Podcast: Top 3 Ways to Align Your Organization Around Inbound Beliefs for Competitive Advantage
Dan Tyre, Sales Director, HubSpot
Todd Hockenberry, Owner, Top Line Results
Renee Yeager recently welcomed Dan and Todd to the podcast to discuss the Top 3 Ways to Align Your Organization Around Inbound Beliefs for Competitive Advantage. As undisputed experts in inbound, they break down the ways organizations need to change the way they think about inbound, focus on customer service and get everybody within a company on board in order to succeed.
They also discuss Dan and Todd’s brand new book, Inbound Organization: How to Build and Strengthen Your Company’s Future Using Inbound Principles. Find out why it’s already helping educate business owners on the importance of leveraging the inbound philosophy to grow their companies.
Dan Tyre joined HubSpot as a member of the original team in May 2007, and has led the recruiting, training, and growth of HubSpot’s sales team in the years since. Todd Hockenberry is the owner of Top Line Results, which specializes in leading top line revenue growth at small and medium-sized companies with a focus on B2B, manufacturing, technology, and capital equipment.
Listen to the complete podcast here:
Read the full transcript
I have known Dan for a number of years, he’s just excellent. He joined HubSpot as a member of the original team in 2007, and he’s led the recruiting, training, and growth of the HubSpot sales team. He’s an authority on inbound marketing and sales, and he speaks all over the world. He’s also a writer and a coach to those who want to learn about inbound marketing, and how to have success with inbound.
Todd Hockenberry is the owner of Top Line Results, and they specialize in leading top line revenue growth at small and medium sized companies with a focus on B2B manufacturing technology and capital equipment.
This is a really fun interview. [Laughter] We talked about the top three ways to align your organization around inbound beliefs for competitive advantage. I learned a thing or two on this call. The whole idea of reframing an entire organization around inbound principles is energizing and fascinating, and makes me wanna do it tomorrow. [Laughter] I’m not gonna tell you anymore, please listen to this. It’s so much fun, and without further ado here is my interview with Dan and Todd. Enjoy!
Welcome to podcast Dan and Todd. I’m so glad you’re here.
Todd Hockenberry: Great to be here, thanks for havin’ us.
Dan: Boom! This is gonna be a blast!
Renee: [Laughter] I’m reading your new book, Inbound Organization and I just think it’s great, and I’m learning so much from it. I love how you map out how to really reframe a company around inbound principles. I know we’re gonna be talking a lot about that today, but thanks for bein’ here.
Renee: Before we get started, if this is the first time you’re listening, on each episode we talk with today’s most innovative technology marketers and business leaders about a specific topic. We narrow it down to three focus areas that they feel are most interesting or really important. Today we’re talking with Dan and Todd about their top three ways to align your organization around inbound beliefs for competitive advantage. I think we all need a competitive advantage these days. [Laughter] If you guys are ready we can jump right in.
Dan: Let’s do it.
Todd: Alright Todd what’s your famous quote?
Dan: My famous quote—I’ve got lots of ‘em, but I think the one that’s gonna apply to the first thing we’re gonna talk about is, “Everyone wants to grow, but no one wants to change.”
Todd: What’s the first topic there Renee?
Renee: The first topic is you have to change the way you think.
Todd: Exactly, so when we were noodling on the top three, which by the way is a great way to run a podcast. Periodically my co-founder, Todd Hockenberry, says things that he just says them, and then in response we’re like, “Wow, hold on a second. Roll that back. That is very important.” I don’t know, somewhere about six months ago he’s like, “You know, Dan everybody wants to grow, but not everybody wants to change.” I’m like, “Hold on, that is very, very insightful.”
Todd: Right? It’s become like almost a tagline of the book. Right, the verbiage on the cover says, ‘How to build and strengthen your company’s future for using inbound principles.’ The catalyst of why people really wanna lean into this is that lots of people say, “No, I wanna scale and I wanna grow.” But lots of people are hesitant to change.
Todd: The Inbound Organization book, or podcast, the audiobook what it tries to do is explain the difference in the last decade of what we sometimes refer to as the inbound revolution. When you see me speak in the Arizona community and across the United States, actually across the world, that inbound isn’t necessarily like tactics, but it’s more of a company mindset. It’s like a management philosophy. Almost like a series of principles that help to define what a successful, modern, customer oriented culture really is. Rather than a specific departmental methodology or steps that you take just to generate more leads.
