Today’s episode focuses on Software as a Service SaaS lead generation strategies. From Audience Ops to Zapier, many tools and plugins are available.
Jono Landon is the founder and CEO of Hubbli, a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and SaaS company that works with private schools find prospective parents to grow enrollment. Jono describes Hubbli’s use of lead generation tools, software, and strategies.
- Hubbli generates sales leads via target audience, cold calling, products, content, education, and paid traffic funnel to schedule demo
- Webinar Elements: What’s the roadmap to reach a buying decision?
- Infomercials are ridiculous, unless you’re the person needing a solution to a problem
- Sales Metrics: Results show drastic increase in price point and shorter sales cycle
- Webinar: Way to engage audience, improve attendance, and offer real value
- Subject Matter Experts (SMEs): Build trust to get people to part with their money
- Tools to Try: WebinarJam, Audience Ops, Infusionsoft, Leadpages, Zapier, and more
Links and Resources:
Jono: Hello and welcome to the Kick SaaS Podcast. I’m your host, Jono Landon. In this podcast, we share excerpts from live in-person SaaS growth events that I run in my hometown of Toronto, Canada. A little about me, I’m the founder and CEO of Hubbli. We’re a B2B SaaS company that helps private schools find new families to enroll and engage them throughout the entire enrollment journey. This episode is a recording of a recent roundtable discussion that I facilitated at the Hubbli head office on the topic of SaaS lead generation strategies. We’re going to jump right into this episode. I hope you enjoy this format and the content we go through here. I look forward to sharing future episodes with you from these live SaaS growth workshops.
Margie: Okay, so why don’t we start? I put together a list of key questions but anyone can ask questions to everyone as well. Why don’t we start with you, Jono? Can you tell us how you generate sales lead for Hubbli?
Jono: Sure. In our space, we’re targeting small private schools. These are very particular businesses. One of the benefits of the many challenges of working with schools is they’re really easy to generate leads for, depending if you have the right product. We’re selling to this school leadership administration. What’s really cool is if you call them, the person that picks up the phone is actually who you’re trying to close. There’s no gatekeeper which is awesome. We try to find a product for the gatekeeper. That’s what I always suggest to people. [00:02:12] the gatekeeper. I’m like, “Arm yourself from one of the gatekeepers because they always pick up the phone.” Anyway, that just happens.
When we started off, we were able to just literally cold-call and close sales. That was great but obviously, it’s the slowest and hardest. As soon as we were able to, I started testing paid traffic, originally paid traffic basically from Facebook into the website where I just had a very basic button to schedule a demo. We would generate demos that way. That was the initial paid traffic funnel.
At that time, our cost of acquisition was almost 10 times what it is right now. It was okay but it really was quite challenging. There were a lot of no-shows and it took many calls to close the deal. There’s a number of ways that we’ve optimized the sales funnel to improve the cost of acquisition and shorten it, but as far as generating the leads at the top of the funnel, we’ve been developing a lot of content, a lot of blog content that gets organic opt-ins. What I’ve been developing over the last few years is trying to continuously add layers of education and qualification between the initial opt-in and the sales call.
Now instead of just Facebook Ad to the website and a demo signup and then a demo, it’s Facebook Ad into a webinar registration. They come into the webinar for an hour, they come out of the webinar, then they go to consultation, and they’re 80% sold by the time they show up. There are, of course, many other steps and automation in between every stage of that. This is a very high level explanation of it, but that is how we are generating very, very hot leads now that the cost of acquisition has gone from $1200 down to under $150. That’s been [00:05:14] two years.
Man 1: Was that all trial and error as you went through that process or were you following that other lead from others that got you there?
Jono: It’s a little of both. I really wanted to try webinars. I just probably realized this market really needs to be educated. It’s a great opportunity because it’s something [00:05:46] land-grab. For our market, they are business owners that are actually teachers. They are teachers running businesses. They’re missing any business education or experience, they just go from teacher to all of a sudden, they’re running a $10-million annual organization with no training in between. That takes a lot of education for them to just realize how poorly they, and just in general, the industry does things.
The education is really essential and that’s a great opportunity to create piping hot leads that are on the brink of closing because you’re really opening their eyes up for the first time with these things. If you can get people into that position, that’s wonderful for sales. They’re not a sophisticated market. It’s not a bunch of signals that you have to cut through where they’re hearing the same thing all the time from a bunch of different people. The other challenge is you got to get them into that place and get them to open up their mind.
Man 1: I know that you webinar is quite long. Is that normal in webinars? I thought it was excessively long, but obviously, it works for you.
Margie: How long is it?
Jono: Yeah. It’s an hour-plus. It goes on.
Margie: Is it a live webinar or a recorded webinar?
Jono: It was. They think it’s a live webinar, every [00:07:22] webinar. We use a tool that makes it seem live and they do think it’s live and they answer questions that I ask all the way through. It really works.
Margie: What if they have a question?
Jono: They chat and they see their chat. If I wanted to be or somebody could be there live responding but the first time I did the live webinar or the one that was recorded probably had 30 attendees, now it’s got almost a 1000 because they just keep on piling on and adding on. Everybody’s answers, I ask them, “Where are you from?” and most like, “[00:08:05]” people. You look really impressive because wow, there are many people here watching this guy but they don’t know that’s been collecting on for almost six months.
As far as length goes, you got to find the right thing. When I decided to try the webinar thing, the first opportunity I had was with a channel partner that is an association of schools. They asked me to present in their webinar and I did that.
