Conversational Selling

Featuring Ryan Deiss, founder & CEO of DigitalMarketer

 
 
  • - Hey everyone! Welcome to this master class on conversational selling! I'm Kyle Jepson with HubSpot Academy, and I'm here with Ryan Diess. Today's master class is presented by HubSpot Academy, HubSpot's official learning resource and worldwide leader in marketing and sales education. Head over to academy.hubspot.com to take advantage of our free certifications and learn how to grow your business and your career. The official hashtag for today's course is #hubspotmasterclass. If you're on Twitter, you use #hubspotmasterclass to join in on the conversation. If you're with us here on Facebook, just comment down on the bottom. We'll be monitoring those and taking questions as they come in. But Ryan, thanks for being here.

    - Yeah, thanks for having me.

    - For anyone who doesn't know, Ryan is the co-founder and CEO of digitalmarketer.com, which is the leading, the number one?

    - The leading, absolutely, far and away the number one.

    - Far and away?

    - Yes. I can say that because who's going to argue with me right now, while we're here?

    - That's true! For digital marketing stuff.

    - Yeah, all things digital marketing.

    - All things digital marketing, and then you also own half of the internet, I understand.

    - Daymond John, he's a friend of mine, was kind enough to put that in his book and I have no problem whatsoever accepting that, even though it's not even remotely true. But it sounds good.

    - It's pretty big!

    - Yeah, I don't own, really, any of it. It was a good lesson on hyperbole.

    - There you go.

    - But as long as somebody else says it, it's not technically lying, I guess. Probably still is.

    - Well, yeah, but you can own it, and be like, "I didn't say that!" And then your career in digital marketing, this is my favorite part, launched because you built a website to try to make some money to buy an engagement ring.

    - Yeah, my freshman year of college, I met a girl. I decided pretty early on that she was the girl I was going to marry. Didn't tell her that, because that'd be a little bit creepy. But that was my first motivation, was how do I make extra money? This was 1999, I was going to the University of Texas at Austin. You hear stories about Michael Dell starting Dell Computer Company right across the street in the dorm room, across the street from where I was staying, where I was living, so I figured, hey, if anybody can do it, why not me? At least make a little bit of money and by the time I graduated, I made enough money, bought the ring, proposed to the girl, she said yes, and then a business was born. It was a good time.

    - Business and a family, that's fantastic! Both!

    - Yes, both for the price of not really having any fun at all in college. Very, very, very much worth it.

    - There you go. All right, so today we're talking about conversational selling, which is a really exciting idea, but when we're talking about this, what's the goal with conversational selling?

    - Yeah, so really the goal that I'm looking at for everybody who's watching this is just to help you engineer a lot more high converting conversations, ideally from the traffic and leads that you were already receiving. We're gonna talk about that a little bit, because so much of what's talked about in marketing is how do we get more traffic and how do we get more leads. What I'm going to show you is, how do you get more sales from what you already got? You got a lot of stuff going on, so this is for you. If you're a marketer, and your sales team is begging for a lot more leads and a lot more conversations, this'll be a new way for the marketers to hopefully add additional value above and over what they're already doing. For sales folks, this is maybe a new way of thinking about selling, and where I believe selling is going in the future. So many people who are in sales and have been in sales for a while believe that selling can really only occur over the phone. I don't know about you, but I get irritated when my phone rings, even if it's my mom. It's like, text me. So much of human communication is now taking place through these other chat channels, whether it be SMS or Facebook Messenger. So if you're in selling, learning how to really use those channels to close the sale is also a part of it, so we're gonna talk a little bit about that, and if you're an agency, then hopefully, maybe add some additional arrows to your quiver, in terms of strategies you can enact to your clients. So that's really the goal that I'm looking to accomplish.

    - I love all of that, and if you're on the marketing side, whether you're an agency or a marketing team, if you want the sales people you're working with to love you, it's not really about the number of leads, it's about the number of sales they close.

    - Exactly, if you can tee up a conversation, they're going to be thrilled. They're not necessarily looking at the total number of leads. And if you're a solo, I'm sure we got solos that are out there, where you're a company of one, or you're maybe a sales and marketing team of one, then I guess the good news is you get to watch and learn about all of this, because you kind of get to own the entire process that we're going to be covering here.

    - Yeah, and honestly, anyone who's in that boat, this is an exciting time to be in that boat, because you can really set the trajectory for what the future of sales and marketing is going to look like.

    - Yeah, so let's dive in, let's talk about where we've come from and how we've gotten to where we are today. So I guess the question that I would have for people is what do you think is the highest-converting sales medium of all time? There's been direct mail and radio. There's TV infomercials, there's obviously the web. I don't necessarily have data to back this up, I think it's probably fairly known and fairly obvious when you think about what converts the highest, not necessarily what scales the fastest, but what converts the highest, you really can't beat face-to-face. When you're face-to-face with somebody, you can see where they are. If they're not quite believing you, they're like, "I don't know," you know, "I need to say something." You can respond in real time, they can tell you the objections they have, and you can try to overcome those objections in real time. You can have a conversation and you can find out, specifically, what is that one thing that they really, really, really want, and you can tailor your messaging around that. So I think, without a doubt, face-to-face is the highest converting sales medium of all time. If you've got a sales person who knows what they're doing. So why doesn't everybody just make every single sale face-to-face, right? Well, the problem with face-to-face selling, and you've got Marketing Mike here, who's gonna be like, "Yeah, but face-to-face doesn't scale." And that's so much of what we've done in the digital landscape, has been saying, how do we take what works in traditional sales and traditional marketing, and how to we get it to scale? And we're gonna talk a little bit about scale and this idea of scale, but I kind of want us to pause for a little bit, and just ponder why is scale the goal anyway? Why does scale have to become the goal? Why is that the thing where in most companies, you can shut down just about any idea if you simply say, "ah, it doesn't scale "? That's the one thing, everybody's like, "if it doesn't scale, can't do it." That's when people, they don't have to use words, they're just like, "it doesn't scale," and then they start mumbling and gesturing to one another. So that is kind of the ultimate thing, but why is this the case? Why did scale become the goal? And, specifically, when did not talking to our customers become the goal? Now, I'm a marketer, and I'm a digital marketer. I run digitalmarketer.com. I'm all about digital marketing. I'm all about marketing automation. This is not saying that marketing automation is bad, but I believe that what we're dealing with now is this overreaction of, we sure would like to never, ever have to talk to our customer ever again. If somebody, I believe, could come in, and if they could just get this automated follow up, and then they magically and mechanically walk through this process, and they were spit out the other end, where they're happy and we have their money, wouldn't that be great?