Renee: Do you feel Dan that that’s because the buyers are so different today, and how they operate is different? What’s your thinking behind that?
Todd: That’s exactly right, so doing business in 2018 is very different for a lot of companies. You’re a business owner Renee. Isn’t it different these days?
Renee: Absolutely different.
Todd: Right, so Todd and I laugh and talk about the good ole days of 2016.
Todd: I know, but it’s just different. Now in 2018 there’s a lot of noise, right? We have the higher standard of living in like the history of the world. We have all this enabling technology, and everybody’s stressed out. You can see it in people’s faces. You can hear the silences and the stress when you’re talking on the phone. It is amazing how much just noise is out there in the world.
Then you have different employment challenges. We’re blessed with [unintelligible 06:13] zero percent unemployment, and here in Arizona it’s less than four percent. You have recruitment issues. Virtually everybody I talk with has open positions; sometimes for multiple months, multiple quarters, sometimes even years. Then you have employee retention. Renee have you seen the statistics about how the leading technology companies, how long somebody works at like Google, Facebook or Apple?
Renee: No, I haven’t. I could only imagine.
Todd: Eighteen months, it’s less than two years. You’re thinking Facebook, Google, Apple these great, great companies. People work there for less than two years on average. That means people are blowin’ outta there. How do you grow a great company when you’re faced with that level of employee retention? These are companies that have unbelievable resources that they can apply. You’ve got the lots of noise, you got the different employment challenges and then you have different customer expectations. Todd, would you say that your customers have different expectations in 2018 than they did previously?
Dan: Absolutely. I mean you think everything should be an app, it should be fast, you want responses today, I’m never gonna sit on hold for 5 minutes much less 15. My expectations have gone through the roof when Amazon delivers packages to my—groceries now to my front door in the same day. I start to overlay those same expectations on everybody I deal with.
Renee: Mm-hmm, yep.
Dan: It doesn’t matter whether it’s B2B or B2C. I deal with a lot of industrial manufacturing companies and I see this every day, and really traditional old mind industries where people just they say, “We’re out. If you’re not gonna follow up, you didn’t get back to me on my Facebook post, so we’re done. We found somebody else.”
That gets back to the idea of the change thing. I see so many executives that use their mobile phone to find answers to questions, buy things, communicate with their families, kids, their multiple sales people around the world, and then they go back to doin’ the same old thing when they run their sales team, and their marketing team, or their service teams. They think the same old hierarchal bureaucratic structures, and the same old process oriented bureaucratic politically driven kind of that structures are gonna actually make difference with people that have those expectations.
That’s the genesis of the quote. Everybody still wants to grow their business, but buyers have changed. We all know this. I’m almost like it feels like a cliché even saying it anymore it’s been said so often. People still don’t respond. The key is to change how you think about it, because it’s not just your marketing and sales. It’s your whole business. Every single person in your business has to be onboard with the way buyers are buying today.
Todd: Renee, this is the foundation of the inbound revolution. Right, in the old days when you wanted to buy something you were gated by a sales person who has control of the knowledge, has control of the data. Of course post 2007 everybody has access to the internet, and 93 percent of folks will utilize search or social media as way to investigate before they make a purchase. That’s not goin’ away.
When you add that on top of the economic changes over the last decade, and the customer expectations, everybody’s like a grumpy old man now. Everybody first of all, it’s like get off my lawn. I want what I want. It’s like listen to me. Okay, listen to me. Right, which the number one thing people want in their sales person is active listening. Number two they all want it now. It used to be like you could get back to them next week, and they’re like, “No, now I want it now.” Everybody wants it in five minutes. The statistics that say the response time in follow-up if you drop your contact information on a form, if you don’t drop follow-up in five minutes – five minutes the efficacy of that opportunity drops by 90 percent. It’s insane.
Todd: Then when you cycle up with these people they’re like, “No-no-no. I’ve been on your website 35 times. You don’t know that I’ve been on your website 35 times?” It used to be that they would walk through that kinda stuff like Todd was talking about. Now they’re annoyed. Now they’re just gonna move on to the next thing, because the statistics say that six years ago you had four to six competitors. Now you have 20 competitors, and it’s just so easy to move on to the next thing. Those all have led us to the point where thinking deeply about your competitive advantage becomes super important. I always like to highlight that Todd’s famous quote, “Everyone wants to grow, but no one wants to change.” Because changing the way you think is critically important.
