Buyer Personas and the Buyer’s Journey with special guest Adele Revella
What B2B Targeting? Why Sales Hates Your Leads
Qualitative vs. Quantitative Buyer Behavior Research
Account Based Marketing: Defined, Explained and Optimized
Targeting by Job Title
[0:00:00.0] ANNOUNCER:Live, from deep in the heart of Galveston, Texas all the way to the gleaming shores of Jacksonville, Florida, it’s the Green & Greene show. Here are your hosts, Dave Greenand Jonathan Greene, ready to unlock the mysteries of scaling demand gen. The Green & Greene show is brought to you by LeadCrunch, which has reimagined how to find B2B customers at scale.
[0:00:22.0] JG:Welcome, ladies and gentleman, to episode eight of the Green & Greene show. Today, we are going to have the opportunity to talk about buyer personas or customer personas, which is like a mystical unicorn.
People think they understand it, but they don’t. My guest today is Adele Revella who wrote a really great book. It is called Buyer Personas: How to Gain Insight into Your Customer’s Expectations, Align Your Marketing Strategies, and Win More Business. That sounds like the entire job to me. I also have J David Green with me, my colleague and mentor. Thank you, sir, for always being with us.
Adele, treat me like I am one of the special kids here and tell me: What is buyer persona and why should I care about it?
[0:01:12.4] AR:As you suggested, there is a lot of confusion about buyer persona. It is a big topic. People think that buyer personas are some kind of fictional, made-up sort of thing you do in a room with your sales people or maybe a few customers, but they are none of that. Buyer persona should represent your real buyers, thought processes, mindsets, attitude, concerns as they are going through a real buying decision to choose you or your competitors. That’s pretty different than what most people are thinking about buyer personas. We call what people typically describe as a buyer persona a buyer profile. It describes the buyer, but what we need to understand as marketers, particularly as B2B marketers, is their buying decision.
[0:02:20.2] JG:Okay. Help me understand in context. I am a demand generation marketer by trade. I am in the B2B space. Why does this matter to me? Why is it worth the amount of effort and intensity that it will take on the front end to arrive at a working model of a buyer persona?
[0:02:36.0] AR:We’re frankly making stuff up. We are sitting around in rooms with all the best intentions, and my book is dedicated to every marketer who questions the wisdom of making stuff up. That’s what we do. We’re sitting in a room where we’re saying, “Oh, okay, what’s a really good way to go get more people to respond to this email or to download something or interact with us in some kind of campaign?” We’re brainstorming this without any knowledge of what the buyer thinks.
[0:03:14.0] JG:My favorite thing is, “Hey, you know what so and so is doing? We should do that.”
[0:03:22.1] AR:Or, “Somebody just got an award for doing something,” or, “I just had this thought in the car, or in the shower,” because you know all my best thoughts come in the shower. Of course, what drives me crazy about the marketing profession, and I have been in B2B marketing for more than three decades, is that everybody in the company has thoughts and ideas and make stuff up, and then they all come running into that room and say, “Hey, we’re going to generate more leads if you guys try…” You know? Everybody goes running off in the direction of whatever dot-dot-dot is, and it is insanity. Now what if we just stop before?
Creativity is a great thing. We need all of that. We need all of those good ideas, but what if, before we did that, we had a clear understanding of what the buyers want. We all sit around, and we think about what we want. Well, that is great, but what does the buyer want from this buying experience?
[0:04:29.4] JG:Great, I had a drill sergeant back when I first joined the military who made a very memorable comment to me at work one time. He said, “The reason we don’t do things by committee,” and he had a picture of a platypus, and he goes, “Does anybody know what this is?” I said, “It’s a platypus.” He goes, “Wrong. It is a duck designed by committee.” I go, “Well okay.” It was by the committee. You know everybody has to sneak in their little functionality or their little thought without regard, typically, to whether or not it would be effective as a marketing exercise at all.
[0:05:01.5] AR:Or even with the best of intentions. This is really important stuff. Driving demand is it. It’s like if we don’t do that, the ship is going down. People are putting all their energy into making stuff up.
[0:05:21.1] DG:I liken it to trying to have a conversation where the other party doesn’t actually get to say anything and you don’t have to listen. If you have those kinds of conversations, they are usually not that fun, so you might just put yourself into that position with your buyer persona. I read your book, which I thought was absolutely fantastic, and one of the things I liked a lot about it,Adele, was while you had an overarching theory as you are talking about now, you also had some really grounded, practical, simple tips.
For example, if I am getting ready to interview someone, see if I can record it. Otherwise, I won’t be able to capture the verbatim quote that I might like to capture. Sometimes people are uncomfortable with that. “I don’t know if I want you to record this because…,” you know, whatever. They don’t know you that well. You give practical tips on how to do that. Maybe you could share a few things for the people out there who are going to undertake this task. Give them some takeaways about how to do it really well and at a high level.
[0:06:35.0] AR:My number one tip is don’t interview your best customers. Those people all love you, and I think that is fantastic. Maybe if you are having a really bad day, you ought to go interview a good customer so you feel better. Buyer personas aren’t about feeling better. Forget this idea of ideal buyers and all that stuff. We want to interview real buyers and preferably people who didn’t choose us.
The demand gen’s working with the people who bought from us, but what if we went in and interviewed buyers who didn’t choose us and listen to what they had to say and really started to address the objections, the concerns, whatever we did wrong? I mean I don’t know about you guys, but I learn way more from my failures than from my successes. That is tip number one, and then number two is don’t let your sales people get involved in this.
Frankly, the sales people have a very different job than we have. They want to sell stuff and we pay them to sell stuff. I am not trying to change the sales people. I just want to keep them out of the marketing function, which is to hear, objectively, without selling, what real buyers have experienced in this excruciating decision that they had to make, upon which, if they make the wrong decision, they could lose their jobs, their careers.
They could cost their company all this money, and if the sales person is there, then these people aren’t going to be candid with you. This is a big secret. The buyers don’t tell the sales people the truth. You know all that stuff about how you lost on price and all of that? That’s all made up. The buyers told the sales reps that. It’s not true.
I say those are the two most important tips: go talk to real buyers, not just people who love you, and don’t let the sales people get involved. They are not the person you want.
[0:08:40.0] JG:I am drafting a memo. Going forth, the sales people are disinvited from all our initiatives.
[0:08:48.9] DG:That will be music to a lot of the ears in the audience because there is often quite a bit of conflict with sales. I think we have all been there, where sometimes you can just tell that the sales rep is ready to pounce and guide the conversation away from anything that would actually be useful in order to keep it all cheerful and positive.
[0:09:13.0] AR:Any time the buyer brings up an objection, they are going to pounce and try to fix it like, “Oh no.” Whereas we want to say, “Oh really? Say more about that.” Don’t work from a script, you guys. That is the other thing, and the book tells you and we have an online course about this, too. It tells you how to do these interviews without a script. I mean we love Survey Monkey. We love multiple choice questions, and you can put those in charts and graphs, but we want to act more like journalists than researchers. We want to get people on the phone who have just been through this experience and just get them to go in-depth into that story of all those painful moments.
We’re all shopping for Christmas. Do you guys like to shop? Are you excited about shopping for Christmas? No. Neither is your buyer. This is a job-to-be-done, and we want to understand that buyer’s job about the buying decision so we can make it easier. Guess what? Whoever makes it easier, wins.