Interesting little side note. I was like, “Okay, I’ve never made a webinar before. How do I do this?” I have a service that writes our blogs for us. I took one of their blogs because it was on the right topic and I used that as a road map. It was a well-written blog, it was a good road map, and I was like, “Okay,” because that’s the hardest part when you’re trying to make something like a webinar, or an email, or a course or something, it’s like, “What is the roadmap? Where am I going with this?” I just used that and then I just made a bunch of slides according to every point. That was how I started and that turned out really well.
From doing those webinars live, I was, “Oh, I got a bunch of demos out of it and I got sales out of it. This works well.” Then I looked into webinar courses. I bought one of these webinar guru courses and I bought more than one of them. The real value was Amy Porterfield. She’s one of these webinar guru people. I went through it and I got her template. I used her template to just plug in my content into her template and that worked well.
It worked well because ultimately, sales is sales. If you take your cues from the most salesy infomercials, you’re smart. Humans make purchasing decisions the same way no matter where you are. We go through a cognitive process when we make a buying decision. That process shortens or lengthens depending on the size of the decision. We go through that model. From an infomercial to a webinar to a mailer that comes into your mailbox, those direct mailer things, they have all the elements that humans need to make a buying decision.
Something that I realized recently was we’re selling in the education sector and I’m part of a lot of ed-tech meetups and things that. I was showing this group my webinar and they’re like, “Wow, that’s really salesy. How do you approach this market like that?” I’m like, “Because sales works. If you don’t do it this way, you won’t close the deal.”
What I realized was when you’re watching an infomercial, whatever it is, get these two knives, or a slap chop, or whatever, it seems ridiculous because you’re not the person that has that problem that he’s speaking to. But when you are that person, when you’re in that target zone, you’re just eating it up because you also activate as the buyer. All those sales elements now mean something to you and you’re responding to it because it’s taking you through the process that you want to go through because you’ve got the problem that they’re talking about, whatever it is. That’s the thing that I’ve learned really over the years is that some people are cringy around salesmanship and overly salesy landing pages, but those things work and you really got to use them. That should be your starting point.
Man 1: At the beginning, you’re already trying to source right out of the gate. When they come in, if you’re hitting them right over the head and saying, “Hey, this is for you,” or “It’s not for you.”
Jono: That’s what marketing is. Marketing is helping people filter themselves out.
Man 1: I think that’s a key point because I found a lot of people I interact with are trying to hold as much of that basket as possible then really teach us to be getting rid of it and [00:13:35] down as quickly as possible.
Woman 1: May I ask you something? Are you doing [00:13:41] or is it monthly, annually?
Jono: We’ve moved more to annual but we started out doing monthly, quarterly, and annually. We used to be basically almost predominantly all monthly and then I just realized if I can close them on an annual subscription, why wouldn’t I do that?
Woman 1: Yeah. [00:14:02] more towards the larger [00:14:07].
Jono: Interestingly, when I was doing monthly, it was a way harder sale. This is the topic of the last meetup. There are so many elements to optimizing the sales funnel. Part of that work for us was to stop solving everybody’s problems. We were just solving too many problems with too many people and it just made the sales process way more complex and longer than it needed to be.
We offer the same platform but we’re focusing on one problem at a time now in our sales so we’re closing way faster on annual subscriptions that are actually twice valued on a monthly basis, twice as much as it was before, over twice as much, and it’s way easier to close. Same customer, same platform. By going annual, the sales cycle shortened and the ticket price went up.
Man in blue shirt: [00:15:43]
Jono: Why? I don’t know if it’s easier but it hasn’t slowed me down at all. My sales metrics have improved drastically. I just can’t imagine why I would go monthly. I don’t think they’re going to get any better.
Man 1: If there’s no resistance to the sale.
Jono: It’s just something that you’ll figure out about your market and your buyer. You got to ask. You just got to always ask for more.
Man in blue shirt: [00:16:27] using software for the [00:16:29]
Jono: My funnel has four different SaaS products that are all patched together, then I have an analytics package that sucks everything in to track the metrics. For that tool, I use WebinarJam. They have two products basically, one is just an upgrade. WebinarJam is the live webinar version and then every webinar is an upgrade. That allows you to just take any one of your live webinars that you’ve done and just convert it to an evergreen webinar. Basically, you’ve done all the work of doing it live, now it’s just one click and you’ve got evergreen webinar.
Man in blue shirt: But it doesn’t answer the question in that live evergreen webinar?
Jono: They do have a feature where you can log in to respond the chats live if you want to. Basically, on a daily basis I get a notification from WebinarJam saying, “You’ve got 25 new chat lines.” I can go in and approve them to be part of the next run of the webinar or delete them or I can insert answers to them even from fake people. They’ve thought about everything. These guys are very good. They’re really good.
Man in blue shirt: You mentioned [00:18:06]
Jono: Blogging? I can’t speak highly enough about this, guys. It’s a company called Audience Ops. The guy’s name is Brian Casel. He’s got a podcast that I’ve been listening to for years. It’s just the real basic best practices of what every SaaS business needs, like a weekly blog service. Then they started a podcasting service. I do both and literally, they supply the podcast host, I just have to show up to a monthly Zoom call and their podcast host interviews me on the topics I want them to talk about. They research them and all that stuff. Then they cut it, they make the blog article, they do everything around it, too, like transcription. They post it in Buffer and to all my channels, send the newsletter for me. Everything just perfect [00:19:14].
Originally, before this guy, Brian, launched Audience Ops, he exited a SaaS product and then he developed this productized service, it was he coined it. Then he actually has an online course about productizing services. Then he just launched a new SaaS project management geared towards a productized service type of team. This typical SaaS bootstrap story where you create a service and then you make tech to make your services more efficient and then you sell the tech.
