Revenue Architects Marketing and Sales Blog

Chatbot image

Chatbots – Can A Robot Be Your Best MarTech Friend?

Chatbot image

 

Chatbots aren’t just for Facebook, Amazon and Apple. Smart brands are adding artificial intelligence and natural language processing technology to their marketing mix for a very good reason. When done well, a chatbot delivers tangible value for the brand, and moreover, an excellent buyer engagement experience for customer. An actual win-win!

Chatbot benefits for brands:

It’s time to face it….capture forms are dead. They still provide a useful utility to brands looking to attract and retain customers but forms have their limitations. Namely, customers have developed an aversion to providing an email address to acquire information. Faced with the trade-off of growing brand awareness or supporting the sales funnel, more and more brands are deciding to ungate their content in order to reach prospective customers at the top of the funnel.

Why Chatbots for brands:

  1. Accelerate Leads – Elevates important prospect communication out of the inbox and into real-time conversation allowing Marketing to respond a lead respond within minutes.
  2. Qualify Leads – Chatbot identifies status “do you own one of our products already?“, customer history “what’s your email address? I can look up your account,” and interests, “are you interested in hearing more about our fixed income solutions?“. Giving customers the power to ‘choose their own adventure’ is empowering and makes for a better user experience.
  3. Customer Insights – machine learning is applied to analyze what types of questions customers ask, and how they ask them leading to insights on how to drive new, future business.

Chatbot benefits for customers:

Customers want to be served and, at times, are willing to provide contact information if there is a perceived fair exchange of value (the prospective customer provides and email address and in exchange receive something of value, typically information). However, customers have come to loathe the multitude of emails that clog their inbox. (Just look at how consumer email service providers like Gmail have implemented features to help users filter and unsubscribe from brand emails). Chatbots aim to serve customers in a familiar manner (text messaging) without necessarily providing an email address to gain entry. What was once a gate now becomes a friendly chat where the user is in control of the conversation.

Why Chatbots for customers:

  1. Equitable Exchange – good option for site visitors that are averse to forms; not every inquiry should necessitate surrendering an email address
  2. Better User Experience – solves UI/CX experiences with other channels namely phone interactive voice response and difficult to navigate web sites
  3. Fast – Customers get answers in real-time

Six chatbot considerations:

As you plan your chatbot buyer engagement strategy, be sure you’ve thought through these channel specific issues:

  1. Goal planning – What is the best opportunity to engage your buyers and serve your customers via chatbot? What is the best use case to pilot a chatbot solution? What are appropriate KPIs?
  2. Narrative planning – What is the best tone of voice for your audience? Do you have skilled story tellers to craft the narrations?
  3. Account Based Marketing (ABM) – How can you connect your chatbot with your ABM strategy?  Can you create targeted messages for top accounts and route chat request to the correct ABM team?
  4. Routing – What are best practices you should follow? Are your chats routed to the person best available to support the buyer or customer? In some cases that means sending chats to your best salesperson and not defaulting to junior staff.
  5. Integration – What are your front-end channels?  Are you just using your website? Are you activating social channels or SMS? Can you connect your chatbot with CRM to give your chatbot account information and make customer conversations more relevant?
  6. Regulatory impacts – Does your chatbot plan cover GDPR? Do you have record keeping requirements you need to adhere to?

Chatbots are an effective strategy for modern buyer engagement and should be part of your marketing and sales strategy. As with any technology-enabled strategy, begin with an architecture and plan before deploying your solution.

 

Title image “The FREE HUGS robot” (CC BY 2.0) by  Ben Husmann 

2018 FA Smart Book

Financial Advisor SMART BOOK™ (3 OF 9): Define a Go-to-Market Model that Works For Your Firm

2018 FA Smart Book

 

Financial Advisor SMART BOOK™

We recently published the 2018 Edition of the Financial Advisor SMART BOOK™.  This resource is a comprehensive guide to help independent financial advisors build an ‘independent difference,’ that is, a strategy-led, systematic growth program with 9 proven strategies. The goal is to help advisors:

  • Increase Volume: Generate More Visits & Inquiries
  • Increase Client Value: Get Better Qualified Inquiries
  • Increase Velocity: Increase Conversion Rates
  • Increase AUM and Revenue: Optimize Engagement for AUM growth and Revenue Impact.