Renee: Yeah, just—you’re at your own peril if you don’t make some changes. I know a lot of our clients and their clients digital transformation solutions are top of mind and top of investment areas for them, because if they don’t start to enable technologies that will support customer expectations they’re just at risk for sure.
Todd: Alright, so I say that all the time. I do a lot of public speaking all over the world. I’m in Santiago, Chile; I got my translator. He’s translating it into Spanish, and that’s what I said. We are 11 years into the inbound revolution. Todd and I were very early, myself as employee of HubSpot. Todd had actually practicing inbound before we called in inbound in one of the first thirty or so HubSpot partners.
I stand on the stage and go, “Alright, you ignore inbound at your own peril.” What I’m tryin’ to do is be a little bit provocative and emphatic based on my last 38 years in business. The last 11 has changed everything, because in the old days you moved on your gut instinct, you moved on your ideals. Now it’s all data.
Renee: Yeah, absolutely. The second thing that you guys have identified as a top way to align your organization around inbound is to do inbound you have to be inbound. Tell me what this means?
Dan: Another one of my quotes.
Dan: Yeah, this was one that we came into early. It’s the idea that, again, this really embodies the shift to a mindset from methodology. If you’re gonna change your mindset then you have to have certain beliefs. We spent a lot of time interviewing people and asking people that have been in the role for a long time what inbound beliefs are. We interviewed hundreds of people and the one question we ask everybody across the board was, “What is inbound?” Not inbound marketing or inbound sales, just what is inbound? There was lots of different answers, some great answers and a bunch of ‘em are in the book. The one thing that was universal across every single person that we asked that question was the idea of help. That the idea of helping people and always helping people was the one common thing that was clear, core inbound belief.
If you want to do inbound you only help someone if you have the mindset of being empathetic, and putting yourself in their shoes, and trying to understand their circumstances, understand their situation, and figure out how you can really help them. That fundamental shift of helping first type of person is the number one belief you have to have really to absorb and make part of your company culture.
Helping people first and putting customers first is ahead of your quota, it’s ahead of your projections, it’s ahead of your board of directors, it’s ahead of all of those things. Because if you’re not helping people you won’t ever get the chance to move to the next step. You won’t get a chance to sell to them, you won’t get a chance to service them, you won’t get a chance to close ‘em. Even if you do, and if you drop the ball down the road and your marketing and your sales team is very helpful, and very collaborative, and they build a great relationship. Then it gets to the service installation or ongoing, and they drop the ball then you’re gonna lose ‘em. I’m gonna tell ya a story later in this podcast as exactly why how that happened.
Number one thing is you have to be helping first mindset. Again, it’s about treating people like human beings and that sounds like, again, almost a cliché. How else are you gonna treat people? Well think about the marketing you consume and you’re exposed to every day, and the interactions you have with companies, and see how often people and companies aren’t really treating you like a human being. You’re a number, you’re a place, you’re just a body holding a spot. They’re not really treating you like a human being. You’re just a number or you’re just a transaction. If you start thinking in those contexts you’ll see that the brands and the companies that you love, and that you wanna engage with have that mindset and that worldview that they wanna be there to help you first. There is a transaction, yes there’s gonna be sale, yes there’s gonna be money going back and forth if you’re gonna do business, but there’s a really human helpful way to do that and then there’s a wrong way to do that.
Again, it’s got to be helping first. If you think about inbound the big thing about the change from interruptive outbound marketing to inbound was that interruptive marketing was hammering you first, and then hopefully there might be some benefit or help on the backend. Whereas inbound the premise was totally flipped around. We’re gonna create lots of great useful helpful content that educates and shows you a different future or shows you how to solve a problem first, and then we’re gonna talk to you, and then we’re gonna see if we can have a sale. It just flipped it around. That idea of helping is the core fundamental belief of inbound.
Renee: Do you think it’s tough to get organizations, and I know we’re gonna talk about this in a minute, but to change how they think about this. Because when competition gets tough and companies are so numbers driven, how do you position that to them?
Todd: Yeah, this is the heart of competitive advantage.
Todd: Because exactly right, people are kind of like—they’re crunchin’ the numbers, they’re lookin’ at expenses. Unfortunately it’s different today, and if you don’t lean into your customer experience it’s what you said, you ignore the philosophy at your own peril. Because in the old days people would go—they kinda put up with that. Now they’re not gonna put up with it. Now it has to be through your whole organization. It’s not just sales and marketing treating customers like human beings. It has to go through the entire organization.