[0:10:24.8] JG:I actually have a cigar bar that’s about a quarter mile from the mall, and that’s where my wife deposits me when she goes shopping.
[0:10:34.2] AR:Does your wife like to shop?
[0:10:36.8] JG:Well, whose wife doesn’t like shop?
[0:10:39.9] AR:Some women don’t like to shop, but the point is, for your buyers, this is hard. As marketers, we’re not in the right mindset. I mean, we’re talking demand gen, right? Look at what we call ourselves. Demand gen. That’s all about us. It ought to be about the buyer.
[0:11:03.4] DG:The other part of this is the buyer’s journey. I wondered if you could just outline for people what that is and why that matters and how it ties in to these buyer persona interviews that you develop.
[0:11:20.8] AR:We have these buyer personas that are really buyer profiles, you know? Then we have these journeys, which are we sit around talking about all the things we’re doing to drive the journey. Out of these single interviews, we get the real buyer’s journey and we get what they actually did to go from that day when they had the lightbulb moment, “I’ve got to change. I can’t deal with this anymore. I’ve got to go look for a solution like yours,” all the way through until they made a real decision. That’s their journey, and that’s what we need to understand.
It’s not a separate activity by our personas and buyers’ journeys. The buyer persona is about the journey, and it’s about all the frustration and pain and agony that buyer goes through in that journey.
[0:12:15.0] JG:That sounds like one leads to the other. We’re going to have to have you back, I think, to unpack this a little bit more on another episode. I think we’re pretty close to bumping up against our time. We wanted to thank you very sincerely. Once again, ladies and gentlemen, the book’s called Buyer Personas: How to Gain Insight into Your Customer’s Expectations, Align Your Marketing Strategies, and Win More Business.Frankly, if you can do that, you’re going to be okay as a marketer. I would check that out, might want to pick it up.
Any parting thoughts, Adele, before we call it a day?
[0:12:48.4] AR:Our website also has a lot of free resources, buyerpersona.com. Go there and there’s a lot of free stuff there, and we’re on facebook at Buyer Persona Institute, too. That way you don’t have to buy the book to get all the info.
[0:13:05.8] JG:You should check that out folks. Dave, what do you have?
[0:13:08.8] DG:I was going to say that I would buy the book. I like reading, myself, and unfortunately, some of the books I read aren’t really all that worth reading, but this one really is. It has really practical, grounded insights and rationale for how you do this and do it well. It’s a great primer for anybody who has to do it yourself. Those of you who have the budget dollars available probably can’t go wrong by getting Adele involved. Thanks so much, folks.
[0:13:38.0] JG:You heard it here first, ladies and gentlemen. That’s episode eight. We’re wrapping it up. Thanks for joining us, and we’ll look forward to seeing you guys again next time.
[0:13:38.0] ANNOUNCER: Thank you for tuning into the Green & Greene show by LeadCrunch. Green & Greene think differently about B2B and want to start a movement to transform demand gen. If you have ideas for topics or would like to be a guest, send an email to David.Green@leadcrunch.ai. If you’d like to find more customers, visit our website to talk to one of our demand gen guides. www.leadcrunch.com
[0:00:05.1] ANNOUNCER: Live from deep in the heart of Galveston, Texas all the way to the gleaming shores of Jacksonville, Florida, it’s the Green & Greene Show. Here are your hosts, Dave Green and Jonathan Greene, ready to unlock the mysteries of scaling demand gen. The Green & Greene show is brought to you by LeadCrunch, which has reimagined how to find B2B customers at scale.
[0:00:32.3] DG: I was wondering about that. I didn’t get it. I had no idea where the name came from. Hey, Jonathan.
[0:00:38.4] JG: We’re not exactly known for our clever naming conventions, are we? Anyway, this show is sponsored by LeadCrunch, and we’re here to talk about B2B—all things B2B demand generation, really. Today, we’re going to dive into the very sticky, very prolific topic of why the sales team hates my leads.
B2B Sales vs. Marketing: What They’re Really Thinking
[0:01:02.5] DG: I think that’s a fantastic topic. I’ve probably talked to a thousand marketers about leads in my career. I mean, it’s a lot. I’ve talked to way more salespeople about the leads of the marketers. The perspective on that usually falls into two distinct camps. The marketer perspective is quite often, “Salespeople suck.” They don’t follow up and they don’t put much effort when they do, and they don’t know what they’re doing when they do. The other one is the leads are so unqualified that they’re a complete and total waste of time. What’s your thought on that, Jonathan?
[0:01:47.1] JG: It’s like which came first, the chicken or the egg? It’s a broken recording that plays on a continuous loop in just about every organization I’ve ever seen. It’s definitely a topic that people are going to go to jibe with for sure.
[0:02:05.0] DG: If you’ve ever seen that movie, Groundhog Day, that’s actually what it feels like. It’s almost as though you can mouth the words with people as they’re telling you what’s wrong.
[0:02:21.3] JG: Yeah, let’s get into that real quick. We have 15, 20 minutes, so let’s see if we can shed some light on it and perhaps even offer a solution or two. What do you think is the core reason? There are many reasons people’s leads suck, but let’s try to tackle the Pareto analysis of what are the big ones.
Why B2B Lead Quality Sucks Most of the Time
[0:02:42.6] DG: I think it starts with a lot of people responding to a campaign who are actually not ready to talk to salespeople. I always like the analogy of buying a car. Of course, you go online, and you do all your research there, now. At the point when you actually go out to a lot, you may still be in a browsing mode. You don’t really want to talk to the car salesman who’s going to jam you into a test drive. That’s how a lot of people are. They’re just not at that place in the journey, and you have to respect that. That’s one reason. I think there are some bigger reasons, though. What are your thoughts?
[0:03:22.8] JG: I think this is a targeting issue, predominantly, and it has to do with the way, particularly in the B2B space, people target and the targeting methodologies that have been traditionally available to them over time. I think one problem is that, if you think about who you can target in the entire market in terms of it’s a very generic Venn diagram, on the one side, there are people we would like to engage with and on the other side, people who would like to engage with us and the overlap is you’re closed-one business.
The problem is that people try to draw a square over the top of that, and that’s their targeting, because all they have available to them are firmographic, basic tenets of targeting. What vertical is the business in? What industry? How big are they from a revenue perspective? How many employees do they have? That’s really about all you have to work with.
Come to find out, the industry information is not really good. Those NAICS industry codes are really developed for governmental reporting, not for B2B targeting. When you lay your desired targeting parameters over top of that Venn diagram, you find that you’re only really covering a very small percentage of it. Most of the percentage is people who are not really who you’re looking for, because it’s so inexact. Does that make sense?
How Firmographics Are Like Bad Dating Sites
[0:04:52.6] DG: Yeah. Imagine you’re trying to find a life partner. You have three or four pieces of demographic information. You know their age, and you know the geography, maybe their income, and I don’t know, maybe height, weight, or something. That’s already five.
That’s not really a very good filter on who you might love for the rest of your life. It’s really no different than that. There are much more nuanced things going on which connect businesses to each other and connect people to each other. I think we need to put a lot more focus on that to your point, for some of the reasons you mentioned.