[Strategy 3 of 9] Define a Go-to-Market Model that Works For Your Firm.

A solid Go-to-Market Model will shorten marketing time and minimize costs. A GTM strategy can also play a major role in business growth.

Read more

How listening to customers can inform your prices (and more)

Alex Lee, longtime president of OXO, the maker of well-designed cooking tools and housewares, told the story of how they created their iconic liquid measuring cup.

No one had ever seriously complained about measuring cups.  Some people thought that glass ones are too heavy and that they tend to break, but that was really it.  OXO started to study how consumers use measuring cups and noticed one striking commonality that was more impactful. It’s something you’ve probably done yourself at some point.

Photo source: http://www.cas.muohio.edu/scienceforohio/Jello/L.html

Do you see it?  Using a traditional liquid measuring cup, you need to lean over to read the measurement.  It’s annoying, But we thought it was normal.  Well, we did think it was normal until OXO designed a better way: a measuring cup you can read from the top, with no leaning over required.

Photo source: http://flickr.com/photos/jisou/512193478/

This new measuring cup sold two million units (!) in the first year.

This is a powerful idea: studying how consumers behave can transform your business.  I apply this maxim to pricing research, a topic that has been popular with a number of my clients.

When thinking about how to suggest a retail price, many brands, both big and small, start with their cost.  Then they add on the profit they want to earn, account for expected distributor and retail margins, and get to a suggested retail price.  Or someone suggests a key price in their category and they go with that.

But it’s critical to take the consumer’s point of view into account and understand her willingness-to-pay.

There are three approaches I rely on:

  1. Engage with your retailer’s buying team
  2. Observe what’s happening in the market
  3. Use surveys to ask consumers about price directly

1. Engage with your retailer’s buying team

The team at your retailer customers might have some research or other experience in understanding their shoppers’ willingness-to-pay.  Ask them.  When you have a review meeting or some other opportunity to talk, ask what they are hearing.  Keep in mind, though, that many buyers are biased toward always lowering prices, even if it means that they lose penny profit.

One client of mine faced significant cost pressure, but the client’s largest customer simply would not accept a price increase.  We probed to understand her resistance, and she showed evidence that products in her portfolio suffered large declines in velocity when they were priced above $1.99.  We suggested a smaller pack size that could hit the magic $1.99 price point and make money for my client. She accepted the proposal, and this arrangement worked for everyone.

2. Observe what’s happening in the market

Competitive benchmarking: Where are your competitors priced, and where do you fit on the continuum?  Are you priced comparably to competitors whose products realistically compare to yours?  Are there any magic prices that are working well or toxic prices that are failing miserably?

Natural elasticity: if your product sells at different prices at different retailers during different weeks, or at a discount during a price reduction, measure the effects. Equivalize sales across retailers by measuring units sold per store per week (or per million dollars of store ACV), and see if one price works much better than another.  For a frozen food item, I once found that promoting it at $2.49 produced better unit movement than at $2.29.  It was a no-brainer to make the change.  You can obtain this data directly from your retailer customers or from syndicated data sources like SPINS, IRI, and Nielsen.

3. Use surveys to ask consumers directly about price

There is a wide range of tools available to affordably survey consumers about their willingness to pay for your items and other topics.  I have found Google Surveys to be very affordable for certain use cases, as low as 10 cents per response for a single-question survey.

From easiest to hardest, some pricing survey techniques include:

  • Gabor Granger: Identify the highest acceptable price by asking about purchase intent at multiple price points.
  • Van Westendorp: Identify bounds of acceptable price ranges by asking what prices would be too cheap, cheap, expensive, and too expensive.
  • Conjoint: Identify utilities of product attributes, including price, by having respondents choose from among multiple product/price combinations.

* * *

Ultimately, the most important thing is to get inside your consumers’ heads.  Any technique you use to get there will involve a wide range of trade-offs, but it’s important to start somewhere.  And the evidence you learn to support your objectives will go a long way toward building trust with your retail buyers, sales team, and beyond.

(You can see a video of Alex Lee’s presentation that inspired me on the Gel Conference’s Vimeo channel.)

 

Contact Scott if you’d like help thinking about your products’ prices — and how your customers perceive them.