Margie: Where are they based?
Jono: His whole team is virtual, distributed. Their service is great. Just to give you a sense of the quality of their content, the head of the International Montessori Foundation, who’s an author and one of the biggest names in the industry, saw one of my articles went through the ecourse that those guys were and then asked me if he could publish that ecourse in their magazine that goes out to 30,000 schools. I was, “Yeah.” Now that guy’s sitting on my board. It’s one of the most strategic, then he became a customer and then became an investor and a board member all because of their blog articles and their ecourse. It’s really, really high quality content at basically a quarter of what it would cost to hire somebody.
Man in blue shirt: Was it based on [00:21:09]
Jono: Yeah. It’s $1000 for every other week or $2000 for every week. I do every other week with both the blog and the podcast. Basically, my list gets either a new blog article or a podcast episode every other week. Every week there’s something happening.
Man in blue shirt: [00:21:35]
Jono: $2000 for the [00:21:38].
Man in blue shirt: [00:21:39] per week?
Jono: $500 per week.
Woman 1: What marketing automations are being used as [00:21:51]?
Jono: I use Infusionsoft. It is more for a small team because we’re not that big right now. Everything is a marketing automation tool. I use Leadpages for the landing pages and everything ties in to each other and everything ties into Zapier; everything tags everything. Leadpages is the landing page and then that puts them into WebinarJam. WebinarJam handles the reminder sequence to get them to show up. Then depending on what they do in WebinarJam, it takes them in Infusionsoft where they also initially get entered into after the opt in. Then depending on, again, if they attend it or if they miss it, they get different sequences from Infusionsoft, then it goes on.
Then use this tool, Funnelytics to track. Funnelytics just lets you, again, suck in all the engagement from multiple platforms and manage your UTM strategy and everything. It’s a new tool but it’s everything I’ve been looking for in that sense. You can patch together whatever you want. I find there are things like ClickFunnels, which is a good all-in-one funnel builder and has its own analytics package. Any all-in-one platform I find, ClickFunnels has its own webinar feature, but it doesn’t have nearly the features as WebinarJam. I like to patch things together more than sticking [00:23:48].
Guy with turban: One question that you mentioned that the cost of acquisition has now down to less than [00:23:57]. Where did it start? How was your experience with [00:24:03]
Jono: I started at about $1200. That was a couple years ago.
Guy with turban: [00:24:10]. Is it stabilizing at this mark?
Jono: You’re always working at it, but it’s consistently coming down. I don’t know if it’s going to get much lower than this. The things that might bring it down now is if that’s exclusively based off Facebook Ads. Again, there are multiple conversion points.
One thing that really was quite interesting is you got to figure out which lever really changes the metric the most. I found that certainly, the biggest shift was getting away from just landing page demo opt-in, like hit the website, sign up for a demo, that’s when it was $1200. They just sign up for a demo, it was probably a 30% show up rate. It was really frustrating. It was $40 a demo at that time. Then multiple meetings to actually get them to close. It was very complex and too many people were required for a decision.
Adding in the webinar was a remarkable change as far as quality of principal show up rate and quality of demo and conversion rate on the demo. They were pre-sold. Essentially, the webinar is selling them. The key to using a webinar is you’re showing them your product. They know they’re coming in to be demoed something but you’re offering real value that’s a real takeaway that really they are educated. You can’t just fake it. You really got to dig in and make a great webinar.
Guy with turban: But your webinar allows you the opportunity to hold and tell the story be known just to [00:26:43]. Sometimes, you have liberty but that only happens in the [00:26:50] in the relationship with [00:26:53] certain point that you could take it beyond what you’re really looking to do in the [00:26:57]. The webinar allows you that [00:27:01] and I would think if you would get exposed [00:27:08] if we’re just to say [00:27:10] smaller so I’m dropping and take someone in, but with the webinar, you’re literally [00:27:16] the top of the funnel because you’re talking about these things more as subject-matter expert or touching their business points then [00:27:26] go through this one process. “Here’s our product, here’s competition, here are our [00:27:35].
That’s how you got to do [00:27:37]. Sometimes, you’re discussing [00:27:45] and then that resonates with the audience and what they’re thinking of. It’s just that one thing to say about. There’s something that’s not really [00:27:52] and that [00:27:57] I’m just going to buy this anyway. If these people think of this [00:28:04] mind process or know so much more about that process [00:28:07] especially as [00:28:09] scheme of things, the audience is very dedicated as long as being [00:28:19]. That’s really the reason why webinar would be [00:28:23] in your practice.
Jono: Right and all the more so, again, if this is all really new to them. As any sales requires, you need to flash your badge, make them think that you are a real expert in the space, they want to talk to experts and want to be sold by experts, everybody wants to buy from an expert, and then you need to show your credibility.
Sales and marketing is a process of building trust with people. Every stage of the process is just more and more trust until someone’s willing to part with their hard-earned money. The more you can speak to their pain and show you’re trying to slay the dragons that are coming after them and all that stuff, people coming out of my webinar and they’re like, when they show up, they tell me, I really understand them.
That’s what I like about niche marketing because you can really understand my customer base is a very tight profile. They are so consistent. When I build a business, I look for that. I’m looking for a consistent buyer persona that I can craft the perfect sales experience for it and figure out what they need and figure out how to talk to them. The more you niche down into a market. That’s one of the benefits of niching down into a niche market is that you can learn that and really have a very constant period of [00:30:13] more powerful.