[0:05:42.4] JG: Yeah, that’s a really great analogy. You need more than demographic, firmographic information to find the right leads, just like you need more than basic demographics to find the person you’re going to ultimately love. It goes much deeper than that. It goes into your interests. Do you have friends in common? Are there commonalities between you? What’s the chemistry like?
Up to this point in history, nobody that I’m aware of in the B2B space has really tackled this issue of getting some deeper dimensionality to the targeting parameters. We try not to do a lot of gratuitous self-promotion around here, but I think LeadCrunch is cracking this egg, and it’s one reason I’m excited to talk about it. Our vector targeting scheme is beginning to move the needle here in this space. Do you want to talk about that for a second without being as yucky out there?
[0:06:42.0] DG: It’s an experiment we’re running for ourselves. I think one of the things I always like to do is find out if companies eat their own dogfood as they say. Actually, Jonathan, our digital genius is using a look-alike audience from our technology and our best customer list to then go out and run that against a more generic targeting list that you get with traditional firmographics and that sort of thing. I think, through a half-million impressions, you’re seeing a 3X difference in outcome.
[0:07:24.2] JG: The click-through rate is about 325% greater with the lookalike audience than it is with the standard. It’s basically a standard segment that’s available to anybody in trade desk for the digital marketing vertical. Basically, it just hangs there and anybody can use it. It’s what a lot of people use for targeting in their top-of-funnel, demand generation programmatic display campaigns, that generic segmentation that’s available to everyone.
We just stacked that up against our lookalike audience, B2B lookalikes, and said, “Okay, well what’s the difference?” It turns out, the difference is pretty significant, hundreds of percentages equivalent.
How B2B Lookalikes Are Fixing Targeting
[0:08:06.7] DG: Yeah. I think this is the future. Whether we’re the future or not, I’ll leave that to history in the future. I think this idea of getting a lot more insight and intelligence around people who are your best customers and trying to find people who look like that is about a thousand times smarter. I would use a couple of pieces of evidence to point to what’s wrong.
Is there anybody that gets banner blindness? Why does that happen? The targeting sucks. It’s completely irrelevant and you see the ads all over the place. The people that advertise just aren’t very good at turning that into what I might need. It’s not new. I mean, you go back to when people were sending a lot of direct mail instead of doing digital, and the term “junk mail” arose for a reason. A lot of it you threw it in the trash. There’s plenty of empirical evidence that it’s same thing with e-mails. Spam. We actually have to invent words for how bad advertising is and how off the market is.
The other one, I would say, is if you ever are able to close the loop and you’re really good at this and you’re just knocking it out of the park and you’re doing ABM, you’re doing lead scoring. You’re doing lead nurturing. You have a sales development team that follows up on the leads, all the things that they tell you that you should do. You’re lucky if you get 1% of the people to convert.
Despite or chatbots and all this cool stuff that’s out there that we all get excited about, the problem is more fundamental than that. It really does have to do with the fact that you’re bringing too many people in that you shouldn’t. That means you’re wasting huge dollars. Huge dollars.
The Gap: Who You’re Targeting vs. Who Your Real Market Is
[0:10:09.1] JG: It’s all about the tightness and the neatness with which you can target. Our chief data scientist, Steve Biafore, likes to compare it to drawing a square on top of all the available companies and saying, “This is who we’re going to target.” In reality, the people who will work best for you, the shape that you need to draw is probably more like an inkblot. There’s just not enough dimensionality in traditional targeting factors to be able to do that. That’s what innovations like artificial intelligence are enabling us to do, to take ostensibly.
Here’s how it works. It sounds complicated, it sounds a nerdy, but it’s really not. Here’s how it works. You bring me a list of the hundred best customers that you’ve ever had, the best accounts. I’m going to take that information and feed it into our handy-dandy computer artificial intelligence. It’s going to do whatever magic it is that it does and compare those hundred companies algorithmically to everybody else who’s in the market. It’s going to come back, based on deep dimensionality, not just size of the company, not just number of employees, not just revenue, but in what ways do these companies relate to one another? Not just how many people, but who do they have? How are they related to one another? What’s their tenure? What’s their experience?
It takes this really deep dimensionality and applies it to algorithmic similarity. Then it kicks out a list, “Okay, based on the hundred companies that have worked well for you, here are the 10,000 companies that you should go after next,” or the 1,000, or the 500, or however many you need. It sounds really complicated, but that’s a really common, sensible way to approach targeting.
It’s going to eliminate a ton of waste and you’re going to stop targeting people, who ostensibly are not what you’re looking for and the sales team. The peasants will rejoice. They’ll be filled with glee, I promise.
[0:12:01.9] DG: Hey, Jonathan, I live in Texas and I’m pretty sure that a lot of my friends and neighbors don’t know what algorithmically means. Can you help us out with that?
[0:12:16.1] JG: Algorithms are a bit of linear algebra, actually. You probably learned this in high school and very quickly forgot it as soon as you walked away. The difference between us and you is that we have people who remember that thing. If you take a bunch of data points and plot it on a graph and draw a line connecting the ones that work for you, that’s, in essence, the most basic definition of an algorithm.
Then you see what other data points are close to that line. Those are the ones you go after next. They’re algorithmically similar. They’re in the same general area as the companies that are already working for you in a multi-dimensional analysis, basically. There’s not a whole lot of non-nerdy way to explain that.
B2B’s Addiction to Volume & Why It’s Bad for Business
[0:13:03.8] DG: I am so enlightened, man. Thank you very much. I wanted to add one more perspective to this problem. This is really a message for the marketing executives and leaders out there. I think we’ve gotten so addicted to volume. You have to get so many top-of-funnel leads, you have to build so much traffic. It’s that simple quantification that I think helps marketers, especially those who can’t close the loop, rationalize their existence. That addiction to volume drives some bad behavior.
Instead of thinking, “Okay, well, only 1% of these are going to close anyway, can I cut that in half and still get the 1%?” No one wants to do that. They want to just go get the biggest gob of folks they can and talk louder. I just don’t think that that’s the right approach and I think you need to really, fundamentally re-examine some of your underlying assumptions about things.
[0:14:08.3] JG: Yeah, you really have to measure pipeline and the performance of leads through pipeline and hold that in juxtaposition against some lead volume. If you produce half as many leads where they ultimately convert at three times the rate, you’re winning.
[0:14:23.9] DG: Yes. I think that’s the math. I’m actually really grateful, and of all the different things that I’ve seen in my career come through B2B demand gen, I think account-based marketing is one of the most profound. I think it really helps people understand that not every lead has equal value, because not every company has equal value. Maybe we ought to put a more concentrated effort on the few and not on the many.
That doesn’t mean you ignore, because sometimes it’s hard to know exactly, no matter how good your targeting is, but I would use search engine optimization and things like that to try to find the people that are outliers and let them find you, rather than wasting huge media dollars on it.
[0:15:07.6] JG: I think waste is the key word there. If you’re approaching the market with any top-of-funnel, general segmentation that’s available to the mass market, there’s probably 10%, 20%, 30% of waste in that. Just figuring out how to target more efficiently at the top of the funnel will free up a lot more marketing dollars to do things that really matter, like move people through the funnel. It’s a fundamentally broken concept, and hopefully, we’re engineering the solution that’s going to be able to help people.
