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The Digital Utopia Podcast is for SMB Marketers and Business Leaders looking to align their Marketing, Sales, and Service departments so they’re part of one powerhouse growth team.
Each episode will dive into the strategies, philosophies, and tools that will change your approach to organizational growth, give you renewed focus and clarity, and allow you to build a brand that not only helps you stand out—but win.
The Digital Utopia Podcast is produced by Digitopia and hosted by Frank Cowell and Joseph Freeman.
You were listening to the digital utopia podcast, a resource dedicated to helping B2B leadership and executives gain clarity and focus in a chaotic marketplace.
Frank Cowell: [00:00:35] Hey gang. Welcome to The Digital Utopia Podcast, episode 31. I'm your host Frank Cowell and I'm joined by my cohost
Joseph Freeman: [00:00:42] Joseph Freeman
Frank Cowell: [00:00:43] Joe, good morning! Let's jump into this. We're just gonna answer one question and one question only. What technology is needed to enable/empower RevOps?
Joseph Freeman: [00:00:52] Yes. And you know, the funny thing about this one, Frank, is that most companies already have most of the tech that's needed.
This is not a brand new, magical endeavor. This is taking most of the time, what you have and using it properly, putting it together properly. So, maybe we can talk a little bit about that. Starting with a marketing. Well, let's do marketing sales and service, right?
Frank Cowell: [00:01:17] Yeah. And just important to remind our listeners that is the alignment we're trying to create both in terms of process, but in also in terms of platform, which is the tech and when we say platform, we mean the tech, it's all the tech in that layer. And so those three areas have to be aligned from a tech standpoint, not just from a process and philosophical stance.
Joseph Freeman: [00:01:39] Yeah. You know, and if we work backwards from the end goal here that the end goal being total alignment, right?
Like we're talking about across every single lifecycle stage and across all your different departments, what you really need is tech that will allow you to collect the data and report to the dashboards that show you whether or not you're aligned. And in our implementation matrix, we talk about that.
We've got the KPIs outlined for each lifecycle stage and life cycle stage being a, you know, either a visitor or a lead or a qualified lead, or an opportunity, a customer. There's all these different lifecycle stages. And we measure a single or maybe two KPIs at each of those. And it's important that your tech can collect the data and report to that.
And that's actually the biggest challenge. I think we see with companies is. They have one of each of the different types of tech we're going to talk about right now, but not all of it can collect the data and report. So we'll talk about how you get around that a little bit.
Frank Cowell: [00:02:35] Yeah. I think at a bare minimum, you need to be able to connect the lifecycle stages so that there's good handoff and good, feedback loops, especially in the marketing software.
You have to know that the contact you generated, not only became a client or a customer but that they've stayed for a certain amount of time. They've bought certain, they've purchased certain things, right? Like that feedback loop is critical. So we're talking about having that lifecycle data sinked up and aligned. And then we're also talking about, like you said, the other supporting KPIs throughout. And to be able to gather that data and report on it. So at minimum, you're talking about like just contact life cycle information, and then performance data.
Joseph Freeman: [00:03:15] So let's work backwards through the different life cycle stages and talk about which software supports each one.
Okay. So if we start from the top it's fans, ultimately we're trying to create fans. So we have fans and before you're a fan, you're a customer. So for fans and customers, what type of software do we need to support those relationships?
Frank Cowell: [00:03:34] Okay. So there's two aspects to this. There's one aspect where you're facilitating business for whatever type of business you have. So that might be some sort of CRM ERP, some sort of project management systems, something that is specific to your organization, likely to your industry that helps you facilitate business with your customers, with your clients, patient subscribers. What have you. The other aspect of it.
Joseph Freeman: [00:04:04] Can, can we go back to that real quick?
I need some clarification on what that is. So let's say for a doctor's office, right? What would a doctor's office maybe be using. what is in alignment with what you're saying.
Frank Cowell: [00:04:15] Yeah. You're probably, if you're a doctor, you're probably going to have some platform like E doctor pro or for your dentist, it's going to be E dental pro.
Right. And it's going to be the thing where it's, it's tailor-made. For dealing with a dental patient.
Joseph Freeman: [00:04:30] So it probably has an appointment setting in a, and it probably has a chart for them to log in and see their latest laboratory.
Frank Cowell: [00:04:36] It has specific fields for what is the left top molar, you know, what is it?
Health and situation like it's got stuff specific to facilitating business in that area.
