Keys to Drive Revenue with Technology

Reading Time: 11 minutes

Overview: Gabe Larsen the VP of Marketing at Kustomer goes through technology that will help you drive revenue as well as recommendations for technologies and social tools that will help your tech stack.

About the speaker: Gabe leads Kustomer’s worldwide marketing efforts, including advertising, brand, communications, demand, and digital.

Prior to joining Kustomer, Gabe was the VP of Marketing for XANT (formerly where he helped create the sales acceleration category and grow the company from six to nearly one-hundred million in revenue. Gabe oversaw the brand transformation, establishing XANT as an industry thought leader, and pioneering a new enterprise go-to-market motion.

Hey everybody, Gabe Larson here Vice President of Growth from a cool company called Kustomer, that’s customer with a key headquartered out of New York City. We provide an omni channel customer service CRM to help companies optimize their customer experience. Today, I want to talk about how technology can help you ultimately drive revenue. And to do that wanted to share just a couple thoughts about some of the principles I’ve learned in that idea, technology and revenue. The place I usually like to start is technology does not save you. 

Technology only makes a bad process worse, good technology makes a good process better. So I always like to start with the process in mind, I had a quote once that says everybody, so I just don’t know if anybody or most companies have actually gotten around to mapping out their sales process. That’s sales, marketing, customer journey, however you want to refer to it. But that end to end experience that someone goes through, when interacting with your company, and our world and the customer service world. That customer journey is used in sales, you could talk about a sales process in marketing, you might want to talk about your, you know, marketing journey, but taking the time to actually put that down on paper becomes so important.

I think companies who do that and do it often, whether that’s on a monthly quarterly annual basis. Makes a huge difference. Even if you do do it once. The reason that’s so important is because you can figure out a fairly easy process. Which is sit down, look at your functional areas, marketing, sales, customer success, whatever it may be. And put that journey down as in as his state. Once you’ve got it in that as his states, you can then start to find your strengths and your weaknesses. Once you find those strengths, weaknesses. Then you can put a future state around it. And then ultimately put a governance structure so that you can revisit that or iterate on that on a say quarterly basis.

Easier said than done. But the process makes all the difference. Why is it so important. Because when you go through that strengths and weaknesses exercise where you find the gaps. That is often where you insert the technology. You don’t start with the technology, you start with the gap. And then you look for a technology overcoming it. I’m amazed at how much technology we spend per person per month on the sales. The marketing side, the business development or sales development side. 

And how much it’s not utilized. We talk about the old days, you know, shelfware from the on premise stays. And I feel like in SAS so many licenses go used people do log in, but they don’t log in very often. If they do, they don’t utilize it very much. 

So many of these tools we think we need but I don’t know if we end up needing as many as we think we do. But I love that process, get know your functional areas. Map it out, find the strengths and weaknesses, create that future state. And then ultimately have that governance structure to iterate on. That will again lead you to two big aha moments. The first one is technology. And then the second one is potentially numbers, which I want to get into in just a minute.

When you think about technology, then, as you’ve really figured out your process, some of the things I like to think about, then just align technology with that customer journey. So if you’re struggling to figure out what technology you might need, hopefully that process map will figure it out. But sometimes it’s as easy as thinking about what do I need to do to attract customers? What do I need to do to engage customers? What do I need to do to orchestrate interaction, reengage with customers, analyze and then optimize? That might be a simple customer journey.

More so from probably the marketing side, which is what I’m going to approach it at at the moment. Certainly you could then jump into the sales development, sales and customer service, but my mind is so much on marketing at the moment. Maybe that’s a good way for you to kind of think through your process. I’ve got this process map. I’ve thought about a little bit of my journey, and I’ve got these buckets. How do I start to fill those different buckets? On the attract side of the house, there’s many tools that could be utilized to attract your audience. 

A couple of things that I’ve been thinking about, certainly social tools. We’ve been using Hootsuite just to think about social listening, and then pushing that stuff out to the market. Paid media, whether you’re doing LinkedIn, YouTube, core, Facebook, Ad Rolls, a great one. 

What else there being, you know, all of that paid media to attract your audience in. The biggest advantage we’ve had is probably Google, biggest advantage where we’ve probably focused the most is Google, and then LinkedIn. LinkedIn continues to drive, I think, some real interesting metrics for us on that B2B side, we’ve not got as much on the Facebook side of the house, and maybe some of those more traditional B2C platforms. 

