Ep.40 – Website and Niches with Jeff White

Every company knows they need a website. We all know we have to market our business online, it’s not the future, it’s the present. 

But too many companies build their websites the way they want them to look, feel or function. And they forget the number one rule, it’s not about you, it’s about your prospects and what they are looking for. 

Join Jeff White from Kula Partners, as we explore the importance of building the right kind of website and marketing for your audience. No matter what niche you’re in, you’ll want to hear this. 

Jeff and Kula Partners are focused on the manufacturing niche, so they understand how important it is to create websites and marketing that really help companies achieve their goals. 

I hope you all stay safe and stay home.

Enjoy!

A huge thank you to Campaign Refinery for sponsoring this episode. Check out the amazing email marketing automation tool they’ve created.

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The All About Digital Marketing Podcast is brought to you by Social INK, a digital marketing consultancy on a mission to put the social back into social media. 

Get Social About It

We’re talking all about #websites and niches today, with @brightwhite from @kulapartners alongside host @justchrisbruno. If you don’t think your niche affects your website, you’re in for a surprise.

Stuff We Mentioned

If you want to find out more about Jeff White from Kula Partners, check out some of the links below:

Transcript

Chris Bruno 0:00
This week’s episode is brought to you by campaign refinery, an amazing new email marketing automation tool. Look, in the world of digital marketing, there’s a lot to keep track of. We all know this. As much as we’re in love with social media and the power of social conversation here at Social INK and on the all about digital marketing podcast, we are well aware of just how powerful email marketing can be. Email Marketing is not dead. In fact, it’s never been more important to help you leverage your presence everywhere else into the one channel that you’ll own regardless of what changes Facebook, Twitter, or any other platform makes in the future. I’ve known the founder Travis Ketchum for years, and he’s been a past guest on the podcast, Episode 15. If you want to listen to it, I’ve personally used his other products before and they’ve been fantastic. The amount of thought that he’s put into each and every one of what he’s created has been incredible. I’d highly encourage you to try that free form. day trial at Campaignrefinery.com to see what world-class email marketing automation can do for you and your business. massive thank you to Travis and campaign refinery for their support of the all about Digital Marketing Show.

Welcome to the All About Digital Marketing podcast, the show all about digital marketing, digital marketing, digital marketing, digital marketing, brought to you by social ink digital marketing agency specialising in social media and content marketing for brave brands and forward-thinking SMEs. I’m your host, Chris Bruno. And as always, we’re here to bring you the most actionable tips, tricks, tools and insights to help you achieve more when it comes to your digital marketing. Subscribe to the show. And be sure to share with a friend if you found something useful or interesting. You can find all the show notes and more information on www.allaboutdigitalmarketing.co.uk

Chris Bruno  2:05  

Jeff, thank you so much for joining me today.

Jeff White  2:10  

Really glad to be here, Chris. Thanks for having me.

Chris Bruno  2:13  

Well, there’s a lot going on in the world. But we’re not talking about that on this show as we’ve, as we talked about before, but for everyone who doesn’t know you, Jeff, you are the co founder of cooler, which is a b2b marketing agency, which specific by your specialising in b2b manufacturing and sales. And I’m really looking forward to talking about this in a lot more detail. But can you give people a little bit of an intro to yourselves the agency and how you ended up where you are now?

Jeff White  2:39  

Sure. So, Kula is, like you said, a b2b manufacturing marketing agency. We are on the extreme east coast of North America in Nova Scotia, Canada, and we service clients throughout North America. The agency has been around we’re in our 17th year now. I think. It’s been a long time. We started out as a Web Design and Development Agency. That’s kind of where I came from and have steadily grown into more of a full service but niche agency that specialises in that vertical.

Chris Bruno  3:15  

That’s awesome. And so from you guys’s point of view, in terms of obviously, especially with that web design background, what are the key things for companies, whether they’re b2b or b2c? You know, everyone knows that they need a website, but what are the key things that from your side, you you’ve seen that are so important that actually help people get the results?

