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The Digital Utopia Podcast Episode #42

3 Processes Companies Often Lack That Limit Their Growth Potential

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Ep 42

About the podcast

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.

Episode transcription

Don
Taking care of that customer at every stage along the way and having, you know, like we said, these are the three processes that kind of jumped out to me that I see most companies either they've tried it, they haven't fully committed or they think they're there and it doesn't matter what size you know, flat organizations, large organizations, you know, they struggle with some of these handoffs,

Intro
you're listening to the digital utopia podcast, a resource dedicated to helping b2b leadership and executives gain clarity and focus in a chaotic marketplace.

Frank
Hey, gang, welcome to the digital utopia podcast, Episode 42. I'm your host, Frank Cowell and I'm not joined by my co host, Joseph Freeman this morning, I am joined by seasoned business and digital strategist, Don Crow. Don, how are you?

Don
Frank, I am outstanding. How are you?

Frank
Fantastic. What a great morning so far, really excited that you're joining today. We're doing a little bit of a shift here. And you are one of our first guests that we're having on the show. We've had a couple of others. But definitely early in, in the mix here. Super excited to talk to you today about business processes and in growth driven processes that companies lack. And so thanks for taking the time out and being here with us.

Don
Absolutely. Frank, I am I'm thrilled to be here. I know internally at digitopia, everyone has seen the Don Crow show. And action, I'm not entirely sure that the rest of the world is ready. But we're going to bring a ton of energy today and a lot of value to our listeners.

Frank
Well, I kind of like that, that Don Crow show

Don
Just naturally fits right.

Frank
I think there might be a second show in the works. Yeah, let's think about what's good about that one. Yeah, I'm confident we're going to bring a ton of value today, you're gonna bring a ton of value, the show is really all about you today, I'm going to try to do my best to not talk so much. If Joe Joe is here, he'd be shocked to hear me say that, but I'm gonna really make sure that we can get the most from you today done. So Don, Let's talk about the topic today, which is, you know, processes that companies often lack that limit their growth potential. Now, you've been doing this for a long time, as I mentioned, a very seasoned business and digital strategist, and you help companies with the rev ops approach on the HubSpot platform to help them maximize their revenue potential. So knowing about that experience, let's talk about what you're seeing. And tell me what's one of the first processes that you find is missing and a company that is limiting their growth potential?

Don
Yeah, so the one that immediately springs to mind is, and to me, it's a very simple one to fix. But it's there's no natural or consistent feedback loop from the service delivery team or customer service, back into marketing, you know, and that creates a whole host of issues that I hope we dive into, but that's the first one it kind of springs to mind.

Frank
And so when you find companies that are doing this well, so you find companies are missing a feedback loop, doing customer service and marketing. What What then are companies doing, right, to create that feedback loop?

Don
Yeah, so, you know, working with HubSpot, one of the one of the easiest solutions that I've seen to implement is using Net Promoter Score NPS, you know, you can, you can easily integrate that into HubSpot, and the service team can use that. And if it's well timed, you know, right after you've either answered a service ticket, or you've done something specific for that customer, sending them that quick NPS survey. So what that gives you the end is, you've got a great way to create delighted customers, because obviously, if they score you at nine or 10, at the top end, you know, that gives you a segmented list that you can then use to start creating that feedback loop with marketing in the form of asking for case studies asking for testimonials, you know, creating kind of that raving fan club, where you give them behind the scenes access or you exclusive deals and discounts. But you know, you can really optimize using NPS not only to feed earlier content stages for marketing, but also in creating that customer delight and raving fans. The other thing that NPS

Frank
so booked so far ahead on Sorry to interrupt you, but no, go right ahead. For our listeners, let's talk a little bit about what NPS is, in case they don't know. So can you give a brief description on what NPS is just in case our listeners don't know what that is?