Joseph Freeman: [00:04:47] Okay. I just want to be clear. This is very industry-specific. Almost every industry has something like this that you probably need. To help facilitate that customer fan relationship.
Frank Cowell: [00:04:56] Correct, correct. And if you're busy, this is so generic, you don't need that. Then you might be able to move and to more generic platforms, but you're likely going to have something like this, something that's helping you facilitate tape business.
Joseph Freeman: [00:05:08] Okay.
Frank Cowell: [00:05:09] Okay. So that's one aspect. The other aspect of the tech you would need, for customers and fans is just simply the delight aspect and servicing them well, in terms of the kind of information they seek on a regular basis or the kinds of feedback you would want to get from them on a ride your basis, or being able to service them in ways that are unique compared to people who are, or yet, you know, in the tribe, things like ticketing systems to be able to support them well, things like knowledge basis to have information, to answer questions before they come up and to ensure that your service team is sending out all the same information and being very consistent and unified with how they answer those common questions that come up.
Right. Having some sort of live chat, you know, having some sort of these tools that help you service your client really well outside of the industry-specific stuff that you're, you know, you kinda like your business management software, these are the things where your clients are just, you know, commonly they're, they're doing common things across all industries, like asking questions, submitting requests.
So having tech to facilitate that so they can be serviced really well. And getting feedback from them is really important. And I often I find that those industry-specific softwares often fail in that area. They do, they do like the business, like execute business part really well. And it's specific to that industry, but then they fail at like delighting those, those same customers, members, patients, students, right?
Like they, they fail at that. And that's where it, you know, you need that other tech.
Joseph Freeman: [00:06:49] Yeah. So types of tech that fall into this camp, I think would be like Podium, right? It'd be Zendesk. Obviously HubSpot, we talk a lot about HubSpot, correct? These are the types of software that allow you to do that, to take in tickets.
Even to send out satisfaction surveys and maybe NPS net promoter score type of surveys. Yep. All of that can be rolled up into some of these softwares that are popular out there. And you may already even be using some of this or some of the features from some of these softwares.
Frank Cowell: [00:07:15] Yeah, exactly. So those are kind of the two aspects of the tech and customers fan.
So you need that. Yeah. Right. And I would suggest that. You know, look, I'm a huge fan of HubSpot, but even HubSpot, isn't built to facilitate the act of business in specific industries. It's just not, it, it could never do that for the dental, the practice, as well as the B2B professional services firm, as well as the manufacturing plant, real estate or whatever.
Right. So you're going to have of some sort of specific application to facilitate business. But those applications again, often fail miserably when it comes to, okay. Now let's engage those people in, in ongoing communication support and service them. Well.
Yeah. And whatever it is that you choose here, you need make sure that it can collect and report the data that matters for monitoring the life cycle stages and the kind of jumped between each stage.
Joseph Freeman: [00:08:08] So in this case, we often recommend at the fans level that you're measuring stuff like retention and NPS score. Right. And at the customer level, it would be how many new customers, how much new revenue from new customers. As long as you can measure those things and report them up somewhere to some executive dashboard.
You're probably in a pretty good spot.
Frank Cowell: [00:08:28] Yeah.
Joseph Freeman: [00:08:28] Right.
Frank Cowell: [00:08:28] Yeah, exactly.
Joseph Freeman: [00:08:29] Okay. So let's now move past fans and customers. Then we talk about the next group, which is. Creating new opportunities and servicing your qualified leads.
Frank Cowell: [00:08:40] Yeah. Right. Sales software, right? Yeah. So you need sales software, and this is where we can now get a much more generic, you know, at the end, servicing customers and fans, you do have that component of something specific to facilitating business for your industry or how you do business.
Once you get down into your sales and marketing software, you very likely don't need to go find something industry-specific because the standard approaches to marketing and selling usually kind of fit almost every business type. and so the sales software, you know, that, that tech should do a couple of things for your sales team.
One at minimum, just managing deal flow, right? That's probably the most basic thing that you're going to need manage deal flow. Where do deal set. How long have they been at certain stages? What are your success rates from stage to stage? What's your overall close rate? You know, at a high level, you know what revenue he's been closed and we're not talking about accounting here, but at a high level, what revenue's been closed contractually by documenting those deals that move to closing one.
So you're going to need deal management at minimum. And then the next thing that you know, starts to help you really get more done and be a more effective as a sales person is when you can do things like having sequences, ready to go. So when you come across a certain contact type, you can put them on a sequence manually.
