From T-Shirt Printing Service To Corporate Swag Management Giant: The Printfection Growth Journey

What if you could send company-branded swag to customers and prospects on demand? No need to carry products to events. No more endless boxes of company t-shirts cluttering your office.

It gets even better. With Printfection, a swag management platform, you can send a direct mail package directly to a prospect in just a few clicks in Salesforce.

Ryan Campion from Printfection recently sat down with me to share some of his marketing lessons learned growing Printfection.

Ryan Campion from Printfection

1) Introduce yourself and the company

I joined the company two years ago. My focus is on driving net new business for the company, engaging our customers effectively, and boosting revenue from existing customers.

Since the COVID situation hit, my focus has shifted. I now spend about 60% on initiatives focused on our existing customers.

2) How has the COVID crisis impacted the company?

Printfection creates branded swag for many use cases, and a big one is trade shows. In the past, we would do 10-12 events per year to meet prospects. Since the virus, that entire channel has evaporated. It has impacted customers and our business as well.

3) What is a marketing win at Printfection that you’re proud of and why?

Right now, it is challenging to land new customers. A lot of customers in the B2B and tech industries are suffering. To breakthrough, we’ve developed a highly targeted outreach effort. Using Outreach.io, we are contacting a list of targeted accounts. In our messaging, we address the pandemic right off the bat. The early results are very promising. We’re seeing double the number of replies that we used to receive. In addition, we are also seeing good results in booking meetings.

Second, we are working on engaging our current customers more deeply. Specifically, we are sending out packages to our customers. We built a work from home comfort bundle. 

Example swag items you can send in a work from comfort bundle.

It includes a package of candles, options to choose from a plush blanket, or slippers, and other items. The call to action on the campaign is to encourage our customers to reach out to their customers with similar engagement items.

From a marketing perspective, this type of outreach to current customers is a way to show that we care and ultimately reduce our churn.

4) With so many offices closed, how do you get up to date addresses to send out packages?

With our product, there’s no requirement to know all of your prospects’ mailing addresses.

In our product, you can direct customers to a custom landing page. They then have the option to choose which item they want to receive. Once they have made a selection, the user then enters their address. You don’t have to worry about asking for addresses manually – it comes up in the platform.

Find out more about how the product’s giveaway feature works here.

5) How are your customers currently using your platform?

In the direct mail world, people are using direct mail a bit less for demand generation. We’re seeing more usage for the platform for employee engagement and to current customers. 

The Giveaway link is a way to engage attendees for virtual events and webinars. We’re seeing people moving some of their spending from tradeshows and there is an interest to boost engagement and attention by giving away products. As work from home continues, it can be difficult to get people engaged in webinars. By sending a package to people in advance of a webinar, you can significantly boost webinar attendance.

You can also give away items to attendees who stay on for the entire duration of your session, or who participate in your presentation, or who perhaps express interest in your solution via a post-webinar survey, for example. 

There are truly many different ways you can leverage giveaways to improve your virtual events. 

Video: See a video on how to use the Giveaway feature in the product.

6) Sending packages out to people can become quite expensive. How do you think about this challenge?

We recommend taking a tiered approach. Say you get 1,000 attendees to the webinar. You probably wouldn’t want to send a premium gift to all 1,000 of them. Instead, you might choose to send items to people who commented or asked questions. Or you could send a package to people who request a demo. You could also send a lower priced item to people who registered but did not engage.

7) What is the most helpful marketing advice you’ve ever received?

I received an insight from the book “Traction: How Any Startup Can Achieve Explosive Customer Growth” by Gabriel Weinberg and Justin Mares.

The book talks about a methodology about choosing 1 or 2 channels. For example it is best to choose 1 channel. Focus your energy on that channel to see if it is a fit for your situation. Once you have chosen a strategy, test it out quickly and cheaply to see if it is a fit for you.

For example, I focused on outbound email marketing. You start sending out emails and you find out quite quickly if people are interested. When you see results in it, you can invest in tools like Outreach.io to scale up your program further.

Tip: Find out about other SaaS marketing channels like directories and social media.

8) What is your approach to SEO?

Our SEO backlink situation reflects our company’s evolution over time. In the past, we had an entirely different business model. We offered a screen printing service. When users created accounts through the service, there was an easy way to give a link back to our website. As a result, we gained a large number of consumer links.