Jeff White  3:36  

Well, you know, I think there’s a number of things because obviously, you know, websites have, you know, as somebody who sells them I can say, quite honestly that it’s become a real commodity kind of business. I mean, you can get a website from pretty much anywhere, you know, you can spin up a Squarespace site in minutes or WordPress or whatever, but I think where the rubber really kind of meets the road, these days is that, you know, we’re really trying to ensure that we’re building sites that are designed to help kind of get out there and find the kinds of leads and prospects and customers that that our clients are looking for and connect with them wherever they happen to be in their buyers journey. So, you know, one of the things that we know for sure, is that this whole idea of, especially in a b2b space, you know, inbound marketing, as it once was a decade or so ago, and it was really kind of a new hot kind of thing. It doesn’t. It doesn’t really work for b2b companies the same way it does say for SaaS companies or b2c companies in quite the same way. You know, like there isn’t an unlimited top of funnel so you really do need to kind of understand who you’re selling to, or the companies that you’re and organisations that you’re targeting. A lot of the people that we work with have a really finite market, you know, they might only be able to sell to 12 companies in the world. So how do you craft content And then a structure within that site that is going to be designed in such a way that it’s going to connect with the people that you really want to find. And, you know, give them what they need, as they progress through that through that process before they make a purchase decision.

Chris Bruno  5:16  

So I think there’s two bits there that you’ve mentioned that I’ve come across, and I’m not quite at the 17 years yet, but I’ll be celebrating 12 years of social link this September in about six months time. But the thing that I’ve seen so much over the years, and it’s the commoditization of not just websites, but marketing in general, and this is something that to steal the phrase from Peter Gryphon, you know, grinds my gears, but the reason for that being that everything that we try and do with clients, but there’s a real level of trying to understand the depth of what it is they’re trying to do, who it is who it is that it’s actually for, whereas the target audience, and especially like you just mentioned there, when there is that finite audience, you know, this isn’t a I paid somebody $300 on Up work, and therefore I’ve got a website. Now it’s done and I can just sort of move on. But it’s trying to understand the real depth of what that business is trying to achieve, in order to give a solution that’s actually going to be profitable. Because this is something that so many people don’t really pay attention to. I think especially not in this marketplace today where like you said, you can spin up a free website on Wix or you can boot up a WordPress website for peanuts and start playing. But this is something so how do you tackle that when it comes to talking to potential clients or talking to businesses? And when you try and help explain that to?

Jeff White  6:35  

I think it’s really, you know, it really is the case that you have to kind of step back and understand exactly who those you know, who are their ideal customer profile, we call that ICP. You know, a lot of people have been talking about personas, you know, for a really long time. I think everybody understands persona now, but especially in a b2b space, we now know and understand that there are at least to eight people involved in every b2b sale and Gartner is talking now that that number may be as high as 14, which I think is just, you know, I think now we’re just adding numbers for the sake of adding numbers. But, you know, it’s, it really is the case that, you know, when you’re looking to sell something in a b2b context, you have to be considering the fact that, yes, there may be, you know, for our kinds of clients, you know, engineering and, you know, the technical people really have a very influential role in a sale, but so does procurement. So does the C suite, you know, so does the person, the intern who is collecting information about all the different options that are out there. And if you are only producing content or designing your site, with an eye on those engineers and providing that technical information, you’re missing a whole host of people whose needs and concerns and understanding of what they’re buying is different from perhaps the corporate Sona that we might have, who might have been the only person we retargeting at all five or 10 years ago. So the site needs to be built in such a way that it provides, you know, more points of entry rather than just a, you know, a form to get in touch to talk to sales, because the fact of the matter is people are looking to do research. And then by the time they get to the point where they do want to speak to somebody in a sales position, they’ve already done 70 80% of the legwork and understand exactly what it is that they’re looking for. And they have you listed against two or three or more other competitors. And, you know, they’re quite well informed when they get to that point. So you need to think about that buyers journey all through the process, including the point when you don’t even know that that person exists. You know, they’re not even on your radar yet. You don’t know who they are necessarily, but you’re trying to create things that are going to compel them to develop an understanding about your business and why what it is you do. And it’s it’s about way more than just having an attractive site that that is easy to use. At this point, it’s about having something that really provides a piece of content or a, you know, a calculator or something that is available to everybody at that wherever they are in that portion of their buying journey.

Chris Bruno  9:20  

I think there’s there’s a couple of bits that I want to sort of get into in a bit more detail. And I think the first one is the strategy side of this. And, you know, you’ve spoken about all the key points that when you’re at those very early stages, and I think this is something that way too many small businesses think doesn’t really apply to them. And this is something that I think is a real missed opportunity, which is going back to the beginning and looking at those fundamentals as to you know, who you are, who you’re targeting, what does that target audience persona look like? And then being able to start to plan around that and that user journey, what does that look like? What sort of things were be useful to them, and exactly what you said not in not looking at it from the sense of, I need to build a pretty web page. And this is something that so many, especially of the commoditized, you know, when it’s all about the price point, you know that it’s not going to necessarily work very well. And I wanted to know if you would agree with that sort of statement, because I think this is the fundamental key difference between somebody who’s knocking out websites for cheap, and they’re making loads of them very quickly. And the difference between actually having a marketing consultancy or a marketing agency that’s really helping you to actually build what you’re trying to do.