    - Just put in their credit card number, and we extract the money out.

    - Exactly, they never talk to us. We never talk to them, we get to maintain our little bubble, and wouldn't that be great? So much of marketing is in pursuit of that goal, and I think we have to ask ourselves why. Why has that happened? How have we gotten here? And specifically, if you're gonna adopt my presupposition, which is that this is not necessarily a good thing, who's to blame? Well, I believe that digital marketing is to blame.

    - What?

    - Yes, I believe digital marketing, and I think I'm uniquely qualified to blame digital marketing and not have people get overly upset with me, because, again, I am a digital marketer, I love digital marketing. I think that it's great, and, in fact, I think the reason that we have this overemphasis on scale is because marketers have done such a great job. Because HubSpot has trained so many people on how to do inbound effectively that there's just almost too many leads coming to the top of the funnel. We're at this point, as businesses, where there's so many leads coming in that we have to automate things. We have to say, "yeah, but that isn't going to scale," because of this influx of leads, because marketing has done almost too good of a job at putting things at the top of the funnel. And so, I think we have to ask ourselves, "who else has that problem, and how have they solved the problem?" I think about, like, the problem is just too many people around us that are maybe interested in our services. Where my brain went instantly was the DMV. Right, if you've been there, there's a lot of people who need to get their driver's license renewed, maybe they need to take driver's tests, things like that. So they show up at the DMV and, invariably, there's two people up there working with folks, and a thousand people who need to talk to them, and so what do they say? They're like, "hey, take a number." The DMV has dealt with the overabundance of leads by saying, "take a number, sit over there, and wait." That's not a great solution. Then we think about Apple. This isn't as big of a problem, unfortunately, for them as maybe it was a few years ago, but any time a new iPhone would come out, people would be camping out, so Apple's saying, "just stand in line and wait until it's your turn to give us money." Marketers' solution to this has been a lot more elegant, and that solution has been the funnel. That's been the solution. We have the leads come in at the top, then we're going to march them through this series, and at some point, they'll buy, and less people will come out of the bottom. That's the idea of the funnel, but if you look closely at any graphic of a funnel, I almost don't care which one you've picked, I've selected a handful of them, they all look the same. A lot of people at the top, very few or in many cases one person on the bottom, so you've got all these people at the top, and then at the bottom, you really only wind up with one. And what I think it's important to remember is our own models have taught us to expect low conversion rates.

    - We lose people at every step.

    - Every step, you're gonna lose them. Every step, people are gonna fall out. And I'm not saying that that isn't accurate, but our own models have told us, not only is this to be expected, but it's how it works. It's just a fact of life. So when your own model is saying that conversion rates are gonna be low, we should be surprised that conversion rates are low. We're beginning to optimize, and I love Andrew Chen, who is one of the best growth people out there, one of the best minds in growth and marketing out there. I believe he still heads the growth team at Uber. He wrote a post a few years back called The Law of Crappy Clickthroughs. He used a word other than "crappy", but my mom may be watching so I'm gonna keep it PG-13. But the basic idea was that, in any new advertising channel, in any new marketing channel, the effectiveness of any ad is going to decline dramatically in a relatively short period of time. The example that he gave was the banner ad. When the banner ad first came out, in 1994, it had a 78% clickthrough rate. Think about that, the very first banner ad had a 78% clickthrough rate.

    - [Kyle] That's incredible, people didn't even know what it was.

    - [Ryan] Yeah, and they're like, there's a blinking thing, click. We're all so Pavlovian, like ding ding ding. So that was the idea, the banner ad, in a very short period of time, it was down to a half of a point. So, 1994, 78% clickthrough rate. 2011, half a percent clickthrough rate. And that was in Facebook, which does a better job in making their banner ads look way more like content. Still, half a point is standard. He charted the same thing with retargeting. Retargeting ads are effective initially. They decline over time. Average landing page conversion rate, I did some research on this, 2.35%. That's across a wide array of markets, I'm not saying, you may be getting, if you're watching out there, you may be looking and saying, "I'm doing a much, much, much better job." That's great, I would hope that you are. 2.35%, that means that, what? Math is hard. 97.65% of the people aren't registering? That's not so hot. I thought this was interesting. Average email open rate, 24.8%. I believe that this is incredibly high, in my experience.

    - Yeah, something to feel good about, a quarter of people.

    - Yeah, exactly, but even in that, it's like, a quarter of people are opening. That means that the vast majority of people aren't even opening, much less clicking. So that's still not ideal, and this is the biggie. What is the percentage of human beings who are actually excited to receive a phone call from a stranger? If they're excited to receive a phone call from a sales professional? We did some math, did some research, and determined this number to be at 0%. 0% of the people are actually excited to be receiving this. And this comes from nearly four decades of having to put up with this crap, as I'm sure you have as well. So what's the solution? If clickthrough rates, conversion rates are always gonna be in decline, what's the solution? Well the solution has been, we've got to get more traffic.

    - Just put more in the top.