This is different from marketing automation. This is sales automation in that we're going to choose to one to one, put people into different seats and tailor those sequences based on what we know about the individual. Uh, so it's, it's enabling you to do personalization in a much more effective. Efficient way.
So having that kind of tech is really important. So you need good sales tech to track those things and to enable your sales team, to just do, do more and get more done, be more effective with what they do.
Joseph Freeman: [00:10:36] Yeah. So this would be the sales forces of the world, the Sage CRMs, the Zoho CRM is it's any CRM software.
And again, making sure that it can collect the data and report up to a dashboard, what you care about most and, and they all do, right. Because what we're looking at here at these levels is stuff like. How many new opportunities or deals are you creating each month? How much money, how much revenue does that represent, allow you to kind of forecast, how many new qualified leads are coming in, whether or not your sales team is actually doing their job.
You need some exception reporting in these types of software. So you can have a sales manager holding the team accountable to making those calls and sending those emails and doing those LinkedIn touches. Right. But, that honestly is what we come across most correct with almost every company. Every company has some sort of CRM in place and is usually trying to highjack it in some way to do all of the work, to do the service work that we just talked about and to do the marketing automation work, which we're about to talk about.
Frank Cowell: [00:11:36] Yeah. And I would say on the sales stuff, you're right. That today, most CRMs are really built around the sales function and they're there to be able to keep track of your clients and customers.
And once they do, you close the deal and they become, you know, a customer in your business. They're there to be able to track that, but they, most of the time can't facilitate doing business. Like they really fall short there. So most CRMs are today. Really. I mean, they call it's called customer relationship management, which you should be able to manage the entire relationship lifecycle, which we're a fan of, which is why we love HubSpot so much, but most CRMs really fail at that. They really manage sales relationships. Right. And that is a, if that's what you have, that's fine. Make sure you're using it properly and getting all you can out of it but just know like that's a sales relationship. Not the entire, you know, lifecycle of relationship.
Joseph Freeman: [00:12:33] And if we're getting really civic, one of the biggest complaints I hear from companies that just have a solution similar to Salesforce in place, and they don't have marketing automation, specifically in place and they don't necessarily have service, type of module or software in place. Often I hear, yeah, we have the numbers and the metrics around, new deals, right. Once we, no, that there's a sales conversation to be had. We can measure that. What we're missing is once they become a marketing qualified lead, you can kind of track that in Salesforce, in similar softwares, but you can't really track everything that's happening between the time they become that marketing qualified level and when they're ready to truly talk to a salesperson, it's a big gap.
And there's no reporting. And I hear that all the time. We just don't know. We don't know what our sales people are doing with those. We don't know what our marketing team is doing with those. We don't know once they do become a customer, we can't look back and see what was the journey they took before they picked up the phone and called us.
So this is a big gap there for sure.
Okay. So then we stepped back from there and we're now talking still about qualified leads because the marketing qualified as part of that bucket, but, leads and of course, new visitors, right? The anonymous sort of someday customer. What kind of software do we need for that?
Frank Cowell: [00:13:46] Obviously now you're in the marketing world. So you need marketing software. And so that marketing software should help you facilitate. You know, the, the maturation of strangers who visit your site and then, you know, you should, you're trying to engage them as a contact in your database. So there's now conversion happening on your web properties and then the follow-up with those leads and nurture them and be able to engage them with more content and offers that are relevant to them.
And so there's a lot of nuance we could get into about, you know, different automation, capabilities, and smart content and various list segmentations. That's not what this episode is about, but having marketing tech that can facilitate, not only your tracking of those contacts and the conversion and tracking of those contacts, but ideally your, it should also facilitate the publishing of content that's critical.
And this is where a lot of marketing systems fall short. Is that they can do kind of like deploy the form and get your lead capture and then send them emails. A lot of them will do that, but what about publishing of entire landing pages or publishing of blogs or publishing of other types of content or deploying social?
Right. So to be able to publish and deploy content through your marketing platform is something that while a lot of platforms don't have it. It's also not a unicorn thing that you would be asking for. So I would encourage you if you don't have great marketing tech, go find something that, you know, does more than just deploy a form and sensitive emails out to your contacts you collect.
Yeah. And some of the common softwares here would be, you know, the MailChimp's of the world, Formspring. wE've got Marketo, we've got HubSpot stuff like that all fall into this camp, but you've got to be careful because like you just said, some of them are really good at one feature and they don't include all the others.