Jeff White  10:37  

100% I mean, there’s absolutely no question that, you know, the kinds of sites that you know, an agency like ours is going to craft for our clients are very different than than those commodity sites that are just like, you know, an About Us section, the product section and Services section. I mean, you know, you can, not only do you have to fully understand who you’re building it for, but You also have to think about, you know, all of those different technical aspects of how you’re building a site. And you know, you’re not just crafting it well, while you are crafting it for the the end user and the buyer personas that you’re looking to target. But you’re also looking to do so in a way that is search friendly, you know, that you’re not hiding content behind generic labels, that you’re actually using things that are going to help pull the specific products and services to the fore and really make it so that when somebody quickly scans the site, they can tell exactly what it is that you do. And there’s so many sites out there and you go and you look at them, and they’re so generic these days, because everybody’s using the same templates and the same look and feel, you know, big image in the middle with a, you know, a paragraph and a headline and a CTA button right on the homepage with white nav and a left align logo. And we all know exactly what that looks like. And the fact of the matter is, most people are kind of designing their stuff. It’s either with very generic categories for the content on the site, or they’re designing it around an organisational centric frame. And what I mean by that is that they’re thinking about it the way that their own company is organised. You know, our departments are these. And therefore, that’s how we’re going to break down the content on our site. In that case, you’re really not thinking about, you know, how you’re organising that content for the people who are coming to the site, you’re designing it more or less for yourself, and in the way that makes sense to you. And I think a lot of clients and a lot of the people that we speak to, don’t necessarily understand exactly how they’re going to take their content out of the organisational divisions that they have internally, and re architected in a way that it’s focused on the customer first. And I think the number one thing that we see with our clients and with our prospects is that our Clients continually underestimate how difficult it’s going to be to create content for this beast. You know, Mike, we always have that question when we’re when we’re talking to new prospects. What are you going to need from us? And how much time is this going to take for us to do this? And I think if we were perfectly honest about exactly what’s going to be required from them, nobody would ever undertake a website design process. Because it’s just so all encompassing and take so long, we just launched the site. This week, no, no last week, and you know, it, it was the better part of a year and a half of something that could have been a four to five month build. But because of an underestimation of content requirements, it became much, much more difficult to actually birth this elephant. Yeah, and it’s just because they underestimate how long it’s going to be. Take, they don’t necessarily understand exactly why we’re organising things the way we are, and why we’re recommending the content be created in a certain way. And they’re not necessarily equipped or ready to craft the content in a way that’s going to benefit their customers.

It’s always a tough call, especially from the agency side. And I can speak about that with, again, from my own experience. But I try and explain things as simple as I can in sort of as many layman terms as I can. But I’m always trying to make sure that the message is understood that, you know, as with the best will in the world, you need to give us the input, right? Like I will never know your business like you know, your business, and vice versa would be the same. But there is this element when it comes to companies, especially when they’ve got this idea in their mind. And we’ve done a couple of different projects for b2b as well as for B to C. And the companies where when they trust in us and when they trust in the process that we’re trying to put in place Whether that be for the content creation, you know, defining exactly what it is that we’re trying to achieve, and setting things up in a way that’s goal orientated. Rather than just, we want a new website, we work so much better, so much faster. And we end up getting those results really quickly for them, which is exactly what they wanted in the first place, as opposed to the ones that I don’t want to use the word nightmare clients, but they literally almost seem to go out of their way to do everything in the most difficult way possible without taking into consideration how we put things in place or what we’re asking for next or why we’re asking for it next. I’m just wondering, do you find that as well with with certain companies,  I you know, I’m not going to name any names or anything but

Chris Bruno  15:43  

Neither would I.