The impetus for the book is inbound marketing started in marketing, and in 2007 when we started marketers loved inbound. Because they were tired of spamming people, they didn’t wanna buy lists, and they didn’t believe in cold calling. The ability to help, and attract, and then nurture that was like their wheelhouse.
Then we moved to inbound sales in 2013 and a certain segment to sales people said, “Alright, now I get it. I’m not going to sell or push, I’m gonna help and start the relationship.” The inbound sales people who were early on that bandwagon are getting all of the business.
Now it has to permeate through your customer services. Now it has to go through your legal department. Now it has to go to your operations. Everybody has to see that your… Because what we found when we were researching the book is part of the most insightful interactions that you have with a company are your non-typical customer facing organizations. If you ever have a problem and you cycle into legal, and the legal person doesn’t buy into an inbound philosophy it’s gonna disrupt the relationship. If you are trying to just solve a problem, and everybody in the organization doesn’t have a centralized view of the company or the customer it can be really, really problematic. Everybody has to have these kinds of viewpoints, so that they can effectively create this customer experience.
Renee: Sure, my question around that, and it takes us into the third point, is who owns that in the organization? I know you guys say the company mindset has to shift. Everybody has to be onboard. How do you see ownership of that playing out throughout an organization?
Dan: It has to be leadership. It really does. Inbound marketing could’ve in often times did bubble up from the departmental level, and become something companies adopted. Even sales, the individual sales people would start to adopt the mindsets. Our book was written for and we readily believe that this has to be a leadership driven thing. It has to be the kind of core leaders of the company, senior managers, departmental heads and manager level people have to really buy into this. Because you can’t say, “Well we want you to be helpful, and have a customer first attitude.“ Then turn right around and then slap it across the wrist, because they spent too long on the phone on a service call. Right?
Renee: Yeah, right. [Laughter]
Dan: They have to buy in, and it has to start—we talk about the mission level. We talk about you have to start it with why your company exists. We go into in-depth about how you should create a mission, and you should have your why down tight and it has to be the guiding light of the company. That has to come from leadership. It always comes from leadership. When it’s lacking it’s always because your leadership didn’t provide it, always. This is a little bit , but again they’re responsible for the organization. Their responsible for what the organization does, so they have to be the ones that set the mission culture, and the systems, and put ‘em in place so that people can deliver this.
It is almost impossible to be inbound and be helpful in a situation where politics and bureaucracy rules the day. Employees have to be empowered to make decisions, help people, solve problems very close to the customer very quickly, or you don’t have a business that’s gonna be inbound, and it’s gonna disappoint your customers. Like Dan said, not gonna give you much of a—create much of a customer experience. We firmly believe that the responsibility for this lies solely on the backs of leaders, founders, CEOs, executives, board members, VP level folks have to get it, have to understand it and realize that their decisions internally have a huge impact on what happens in that customer experience and that relationship. It’s not just marketing anymore. It’s not just the sales department or all the customer service people take care of that.
It’s your business, and if you wanna create competitive advantage it’s not so much your product or your technology. Because as we were just talking about before competition’s so broad. Who has a really distinct product differentiation in the market place?
Dan: Very few, and if they do it can be copied and replicated very quickly. Our central premise in terms of a strategy is that the idea of creating an inbound organization delivers an amazing experience is the competitive advantage that you can sustain. You can create something that is very hard to replicate, and that is again why it has to be right smack in front of leaders today. That their decisions and cultures they create, and the systems they force on their people are gonna either make or break those people’s ability to build those relationships which again is the bottom line and it’s also the top line. Again, it’s the long way around to stay it’s the boss’s job.
Renee: [Laughter] It sounds like too that it’s really—I mean you mentioned a change in mindset, but it’s a change even potentially in structure. It’s a change in how people are incentivized. It could be a change in who you hire, the type of person you hire. Are these all fair to say?
Dan: Yes – yes –yes.
