How to rock your marketing world (and results) with humanized, real-time engagement
The average B2B business takes 2.4 days to respond to marketing-generated opportunities, and yet attention spans are decreasing; we're consuming content faster than ever before, and everyone is used to working at a hyper-fast rate, often, now via video call. Learn how humanization can help you to cut through the noise and get results.
Webinar topic detail
During this panel discussion, we cover:
1. How to engage fast
2. Why to be human at every stage
3. Digital marketing tips from teams that have nailed it
4. Quick wins
Lilah: Hello everyone and good afternoon, thank you for joining us today. Today we are discussing humanised real-time engagement….how to rock your marketing world with real-time humanised engagement. I’ve got a really impressive panel for you all so I am hoping that we’re going to have quite an interesting conversation that you guys will be able to really get involved in. A bit of an introduction from me, so my names Lilah, I’m Lilah Waite, I’m the Group Chief Marketing Officer at Lead Forensics and I will be your host for today. Do send us your questions because we have a panel here ready and waiting to answer those questions so do get involved in the conversation. Use it as your opportunity to pose any questions to our experts. I’m going to handover to our panel to introduce themselves, I’ve got Sam, Kate, Roger and Shane with me today so Sam if handover to you first to do a bit of an intro, is that okay?
Sam: Yeah sure thing, so my name is Sam Dunning, I am co-owner of a company called Web Choice. We are essentially a digital marketing agency so we typically work with people or businesses that are frustrated from hunting for clients, typically with the cold outreach, traditional tactics, cold email. We help them get a steady stream of inbound clients through their website and through digital marketing and I also run a podcast called The Business Growth Show, where we interview business leaders each and every week to provide actionable tips to help you increase your sales and make best use of marketing.
Lilah: Super, thank you Sam. Shane, shall I handover to you?
Shane: Thanks Lilah. Shane Redding and I am owner and founder of Think Direct. I provide strategic consulting to clients around the world, all B2B, all sizes but consulting is mainly big enterprise, so I’ve had the joy of working with the United Nations in the last week. I also do lots of training for B2B marketing with various courses but specialist areas of data and digital and martech, which I love. Lastly, I have for fun…. four non-execs.
Lilah: Super, thanks so much Shane. Roger, are you next?
Roger: I am indeed. Hello everybody, my name is Roger Edwards and I am a marketing consultant and speaker from Edinburgh. I was going to add in the UK there but that’s pretty obvious. I help people with their marketing strategy and I am absolutely passionate about keeping things simple and marketing strategy can get quite complicated. So I specialise in helping companies to really identify their offer and keep their marketing simple. I am also the host of The Marketing and Finance podcast which has been going for 260 episodes now so I am quite proud of that and I’ve recently published a book which is called Cats, Mats and Marketing Plans……so I can actually say I am an author as well.
Lilah: Wonderful. Cats, Mats and Marketing Plans, I love that title. And we’ve got Kate with us as well. We can’t see Kate as she is having a few technical difficulties but we can definitely hear her. So Kate, are you there?
Kate: I am indeed, I am indeed so it’s Kate Cox from a company called Moneypenny. We answer other businesses telephone calls and live chats for them. So I am in this unique position of marketing Moneypenny and using our humanised and technology services to generate more leads for the Moneypenny business but also talk to other businesses about how calls and live chats can increase their lead generation plans.
Lilah: Super. Well thank you so much to the four of you for joining us today. I know that you are all super busy so thank you so much for your time. I guess the first question that I’m going to have to pose to you is, how has this year been for you? I don’t know who wants to take that first, if anyone wants to chip in but how has this year been?
Kate: I’m happy to go first. So Moneypenny, we really are a barometer of UK and US businesses because we work with about 21,000 different businesses. Everything was going great January – February, March and April and May were terrible. We saw call volumes drop to about 30-40% of normal year on year volumes and that’s because businesses were closing up and not taking calls. Then we have spent the last 8 months pulling that back and there have been a few sectors that have been in growth that we have a high concentration of clients in and we are now back on business plan. But it has been a tough year and we have switched and changed our marketing to really figure out how to manage what has been the most difficult year to navigate that I’ve ever been in.
Lilah: Yes, you’ve certainly got a great barometer there with working with so many businesses. I think there has, as you say, been lots of organisations that have struggled. Shane, have you found the same with your clients this year?
Shane: Yes, I think it really reflects the sectors’ really different experiences depending on which ones they are in and I think my big learning is for this year. I had a fantastic strategic plan for this year. My plan was to go around the world and do…..I’ve got some masterclasses booked in China in February…..rubbish timing! ……..and how quickly you have to change. So my world quickly became virtual. I had to learn loads of new skills like all of the panellists but I am super impressed with the adaptability of businesses. I think that is what has inspired me more than anything, it’s just the way people have risen to the challenge.