Jeff White  15:45  

Good lord that would be a career limiting move, but I do I, I do think that, you know, companies continually underestimate exactly what’s going to be required and they don’t necessarily understand you know, who is Is that they’re creating this for. And I think one of the biggest problems that comes into play here is that, you know, it’s it’s marketing’s job, or at least it seemed to be marketing’s job to create these assets, whether that’s a website or the content on it or what shared on social or whatever. And that that is to be designed to attract the appropriate kinds of leads and the appropriate kinds of prospects to that organisation. It’s then sales his job to take those leads and see how, how good they are and how able they are to turn those leads into customers or move them further into that sales process so that they can begin to close those customers. In a lot of organisations. We have a great opportunity to speak with marketing and very limited opportunity to talk to sales. And it’s because those two organisations within that company aren’t necessarily used to working Together, the organisations that we work really well with are the ones who bring those salespeople into those early conversations, really allow us to ask those deep questions to fully understand what it is that they’re seeing when they’re out whether they’re outside salespeople who are travelling around and meeting with customers, or inside sales, people who are taking a lot of calls, or doing a lot of prospecting online and reaching out via phone or email, what’s resonating with them, and to ensure that we’re getting some kind of alignment between what marketing is creating, showing exactly what benefit that content is having and you know, how it’s helping to close and what we’re seeing in the in the CRM after somebody come in, right through to how sales is responding or using that content that’s being created by marketing to help leverage and accelerate the sale. So, you know, the more that we can actually talk to these two disparate groups and make them part of a single Whole, the better off you’re going to be to create something that is going to really drive business.

Chris Bruno  18:06  

It is quite funny though that because I think that that line has become so blurred between sales and marketing. And I think that there’s this confusion that marketing generates sales, as opposed to, especially from a b2b perspective, like you mentioned, you know, eight to 14 people involved in a b2b b2b transaction. Mm hmm. But when you when I’ve seen this in the past, you know, marketing should equal results, it should equal pounds, Pence, whatever, or dollars. And the idea behind that is very, very simple in terms of from my side of it, if we can get somebody to the door through the efforts of marketing, that’s when it becomes a sales, potential sales lead as it were. And I think that I find anyway that I’m seeing that there’s kind of this blurred line where sales almost once a not even just pretty qualified, but they want somebody that literally just wants to complete the order form sometimes, as opposed to understanding that No, we’ve got somebody that’s interested in peaked enough to be able to come into our CRM system. That’s the win there for marketing. And obviously, tracking the relevance and the quality of those leads is then a secondary part of that. But then the actual conversion process is what sales is all about. Do you find that there’s a bit of a blurred line now or a bit of too much of crossover that happens in the in between those two departments sometimes?

Unknown Speaker  19:32  

Well, I think honestly, you know, what, what we really want to see is, is more of a blurred line, you know, where we do have marketers and salespeople who are working together to create content that is going to resonate and be relevant to the prospects that sales is talking to, and that marketing is seeing as having results and getting the traffic and the conversion rates on the website that they’re expecting. See. So I think when those two groups work together, then you really do have a an opportunity to, to create something, you know, to create relevant pieces of content that are going to help as part of the sales process. Understanding that buyers journey, you know, will allow you to say, Okay, at this point, this is where we’re going to send them this ebook, or this calculator or, or whatever that happens to be or we’re going to use account based advertising, you know, to people we’ve already been speaking with so that they understand what the options are for us to cross sell into our other divisions. We see that a lot with our b2b customers where they have especially with manufacturers who have a lot of different departments that they’ve that they have brought on as a result of mergers and acquisitions. So you know, they’re they’re trying to sell things that that their department or that their sales people haven’t necessarily sold before. So you know, when those two groups when sales and marketing are actually talking about Early and working together on the strategy, I think that’s when there’s an opportunity to really do a great job and to have those people working together as a team. And you know, I think sometimes those Blurred Lines are actually beneficial.

Chris Bruno  21:13  

Like it. And I wanted to come back to something that you, I think you’re actually mentioned it probably in like the first answer. It’s one of the first questions I asked. But this is something that I actually came across recently, with a client as well. When you identify that you have a limited audience. How important is it for people to understand this at home when they’re listening to this, especially whether you’re small midsize businesses, but how important is it to really identify the strategy element before you go out and start actually doing things? This is something that I’ve spoken to various clients about recently, I’ve had a couple of situations where very, very small target audiences. This isn’t mass market products by any means. It’s going to be very, very specific and for us, we’ve taken it All the way back to, we have to start with a strategy for you, we need to figure out what it is that we can do to help you to actually be able to get in touch with these people. For me, it’s paramount. And and also, you know, to the success of a project when you do have such a limited audience, but from your side and your experience, how important is that for small to mid sized businesses? And what sort of things should they be really looking at to try and make sure that they are they get that right before they start creating assets?