But I love that paid media category in order to attract. Other tools used to attract one that is just a fun one, this this concept called Bonzai. And that is more falls into the event category. And we’ve used them to help us think about how you can attract people to different events and so, with like an outsourced event, invitation platform where you can actually have someone go in and try to get people to your event. Just a fun one, as you might might be thinking about some different ways to attract.  

On the engage category. How are you thinking about your web infrastructure is a great category, the UX and tech testing capabilities, and then anything you can do to double click on SEO. So we’re a WordPress shop. We use optimize for testing. Hotjar is another great tool. We’re all in on Google for SEO. So that might be a little bit of some of the things you think about engaging. From an orchestration standpoint, visible is going to be phenomenal tool to think about how you might think about attribution. 

We’ve used Lane Four for some different capabilities. I like the idea of going to a contacts model rather than a lead model in Salesforce. So the auto convert some of the routing capabilities that is utilized to take a lead into a context so that we’re all thinking about an account based model. I just never liked this idea that Salesforce had that leads objects, and I’ve always wanted to be more of an account based focus. And so getting that lead and trying to convert it over but losing some of the the ability to be able to report on lead objects and contact objects and try to combine those and… 

For those of you who have experienced that you probably know. Okay, so I Lane Four for for that. Marketo is a fantastic, although, for a lot of companies too details, I do think you’re gonna see more and more shops pop up that provide just simpler marketing automation, more drag and drop, especially the nurture flows, I think nurture can be fairly complicated. It doesn’t need to be. And it’s just a must for every organization if you’re really going to tie your marketing and BDR organization together. So you can definitely do that. But I do think it’s complicated in some of these more robust marketing automation tools.

Enrichment tools, a lot of great data tools out there with Zoom Info, Data Fox, LeadIQ, Crunchbase. I’m trying to think of other data tools, but I do think it’s important that you can tie that together with your marketing your Lane Four so that you can enrich route directed all the right place the right audience. As we think about reengagement, and again, I just wanted to go through some different categories and different tools that might be helpful for you to think through. 

Ad Rolls is a great reengage tool, Outbound, skits a little bit into the sales development side of the house, whether you’re going with Xant, Mixmax, Outreach, other tools like that, that provide that engagement. Seismic really provides an enablement tool to engage people in different activities, such as the documentation that you’ve sent out. If you’re a bigger shop, you can go with the Tableau or you can go with in smaller organizations, I’ve loved Google Data Studio, it’s not very expensive, free, in some cases, allows you to kind of tie what often is in Google Sheets anyways, why not bring that into Google Data Studio. You can tie a lot of stuff from Salesforce into that. So that’s a free one.

If you’re a smaller shop, and you want to use that I think that’s kind of a fun one. So just a couple tours on the marketing side of the house else that you might want to consider as you think about that customer journey and gaps you might want to fill. When it comes to the other big thing I think you’ll find as you map out your process before you buy technology is just what are your numbers? And what numbers should you be thinking about? And I’ve taken multiple stabs at this.

I don’t know if I’ve never nailed it by any means. But I do think organizations who try to figure out what are the numbers, they want to report on not just the questions that come up on a daily basis, but being a little bit more surgical about the different numbers you may want to report on and breaking those into maybe a couple different categories. So things that I often like to see are number one funnel, I think that’s basic, you know, you just want to see top to bottom leads to MQLs, I do like to sometimes break out the different types of MQLs. 

And then following the rest of the funnel. Everyone looks at this a little bit different, you know, we like to have a step that’s basically after MQL, where a business development or sales rep accepts those leads, and then turns it into appointment. And then stage zero opportunity stage one, and then it moves into pipeline. So whatever your funnel is, I think that’s super basic. And if you can’t see that month day week, that that becomes super important. From funnel, you go to the funnel conversion. So, what is the step by step conversion rate at each of those steps in your sales process? And I think a lot of people maybe just focus on the pipeline to close, but that prospecting pipeline.

How do you go from lead to MQL, and then bring in some of those benchmarks. That becomes so important. So funnel conversion, you can watch the the percentages, the quantity, the velocity of how things move through that funnel, I think that becomes very important. Number three, I like campaign effectiveness. Once you got that funnel, you need to know campaign by funnel step. That’s just figuring out, I’m talking about leads, let’s talk about channel sub-channel vendor offer, let’s talk about stage zero opportunities by channel sub-channel vendor offer, pipeline, you know, looking at each stage, but the campaign that played a role in that makes a huge difference.