How Better B2B Targeting Makes Everyone Happier
[0:15:40.3] DG: We absolutely want to start a movement. If you have the same belief, we’d love for you to help share the message with everybody. I really want to see CMOs and marketing VPs and budget owner types rethink their commitments to volume and start thinking much more clearly about quality. I think everybody will be happier. Sales will be happier, your team will be happier, and you won’t waste so much money. It’s like the old saying where the marketing executive says, “I know I’m wasting half of the money, just not sure which half.” I think a lot of people fall into that bucket, unfortunately.
[0:16:22.5] JG: Yup, I agree. That’s the core issue, just understanding what you’re doing and being able to measure it. Then, if you can move the needle to the top of funnel and draw that box a little better, it just makes it easier for everybody in the long run.
I think that’s my parting thought. I don’t have much more. It’s a fairly well-defined problem. I think, up until now, there really hasn’t been a solution. Now we’re starting to see some in the market. Certainly, LeadCrunch has a solution that we’d love for you to take a look at. That’s pretty much my thoughts on the subject. Do you have anything further to enlighten us with?
[0:16:58.4] DG: I don’t, unfortunately. I’m actually all done, man. Thanks so much for having me on the show.
[0:17:03.3] JG: Oh, no worries man. Thank you to all of you. Please go ahead and click through and view our Solutions page. There’s a link down there in the description. We’d love to have a conversation with you about your business, see what you’re up to, what you’re doing, how we can help. Maybe we can, maybe we can’t, maybe it’s a fit, maybe it’s not. I don’t know. If not, maybe we’ll just grab a margarita at the next trade show or whatever, but it’ll still be great to hear your voice, to see your face.
This has been another fantastic, wonderful, life-changing episode of the Green & Greene Show.
[0:17:36.6] DG: Oh, I do have one thing.
[0:17:38.4] JG: Okay.
[0:17:39.4] DG: We will both be at the Sirius Decision Summit and we would love to meet you and say hello and talk to you if you happen to be there.
[0:17:48.7] JG: Yeah, that would be wonderful. Always love people buying you drinks and such.
[0:17:55.9] DG: All right, very good. Thanks Jonathan.
[0:17:57.6] JG: It’s been unreal. ‘Til next time.
[0:17:59.8] DG: Peace and love.
[END OF EPISODE]
[0:18:00.8] ANNOUNCER: Thank you for tuning in to the Green & Greene Show by LeadCrunch. Green & Greene think differently about B2B and want to start a movement to transform demand gen. If you have ideas for topics or would like to be a guest, send an e-mail to email@example.com. If you’d like to find more customers, visit our website to talk to one of our demand gen guides, www.leadcrunch.com.
[0:00:26.2] JG: Deep in the heart of Texas and live from the pine forest of North Florida, it’s the Green and Greene Show. Today, we’re going to talk about different types of buyer behavior research and hopefully what the implications of those are. My esteemed guest and colleague, J. David Green, welcome. Thank you for being here.
[0:00:43.6] JDG: Thanks, Jonathan.
[0:00:45.3] JG: I think the way to approach this is to make some broad buckets out of it, so let’s jump right in. I think qualitative and quantitative research is a good place to start. How do you feel about that?
[0:00:56.5] JDG: Yeah, sounds perfect.
[0:00:57.9] JG: All right. Let’s talk qualitative research. When we’re talking about researching buyer behavior from a qualitative standpoint, what are some of the things that jump out in your mind as being important, or some of the main thrusts of that?
[0:01:12.1] JDG: First of all, I think how you go about this depends on how big your company is. We’re a small company, and we don’t have a big fancy research department with a bunch of PhDs running around, so we have to figure it out on our own. A lot of marketing departments are like that. Some practical things with qualitative, those are interviews. That’s gathering subjective information about the customer’s behavior, and you can do that directly with focus groups; you can do it directly with interviews.
You can also go to the people who are having conversations with those customers by proxy, salespeople and customer success-type people and even industry experts who are really steeped in the customer segments that you’re going after, and learn a lot through their perceptions of the customers. I think all of those are valid things to do.
[0:02:09.8] JG: I think you said something really important there in that it’s subjective information, which is important. I think a lot of people tend to filter by their own perspective when they’re doing this. At a brand level, this is extremely important, especially in a startup type scenario where you’re first doing this, because the people who are looking at the qualitative data are going to be exceptionally close to the problem.
I think it behooves you to involve maybe some outside influences and some people, not just from marketing, but also from product and from the general leadership team to give you an additional perspective on this. If you don’t do it correctly, you can get pigeonholed into your opinion and your pain point and have that reflect upon the research as a whole, so that’s extremely important in that stage.
[0:03:02.4] JDG: Well, you raise a really good point. I think you have to go into this kind of research with a plan of what you’re trying to uncover about the customer. I really like Clayton Christensen’s jobs-to-be-done theory in terms of content marketing. Your customers have some job that you’re hoping your content will solve for them as part of their journey, and you need to have some deep conversations where you’re really open to wherever they want to go with it.
I think in that regard, you want to know what triggered their consideration for your solution. What problems do they have related to your solution? What obstacles do they have that get in the way of them moving forward? Questions like these really try to understand that through the journey and the different people who are involved in that journey. I think if you go with that approach, while you’ll have bias, you’ve really just opened yourself up in an empathetic way to trying to understand without having that much of an opinion about it.
[0:04:15.0] JG: It’s funny. I think the qualitative research is exceptionally important. I particularly enjoy things that involve people who have no prior brand knowledge in terms of adding value, like focus groups online. You can use things like the Harris Poll or usertesting.com and get perspectives from people who have no prior connection to your brand.
A lot of times, the things they’ll say about your brand and your product offering are startling. It’s funny. We have on our team a brilliant UX design thinker in Yvette, and she always loves qualitative information. I do push back and say, “No, I want qualitative data,” but that’s because I’m a conversion marketer. The truth is that the more that we allow her to do that and dial in our value proposition and identify and uncover the pain points of real people who are engaging with the brand, the more effective the quantitative side of the research is going to be dialing in, ultimately.
[0:05:16.0] JDG: Yeah. I think the thing about qualitative is it can give you a context and a perspective on any quantitative research you’re going to do, and it can inform the quantitative. Qualitative doesn’t tell you how often this thing is true. I think a good rule of thumb when you’re doing qualitative research is you interview usually five to seven people or get a focus group or two like that.
If you start hearing the same thing over and over, you can know that you’re getting to the end of needing to do that. You have a sufficient amount of the basic context of what’s going on and you can now move into quantitative and start to see, “How often is this true within my audience, and what part of my audience is that true of?” That can really help you dial some things in. I think that putting it into context is really, really helpful.
[0:06:13.0] JG: I think the goal of qualitative research is to lead with a complete understanding of who your ideal person is that you want to target and what their pain points are. There are a lot of ways to uncover that. We mentioned interviews and focus groups and sales panels, etc. Also, there are a lot of psychological tools in the way of empathy mapping. What are these people thinking? What are they feeling? What are they hearing?
I know we did that with our team, and we were able to perhaps uncover some perspectives on things that people had not really identified before, just by asking a few simple questions. I highly encourage you Google “empathy mapping” if you’ve never heard of it and give that a stab.