Don
Absolutely. So NPS is, you think about it visually. It's typically a scale of one to 10. And the question the leading question becomes like, Frank, how would you rate your interaction with company x today, and you know, one being I'm completely dissatisfied all the way up to 10 which is I'm thrilled and it gives a company leadership a A good snapshot of where you were that customer was at that particular interaction or time and space. Obviously, you can do more with it in terms of, you know, having a structure in place. And when you send that and what interactions you think you'd like to get customer feedback on. But NPS is really a, to me a simpler and more user friendly way to do the old school customer satisfaction surveys, you know, you'd be on a call back in the old days, when you did call center interactions, and they say, please stick around on the at the end of this call for you know, to complete a survey or right in my days at AOL, you'd get email, this huge survey that most customers didn't take the time to completely fill out. Unless they were super upset, or super happy. So you missed a lot of interactions in between. And that's why I really like NPS, one because it integrates so well, with HubSpot. And to because it's almost so easy that customer can, you know, click their answer right away. And obviously, if you want to follow up with them later, based on their score gives you an opportunity to do that.

Frank
Yeah, and of course, outside of a specific transaction, where you're reacting and sending the survey based on a very specific experience they've had, it's always a good idea to every now and then survey your database with the kind of the default NPS question which is how likely are you to refer, you know, a friend or colleague to our company to Acme Corp, to our brand to how likely are you to refer us to you know, someone else. And so then you know, that how likely you refer tells you a lot about who your promoters are and who your detractors are. And so as you mentioned, the nines and 10s are considered your promoters, and your sevens and below, or sixes and below are your detractors. And then your sevens and eights are considered neutrals. And so that kind of helps you understand like what percentage you have in each of those camps. And then there's a formula we won't get into of like how you subtract one for the other to get your actual NPS score, you can Google it and look up that formula. But that's the idea is that if you haven't done this, I would encourage you to email your database today and just ask that simple question, you know, how likely are on a scale of one to 10? how likely are you to refer our company to a colleague, and you know, a scale of one to 10? being like, absolutely. I love you guys. And one being like, I wouldn't refer you guys to the devil himself. Right? Like that's, that's kind of the range. And then like, just see where you're at, ask that question if you don't have anything built in, based on a specific moment, or a specific action they've taken.

Don
That's right. Absolutely.

Frank
So so keep talking through this idea now. So you talked about, you know, NPS, what else are people doing? or What else can you do with the NPS Besides, you know, start to segment a list for you know, who those people are for testimonials and case studies and whatnot?

Don
Well, that was that was exactly that was a great way to tee that one up for me, Frank, because that's exactly where I was going is that, you know, companies who do this? Well, they use NPS to help with their customer segmentation and lead scoring. So basically, they take the results, as you said, you email your database, you ask that question, how likely are you to refer us, that's a great place to start. And then based on that, obviously, if you look at your nine and 10, you can use that to kind of model and build look alike audiences. You can start list building to kind of improve the improve the score, but but mainly, I mean, if you do it correctly, you're ultimately you're trying to make the customer happy, right? So you want to improve their experience with your product or service. So anybody that you segment in that one to six range, you know, you create a process to Alright, what do we figure out what their pain points are, where we're not meeting that where we're falling short, and why they won't recommend us, and then you work, you work against that to improve those scores. The other one that I think is awesome is is just, you get such great feedback that you can then use to improve your product or service. Because you know, Frank, as you know, there's no amount of great content marketing that's going to overcome a poor product or service. It's like when you go to a restaurant, right, you might forgive average services, the food is great. But if the services average and the food is awful, there's nothing that you can do in that restaurant that's going to improve that experience. Right? And so it's the same concept here of Right, right, using that to improve your product or service. And then that's going to just feed back into your your overall content marketing.

Frank
You know, one of my favorite sayings were on the point you just made is the phrase that says, you know, marketing is simply the tax you pay for not being remarkable. And when you look at it that way, you're like, wow, damn, like, if I'm having to do it, marketing, just generate interest in what I'm doing. Maybe what I'm doing is And all that remarkable, and I love that you mentioned the idea of product improvement because that's, that's really what you should be using this kind of feedback for.

