B2B Growth Podcast - Episode 1026
Logan Lyles: Welcome back to B2B Growth. I’m your host for today’s episode, Logan Lyles with Sweet Fish Media. I’m joined today by Michael Korch. He is the head of marketing over at Full Circle Insights. Michael, how’s it going today?
Michael Korch: Hey Logan, I’m doing really well. Thank you. How are you today?
Logan Lyles: I’m doing fantastic. It is a pleasure to have you on. We’re going to be talking about better reporting and attribution throughout your marketing efforts today. Before we get into that though, I would love for you to share with listeners a little bit about yourself and maybe what you and the team at Full Circle Insights are up to these days.
Michael Korch: Yeah, thank you. So it’s great to talk to everyone. Thank you so much for joining today. So I’m a practitioner that has gone to the other side, so I’m one of those 7,000 companies that Scott Brinker talks about that has the MarTech solution. I’ve actually, for the last 10 years, I’ve been a demand-gen-marketing-ops person at a number of companies you may have heard of before, like Tableau and Isilon and Qumulo here in the Seattle area. Before my 10 years in demand gen, I spent 10 years in product marketing, so bringing new products to market. I’ve been a Full Circle customer actually three times. It’s a great solution. It’s native to Salesforce. Most importantly because it’s in CRM, what I have found it really helpful for is sitting side by side with my sales brethren. We’re all looking at the same reports and dashboards and helping to figure out kind of what’s working and not working and then how do we make it better.
Michael Korch: Full Circle Insights is a software company. We’re kind of a pioneer in the funnel metrics and multi-touch attribution area. Been around about 10 years, a native Salesforce app, we’re on the Salesforce platform. We work with all different marketing automation systems, digital as well as offline. It just gives you a way to see what’s working in sales and why, so being able to measure all of your marketing programs as well as sales programs and be able to better manage your spend, make sure that you’re doubling down on the programs that are working and pruning away the things that don’t work and maximizing your budget.
Logan Lyles: Yeah, absolutely. Well, Michael, I always love to hear stories like that where someone is a customer and then joins a team. It just seems then that passion for the problem that’s being solved by the company and by the product really gets carried over, whether you step in to a sales or a marketing role or whatever the case may be. Now something you touched on there, figuring out what’s working and why is actually where I would like to start part of this conversation. The old saying of I know half my marketing is working, I just don’t know which half that is has led us to historically now for a bit fear of missing out on our marketing data. You’ve seen this shift kind of beyond FOMO a little bit with some of the marketers that you’re talking about. What’s the shift that you guys have been talking about internally a little bit on your team?
Michael Korch: Yeah, you’re exactly right, Logan. What we’ve seen is that any marketer that shows up and either at their quarterly business review or just at a regular cadence with their own team and when they get asked how’s it going, how’s program X or campaign Y, and they kind of shrug their shoulders or say, “Well, kind of like this and kind of like that,” you’re going to get shot out of a cannon. That’s from a digital perspective and that’s the underlying MarTech platform that we have like things are very measurable now. For you to just use kind of the vanity metrics of clicks and opens or engagement and not be able to connect to pipeline and revenue and moving the business forward, that’s a nonstarter. So what comes with that though and being an old guy that I am and remembering when I graduated from college with a finance degree, I understood how a present value and future value, and I understood all the formulas. The idea of behavioral finance was really new and the why.
Michael Korch: There’s kind of a similar thing that happens I feel in marketing analytics as well now where you can measure to the nth degree and show which programs and vendors and campaigns are working, but you don’t always know necessarily the why or there may be even resistance. So we kind of call it moving from FOMO, that fear of missing out to FOFO, which is fear of finding out. We’ve seen it with certain companies, prospects as well as customers that depending on who they’re bringing to a kickoff meeting and such that there is some resistance in certain parts, certain teams because they either are afraid that they don’t know what to think about that behavioral situation where you think you’re a failure or you’re not contributing and you think you’re a charlatan kind of shows up sometimes with analytics.
Logan Lyles: Yeah, that impostor syndrome is raising a TED, right? Yeah.
Michael Korch: Exactly, yeah. So we show up and you put these systems in place and sometimes there’s a resistance to even believe the data because maybe it’s showing that your favorite program or where you doubled down and really try to cover a gap in your results for the quarter and it didn’t pan out. Sometimes it’s better to be in the gray area than it is to be able to be crystal clear. So it’s a really interesting behavioral thing you have to get through.
Logan Lyles: Yeah. I think you bring up a very interesting point and I love as you were talking about it with me a little bit offline that we think about the challenges of attribution and reporting, but we often skip over the human and the psychological aspects to that as well. I think just bringing that to light that we should be aware of those psychological elements. Then you kind of alluded to something there talking about having some financial education. Part of the challenge for marketers as well is that marketing analytics and reporting that we don’t have all of these standards if you compare them to financial reporting where how to do a P&L is very well-defined. You can look at others that are doing it, you’d learn how to do it. So can you speak to that a little bit on kind of that reality and some of the challenges marketers are facing? Then we’re going to get into some of the things they can do about that, but I think speaking to it in those terms could be helpful for folks as well.