I think you want to leave with an ideal customer profile, or a persona, and a list of pain points of what they’re going through. Then, in my mind, quantitative research is about dialing that in and eliminating waste. What do you think are some of the ways to approach quantitative data-driven research?
[0:07:19.7] JDG: Before I go there, I just want to make one quick point. In addition to buyer persona profiles, which is absolutely something you want to be able to do, I think you also want to develop a hypothesis of the journey that the people are taking, and what role those personas are taking in that journey, in order to lay out your content strategy against that.
[0:07:42.2] JG: The scientific process doesn’t change, but I feel like marketers in particular are sometimes guilty of shortchanging the scientific process. They enter into their quantitative research without having developed the hypothesis, which is obviously the first step of the scientific process. You end up running tests without being sure what the objective is. Everybody seems to think that the objective is to increase conversion rates or whatever, but really, it’s to dial in your understanding of your ideal clients and how they behave and how you can reach them most effectively.
[0:08:18.6] JDG: There are lots of ways to do that stuff, like surveys. I love surveys that are specific to a point in time of the journey. Right after a customer signs up, you can ask them about how they got there and what their journey was like, and they are more likely to have a little bit of context at that point. Things are on your website that pop-up. You can get specific feedback like that.
Then, really, there’s your whole area that I think you’re so good at, which is the behavioral data and setting up AB or multivariate split test. You want to talk a little bit about that? I think the thing you said is just how to learn something about your customer.
[0:09:05.0] JG: Yeah. I mean, I think the key to it is beginning with the hypothesis and understanding, at least on some level, the statistical implications of hypothesis testing. For instance, I set up page A and run it against page B in a multivariate format and page B wins, but there are 11 different variables that have changed. What have I really learned?
I’ve learned that page B is better, but why and how can I extrapolate that learning across all of my brand interactions? At that point, I really can’t. There is a place for multivariate testing, specifically when isolating variables is not producing a list and you need a completely fresh take on things. Ultimately, however, I would understand a confidence interval and understand the desired outcome.
When I’m in visual website optimizer, or Optimizely, or whatever, and I’m looking at a test result that’s saying version B won with a 95% level of confidence. If you read that as a confidence interval, what it really means is that I can be 95% certain that version B is better than version A on average, all else equal. Those last two parts are very important because, a lot of times, if you were to allow the test to run longer, a lot of these learnings will regress to the mean. They work for a little while on a small number of people, and you’ve very quickly exhausted that demand generation potential.
There’s a lot of nuance of in terms of testing and it needs to be done correctly. There are a lot of good resources out there. I would say start with a hypothesis and understanding what it is that you want to learn and isolating variables, so that you can leave with that knowledge after the fact.
[0:10:51.5] JDG: Jonathan, I think we’re at the end of our time. I wanted to let everybody know that we’ll start to talk about this on the next one with how you translate this into targeting your market. Then, secondly, by the way I always forget this, one great way to get a lot of interaction in a short period of time, because I know we’re all busy, is to go to an event where there’s a ton of people who are part of your target market. You can have 30 conversations in a day. I really encourage marketers to go do that as one of the mechanisms for qualitative research. You can get right out there and rub elbows with people.
[0:11:25.6] JG: Absolutely.
[0:11:26.6] JDG: Anyway, did you have anything you wanted to add?
[0:11:28.3] JG: Yeah, it’s scary in the beginning, but climbing the mountain of knowledge in terms of quantitative testing will yield results like almost nothing else.
I did want to mention one thing. Eventually we’re going to turn this into a certification training course, whereby we help people get certified in B2B demand generation in a way that’s going to matter for your career and for your outcomes. It’s not quite ready yet. As you can see, we’re still recording these and a lot of them will be used in that process. If you’d like more information on that, if you’re interested, go to www.leadcrunch.com/waitlist. It’s on your screen now. Go ahead and enter your information and we’ll make sure that, as soon as that course is ready, you’re one of the first to go through it. There might even be a beta opportunity where it’s free and/or discounted.
There’s some incentive for you to go ahead and join that list, and we’d love to have you on it. We think that the certification program is going to be worth doing, so we’re diligently laboring towards that. Please go ahead and join that.
[0:12:32.0] JDG: Because we’re really smart guys.
[0:12:34.8] JG: Well, I mean, you are anyway. I’m the good one.
[0:12:40.3] JDG: Okay. Thanks everybody. We really appreciate it.
[0:12:41.8] JG: That’s it. Thanks, guys. That’s episode 3 of the Green & Greene Show. I hope you guys have a great day. Go out there and do some research. Have a good one.
[0:00:07.3] ANNOUNCER: Live from the city with the most perfect weather ever, San Diego, California, all the way to the gleaming shores of Jacksonville, Florida, it’s the Green & Greene Show. Here are your hosts, Dave Green and Jonathan Greene, goofing off instead of working, while unlocking the mysteries of demand gen. The Green & Greene show is brought to you by LeadCrunch, which creates B2B look-alike audiences.
[0:00:32.9] JG: I see we finally got an accurate intro.
[0:00:37.1] DG: We’re getting into this whole honesty thing. I thought, “Might as well come clean.”
[0:00:43.1] JG: Yeah. I’m over here, like I got my toenails painted this weekend, if you believe it. I’m just admiring my nail polish instead of working.
[0:00:51.7] DG: That is so good, man. I haven’t gotten into painting my toenails yet. I can see that I’m just missing out in life and I’ve got to get into these finer things.
[0:01:03.3] JG: It all started when my daughters were young. They used to paint my toenails for me. Now I just take the whole family for pedicures.
[0:01:13.8] DG: Well, I think we’re supposed to talk about demand gen, B2B-type stuff. We should probably get cracking before you’re not doing anything.
[0:01:22.9] JG: I’m sure audience has already found something else to watch. Last week, we talked about artificial intelligence as applied to programmatic advertising and discussed some of the ways we’re leveraging that in our core business and some of the things we think are possible. That’s not exactly the end of the story, is it? I mean, we also think we can apply this to list building and other ABM pursuits. Do you want to talk about that?
[0:01:49.6] DG: Yeah. If you ever go watch sales reps, like SDRs for example, you’ll notice that they spend a huge amount of time screwing around. It’s not that they intend to screw around, it’s just the way it works out, because what do they do? They go on LinkedIn, and they munge around for a long time. Then they go on the client website and they dink around on that. Then they go into ZoomInfo, or Discover, or whatever data tool, or tools they have to try to figure out who to talk to and try to get some contact information for them, in order to send them some pretty irrelevant e-mail. That is the playbook du jour for probably 60%, 70% of SDRs today, and a heck of a lot of the actual sales reps.
[0:02:42.0] JG: It’s funny. I’d like to actually run an experiment, because most of the SDRs that I know make about five Facebook comments to every one I make. I have this theory they sit there and argue on Facebook all day.
[0:02:56.3] DG: Yeah. There are probably a bunch of them watching this show right now thinking it’s a strategy for trying to figure out how to sell you something. There are a whole bunch of marcom sales guys watching this show right now thinking, “Okay, what’s the angle here that I can use to send a pithy e-mail?”