Todd: So right, that’s exactly right. We come off stage, Todd and I do a lot of speaking and people would say, “Alright, I get it. This inbound thing is a competitive advantage. We wanna do it, how do we start inbound?” We’d smile and say, “Well it’s not that easy. You can start inbound marketing, but to just practice inbound you need to be inbound.” They’re like, “Okay, what do we need to do?” We’re like, “Okay, well how inbound are you today?” They’re like, “We have no idea.” [Laughter] We did this assessment that’s in the book, and so you take the assessment. They’re like, “What’s an assessment?” I go, “It’s 16 questions and will tell you if you’re ready to go this afternoon, or there are building blocks that you need to build into.” They go, “Okay, that’s good.” They actually and sometimes people will like grab the book and they’ll circle the answers in the assessment, and then they’ll hand it to me. I’m like, “Okay, well you don’t have a mission.” They’re like, “No, our mission is to make a $100 million dollars.” I’m like, “No – no – no, that’s not a mission.”
Dan: You’re not gonna recruit people, you’re not gonna build a great culture just like you were saying if that’s your mission. That’s an outcome of having a great mission. They’re, “Oh, yeah you’re right.” Then building a culture code, defining your personas, understanding the [unintelligible 23:53] mission all of those things Inbound Organization takes you through the process so that you can understand the philosophy, the core beliefs. Then you can implement it in a way in which you’re gonna be highly successful with the inbound stretch.
Renee: Yeah, so can you guys talk a little bit about how this model works for customer retention too? Because a lot of companies are really focused on that, and they should be. We know that’s one of the smartest strategy is to keep your customers happy and retain them while driving new business as well. I think a lot of people think of inbound as new-new-new only. Could you talk a little bit about that?
Dan: Sure. We say that I believe in the service chapter and success chapters we say that your customer service department is your best sales person. And inbound company recognizes that once you’ve gone through that process, and help them you build something special. You’re not gonna lose—you do everything you can to keep it. [Unintelligible 24:52] companies and some technology companies have been doing this for a while where they have a customer success manager where they wanna keep them churning.
Again in my world where I live with a lot more traditional business technology companies being factory industrial, again the customers are often times taken for granted. I’ve literally walked into clients and asked them, “Where’s their customer list? Where’s all their equipment that they’ve sold?” They don’t know, they’ve literally lost track of it.
An inbound organization’s gonna understand where their customers are through their journey throughout their life cycle, and make sure that whatever they sold them, whether it was a service or a good, is delivering the promise that you made in this marketing and sales process. That they’re reaching the goals and solving the problems that they identified early, that they’re actually having that success and making sure that it continues. Because that ongoing relationship keeps you in front of them, it gives you an opportunity to do it again, or to add other value and solve other problems.
The difference is and we see this with HubSpot now changing the way their product is and they’re integrating service and after sale kinda tools, is that expectation of people that is built in that early on process in the marketing and sales piece has to be reflected in the ongoing relationship to keep it going. Again, this is why it impacts everybody in the business that everybody has to be on board. Customer retention clearly, and there’s lots of data on this, will go up as you build that kinda inbound success, or customer success mechanism in your company and make sure your customers are getting the results they wanted when they bought your product.
Todd: Renee is it too controversial to say that your service organization is more important than your sales organization when it comes to generating new customers?
Renee: I think it’s really insightful Dan. Can you talk a little bit more about that?
Todd: I just read it from page 184 of the book.
Todd: Because what we found is that in 2018 people look at sales people differently. First of all there’s a wide disparity between great sales people that are willing to help and consult, and people who are pushy. If you have the right tools, in other words if you have all of the background and lead intelligence about a prospect you can talk a little bit more personally, and a little bit more informed then if it’s the first time that you’ve met.
Number two if you have lead notification so that you know when somebody’s on your website or opens your email. Now you can call them when they need you rather than, I don’t know when you call somebody if you don’t know when they’re on your website or open their emails, and then simple tools to make sure that it’s easy to do business.
What we found is that we used to give references when people were at the end ready to buy, now what we do is just say, “Oh talk with Renee. Oh talk with Casey. Oh talk with Todd.” At the beginning of the process, and people find that very, very valuable. First of all those folks that have actually gone through the experience are very, very credible. Second of all they have opinions on certain parts of the process that are completely different than the sales people. Third of all, the prospect gains knowledge of the best way to purchase the system.