In 2012, we moved to a more B2B business model. We’ve partnered with an SEO firm earlier in the year to improve our results. As a result, we are shifting our SEO profile to emphasize our B2B target. From a content marketing perspective, I try to publish a new article once every 1-2 weeks.

9) What role does online advertising (e.g. Google Ads, LinkedIn Ads etc) play in your marketing?

Paid search was something we tested a few years ago. We’ve had some challenges with this early on. Since then, we’ve hired a firm to help us with this channel. If you are a software company with a large deal size, paid search makes sense.

We’re seeing good results with competitor-based PPC campaigns. You will see higher CPC. However, it is well worth the expense in light of our customer lifetime value. Our best customers are paying around $30,000 or more per year on swag.

The challenge with paid search is that you end up getting good fit leads (e.g. companies that spend on swag) vs non-fit prospects (e.g. a sports team that wants to use branded swag).

Bidding on a competitor’s name from a keyword perspective is working well because the searcher is relatively qualified.

Aside from Google Ads, we’re starting using LinkedIn Ads in May 2020. 

10) How do you measure your online advertising efforts?

We use Bizible, a marketing attribution software solution. . They help you track the origins of a person when they come to your website.. For example, did people find you through an ad on LinkedIn, a PPC ad, and so forth. 

Also, from a paid search perspective, Bizible can help you determine which keywords are working best. Bizible will tell you more about the searcher’s query, the ad, and see which campaigns and ads are generating results.

11) What marketing metrics do you track on a monthly basis?

There are three metrics that I track regularly:

  • Leads
  • Sales Qualified Opportunities
  • Meetings

While certain “vanity” metrics are important, like click-thru rates, email open rates, etc., they are vastly insignificant compared to aforementioned three, which really determine whether marketing is helping to increase the pipeline. 

12) How has customer lifetime value (CLV) evolved over time?

Over time, we’re seeing CLV generally go up. Direct mail as a channel is coming back into vogue. There are a lot of new competitors coming into our space. Those companies are raising the profile for direct mail as a channel. When you get something physical, that stands out.

13) Which integrations (e.g. HubSpot, Shopify, Slack) have been most effective from a marketing perspective (e.g. driving more traffic)?

Our integrations with marketing automation tools and CRM products have been the most significant. For example, our Salesforce integration gives you the ability to send swag directly from Salesforce, which is incredibly useful for reps trying to net more meetings

14) What company or expert do you follow online to learn the latest marketing?

In terms of companies, I’m a big fan of HubSpot’s content.

In terms of individuals, I’m a fan of Dave Gerhardt (formerly from Drift) on LinkedIn. He is one of the first people I saw doing LinkedIn Ads. It was a non-polished video shot from his phone. I thought that type of candid marketing was really effective because it felt so much more personal than the majority of professionally-produced, corporate ads. 

15) Where should people go to learn more about you and the company?

You can go to Printfection.com and you can connect with me on LinkedIn as well.

From College Startup To Serving The Fortune 500: Marketing Lessons From InEvent

Events are a significant marketing channel for businesses of all sizes. While events are changing dramatically in 2020, they remain an essential channel.

InEvent, founded in 2016, is a SaaS tool to help companies get more leads and value from events. Pedro Góes from the company recently sat down with us to share his marketing insights.

1) How did InEvent get started?

We started the company while studying computer engineering at the University of São Paulo. If Mark Zuckerberg did this at Harvard, we could do it!

Before starting InEvent, we tried five other ideas. For example, one idea was about improving restaurant delivery, one reminded us to drink water every hour, and another was focused on fan sponsorship. Eventually, we focused on events and came up with InEvent.

We explored the market for a couple of years and, in 2018, one major American customer found us online and decided that our product was a great fit for them. Eventually we didn’t close the deal, but it was a great eye opener for us of our global potential, which we have been focused on since then.

Now, with the outbreak, we launched the Virtual Lobby feature in March 2020 after coming up with the idea in late 2019.

2) What are some of the marketing angles you use to promote InEvent?

Fundamentally, InEvent is your event revenue platform, helping you generate more business, leads and conversions.. You can track results from your events and manage your budget more effectively. We’re working mostly with the business manager or the marketing manager, mainly the person that is using events as tool to get their KPIs delivered at the end of the year / month. 