Lilah: I agree, and what have you found Roger?
Roger: Well, very similar to Shane to be perfectly honest. I started the year feeling very positive, I had a fairly packed diary of conferences and workshops, corporate workshops and pretty much within a two week period pretty much everything got cancelled. Well, admittedly maybe postponed initially but as things turned out they became cancelled and of course quite a lot of the work I’ve done since then is trying to adapt to do things online, to things virtually and actually sometimes feel more like a video producer, a video editor now than I feel like a conference speaker and workshop host. Fortunately, I have done a bit of video editing in the past so it appeals to my inner geek but yeah everything has changed. It’s starting finally now, I think a lot of companies said if we wait long enough it will get back to normal and I think probably over the last few months, the penny has started to drop that it isn’t going to go back to normal at least until they get the vaccine sorted. So even those companies who were a bit agnostic about making the move to virtual are finally doing it.
Lilah: I agree and Sam, how has it been for you?
Sam: We’re blessed. We are a fortunate company because we are a digital marketing company, things have risen for us, we’ve had a lot more deals and a lot more enquiries as everyone has moved online. But a lot of our clients have taken a hit, so hospitality, client facing, retail businesses that we work with so we’ve been doing our thing to support them. On the plus side, it’s something that I’ve been preaching for a while, so about two years ago I stopped doing face to face meetings so I think on the plus side it’s helped move everything virtual and realise there isn’t always the need to do all these transporting events face to face. It’s meant that companies can save a lot of money, people can save time travelling, so on a positive note we’ve learnt how to do a lot of stuff virtually and how we can make best use of our time, our clients’ time, our prospects’ time. A lot of people are saving expenses where they’re not needed so yeah on the flip side it helps things on that front, so that’s a good view on my side of things.
Lilah: I’m sure I’m not alone in saying I pretty much spend my whole day on a video camera now and that never happened before. So yeah, I think you’re right, it’s absolutely moved the whole way we do business. I think that from our perspective I know that I came back in March from a little bit of maternity leave, I had three days in the office and had to completely pivot our events strategy on its head to a digital strategy and I didn’t know whether I was coming or going for a couple of days. I’m sure I wasn’t the only marketer in that camp! What I do think, exactly as Roger and Shane were saying, is that we are kind of getting used to it now so we’ve gone through that storm, people are used to doing business in a different way now and I feel like that rocky boat is starting to steady a little bit. But I do think that this notion of humanised marketing has become much, much more prevalent now so I wanted to pose a question and Shane I’m going to start off with you, if that’s okay because I know we were talking about this the other day and I know you feel this concept of humanised engagement has really been expedited as a result of the situation that we’re in. So, what does that mean in your world? Let’s jargon bust a little bit, what does it mean as far as you’re concerned?
Shane: You’ve got it here and now, we’re in our homes and business is being conducted in our homes and the webcam has allowed us in. Anybody eagle eyed will have seen my other half walk in because his business is based from home and I didn’t put a note on the door saying ‘webinar in progress, being recorded’ because I forgot because that’s the world we are in. I think whether it’s cats, dogs, husbands, whatever, we have opened up our own….all of our lives to being part of what we do and I think I was part of the generation where I used to keep work and home life very separate and that world has gone, forever. That means a lot in many different ways as employers but also as marketers to bear that in mind and really think about what does that mean for the day to day lives of people we are trying to engage with.
Lilah: Yeah, I agree those lines have become blurred and we all laughed at that news presenter who had his kids coming in the background and that just feels like it’s part of everyday life now doesn’t it. I think that was last year sometime. Roger, what does humanised marketing mean in your world? Is it any different or the same as the description there?
Roger: As I said earlier, I’m a big fan of simplicity. I always have been and I am specifically a fan of simple language. Language is so important when it comes to marketing and I think that we are living, it doesn’t matter what industry you work in, whether you’re in car mechanics or making cupcakes or marketing consultancy or fitness, there will be a language that goes with that industry and a jargon specifically that goes with that industry. However hard we try we often get sucked into the jargon of the industry that we work in and therefore we assume that everybody understands that language. But it’s a bit like living in France and learning French and then coming back to the UK and speaking French and expecting everybody to understand what you’re saying…..they are not going to be able to do it. That’s where we’ve got to be very, very careful. If we want to humanise things, if we want to bring it down to the human level we’ve got to talk in plain language, easy to understand, day-to-day chatty language and try to move away from the jargon and the gobbledygook and the management speak, I guess….and that language that goes with industries. It’s hard, it’s very hard because if you live and breathe something day-to-day you are going to end up talking like that. But it’s very, very important because I think that language is a proxy for pretty much everything else so it’s likely if you use complicated language in your business it’s probable that your products are going to be complicated and your processes are going to be complicated as well. So I will always look at a business and look at the language that they use and think if the language is complex it’s often likely that everything else will be as well. So for me, humanization is bringing it right back down to simple language and if you can do that it will flow through to the rest of what you do.
