I am fortunate to meet very interesting people who are often top marketers. Sharing those conversations with you is one of my goals here at Marketing Rockstar Guides. I find these discussions are a great way to better understand marketing and what’s possible now and in the future. Last fall, I interviewed several of the top marketing automation consultants in the Marketing Automation Consultants’ roundup. This year, we will focus more on the vendors in the specialist areas of Marketing Automation.
Recently I sat down with top marketer Eric Holmen, President of Invoca. Invoca provides inbound call automation and intelligence directly to marketing.
Josh: Let’s talk about high intent mobile search and click to call – how do you support this?
The challenge in achieving closed loop marketing reports is that the phone is the big remaining gap between what happens online and the final action the prospect takes to reach a salesperson. If 60% or more of the first part of the buying cycle happens online, and many of us have structured our funnels around online engagement, what happens at that 60% mark when the prospect calls us on the phone?
Does all of that prospect data get connected to that phone call? Will the salesperson be able to make that connection? If it is a manual connection, will someone make the right one?
[Josh: I’ve been there, trying to connect 1-800 inbound calls by hand and it never worked.]
At Invoca, we support high intent search and click to call by connecting the same prospect across all devices.
As that buyer clicks on mobile, they build a device profile that can be used for future marketing. Marketers can then send more mobile friendly emails. And by “mobile friendly,” I mean sized right, but also a call-to-action (CTA) that is targeted by device. If they are on a phone, the CTA could be “Call Us”. That CTA could include a dynamic, trackable phone number just for that lead. Desktop offers would include video or papers with form fill outs. Tablets could have more multimedia offers. And Apple recently announced their plans to make it easy to integrate click to call from an Apple Laptop or iPad with your iPhone.
Josh: What is your take on Remarketing and Retargeting, especially with mobile?
Eric: When B2B marketers use remarketing or retargeting on mobile, it is not about acquisition. The lead already knows who you are. Remarketing for B2B is about staying in front of the lead at all times, which influences search and phone calls. If you, as the marketer, can use remarketing messages and CTAs effectively, you will receive a phone call from that prospect.
Josh: And when that call comes in, Invoca will ensure a completely closed loop report with no manual intervention.
Josh: How could I use Invoca for a B2B firm, rather than a B2C firm?
Business-to-business sales have long buy cycles and most buyers start the process at their office desktop. Most marketers have developed online sales funnels centered on the desktop. And I am not talking about “responsive” templates; I mean that content and call-to-actions are designed for a desktop, even when the email is formatted to be mobile friendly.
But the emails marketers are sending to buyers are increasingly viewed on mobile device – when someone is traveling, commuting, at nights – all away from that desktop. How many people want to download a paper on their phone? Will they really read it.
Remember that we can track all the way through the phone call and it’s possible to target messaging by device. Do not cut and paste desktop marketing into mobile marketing. Responsive is hard and marketers always start there for some reason. But you should focus on the phone number at the top of the page on mobile and desktop.
Mobile is not about forms; mobile is about getting quick answers. Thus, content in mobile should be un-gated, it should be easy to read, and it should have a mobile friendly CTA.
It is important to remember that mobile is simpler, spontaneous, and may not be the first point of contact. Mobile is not the best place for certain content. Marketers spend more time worrying about responsive to make the desktop flexible when they should focus on creating mobile conversations.
I believe mobile spend is about staying “front-of-mind” and similar to what was done in the older days of interruption advertising, where repeated messages were key to success.
So my question for your readers is, “Have you made the B2B buying cycle mobile?”
Josh: How do sales people react to the additional insight from Invoca – and the recording of their calls?
Eric: They love it. Usually our first conversation is with the senior sales team at a company. Sales people want inbound calls instead of trying someone ten times who just filled out a form.
[Josh – it’s true, every salesperson wants the inbound call that happens to need something right now.]
As for recording, yes they are hesitant. Salespeople don’t want to be evaluated initially because everyone is a bit hesitant to be monitored and possibly receive feedback. Here’s what companies do with us:
A firm can setup Invoca Signal – it listens but does not give marketing a full recording. Instead, it checks the call for key phrases and then scores the conversation. This approach makes Sales feel better about the machine recording. Somewhat akin to Gmail ads – the machine is producing ads, and humans don’t see your email.
Another option with Invoca for Salesforce.com is to turn on complete call recording. Invoca records calls and attaches them to the opportunity in Salesforce. This is a great tool for ISRs, who are monitored for qualification and call quality. With 50 to 100 calls per day, they may write in Call Notes that miss important subtleties or key messages the Prospect had. The notes could be incomplete in some way.