Jeff White  22:27  

Or it’s, it’s the most important thing, I mean, simply going out there and doing the spray and pray with tactics to see what sticks, you know, I mean, it’s, I suppose that’s a strategy. But technically, tactically, you know, it’s one way of thinking about a strategy, but I think really to truly understand exactly, you know, what kind of strategy you need to create, you need to step back and say, okay, who are those target accounts? You know, that we’re looking to go after what are the firma graphics of the companies that we’re that we’re generally dealing with and that we can serve best? And then once you know that, you know, then as I was saying earlier, you know, who are the personas within those target accounts that that we want to talk to? And what do we need in order to get them into our world? And how can we help them? I mean, really, you know, at the end of the day, even though even though we’re talking about b2b sales, there’s no question that b2b is still person to person, you know, like you’re at the end of the day, it’s, it’s a salesperson or a marketer trying to connect to another person on the other end and provide some value to them. And until you can step back and craft a strategy that that says, okay, you know, we know that the people that we’re selling to have these particular problems, they’re looking to solve these things. We work with a packaging manufacturer that works with in the in the food industry. And pet food industry and all that. And they have very specific requirements in terms of and a very limited potential target account base. And so, you know, they’re they’re really trying to understand exactly what are the things that you know that our customers, what are the pain points that they have? And then, you know, whether that’s, you know, green and sustainable issues, whether it’s you know, issues about food, food freshness and and all of those different things and you know, how can we address the specific concerns that our customers have? And then crafting a strategy that addresses that and begins to, you know, look to see exactly Okay, if we’re going to put this piece of content out, let’s see what the you know what the results are, and then after that one’s been delivered, what’s the next touch point that we’re going to have with that person and how can we track the KPIs of that particular strategy to know whether or not it’s working and when can we anticipate that we’re going to see results? I, I, I always love you know, when when we talk to somebody and and they say, you know, well, we really want to have some some early wins with this thing. You know, we really want to see some results and make sure that this is this is having an impact. If we’re going to spend this money, we got to have impact. And then we say, Well, how long is your sales cycle? They say, well, it’s at least 24 months, but we want to see results in three. It’s kind of like, Well, you know, there’s a bit of a disconnect here, you know, like, what are the KPIs? What are the early KPIs? You know, obviously, it’s not going to be closed one. So what are we, you know, how do we know if we’re tracking towards success, and having realistic expectations, and being able to set that with your prospects and clients is going to ensure that you don’t end up in a situation where you’re four months into a programme. You’ve got some very promising early results, but the CEO pulls the plug because They haven’t closed any sales yet. Well, you know, of course you haven’t you told us you had a 24 month sales cycle.

Chris Bruno  26:06  

Yeah. It’s it’s really like that this there’s three things that you said in that, just that last answer there. But the three things for me, and I’m so happy that you said it because I didn’t want to be the first one to say otherwise people think it’s me that’s pushing this message. But b2b, if you are in b2b, and you’re listening to this right now, you should not forget that actually, it is to human beings. It’s human to human. Like, there is no business that makes a decision. There’s no big computer in the background that decides what happens. It’s a human being who’s going to make a decision and it’s going to buy based on some reason. So those pain points and I think that’s so big for anybody listening, just always remember that. Don’t go so corporate that you forget that actually, you’re talking to other human beings. The next thing that you mentioned to me was this idea of these early wins. And you know, where’s the ROI? Otherwise, we were counting this and this is something that we Really, really shocked me. We had a call with a company they work in the technology sector won’t say anything else. And we were talking for about 40 minutes. And they were saying, you know what, we’ve got some we’ve got an agency that does our social media, and they put out the content for us. And I asked a really simple question. We were on a call, there was about four or five of us on the call at a time. And I just said, Okay, great, like, how’s that working out for you? And they went, What do you mean? They said, Well, what sort of results you’re getting, you know, compared to what you were trying to achieve? Are you hitting those goals? Are you succeeding them? Like, are you, you know, are you doing really well? Or are you not doing quite as well as you hoped? And they were like that. What do you mean by results? And this was something that really, really shocked me. And again, it was one of those massive sort of, like switch flicked, like it just kind of really hit me hard. But so many people are doing so many things because they think they have to, because they’ve read that they should or that they must. And then ultimately people are doing these things and spending good money at this time. This company with spending about two, two and a bit thousand pounds a month on social media. And they didn’t even know if it was doing anything. And this was something that really, really shocked me the results based on what it is that you’re trying to achieve, should be paramount for any agency, surely, or even a freelancer, you know, if you’re going to do something, it’s got a purpose, you’ve got a goal, you’ve got something that you’re trying to attain with that.

