hear about us? Was seventeen characters, and then we added how do you hear about us? Please provide as much detail as possible, and that ended up being thirty two characters. So that's increase. And then after that, we had the idea, what if we expand the UM. So we had a single line textbox, Uh, you want to make this read required and then UM, you know, allow them to enter whatever it is that they want to enter. And so rather than having a single line, what we did was we expanded it into a multi line text box. And the idea there was like, by expanding, UM, it shows more space to write and so people will thus provide more detail. And so that took us from thirty two average character length to sixty four and that's a n increase. So I think that's more important than than saying please, uh, please provide as much detail as possible. But those two together took us from seventeen to sixty four, which is like over two increase. UM. So those are two pieces of advice that if you're looking to implement this for your company, if you do those two things, you'll get a lot more detail in the answers. UM, thus you know, increasing the value of those qualitative insights. Yeah. I love that. Uh, that's that's super practical. UM. Yeah. So so I want you to finish what you were saying about the paid ads. So basically, you know, you guys had created this product that was interesting, you're getting referrals, then you ratch it up through s c O and you you know, start getting SEO traffic coming in UM through your measure the measurement that you were using, you were attributing too much to s e O and thinking that, you know, over inflating the value. So that's you know, probably causing them to spend more money than than maybe they should have. Are too much of a focus on that than than on some of the more demand generation side of things. And then when you started doing paid ads, you were focusing more on lead generation through gated e books and stuff like that. UM, and then you started to talk about how how you change that. But the one piece I want to hear about and then you can share what you ended up doing, is what was kind of the triggering event. You know, you said your your sales stagnated a little bit, so you know, maybe that was it, But what was that triggering event or what made you guys go, Okay, we really do need to make a pivot here and and try something completely different, because it's a pretty big shift. That was exactly it. Mid things just sort of stagnated. Um, we had a really big December because we increased prices, but that was um less to do about the demand that we were creating or or capturing, and more to do...

...with just like you know, pricing, uh fundamentals. But yeah, it was it was really just, hey, we want to continue at the growth rate that we've been on over the last four years or so three or four years, and things just sort of capped out. And yeah, when we looked at our s CEO strategy, it was like, well, it's because we're ranking for all the important things and there's nothing else to rank for, um that's important. And so yeah, that was the like all right, what's what's next? Um? And so yeah, that led us to one rethinking attribution because now we realized, oh, like s c O isn't contributing as much as we even thought. And then that led us down the path of paid Social. Uh So yeah, well i'll kind of give a a a background on like what we did before launching paid social. But first the results we've only been running them for like, we had the ads on for six weeks. We did two or fifty k in revenue directly attributed to LinkedIn ads. On twelve K and spend UM a couple of caveats, like we have where the category leader UH clear product market fit based on the number of referrals that we get UM and the word of mouth UM. But yeah, like that's we made a lot of mistakes to the first month. And so here here was the approach that we took. So we took all of the data that we had in our CRM for our best customers and we pulled emails and company domains for those that we ran them through a data enrichment tool that appended firm a graphic data onto each of those emails UM. So you can use I've used two tools. There's clear bit Data Enrichment UM and I think it's ten cents per record, and then Versum has a from a graphic append which is I think fifteen sense per record, and they'll tell you things like industry, company size, company revenue, job titles, all that for the email and come by domain that you upload through UH. Then what you want to do is analyze that data and segment it out and look at what the biggest segments are. So for us, it's like professional services, business services UM and then you know, you look at the within that industry, what are the company's size and company revenue buckets, and then who's actually buying, so what are their job titles or seniorities And you can literally take that and that and and mimic that targeting on LinkedIn UM. You can either do that through a tool like metadata clear bit or verse um, or you can just use LinkedIn's native targeting. And that's what we did that this first time around. We paused all the ads because we're like, Okay, this is clearly going to work extremely well, let's do this right, And so we picked up verse um and now we're gonna be uploading um lists from verse um. I just think the targetings UM a little bit better than what you get natively on LinkedIn UM. But yeah, that that was essentially it match the targeting and then make sure that you're delivering a message in the feed. And so I think one of the biggest mistakes people make with paid social is they optimize the landing page. But when you look at the click through rates on LinkedIn, they're less than one percent or one, you know, around one percent, and so for every one people, only one person is seeing the content that you're trying to get them to consume. And so rather than doing that, just focus on delivering that content and value and feed. And so for us, it was literally all video. So we had these fifteen to one minute long videos that we uh, you know, distributed via LinkedIn ads and and that worked extremely well for us. UM. And so, yeah, a couple of the big mistakes we made we left audience that work on for two weeks. UM, so of the ads that were being displayed weren't even on LinkedIn UM. And yeah, there's a few other mistakes, not as big as that one. UM, but yeah, it just goes to show when you're targeting is good and you're creative is good. It protects you from...