Michael Korch: Yeah, absolutely. No, you’re exactly right where the financial profession has been around forever. In the United States and other countries around the world, you’ve got these standards, GAAP accounting. You’ve got FASBI and you’ve got all these bodies and rule setting orgs. You work for a public company, you know there’s a cadence. There is a type of report you have to submit at certain times, and they get audited. Obviously, that kind of stuff doesn’t exist in the marketing world. Maybe it will someday, I don’t know, but it’s kind of the Wild West in that regard. That doesn’t mean that answers are always wrong and people are fudging. It’s just more… Even when we sell to companies that are in the same industry especially B2B high tech, which is what we specialize in at Full Circle and you’d go from company to company to company, it can vary drastically on what they want to measure or they’re not sure of what to measure.
Michael Korch: The second challenge is that if you look at the scope in B2B marketing and the demand gen and the marketing ops team, they’re measuring now… It’s really the group that’s measuring the whole life cycle of a customer from initial engagement through the courting phase, buying. Then post sale, are they getting trained and are they engaged and using all the features, is the renewal going to be easier and so forth. It’s just the goals vary tremendously from a measurement perspective throughout that life cycle, so it’s a lot to take on. If you’re part of a small team, and I’ve been at three or four smaller companies that were well-funded and grew fast, but when you’re part of a five-person or a 10 or even a 15-person marketing team to cover that whole life cycle and to be able with confidence and clarity stand in front of your peers and your managers saying this is exactly what’s happening at the top of the funnel and mid funnel and bottom funnel and post funnel into advocacy and stuff, that’s not easy to do.
Michael Korch: So there’s some grace that you have to crawl, walk, run there a little bit. The direction that we typically give for when there’s concern about covering that whole gamut is to start closer to pipeline and revenue, really start there where you typically have a good dataset. If you’re with a company that’s been in the market for a while and you have closed won business and closed lost business, you have a dataset you can start with and then start going backwards up the funnel as you improve your analytics. That’s a good way to really make sure that you have things set in a certain way correctly.
Logan Lyles: Oh, I love that. I think that is definitely backwards from the way a lot of folks would do it, especially at early-stage companies is let’s look at our conversions at the top of the funnel. We try and get down, and it gets fuzzier. Now we don’t know how to connect it to revenue from the very top if you kind of reverse engineer it starting with those closed won, closed lost that you have and then work backward. I love that, especially as you give yourself some grace knowing that there aren’t standards. We also kind of have this psychological barrier to really wanting to find out what’s working and what is not working. So another thing that comes into play as well is you guys have seen teams that maybe have a good dataset. They have great dashboards and attribution, but they’re not looking at the same data as their sales counterparts, right?
Michael Korch: Absolutely true. This is another “rule number 48” as far as the sales and marketing alignment discussion. It’s a supportive underlying factor. One of the smaller orgs that I was a part of that grew really fast when I was head of demand gen and marketing ops, and I was a team of one when I first arrived. They had a small inside sales team. This is a B2B company selling high-priced enterprise systems. What I found is that there was this enormous gap between marketing and sales. This gap was marketing would go to a big expensive show and come back with a thousand names and just kind of throw them over the wall. It caused a lot of frustration – It’s great to get leads, okay, rather than cold calling, but it caused a lot of frustration. Because, as we know, not every single name in a spreadsheet is created equal in their value and their level of engagement.
Michael Korch: It really took a year of work. I moved my desk over to the sales floor. I attended all the inside sales meetings. I was there to serve and help them be successful. They’re the ones, this inside team or the group that were taking my work product of MQLs and turning them into engagement, conversations and opportunities. So I wanted them to be really successful. I think just behaviorally, again, kind of coming back to our first scene that brought me the opportunity wanting to share, to give me a chance. It really was that, that gave me the opportunity to really understand, so what does a day in the life and where are you having challenges? Then we started working together on lead scoring. We started working together on the quality of the data. What are the important elements they need? Can we get that through enrichment or do we need to change forms? We went from being kind of a separate sales team and a marketing team to kind of the revenue team together.
Michael Korch: In the space of four quarters with no additional budget, no other special tools in the MarTech stack, we went from marketing, contributing and sourcing 21% of the ISR meetings to 65% of them. So same work product and level of effort but because we were part of one team and we each wanted the others to be successful, it just drastically changed the direction of the contribution that we were making to the company.
Logan Lyles: Yeah, absolutely. A near 40% increase there is definitely something worth pausing and noting what you did. I love how you mentioned moving your desk over onto the sales floor and getting hand in hand with them for all intents and purposes. What are some of the other gaps that you see, Michael? As you guys talk to customers about doing better attribution, looking at their full funnel, finding out maybe what they don’t want to find out, making black and white, what used to be gray, what are some of the gaps or challenges you see other folks falling into or getting stuck by so that some of our listeners can maybe avoid some of those common pitfalls?