Jeff White  28:23  

Oh, 100%. And I mean, we see this again and again, and you know, one of the one of the obvious ones, you know, it pay per click advertising. You know, one of the great things about PPC is that it does show immediate results as to whether or not it’s actually working or not, but I continue to be amazed by the number of organisations that are spending, you know, not just thousands, but sometimes 10s or hundreds of thousands of dollars in pay per click advertising, without really knowing whether or not it’s driving any ROI, you know, and they’ll they’ll be looking At some basic of all, we got a lot of we got a lot of clicks, we got a lot of views. We got a lot of impressions. Right? Well, okay, but then what, you know how many of those people have converted? How many people, you know, downloaded the ebook that you wanted them to download how many actually, you know, got into that sales process and had a conversation with a salesperson? Well, we don’t know that. You know, and there’s just there’s so much waste, and so much opportunity for those programmes to be tuned. And we worked with a client A number of years ago, a couple years ago, I guess, large manufacturer in New York State. And, you know, they were spending a million dollars a year on PPC, and most of it was wasted, and we were able to cut their budget by 90%. And we quadrupled the number of qualified leads that were coming in while reducing their spend by a significant amount, they actually fired two people as a result of the work that we did. Just because they didn’t, they were making so many mistakes with it. And they just didn’t know, they didn’t know where the spend was. They didn’t know where the waste was. They just knew that they were, you know, we’re in the PPC game, we’re playing that card. But you know, they just didn’t have a real handle on exactly how it was working for them. And whether or not it was working, they just thought, well, we’re getting some clicks. So obviously, it’s doing what it’s supposed to, you know, I want people to kind of look beyond those initial vanity metrics and truly have an understanding of exactly what it takes to get somebody in your world that can actually afford to buy from you. You know, that’s a that’s a huge thing. And I think, you know, in a lot of cases, the C suite is continuing to look for metrics that that maybe we should be challenging a little bit, you know, rather than No, okay is the number of visitors to our site continuing to go up? Well, maybe it doesn’t matter if those are junk clicks and junk visitors, maybe what we should be looking for is how many qualified customers or qualified people are actually coming to our site. And that may mean that your traffic goes down. And that’s okay. Because the right number, you know, the number of people that are getting into our world they can actually afford to buy from us and have the requirements that that we’re looking for, are coming into our world. So you know, adjusting the metrics, adjusting the KPIs so that we’re not just looking for constant growth, because oftentimes, what comes with constant growth is that the number of qualified prospects coming to the site actually goes down significantly, because there is not an unlimited top of funnel.

Chris Bruno  31:48  

It’s really interesting, I think it was which Chase and yo mark, and if I got your name wrong, Jason, I really apologise. I’m doing this off memory, but he’s a lead for a different agency. They do a lot of social media stuff. And basically, we ended up having this exact conversation in terms of those metrics and what it is that you need to actually be looking for. And again, going all the way back to the very beginning. What’s the goal of this? Like, what are you trying to achieve? Is it qualified leads? Or are you only interested in pageviews? Like, if that’s the case, you know, pageviews are fine, but actually qualified leads is going to be a hell of a lot more important to your business’s bottom line at the end of the day. But the thing that we ended up talking about actually, and we were both kind of, we’ve seen this and it really kind of annoyed us both is agencies or freelancers or even marketers in house, overly complicating reports, to try and hide the fact that the main KPI, the only KPI that matters isn’t actually the one that they’re focusing on or isn’t the one that’s actually getting any kind of real results. And it’s something that I thought was really huge at the time when we were talking about it and I’d like to know your side of it as well. From my side, you know, clients Expect a certain level of professionalism and they expect to get a lot of data when they’re spending money on marketing efforts. They want to understand as much as they can. But the reality of it is that top line number I, we spent this March, which brought in this many leads of which x were qualified from which you’ve made x amounts of sales and X amount of revenue. That is where the the baseline should be focused for these businesses and for marketers and for C suite for whoever it is that’s controlling that budget. What’s your thoughts on that and the over complications and vanity metrics still being used as a focus point by some agencies or freelancers?