...some of the nuances of of learning a platform. UM. And so yeah that if if anyone's looking to start LinkedIn ads there and B two B they have a high c V product, highly recommend starting that way because you're gonna, you know, be eons ahead of UM. You know, most people that are just guessing what their i c P is that you can literally use data to tell you exactly who that i c P is. Yeah, I love that. I mean that's extremely detailed. I don't think I need to even ask you any other questions to dig deeper into that, because that, UM, that's super helpful. I guess the only other question I have is can you give me an example of of a piece of content that you that you've used? You know what? Yeah, what does that look like? Yeah? So one of the things, uh So, one of the things that I think marketers don't do enough is listen to sales calls. UM. And so if you have Gong, you can listen to sales calls off your phone. So what I do is, UH, every evening when I'm picking up my house, I'll listen to one sales call, UM. And what you get out of those sales calls is UH is gold. It's it. Literally, the your customer will tell you exactly the point, the pain points that they have, the questions that they have that need to be answered, and that sort of thing. And so for us, there's typically two big UH points of contention before someone is ready to buy one R O I, which I think that is probably true for most B two B companies, like how do I know that I'm going to get an R I from your service? Um? And then the second this one's way more UM in line with like our our service, it's how do I know that the writer can write in my voice as well as I can? Um? And so we have we have content that that essentially answers to those two things. So the cold audience stuff, UH, it's really important to to hit on our o I in return. And a lot of times people don't even realize that you can hire a ghostwriter and that ghostwriter will write a book better than you can because they're a professional writer and you're not. UM. And so those are those are some of the things that will run to cold audiences and then to retargeting. We will uh you know, talk about like the voice and the more specific things about our customer. But yeah, like we have a video that uh it's basically like four or five people client testimonial saying, UM, you know, our our book did added four hundred thousand dollars in revenue last year directly attributed to the book. Uh. We built a four to five million dollar business off the back of the book. You know, things like that, And it's just short clips um. And so that gets people interested like, hey, wait, how are these people making all that money from a book? You know? Um? And that's exactly the question we want them to ask. Yeah, I love that. UM. Okay, So a lot of the people that are are listening to this podcasts are in the B two B space and are so listening to this so probably interested in demand generation to some degree and want to do things differently. But then in a lot of B two B companies there's not always the option to do that. You know, you can get pretty stuck, and especially if it's a sales driven company and the person who's ultimately over marketing is from sales. UM, you can really have a hard time shifting that mindset. UM. So what what practical steps or practical advice would you give to people who are are in that environment who want to start UM introducing some of these ideas. You know, what, what would you recommend that they do to start getting buy in? Yeah, the it's tough. The first thing that everyone should do, no matter the situation, is lead with data. And so everyone believes data, especially if they're in like B two B sas UM data is you know, it's the holy grail UM, and so I would highly recommend showing the inefficiencies...