3) In the past year, take us inside a marketing win that you’re most proud of?

Joining Y Combinator was a major win for us. The organization has an excellent track record of helping to launch successful companies like Stripe, Airbnb and Dropbox. By participating in Y Combinator, we’ve increased our credibility, and we’re able to open more doors as a result.

The next big win is moving our business model to long term contracts, which comes from implementing a clear revenue strategy for our customers. In the event industry, there’s a structural challenge because events tend to be one-off arrangements. Right now, we’re focused on building deeper multi-year relationships with customers. 

4) How has the COVID crisis impacted the product and marketing?

On the event side, there’s a lot of focus on virtual events because that is the only option in the short term. There was a recent article in Forbes [BH1]  (e.g. Innovate Or Die: How A Lack Of Innovation Can Cause Business Failure) some companies are being forced to innovate because there is no alternative.

I think that that there will be an impact on business events even after the pandemic subsides. As a result, companies are going need to move more of their events online to fill their pipelines.

From our customer base, we’ve observed the following trends. About 40% of customers have postponed their events. The remaining 60% of customers have migrated to online events in some form. We’ve seen good results in producing own virtual events engaging with our audience through that channel.

5) What are the customer service implications of scaling up virtual events for your customers?

People are asking questions about how to deploy these events. For example, they want to know about achieving reliable HD video today. People also want advice on Internet providers and vendors that can help them with new providers.

From a strategic point of view, we want to keep a cap of about 15-20% of revenue as professional services. For customers who need further in-depth assistance, we have a network of third parties who can provide additional support.

6) What are the most important marketing channels for InEvent?

Our blog and LinkedIn are the two most important marketing channels for us.

  • LinkedIn. I like the fact that you can get excellent distribution for content. When somebody likes a post, it goes through their network. You don’t get that level of distribution on other social platforms. Content also has a longer shelf life on LinkedIn. On Facebook, content largely disappears from view after a day or two. On LinkedIn, it can last much longer.
  • Question and Answer Websites. I’ve also seen some good results on Q&A websites like Quora. We have had success in writing detailed answers on those websites. For example, we posted an answer to this Quora posting asking for a ticket selling platform that is GDPR compliant
  • Membership Associations. There are also private membership forums from organizations like the Event Management Association. Typically, you pay a few hundred dollars for a membership. Once you are a member, you can gain access to a membership. That is a great value! Think about how far $500 in ad spend would go on LinkedIn where you can have $10 cost per click. With a professional association membership, that membership fee will give you access for a year, and you build connections with people in the industry.
  • Business Software Review Websites. We also see good results from websites like G2 where users can share their comments.

7) Your website lists some major brand names as customers – like Citibank and Dupont. How did you land these customers?

Closing deals with more substantial companies can take a long time. We had one example where it took 2.5 years to close a deal. To move these deals forward, it is critical to find the key person within the organization.

From a credibility point of view, it’s essential to have all of your certifications in place when you sell to larger companies. For example, these companies will ask you about SOC 2, GDPR and Privacy Shield.

Once you deliver an excellent service, many of these companies tend to have a high renewal rate. Keep in mind that these companies typically have an annual budget for events and related expenses. Once you are in the company and deliver excellent results, you have a good chance of being used over and over again.

My sales approach leverages focus and personalization. I start by choosing a company that might be a good fit. Next, I send personal notes to people at that company. In those messages, I reference other events that will be meaningful to eh client. When possible, I also go to events and connect with prospects in person.

8) What is a marketing software app or tool you rely on every day, and why?

LinkedIn is my favorite tool. Use it every day. Everyone in our market has it. It is critical to developing relationships as well. Within LinkedIn, pay attention to comments and content because that presents an excellent opportunity to connect with people as well.

9) Who do you follow or study in marketing for inspiration, ideas and insight?

There are some Slack groups that I’ve joined that I find helpful like the Y Combinator Alumni Group. For insights on the broader industry and marketing, I like websites like MarTech Today and SaaStr.

10) Where should readers go to learn more about you and InEvent?

They can reach us at InEvent.com and start a free trial today. You can connect with me on LinkedIn.