    - We've gotta get more leads. Scale, scale, scale. I think that's how we got here. That's how we got here. Stuff worked really well in the beginning. It was really effective, and then when it became less effective, which only always happens, about 100% of the time, the answer is we must do more of it. What I wanna suggest is that this is why marketers in particular, this is why we're on this vicious hamster wheel of doom that we can never seem to get off. And every week, even if you have a win, you know next month, you're starting back over at zero. You know that you're always dealing with diminishing returns, you know it's only gong to get more difficult. And that's the reality that we've been in. I think that's why marketers have been frustrated. I think that's why salespeople get frustrated at marketers. That's why the leads aren't as good. It's like, yeah, but you wanted more of them. Or you want the same number, right? And marketers are dealing with this law of crappy clickthroughs, and salespeople still need the same number of leads to get their goal. So I think it's time to try something new. I think we need to rethink much of the way that we approach this, not throw it out completely. Nothing, and I think this is so critical, if you were watching at home or from your office, please, I hope you don't hear me say that you should do this instead of everything else you're doing right now. It's not that binary, you can do both. What I'm suggesting is let's try something that is really gonna emphasize more the quality, not just of a lead, but of a conversation. Because that's what we're talking about, conversational marketing and conversational selling. In other words, how do we get back to the face-to-face? How do we get back to reclaiming and recovering these really, really high conversion rates? How do we get closer to that, as opposed to just saying let's do more? So that's kind of what we're talking about. We think about conversational selling, I want to mention, just because anytime I talk about this, people wanna talk tools, everybody wants the software, what's the solution, I'm gonna give you some of the ones that we use, but I hope everybody understands that at DigitalMarketer, at least, we're kind of tool-agnostic. It really is about the strategy. An amazing tool with a ad strategy is gonna fail miserably.

    - Right.

    - Right. And yet, a great strategy deploying a rudimentary tool, so I'm gonna show you how to do conversational marketing and conversational selling using just good old-fashioned email. Right, one to one, I'm typing an email and sending it. That's not some newfangled tool. Everybody has that one. So I'll go over some tools, but just I wanna throw that caveat out there. Obviously if you're watching this, and you're a HubSpot user, HubSpot has live chat now. They have a chat tool they're building in and it's getting better and better and better, becoming really advanced. I was very, very excited about some of the announcements that were made at inbound, so if you're using SalesHub, you already have this. I would recommend starting from that. Drift is a company, started by former HubSpotters. They were the ones to kind of introduce, at least the first I heard to introduce, this idea of chat for selling. Not just chat for customer support, or not just chat for customer success. That's a lot of intercom, and there's been a number of other chat tools. Chat was initially, talk to a live person and get questions answered. It wasn't so much built for the sales side, but there's people who use intercom for that, and then ManyChat, manychat.com is a tool that you can use to really automate and build bots inside of Facebook Messenger. So the previous three are chat tools for OnPage, and ManyChat is really designed more for Facebook Messenger. So that's kind of what we're looking at, OnPage chat tool, Facebook Messenger, email, all of these are conversational things that we're going to be diving in. So let's talk about how you go about actually starting the conversation. So now I'm talking to you marketers out there. We're not talking about leads right now. We're saying, "how do we actually start the conversation?" How do we tee-up what we call an ideal sales conversation for the sales team? So they're not necessarily measuring you in leads, they're excited that you're making a nice little warm introduction and a warm hand off. There are three conversation starters that we look at. The first is Page To Chat, so that's getting people who are already a visitor on your website to initiate and to start a conversation. That's the first, we'll talk about how to do that. Email To Chat, so getting people who are already on your email list to begin to chat with you, go back and forth via email or another media, and then Ad To Chat. How do you go straight from advertising to somebody talking to you? And there's some really great, I know a lot of people watching don't do advertising, they don't necessarily like the idea of buying traffic. I can appreciate that, but this is one that you may want to give a shot to. Let's talk about Page To Chat. So if you're a marketer, how do you get the people who are already on your page to start talking to you? If you've been to pretty much any website on Planet Earth, especially in the SASS Space, you've probably seen a button in the lower right hand corner that looks something like this. All the different chat tools have their own icon, but they all tend to look something like this. It's like a conversation bubble that's usually smiling at you. These have become ubiquitous. These are all over the place. And part of the reason these are all over the place is because companies are beginning to realize that this idea of conversational marketing and conversational selling is a thing, but everybody's doing it the same way. So everybody's approaching this and saying, and this is not to knock the folks at New Rock, they have a phenomenal product, but everybody's kind of doing the same type of thing. "How can we help you today?" Or when we first started this at DigitalMarketer, it was, "hey there, have a question? Want to chat?" So that's kind of what everybody's doing. Everybody's opening question is, "Hey, wanna chat?" "Hey, wanna talk?" And the universal answer to this seems to be, "Nope!" "No, I don't."

    - "Leave me alone!"

    - Right, and we shouldn't be surprised by this. You probably have been in a retail store, and you go in and you're looking for a shirt, and you walk in and that person says, "Hey, can I help you with something?" And what do you say to them?

    - "No, I'm good, just looking."

    - Yeah, there you go, "nope, I'm just looking." I didn't even have to wonder. It is such an understood thing, I was able to type that out before even knowing what you were going to say. That is an aspect of the human experience. We know that, right? You walk into a store, they say, "Can I help you with something?" Basically, "hey, do you wanna talk?" And you go, "nope, I'm okay, leave me alone, just looking."

    - "Didn't come here for a social experience."

    - Right, I just wanna shop. Until that moment when you're ready and you have a question, and then you can ask, and that really is the way that most chat is happening. It's somebody who comes to the site, and they have a question, and they engage. And that's good, that's gonna keep happening. But as a marketer, we have to ask ourselves, "How do we engineer those conversations? How do you drive those conversations so that we get more than just the people who show up with a question already?" And what we found, the best solution for this is to ask binary questions. So to simply ask somebody, like for us at DigitalMarketer, we have a page that's dedicated, one of our highest value segments, is Digital Agencies. So we have a page that's dedicated to Digital Agencies, we're looking for agency partners at DM. So if anybody arrives at that particular page, we don't say, "hey, how's it going? If you have any questions, we're here." We say, "quick question, are you a consultant or marketing agency?" That's it. Quick question, are you a consultant or marketing agency? And people can pretty much answer yes or no. If you were to walk in, I think it's critical any time you're doing something online, the ultimate litmus test is would this be weird if I were to do it in real life? Would it be kind of weird, would it be kind of creepy, would it be ineffective if I were to do this in real life? Or does it really mirror the way things work in real life? So let's go back to the retail store. So you walk in, and nobody really says anything at first, but as soon as you start playing, maybe you pull out a shirt, somebody says, "oh hey, do you like that shirt?" You're not going to say, "no, I'm just looking." That's weird, that's not a normal response. You're gonna be like, "Ah, it's fine. I thought it was kind of cool." Or you'll be like, "yeah, I do." "Oh cool, wanna try it on? Here, let me grab that, you can go look around." Now you're engaged.