...that you most likely have in your sales funnel if you're running Legion UM. Like you'll see, like I said, you know, we have plus lead to sales form submit to sale UM. If you're running Legion, it's probably below one percent. And so like you could take that and be like, hey, this company scribe is you know, one out of every four but for us, it's like one out of every a thousand. Why is that? You know? UM, there's and and you can look at sales cycle length, you can look at UM close rates, opportunity to sale UM, you can look at where a lot of the revenue is coming from from a source perspective, outbound, inbound, UM partner, you know, things like that UM. And if not a lot of the revenues coming from the website and you're still running spending tons of money on Legion, like there's a big problem, right, UM. A lot of people will look at cost per lead. Do not look at that, look at cost per sale UM or like lifetime value to CAC things like that. And so there's a lot of you know, great information on the internet of how to actually measure marketing UM and if you have any questions, I'm happy to answer them on LinkedIn, But that that would be my first recommendation, Like do the analysis and and try to show why things are super inefficient, because I guarantee you if you're running legion, they are. UM if you, you know, talk to the exact team, talk to the c e O s and they don't buy in after that, UM, I honestly don't know what to tell you, Like, maybe just think about leaving the company, because yeah, maybe find a new job, because yeah, like what if people aren't willing to change their mind? UM for one, Like, that's not someone I would ever wanna work with. UM. And then too, it's gonna it's gonna hold you back in your career. And so I think it's you know, it's never gonna be a waste of time going through the your size of doing that analysis I mentioned. UM, but if you've done everything that you can think of and you you can't impact change, UM, then I would look for leaders that UM get it. You know, So that that would be my advice. Yeah, yeah, I have to agree with you there. Yeah. And it's kind of interesting too because UM, at a company I used to work for, I got five hundred dollars in free LinkedIn ads and it actually was more focused on on lead generation, which I think it would have been better, you know, even still if it wasn't. But I got five hundred dollars or free if we spent five hundred bucks. So we spent five and we got actual scheduled demos with people that were director level over multiple divisions of companies that were perfect fit for our product. And I don't know where it actually ended up netting out, but they were interested after the first demo, and um, you know, continue the conversation, and our cost per get a scheduled demo like that ended up being about three hundred bucks. And this was after spending five u UM of our own money, so whatever it. I guess hundred and fifty dollars of our costs a hundred and fifty for LinkedIn UM. And they were like, oh, it's just too expensive to run LinkedIn ads, so we're not going to do that. And I'm like, we've been running Google ads for five years and we still have literally nothing to show for it, and we're spending a month and because a click on on Google costs us less than a scheduled demo with with with an actual like high level decision maker who's telling his you know, the people who report to him to to schedule demos with our team. Like though it's not more expensive, you're just comparing two totally different things. And yeah, like it's the thing about going back to attribution, Like you can measure Google ad attribution perfectly like that that's the one thing where like software attribution is amazing for that,...

...um, and people still won't do it. You know they will, they will say, oh, yeah, LinkedIn as are too expensive, but look at your look at your cost per sale for by ad group or by keyword UM, and then you know, tell me where the waste is happening. Yeah, exactly. Well man, thank you so much Cody for taking time to jump on the show today. That was there was a lot of really good, insightful information and it's really validating for you know a lot of the things that UM, that I believe and that I've been you know, working towards. But there's so few companies that actually do it that it's awesome to get to talk to people who are who are doing it. So thanks thanks Joseph. Yeah, I had a I always love talking about this this sort of thing. Thanks for inviting me on the show. UM. And yeah, let's let's let's stay connected and and uh, you know, keep keep demanding increasing in legion going away absolutely man um. Yeah, and you can connect with Cody on LinkedIn. I'll put a link to his to his profile in the show notes. Thank you for listening to this episode. Don't forget to subscribe to The Strategic Marketer wherever you listen to podcasts. And if you could do me a personal favor and hit five stars on the rating. You don't have to leave a full review, just hit five stars. That would really help me out. I look forward to seeing you on the next episode of The Strategic Marketer.

In-Stream Audio Search

NEW

Search across all episodes within this podcast

Episodes (41)