Well, one of the things I think people ought to be thinking about is do you really want to have your $100,000 or $200,000 resource screw around all day? I think maybe not. Maybe that’s not the best use of limited resources that are hard to scale. I’m just spit-balling here, but maybe you should actually give them a list that’s already cleaned up, and it’s the right people and the right companies. What do you think?
[0:03:44.9] JG: You’re getting crazy. I don’t know if I could follow you with that.
[0:03:53.0] DG: For the uninitiated, you get a resource like Zoom, and I’m not trying to throw shade at those guys, but contact data is just incredibly hard to keep clean. That’s just the reality. Zoom and DiscoverOrg and Inside View and all these different providers, they really do a very good job, all in all. It’s never perfect and you can spend a lot of time, and then you find someone, and you go send them an e-mail and it bounces, or you dial the phone number and it doesn’t work.
After you put all that effort in, it’s pretty disheartening. If you’re a sales guy, it’s worse, because sales people are often given very broad parameters. Your job is to call any of the companies in your patch that have 500 to 2,500 employees, or…, or…, or…, right? Within that, of course, there are fantastic prospects and there are terrible prospects that are a bad fit, completely unlikely to buy. The very worst thing that happens is you get some interest and, because it’s hard to get interest, you hold on to those guys and you take them all the way through the closing. You overcome all of their objections and they sign the contract and you get your commission. Then you’re slammed with phone calls from an angry person who hates your guts, because you’ve sold them something that didn’t really work for them.
That’s even worse. That’s demoralizing. You don’t really want to get back on the saddle and do that again. I think the better thing is, “Hey, let’s go look at the characteristics of your best customers. Let’s go figure out who it is that’s involved in the kinds of decisions of the products you sell. Let’s go find companies like that. Let’s go find the people. Let’s go validate the phone numbers and the e-mail addresses and make sure that they’re still there,” because I don’t know if you knew this, but on LinkedIn, I’ve noticed that when people get fired, they don’t tell you right away. They make it look like they’re still employed at that same company. There’s a lot of that. There are also fake LinkedIn profiles. Instead of making your sales people try to sort all that out, do it for them so that they can do what you actually hired them to do, which is… mmm… sell something.
[0:06:22.3] JG: If only it were that simple, dude.
[0:06:24.6] DG: I know. I’m over simplifying by a lot, by a whole heck of a lot.
[0:06:30.3] JG: No, I’m kidding. It is that simple. I mean, the technology is emerging. We own a fair bit of it, actually, that can make this happen. Do you want to explain how that works?
[0:06:43.6] DG: Before we go there, let me tell you about what I think is the ideal use case here. ABM has rightly become the rage. Everybody’s doing ABM, except for the people who don’t know what it is. I’m not sure who those people are. It’s more pervasive than Donald Trump.
With ABM, one thing you can do is generate leads. Here’s a list of accounts. Let’s go introduce our whitepaper or e-book to them. A small percentage of them will raise their hand, and you can opt them in. You can do more, right? You can do display advertising to all those same people. That might make your lead generation efforts more productive because of brand awareness and tying an integrated message in and things like that, tricks that you do for LeadCrunch.
The third thing is that’s still not good enough. You know, these are your $100,000 or quarter-million-dollar or a million-dollar accounts. You have an SDR team or a sales rep banging on the phone, trying to get into the account as well, in addition to all those other things that you might be doing with digital or direct mail or whatever your marketing strategy is to create awareness and to spark some interest. Why not put all those things together in a single package and really kill it? That, to me, is the kind of thing that people ought to be thinking about with this, so they have a much more integrated approach. Cleaning up that list for the sales guys is part of the deal.
[0:08:23.9] JG: Yeah. The important thing about that integrated approach is that, when you begin to think of your entire market as a cohort, instead of onesie, twosie leads, it fundamentally changes the way you approach marketing. You might even find that you do it in phases, instead of trying to do everything at once and having a whole funnel. Obviously, a whole funnel needs to be built, but instead of trying to curate the whole funnel at once, you find that you try to move the cohort.
You start with a couple of months of really top-of-funnel, familiarization messaging, and then you move to conversion messaging over time. I think the efficacy of those things increases as a result of having done that.
[0:09:05.3] DG: They do. I’ll just give you a personal proof point. Long ago and far away, I worked for a company with a huge brand, really well-known. I didn’t realize at the time what a huge benefit it was to be able to call up and everybody already knew the company and had respect for it. Then I went to a little agency after that and no one wanted to give me the time of day. I was the same guy. I was actually a little smarter. Forget it. I didn’t have that brand behind me.
Building a recognition and awareness helps sales enormously. It’s hard to measure the benefit of that, but I think it also has a catalytic effect on the actual lead generation the marketing is doing as well. If people already know and trust the brand, it really does help.
[0:09:52.8] JG: Sure. Yeah, but the key, I think, is a world-class segmentation, or being able to arrive at that list of people in an intelligent way. I think that’s where most marketers fail. We’re very lucky that you happen to have a ton of experience with that. We’re able to layer together a whole bunch of different data sources and arrive at a well-curated list. I think that a lot of people perhaps don’t have that level of savvy, or they’re not ready to step up to that level of spin, because that’s an expensive proposition as well. I think we can help with that.
[0:10:28.2] DG: I was just talking to one of our rock-star clients over at Oracle Bronto, a guy named Bryce Roberts. Bryce, if you’re listening, sorry for telling the dark secrets that you shared with me, but I thought it was really instructive. We had found a correlation for Bryce, that he said, “Hey, I wouldn’t have seen this correlation in terms of targeting in a million years. I never would have thought of it.” I think that’s one of the powers of data science. You have all this data out there and there are signals that are really germane and they’re usually specific to your company and your particular product, and you need to figure out who those folks are.
By the way, it’s not how many employees or what industry you’re in. Those are maybe fence posts that you want to have in, but they’re not really going to get you to where you want to be. It’s usually much more nuanced than that. I think I was giving the example before: we use our own look-alike audience. The look-alike audience, among other things, will go out and look at a website and essentially look at keywords that seem to be common between two companies.
In our case, they found that if one of our prospects has the word “Gartner” on it, the big market research company, they tend to be a good prospect for us. We do content syndication. People are licensing Gartner whitepapers. There’s a good chance they’re trying to get that up, be on their website. They’re a good target for us. That’s the segmentation or filtering that I think is simply unavailable on the market, unless you’re using some look-alike engine.
[0:12:10.5] JG: Yeah. I used to use that similar targeting in the B2C base extensively. If I was selling surfer’s rash guards and I couldn’t figure out how to grow the market anymore, I’d try to think about crossover audiences. It turns out that Brazilian jiu-jitsu fighters wear surfer’s rash guards, so there’s a crossover there.
There’s no good way to do that in the B2B space. It’s much more difficult to cross-reference mentally. The AI, for whatever reason, has a knack for going in and ripping those things out for you and making them apparent. After the fact, you’re usually like, “Well, duh.” You never could have arrived at that conclusion by reverse engineering it.
[0:12:50.6] DG: Yeah, that’s absolutely right. I think that consumer marketing in this regard is so far ahead of B2B. You just need to walk into your local convenience store. They’ve got things arranged per that crossover idea. The beer and the potato chips are in one place and the milk and the butter and the eggs are in another, because you’re usually not going in and getting beer and butter, right? They’ve learned that, so they put things together that are likely to relate to you, cross-selling and upselling. This is the same thing. That’s all segmentation really is if you get a little bit more elite in B2B.
