The Metrics Behind Customer Engagement That Drive Revenue

Ebsta CEO, Guy Rubin took  the stage at CloudFest 2019 to share the metrics behind customer engagement that drives revenue.

You can view the full slide deck here.

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Transcript:

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Guy Rubin: Good afternoon, everybody. I'm very conscious that I am the only thing between you and alcohol. I'm going to do my very best to try and keep this as short and sweet as I possibly can. I suppose I really want to start just by thanking NewVoiceMedia for what is an incredible event. We've been lucky enough to be part of this for three years now and every year it gets bigger and better. I really just want to say a big thank you to NewVoiceMedia and [unintelligible 00:00:32].

[applause]

A little bit about me. I started Ebsta six years ago now and really we become obsessed, it seems to be the term of the day obsess, but we've become obsessed with helping companies drive revenue through engagement. I think a lot has changed in the last five or six years. What we found is that everyone in this room is offering some product or service or feature and all of those products and services can increasingly be replicated by your competitors at a lower price than ever before. It's more important than ever that we become customer-obsessed, that we become focused on our customers.

The depth and the strength of the relationships that we have with those customers is really the only differentiator we have between us and our competitors over time.

We've now got over 1,100 companies using the Ebsta platform and I've had the opportunity to really deep dive into the type of technology that these companies are using to build up their engagement, their relationships with their customers. I suppose I've categorized the technology that they're using into three key components. The first is at the top here we call context.

When we look at the tech stack that people are using, the bad news is there isn't one size that fits all and there isn't one silver bullet that solves everything for everybody. When we look at this at the beginning we focus on context. There's really very little points try to sell to farmers in Carolina if what you sell is telephony systems. What we need to do and there's an in-joke there somewhere, but I won't go into too much detail, but the key point is that first, we have to identify the type of customers that were interested in selling to.

There are tools out there like ZoomInfo and Clearbit and HubSpot that really help you identify the target audience that you're interested in. Once we've identified the target audience that we want to target, then the next challenge is really talking the same language that they speak. I call it empathy but we're all familiar with LinkedIn and Twitter, and these are great sources of information to understand what are your customers passionate about?

What do they care about? What are they talking about online? We can use that information to really help to engage with these customers. Which leads us to the final point, which is consistency. There really is no alternative to this. You have to consistently engage with the customer over a longer period of time and tools like NewVoiceMedia, and Outreach and SalesLoft. These are great tools to engage with customers at scale over a long period of time and continue to talk to them so that at the point they're ready to spend money, you're top of minds.

I thought it'd be useful to just give you guys that visibility of with the customer in the center of this triangle, these are the types of tech that we're using and our customers are using as well. I thought it might be helpful to talk a little bit about the process we go through when we onboard a customer because the first thing we do when we take on board a customer is look at all of the engagement metrics they've got across their organization.

Usually, we go back somewhere between one and two years to look at all of the traffic that's gone on, all the emails that have taken place back and forth, the core data, the meetings that have happened, and ultimately, all the relationships they have across their organization. What's interesting is that when you start to go through this exercise and compare it to every close one and close lost deal in their CRM, you start to see very quickly that there's a benchmark as to what good looks like.

Very quickly, you get a level of consistency to understand the level of engagement required to achieve that close one goal. Once you have that benchmark, you can start to use it and apply it to your existing pipeline. In fact, your existing entire customer lifecycle. We can have incremental improvements to the entire life cycle of the customer when you start to have this benchmark, this blueprint of what works and apply it to the existing pipeline.

Now, when I try and explain the impact this can have on the business, it's not incremental. By benchmarking the DNA of a deal, by understanding the level of engagement required, and the key stakeholders and the different departments required to have engagement with, to achieve that close one opportunity. You start to influence that across the entire customer lifecycle, the compounded impacts is exponential.

You can really drive revenue to a different level that you simply couldn't achieve without it, especially any businesses around the room that are running recurring revenue business models, having a small impact on the volume of deals that go into a pipeline on the speed in which deals are closed. The proportion of deals that close one and then the retention can exponentially have an impact on revenue. This isn't a small thing that we're talking about here.

A few things to watch out for, a few things I'm quite passionate about it's fair to say. The first thing to understand is that activity is not the same thing as engagement. We're all guilty of having forecasts that include last activity dates that we're pulling out of a system from somewhere. Now, if you're running any sort of scalable sales team you'll know that some sales guys are recording every time they leave a voicemail and others aren't even putting the deal on the system until it's close one. Reporting on activity is a world of difference to reporting on engagement.