The webinar was a huge shift in the conversion. I could not get my customers to buy my product in the webinar without a sales. It’s not going to happen. But I wanted to see if I could create a middle purchase that gets them to become a customer because once somebody pays you money, psychologically, you’re in a completely different basket in their head. I tried first selling a course. But I didn’t create it, I just pitched it and nobody bought it in the webinar. I got some interest but nobody actually purchased it.
Margie: It’s just like a trial test.
Jono: Yeah. I did the same webinar, but in the end, I just swapped what I was pitching at the end of the webinar and I tried selling a course. I worked hard and I put a lot of effort into trying to sell that and it didn’t fly. What worked was selling a slightly cheaper offering, just a $97 consultation. Instead of booking a free consultation, they paid for it. Again, I worked hard to sell it like, “I’m going to give you these deliverables,” and that worked. They started purchasing.
In the webinars, this automated evergreen webinars started to make the sales. When that was the first time, I was like, “Holy […]. I’m just selling something in the actual webinar. They’re clicking on it and putting in their credit card info.” Then they’re showing up for this consultation that they paid for and 73% of those people became my customer. They paid $97 and 73% of those people then paid me $3000. It’s like, “Okay, that works really well.”
I’ve since switched because you get fewer consultations. What I did was I decided to get more consultations but then actually get my sale to convert higher. Now my sales converted at over 50% without a fake consultation, but I get more consultations because I’m not filtering with the purchase. Again, you’re going to play with these levers and figure out what’s right for you. That’s going to change depending on so many different factors like how big your team is, how much money you have to generate leads, what’s going on in the industry, or whatever.
Man 1: What does the members look like coming into the webinar and once they actually sign up for the demo after? What was the drop off between?
Jono: We have about a 30% registration rate. It’s a really high conversion rate on the registration page. Then we have over 43%–44% show up rate, which is pretty good. The one thing I don’t have a good handle on is how many people show up actually schedule a consultation. That’s something that has just been tough to track properly. I’m not sure why. I’ve got somebody [00:34:13] down that’s basically dedicated to literally trying to really finalize, getting everything tooled up properly. That’s the one [00:34:27] point I’m not totally sold on, but what I’ve seen is out of the people that stay for the pitch, there’s a 30% conversion rate on those people. For the people that stay for the full hour, I pitch at around a minute 50.
Man 1: The pitch is for the consultation.
Jono: No, it was a free consultation. I’ve gone back to the free consultation.
Woman 1: Was the niche being [00:35:06] not business minded or [00:35:10]. What are the calls to action for a webinar? [00:35:15]. I’ve never heard of a webinar before [00:35:25] you play with the CTAs?
Jono: Yeah. We’re doing another round of headline testing in the ads. I’ve been really focusing on the Montessori market as a beachhead. The two that performed the best is Montessori Marketing Masterclass. That works. That’s the one that’s performed the best so far. Also, Facebook Ads for Montessori. My webinar is how to use Facebook Ads to grow your enrollment. That’s what the topic of the webinar is.
We don’t use the word webinar because webinar means different things to different people. They may think that’s just a demo. A lot of people think a webinar is just a one-on-one demo because it’s in a web. Masterclass or case study, use case study as well.
Margie: Is there anyone else here who would like to share their experience with generating sales leads for SaaS? Richard’s here from Applause who joined us remotely. Richard, do you want to share you experience with generating sales leads?
Richard: Yeah. It was really interesting he mentioned a few things regarding sales being ads. At Applause, we do employee engagement. We’re mainly selling to HR—HR directors, HR people. The whole sales point is really the employees. Employees are disengaged, don’t give a lot of effort. The employees who are disengaged tend to leave sooner than later. They’re taking the training and they’re not really beneficial to the company. That’s all sales pitch. You take less sick days and they’re more motivated.
Our platform software, what it does is that it makes it so that the employees feel more engaged because there’s peer-to-peer recognition. Managers get to see what’s going on there on the sales team, for example. What I really liked about what Jono said about, it’s like the media. People will make the purchase on the first buy. We have a lot of success when we started developing multiple touch points, whether it be Facebook Ads linked with LinkedIn, the email, Google AdWords, and forth because what we realized with HR, we thought people were going to log in, sign into the free platform, and everything will be done that easy.
We realized that no one was signing in even with all those efforts and generating a lot of people so we really had to change our pitch and really show the value. We did webinars, not automated like you express which was a great point, I definitely took some notes there, but we did webinars with hr.com which are niche markets to try to touch their client base. But what we’re really seeing success with is LinkedIn Sales Navigator.
What we do is the sales team filters through. We could choose company sizes, geographic locations. We can even tag people. Whenever they’re mentioned in a post, they comment somewhere, or they’re mentioned in the article, same thing as their company, we can then target them. What we do is we reach out to them, we link whatever we see in the news, and then we target them with that piece.
For example, Walmart shutting down a store and a thousand employees are laid off, then we’ll use that as a way of where they not engaged, could they increase productivity so they didn’t have to resort to that? That helped us a lot in that point. That’s basically the sales gen.
We still do the landing page, Google AdWords to landing page. We tailor it to either executives. We’ll talk more about the bottom line and how that could increase. We have another landing page that targets more HR people. Spending less time trying to go buy gifts for your employees for years of service and we try to put the added value always having the call-to-action above the fold to be able to book those free demos.
The only difference that our demos, we try to keep it super short, a quick 15-minute to 30-minute maximum overview. We lead with the benefit, we don’t focus too much on the features. We have, for example, surveys, polls, marketplaces, design your perks. We really do a quick overview of everything to say how it can save them time in their workday or give them peace of mind and take it from there.
Jono: Somebody asked if anybody here has tried AI lead generation tools. Have you?