Jeff White  33:39  

I think, you know, it’s in. On the one hand, it’s kind of it’s to be expected, I guess, because we’ve had this, this mentality for the last number of years that you know, really what we’re, we’ve got this funnel, and the goal is the more people that we put into the top of the funnel that become mq ELLs, the better And then the more of those that become SQL the better. And then you know, the more of those that move down to customer the better, but we don’t necessarily know exactly what causes somebody to become a qualified lead or what have you. So, you know, I think SAS companies have kind of, I don’t want to say corrupted this a little bit. But you know, we’ve kind of taken a, what has been successful for sass companies isn’t necessarily the definition of success for other types of companies. And I think if we start to step back and look at that, and truly develop an understanding of what it is that we’re trying to define as the metrics of success, for it’s going to be different for every company, and I don’t think we should be judging our success based on what others are doing in peripherally related industries. So I think, you know, we really have to and that’s part Have that strategy set, you know, as we were talking about earlier, when you’re setting that strategy, a big part of that is going to be defining what those KPIs are, and defining what the metrics of success look like, at the outset. You know, you want to tweak those and adjust them as you learn from what you’re seeing and iterate upon that. And, you know, if you’re super successful with it, maybe you want to turn up the, you know, the expectation of what success looks like. But if you’re, if you’re just going in and you’re looking at pageviews, or clicks or impressions, or social shares, or retweets, or whatever, as the as the, as the goal, you’re missing the point. The point of all of this at the end of the day for most businesses is revenue. You know, as a as a friend of mine in the agency world often says revenue solves everything. So if you can kind of, if that is your goal, and that’s your metric and then What your sales team are going to be judged on for sure. You know, when they hit their number, that number is tied to a revenue target. You know, marketing should be looking to do the same and working with sales in order to move towards that and setting the goals that are going to help them achieve the goals that are that the broader organisation has.

Chris Bruno  36:21  

I want to jump in on the funnels conversation. And I just want to ask you a really simple question on this one. How do you feel when you see those adverts for this funnel will create X amount of thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars in sales for your business by now kind of ads?

Jeff White  36:42  

Well, I think you know, it’s, it’s really just it’s playing on that. You know, it’s a bit of a I don’t want to say it’s it’s not necessarily a scarcity mindset, but it’s playing on on people’s fears that they’re not bringing enough people into their world. You know, And that more is surely better. And I think that, you know, really, if they were to step back and look very carefully, and very critically, at how people generally come into their world and how those sales actually happen, they would realise that, you know, simply buying more traffic, or, you know, getting more people into the top of your funnel isn’t necessarily going to be the solution if they’re not the right people, and you haven’t crafted a strategy to find those people where they are.

Chris Bruno  37:37  

So that was a really, really good diplomatic answer. I’m okay with saying I absolutely hate those people that are selling that and guaranteeing results in seven or 30 days or whatever they’re doing, because I genuinely don’t think that there is one model that fits all. And I completely agree with you. I’d rather have 100 followers on social media who actually Care and who wants to do business with me than to have 100,000 and to have to weed through them and to try and get my message to those hundred people.

Unknown Speaker  38:09  

It’s just waste. You know, it’s it’s a waste of time. It’s a waste of resources. It’s a waste of paying for contacts in your CRM, you know, like, there’s no point in having a CRM full of 10,000 leads when you can only sell to five companies.

Chris Bruno  38:24  

Absolutely. And it’s but it’s funny though, that that then, like you said, we’ve been kind of stuck with those vanity metrics that are really important than actually when you break it down. You know, understanding who your client is understanding what you’re, this is something I shall ask you rather than me making my point first, but for me, one of the biggest questions that I end up asking customers or new businesses that we talk to, and I don’t I don’t care what stage they’re at small mid size or anything else, but I start to ask questions like, Okay, so what is your revenue streams in terms of the products but what is your cost on those products and when I ask people get A little bit cagey, and I’m trying to explain that no, what I’m trying to understand is, what’s the real cost per acquisition that makes this viable as a business. And one of the things that I find that’s really quite scary to a certain extent, and even with businesses that are doing well that are turning over solid numbers, revenue, and they just kind of carrying on as business as usual. But when I asked those questions, or if I asked about, you know, what’s acceptable in terms of cost per acquisition, or what is the lifetime value of an average customer for you, there’s actually a huge deficit in terms of the knowledge base there. And the understanding behind those numbers and the reason why that would be important, which always worries me because I think that means there’s a load of marketers out there that are saying, Yeah, cool, don’t worry about it. We’ll figure that out afterwards. And you know, you might end up with a cost per acquisition, that’s five x, what the margins are on the product you’re selling, which would be hugely detrimental to your business in the long term. But I find that there’s a real lack of this understanding and of action What that business looks like in terms of the economics in terms of financials, whatever you want to call it. And I was just wondering, have you seen that? Or do you find that you have to kind of dig in a little bit to try and help get that information?

