In this edition of Flippin Funnels, we feature Adrienne Weissman, Chief Marketing Officer at G2 Crowd, and Megan McConnell, Senior Manager, Marketing and Customer Communications, at Insideview. They joined forces at our #FlipMyFunnel San Francisco event to talk about creating an amazing customer experience by getting naked. Yes, you read that right. The session was all about embracing transparency throughout the customer journey to help buyers navigate a complex buying process. You can view the video along with all of the questions and answers from their fireside chat below.
The Flippin’ Q & A
Adrienne: Megan, Why don’t you just walk through some examples of what you are doing with being exposed, and what that means in terms of your strategy?
Megan: It was scary for us. Like you said, there are customers out there having conversations about your products and so we realized we really want to be a part of that conversation. It was a daunting experience. There were really two things we knew going into it, and one was that we had happy customers. Which is a great place to start. We knew this from an advocacy base we had built with Influitive. That was a great starting point for us.
Megan: The other thing that we knew particularly from that advocacy base was that product reviews and references were really a critical part of the buying cycle for our customers. With those two things in mind we wanted to take them to sort through that noisy market. When somebody is going out there and try to evaluate sales enablement technology, there’s a lot out there (to choose from). For InsideView, having the ability to own our presence in those conversations was important for us.
Megan: We looked at G2 Crowd particularly because they made it easy and flexible. There’s a lot of content that we can pull out of it. One of the big things we needed as a company was to be able to surface our competitive differentiators and that’s something we can’t talk about ourselves. The best way is when it comes our customers directly. We can talk all we want about how we have great customer support, actual data and an easy to use interface. But until we have our own customers saying that, it really doesn’t carry the same weight.
Adrienne: Have you had any example of when a customer feedback has changed the direction of a product or feature, to the competitive point, that really helped you guys evolve and adapt really quickly?
Megan: Yeah. It has been easy for us to sort through all the feedback we’re getting from customers and be able to pull out trends. We are using these trends to inform our product team. While we pass it off to our product team, it also gives us great insight on what others see in the market and a direction that maybe we should be going. Those two things combined are really valuable. We get feedback on what we’ve currently been doing but also the direction that we should be going.
Adrienne: What does naked marketing actually look like? There’s lots of things you can use from G2 Crowd content, comparisons, and widgets with reviews of what your customers are saying. It would be interesting for you to walk us though what you all have been up to.
Megan: We like to do a lot with G2 Crowd but really what we started at was really the review side of things. We wanted to help gather all that data and the first thing that we did was strong initiative to source reviews. We do that on an ongoing basis every quarter but we also promoted a lot to customer base through newsletters and out website.
Megan: Wherever our customers are, we want to encourage them to give us feedback. We’re really proud of customer support, so whenever a customer has an experience with them, we invite them to talk about us on G2 Crowd. That was our starting point.
Megan: You guys (G2 Crowd) have made it so awesome to go and grab insights and data from all of that. And not just for ourselves, but for competitors as well. We took the opportunity to create this competitive comparison report that we’ve used in our paid ads and inbound marketing. Its been extremely impactful for our account-based marketing (ABM) programs as well.
Adrienne: Really, at the end of the day, I think ABM and exposed selling are really just the evolution of word of mouth. It’s about connecting with people that are similar to you and really having a conversation, a back and forth conversation versus just a push message.
Adrienne: Talking about the things you guys did, I think everybody is chomping at the bit to get the results (of the campaign). Can we talk about the post nakedness and post exposure results of what you guys did?
Megan: Yeah. I mentioned the competitive comparison report. To be honest, we didn’t go into a relationship with G2 Crowd necessarily expecting this, but it was very clear to us that we had a lot of power and potential licensing a content piece like this. You can see InsideView against some of our competitors. We’ve used this in very targeted approaches for paid ads and account-based marketing into accounts we know are using our competitors.
Adrienne: You mentioned that this also sits on the website?
Megan: It does.
Adrienne: It is a way to capture leads in real time. A little bit counter to the account-based approach because its more inbound, but its a nice way to engage and capture leads and information of prospects, right?