Lilah: I think you’re so right, how many acronyms do you have in your own business. I could probably reel off about 20 now, just in ours. Kate, do you have any acronyms in your business that just become normal language?
Kate: Yes, loads of them, loads of them. I guess …
Lilah: I think we lost Kate for a moment so I think we’ll skip over to Sam. In terms of humanised marketing in your world, what does that mean, what are you seeing from your customers?
Sam: It’s funny you should mention acronyms actually, myself and my friend Russ who is over ….ooo Kate’s back?
Lilah: Kate we’ll just skip over to Sam and get back to you.
Sam: On the acronym side, I actually started a series called Demystifying Digital. My Friend and I ran it on Linkedin, it’s under the hashtag #samrussdigital. Anyway, essentially we took digital marketing terms, like SEO, PPC, all this jargon….conversion rate optimization……all these things to a layman would mean nothing and put them into simple analogies. For example just off the top of my head, one of them was Pay Per Click and SEO, search engine optimization. So I compare Pay Per click to renting a house, as long as you’re paying you’re staying in a property, just like your Google Ads and your Facebook Ads, as long as you pay your advert is there and you can drive traffic to your website and get the leads. SEO is a bit like a mortgage, it’s a long term investment, over time you’re paying your way to eventually owning that property and just like on Google, you put in the work and long term you’ll own that top spot, page one on Google to get you more web traffic, to get you more leads, to improve your brand positioning and all that good stuff. Coming back to the humanising part, I think Roger has hit the nail on the head. It’s just to dive in that bit deeper, not just using jargon and technical terms but literally using the wording that your customers use. So if you’re having sales conversations with your clients, instead of saying things like ‘oh our product converts more leads’ or whatever you want to say, your clients might say ‘oh it generated me more opportunities’ or ‘we saw an uptick in our inbound enquiries’. So literally using the words that your customers say on your website copy, on your digital copy, on your print copy because this is what people who use your products say. No-one cares what you have to say, they want to know a simple language that makes sense to them, not what makes sense to you. So that’s one of the best pieces of advice I give in terms of copy, in terms of putting things together that’s going to appeal to your ideal customers.
Lilah, I like it Sam, thank you. Kate, do we have you back?
Kate: Oh I don’t know, can you hear me?
Lilah: We can, we can. Welcome back.
Kate: Yaaay! So for the customers who use us for lead capture, we want to put the best foot forward so we put our people on there to make sure that everyone who calls the business, fills in a live chat and it’s captured in the right way possible to drive their sales. So we put in people based technology to really manage that. So I guess that’s where we see technology is really super-powering the people we have on the end of the lines, helping other businesses.
Lilah: I like that, so you’re using technology to enable humanised engagement and Roger, you were very much talking about that simplification of language, let’s cut through trying to be all smart and clever and actually get back down to what it is that we’re trying to say. So in terms of why is it important? Shane, can I come to you on that one? We know what it means but why is that important, do you think?
Shane: I think what the panel has articulated really well is its about having a conversation and actually clear language where we can talk to one another and understand each other is super important but actually to do that you’ve got to listen and I think businesses haven’t been listening to their customers. I love the fact you’ve got a live chat expert on this because I am a superfan of live chat and what it can do for businesses because it’s conversational and it actually brings that two-way engagement much further up the funnel. We’ve been too guilty, too long of lots of broadcast and lots of push and lots of shouting, now is the time for more listening and really understanding, to the point that Roger and Sam made brilliantly…..understanding what our customers want and giving it to them…..that to me is why this webinar is so important.
Lilah: That brings us back to Sam’s point there of not saying what we want to say but listening to what our customers want to hear and then putting our messaging in a way that it resonates within their language, not our language, not our acronyms but to do that first of all we have to listen to engage in the conversation, is that right?
Lilah: Super! So in terms of why is it important I think that Kate in terms of lead gen why do you think that humanised communication is important?
Kate: Just picking up on Shane’s point, putting it on your website probably increases your leads captured by 15-30% so it’s really important for B2B marketing. We have clients who got a £150,000 lead when they had a free trial. We do free trials and they had it in their trial period, they would have never got that because the customer just wanted to type, they just wanted live chat, they didn’t want to speak to anyone. They just wanted to figure it out because some people prefer to communicate through text than voice. It’s that part of the puzzle that’s important, the other bit to figure out if phone calls, 56% of businesses in the UK say the phone is still their most important channel and it’s the highest channel out there. So make sure that people who phone you, who want to do business with you can get through to the right people. The right people are likely to be the sales team so make sure you have figured out how you can funnel all of those wonderful, really bottom of the funnel, high converting leads through to the right people who can convert them. It’s about responsiveness, it’s about listening, it’s about feeding back and doing it in a really timely manner. There is a company that we work with who says if you respond within 5 minutes to a lead that hits your website, you are 21 times more likely to qualify that lead. If you start adding that stuff up that becomes really important business and I think it’s become more important in lockdown because marketing budgets are tight. We are having a bit of a tough time so anyone who hits your website make sure you capture their details as much as you can and can talk to them in the future.
