Selling with big data

Got good data? Here’s how you get great marketing

Jori Messer, Regus

Customer’s first, you see that emblazoned on lots of signs. How many companies really put their customers first though? A customer centric, data driven approach really is the only way to ensure that you’re consistently improving retention and staying ahead of the competition.

Understanding how your customers feel about your services is more than just a touchy feely HR excersize, it’s essential to your strategy. “I think it comes back to the essential reason as to why we want the data. To improve our business decisions. Too many decisions get made on intuition and gut feeling, rather than numbers, research and facts.” says Jori (Director APAC, Regus)

Using customer insights to create more relevant messaging

After running a survey with Survey Monkey, using an audience panel of 1000, they discovered that there were a lot of people that weren’t familiar with the brand. The survey delved into what influenced their choice of workspace. “That data helped us translate and change the messaging to specifically mention those aspects. What ‘they were looking for needed to be in the messaging, so that we could create that ‘click’.” Jori emphatically says “Knowing what your customer is looking for is critical to getting your messaging right.”

“The survey highlighted that we need to be heavily localized. Locally relevant.” Whilst many brands have a global identity, knowing who you’re serving in each local market, what their needs are, and how you can adjust your messaging to them, is very important.

As an example of how their messaging has changed, their previous (Google AdWords) campaigns had language that was focused on their global network. That has since been changed to talk about their local branch network first and only mention their global network at the end. The exercise paid off, with the localized advert content driving measurably more leads and better conversions.

The insights from the survey, and positive results from their initial localization efforts – have had an impact on their marketing across the board. There’s been change in everything from their marketing photography (using local models), to the text copy (local emphasis, local place names), right down to the keywords and core messages (why their customers buy their services in a particular country).

Your customers already know what they want

Customer feedback can have an impact well beyond just your messaging though. Your customer feedback can be leveraged to drive improvement across your business. Don’t just use one customers fancy ideas though – real insights are grounded in solid data from thousands of clients. It should hopefully feature helpful data points like “percentage of customers interested”, and weighted opinions on “would probably buy”. Which is why asking the right questions, and conducting a proper analysis on the traditional ‘feedback form’ is more important than ever before.

Customer feedback is a mountain of wealth. Use it not just to improve existing services, but as a key driver to introduce entirely new products. “It’s why we decided to partner with WiFi hotspot & airline lounge providers.”

So what does this mean for your marketing & your business?

Do not underestimate the value of data. Investigate. Even if you have an instinct, and a wealth of industry experience. Your investigation doesn’t need to be complicated, just ask a few hundred people and look for clear trends. A bigger audience is better, but a clear trend doesn’t really change with varying sample sizes. Good customer data will give your marketing clear direction, if you’re start-up it might even give you clear business direction. As Jori says “Before you build a product, build customers. Be product minded. We see a lot of startups build products, assuming that once they launch they’ll acquire customers – only to realize that they have a product no one wants. I think its essential that you know who your customers are, and those customers that you test how they respond to the product ideas, whether they’ll purchase, and whether your product solves the customers problem.”

Jason Cambell Presentation Socks

3 tips to captivate your audience

Stand out from the crowd, be memorable, be yourself – sound familiar? That advice your mum gave you on how to cope as a teenager (read: how to talk to the opposite sex), is still true when it comes to making an impression on your customers. Here’s how one speaker dominated an entire one day conference in less than 20 minutes, and some tips on how you can replicate his formula for success.

HubSpot held it’s first official event in Singapore (Grow), with speakers from their various regional offices. Interestingly the most talked about speaker wasn’t a Hubspotter, it was an external speaker, Jason Campbell from Mind Valley. His on stage presence was nothing short of mesmorizing. There’s plenty to be said for practicing to present, natural aptitude, and plenty of sales experience – however he did three things that stood out. Three things that you can incorporate into your next presentation:

  1. Dress with personality

He was wearing regular on-stage business attire, the waist coat was a nice touch, but the big impact came from his socks. It took a few moments to notice that he (intentionally) wasn’t wearing shoes, and then just a few seconds more for people to start taking photos. After his session lots of people were curious enough to ask him about it, and he has a great story to share about why he wears socks.

The fact that he was dressed a little unusually made him immediately memorable as “that-guy-wearing-socks-on-stage”, and the story he’ll tell you about why he wears them, ensures that you won’t forget him. Except for “business attire”, I don’t specifically remember what any of the other speakers were wearing. What do you remember about the last speaker you saw?

  1. Speaking to your audience with passion & belief

For most presenters it felt like they were moving through pre-prepared sales decks – albeit, very nicely. They didn’t have a single powerful message, one they really believed in, that they were communicating. Jason did, it was clear & obvious. Ignoring his skill as a speaker, his presentation used analogies everyone could relate to, and his whole presentation reinforced the same fundamental concept. Like a good comedian, he directly engaged members of the audience making his points easily relatable.

The end result was that you felt that Jason really believed what he was telling you. Which made it much easier to agree with him.

  1. Be educational, but more importantly be inspirational

Unlike many presentations which try to technically convince people that a particular product is worth buying (which might be appropriate for some audiences), he seemed focused on evoking a specific set of emotions. Most people quite quickly forget the specifics of a presentation, especially if there’s several they have to watch, or they have other things to do. Very few people forget how they feel about something though. Think about the most recent comedy show you’ve seen…. It’s hard to remember more than one or two specific jokes, but it’s easy to remember whether you enjoyed it or came out feeling a bit “meh”…

When you’re designing your next sales pitch, presentation, or campaign, think about how you might be able to leverage some of these tips to leave your audience with a lasting impression. If you’ve got a few tricks of your own, let me know!

