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Episode four recap: Marketing Rebels – Actual, real-life, agile marketing (lead generation)

Mailtastic
25 September 2020

During the Marketing Rebels series, we'll be interviewing B2B leaders who are tearing up traditional marketing playbooks. Best of all, they'll be discussing actionable, real-world insights you can steal for yourself.

Agile marketing. Is it a LinkedIn cliché, or a B2B marketing strategy that actually works ? We’re on a mission to find out.

Andy Culligan is CMO at Leadfeeder. He's discovered a way to achieve record growth,
generating more than 11,000 new leads in the past six months. Alice de Courcy, CMO at Cognism Group, sat down with him to find out exactly how he did it. And the answers might surprise you.

They also talked about motivation, Sales and Marketing alignment & much more.

Enjoy the show!

Key takeaways

  • Being agile is doing what works, fast. Many marketers think agile is trying everything, but that leads to poor performance and sub-par results.
  • Get your internal team to help you spread the word. You have an army of publicists at your disposal. Use them.
  • If you’ve got a tonne of new leads, use automation to help you deal with them. Let your sales team have their pick, then get your email sequences to do the rest.
  • Revenue is the essential metric. SQLs are important, but it all starts with revenue.
  • Communication is the key to sales and marketing alignment. Marketers must take the lead in showing the sales team what they do, and why they do it.

Keep scrolling for the selected transcript... 👇🏼

Agile marketing

Andy explains his take on a term that's overused in marketing right now:

"For me, the word ‘agile’ gets under my skin a little bit. So often, agile means doing all the
things, but not particularly well. From my perspective, it’s yes – move quickly, yes – make
fast decisions. But, just do a few things. We’ve seen success because we get one thing
working, and we jump on it again and again.

"In March, when things started to lock down, I had a conversation with Alex from Reachdesk
and we decided to do a webinar together, focusing on how to create pipeline when people
are uncertain. We put the landing page together and pushed it out on a Tuesday, for the
webinar on the Thursday. And it just blew up. We had 750 registrations. I could see there
was something in it, so I scheduled another one for the next week. This one, with Aaron
Ross from Predictable Revenue, got 2000 registrations."

Alice was blown away by Andy’s results:

"In marketing training, we were told to give yourself a month to promote a webinar! You’ve
shown that you can do it in three or four days, and generate more signups that you’d get in
a month – all with timely, high-quality content."

Spreading the word

Don’t pay for promotion. Harness the power of word of mouth. Here’s more from Andy:

"We get great results from social, but social that comes from our staff internally. With
everything that was going on with the lockdown, the webinars were a great way to motivate
the staff at Leadfeeder.

"I would push updates out to the team and I’d say: ‘Hey, let’s make this the best one yet.
Let’s make it better than last week.’ And, they’d really get behind it. I’d post constantly:

'Hey, we’ve got a thousand signups.’ And they’d say: ‘Let’s make it two thousand!’ People
started gamifying it – pushing it out to their networks, sharing it on LinkedIn. It made a big
difference.

"When we did webinars with bigger names like Dan Disney, they’d push it out to their
networks on LinkedIn. They were getting high numbers because they have a massive
following."

Alice sounded a note of caution:

"Using your internal comms can be a quick, easy win, but you have to keep the team’s
enthusiasm up."

Andy agreed:

"Yes. The fire always burns brightest at the start. It can fizzle out. Keep your excitement up
and keep sharing."

Automation

11,000 new leads sounds like a dream scenario, but someone has to go through them all
and turn as many as they can into customers! How did Andy and his team at Leadfeeder
manage?

"We had to adjust our sales models a little bit because we usually work off trials. Most of our
sales team are inbound salespeople. Someone comes to leadfeeder.com, signs up for a free
trial for two weeks, if they’re over a certain size, the sales team will follow up with that
individual.

"These 11,000 people hadn’t signed up for trials. They came via our webinars. So, we knew
we’d need to automate a lot of it. Jonny [Butler] and a couple of the team set up some
email nurturing to follow the webinars – just some classic drip nurturing stuff. Then the
sales team would cherry-pick the bigger accounts.

"But, there’s still a gap there that I need to fill. We’re looking at the maths behind hiring a
marketing development rep - somebody to go through those signups, get them on the trial
and then hand them over to the advanced sales team.

"The results are we’ve managed to close almost an entire months-worth of revenue from
the webinars we’ve done up until now."

Metrics

Andy explains why everything starts with the revenue number:

"First and foremost, I always start with the revenue. My key message to the team is always:
‘If the revenue is working, then we’re working.’ 60-70% of our revenue comes from
inbound, so that’s all marketing stuff. That’s what we focus on. If something’s not working in
the revenue, that’s when we need to dig deeper.

"Our other core KPIs are where we dig deeper. For example, product marketing - customer
churn. We’ll look at what we’re doing within the product to get people to use it more, which
we know lowers churn.

"Then you’ve got growth management. Our two growth management guys look at Sales
Qualified Leads. SQL is a qualification criteria which shows that our signups that we bring in
are hitting a certain threshold that will deliver X amount of revenue. Our sales forecast
model tells us how many SQLs we need to bring in each week in order to hit our revenue
targets based on our conversion rates.

"The guys understand the numbers very well - if conversion rates are going up, or our average revenue per account is going up, we don’t need to bring in as many SQLs.

"Before I started, marketing was disconnected from revenue. It was, we bring in the leads,
now it’s up to sales. I think the conversation should always start with revenue."

Sales & Marketing alignment

It wouldn’t be a marketing webinar without a bit about sales and marketing alignment. Here’s Andy’s take:

"Whenever I’ve joined a team and I’ve asked the sales guys, what’s your number one
problem, it’s always about the leads – not enough, they suck etc. It’s a constant argument.
Sure, 60% of leads may not be great, but 40% can be very good. For me, it’s always been
about teaching that to salespeople. They don’t know these things. How would a salesperson
who’s never been in a marketing role know anything about marketing benchmarks?

"Now, we have constant communication with the sales team. I’ll go and present to the
entire sales team and I’ll talk about lead gen, or I’ll talk about demand gen, and the
difference between the two. I give them Marketing 101 if I need to – never assume that
someone knows what you’re talking about. It helps them understand your benchmarks and
shows them how you’re aiming to get the percentage higher for them. That’s when they see
it!"

Like what you see? Then don’t miss out on the rest of the series

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