Megan: Yeah, like I said, we can talk all we want about the strength of features and data but, without putting actual context to it, it doesn’t quite carry the same weight. This is right there on our website.
Adrienne: So talk about the results. Results are always key when talking about account-based marketing and really anytime you’re spending your marketing dollars. We’ve love to hear more about what that is.
Megan: We were really excited about this. From this one campaign, and when I say this one campaign, I mean this was an asset we had behind a pay-per-click (PPC) campaign. 14% of all of our PPC leads come from this one campaign. We have a 6% lead-to-opportunity conversion rate on the leads that we get from this campaign and 34% of all of our pipeline generated through PPC campaigns have come from this content piece. It is the most leads that we’ve generated. It is two times the conversion rate of any other PPC campaign that we have and its the highest pipeline that we’ve generated from a PPC campaign.
Megan: Its knowing what it is that the customers want, using that in a very specific way in account-based marketing and delivering something that’s not just us saying it, but sharing something that’s coming directly from our users.
Adrienne: We talk a lot about being metrics-driven with PPC and what the conversion is. Do you guys use it in any of your other branding initiatives or do all of your branding initiatives lead to a PPC or a cost-per-lead metric?
Megan: Yeah. A lot of them do. Ultimately, its all PPC that comes down to it.
Adrienne: Talk about what feedback you’ve gotten from being transparent as you are seeing really great conversions. What does that mean in terms of the new customers compared to others? Has the trust factor improved? Maybe talk a little bit about that.
Megan: Yeah. There were some interesting stats floating around earlier on how much weight in the customer experience was not necessarily in the product or the price. There is a huge piece of that for us. Once we can throw this competitive comparison piece in front of a prospect, it eases the nerves a little bit.
Megan: We leverage that as well as other content from G2 Crowd. Its easy for us to go in and sort reviews based on industry, and share that with someone. Its a very applicable, tangible measure and feedback that our prospects can take a look through and sort through. I think it does make a big impact as far as the quality. Once they see that, they’re a lot more trust in what it is that we’re saying.
Adrienne: Thinking about account based marketing and G2 Crowd aside, what other tips and tricks do you guys use that separate you from your competitors?
Megan: We go into all of our conversations with knowledge of their recent insights and triggers that are applicable to them. It allows us to take a more strategic approach. We look at an account and say “hey, they’ve had some interesting merger news.” We come in with very specific strategic content that’s in line with what is important to them at the time. Then, sorting through the reviews and being able to slice and dice our customer feedback and giving them something applicable to them shows that our sales reps have taken the time to take a look at the industry and what they’re interested in. That makes a big difference too.
Adrienne: I think you mentioned you reach out to your customers about once a quarter. How much heavy lifting does it require for you to have a customer advocacy program, have reviews and get fresh reviews? Having good old reviews is nice but having relevant recent reviews is really important too especially given the day and age now where technology is changing rapidly. The way we engage with customers changes everyday. Curious to know more about advocacy and your review strategy.
Megan: Yeah. It was important for us to keep the reviews fresh. We laid the foundation for more scaled initiatives on that with things like putting it in the website and in the footer of our customer newsletter. Obviously, we keep it going through our advocacy platform as well. For those of you who are on Influitive, or are familiar with Influitive, it makes it easy to help feed this constant refresh of reviews. But it does take a concerted effort because you don’t want to let is go stale.
Megan: We recently went through a new UX redesign and there are some reviews on G2 Crowd saying “Yeah, we love InsideView, but guys the user experience is getting a little bit dated.” We wouldn’t want a new customer coming up and seeing that now that we are all proud of our new user experience. So it’s important to encourage people to go through and keep those reviews fresh so the information is applicable.
We’re hitting the road again, and this time, we are headed to Austin for the #FlipMyFunnel B2B Marketing and Sales Festival on June 7, 2016.
The theme of this event will be “Peace, Love and Funnel” and will be a celebration of challenging the status quo in B2B Marketing and Sales. Tickets are on sale now and we are offering special pricing for Smarketing teams. Promo code GCIVBLOG50 will save you 50% on your ticket.