Helping Agencies Deliver Better Results With Phone Tracking: The PhoneWagon Story

When a marketing agency promises to make the phone ring, it’s a compelling offer to clients. There’s just one problem. If 50 prospects call your company this month, how many of those came from the agency’s marketing efforts? There’s one of the critical problems that PhoneWagon, established in 2017, solves for customers.

I discovered Phone Wagon a few years ago through Ryan’s post and video explaining his SaaS sales funnel metrics. He shared real data on the sales development efforts required to set demos and close new subscribers. Fortunately, he agreed to share more about the PhoneWagon story in an interview today.

1) What’s the origin story for PhoneWagon?

One of my first jobs was working at a lead generation company that provided a “pay per call” model. In that business, I was in sales working with local companies like roofers and chiropractors. For every phone call that came into those local businesses that met certain criteria like call duration, the company earned a fee. That opened my eyes to the potential of this model.

Later on, I encountered call tracking software tools at a different company. There was just one problem. These tools were geared to the needs of enterprise companies. I wanted to create a product aimed at small and medium-sized (SMB) companies – that’s where Phone Wagon came in.

2) How did you land the first few customers at PhoneWagon?

I started with cold calling campaigns. We set a rule that we had to make at least 100 calls based on a certain script to a target market before we would evaluate the results. I quickly found out that selling directly to local businesses was not a good fit. They kept telling us that their digital agency handled their phone tracking. That’s when we switched gears to focus on digital agencies.

3) What digital marketing channels are the most effective for PhoneWagon?

We have found decent results with Google Ads. Our best success is advertising based on our brand (i.e. keywords like PhoneWagon). We’ve tested more generic keywords but found them to be unprofitable so far.

  • Software Review Websites. I’ve also seen good traffic come in from software review websites like G2 and Capterra. Keep in mind that these directories have a default ranking method that favors sponsored listings.
  • Integrations and Marketplaces. We get a lot of traffic from our presence in marketplaces like HubSpot and Salesforce. CRM products are a good fit because a phone tracking service is a natural fit for a customer relationship management tool.
  • SEO. I check Google Analytics occasionally to see which pages are getting the most traffic. Then, I look for ways to update those pages to get more conversions.

4) What sales and marketing metrics do you track?

I track several metrics starting with website visitors, conversion rate and the number of leads. Ultimately, the number of demo appointments booked and closed deals are the most important metrics

Demo to closed sale close rates vary based on when. When we use cold calling and sales development representatives (SDRs) to generate demo appointments, we had a 20% demo to close rate. For inbound leads, the close rate is around 60% because those leads are highly qualified.

5) You’ve published a number of ultimate guides on your website (Agency Resource: The Ultimate Guide To Selling Leads To Plumbers). Take us inside your thinking on these resources.

These resources are designed to appeal to marketing agencies and lead generation companies. For example, there is Strictly Plumbers. This is a specialist company focused on serving plumbers.

By signing up marketing agencies as customers, they will then use Phone Wagon to track the performance of calls to their clients (e.g. plumbers or other companies).

6) From a marketing perspective, which integrations have you found most valuable?

HubSpot and Zapier are the top two right now in terms of providing traffic and leads. HubSpot has a large user base, and it is clear that they put a lot of work into making their app marketplace effective.

With Zapier, they have a tiered approach to recognize apps at different levels of popularity. As you reach higher levels, you get more exposure and traffic.

7) How do you promote your referral program and affiliate program?

We have about 60 affiliates, and some of them have referred 10-20 paying customers each. In the long term, I’m interested in recruiting more people to the affiliate program. I’m very bullish on the affiliate program. We pay a recurring commission on the product, and many people like that as well.  Currently, we use FirstPromoter to manage our affiliate program. The platform provides a self-serve option, has good pricing, and it is easy for our affiliates to use.

8) What tools are in your marketing stack that you couldn’t live without?

There are multiple critical tools in our sales and marketing:

  • Intercom. Intercom is something we use for chat, to send out emails.
  • Close.io. We use Close.io as our outbound CRM.
  • Webflows. We started to use Webflows (i.e. demo.phonewagon.com) to show demos to prospects. We are going to move to this website instead of WordPress in the future.
  • ActiveCampaign. We use ActiveCampaign for email marketing
  • PhoneWagon. We also use Phone Wagon to send text messages on our platform.
  • Canva. I’ve recently started using Canva to build ads myself and images on our agency website. I had a good experience creating quick design projects if you’re not a designer.