Lilah: Absolutely, I’m a huge advocate of that myself. I did a presentation at the B2B Marketing Expo on exactly that piece on following up in real-time and the average B2B business takes 46 hours and 53 minutes (this number sticks in my head) to follow up with a lead. Can you imagine where people have gone by the time you take nearly 2 days to follow up with people! How much marketing investment is being wasted by just not focusing on that real humanised communication. I think that, Kate, you picked on a really valuable point there….if you allow people to communicate by their own personal communication preferences, whether that be over the phone or whether that be in type format then you’re going to just naturally pick up more opportunities if you just enable an array of communication preferences, would you say?
Kate: I would definitely say that. Live chat is also interesting because an agent can take 10 times the number of enquiries as a phone call. So actually there’s a real scale efficiency of that channel, that really can massively increase the number of leads and convert all those website visitors to leads from the website. But you’re right, people have different personalities and communicate in different ways and some people like to chat. Moneypenny is a company that likes to chat, you know call answering, we love the phone calls so if you don’t like to chat as a business, you can outsource to people who really do love new customer enquiries and really figuring out how to help them.
Lilah: Absolutely. Sam, I know that you work a lot in terms of conversions and that sort of thing so what do you see because I know you bridge that gap between marketing and sales, don’t you.
Sam: Yeah, I think there are some good points there, essentially making it as easy as possible on your digital assets so we do a lot in web and digital marketing. Giving people as many different options as possible to get in touch with you, so not just live chat…….whether its a contact enquiry form, whether its a click to call, whether its live chat. Giving them as many options as possible to get in touch with you and not losing out on that opportunity and like you mentioned following up on that ‘speed to lead’ to key. So if I saw a lead in my inbox and one of my team didn’t reply to that within half an hour, I would be fuming, I would be angry. I’d say “what the heck’s going on guys, we need to get straight on that lead”…….48 hours, I’d probably die of a heart attack!! Some quick ideas for businesses if you are looking to capture more leads through your digital assets. In terms of your website, make sure it loads lightning quick….so you want it loading ideally well under 2 seconds, if your site is as slow as a snail they are just going to head to a competitor. Going back to the language point, make sure that as soon as someone lands on your page, before they scroll, they can quickly understand the exact service you provide. We help companies get better at X’ or ‘we fix this problem’, so they know exactly how you can help or the problem you can fix before they need to scroll. Make sure you’ve got a clear call to action before they need to scroll, so whether that’s ‘get a quote now’ or ‘book a consultation’ or ‘learn more’ or whatever action you want them to take. Make sure it’s as easy as possible to get in touch. As the guys at Lead Forensics know, only about 2% of people that visit your site are actually ready to do business with you, so they are ready to book a quote, request a consultation or make a purchase. So having other options like ebooks or informative guides like ‘5 best ways to do X’ or ‘how to become a master at Y’ or ‘how to be the best at Z’, is a really good way for people who aren’t quite ready to take the next step and convert, or give you a call or fill out a form but they want to learn more. So you can capture their name, capture their email….you give them a useful guide and that puts them into your email list so you can nurture them a little bit more. I’ve got more tips, but that’s just a few quick ones to really help with your website engagement, up those all important leads and get the best bang for your buck with your marketing spend. If you’re spending money on your website but people aren’t taking the actions you want, you all know how hard it is to actually get someone on your website through Ads, through SEO, through social in the first place. If they’re just coming on to your website, bouncing off to a competitor because they can’t find the information they want or if it’s not easy for them to get in touch, you are missing out.
Lilah: It sounds like such common sense doesn’t it but you could visit 100 websites and find that actually they spiralled down a rabbit hole of over complexity, Roger, and haven’t really thought about the basics of just making it simple for people to get in touch with you. Roger, in terms of humanised marketing, where should it be thought of in terms of when people are putting together their strategies, where can it be weaved in, is it something fundamental? What’s your advice from a strategic perspective?