A version of this post originally appeared in Specialty Food Resource’s Food Entrepreneur Magazine.

 

SharpSpring Social Now Available

SharpSpring users now have access to a new social media and calendar features.

  • Content Calendar: A bird’s-eye view of your social posts, email sends, and blog articles.
  • Social Posting: Post directly to Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn without leaving SharpSpring.
  • Social Listening: Monitor social media activity with customized listening feeds.
  • New Trigger/Filter: Create automations based on when leads interact with your social media accounts.

SharpSpring has updated Lead Scoring and the Life of the Lead to now include social interactions. SharpSpring will be releasing to all clients in a few days.

Ready to learn more? Contact us for a guided walkthrough of these new features.

Financial Advisor Marketing

Top Marketing Automation Strategies for Converting Financial Advisor Prospects

Financial Advisor Marketing

Financial Advisors are an amazingly difficult prospect to engage. They are incredibly busy and already have a wealth of resources already available to them – do they even need to engage with wholesalers? The best way to convert financial advisors to customers is to build your marketing automation program around them.

Lead generation starts with effective segmentation

Before focusing on key strategies, Sales and Marketing must have defined a set of engagement personas and customer segments. Marketing has had personas for a decade but only since the advent of marketing automation software have engagement personas become empowered and brought to life.

Defining financial advisor segments for lead generation

Creating clarity with Sales is a two step process:

  1. Lead scoring – a measure of how active a financial advisor on your digital properties
  2. Lead grading – a measure of how profitable the financial advisor is likely to be

 

Advisor Marketing Focus

 

It may take several iterations to get lead scoring and grading optimized, however, the process should be fruitful for Sales and Marketing. The process crystallizes Marketing and Sales perspectives around which advisors are most profitable and which digital behaviors are believed to be most relevant to a sale. Some marketing automation vendors have one score that represents profitability and interest. However, being able to separate advisor behaviors from profitability factors simplifies discussions by clarifying customer segments by profitability as seen in the above graphic. As an example, Pardot applies a numerical value for an advisor’s lead score and a letter grade (A-F) for an advisor’s expected profitability.

Read more

2018 FA Smart Book

Financial Advisor SMART BOOK™ (2 OF 9): Build Persona Messaging for Ideal Client Profiles

2018 FA Smart Book

 

Financial Advisor SMART BOOK™

We recently published the 2018 Edition of the Financial Advisor SMART BOOK™.  This resource is a comprehensive guide to help independent financial advisors build an ‘independent difference,’ that is, a strategy-led, systematic growth program with 9 proven strategies. The goal is to help advisors:

  • Increase Volume: Generate More Visits & Inquiries
  • Increase Client Value: Get Better Qualified Inquiries
  • Increase Velocity: Increase Conversion Rates
  • Increase AUM and Revenue: Optimize Engagement for AUM growth and Revenue Impact.

[Strategy 2 of 9] Build Persona Messaging For Your Ideal Client Profiles (ICPs).

This is not an abstract exercise.  You would be surprised how effective it is when you focus on specific personas, personas that represent the needs and behaviors of your ideal clients.

Read more

Increase Revenue at a Lower Cost of Sales

Many management experts remind us to find the most important element to manage and stay focused on it! What is that “one thing” for increasing revenue?

I would argue that most important factor is the difference in the amount of revenue produced by the top sales person compared to the average salesperson during the first years of a product’s introduction.

Frequently for new differentiated products the “top 10 percent” salespeople will sell more than 2x or 3x the amount that the average salesperson sells. The early sales are critical for gaining market share for new products while the differentiation is high.  Over time, as the market and the other salespeople learn more about the product and the customer value delivered, the size of the revenue gap will decrease…but by then the competitors will have started to catch up also and the differentiating advantage decreases.

What does the average salesperson learn after the introduction and a couple of sales cycles that enables them to increase the amount of revenue produced, approaching closer to the sales levels of the top salespeople? If the firm provided that information earlier, would the average salesperson be able to produce higher sales levels earlier? The answer is yes!

Firms really can’t get much more revenue out of the “top 10%” salespeople, and trying to save the “bottom 10%” is a waste of time. But we can provide the information needed by the average salesperson to impact their revenue production by almost 2X.