Woman 2: [00:40:32] tool right now. I’m very curious if anybody…
Jono: What’s his claim?
Woman 2: He claims that he will take the place of 2D or 3D apps. Basically, it’s an AI tool you just tell it people you want to target and it will generate those lists and send them [00:40:52] in your home list as well. It takes away a lot of the research work that [00:41:01] packages start about [00:41:07] a month.
Woman in black: I wonder where are your scrapes in [00:41:13] from LinkedIn, Facebook.
Woman 2: They [00:41:18]. One of them is LinkedIn. [00:41:23].
Guy in white shirt: Like instant AI?
Woman 2: Yeah. It’s an AI [00:41:32] list. You basically tell it [00:41:34]
Guy with turban: AI for getting the contact information on LinkedIn? I would say, [00:42:09]. If you have your own LinkedIn…
Margie: I tried [00:42:17] before.
Guy with turban: [00:42:19]. There’s another one called LinkedIn Helper. Has anyone tried that? What that does is it does [00:42:29] the job you’re suggesting this company does? It does [00:42:33] scale as well so you would set your patterns that comes in the background if you have to have access to LinkedIn. [00:42:40] salesnavigator.com but you can Google that [00:42:45] whatever, you [00:42:48]. You can look that up if you want. [00:42:51] introductions and things like that but then that’s what I said. I’ve done parts of [00:42:59] I would say, here’s a little bit of help and you should get the details and then do it ourselves.
They just want the things that I would take using AI, virtual right or wrong, or [00:43:14] when you’re selling this to [00:43:18] barely lying the whole gamut of things that’s really what could work for you might not necessarily work for something else at all. If someone’s generating 300 a day, 25 days later, you cover cold calling 7500 contacts. For other people, that’s speed. That’s probably the [00:43:42]. That’s a lot. [00:43:45] the second month. If you could make 7500, then what conversion rate [00:43:51] is 7%. You won’t even imagine that you’re going to hit that.
[00:43:58] in the sense that if it’s [00:44:07] at what stage are you in the business as well? If you’re a very established business and Yahoo treats you [00:44:14] top of funnel, great, but if [00:44:17], you want very customized messages [00:44:24] conversations. I’ve worked for a very established business. [00:44:33] webinars, our whole business was around content. A big, big environment. All the industry [00:44:41] content creation first is everything because [00:44:45]. We will collect data, we will create the insight from the data and we put it out as content. [00:44:50] conferences and panel discussion forever, that was [00:44:55] industry reports, that kind of stuff.
That’s [00:45:03] in the market. Allowing them with repeat users as well [00:45:09] almost always get new release coming through something [00:45:09] the AI theme might force [00:45:21]. One of those things is just creating top of the funnel and you’re like a name that everybody knows and [00:45:27] and when I come back [00:45:31] step further and AI qualifies it back to you [00:45:36].
Man 1: I imagine the headlines and the content that they’re viewing in the app “messaging” will play a video [00:45:51] AI is playing with that or you have to generate that.
Woman 1: I don’t think [00:45:56] so they can monitor them and they [00:46:00] them and adjust them.
Man 1: AI is not doing the activity with these things, with AI, you look and then substitute and present to the ones that are working the best.
Woman 1: Yeah. [00:46:16].
Margie: They’re still [00:46:33] but very early stage.
Woman 1: Yeah. But you have to start something.
Jono: There’s this company in the Philippines called Callbox. They have a team. Literally, they’re going to launch it this week and we’re going to test using differently than their regular use case. We don’t want them scheduling demos for us which is what they’re having a hard time wrapping their heads around that because we just want them inviting people to the webinar. We just want to get the right people at the top of the funnel. The webinar is a Ferrari engine at this point and I just need premium gas going in. I don’t want to talk to people and I don’t want my salespeople to talk to people if they don’t have that kind of the webinar.
My sales funnel and my sales call is scripted at this point. My salespeople are actors. They’re not trying to figure out what to say. I want them to focus on performing the sale rather than figuring out what this person is going to say because we have this incredibly tight profile. Everything we say, if they’re the right person, it’s going to strike them in their heart. It uses all of the consultative skills best practices if you read spin selling and all that stuff, all of that stuff is happening inside that, in that hour-long call. But it generally takes an hour to close our customers but we go through it and they’re closed. It’s scripted. I just want to keep on getting people into that webinar.
Margie: Jono, you’re using webinar a lot. Richard from Applause using LinkedIn Navigator. Does anyone here use cold calling? Is cold calling bad?
Woman in black: I do cold calling.
Margie: All right. Why don’t you share with us your experience with cold calling? Is it proper now than then?
Woman in black: I don’t know, I’ve been doing them for three months now.
Jono: What kind of customers are you calling?
Woman in black Retailers. [00:49:20] retailers. Some of them are not really professionalist. I have to talk to gatekeepers, usually the owners are not there so I have to [00:49:32] gatekeepers. Oftentimes, the more successful the retailer is, it’s harder to actually [00:49:42].
Margie: My experience with cold calling stuff, basically, I started my career at a Thai company in Montreal called Eye-in Media where we’re selling Wi-Fi solutions, digital signage, and digital menu boards. My boss is like, “Hey, why don’t you target the transportation industry and sell them onboard Wi-Fi solutions.” This was back in 2014–2015. A lot of charter buses at that time still didn’t have Wi-Fi solution. They didn’t think that they should bring it to their customers and make it part of the customer journey during that eight-hour travel or when they are taking videos or posting on Instagram. In that time, Instagram wasn’t popular yet, but the tour bus, you’re a tourist, you’re [00:50:40] Canada, they have a lot of data, then Wi-Fi is a really good solution.