Roger: I always apologise when we start using the word strategic because it’s usually when people start to zone out and their eyes glaze over because strategic is almost synonymous with complexity, isn’t it. It’s often the case that a lot of companies tend to focus very tactically, so we’ve already talked a lot about SEO today and we might talk about emails, we might talk about other forms of communication. Marketing is much wider than the tactical stuff and the strategy is effectively two things; what’s your offer and going back to what we said before, that comes from a deep almost obsessive understanding of the customer. It’s only by understanding the customer, the human customer…how they talk, what they like, what they don’t like, how much they earn, about their families, all that sort of thing….it’s the understanding of that individual that allows you to create an offer that is engaging and compelling for them. Once you’ve done that you build your product around it. The second part of the strategy is effectively the goals that you have for your business. So that could be a level of profit, that could be the number of eyeballs on screens, it could be a number of revenue targets, whatever it might be, a number of sales…..it’s always important to do that first. I’m the first to admit, that can be less interesting than playing around with all this fabulous digital technology we all have access to now but unless you get the offer and the goals in place first, it’s likely that your tactics are not going to succeed because you haven’t done the groundwork first. Secondly, what I would suggest is if you have that deep, almost obsessive understanding of the customer you will also know how they want to be communicated with and how they don’t. Sam alluded to it by saying wouldn’t it be great to do things like ebooks and articles that answer questions on your website rather than 100’s of pop-up Ads and annoying things. As an individual, if I go on to a newspaper website, in fact I hardly ever go on to newspaper websites these days because it’s almost like playing a modern version of space-invaders …..you have all these Ads pop-up, videos pop-up, things covering up what you’re trying to read and I get cross and annoyed and I say that’s it I’m not reading. Now, if as a marketing person I don’t like people doing that to me, why would I as a marketer feel it was okay for me to do that to a potential customer. So understand the customer deeply and it will tell you what their product need is and it will also tell you how to communicate with them.
Lilah: Absolutely, really good point. Like you say, taking the time to take it back to really understand the perfect audience for your product and then how do they want to be communicated with. So I think you are absolutely right. I’ve got a question from Laurie and I think it’s a really good one at this point. Laurie’s asked whether we’ve got an example of really good humanised marketing, so Shane can I take that one to you?
Shane: I do. What I get to do, that is lovely, is judge lots of awards and there’s one that stood out to me from the B2B marketing awards last year which was actually a customer experience award. Interestingly enough it was for Vodafone and the reason to me it put humanization, it put the problem right at the heart of the campaign. It was a campaign but to Roger’s point, it was a strategic recognition that churn is a huge issue for mobile companies and one of the reasons it’s a huge issue is because of something called ‘bill shock’. Bill shock is when you get that mobile phone bill and you go ‘oh my gawd, I wasn’t expecting that’ and that’s true of businesses as well as us as consumers. Often it happens because your data roaming programme isn’t correct or whatever it might be. What Vodafone did, which I hugely admire, is they took that understanding of that pain and they turned it into a campaign. saying basically we know you don’t like nasty surprises and turned that into a way to absolutely help…. a point that has been made brilliantly by the panellists….. using the right channel so you could choose as a customer of Vodafone which channel to engage with, so that could be by text, by the website, by phone when previously, it had only been by inbound phone call. The results were absolutely amazing and the idea was that it was a retention campaign but because it was handled so well, they had a really good engagement and they managed to upsell and cross-sell and turn very unhappy customers into very happy ones. So it’s a great example, it’s available on the B2B Marketing website, to read about how to do exactly that, put the human right at the centre.
Lilah: Yeah, that’s absolutely a great example….did they win by any chance?
Shane: They did.
Lilah: Thought so! There are examples of when you got market in terms of humanization but I know also we have used engaging in a humanised way to our advantage and we’ve uplifted our results massively by looking at the speed of …..Sam you coined it early, that ‘speed to lead’……. in a human way and you’re not actually investing any more in to martech stack. As you mentioned, we’ve all got gadgets and gizmos now in the marketing world but actually just focusing on the opportunities that we have coming in and leveraging humanised engagement to actually increase our conversions and contribution to the business without actually investing any more. There’s an industry average that comes from Forbes actually that 27% of marketing generated opportunities actually get converted to a meaningful opportunity for the business. If you think that’s almost three quarters of all our marketing effort wasted, it’s madness. We found that leveraging humanised engagement during that post initial enquiry stage has really helped to generate opportunities into our business without investing anything more. So as well as that initial front end piece I think we can use that humanised engagement to help generate more for our business and get more bang for our buck if you like in terms of the opportunities we’ve got coming in. I’m going to put this question to Kate, if that’s okay because you are probably best placed to answer this question from Natalia and I think you’ll understand why when I ask it. What are the best practices when using live chat? I’m sure you have plentiful advice on that piece.