    - "Do you have it in my size?" Exactly, now you're engaged in a conversation, but you didn't ask the person, "do you want to talk to a total stranger?" Because only nobody wants to talk to a total stranger. We've been taught as children not to talk to strangers. That's the thing, don't talk to strangers. Don't take candy from them, and now in business, we're strangers trying to talk to people, wondering why they don't want to talk back. That's not how conversations work. We've been told not to do that. We have conversations with people that we know, like, and trust, or we have conversations with people who ask us a question that's nonthreatening, right? So think, what is a binary question? And by "binary", I simply mean a yes or no. Somebody doesn't necessarily have an opinion about it. Are you a consultant or marketing agency. Somebody could say, "nope." Okay, I know I probably don't need to talk to that person, because they're probably not going to be fit for this thing. "Cool, I'll leave you alone." That's great, that's helpful. That's filtering. I remember, right now it's girl scout cookie time, and I don't know if they're doing the same thing in the Boston area, but at least in Austin, Texas, where I live, girl scouts are planted outside of every major restaurant, every major drug store.

    - [Kyle] Grocery stores.

    - Yeah, and you walk in, and they're all like, "do you want to buy some girl scout cookies?" "No, that's okay."

    - [Kyle] "That's not what I came here for.

    - Yeah, "that's not exactly what I cam here for, I'm good." I walked past some girl scouts the other day, and their question was, "do you wanna support the troops?" And I was ready to say no, and then, "do you wanna support the troops?" How can I say no to that question? "Yes?" "Okay, well if you buy girl scout cookies, if you can have some for yourself, you can still buy girl scout cookies, and we'll send some to the troops. Would you be interested in sending some girl scout cookies to the troops or taking some home with you?" And I bought girl scout cookies. I had lots of girl scout cookies, but I bought more because, again, it was a question that I couldn't ignore, and it was a question I couldn't necessarily say no to. So what is that question? I think that marketers out there, we're writing copy, what is that for you? The next area where people come into play is they think, "okay, but how am I going to make sure that I don't have too many of these questions?" Because, we're going to get to, once you've engaged in the conversation, where does it go from there? But people ask at this point, "how do I make sure that I don't get an overabundance of these?" First thing I'll tell you, don't put chat on your homepage, at least in the beginning.

    - [Kyle] Which is what everybody is doing.

    - Everybody is putting it on their homepage, exactly. If you have a giant team who can respond to that, great, but I recommend not doing that. If you are, have it trigger on the third visit, so that if somebody comes once, it doesn't trigger it, and if they come back again, it doesn't trigger, and if they come back a third time, now there's some intent. You can do the same thing with content, or you could only trigger it on bottom-of-funnel content. So somebody's reading a post or a customer story, and maybe if somebody's reading a customer story about a particular industry, you could ask them, "hey, are you in this industry?" So the content can inform the question that gets asked. We'll talk more about that. Or trigger on pricing or thank you pages. Just get deeper into the funnel. Any questions?

    - [Kyle] Yeah, before we move on I want to take this question from Arline, she asked what happens when the sales team isn't online? Does someone have to man the chat 27/7?

    - With just about any chat application out there, you can set hours of operation when the chat is available, and so if you, say, only have the chat come on between nine to five, when you have salespeople there, it'll only come on nine to five. It won't be visible, or you could have it to where it's visible, but it says, "hey, our people are out for the day, but you can leave us a message here."

    - Right, and I know on the HubSpot messages tool, you can set your offline message, customize that, and ask for people's email, and say, "we'll follow up with you when we're back."

    - Yeah, exactly, it's kind of like voicemail. So no, you don't have to be there 24/7, but it kind of makes a case when you see how well this works for maybe having people overseas, being able to man it for you, or person it, human it for you. So that's the first strategy, right? That's just talking about, how do we take the visitors we already have, the people that are already hanging out on our website, and how do we engage them? The big lesson is, don't ask them if they want to talk. Ask them a binary question. Think about what that is. We'll talk about what happens once the conversation begins, where you take it from there, and how you can even automate that when we get to that in just a second. But for now, we're talking about conversation starters. The second strategy for conversation starters is to leverage your email list. Remember, this is all about, how do we get more sales conversations and traffics from the leads we already have? I want to start from there. And so if we think about our email list, ideally, you have high-intent gated content. That's really step one if you want to do this right. So that I mean by high-intent gated content, is the content itself informs what that lead is interested in. So if you just have a piece of content that's how to do marketing good, because marketing is good and stuff, that doesn't necessarily inform any intent other the fact that the person who downloaded this wants to be better at marketing, whereas the particular piece of content that we have here, that we use at DigitalMarketer, "Want to Build a Rockstar Marketing Team?" "How to Structure and Build a Modern Digital Marketing Team." We know that the only reason that someone would register for this particular webinar or register for this video series, is because they want to build a digital marketing team in-house. There's no reason whatsoever to register for this content. The content itself is a filter. The content itself is designed to one, yes, inform what they're interested in, which informs the conversation, but also to filter out the people who maybe aren't a fit for this. So that's really step one. So specificity of your lead magnet of your middle of the funnel, your gated content is critical. If I'm a golf instructor, and I want to get more, I'm not gonna say, "How to Golf More Betterer". I'm gonna say, "How to Drive the Ball 10 Yards Further", have one on "How to Never 3-Putt Again". Because somebody downloads "Never 3-Putt Again". I can follow with them, and I know we're talking about putting. Somebody downloads something on driving the ball farther, I know this person wants to out-drive their buddies. The content informs the conversation.