Part of my job at that time was really make a list of all these business owners who only charter buses and call them. My boss is like, “Call them.” I was so scared of cold calling. This was my first time and I had to put myself out there. I had to roll the sleeves and call them, speak to the gatekeepers, get them to have their bosses to call me back. A lot of the times, it would take 20 phone calls for me to reach somebody. I would always leave a voice message and then I would follow up with an email saying, “Hi, I was trying to reach you, I couldn’t reach you. I have a voice message, here’s what we do.” [00:51:35] the customer base and I was targeting Ontario at that time.
Finally, I had one business owner who believed in me. He believed in the products, I pitched it to him using Webex, it’s like a webinar. He liked it, he tried it. He ordered one Wi-Fi unit and then he ordered one more. I used him as a reference. I called everyone else who are part of this association for charter buses and I said, “This guy is using it. Why are you not using it?” It became a domino effect. Then from there, it became easier for me to just send emails when I couldn’t reach them because I would say in my email, “Here are the people in your industry or here are the companies in your industry who are using our solution.”
Man with turban: That’s called [00:52:31].
Margie: Yeah, but it started with cold calling because you’re speaking to them on the phone, it’s easier for them to trust you. I have never met any of these customers.
Man with turban: The first one is going to be the hardest.
Margie: Yeah, the hardest.
Man with turban: [00:52:47].
Man 1: That’s something about cold calling, the more calls you make, the easier it gets.
Man 1: The only thing that you have to remember when you’re cold calling is just keep calling.
Margie: Keep calling, exactly.
Man 1: The only thing, next, next, next, next. As you go through, you will start to figure out the terminology, the language, the keywords. Just like advertising, each industry has a language that they use and you have to learn the language. When you use that language in that industry, they start to respond to you. If you don’t know the language initially, it will take a whole bunch of calls and then you’ll start to realize because of the conversations that you have.
One other mechanical thing that you should know is you want to reach bosses. If they’re really serious, they’re usually there before the employees in the morning, the gatekeepers are not there until nine o’clock. If you call me before nine o’clock, you will reach the bosses. The gatekeepers are not there after five o’clock and if you call, you’ll reach the bosses. If you really want to reach the bosses, those are the two primary times that you want to call. The rest of it is a waste of time.
Margie: I totally agree with you and I definitely experienced that. I had a mentor and he was a senior salesperson in that company and that’s exactly what he told me. He said, “Call before nine and call after five.” I was like, “Okay, let me try this.”
Man 1: [00:54:24]
Margie: They’re easy. You don’t want to talk to another salesperson.
Man 1: Very, very effective to reach the owners.
Woman 1: [00:54:37] try to get them a simple call and all this and even if they finally did get through the gatekeeper, [00:54:47]. Just, “Oh, well, that sounds interesting,” but it wasn’t that they were really [00:54:54] have the [00:54:56] any of them so we [00:55:02] and we found that through the channels, social ads, [00:55:08].
Guy with turban: [00:55:15] used to work a little bit differently than before when there was [00:55:21] notification, not [00:55:23] technology, media, the personalization, media has changed so much. Their ads and what they’re doing is literally doing the cold call in a lot of ways. I can sole target this profile to this owner because not [00:55:44] going to the owner. All of us [00:55:47] Facebook and [00:55:48] small or large, you get your [00:55:55] message.
facebook.com only monetizes advertising on one channel which is facebook.com based on the information that people [00:56:03] without charging for it. That’s where they’re amazingly monetizing it. That’s why sometimes, you will see [00:56:13] business outreach and exchanging [00:56:18] coming together more than ever before. [00:56:21] regular bond for the more complicated sales than those who market. The job salespeople is to come in, navigate, and help close mostly because a lot of the hard decisions are made in information-seeking stages.
Man 1: The way I describe that is the job of marketing is to bring people to the door because salesperson’s job is to invite them in. If marketing is not [00:56:50] you’re wasting time. Cold calling works very effectively for high-value targets. If you know specifically who the customer is and what their value proposition is for that particular customer, then you can call until the cows come home and it will be worth it at the end of the day because the value of the sales is worth it. If that value sales [00:57:18], you can’t do it. It’s only a waste of time.
Woman 1: Yeah. We found that as we change our packages that we have more [00:57:25].
Margie: It’s really changing, the landscape’s changing.
Woman 1: I think it’s generational too. [00:57:47] more mature. [00:57:51] test, more their generation’s cold calling younger [00:57:51].
Margie: Yeah. We don’t even like to talk on the phone anymore, right?
Woman 1: It’s someone’s very evasive, right? It’s like [00:58:00].
Guy with turban: Exactly.
Margie: It’s like now people are scared whenever someone buzz their door. They’re like, “Who is there?” when someone is knocking. I guess the same thing with cold calling because people are not used to talking on the phone anymore. Now you have someone calling you and you’ve never spoken to them, you have no idea who they are. That makes sense there’s the saying.
Woman in black: That makes me think that maybe I should start using Facebook. [00:58:29] or LinkedIn, some more enterprise [00:58:36].
Jono: Everybody has a Facebook.
Woman in black: Yeah. But because our customers are more in the business of B2C, they tend to be more on Facebook. I haven’t really experimented yet but I’m thinking maybe I should try.
Jono: Do you have any way to choose a niche market and see how you do it?
Woman in black: Yeah. I’m trying to be more strategic. I can really call anybody but then that doesn’t really guarantee any monthly revenue. I try to be more strategic in terms of looking for people with potential pay and also money and the right fit so that I don’t waste my time.
Woman 1: Have you tried Instagram?