Kate: Yeah, loads of advice. Always test it, test your messaging at first, test the time it takes to pop-up. So sometimes you might want people to call you first and for live chat to come up after a minute. So you might want to put in a phone call first and then a live chat but always test it because it will be different for different companies. Have people who understand the business so they are able to answer frequently asked questions. The other one is, get a new sales enquiry as quickly as you can to the sales team. That might be a live chat agent salesperson or it might be a system where you quickly alert a salesperson and get phone number details for the sales person to call them back. It doesn’t have to be super tech all the time. It’s definitely getting the people who really do want to conduct business with you quickly through the system. But yeah, use it. We had one client who got a 15% lift on leads by just putting live chat on their website. Play around with chatbots and live people and see what combination works best for you.
Lilah: That’s an interesting piece, isn’t it because there’s a lot around chatbots at the moment versus people. So chatbots we know can be on all of the time whereas to have someone manning a live chat itself can be problematic and costly.
Kate: My view on that is a chatbot is better than no live chat, then a person is better in hours if you can handle it is better than a chatbot. So it’s about what you can afford and practising. It all depends on the business, if a lot of your questions are frequently asked questions that a chatbot can handle by all means it’s probably fine but most new customer enquiries need a bit more depth and a bit more understanding so you might be better with people handling it. Then it depends on the volume of chats, how many people you have in-house and how many you outsource.
Lilah: There’s always a scepticism around chatbots isn’t there because we get people testing our chatbots and just checking whether they are human by asking them a topical question or something like that and we also love………
Kate: Our favourite response is “are you human or are you technology, go on prove it.” We have people at 3am, no-one can ever believe it’s a real person but we have a night shift who are real people who do prove it!
Lilah: You’ve exceeded their expectations right there haven’t you. Just coming back to humanized marketing, if you have no idea where to start with humanising your marketing strategy, it’s not something you’ve ever considered before or anything like that. Where can people start, Roger I’ll come to you on that one if that’s okay. Where would you say people should start with that?
Roger: I think it comes back a bit to what I said before, is that understanding of the customer and Shane as well said, that one of the problems we have these days is that we perhaps don’t listen to what people are saying or we might pretend we’re listening but we don’t actually hear what they are saying. It’s very easy if you do research, and over the years I’ve spent quite a lot of time in watch focus groups in those rooms with one way mirrors and you can often go into a research session wanting a specific answer to come out of it. Somebody might suggest you go in with weighted questions so that you end up with the answer that you want, although of course you wouldn’t get any research companies allowing you to do that technically. I think you’ve just got to listen to what people are saying, actually hear what they are saying, work out what their needs are, what their problems are and then you’ve got to fix those problems, those needs with your product in a better and preferably different way to that of your competitors. I think that’s one of the dangers that we have in all industries. Instead of focusing on the customer and solving their problems, we want to try to get one up on our competitors. If my competitor has 15 widgets on their product, then I can be better than them by adding 2 more widgets and therefore I’ve got a better product. The problem is that it’s only better until they go and add another 2 widgets on and they’re beating me. Better only lasts the length of time it takes for everybody to catch up and overtake. Different is the harder thing to do but often different is going to give you a much more sustained advantage and you can only get the insight to what different means by genuinely listening to what your customers are saying. Again, that perhaps means getting them into one of those focus group meeting rooms, okay these days it might have to be on Zoom I guess but whilst quantity of research is great and backs up data behind lots of decisions, the insights will always come when you have human beings in a room and you ask them questions that evoke their emotions, evoke their feelings. Those are the responses to focus in on because those are the human responses and that’s where you will find the insights. You might have to do a bit of shark jumping I guess to turn those insights into products but it’s only by listening to real people rather than to try to leapfrog competitors…..who might have perfectly good products….. but going back to what I said earlier if it’s complicated and you leapfrog them you’re falling into a trap of complexity. If you want to be human, focus on the humans.
Kate: Building on Roger’s point, we found out so much from live chat transcripts at the start of the pandemic to reshape our portfolio. We had people telling us what their problems were, they couldn’t reconfigure their telephony so were having a mobile phone that they’d transferred all their business numbers to and they were taking it every Friday to different PAs. You would never get that if you weren’t really studying it. So you’ve got this amazing resource there that you can use to mine for product information and you can reconfigure how you sell and what products you can provide to customers.
Sam: Just to add to that a bit more, to the research stage…Roger is spot on…. identify who your ideal customer profile is and then understand where they hang out. So if you’re going to do marketing, you want to be marketing on the right channels. You don’t want to say I’m going to do a Facebook Ads campaign, I’m going to do an Insta, I’m going to a Linkedin campaign, I’m going to do all these campaigns but if your ideal customer is not on there what’s the point. So lets say for example you’re a company offering CRM software as a service, a CRM SaaS company you’re probably going to be selling to B2B professionals, they are probably going to be C-suite, maybe marketing directors, maybe their sales managers so the chances are that they hang out on Linkedin. So you could do Linkedin targeting Ads, you could get your sales reps to home in on your ideal customers from there and start conversations, you could probably do some cold calling, probably get some leads from Google Ads, probably get them through some SEO as well. So understand exactly where your customer is, understand where they hangout, what they are actually using to search……how can you get that data? Well, you can talk to some of your existing customers, so you can literally start up some conversations, organise a 15 minute call with some of your existing clients and say ‘do you mind if I run through some questions with you? How did you find us? What motivated you to do business with us specifically?’ You’re asking these key questions, that are giving you the answers you need to know which you can put on your marketing material, put on your digital assets, like you website and your Ads and all that good stuff and you don’t have to spend thousands on reworking the wheel, you’ve already got the gold with your existing clients, your testimonials, your reviews that are already in place. So make sure you get the fundamentals right before you start splashing money out on stuff they may or may not work.