9) What is your favorite online marketing resource and why?

Intercom has excellent, premium content resources. I’ve been listening to several good podcasts on-demand generation, including The Demand Generation Show. Through these podcasts, I’ve been learning about new ways to do lead management through tools like Marketo.

10) Where should people go to find out more about you and PhoneWagon?

Start with PhoneWagon.com. I also run a podcast called Growing Your Agency, and we’ve done 80 episodes with a tactical, 15-minute interview. To connect with me, look with me on Twitter and Instagram.

[Infographic] The State of SaaS Sales and Marketing: Benchmarks For Sales and Marketing Employees

Does your SaaS company have enough sales and marketing employees to compete? That’s the question I wanted to answer earlier this month. Using a list of SaaS companies produced by Nathan Latka’s Get Latka database, here is what I found. I compiled a list of 154 companies across three size categories and made sure each group had at least 50 companies.

SaaS Marketing Employee Benchmarks: Data From 154 Companies

The number of marketing employees you should have to compete depends on your size. Based on a review of 154 companies, here is what I found as a median count per category.

  • Companies with 10-50 employees: 3 marketing employees (i.e., 11% of total employee count)
  • Companies with 11-100 employees: 5 marketing employees (i.e., 7% of total employee count)
  • Companies with 100-500 employees: 15 marketing employees (i.e., 18% of total employee count)

SaaS Sales Employee Benchmarks: Data From 154 Companies

Demand generation and lead generation will only take you so far. That’s where sales plays a central role. As the old saying goes, nothing happens in business until something is sold. To stay competitive, check out these statistics. Based on a review of 154 companies, here is what I found as a median count per category.

  • Companies with 10-50 employees: 3 sales employees (i.e., 13% of total employee count)
  • Companies with 11-100 employees: 11 sales employees (i.e., 16% of total employee count)
  • Companies with 100-500 employees: 41 employees (i.e., 18% of total employee count)

Marketing Vs. Sales Employees: Which Department Is Larger?

When you look at marketing and sales, both functions need to be balanced. That set, marketing can scale and deliver results using marketing automation, digital marketing, and media. That’s why you find that marketing is usually smaller than sales in terms of employees. Here is a quick ratio analysis to prove it.

  • Companies with 10-50 employees: 1:1 ratio (i.e., 3 sales and 3 marketing)
  • Companies with 11-100 employees: 2:1 ratio in favor of sales (i.e., 5 marketing and 11 sales)
  • Companies with 100-500 employees: 2.7:1 ratio in favor of employees (i.e., 41 sales and 15 marketing)

Which SaaS Companies Stood Out?

In each category, there were a few companies that stood out because they had the highest proportion of sales and marketing employees relative to their peers.

For Sales

  • Companies with 10-50 employees: Scalex.ai (i.e., 77% of employees in sales). The company is growing at 120% per year! Find out more about Scalex revenue.
  • Companies with 11-100 employees: Alleyoop (i.e., 81% of employees in sales). The company spends about $4,000 in customer acquisition cost to acquire customers that generate over $100,000 in revenue. Get more details about Alleyoop’s funding and revenue.
  • Companies with 100-500 employees: Vainu (i.e., 41% of employees in sales). The company has achieved a monthly ARPU of $400 and it takes them just 8 months to achieve payback on the customer acquisition cost. For more insight, read the Vainu company profile.

For Marketing:

  • Companies with 10-50 employees: ActiveDEMAND (i.e., 50% of employees in marketing). With that marketing team, the company has achieved a 50% year over year growth rate, well done! Get more Activedemand revenue and business metrics.
  • Companies with 11-100 employees: AirDNA (i.e., 19% of employees in marketing). There are some challenges ahead for the company because they have a churn rate over 50%. Get more AirDNA revenue metrics.
  • Companies with 100-500 employees: Owler (i.e., 51% of employees in marketing). Customers must really love the company because their average life time value in months is 240 months! Find out more about the company’s funding, revenue, customer acquisition costs and the CEO’s favorite business book on the Owler company profile.

What’s The Data Behind This Infographic?