It adds to the point that, first of all in 2018, if you don’t have happy customers everybody knows it. It’s all over Yelp, it’s all over Twitter, it’s all over LinkedIn. You have to have happy customers. Number two having them refer to someone else. Don’t you see I’m twinked in, or Facebook, or whatever on a weekly basis, someone asking for a request for a certain service, or product, or company. Does anybody have a good legal attorney or real estate attorney? Does anybody know a good real estate agent? Can somebody recommend an agency that can help us with launching a new product? When somebody cycles in and say, “You should call Renee Yeager. She specializes in technology.” Now all of a sudden that’s an endorsement of people are going, “Alright, I trust that lady. I trust her recommendation.” It goes so much further. By the way, typically less expensive than if you employee a sales person to go.
Renee: Oh yeah, and people really don’t wanna be sold to anymore. There’s a stat it’s like 70 percent of the buyers’ journey is complete before they’ll ever even have a conversation with your company. [Laughter]
Todd: That’s right.
Renee: You better be out there.
Todd: That’s right, so what that says is the sales kind of—the sales role changes to a consultant. The people who are pushy are gonna lose, because everybody’s gonna know. In 65 percent of people Google their sales person before they ever engage. You’re exactly right, the statistics say between 65 and 85 percent of the sales process is complete. A sales person who cycles in and tries to hard close you in 2018, you’ll hang up the phone. You’ll ghost ‘em. You’ll never talk with that person.
A sales person that says, “Alright, this is what I know about you. This is why I think it’s a good fit. This is why I think you might wanna consider something else.” There’s a chapter in the book, this guy David Winehouse who works for HubSpot, a customer called up to buy and he said, “No, you’re not a good fit.” They called up to buy, they’re ready to go and he said, “No, it’s not a good fit and this why.” The customer was ticked off and it turned out they did their own journey for two years. They came back two years later and they said, “You were right, we weren’t ready.”
Dan: We explained the implications of how strong that is, because now they’re the biggest advocate. They’re like, “No-no-no, when you turn away business because it isn’t a good fit, that’s a solid foundation for the inbound organization and that is hard.” It was the right thing to do.
Renee: Yeah. Hey, so can you guys talk about the—a lot of our listeners are high level marketers and CMOs and VPs of marketing and their job in the situation would be to kinda convince [unintelligible 31:23] this is the right strategy for us. Can you talk about and give them some tips of how they should go about doing that?
Todd: Yep, you or me first Todd?
Dan: Go ahead.
Todd: Okay, so it is hard. These marketers they battled. Many of them have embraced some level of inbound over the years, but the senior management team still doesn’t understand the way it impacts everyone. Lots of the marketers they’ll create all these leads, they’ll be helpful; they’ll give ‘em to a sales organizations who will just ruin it. Sales people will either not call the leads, or the call the lead once. When they call they’ll do a qualification call. Are you a decision maker? If anybody says that to me on a connect call, my hair will fall off. I’m like, “You’re kidding me!”
We know that based on the longevity and the way that marketing kind of appeal base changes. Especially in technology that it’s a big job, and they were like one of the first. What we wanna do is we want them understand that this truly is a philosophy. We want them to understand that it truly has to permeate the entire organization. We strongly suggest that they get a copy of the book, the do the assessment so they can understand individually kind of where they sit. We also ask them to take baby steps to have sales and marketing to start a [unintelligible 32:46]. We call that shmarketing. Have you ever heard that term Renee?
Renee: Oh, I have Dan.
Todd: I know I invited shmarketing that’s why it’s.
Renee: I know. [Laughter]
Todd: I know, so I say that all the time. If you can get your sales counterpart to understand how important it is to engage in the front part of bring on a customer. That is a huge win, not insignificant but we give you lots of ways to do that through the Inbound Organization book. Now you have someone who can approach senior management and say, “Alright, this is the implications. Alright now we are starting to jointly sell and market in a way in which we’ll bring on the right good fit customers. That we’re treating them like human beings, that we’re helping everyone. We’re creating this inbound ecosystem. Now it would behoove the company to extend that through the entire organization.” At least at that point in time you have a beachhead, so it’s easier to convince everyone to come onboard with the inbound folk.
Dan: To add to that, I would say that marketing is in a unique position. Almost unique to anybody else in the company. Marketing has skills at understanding the persona, what the real needs are in the marketplace, what’s working in terms of how happy they are with your product or service. They can see externally if they audited their own company to see how their policies, and accounting, and financial, and legal were impacting customers, or how well the service people did.