Frankly, we need to stop relying on humans manually logging their activity in a system. We need to put engines in place that are consistently logging all engagement activity whether it's calls, meetings, emails, all activity needs to be recorded in a consistent fashion and the larger the organization the more important it is that you are recording and reporting in a consistent fashion on engagement.

We also see that salespeople are quite happy to engage with anyone who'll talk to them. Making sure they're engaging with the right stakeholders is absolutely key, otherwise, all they're doing is spinning their wheels. Okay. Once again, your past is the key to the future. Knowing what engagement with what stakeholders has achieved a close one in the past for each division or department or product is a great indicator as to what you should be looking to achieve with your live pipeline today.

Then finally, probably my pet hates something I think should be illegal is this idea of leads that the marketing department has spent a fortune developing and generating on behalf of the business, they've done their work, the leads have been delivered to the sales team and then you find out a month later they haven't been worked, no one has engaged with those leads. Now, if you'd known about that two days after the lead was generated then you might-- I've seen lots of smiles around the room, people nodding. Going, "Yes."

We need to know what leads are not being worked on because if we don't plug the hole in the bucket then all we're doing is spending more money generating more leads.

I'm not sure if that's a guilty smile or we're just agreeing with the point. How do we do this? What's the approach? Well, I'm a Salesforce convert it's fair to say and I think Salesforce is the hub of most of our successful businesses now but the key to making salesforce work or any central knowledge base, any central system of record is to make sure that every contact and every activity is recorded consistently in that system of record.

Only when we've got that activity recorded can we start to do something with it. What we find is day one when we go through this exercise and we uncover all of the relationships a company has in their mailboxes over the last 18 months. We'll find somewhere between half and two-thirds of a company's relationships never made it into Salesforce. Simply by solving that problem all of a sudden, the marketing team is able to market to the community that the company already has.

If marketing team doesn't know they exist they can't market to them. Overnight, you're going to generate more leads just by knowing who you know. The next point is increased conversions. Now, I love this one. You'd be shocked and surprised how often someone in your organization already has a relationship with the company or the people within the company you're trying to target. Now, if only you knew that relationship existed you wouldn't have to make a cold call you could have a warm introduction.

We all know those warm introductions have a much higher conversion rate than a cold call does. Let's uncover those relationships. Let's get them back into our core system of record. Understanding the DNA of a good deal, understanding the DNA of a deal close one really will help us to speed up that sales cycle. If you need finance brought in let's get them brought in early in the process. If it's IT or if it's a certain type of decision-maker let's get them brought in earlier in the process. It'll speed up sales cycle and will lead to more close one deals.

As we move on to customer success, the number of times we see where customers are not handed over successfully. The reason there is because the sales guy wants to go onto the next deal, or they moved on, or they've left the business. Now all we need is an engine that makes sure that all of the engagement, all of the activity, all the history that's gone on in the past is recorded in the CRM, is recorded inside Salesforce. If it's there, and we haven't relied on a human to put it there then the customer success team is much more likely to have a successful onboarding experience.

That leads to happier customers but not always, right? We've all got challenging customers, customers that have issues with us, but the secret here is they don't all have to be happy but they all have to be engaged. Even if you've got an unhappy customer they're much less likely to churn if there's a personal relationship there, if you're engaging with them and as a manager in this organization if you're able to report on which of those accounts, certainly the key accounts where the relationship is starting to fail or the engagement has dropped maybe the rep looking after them has moved on, and they were never handed over.

Just by knowing that earlier that the engagement is dropping by scoring engagement you're able to actually out jump on it quicker and therefore, you can have a positive impact on churn. Another few nods. Okay. I'm very conscious of time. Just want to finish off with a few takeaways for you. I absolutely believe that the relationships you already have are your most underutilized assets. Okay. We saw earlier the impact on revenue if you can just utilize that asset is exponential.

I'd encourage all of you whatever system or process you're using start finding a way of benchmarking even the relationships that drive that revenue. This is what's going to have the biggest impacts and then deliver those reports to the people that can have an influence. Each department head needs to understand the level of engagement they should be achieving to achieve their goals through the entire customer lifecycle. Happy to answer any questions if there are any out there. Otherwise, come and see us at the booth outside. Thank you very much for your time and look forward to meeting you afterwards.

[applause]

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