[0:13:28.0] JG: Yeah, but you could have never observed those connections in the B2B space with your natural eye, because it takes 10 million different websites and natural language processing and higher algebraic linear analysis of the various points to even arrive at an idea of what these various crossovers could be. The AI does it efficiently and effectively and it’s been beneficial for a lot of our customers.
[0:13:52.8] DG: There you go again, man, using these big words, “algebraic” and stuff.
[0:13:56.4] JG: Yeah, it’s scary man. It really is.
[0:13:58.6] DG: I have no idea.
[0:14:01.6] JG: After Mark Russo watched our show, we’re busting out the approach records right now. Just let the robots do it, people. Trust me.
[0:14:11.4] DG: Well, great show, Jonathan. Thanks so much. By the way, if you noticed and you probably didn’t. It’s pretty hurtful if you didn’t, but we have a new jingle. It’s because I am in San Diego. I don’t have my beautiful San Diego backdrop yet, but I do want everyone to know, because I’m sure you’re on the edge of your microphone or audio device. We will have a San Diego backdrop shortly. It really is an awesome place here, man. I’m so glad I’m not living in Houston, Texas anymore. No offense to all the people there, but I’ll take San Diego any day.
[0:14:49.8] JG: Rub it in, rub it in.
[0:14:52.2] DG: You’re in Jacksonville. That’s a good spot. There’s nothing wrong with that.
[0:14:55.0] JG: Ain’t that far. It rains every day at 3:00 here. It never rains in San Diego. Every time it rains in San Diego, people lose their mind. Yeah. Anyway. Play the music, that’s a wrap. It’s been the Green & Greene Show.
[END OF EPISODE]
[0:15:14.4] ANNOUNCER: Thank you for tuning in to the Green & Greene Show by LeadCrunch. Green & Greene think differently about B2B are starting a movement to transform demand gen. If you have ideas for topics or would like to be a guest, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you’d like to find more customers, visit our website to talk to one of our demand gen guides, www.leadcrunch.com.
[00:00:06] ANNOUNCER: Live from the city with the most perfect weather ever, San Diego, California, all the way to the gleaming shores of Jacksonville, Florida, it’s the Green & Greene Show. Here are your hosts, Dave Green and Jonathan Greene, goofing off instead of working, while unlocking the mysteries of demand gen. The Green & Greene Show is brought to you by LeadCrunch, which creates B2B look-alike audiences.
[00:00:30] JG: Yes, we do. Yes, we can. It’s a little more gleam and a little less shore here in Jacksonville today. I’m not going to lie.
[00:00:40] DG: Is it the monsoon season there?
[00:00:43] JG: It is. Yeah, but it’s definitely gleaming, 100% gleaming.
[00:00:49] DG: All right, man. Well, you know what? One of my favorite topics is targeting with titles.
[00:00:56] JG: Yes. It’s one of my favorite things to laugh at people for. This guy in my old job, he was the targeting guy. He used to just always sit there and rack his brains over titles that people had. I just liked to throw Cracker Jacks at him and get him stuck in the titles. No, all joking aside, the 500-pound gorilla in the room for most B2B marketers is targeting, right? We talk about it all the time. Specifically, the way that we go about doing targeting is stupid.
If I lined up 10 marketers against a wall and said, “Tell me step one for targeting.” The first guy is going to open his mouth, and he’s going to say, “Well, we start with job titles.” Then I would just shoot the other eight in the head because nothing they do after that’s going to work. Well, why don’t you tell me. You’ve just written a whitepaper on this. Tell me your perspective.
[00:01:53] DG: Well, there are a couple of things that I think people may not understand when they’re targeting with titles. My experience with this—and I did it when I was first starting out—is let’s just take our business. We’re trying to reach demand gen marketers, right? You’d think, “Okay, I want all the people in ZoomInfo who have the title of demand gen marketers, or demand gen in their title and/or demand generation.” You’re assuming there’s some cast of thousands and thousands and there’s not.
There are very few people who will actually have those two words, either consecutively or at all, in their title. You’re going to go get 500 of them if you Google it on LinkedIn. That’s before you put any filters, like how big the company is or where they are and any of that. Then you default to the other extreme. “Well, just give me anybody with marketing in the title.” Of course, you get B2C marketers and all kinds of things you didn’t really mean. It’s a little bit of a mess. That’s one problem.
[00:03:06] JG: Yeah. Can we talk about how bad LinkedIn is at search for a minute? Because that’s my problem.
[00:03:13] DG: Yeah. I think Bill Gates ought to get the Bing team over there and help those guys out, man. I was doing this for the white paper. I went in and did demand gen in the title keyword in LinkedIn Navigator, which is their “premier product”. Man oh, man, it didn’t recognize that may be people with demand generation with part of that search string, like that. “Oh, okay.” Yeah, they have a lot of stuff like that.
Whenever you pull up a search, you always find a lot of people you scratch your head and wonder, “How did they get into this? That had nothing to do with my title search, whatsoever, and there they are.” I don’t know. It’s like they get paid by the pound.
[00:04:04] JG: It’s the ghost in the machine. All your computer programmers are out there going, “Yeah, it’s the ghost in the machine.”
[00:04:11] DG: The folks at Google have just got to be laughing at them every time they do a search on LinkedIn, going, “Yeah, I hope they never figure out how to do search.”
[00:04:19] JG: That’s hilarious, because you’d think they’d have some synergies with Bing and they could figure that out.
[00:04:23] DG: Yeah, you’d think. Oh, well.
[00:04:25] JG: Anyway. All right, so tell me about the solution, then. We’ve correctly identified that targeting by job title is stupid and pointless for the most part. What was the stat that Steve Biaforethrew out?
[00:04:43] DG: Oh, yeah, yeah. We license a bunch of data of contact data for our business. We have about 90 million contact names in the US. The total number of employees in the US, according to the Department of Labor, is something like a 130 million. We have most of the ones that are out there. There’s obviously people who are farmers and housekeepers and stuff like that, who we’re not going to be trying to target on behalf of our clients, but we have a really good representative group of folks, and certainly, a high percentage of those people who have any job title.
Out of the 90 million, he had 30 million unique titles. I think people have this belief that there’s some highly standardized thing to the titles, but people give themselves all kinds of titles, right? It varies by industry.
[00:05:39] JG: I think I’m currently Chief Marketing Ninja of LeadCrunch, or something like that.
[00:05:44] DG: You are. That’s actually on your business card.
[00:05:48] JG: Yeah, it could be. In their notes, I have a sub-header that says, “And damn good-looking, too.” So true.
No, but it’s true though. People are coming up with all kinds of craziness in terms of titles. There’s got to be a solution though, right? Surely, somebody on Planet Earth is smart enough to figure out how to group knuckleheads like me with Marketing Ninja titles into something usable.
[00:06:14] JG: There are. I want to talk about one other problem, because the way this normally comes up is the marketers do something reasonable. They go talk to a salesperson, usually one of the better salespeople, and they’re the ones who throw out these really specific kinds of keywords, right? “I want only people with cyber security in their title.”