So those are a couple of the numbers I like. From there, I usually like to double click, I like to go into the inbound SLAs or inbound reporting. And that is just and I’m thinking like a marketer here for a minute, but it’s, you know, response time by MQL. It’s, and you could click into that, probably a little bit of the percentage of contactable leads average activities per MQL, number of inbound phone calls, the response rate, the chat response times, anything that kind of fits into your inbound motion, I like to break that into often its own category.

Then I usually like to go through some of the functional areas within marketing. So maybe customer marketing would be one you could consider that would be like G2 crowd number of views, score, NPS score, monthly active users might fall into that one. 

Content Marketing, maybe like blog numbers, you know, number of blogs time on site page visits, I like to throw podcasts in there number of podcast download, anything you can do to deep dive on your websites always going to be like that. It’s a bucket that would be unique pageviews sessions, organic traffic sessions, maybe share of search, some SEO type stuff. And again, I don’t want to bore you get into some of the paid click through rates, impressions, conversions, any costs you can do, and that would be huge. So you got a fun website bucket you might want to think about.

And again, this is all, as you map out that journey, you can start to see where numbers fit in. And then technology knows you get more of a complete picture, right? That’s the idea. 

I do like to dive into social as a category, Twitter, LinkedIn, users, engagements, stuff like that. PR, you can throw that up under content, but you might want to put a category there. I do like to double click an email. I think that’s a fun category that’s just active list size. Since opens, clicks, opt outs, we have open rates, bounce rates, playing around with that, I think is important. So again, funnel, I think is basics. Getting into the campaign is super important. And then maybe looking at some of those different functional areas and the reporting they need.

Then last but not least, I think you got to go through kind of a cost scenario where it’s almost like funnel by cost, you know, what is your overall budget, cost per opportunity or cost per MQL,  or what is your demand budget versus return on pipeline or return on revenue? Cost becomes super important. So I think you think about that. So those are some of the numbers just on the marketing side. BDR I wouldn’t go or sales development, I wouldn’t go too much different. I think funnel, funnel conversion’s important. I don’t call them campaign effectiveness, but I really do like play effectiveness. Real deep dive into activities, BDR activities, what they’re doing and costs, I think play a role there.

The last thing I think is important on reporting. I’ve often referred to it as the anti funnel, but it’s just dispositional reporting or why reporting. So why things aren’t MQL-ing, why things weren’t accepted, why things are not turning into appointments, why things didn’t get accepted as a sales accepted opportunity. Just giving those dispositional reports to see why things are falling out of the funnel is a fun bucket as well. Didn’t mean to go too deep into some of those numbers.

But I’ve often thought about if companies can get more strategic about that. What are those numbers that map along that customer journey? That would really help you ultimately determine how to run your business better. So those are just some thoughts you guys about technology and revenue if I had to sum it down. I’d say three key things you want to be thinking about, for helping technology drive revenue.

Number one: it’s about getting your process figured out, that as is state, the strengths and weaknesses, and then getting that future state. Number two: it’s understanding the numbers, I’ll go to the numbers first here, I think what numbers fit along that customer journey? What are you missing? And what should you be measuring? What are you actually measuring? Where are some of those problems. It’s hard to really determine the strengths and weaknesses without knowing the funnel or the funnel conversion. 

Once you have that, then you’re at a place where I think you can start to add technology on top of that. You understand your process, you understand both quantitatively and qualitatively, where your strengths and weaknesses are in your funnel. Now you’re ready to dive into technology. Can you can think of technology a little bit like I did?

Okay, here’s big customer journey buckets, you know, how do I attract people? How do I engage people, and then maybe start to fill that in. Or you might be able to directly say, here’s a weakness that I should be able to accelerate with technology or maybe get a little bit more insight. And ultimately, you have to be thinking about visibility. 

Technology does not solve all your problems. And so it’s hard to figure out if technology has an ROI, and I probably wouldn’t start there. I’d probably just make sure people are using it, that they’re engaging with it, that they are doing something with it, and maybe look for ROI after, because I do think it’s a lot of shelfware, and a lot of licenses being unused or tools that people log into, but ultimately don’t engage with very much. So those are maybe my three tips.

Again, process, numbers, then comes technology. So appreciate you taking the time. Hope you enjoy the rest of the summit. Great information about technology driving revenue. If you want to connect with me, feel free to grab me on LinkedIn. That’s just Gabe Larsen. I would love to continue the dialogue about technology and revenue. Have a great day everybody. Thanks! Bye.