Don
Absolutely. And you know, and back to the NPS part, it gives you a very focused and segmented way to get in there and ask more specifics if you've got to detract it right. And it may be that they're happy with the marketing, sales and service side is that they're dissatisfied with product. So it's a natural segue to kind of have that deeper conversation.

Frank
That's awesome. Cool, is there before we wrap up this idea of any NPS? Is there anything else that you might recommend, you know, around NPS and how it can be used to start to create that feedback loop?

Don
Well, it just, you know, it's, it's fairly simple to implement, it's a lot more thought that has to go into the strategy behind it, and how you're going to use that to really segment and work with your database and your customers. But simply putting that processes in place, gives you know that main point of contact, a connection point with the client. And that's allows you to then do those things like ask for reviews and feedback and participate in case studies, or be a guest on the on your podcast. I mean, you know, it's exposure for them, and it's exposure for you. So it's a very simple step that's often overlooked. But the companies that we work with do this well, I mean, they have a really structured NPS program in place, and they actively use it to make things better forever.

Frank
Okay, so Don, if people wanted to launch an NPS, and they wanted guidance beyond just googling it and doing it themselves, they'd say they either have HubSpot, or let's say they don't have a solution. How can people get in touch with you? Like what's the best way for people to get in touch with you to learn a bit more about setting up NPS?

Don
Well, that's a fantastic question. I'm pretty active on LinkedIn and Twitter, but you can always find me through the digit topia dot agency website. Okay. And it's, I mean, service is one of those things that I am very passionate about and love helping companies with, whether it's developing a process, optimizing their process, you know, installing NPS or even, you know, refining and optimizing their existing like, customer satisfaction surveys.

Frank
Okay, great. So that website is digit topia dot agency, www dot digital dot agency, shameless self plug there. Let's jump into this next process that we were talking about this morning. And this one was got me really excited. It's a topic I'm passionate about, around sales nurturing, talk to us about sales nurturing of why that why you're finding that to be a missing process. And and what does that mean?

Don
Yeah, and I tell you frequently how I hear this is, I will say, Well, here companies say things like, Well, you know, we'll find that we can see prospects or visitors that come to our website, they download our content, they, you know, they watch our webinars, they check out our infographics. They're consuming all of our great content. And so they're exhibiting buying behavior, but then they say, Well, I'm not ready right now. Or the salesperson hears something other than a firm, yes, that person feels abandoned. And instead of, you know, they're not going to wait around, they've now got they're now armed with all this information and great content that you've given them. But they end up going with a competitor because by then they're they've already raised their hand, but maybe they weren't ready right then because it was a budget authority need your timing issue. There's something there. But sales didn't follow up. And sales had no process in place to put that first prospect into a nurture queue. And so of course, they end up going to a competitor because at that point, they've already done all their homework, they know exactly what they want. So they go to that competitor handrails and that competitor can then jump them. So I think, you know,

Frank
This is one of my pet peeves with sales teams today is that they just expect it to be handed ready now. You know, ready to sign kind of leads and opportunities and you know, this idea of nurturing isn't just a marketing thing. Like salespeople should be nurturing their own personal, you know, list of SQL is that aren't ready for that opportunity stage. And I think you nailed it, right, which is essentially when you have an SQL that doesn't have all four of BANT budget authority need and timing, typically its timing right. So typically in SQL has BAN but not T so if they had t they'd be an opportunity. So your SQL or your BANs right your BANs and you should be nurturing personally, you know a select list of SQL that you personally keep on in touch with and yes, marketing can continue to do the automated nurturing, but you know, you should absolutely be leveraging tools with automation, you should, you should be in touch with those people. This is one of my big pet peeves is sales, people need to nurture and create these relationships. So when they are ready, as you mentioned, when they're ready, they haven't forgotten about you, and then just go to someone else who's Google Ad popped up.