Woman in black: I have. It’s just that, again, especially the average mark is determined by the number of calls that we make. Reaching actually via Instagram doesn’t really count but in terms of being efficient, I think [00:59:44] versus Facebook, Instagram is maybe more efficient in terms of reaching out to potential [00:59:50] customers and [00:59:53].
Woman 1: I’ve seen [00:59:55] on Instagram, not how you [00:59:58].
Woman: This is [00:59:59] B2B?
Woman 1: Yeah, but [01:00:01] and what was [01:00:04] was that I just started [01:00:06] mother, but [01:00:11] merchants who reach out and [01:00:14] direct message asking questions.
Woman: Maybe if the other people will be open [01:00:20] messages, but I just reach out, maybe I’ll post-monitor, post-[01:00:31] reach out and direct message. It’s like, “Hey, you know me. [01:00:39].” I’ve been so shocked [01:00:43].
Guy with turban: [01:00:54] those letters [01:00:57]. I was in [01:00:59] company for [01:01:01] startup and LinkedIn wasn’t doing well. [01:01:08] people, it wasn’t. [01:01:14] less on the channel, the conversation will just become a conversation and you will be [01:01:23], whereas if you’re on the same side and then you’re just teaching, forming an email, or to leave any message, I think the relationship is not much unless, of course, [01:01:36] application and [01:01:38].
So, it depends on a lot of ways and the audience defines what works.
Woman: I think [01:01:47] they are talking about this, it’s like no one [01:01:51].
Man: Yeah, I [01:01:54] right now the LinkedIn key is just absolutely [01:01:58] with advertising. It drives you crazy when you use it. [01:02:02] send through now, this is a waste of time.
Margie: Personally, I don’t like this [01:02:08] automated sales emails. I just feel like it’s so impersonal. I don’t even bother opening it, personally, but then, I don’t mind if someone reaches out to me in LinkedIn to say they can’t find my email address, but then, they have to make an email. Compromise.
Jono: You have to be the very person looking to solve the right problem. That’s where I have to start. I’ve gotten some cold emails that were like, “Damn, I’m impressed. I’m going to reply. You guys struck me right through my heart.” It’s like he nailed me, he’s got me down, and I was like, “Okay, I’ll talk to you.” It was that good. It was just a couple of sentences, but you can do a really good job. You just got to really know the market. That’s why [01:03:02] niche down.
Man: I was selling ecom systems a while back and what I found is the people who are making the decisions are interested in two things. It’s either, how do you make me money and how do you save me money. It gave you to tackle either of those things in very short, precise manner, they will respond. And if you’re not addressing that in cold email or [01:03:37] messaging, lead, whatever, waste of time.
Margie: Saving money and [01:03:43] emotion?
Man: Making money, saving money, that’s it. Don’t talk about anything else. It’s just a complete waste. Nobody cares about the features in your product.
Jono: That’s for sure. When I’m talking to my salespeople, when I was going over the strategy or this point with them, it’s like in sales, anybody is just trying to get to a result. It’s like benefits instead of features, but really, I think it’s results.
I learned this the hard way when I spent a lot of time doing demos with my [01:04:30] products, showing them a bunch of features. Then I stopped and just made a sliding deck. I barely go in the features. I never [01:04:45]. It’s hard to [01:04:48] ever about features. I just focus on case studies, a customer just like them. “This is where they were. This is where we got them to. These are the results they got. These are the results that you can expect by doing A, B, and C.”
I just breeze over the A, B, and C. They don’t care because they’re just trying to get from this desert island to the tropical oasis and they don’t care if it’s a rowboat or a rocket ship that takes them there. They just want to get there. They want you to show them that you’re going to get them there, whatever your way is. They don’t really care, as long as it’s within reason. It’s not about the features.
Woman: So, results meaning how much more money you can make.
Man: Used on POS systems. A lot have been n checkouts where you think it’s rather simple. Scan, scan, whatever, boom, and you’re done. They’re there, click, click, click, and you’re saying to everybody, “What are they doing?” “[01:05:57] I want to get out of here.” I don’t know what system they’re using, but obviously, the system is asking them for other information, who I am, what I’m doing, what I’m wearing. There’s [01:06:13] of data and this was [01:06:15] while I’m sitting there drinking my coffee. I got three seconds [01:06:21]. Don’t mess with the rest of it.
If the systems [01:06:29] process which typically what retail issue is—look at Christmas when everybody is shopping—you’ve got 10,000 people in line [01:06:38] because I asked you if you refuse [01:06:45] there in those crazy line-ups. If your POS system can get you through faster or help will help with those bottlenecks, that [01:06:53].
Man: That’s why I [01:06:56].
Man: Yeah. [01:06:57], but that’s a niche thing. As a business, you also identify what [01:07:01].
Man: You can have [01:07:13] for 25 minutes to check that story and [01:07:19].
Jono: Yeah. I just spent way too much on [01:07:26] because I went to Nordstrom and I just […] hate [01:07:31]. They have people there that [01:07:34] for you. It’s like, “Wow. Holy […] those are expensive. Okay.”
My wife told me, “You got to tell them [01:07:47]” I didn’t know they [01:07:50]. Anyway, [01:07:53] that should [01:07:55]. It fit, they’re good, like, “I hate children.” Anyway.
Margie: [01:08:04] some sort of Uber for shopping experience. I think it’s delivery of [01:08:12].
Man: You just picking up whatever and they deliver for you.
Margie: And they’re going to shop for [01:08:22]. Just tell them what you’re looking for.
Guy with turban: That’s [01:08:25].