    - And using it as a jumping off point for the conversation. It's huge, as opposed to that typical, "hey, so I'm the sales guy, what were you interested in?"

    - Yeah, "I saw you downloaded this thing, why'd you do that?" You shouldn't have to wonder. The content should inform exactly why they do they, and then you can send emails. We'll generally send emails, send replies, again, referencing back, "hey, you downloaded this thing. Are you registered for this class on how to build an in-house digital marketing team, or how to do this very, very specific thing? I'm guessing you wanna know how to do this very, very specific thing. We'd love to help with that, let's talk about it." But the key is, when you're sending these emails, the emails are not designed to get somebody to click and get somebody to a webpage and buy, the emails are designed, they are specifically worded to elicit a reply, to start a conversation via email. And my favorite of all, is also the simplest of all. I call it my "Magic 9-Word Email". The structure is basically, "are you still blank?" So, "are you still looking to grow your marketing team?" "Are you still looking to build a marketing team?" "Are you still looking to cut your score by getting better at putting?" The framework, the structure of "are you still" is such a great setup, because, one, it tells them that you know exactly the thing that they want. And they were the ones that really started the conversation. In downloading and requesting that content, they started the conversation. You're picking it up. "Hey, remember how you done all this thing? Do you still want that?" Maybe the answer is "no, I don't want that anymore." But in general, why would they not? And if they say that, and that's what we have. People actually respond. So, "are you still looking to train your marketing team?" Some people responded back and said, "nope, I'm not anymore." And then we'll respond back and say, "that's fine, what else is going on? Anything else we can do to help?" You can tailor it. Other people were like, "yeah, I am." It's funny, we will get people that will apologize to us for not reaching out sooner. Think about that. When was the last time you sent a broadcast to your email list, and people replied apologizing that they hadn't gotten back tp you yet? They don't do that because it's not perceived as an actual, real one-to-one human conversation.

    - Right, and I love that everything about your nine word email here is designed to make it feel that way. You can automate this, and we have experimented with that here at HubSpot, where the lead comes in, we route it to the right sales rep, we send an email from that sales rep, but we found, it has to just be plain text. You add HTML, you add design elements, it looks like a marketing email, they delete it. And it's such a great statement that you made. I kept this example in here, I was going to change it, because we had actually made a mistake here when we first did this. So this screenshot goes back to 2016. We were still experimenting with a lot of these ideas, and if you look at the image, you can see that it has the company logo at the top.

    - [Kyle] And the social sharing at the bottom.

    - [Ryan] Exactly, none of that should have been in there. It should have just been pure, plain text. It should have looked exactly as it would look if you were emailing a friend. Pure, plain text, we're having a conversation. This is not an email broadcast.

    - Right, and there's no, "dear first name" or "my name is", "our company does".

    - You don't need to personalize it. Yeah, exactly, if you're gonna email, all you have to do is be like, "hey". And sometimes the subject line's "quick question". Or in this case, it was "just checking in". "You still looking to train your marketing team?" So that "are you still". I know what it is that you wanted, and in particular, it nicely twists the knife a little bit. It suggests that you haven't done this yet, and you wanted to. Another variation is, "have you yet". So there's "are you still wanting to do this?" "Are you still looking to do this?" And, "have you done this yet?" So, "hey, have you built your in-house digital marketing team yet? So "are you still", "have you yet" is a really great email formula for driving that reply. But, again, you will mess this up if you put a link in there. "Hey, if you are, click on this link, because I've got something for you." Now it's a piece of marketing. If you just write it, you don't even have to say reply. If you just get an email from someone asking a question, they know they need to reply. And so people tell us, "no, I'm not, but thanks anyways." People will apologize that they hadn't got back to us sooner, people will be like, "oh my god, thanks for the reminder."

    - "Your timing is so good!"

    - Yeah, exactly.

    - "How did you know?"

    - And all of this absolutely can be automated, but it is emails not designed to make the sale, it's emails that are designed to initiate a conversation. So we're automating that first part of starting the conversation. Then once the conversation is begun, now we're beginning to make it manual.

    - So no, no reply at your company. It needs to be going to a real person.

    - Exactly, ideally what you talked about, and I know HubSpot does this, it's not coming from the company, it's coming from an individual. It's coming from that person, and then, yeah, when they click reply, the way you super screw this up, is when they click reply, it's noreply@yourcompany. Stop doing that, take that off! If somebody wants to reply to an email, and have a conversation, let them!

    - [Kyle] That to me is just so crazy, because why do you send an email to someone you don't want a reply from? That's like the foundation of the whole technology.

    - [Ryan] What are we doing? It's saying, "I no longer want this to be a two-way conversation, I just want to shove my message and my desires down your throat. And you either do what I ask you to do or unsubscribe, I don't care." It's kind of heartless marketing, where we see our leads not as human beings. Not as individuals, they're just little dots. They're the little stick figures at the top of the funnel. And it's fine if we lose some! Heck, we need to lose some of them, because remember, we're only looking for one or two of them to trickle out of the bottom. We have to change our mentality about this. This is not a funnel, this is a relationship. This is a journey. Now when you do get a conversation going, the beautiful thing is, if they're not interested in that one particular thing, because you're having a conversation, you can keep the conversation going and find out what they are interested in. This happens all the time, here's a screenshot, one of our salespeople reaching out to somebody. They weren't interested in the thing. It wasn't a fit, so they redirected and sold them something else.

    - [Kyle] Within the theory of inbound, we try to teach people, at HubSpot Academy, we teach them to be helpful. Before anything else, before you're trying to make a sale, before you're trying to do anything like that, add value to these people, help them make progress, and then that builds trust, and they'll be more likely to buy from you in the future, when they're looking to buy. But right now, you can't force somebody to think they want to buy something when they're not actually looking to buy something. And so, you start this conversation, you treat them like a person, you build that relationship.

    - What a concept! You treat them like a person. Why do we even have to say that? They are people!