Lilah: That’s great advice there Sam. I’m just conscious of the time because we’ve had some really good conversations and time has just flown by. So I just wanted to ask a final question to everyone, which is that marketers can’t overhaul everything in one go, we all know that. We can only do so many things at once. So if there was one thing that you would recommend to a marketing department…..say start here…..and what sort of results would they expect to get from that, from your one thing, Shane what would that be for you?
Shane: So my one top tip brings together what everybody has said, is to do a customer journey or a customer experience audit and to understand, to Sam’s last point, what’s working but also what’s not working, what’s broken. When you do a customer journey audit you’ll find where you are losing people. You find absolutely, as to the point that Kate made, if you are using live chat that data stream is so fantastic because if you have a frequently asked question you can change the navigation on your website. The only reason that they are asking it, is because they can’t find it. So make better what you do day-to-day and it’s that sky cycling team model, if everybody if everybody improves a little bit, by 1% that’s a massive impact on the bottom line. That’s where I start with all of my clients, let’s find out before we bring in any new strategies, let’s just get the current engine working as well as possible. That’s all about putting being human at the centre of it because it’s where stuff is broken and not working. So do an audit.
Lilah: I like that concept of the baby steps. You might only take 1% improvement here, 1% improvement there, 1% there but soon that adds up to 5%, improvement 10%, improvement 20% and ultimately if you are adding 20% improvement, that is going to be significant for the bottom line even by just those small baby steps, would you say?
Shane: Absolutely, you stop wasting money and you start making money.
Lilah: Absolutely. Kate, what would be your recommendation?
Kate: I’m going to nick Sam’s comment on ‘speed to lead’ to be honest because I think that’s genius and I’m totally using it now. Be really responsive and funnel things through to the right people as quickly as you possibly can. If you’ve got a recruitment person who wants to come and work for your company, get them to the HR team as quickly as possible, as a new customer enquiry to the sales team …..just ‘speed to lead’.
Lilah: Yeah, I’m all in that ‘speed to lead’ and there’s a lot of research in that area, anyone can go and look it up. That ‘speed to lead’ has some really compelling stats against it in terms of uplifting. As you say, you’ve got these leads in why not maximise them. So if your average is 27% conversion, how do you get that to 35%, how do you get that to 45%…..I think you are absolutely right ‘speed to lead’ is so important and actually it’s maximise what you are already investing in, you’re not having to invest anymore so really good point. Sam, you’re going to have to think of another one in a minute because Kate’s just stolen that from you. Roger, I’ll come to you first to give Sam some thinking time.
Roger: I suppose what I said going back right at the beginning about language being a proxy for all sorts of things, like product and process and things like that. Maybe focus on part of your website, the product part or focus on some of your marketing communications and just audit the words, audit the language. Is it talking in your language as a business or is it talking in the customer language? If it’s talking the language of your business, try to convert it into the language of your customer. Cut out the jargon, cut out big words, cut out passive language, for goodness sake please cut out passive language. Maybe try to rewrite paragraphs down into sentences and sentences down to one or two words. If you try that with just one or two things it’s incredible the insights you’ll get out of simplifying it down.
Lilah: I like that, so cut the waffle to get to essence. Super! Sam, any other suggestions from you?
Sam: I’ve got too many but just before I give my tip, in terms of lead conversions we talked about ‘speed to lead’, also to make best use of the inbound leads you do get, don’t limit yourself to one channel. So lets say someone filled out a form for a consultation or for a demo request, don’t just email them back. Email them, if they don’t respond to that straight away if it’s out of hours…. obviously if you can, call them straight away…….. drop them an email, if there is still no response perhaps try a video message. There are great tools like Vidyard, where you can send personalised video requests, connect with them on Linkedin, send them perhaps a voice note through there. Utilise every channel you can to connect with this lead and don’t waste the opportunity and follow up. The fruit is in the follow up, don’t just leave the lead to one side, make sure you put it in your CRM or your sheet and make sure you follow up that lead. Otherwise your sales team and marketing team are going to be mad because you’ve wasted that opportunity. Right, my tip is always be measuring, especially with digital marketing. Don’t do marketing for the sake of marketing, actually measure your results. So if you are spending money on Google Ads, investing in SEO, if you are doing work on Linkedin, whatever channel it is you’re working on to direct traffic to your website or landing page, measure it. First of all, get Google Analytics or a similar tool, understand what channels are sending traffic to your site, understand if those channels are converting leads or converting sales and if you are getting a return against your spend. If not, you may need to tweak your website or tweak your Ads or drop it altogether. Don’t be afraid to drop marketing if it’s not working but you need to measure things properly otherwise you are just shooting in the dark and you’re not going against data, you’re just going with your gut.