Man: There was a service out in the UK, actually, talking about AI. I logged in, you couldn’t see anything until you went through a series of pictures of people dressed in very similar ways. There are subtle differences. I forget how many [01:08:48] it were, but you [01:08:50] whatever and then they ask you what you’re shopping for today. They would soon [01:08:56] on pants. That’s all we saw and only saw the pants in the styles you have checked off, the color [01:09:04] and the size that you said. That was it and [01:09:08].
Generally, you guys, when you go to the shop, you’re looking for shirts, you’re looking for pants, you’re looking for a suit when you think you’re out. [01:09:32].
Man: [01:09:38] excessive thing. It’s a normal [01:09:47].
Jono: Yeah. [01:09:55] It’s like, “Can somebody?” [01:09:59] This is now the retail bitching [01:10:11]
Margie: Okay, it’s 7:51 PM. Does anyone else want to share some experience or have any questions? Richard, are you still there?
Richard: I am.
Margie: I hope you’re enjoying this [01:10:45].
Richard: That’s it. Next time, I have to physically be there. [01:10:50] for me next time.
Jono: [01:10:54] his plane left. I’ll ship it over.
Richard: Sounds good.
Margie: Any tips on email marketing? I would appreciate it.
Jono: Let’s try to narrow it down.
Margie: Like in terms of messaging itself?
Man: The subject really matters. You got to [01:11:20] the subject short, concise, and remember that probably most people are reading it first on the phone and only so many words show up in the subject, so you have to make sure that whatever shows gets their attention immediately. Again, it’s got to be focused around making money, saving money.
Margie: [01:11:42] subject line.
Man: Something that indicates that within the subject line.
Jono: I would play with extreme differences. Meaning, subject lines that focus on value propositions, like the big things. As far as the content of the email, try really short and try really long. When you start trying these things and if you have something that allows you to track it, you want to see what. Definitely, first you start with getting opens. That’s basically the subject line and maybe the preview. That’s what gets opened to them, what gets clicked. Whatever it is, replies or clicks is going to be the content. There’s a lot of theories out there based off what people see, but everything’s industry-specific and buyer persona-specific.
You got to figure out what word for you. If you try to start a conversation, make sure you ask questions. [01:12:57] get plugins that help you very quickly. Boomerang for Gmail has this thing where as you’re typing, it’s waiting or think your response.
Man: [01:13:28] also has a bunch of [01:13:29] up here on subject lines and different [01:13:34] that work. [01:13:35] it’s industry-specific, so you may want to go top 10 subject lines for your industry [01:13:42] and see what shows up.
Woman: My idea as well is go and subscribe to a whole bunch of [01:13:49] and [01:13:50] using completely the opposite, [01:14:00].
Man: [01:14:02] I found, maybe request the subject line sometimes. [01:14:08] Yes, really good response depending on [01:14:12] with. Nothing related to your industry whatever, but just maybe recommend get into it [01:14:18] and whatnot.
Woman: Also we have MailTrack, but it doesn’t only track [01:14:31] like how long they stayed at it.
Jono: There’s a bunch of these [01:14:39]. Boomerang has a bunch of great, really smart features for individual email tracking. You can send it and then if it doesn’t reply, if you don’t get a reply or something, a waste of you time, it will prompt you back up so you can respond. It has got calendar integration [01:14:57]. I like it a lot, but there’s other suites out there that all have the same features. Then Google’s starting to build their own [01:15:06].
Margie: Pay-for-subscriptions, but for those I don’t [01:15:12]. MailCheck is great. That’s why we have it. We don’t pay for it.
Jono: Are you using it on your own device or is it [01:15:21] company?
Margie: Oh no. I use [01:15:24], not provided by the company, but I—
Jono: Or you can install plugins?
Margie: Oh yes. It’s just that I can’t go ahead and just subscribe and then that’s it. I need to [01:15:37].
Jono: Might make more money for yourself. It’s just something to take that. You’re always in the business of you.
Man: [01:15:47] software listing sites. There are [01:15:54] stuff with that. Someone didn’t [01:15:56]. You just have so many there and just someone [01:16:02] with music, get lost with music. The people from the company [01:16:11] is always [01:16:13], but then the [01:16:18] was you get more than five [01:16:20] category [01:16:22] out there.
Guy with turban: [01:16:26]
Guy with turban: And you need to know they use [01:16:34] if you [01:16:38].
Jono: They all take their own strategy.
Guy with turban: [01:16:40] I think you will see [01:16:43], but they [01:16:46] research [01:16:49] to research, you are almost assured you’ll be on the right [01:16:53] somehow or the other. [01:16:56] some research, if the [01:17:00]. Who commissions the research?
Jono: This is not [01:17:12]
Margie: And some protein or vegetables. All right, so I guess this is the end of the session. I hope everyone enjoyed it.
Jono: Please, take food.
Jono: It’s health food.
Margie: It’s good for your workout meal.
Jono: It’s a great motivator to go work out.
Marge: All right.
Jono: By the way, everybody. We have a Slack group. [01:17:59] send there [01:18:00] of the live group. You can join. We haven’t nailed down the date for the next one yet, have we?
Marge: Sometime in September.
Jono: Yeah. Third week of September, I’m thinking. We’re going to proceed. We’re going to take and elevate. That’s our goal for the next one.
Man: Actually, [01:18:32] yet, [01:18:34].
Jono: Oh, yeah. That’s true.
Marge: [01:18:42] join us in Slack and also join our Toronto SaaS Meetup page so you can always stay updated.
Jono: Thanks everyone for coming.
Marge: Yeah, thank you. Stay if you want to meet and chat a bit.
Man: Thanks a bunch, guys. Take care.