Conference and Trade Show Booth

How To make friends & get more leads at your next trade show

I was at an exhibition and saw a standy that proclaimed “Improve sales conversions” in a big bold font. It was actually the only thing the standy said. I’m a digital marketer, I’m always looking for ways to improve conversions. Higher conversion rates are the Holy Grail – even the smallest increase in conversion rate will make a big difference to revenue. So I went over to speak to rep standing at the booth, it’s what happened next that really shocked me.

The company provided live chat, so after the pleasantries I pointed at the standy and asked the most innocent (but hardest) question first “What percentage improvement does your technology usually deliver?” The sales rep squirmed a bit and then said “We’re more focused on customer support, I don’t have any numbers or case studies on sales conversions, but it can help.”

Disrupting the customer journey (in a bad way)

In exactly one sentence he’d completely undermined the “Sales Conversion” marketing campaign, and any credibility that his company could in fact help to improve conversions. I asked a few more questions, which he answered with a product demo and vague assurances that if put at the right place that live text chat could help the sales process, but my confidence was already gone.

Remember the sales funnel?

The marketing collateral had done it’s job of attracting me. I was at the top of the sales funnel. Here’s a few tips to ensure you make the most of your event and get as many good leads as possible.

Pro Tip #1 Use clear consistent messaging

To move me down through the funnel towards purchase the sales message and the demonstration needed to be aligned with the original marketing message. Without consistency throughout the sales process, my original request and any intent for me to buy had been lost.

Whatever messaging you’re putting out at an event, ensure that every aspect of your sales & marketing is in harmony – including all your digital properties. Even if you have an event specific promotion, mention clearly online that you’ll have exclusive promotions or offerings. When a prospective customer looks for you online, they shouldn’t be confused as to why there are no details of your offer.

A lot of start-ups do this very well. Their products are singularly focused, so the collateral, communication materials and demonstrations move one type of customer through exactly one type of buyer journey. It’s a little more work when your product has multiple potential journeys, but it’s something you need to plan for; especially if you’re creating standys to attract clients to a different journey).

Pro Tip #2  It’s not a card collecting game

Trade show leads are great, in fact they’re the highest quality leads you can get, but that doesn’t make them a competition to collect the most business cards. You’re looking for high quality leads, not random business cards. With a few simple questions you should be able to very easily qualify (or disqualify) potential leads at the event, leaving you with a great list of hopefuls & real leads.Lead quality chart

Here’s a few sample questions you can use for quick customer profiling:

  1. Ideally speaking, what would you like to achieve? (Direction and solution fit)
  2. What solutions do you currently use? How are you currently doing this? (Is this a real problem?)
  3. Have you thought about integrating this with … for better …? (How far along the process are you?)
  4. Would you like to schedule some time with your CTO & the engineering team to discuss …? (Seriousness to buy if senior management are ready to hop into the discussion)

Pro Tip #3 Don’t drone on mindlessly

Whilst you want to spend some time with each prospect, you don’t want to spend too much. Be careful, it’s easy to slip into a sales spiel – it’s probably well-rehearsed and comes of naturally. Unfortunately it’s exactly what’s not needed at an event. The event should be busy, you’ll need to size up potential clients quickly, make a connection and then push them towards a particular follow-up action and then move on to the next client.

Your customer journeys should all end with some form of action, and you should know which direction your customer wants to go based on the profiling. Lead them towards one of these actions. It could be anything from scheduling a demo, registering for a trial, a follow-up call, receiving some specific collateral, or buying with a special event discount.

Pro Tip #4 Get people on your list

Collecting a business card isn’t the same as someone registering for your list. Use a tablet and an incentive to collect email addresses directly at the event. This lets you reach out to people with no objections – because they opted in. I’ve used free chocolates, pens and other bits to get people to register – people will register on your list in exchange for candy at an event.

Pro Tip #5 Run a survey

With a few simple questions you can get some great information about your target audience. It’ll improve your marketing and help you to quickly qualify potential customers. You can have someone walk around and run surveys, allowing them to access more people. It also gives you something to share with all the event attendees after the event. I usually do this with SurveyMonkey and in conjunction with #4.

This is a great secondary source of leads, but don’t spam everyone. Use the survey questions to profile respondents and figure out where they fit into your sales funnel.

Pro Tip #6 Prepare your post event email nurturing campaign

Based on the customer profiles and actionable outcomes, prepare a series of post event email campaigns. Of course you’ll have the sales people directly reaching out, this runs in addition to that – to ensure that all those leads get the right type of thank you note with relevant information. Avoid sending a generic thank you note if possible.

Pro Tip #7 Publish your social media tags and handles

If you’d like the extra publicity from event goers publish your handles & tags prominently. There’s nothing more frustrating for an event goer that wants to tweet something than not knowing who to reference or what tag to use. Don’t forget that events are a great opportunity for you to engage on social media. Ask questions, play games & show some personality. Whilst it’s not going to help you create leads directly at the event, you’ll certainly give your social profiles a boost.