Lilah: Absolutely, so using insight to build upon where is being effective. Two great points there. Actually this Linkedin voice note is relatively new isn’t it and so I know some of our team are trialling that at the moment. In terms of that, we have what we call an SLA internally, whereby we have a commitment to our customers that if they enquire, we’re going to try and get hold of them within 10 minutes of their enquiry, using a multi channel approach. So exactly what you’ve been saying Sam, use that multi channel approach to get through to people, ultimately you’re trying to honour their request and so by using that multi channel approach it can really help with that engagement and actually speaking to somebody one-to-one is really helpful. So, I’m just going to ask one question because I know this is a Lead Forensics webinar. Thank you all so much for attending today, I know quite a few people joined us. One last piece from me, we are offering a free 14 day trial of Lead Forensics. During that trial you get access to your website visitors, so hopefully everybody knows already that Lead Forensics identifies who is visiting your website. I’m going to pop a poll up to see who wants to take that trial and whilst you are answering that I’m also going to let you know as a bit of an end of year bonus anyone who takes a trial out with us over the next couple of weeks will be entered into a draw to win a Macbook Pro, I think it’s called, it’s just the latest one out and also 3 Homepod minis, I think they are the Apple equivalent of the Alexa. I don’t think they’ve even been released yet but that’s just to say thanks for the trial. The most important thing is you will get to see who is visiting your website during your trial and hopefully fuel you with some more opportunities for your business during that time. So do complete the poll question, even if you’re not interested just let us know from a poll perspective because then we can crack on. Just over half of you have voted already so we’ll just keep the poll up for a couple more minutes. For our existing customers you will know we will have our Lead Forensics Awards coming up in the next few weeks, which I hope you are all very excited about.
The last thing for me is to thank Roger, Sam, Kate and Shane. I think we could talk about this subject for hours and hours, could we not? Any closing remarks from you each at all before we finish for today? Shane?
Shane: I just think there’s lots to absorb there. I love that last point about measurement. To me, data……. There is so much we can learn from the data about what our customers want. You have that poll, no doubt Lead Forensics is going to be using that data to engage appropriately in a very human way so I look forward to seeing how you use data intelligently. It’s all about being smart and thinking about it from the customer point of view.
Lilah: Absolutely, I think there could be a whole other webinar on how to measure everything successfully. I know that we leverage pipeline marketing and there’s a whole other piece there, isn’t there and that was a very good entry point there, Sam, for extra debate. Roger, any closing remarks from you.
Roger: I always come back to keeping things simple but always remember that the reason why things are complicated is that ‘simple’ is hard but if you stick at it and aim for simple then you’re going to be rewarded for the business success that you have.
Lilah: Like it, good. Kate, any closing remarks from you?
Kate: Just thank you very much. We are a partner of Lead Forensics and we’ve just pulled together an ebook on this whole topic, so check out our website. Please take advantage of our free trial if you think live chat or telephone answering can help your business.
Lilah: I have a copy of your ebook ready to read, that’s some bedtime reading for me so I’m very excited about that one.
Kate: Wonderful and thank you for your contribution to it.
Lilah: Pleasure, thank you Kate. Sam, any closing comments from you?
Sam: Thanks everyone for tuning in. Like I say, when it comes to especially digital marketing leave your opinion at the door. Because sometimes what you think personally would really work well on your website, your Ads, whatever you’re putting out there might be awful, I’ve been guilty in the past. Test things by all means but then measure it and tweak appropriately. Always be humble on that side of things but if you want to check us out, we’re Webchoiceuk.com, we’d love to chat to you if you’re having problems converting leads via your website or if your digital marketing is no good and please check out my podcast, The Business Growth Show, I’d love you to have a listen.
Lilah: Sam, I think you are the man for the one-liner takeaway so far, I think I’ve scribbled down 5 different one-liners you’ve said so far in this webinar, so thank you for that. Thank you so much for your time guys, really appreciate it, great conversation and for anyone who is still online, if you’ve got any further questions do let us know. This webinar will be available on demand afterwards so you can rewatch it to your heart’s content or share away but do comment on our social media and if there are any further questions for any of our panellists, we’ll be sure to pass those on for you as well. So thank you very much and have a good evening.
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