Again, you do the search and there are the 800 of them, and they’re all in the big companies by and large. You think, “Hey, every day, I’m reading something in the paper about somebody getting hacked. There must be big, big armies of cybersecurity experts that companies have hired to try to protect their data.” If they do, they just don’t give them that in their job title.
I’ve been thinking for a while now that we should put a memo out. Maybe we could do it right here on the Green & Greene Show. To those millions of people watching, would you please put really important keywords in your job titles, so that guys like us can find you and spam you to death with e-mail and another kinds of marketing stuff? Anyway, hopefully that’ll put an end to it.
All the people out there, if you guys can then tweet it out to a larger audience, we’ll start a whole movement of getting everybody to put keywords in their titles so that marketers everywhere can find them.
[00:07:32] JG: These Gen Y kids are starting to move into leadership now and they all want crazy titles, like Director of Plant Happiness. Think about it. If you still have happiness, you haven’t had your soul crushed to the point that you’re viewing this show yet.
[00:07:47] DG: Yeah. No grit. You’ve got to have a job just grind you to death, man. Happiness and whatnot. That’s pretty frivolous.
Anyway, there is a better way to use titles, and it’s not the way that we’ve been describing, by the way. That’s something that our data science team has been doing. I think it’s just fascinating. It’s the idea that almost everybody uses employment, headcount as a targeting framework. “I want all the companies with a hundred or more employees,” or “I want all the companies with between 250 and a thousand employees,” whatever it happens to be.
The problem with that is, let’s say you’re selling marketing services, right? You’re trying to reach B2B marketers. Well, that doesn’t really tell you that this hotel (with a marketing team of one but they have 300 employees, because they have a whole bunch of people who clean rooms) is not a good target or this advertising agency (where 80% of the people are marketers but is below your threshold) is an awesome target and far better than a lot of people that you have in there.
One of the things that I think is really a cool thing to contemplate is you break down these titles into functions and levels and you create a matrix of numbers that say to what degree somebody’s in one of these functions and at what level they happen to be. You use that as a different filtering mechanism to build a look-alike audience.
We did one of this for a VoIP provider and looked at all the titles that would lead to things like collaboration, customer service, and sales and things like that where you need to do a lot of communication with phones and tools like Slack. We found the people they were missing with their employment criteria they always used and people they probably shouldn’t have been spending so much money on because, even though they fit the employment parameters, they had a really low concentration of the kinds of people who were going to need the VoIP phone system that they had.
I think there’s huge potential in that moving forward. We’re going to have an in-depth white paper on that, and it’s going to completely revolutionize how people think about titles moving forward, I suspect.
[00:10:20] JG: Yeah, face-melting type insights.
[00:10:22] DG: Yeah, face-melting. That’s what the audience is there hoping for you and me, buddy.
[00:10:30] JG: Start and roll. No. I mean, the data, the firmographic data is not even accurate. Last time I checked, LinkedIn still thinks we have eight employees here at LeadCrunch and what do we have? Hundreds now? I’m pretty sure they think we do $15 in revenue and we’ve made it all the way up to $18.50. We do a lot of revenue. We do a lot of revenue, people.
All right, so you need to get the white paper on targeting. Give me some more thoughts. Give me your parting thoughts there, Dave.
[00:11:07] DG: Yeah, I started point out another misconception. I was talking about how people go to sales reps and they say, “Hey, da, da, da,” and they give you this cyber security keyword and then you find out there aren’t very many of them. What you find out is that the market is shaped like a pyramid in terms of number of employees, the headcount, where there are just, I don’t know, like 85% of them have five employees or fewer.
Well, they’re not going to have a lot of directors of anything, right? Everybody’s the chief cook and bottle washer in a little tiny company like that. As you move down market, sometimes they don’t even have the function, right? LeadCrunch, I think, had 23 people before they hired somebody in marketing.
That’s not uncommon. Before I hire and designate someone to be the IT person or the marketing person or the finance person, I get to a certain critical mass. Before that, I might hire an agency, or I might have a CPA firm just do my books for me. That’s very common with these small companies which don’t have the structure.
Just because you have one person in marketing, doesn’t mean you’re going to have all of these areas of specialization that people will often clamor for, that really only exists in much larger companies. I just don’t think people understand how titles get changed and skinny down to the bare bones as you move down market into smaller accounts. You need to really accommodate that.
[00:12:36] JG: Yeah. All right, man. That’s a brilliant perspective. I really appreciate you sharing that with us today. We’re trying to get smart about the way we do things in B2B marketing. I don’t know. Seems like somebody ought to.
[00:12:48] DG: To me, the thing that we’re trying to do, Jonathan, is I have this bad feeling and actually, I hate to tell you folks, but actually, Jonathan was a victim of this very thing. He was addicted to volume. He was thinking, when I was first interviewing him, that he’d be able to generate $5 leads. I kid you not, and I didn’t say anything. I didn’t want to burst his bubble. He found out that that really wasn’t a viable option in B2B.
He’s not alone. I was addicted to volume. A lot of us have been addicted to volume. All the vendors, they love it because they get rich and guys like us, we get fired. I don’t think that’s fair, but that’s how it is. We just want to start a movement to stop that nonsense and stop all the craziness around targeting a whole bunch of people who all you do is annoy them, because it’s not relevant and they’re not a good fit. Then you get your sales guys mad at you and they’re throwing stuff and coming into your office and yelling. Who needs it, man? Who needs it?
[00:13:49] JG: Yeah. Just in my defense, I am able to get $15 leads without that. Before you start judging me, let me see your $15 leads and we’ll talk.
[00:14:02] DG: No, man. Folks, Jonathan is a mad scientist of lead generation. I’m just hoping that no one actually listens to this show and tries to hire him away for $300,000 a year, because we’d wreck our whole company.
[00:14:16] JG: For the right price. For the right price. No, I’m just kidding. You make a valid point. I was able to generate $5 leads, and they were all crap. All I did was piss everybody off for two months, until they filtered all the way through the system and were gone. What we’re creating is based on experience. There are better ways to do this.
LeadCrunch is coming up with a lot of them. Somebody needs to. Yeah, love for you guys to check out the white paper. Try to drop a link as soon as it’s ready. What are you, having it edited right now?
[00:14:50] DG: Yeah, it’s getting proofed, because I’m an English major and I can’t spell.
[00:14:55] JG: Dave can’t let it go. He just cannot let it go. It’s going to be edited to death. Whereas, I will publish some completely half-baked stuff. Dave won’t, so there you go. It’s a Dave Green original.
[00:15:08] DG: All right, folks. Hey, thanks a million. We’re going to be at the Sales and Marketing Exchange out in Boston in a few weeks. Hope you guys stop by and say hi to us.
[00:15:17] JG: Yeah. Love to see your face remotely. I’m not sure if I’m going. Anyway, it’s been real. Green & Greene Show. I will play the music.
[00:15:27] JG: All right, man.
[END OF EPISODE]
[00:15:34] ANNOUNCER: Thank you for tuning in to the Green & Greene Show by LeadCrunch. Green & Greene think differently about B2B and are starting a movement to transform demand gen. If you have ideas for topics or would like to be a guest, send an e-mail to email@example.com. If you’d like to find more customers, visit our website to talk to one of our demand gen guides, www.leadcrunch.com.
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