    - What other option is there?

    - Exactly, but what we do right now is we treat them as a number. And I think that's kind of the mentality shift. Again, if you do this and you do this well, I don't mind if our leads get cut in half if our conversion rates double.

    - Math!

    - Right, that pesky math thing again. I don't mind so much, especially if you're paying, you're probably more profitable at that point. Also, and this is another really, really, really cool strategy that we've done, sending out emails that aren't just designed to get a reply. It's pretty common to send an email and say, "hey, give me a call." Salespeople do that all the time, so we'll put that in there. So this was a promotion that we did for out big even that we do every year, Traffic and Conversion Summit, and it was kind of getting towards the end, and we said, "hey, if you wanna add some extra tickets, there's three ways you can get it, because tickets technically aren't for sale anymore. You can just reply to this email." Again, what a crazy concept. "You can give us a call," and then we said, my favorite, "you can click this link and it will open up Facebook Messenger." Facebook Messenger is becoming one of the single largest chat platforms out there, and people are very comfortable with it. It's where they talk to their friends. When we sent this out, the three options, reply, phone, or Facebook Messenger, which one do you think got the most responses?

    - [Kyle] I know the punchline, but my guess would be an email reply. That seems super easy.

    - Because they're in that medium already, right. And it's easy, just click reply. Facebook Messenger got 50% of the replies. 50% of the conversations that came in came through Facebook Messenger. The email reply was around 35% to 40%, and the rest of it was people picking up the phone to call.

    - Which is amazing that that even happened,

    - That anybody even picked up the phone to call? So I believe that it's treading that way, so if you want to put a link in an email that will trigger a Facebook conversation that will basically open up Facebook Messenger for somebody, so they click it, Facebook Messenger opens on their mobile device, on their desktop, and now they can begin typing, it's m.me/whatever your page is, whatever your company page is. For us, it's m.me/digitalmarketer. For you guys, it'd be m.me/hubspot. So whatever your Facebook page is, that will then trigger a conversation with that. So that's a great way that in any email, if you wanna start a conversation via Messenger, which we're gonna talk about in just a little bit, that's a great way to do it.

    - So, on this real quick, since you got a mix of people, Facebook Messenger was the winner, do you take away the other options and channel everyone that way? Does giving all three options, is that best? How do you think about that?

    - So the honest answer is we haven't tested it. And I'm usually of the mindset of humans are different people and respond in different ways. I seem to recall, again, phone was over 10%. When something gets less than 5%, that's when I think, and it's just my own general rule of thumb, that's when you're like, this is beginning to get into statistical insignificance. We might be better off to drop this, and see if we get an improvement overall.

    - Yeah, because you could do a lot more than three options.

    - Yeah, you could. Most of the chat applications that are out there will also give you link, that when somebody clicks on this link, it will open your page and launch a chat application.

    - But at a certain point, you give them 25 options, and they're overwhelmed.

    - Their confused mind says no. As human beings, we're pretty good at remembering things in threes. I'm gonna talk about that when we get into the actual conversation here in just a second. So that's why we went with three options. And two that everybody knows, and one new, and I was shocked, truly. I was like, maybe 10% to 15% of the people will go to Messenger. The fact that it was over 50% was really, really, really shocking.

    - Yeah.

    - So remember when we were talking about this, the goal is to start a conversation. The goal is not to try to make the sale, the goal, we're trying to start conversations. And you can use platforms other than email. And that's where advertising can also come in. Before I get into the ad thing, any questions?

    - [Kyle] Yeah, so we've had a few come through. This sort of takes us back to the chat thing we were talking about before, someone asked, "what's the difference between chat apps and chatbots, and which should I use?" So I can handle the definition real quick, a chat app just lets you communicate with people in real time on your website, and a bot can moderate that conversation, take care of if when a person isn't present, usually through pre-determined options, but there are other ways to do it. Do you have advice on bots?

    - Yeah, I'm gonna go through how we build bots in just a second, so I think that distinction will be clearer when I get into an example here in just a second.

    - So hold tight, we'll get there! Xavier, or "ha-vi-er", perhaps? Any recommendations on timing between plain text email sends from sales reps based on high-intent content download. So, I think he's asking, if you're gonna have more than one in touch, how many, how often?

    - Yeah, so, people aren't gonna believe this, but go back to when you first started dating someone. How often did you communicate? It was probably multiple times a day. So you really want to stack that communication early on. So within the first five to seven days, I'd be following up almost every day. You might send two the first day, and that's not weird. It's how we deal with human interaction. We're accustomed to that, and when a relationship is new, the communication frequency is higher than later on, and then you can begin to kin of pair it down. That "are you still", "have you yet", that one you want to give a little bit of time. That one's really designed to come a little bit later, after somebody is downloaded, and it could come from anywhere from a week later to two weeks later, thirty days later. If our lead flow to our sales floor is a little bit lower than we want to see for a particular month, we'll queue up an "are you still" email, and blast it out to everybody. Some of the people will be, everybody who's been on the list for maybe, because generally within the first 14 days, they're still on an active campaign, so anybody who's not in an active campaign, and some of those people might've been on the list for over a year, and we'll send, "hey, are you still looking to do this?" And they'll reply.

    - Especially when we're talking about these big things, like building a team or starting a team. That's something they're going to be thinking about for a long time. I guess if your high-intent offers are more just, like, go out to dinner tonight or something, then that could be different.

    - Yeah, if your high-intent offer is seasonal or timely, then that's not gonna work as well, but don't do that. Make it evergreen. But it's amazing, people will start doing research sometimes years ahead of doing the actual thing. Or it'll get backburnered, and we have people that are like, "yeah, we were looking to do this last year, and some other project came ahead, but we just had a board meeting, and now this is a major initiative, so let's do it."

    - Or if they say, "I was really excited about this, then it got backburnered", then you can say, "well, how can I help? What do you need to restart that conversation internally?" And then, Katie, "one of the biggest problems we have is visitors using the chat for support and not sales. Any tips for us? The sales team is sick of getting requests for tech support and not qualified leads."