For instance, MailChimp is really good with sending out emails and some of the automation that goes with it. There's not really like a form feature or solution that's solid in there. Maybe there's integrations that would help that. But really you need to look for a marketing automation software that encompasses all of them.
Joseph Freeman: [00:15:53] Otherwise you're going to be cobbling together a whole bunch of, you know, nine $9.99 sort of subscriptions a month.
Frank Cowell: [00:15:59] Yeah. Yeah. And we already know what it's like to get $9.99 to death.
Nobody wants that.
Joseph Freeman: [00:16:02] No, you got HBO. You got Showtime.
Frank Cowell: [00:16:05] I mean, come on. Who needs that? But here's the thing. Uh, let's take MailChimp, for example, they are dramatic radically increasing their capabilities and their software.
If you keep an eye on them, they're doing things like automation, they're doing things like think they're even trying to do landing pages and whatnot. Yeah. But, but what's interesting is when you get into, you should like that, in my opinion, this is not meant to disparage MailChimp. I mean, if you want to send emails, that's a great email.
It's actually great. Yeah. But, but the point is, is that. You're going too quickly. If you're a, you know, a B2B of any serious significance and you've got a sales team and you got these things going on, my guess is you're probably not doing $500,000 in revenue. You're a real business. You're, you're doing something, right.
So you're likely going to quickly outgrow a MailChimp. So that's why it's, if you're looking to, for a replacement solution or you're just now looking to employ a solution for your business in the marketing side. Do your homework, make sure you get into something that can grow with you because a solution like MailChimp, you will quickly, they outgrow it.
Okay. There's the, what we just talked about was the service sort of hub, I guess, is what we in HubSpot call it, but the service functionality.
And just so everyone's clear when we say service, that means how you service or support your customer base. Yeah. Right. How you, how you cater to them in a way that's proactive, delightful.
And in when it's reactive, that's done efficiently.
Joseph Freeman: [00:17:40] Yep. We got the sales and we got the marketing. In addition to that, you also need a couple of other things you need probably some middleware. So we'll talk about that here in a second, and you probably need some sort of reporting dashboarding. Tool or software.
So middleware, what does middleware?
Frank Cowell: [00:17:55] Well, middleware is basically software that is going to become, that is a glue between different systems that you have. So if you have Salesforce and then you have some sort of other different CRM or ERP for facilitating business and how you service your clients, you will, if there's no native integration that exists between those two platforms, you'll need middleware that will tap into the API APIs of both of those systems.
And get the data sinked, right. Or like marketing to sales, you know? So for example, we have some clients who are on Salesforce and then we have, you know, obviously a ton of clients on HubSpot for the marketing piece. And so there's middleware to integrate those two. It just so happens. HubSpot has built in middleware to be able to facilitate that integration.
But if you, if you were in a situation where you were like pipe drive or, you know, something that didn't integrate with Salesforce, I'm making stuff up now, but you get the point. Like if you have two systems that don't natively integrate with point and click you'll need that other third-party software company.
That that's all they do is they tap into the API and they kind of manage that, you know, marriage of data between disparate systems.
Joseph Freeman: [00:19:06] Yeah. So this would be online subscription services like Zapier, or if, then, then if this, then that, if this, then that or Domo, there's a lot of systems out
Frank Cowell: [00:19:16] there that can bedrock data
Joseph Freeman: [00:19:18] bedrock.
They have connectors that connect to two different softwares and they act as the middle where as the, as the middleman in between. And of course you can have a custom
Frank Cowell: [00:19:26] you program, right? Your own. You
Joseph Freeman: [00:19:28] have a developer get in there and talk to two systems and put it on a server somewhere. And you can, you can host it yourself, but you do probably need that unless you've got it all under one roof, again, like the HubSpot example where, uh, service and marketing and sales are all in one system.
So they already natively talk to each other. Um, but quite honestly, that's not super common. A lot of companies don't ever get to that level. And so they are having to use some sort of middleware. Above and beyond middleware, I think the last layer you need is really that analytics layer.
Frank Cowell: [00:19:57] Yeah.
Joseph Freeman: [00:19:57] You've got to be able to take all this data that you're collecting and all of these activities that you're doing in these softwares.
And report them up into one dashboard. All of the softwares probably come with their own analytics. So right when you're in the marketing one, you can see what's happened in the marketing world
Frank Cowell: [00:20:12] and the ticks and who's opening and who's yeah.
Joseph Freeman: [00:20:15] Now their sales, you can see what the sales team's doing, but as an executive, you kind of need to see the big picture and you don't necessarily need to get into the weeds of every single one, but you need to see the trends across.