When the Opportunity is passed to Field Sales for the meetings, the Account Executive can look at the Notes and listen to previous calls with the attached .WAV file. There is no need to go back to the ISR and ask them to remember one of thousands of calls.
Sales teams also warm up to recording of calls because it is a great tool for training and mentorship. The ISR team is often a first step on the way to Field Sales. More experienced Field Salespeople can offer friendly advice on phrasing and listening because they can hear what is really being said by ISRs. Thus, your teams will benefit more from recording and once salespeople realize this, they are on board.
Josh: What kind of firm is an ideal fit for taking advantage of Invoca’s capabilities? Do I have to have a large SDR team?
Our ideal fits are firms involved in B2B, local, and mobile services.
Take B2B, this is a considered purchase. These are expensive services that are similar to annuity payments and require some amount of configuration. B2B firms do business by phone and in person, not e-commerce.
Then you have Local and Mobile Firms. These firms are typically restaurants or dry cleaners. For the consumer, the activity is spontaneous and involves searching for the firm and possibly calling that company. We find that big or small firms or chains can take advantage of mobile click to call. Of course, only a very large dry cleaning chain could take advantage of Invoca. Thus, our local-mobile customers are large firms with local offices, such as insurance agencies. Invoca will setup dynamic numbers and couple that with local search and ads to drive phone calls dire
And finally are firms that do not take phone calls. While few firms are entirely without a phone presence, they do exist. This group is not ideal for Invoca at all. For instance, e-commerce firms or companies selling commodities or easy to buy products rarely use the phone. Amazon has been a prime example with email only support, but even they are experimenting now with the phone.
Josh: I am a big believer in the phone and in having a phone number available. Think about the times you need help from a firm. You don’t say “I’ll contact them via email,” you say, “I’ll call them to resolve this.” Only you find out they have no listed phone number. And you get frustrated because it would be easier and faster to just speak to someone. Treat your prospects and clients the way you want to be treated in the same situation – keep your phone number. Allow people to reach your firm in anyway they want or can: email, phone, webform, website, case creation.
Absolutely. Conversion rates go up on web pages with phone numbers because it engenders trust that there is a real human standing behind the product. Some marketers have taken numbers off their sites entirely in an effort to reduce the cost of calls, but also to force leads onto the trackable web.
Phone calls break the clickstream history – it’s hard to connect a call back to a clickstream, unless you have Invoca using unique phone numbers to connect the lead back to his clickstream..
Josh: Your career is rich in database marketing, marketing automation, and mobile. Could you tell us about that?
I started in 2003 with a mobile firm called Smart Reply. At the time, only Eloqua and Vtrenz were around, so I chose Vtrenz, which was acquired by Silverpop in 2007. Because of that relationship, I became friendly with the CEO of Silverpop, Bill Nussey. After SmartReply was sold, I joined The Marketing Arm as CMO.
In 2011, Silverpop completed their new platform, combining Vtrenz and Silverpop’s email system. With that, Silverpop could now work for both B2B and B2C firms. Marketing automation for B2C became much more sophisticated, allowing for a personalized experience.
I liked Silverpop because it could send millions of personalized emails per day, which is critical for B2C firms as they achieve one-to-one marketing.
I was very proud of what we accomplished in my time at Silverpop.
As for Invoca, I had been looking at mobile and spoke with the CEO of Invoca, Jason Spievak, and was surprised because I realized I had ignored the power of tracking the inbound call channel. The possibilities with dynamic phone numbers based on individuals and their online activity is enormous. This “last mile” of mobile closes the loop on the final step in marketing – an area that had no visibility in the lead lifecycle.
Many B2B firms, and quite a few B2C firms, have made the mistake of trying to control the conversation with their audience. Sites no longer have phone numbers. But the phone is still ringing! People do find a way to call. Why? At some point you need to have a fluid, real time conversation. The only way to do that is with the phone.
I had a client who removed their phone numbers from public view. They still received 1500 calls per week – people went out of their way to find a number to call. They realized that people want to speak with them and those people are engaged and want to buy. So they put the phone back on the site.
Yes, the majority of your leads will still be on the web and will start there. But when they call you, how will you know what they have already done?
Josh: What do you do for fun?
Eric: I go sailing on my yacht, The Tequila.
Josh: Sounds very pleasant!
Many thanks to Eric Holmen for taking the time to share his thoughts on closing the loop with phone call tracking and his insights on B2B mobile ads.
Do you have a firm you would like me to interview? Let me know in the comments below.