Don
That's right. I mean, and I love that concept of as you you know, as we mentioned, like the companies that do this, well, like those sales reps, they have kind of their own list, right, that they're responsible for, in addition to the, to the ones that they're assigned, that are kind of new coming through that maturation of the contact from, you know, mq l on up. And so I think what's important there is knowing the length of your sales cycle. So for example, if your sales cycle is six months long, it does use zero good to develop a nurture series, it's only two months, or four months, right? I mean, you've got to be ready to go the entire six months for some of these folks. And so there's where marketing and sales have to be in aligned on what content that they that they have ready for those SDRs, to reach back out to kind of keep you or keep that prospect in the loop, stay engaged with them stay in front of them. And it's got to be around that original pain point and what you know, made them raise their hand in the first place, or you're just, you're basically recycling content that got them in the door, but it's no longer of use to them, because they already know that stuff. At this point, it's got to be much I touch highly personalized, again, with sales and marketing be in alignment. And if they're talking, marketing can help develop that content that's unique or feels more personal to the salesperson is is using in their nurture queue.

Frank
Yeah, yeah, totally, totally understand that. We were also talking about automation, talk to me about automation and, and how that can and cannot be used and when it shouldn't, shouldn't be used.

Don
Yeah, that's a great point. Because I think when, you know, when sales leaders hear the term, sales, nurture queue, they immediately think, oh, we have a tool that we can use to automate all of that, and just put it on autopilot. And every two weeks, this person is going to get a blog post, or they're this person is going to get a white paper, or this person is going to get some, some piece of content. And I you know, I think that's the wrong approach. I think that there are some things sure that you can automate based on that customer's behavior, and what gets what gets triggered as part of that process. But it should always feel just like you're reaching back out to a friend you haven't spoken to, and maybe six or eight months and given them, you know, something of value. So automation has to be done. I think wisely so that it's automated to maximize the efficiency of your sales team, but to the customer or the prospect, it feels very natural, and it still feels just like that one to one interaction. Yeah, that's,

Frank
that's a great point. Great point. And to kind of, to what I mentioned a moment ago, which is, you know, if marketing is going to continue to do its nurturing with those blog posts, and whatnot, then you as the sales rep have to be in there with some sort of more personalized value, right, you have to show like, here's why I'm valuable to you, you know, because otherwise, to your point, that marketing, nurturing that that kind of provides, I call it, the ground cover provides ground cover, but it doesn't replace that relationship building that you as a sales rep are supposed to be doing.

Don
Yeah, and I think, you know, the, the automation piece, and those those engagements, I mean, you've got to, you know, you got to track and measure everything, like, you know, if the emails aren't being opened, then you know, you're missing something, right, you've either lost that person or your subject lines aren't, you know, spot on, or you've just kind of, you've over automated this entire process, and you're losing them. So you can't just and that's a, you know, like we said, the people who do this, well, they've got every step of this nailed down, right? I mean, they are tracking and measuring everything so that when they start seeing the customer kind of fall off, they know like, Alright, we've got to reengage because what we're doing now is not working, they don't just leave it on some automation cycle that runs until it's comes to a conclusion. And then scratch your head and say, well, we didn't we did all these things. But why don't we close this person?

Frank
Right, right. through some simple steps for people to get started with better sales nurturing? What are some simple things they can do and take action on today?

Don
Talk to your frontline sales folks. Ask them what you know, what's being said? What are the objections? What are the what are the common, you know, things that are preventing opportunities from closing, and then sit down with, you know, sales and marketing leadership and just say, Okay, what content do we have that we could potentially repurpose, so that it feels personal, but develop the content plan, and then, you know, back to my first point, which is know the length of your sales cycle, and develop automation accordingly. That's going to Stay in front of that prospect on their schedule on something that you can track and measure over the length of that entire sales now, perfect scenario, Frank, three months in a sales, six month sales cycle, something has changed, typically the timing and that person comes back in. But you need to look at it. From the approach of this could be a six month process.

Frank
Right, right. Yeah, that's a great point. You know, it's Same thing with, when people launch new marketing campaigns or new initiatives, and the CEO takes a, we're gonna invest, but we're gonna give it 90 days. But yet the cycle is six or nine, six or nine months. It's like, okay, so we all agree, nothing's gonna happen, right? Like, we all just agree on that. Let's talk about this third process that we were discussing earlier today, the third one that you found to be missing in a lot of companies, and that it's critical.