The major KPIs that connect all of these life cycle stages.
Frank Cowell: [00:20:29] Yeah. Look, if you're, you know, for example, marketing or sales team here today, and, and you're reporting to your executive team and you're including things like, you know, keywords and clicks and, you know, bounce rates and open rates, like stop that now.
Like no executive wants to know about clicks and ticks. They don't. And so the analytics you're talking about is. How do you tie all that together and tell the business story, and we're talking about business analytics, or would we call RevOps analytics? Right. RevOps analytics. Aren't about like keyword rankings and open rates and time from this sales stage to that sales stage,
Joseph Freeman: [00:21:06] which are all important.
They should still look at those. You just don't necessarily need to put those in there executive report.
Frank Cowell: [00:21:12] Correct. And that executive report is the RevOps analytics. Yep. And so to be able to report on that story, And be able to tell the executive team what's happening across that lifecycle. You've heard us talk often about if you've listened to this show, that macro funnel, right.
Which is the life cycle from stranger to fan all the way across and th uh, the KPIs that are critical at each of those stages. What does that look like? And can you connect that to where the data is actually kind of from the same data set, even if you have disparate sources, So with the middleware and then with the right analytics, that's what you're going to be able to do.
Joseph Freeman: [00:21:51] So we talked about some service software, some sales software, some marketing software, you need all of those
Frank Cowell: [00:21:56] and middleware. We talked about that,
Joseph Freeman: [00:21:57] right? You need that all connected through middleware, and then you need the analytics layer. Again, some softwares have all this built-in like HubSpot, right?
Some do not. And so if you are already in bed with a software tool, that you just can't get away from. That's fine. Put in some of the middleware, go get the missing pieces, make it all talk together, and make it report out to some, dashboarding or analytics tools like Klipfolio, or even Google Analytics can help you a little bit in this area.
But you really do need something that can take inputs from different. Sources.
Frank Cowell: [00:22:29] Yeah. You need something that is specifically built. Like you said, to take those inputs, you mentioned Klipfolio, I'm a huge fan of that product, because I think it's just, I'm writing the formulas are easy to do. It's it's very much like writing Excel formulas,
Joseph Freeman: [00:22:42] Right, but you're a programmer.
Frank Cowell: [00:22:44] I'm a programmer. Right. But, listen, anybody who's going to do this work, the promise of point and click. Wgen it comes to this stuff only gets you so far because inevitably you're going to want to display something that just doesn't get produced with a pre-canned point and click, you know, just assume you're going to marry the data together.
One of the platforms I'm a huge nerd for right now is Zoho analytics. So now just you. I'm going to recommend that no matter what, if you, if you're just doing full point and click, are you going to just use these platforms and do custom writing of stuff I'm going to recommend you have like some sort of data engineer or some sort of program or a kind of person on this, because if you really want to like, get the data you want for your business and do the comparisons you want to see.
You're going to have to like have someone who knows how to essentially either write really complex Excel formulas or in the case of like Zoho analytics there's is essentially SQL. So writing SQL statements. And so when you can do that, now you can get really powerful views of your data. You can start to create data from data, which is what a Zoho analytics called snapshot data.
That is really fricking cool, which basically creating data that doesn't exist in any of your systems, your comp you're creating computations, and then memorializing that into a new data set. That's really cool because now you can start to do trending of things that otherwise you have to kind of manually track in places.
So Zoho analytics, I'm a huge nerd for you mentioned Klipfolio Tableau is another one that's out there. These are really cool packages. Again. I'm a huge nerd for Zoho analytics right now. It's it's like dirt cheap too, and it's crazy. Powerful.
Joseph Freeman: [00:24:26] Cool.
Frank Cowell: [00:24:27] Yeah, but, but of course, if you can get it all in one system, that's even better.
That's why you hear us talk about HubSpot so much. This isn't meant to be a HubSpot commercial, and that's not why, but, but we're, that's why we're such fans is because you don't have to get into as much middleware conversation as much separate dashboards.
Joseph Freeman: [00:24:43] Right. So you can cut out the six months of connecting softwares and you can get right into act correct.
Frank Cowell: [00:24:48] Doing the work. Right. So not that we're trying to be a commercial for HubSpot, but that's why we're. Such huge fans. Okay. This was a quick hit today. On what tech do you need to enable/empower RevOps. Hope to see you back here next time on The Digital Utopia Podcast.