Jeff White  40:11  

We do need to dig in sometimes with that, and I think one of the one of the signs that you’re dealing with somebody, you know, in prospects situation that, you know, maybe is too junior or, or whatever is that they can’t answer those questions. You know, and those are, those are among some of the first questions that we ask when we get into a conversation with a new prospect. You know, we want to understand, you know, what does a customer look like for you what is the lifetime value, what’s the initial, you know, the initial purchase value for a customer within year I mean, with a large manufacturer, as a as a client, you know, they, the lifetime value of a particular customer could be in the millions, but in the first year, they’re doing prototyping for that customer and maybe there’s only a few thousand dollars to be made in that initial year and then you know, the the future revenue is based on their success to be able to serve that customer. And that has to kind of play into the strategy that’s being developed in order to ensure that they don’t overspend too soon and find out that they can’t deliver once they actually get into a, you know, a proper manufacturing relationship with that customer. So I find, you know, for us, if we get into a conversation with a prospect with a marketer, and they’re unable to answer the questions about the actual LTV of their customers, if they’re unable to understand what the cost of acquisition is for them based on all of the different factors, whether that’s trade shows advertising, what have you, then we’re really looking to kind of push them to introduce us to someone a little higher in the organisation that has more of a finger on the pulse when it comes to understanding what the you Know what the actual bottom line is going to be. The other thing too is especially in the manufacturing space, you know, the the profit margins and what the actual net is maybe significantly less than what the top line looks like. And so you have to kind of get all excited about somebody being able to sell a $500,000 machine but then you come to find out that it cost them 480 grand to build it. And so if the cost of customer acquisition is $30,000, they just lost 10 grand, you know, on that on that sale, so there really needs to be a deep understanding of you know, of their profit margins of their potential for growth within a particular business. I mean, you know, we talked with a number of clients on our are a number of people on our podcast rather that you know, one of the recent examples of critical pro mock to the US manufacturers machines for four Creating packaging and, and, and things like that. And they are acquiring a new company like every couple of months to add to their overall roster. And so for them, you know, when they initially acquire a customer, they may only be a certain portion of their revenue. But when they’re able to introduce their other new divisions into them, the opportunity for growth of that account is just massive, you know, they can kind of, they can sell them different things that they don’t necessarily know about on the unit on the initial side of the sale. So, you know, it really does require an understanding of the overall state of a business. And if you’re not talking to the person who can give you those answers, I always recommend to agency folks that they kind of politely request that they speak to someone a little bit more senior in order. There’s a need.

Chris Bruno  43:52  

I love that politely request.

Jeff White  43:54  

Well, I am Canadian, so

Chris Bruno  43:56  

that’s the Commonwealth in Europe. So yeah, yeah. Far too polite. And Jeff, this has been awesome. To wrap this up from wayside. What’s the biggest single piece of advice that you would give to any b2b, small to midsize enterprises companies out there?

Jeff White  44:15  

Well, I mean, it goes back to something I said a little bit earlier. And that that really is, you know, that, to keep in mind that at the end of the day there you’re all business is person to person. And I think if you’re keeping in mind the wants, needs, troubles. You know, we’re all going through a really tough time right now. And I think we need to have empathy for the people we’re talking to and the people we’re selling to and, and to fully understand exactly, you know, what everybody’s dealing with, when it comes to their business and their lives in general. And I think if we can, you know, think a little bit more person to person that’s going to bring a lot more. It will make it will make business that much better. If if we can operate on on a PDP level as in as opposed to a b2b one.

Chris Bruno  45:05  

I love it. Jeff, thank you so much for for coming on today. I think this has been a great conversation and again, super, super specific in terms of the advice, but I’m so happy to hear you beating the same drum. As a fair few of our guests and the same one that I do. It always makes me feel a little bit better that it’s not just me hammering the same, the same message out all the time. But thank you so much for joining me.

Jeff White  45:28  

Wonderful. Thanks very much for having me, Chris.

Chris Bruno  45:32  

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Transcribed by https://otter.ai

Music by Hani Koi from Fugue