Don
You know, this is one of my favorite workshops that I do with our clients is what we call the technical lifecycle journey map, where we literally look at every step from visitor subscriber lead MQL, SQL and on up the chain. And we just get all of the leaders in the room sales, marketing, service, C level, whatever. And we just say, what does the term subscriber mean to you? What does lead mean to you? What does MQL mean to you, and we just started that very basic level of definitions. So, you know, like, I'm probably the only one old enough to remember this exercise. But in elementary school, we had like, not necessarily My favorite thing, but it's like a glossary sheet and you had to, you know, fill out the definition of words. And where that applies in this sense. And the Reb ops framework is, once you get everybody in alignment on what all of those different stages are, that the contact is going to go through, then you because people are going to people are going to change, right, you're going to have turnover, whether they get promoted, or they move to a different department, or for whatever reason they leave. You know, tools are constantly updating, so your platform is going to change. But if your people and you have a process, it's in alignment on what each of those definitions are, then you can dig a little bit deeper and say, Okay, what behavioral triggers? Are we observing from, you know, these contacts at each different stage? What our ideal customer profile or client profiles look like? What are the demographics that we need, then you start developing better MQLs, and a better MQL, is going to give your sales team a leg up, because now they know when they reach in, they know exactly who they're talking to what that pain point is, and how what is the best solution to offer, which and then in turn, creates better SQL and so on. So I love doing that exercise, because it's so simple. And you would think that companies of all sizes, would have that down, like what is an MQL. Most of them don't have a very broadly defined definition of that, or what we typically see as sales has one definition and marketing has another. And there's a big disconnect and that. Absolutely. And so then what does that do is how do you have a legit service level agreement between marketing and sales on how many MQLs are going to get each month or each quarter if they're not even in on the same page with with the definition of an MQLs? Right?

Frank
Yeah, absolutely. In fact, I think in a previous episode, we had a discussion about these different lifecycle stages and suggestions for how to, you know, map those, but once those are defined, Don, you know, I, my assumption would be that you're going to get those implemented into the various software's and, and set up the automations to then tag people when they reach those that criteria. How specifically, then, what do you see people using those definitions once they're defined?

Don
Absolutely. So, you know, we do a lot of this with our Fast Start programs. Here at digitopia, when we work with clients, as far as helping them either set up a new instance of HubSpot, or just completely starting over and starting over I mean, you see big companies who aren't in alignment and have over automated everything. And so, back to that very building block basic level of getting them on the same page with a definition and then crafting workflows that are based around those actual definitions. So it's everything from you know, who in the sales team is going to manually put eyes on those MQLs to say yep, this This prospect or this SQL looks perfect, it fits ICP, it fits everything that we're looking for, we're going to manually kind of move them over to SQL. But that's the automation piece, right. And that's the setup of your your platform. But it has to start with that agreement on on definition. Otherwise, you've got sales reaching way too far back in and and potentially subscribers and leads who we know aren't going to want to talk on the phone, yet, probably aren't going to answer an email or be ready for any contact. So using those definitions to define how your internal tools are going to work, how your internal processes are going to work as far as moving that contact all the way through each of those lifecycle stages. I think, as simple as it sounds, that exercise is, like I said, one of my favorites on our Fast Start Program, and it's one that generates the most discussion. Maybe maybe buyer personas are another one that generate a lot of discussion. But that technical lifecycle journey map really gets everybody involved. And you'll oftentimes hear you know, sales, marketing and service leaders laugh and go, well, that explains everything right? We've never been in agreement on what an mq le is or what an SQL he has, or what behavioral triggers we should be looking for and what that should trigger in our in our tool set up.