    - Again, it goes back to throttling the conversations, and where you put that chat. So if you have it on your homepage, you're going to get a lot of support. If you just go in there and you have this little thing appear on every page on our website, then guess what, you're gonna get a ton of support requests. Be strategic about those pages, and, also, don't have the question be, "wanna chat?" People are like, "yeah, I wanna chat, you guys screwed me!" If you ask a very specific binary question, then you're the one that's driving the discussion. So it goes back to location of where you chat, of where you're placing the chat, and also that first question that you ask. Asking a binary question that's gonna start the conversation that you want to have, not necessarily the one that they wanna have. It still is gonna happen, and so having your salespeople say, what we tell our salespeople to say is, "gosh, sorry, that's a really great question, but it's over my head, let me loop somebody else in." And they will redirect that conversation to somebody else, but do it in a way that's kind of self-deprecating, and gets them the answer they want.

    - Yeah, and Katie, I would mention, too, that the HubSpot messages tool, I can't speak to the other tools as well, but because it's connected to your HubSpot database, you can have that only appear to people who are not customers. Or you can have a different one that appears to customers, because we know who's visiting your page. And you can be smart about it and make sure you're routing them to a person who's actually gonna help them with what they're most likely to need help with.

    - That's fancy, I didn't know you guys did that.

    - He said it's fancy!

    - I learned something today. Great, so let's talk about, again, we're still talking about how to get these conversations going, talking about Ad to Chat. In Facebook, there's an ad unit called Lead Ads. So you can have somebody click on an ad, fill out a form, and immediately begin the conversation. So somebody fills out the form, and it'll trigger an email to them, that's like, "hey, I saw you fill this out." And you could start the same kind of conversation. If a conversation works, it works. If conversation works in real life, you can model that conversation for your chat, your chatbots. You can model that conversation for your email follow up. Because email follow up is just kind of a delayed chatbot sent over email. So you can model it, that's a good way to do it. There's also the Messenger Ad Unit. A lot of people don't realize that right now, you can do Facebook advertising, where if somebody clicks on the ad, as opposed to going over to a landing page, it pops up messenger, and that right there could get the conversation going. We did this recently, again, we had a sale going, and we were able to generate 300+ conversations for under $800. On this particular campaign, the value per conversation, which is a metric I believe everyone should be tracking, I think that is one of the future metrics that everybody will be tracking, cost per conversation. So a new type of CPC, cost per conversation, and value per conversation. For us, in this particular campaign, the value per conversation was $100. So, you do the math, $800 spent, 300 conversations, at an average value of $100, that's a pretty phenomenal ROI. You're talking about $30,000+ ROI on less than $800 you spend. That's an extraordinary example, they don't all work that well, but it came from this campaign we showed you here. Ask us, people clicking on an ad, popping in a conversation, having it, and moving on.

    - And that's something to think about. Ads, now, we need to rethink the way we think about them, because there's a long time when anyone who's an advocate of inbound marketing would say, "advertising, that's terrible", but now, advertising can be so contextualized and so helpful and shown just to the right people, that it's actually a new wave of inbound.

    - Yeah, if you have it look like the post you'd be making organically, then really, it's not advertising, it's more content amplification. It's making sure that the content we're putting out there is seen. We're paying to have our content pushed to the top, because there's so much noise.

    - And so long as your content is actually gonna help the people you're trying to reach, as long as you're going to be relevant and helpful and human to them, then it's great.

    - Yeah, far better to see your content than their broke brother-in-law's political rant. And in Facebook, you can now do tagging. It's actually gotten pretty sophisticated, where if it is a customer support request, then somebody could go in and tag it in a certain way, so a different person on the team would go, and have these sort of multi-threaded conversations. And Messenger's only going to get better. But, really, that's where I would use a tool like ManyChat, if you want to pull in bots, if you want to have better segmentation, it could be really, really effective to do that. It could be a really effective tool in doing that, if you want to get big on Facebook Messenger. All right, you have a conversation. Marketing has done its job, they haven't generated a lead, but they've generated a conversation,

    - [Kyle] Which is way better.

    - Yeah, now what, right? Now, I'll give you the five critical questions that I have our sales teams ask. These are the five critical questions where if you ask these it generally tends to result in a sale. So as you're going through, we're now transitioning from conversational marketing into conversational selling. The first question is, "are you this person?" If you recall, that was actually the first question that was asked on the marketing side to elicit the conversation. "Are you an agency or a consultant?" So, actually, this question one should be accomplished by marketing to get the conversation started. "Are you still interested in building a team?" What you're kind of subtly asking is, "Are you a decision-maker?" When you set up that "are you still", you're subtly asking, "are you the type of person who's actually a fit for this?" and getting confirmation on that. Question number two, "so tell me more, what's going on?" Dig a little deeper, show genuine interest. Again, you're talking to a human being. It doesn't so much matter what they say. It's not like you're taking notes for the purposes of segmentation and big data, you're just actually, "great, so you are an agency? That's fantastic, do you specialize in a particular service category or a particular niche market? Or are you more full service? What do you do?" It's just a normal human conversation, like "tell me more, I am genuinely interested in you." Question number two, "what brought you here today?" And so again, the conversation is like, "that's awesome, full service, great. So what's going on? What brought you here today? What're your goals? What do you think we can accomplish together?" And what I recommend that every salesperson do at that point, is to pick three big benefits. Pick three big benefits, so when they say, "what brought you here today?" I can tell you, for us, we're really good at helping agencies attract and convert more clients, scale and systemize their business, so they can begin to extract themselves from it, or really increase their retainers and their retention and their recurring revenue. Between those three, is there kind of one of those that fits in with your goals? So that's where we have that question. Then you get into, this is one of the best questions that you can ever ask in sales, "what do you know about us?" There's almost not a bad answer. There's almost nothing they can say. Even if they're like, "well, I heard you guys are terrible." The fact that they're there suggests that they're not unsold. So you can be like, "yeah, we've had our growing pains in the past, we've had our issues. And I'm proud to say that's not the case anymore. But one thing that is really nice is you mentioned you want to do x, y, and z, and we can help you do x, y, and z." If they're like, "I don't know anything", You could say, "cool, that's why we're having this conversation." If they say, "well, my buddy, Fred, said that you guys are amazing." "Oh, Fred, really, yeah, Fred's great!" And so what's nice is it doesn't matter what they say. It just keeps the conversation going and allows you to inform that. And then, finally, once you know what they want, once you're identified what your product or service is a vehicle that can take them from where they are now to where they want to be, the highest converting close that I've ever used is, "want some help with that?" "Cool, so yeah, you want this, we do that, want some help?"