One of the things we see marketing do that can help bring their ideas to the broader company is, if you think about it, a marketing department is in some ways analogous to the service department just on the other end of the process. Many of the exact same skills that marketers are good at are applicable to the service department. It’s identifying personas, and understanding the buyer journey, and understanding what happens at certain times. It could be using content to help solve problems, and be able to educate through the whole process of starting to use the product over its life cycle.
Marketing has a lot of skills that very rarely are translated to the service department. Again, that ties back to what we talked about earlier where your service people can be your best customers or best new customer generators if they do it right. Marketing has a lot of skills that rarely get applied to those other departments, so that’s another way we’ve seen marketing be able to then apply what they’re doing, and get a bigger kind of voice in the company to start saying these things.
Because once a marketing viewpoint’s on the backend working with service and sales, like Dan’s talking about, you can now point out those experiences and show how your company’s falling down maybe, and where you might be able to do better. Which again is a companywide corporate thing which would directly go to what the executives and CEO’s and managers care about, which is profit and loss and growth and scaling.
Renee: Yeah, I really love that it elevates marketing’s role in a way too across the organization. Marketers can also bring data to the table too.
Renee: To help inform these decisions that a great…
Todd: It’s a great t—you’re right Renee, it’s a great time to be a marketer. Marketers have a seat at the table because they can show the direct correlation of the content they produce to the revenue that’s generated. Now marketers have an even higher calling, and that is they have to permeate this philosophy of being human to the entire organization. They have to understand that customer experience, and make sure that it’s consistent, and a positive one throughout the entire organization. That is not gonna be easy, but it’s gonna be essential. Especially in technology where everything changes all the time. There’s a new feature announced and six weeks later everybody has that feature. It’s no longer that feature that differentiates; sometimes it is for a short period of time.
It’s how you identify with whether this technology company’s really gonna take care of me. If this company’s gonna take care of me, I don’t really care if the product feature is a little late. I don’t care if it’s not right there. What I care about is number one, they answer my questions, number two if I got a problem they help me figure it out, number three they know who I am, and number four over a long period of time we build these deep customer relationships.
It’s super interesting that the big technology companies spend all this time and effort. What they’re trying to do is they’re tryin’ to have relationships like you have with your customers. Where there these deep long lasting relationships that has a lot of humanness in it, that there’s a little bit of give and take, that you’re on the journey together and that it results in a positive.
Renee: Yeah, there’s so much more flexibility when you have that kind of relationship, definitely.
Todd: If you don’t have it, they’re off to somebody else.
Renee: That’s right. [Laughter]
Todd: If you don’t have it I am not the first person to tell your technical listeners, but your customers are at risk. If you don’t have a relationship where it’s meaningful on both sides, those customers are in play. That’s why you ignore inbound at your own peril, because the customer experience is paramount when you can choose from 20 different options. If you have great customer experience people will cut you lots of breaks. If you don’t they won’t cut you any breaks. You’re essentially goin’ out of business; you just don’t know it yet.
Dan: Renee, I would like to make a quick point. I work with a lot of kind of technology and manufacturing industrial executives and one of the common problems we see in adopting this mindset is they’re very technical, or product, or technology focused. Because that’s what they’re trained to do. That’s what their experts do. They assume there’s a bias that the product and the features are always self-evidently better, and that people should just see it and buy it. They very often discount the marketing kind of stuff we’re talking about. They discount the importance of the customer experience. They think the product should stand on its own.
I’m generalizing a little bit, but I’ve seen some pretty extreme examples of people who just—leaders of companies that don’t value the marketing side of it. To me that’s what marketing can bring in a technology situation at a company where they can bring this idea that it is not enough to have a great product. It is not enough to have a great feature. It is not enough to have what you think is a technological advantage. It is not enough, and that’s what marketing has to bring back to the executives.
Renee: Yeah, I love it – I love it! Guys, thank you so much for sharing these great insights today, and it’s just really exciting to think about how we can reframe our companies to better serve today’s customers, and how really all companies need to be doing this. Thank you! I would encourage everyone to please go out and get Todd and Dan’s book Inbound Organization. There’s also a bunch of free resources at Inboundorganization.com right?
Dan: Yes, you can get the assessment there. You can get what we call an MSPOT which is a great tool to help you organize your mission, and your strategies, and your plans. There’s lots of interviews, some free chapters all kinds of goodies.
Renee: Awesome. Well thank you so much, and thanks to our listeners, and we’ll see you next time.
[End of Interview]
You can also subscribe on Apple Podcasts.