Frank
Yeah, I love what you said about SLS, between marketing and sales. And if you think about, you know, when marketing generates contacts in the database, and they eventually become mq ELLs, that's the point at which marketing is saying, Hey, we're certifying, these leads are now passed over to you sales, and they're worth looking at. We're not saying they're opportunities. We're not saying they're hot, ready now. But but we feel that added distance they're worth looking into. And so I've often used that kind of analogy with people when describing that. What's the difference in mq and SQL mon mq L is someone you see across the street, you can't talk to them, but they look qualified. And then SQL is like they they cross. And you ask them a few basic questions, and you go like, okay, yeah, I've validated what I could view from afar. So that's what marketing is doing. And so with that transition, that handoff is a great spot for that service level agreement between marketing and sales, as you mentioned, so yeah, that that I think those are these are basic things that we're talking about. And I think they're wildly helpful if organizations just commit to getting aligned on the same page and putting those agreements in place, we're talking, you know, a two paragraph agreement.

Don
That's right. And, and, and stay aligned, right, it's important to get this exercise kind of out of the way and get started. But you have to, you know, a company that we work with now that they have a really, really cool round robin approach where they get together quarterly, to just kind of review, hey, are what is the quality of the SQL that we've gotten? What are the quality MQLs we've gotten, and if you've got really solid professionals in each of those roles, your marketing leader should be a little bit embarrassed if they're not given sales quality, and, you know, marketing qualified leads every month, right? Like, you know, that should be a point of pride is everything we have set up is so awesome that I'm absolutely proud and happy to certify these MQLs and hand them over to sales.

Frank
Yeah, that's fantastic. That's great. You know, obviously, the end result of all of this is that, you know, we're improving the customer experience, but at the same time, we're also streamlining the revenue engine, right? I mean, that that's the result of what you've been talking about with these processes. And I'm sure we could talk for hours about many more processes. But I like these three that you pointed out. And I think that you want to companies commit to inputting process related to the growth engine, the revenue engine, which by the way, is aligned with the customer journey, right, like your growth and your that, I often call it the macro funnel like, that is the customer journey, and like, what are the points in that journey at which they can influence positively on your brand on your business? You know, through opportunity, through revenue through referrals through, you know, whatever it might be? What is that macro funnel? And so having process for each of those just makes sense. It streamlines your operation, and but again, most importantly, you're really improving the customer experience. I mean, that is the most important thing.

Don
I couldn't agree more. I mean, I think that's the beauty. You know, you think about the art and science of rev ops and that Reb ops director in any company, that's ultimately what they're doing, right. I mean, that the growth and the that you see is just really the end result of taking care of that customer at every stage along the way and having, you know, like we said, these are the three processes that kind of jumped out to me that I see most companies either they've tried it, they haven't fully committed or they think they're there and it doesn't matter what size As you know, flat organizations, large origin organizations, you know, they struggle with some of these handoffs or and like we said, first one being, you know, NPS is a great solution, but it ultimately is because there's no feedback loop from service back to marketing, you know, and then the handoff between sales and marketing, there's a, there's a hiccup there. And it kind of comes back to this third point was was the lifecycle journey map that we do with clients is, you know, let's all get in a room and get agreement on the definitions and what should be happening in our people process and platform to make this work.

Frank
Yeah, that's great. You know, we have we are now at a time but I do want to make sure that we point people to this lifecycle journey mapping that can help you with these life cycle definitions. And so if you go to www.digitopia.agency, we have available on the website there a lifecycle map, more specifically, it's you know, slash lifecycle dash map, you're probably not going to remember that you might be in the car, www.digitopia.agency and you can also go to buildingyourdigitalutopia.com to learn more about everything that we talked about in this podcast, the book, a lot of the other templates and assets that we have, in fact, we should DJ we should make the lifecycle journey map also available in some of the tools on buildingyourdigitalutopia.com, since that's where we often push people to so we'd love to hear from you after you get this document. Let us know what you think of it if you have questions. The lifecycle journey mapping tool, as Don mentioned, is a tool that Don actually uses in his day to day with clients and helping them figure these things out. Folks, thanks for joining us. This has been fun, Don, thanks for joining us today, hoping you're gonna join me on another episode.

Don
I hope so too.

Frank
Alright, folks, you have a great one and we'll see you soon.
 
 
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