    - "Let's bring these two things together!"

    - Yeah, and when they say, "yeah, great!" "Visa, MasterCard, or Discover?" Or, "hey, great, I'll be right back. Let me go get an order form. Let me go get this thing, don't leave." So that's where you go onto the flow. When we're kind of bot-tizing this, I don't think that's a verb.

    - It is now!

    - It is now, so I'll kind if walk through our bot, because you talked about the bot being the automated version of this chat. So, DigitalMarketer, if you go to our page about agencies, "quick question, are you an agency or a marketing consultant?" If somebody says, "yes, I am," then we're going to move on to question two, "that's great, tell me more." In this case, we say, "that's great! Are you just getting started or have you been at this for a while?" And the way that we have our bot set up, if somebody says, if they use phrases like, "long time", "a while", then we're gonna trigger one particular response. If they say, "just getting started" or "it's a start-up", we have these keyword phrases in there, and pretty much any automated bot's gonna have this, then you can respond, so in this case the response was, "I'm fairly new...about 2 years in." So if the word "new" appeared anywhere, we were gonna trigger, "Well, welcome to the community, smiley face. Hopefully we can help you reach your goals even faster." So everything you're seeing here would be automated by a bot, but notice it's still following the same conversation flow. So this is marketing, this is you. You can build this part out. That's what you're beginning to do, initiate some of the selling for the sales team. "Hopefully we can help you reach your goals even faster. And speaking of goals... What is your top priority right now?" So now we're at question number three. "What brought you here today? What are your goals?" Remember I said you should give them the big three? So he said, "I need more leads and clients. I'm really to systemize and scale. I want to grow my retainers and recurring revenue." Or somebody can say, "all of the above." And the way the chat is set up, they would actually click one of the bubbles. If they say, for example, "I need more leads and clients", that's great, we can definitely help with that. Spoiler alert, if they clicked on any one of these things, the response was gonna be, "that's great, we can definitely help with that", because we know for a fact we can definitely help with all three of those things. I think we have it set up to where if they said, "all of the above", it says, "I love the way you think", or something like that, and if they said "not sure", then it's "that's fine, that's why we're here." And then you get into, "any interest in seeing a demo of our partner resource portal? I'd love to show it to you." Now we're getting into that first call to action where the hand off between marketing and sales happens. If they say, "sure, let's do it." "Awesome, let me see if I can track someone down." And that's where we tell our chatbot, okay, go round-robin someone in. Let's get a human being now to engage in this conversation, and give them an opportunity to schedule a demo in case the human doesn't get there fast enough. And so we've gone through the first three questions, and that can all be handled by a bot. All three of those questions can be handled by a bot. When we get to question four, "what do you know about the company?", that's where I think a human should be there. And then, "do you want some help?" That's obviously a human. So, generally, the hand off from human to bot is going to start at step four, the way that we would have it set up. So when you're creating your bots, just keep those things in mind. Kyle, what I'd leave you with, bots are really for filtering. They're not for closing the sale. If you're in sales, don't be afraid of bots. They're not going to put you out of business. They should be used by marketing, just as email automation should be used, though, to keep the conversation flowing, to keep things steady. And some final thoughts, I reject the notion of B2B versus B2C, I think you're always selling to humans. And if you keep that in mind, it's H2H. We're all in the human-to-human business. You're gonna keep it conversational. If you remember that humans are relational beings, and they want to talk to people, but on their terms, if you remember that marketers built funnels, and humans don't actually like them, they don't like being ordered and put in lines, remember that the better experience is always going to win. Automation is great, it's reduced cost, it has increased scale, but it has come at a cost. And it has come at a cost of dehumanizing the experience, which is where we've lost the conversion rate. So sometimes it's good to trade a little bit of automation for higher conversion rates. And then, finally, if it would be weird to do in real life, there's a good chance that its days are numbered. If the strategy that you're deploying online, if you were to bring that in real life, if it would be super weird, then probably not a good idea. So, final thoughts, I believe the future belongs to companies who are willing to invest in real, live, one-to-one human-to-human interactions. And if you're willing to do that, then I think you're gonna be well-positioned. I think the technology that's facilitating this is still in its early days. It's getting better and better and better, and I think we're in a very exciting time in both sales and marketing, if the two groups can learn to work together, especially. It's gonna be really, really, really great. So that's what I have, I hope that was helpful. There's where I live on the internet. I'd love to connect with everybody out there.

    - Yeah, great, we've got just a couple minutes left here. Here is Ryan's contact. Do you have a preference, these three?

    - I will tell you, Facebook is handled by my team, Twitter and Linkedin is actually me. So I'd love to connect with people on Linkedin. If you do, please tell me that you saw this, do a message, because we get a lot of Linkedin requests, and it's hard to know.

    - Yeah, so no just generic Linkedin requests. Say, "hey, I saw you on the HubSpot."

    - Masterclass, yes please, tell me you saw us here!

    - For those of you who had questions we couldn't get to, hit up Ryan directly.

    - Yeah, hit me up, I'd be happy to answer them. And also hit up the hashtag. I'll be active there for the next little bit, answering questions there as well.

    - Awesome, well great! Thank you, and thanks everyone for joining!

    - Thank you for having me.
  • Kyle Jepson
    Kyle Jepson
    Inbound Sales Professor
  • Ryan Deiss
    Ryan Deiss
    Founder & CEO of DigitalMarketer

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