Michael Korch: Yeah, absolutely. I have found that through customer conversations, prospect conversations over the last five years is that the definition of attribution kind of changed a little bit, but the scope has evolved. That’s not surprising as the tools have improved and something that used to be more present and larger, more mature and more sophisticated marketing organizations or is now more approachable and available and expected at smaller and fast growing kind of SMB and commercial mid market accounts. So one thing I would say is that people, I don’t want to say hung up maybe is too strong, but they spend a lot of time wondering about kind of multi-touch and should I have the W or even peanut butter spread and they get really concerned about the model and which model is right. What I think some of the things that they miss and that provides equal value is kind of a yin and a yang, and I’ll give you an analogy.
Michael Korch: When I’ve talked about and as implemented email nurture programs or multi-touch nurture, the other half of nurture is lead scoring. You cannot do one without the other. Both will suffer if you do it that way. Because if your scoring is off, that means you may be promoting names to sales that they’re just not ready. It’s too early. They’re kicking tires still. Or even arguably as bad or worse, you’re holding back names of folks that are like this is our real prospect. They have showed a level of interest in engaging. They really should be getting a conversation going and they’re not being promoted, so, and when you should pull someone out of nurture.
Michael Korch: So to me similarly, I think that there is a little bit of a… It’s not a voice. It’s just maybe being unaware or under appreciating what I would call funnel metrics from attribution. What I mean by that is so funnel metrics, we all know the design of a funnel. I would argue that really nowadays it’s more like a cycle or some kind of visualization that resonates with us. For me, I would… The analogy oftentimes we’ll use is like waves on a beach. You get interested and you can apply this to yourself whether you’re considering a B2B software purchase or I’m looking for a new car or a phone or whatever. You get this spike of interest. They may hit your site and they’re kicking tires and looking at things and then they kind of go away. Maybe their role changed. Maybe there’s a new priority. Maybe budget went away. It could be a lot of different reasons. You want to make sure that you have a tool that can be aware of those cycles, the waves coming in and going out. That’s something that we have.
Michael Korch: It’s literally one field in Salesforce that we, a custom field we add. It’s critical because when I’ve been to the site multiple times or I’ve downloaded or engaged with content and this is my third kind of wave on the beach, if this goes to an ISR, you shouldn’t be opening with, “would you like to hear about Full Circle and what we do,” where I kind of already probably know that. It should be a different kind of conversation and question. So the funnel metrics are really what are the sales stages you have and what’s the conversion rate, what’s the velocity through the funnel. Because it’s one thing to see closed-won deal and then looking back in time and like, oh this is awesome. What did they do to become closed won? Where are the different pieces of content they’ve consumed, the shows they went to, the conversations they have? I’m looking at their path.
Michael Korch: You can also stand at the top of the funnel and look down and say, “What are the paths that are proving successful of becoming conversations, becoming opportunities? Where are we having fall out? Where are we spending a lot of money and they’re not converting?” Or where is it just a lot more work to get someone to take a meeting when they’ve come through; I’m making up a story, come through social, but when they come through an online chat, whoa, they always take a meeting? Let’s do more of that. So you really… You want to have both of those in your system so that you can in real time, in quarter look and you want to approach kind of what sales does every day. That is our linearity. These are our targets for the quarter. We think that we are going to make it. We’re going to over deliver. We’re going to under deliver.
Michael Korch: Marketing should be doing the same thing. Marketing should not arrive near the end of the quarter and go, oh shoot, what happened? It should be a weekly and certainly, in some organizations I’ve done stand ups on a daily basis when we’ve rolled out certain campaigns and-
Logan Lyles: Mm-hmm (affirmative), sure.
Michael Korch: … our conversation is gone. So I’ll stop there but that’s-
Logan Lyles: Yeah. This is all great stuff, Michael. I love the very specific, well, what about this and how about that and maybe think about this connection as you think about how you build your attribution model and in your dashboards that you’re looking at all of this. I think it comes with a lot of insight. I love the story that you shared there of increasing your effectiveness on the team by better aligning with sales, so. I mean, we’ve talked about some very specific things, ways that people can better go about their attribution as well as some of the psychological factors that might be affecting us that we’re not necessarily thinking about. So I think bringing those to light in this conversation as well is going to be really helpful for listeners.
Logan Lyles: Michael, if anybody listening to this would like to stay connected with you, reach out, ask any follow-up questions, you’ve been a wealth of knowledge just in about 20 minutes here already, what’s the best way for them to reach out or stay connected with you?
Michael Korch: Yeah, I would love that. I always love talking with fellow practitioners and bouncing ideas off I would love to share. You don’t need to hear any more war stories from me, but I love to listen to the areas that you’re trying to solve for or where you’re having problems or how to report things out through dashboards and reports and kind of what are the key nuggets. I’d love to partner with folks and do that, so. Certainly can come to fullcircleinsights.com. We’ve got a chat on there. Put your information in there, reach out. We’d love to engage. That way you also can find my information on LinkedIn – “michaelkorch.com”. Just type that in in your browser, it’ll redirect you to my LinkedIn. Do that and drop me a note, send me a message. I’d love to meet you.
Logan Lyles: Awesome. Michael, this has been a great conversation. I really appreciate you joining us on the show today.
Michael Korch: Well, thanks for having me, Logan. It’s really fun. Take care.