The data behind this post and infographic came from a few sources. First, I started with a list of SaaS companies that are hiring and laying off that Nathan Latka produced. Then, I found that I needed to add a few more companies to the list, so I used the SaaS directory from Built In NYC. Why New York? It’s my favorite American city.

Finally, I looked up each company on LinkedIn to obtain total employee counts, sales employee numbers, and marketing employee numbers. For simplicity, I excluded “business development” from this research because that term is used in different ways. As a result, the sales employee figures cited in this research are likely undercounted to a degree.

“We Close 60% of Our Inbound Leads”: Inside JustCall.io’s Marketing With Abhishek Srivastava

What if you could close over 50% of your B2B software leads?

That’s precisely what Abhishek Srivastava and his colleagues have achieved at JustCall.io. The result is even more impressive when you consider the intense competition in the business phone space. According to Capterra, there are more than 180 companies offering telephony software.

JustCall.io has some successful strategies to share. With staff in the US, India, and the Philippines, JustCall.io serves customers around the world. The company has also recently received the High Performer award from G2, a popular software review website. Abhishek Srivastava recently sat down with me to share his marketing perspective.

1) Can you introduce yourself and the company?

JustCall.io is a cloud-based call system. It’s an excellent solution for customers who need phone solutions for sales and customer service. There’s no need to buy and install phone hardware.

Before JustCall.io, I started my career with a degree in computer science. I became interested in digital marketing through a personal project: growing traffic for a blog devoted to wrestling. Through that project, I learned about what content worked to drive traffic. After graduation, I knew I wanted to focus on marketing. However, my first job was in IT sales. That experience helped me to understand what it is like to be in sales and what sales needs from marketing.

Where possible, I use my technical skills to enhance my marketing work. For example, I used an array data structure to create multiple niche web pages for various verticals (e.g., bike repair, plumbing, catering). This strategy helped us rank in the search engines for these niche industries and brought in traffic with minimal effort.

2) What capabilities in the product are currently resonating most with customers?

Overall, we receive great reviews about our level of customer service, which is reflected in our online reviews.

From a product perspective, there are two capabilities to highlight. Our integrations with CRM and help desk apps have made a big difference. Besides, our support for SMS (text messaging) is also popular. Many other call systems do not have SMS support, so it sets us apart.

3) Has the global health and economic situation had an impact on your business or marketing? How so?

It is a mixed picture. There is some churn, and there are also sign-ups. On a strategic level, we are putting more effort into developing our customer success program. Fortunately, our product helps people succeed with remote work, so it resonates with the market.

4) How exactly are you improving your customer success program?

Start by tracking which features your customers use. We have built an in-house dashboard for customer success. Second, enhance the handoff process between sales and customer success so that it is smooth and seamless. Finally, we are increasing our proactive outreach efforts to customers so that they can see all the different features JustCall offers.

4) Take us inside one of your most successful marketing projects. What was the goal, and what was achieved?

When I started with JustCall, my focus was on improving the inbound strategy. After joining the company, I began to put more emphasis on the upper part of the funnel. I started to create content clusters to address niches like real estate lead generation.

In the middle stage of the funnel, I worked on help guides. Many customers have some familiarity with technologies like Call Insights, SMS bot. To address their needs, we needed to create more technical information.

From an inbound perspective, we focus on converting website visitors to demos. We are finding that about 60% of inbound leads close to sales.

5) How do you work with the sales team?

In addition to traditional inbound leads, I’ve started to help the sales team improve their outbound program. Using Google Analytics, I look for which companies are visiting our website and then pass that information to sales. For example, if the end-user viewed multiple customer service pages on our site, then I suggest they reach out to a decision-maker in customer service.

Sometimes, you get lucky and see which company is viewing the website. In other cases, you just know the name of the Internet service provider like AT&T.

6) What is a marketing experiment or campaign you ran that didn’t work, and what did you learn from it?

In 2019, we created in-depth ebooks and guides to generate leads. It took 2-3 weeks to develop these resources. With these resources, we thought it would generate highly interested leads. So far, these assets have not produced many results. The limited results may be caused by the fact we promoted these assets with an exit pop up window only.

My lesson from this experience is that our customers prefer blog-style content rather than ebooks.

7) JustCall.io has quite a few integrations (e.g. )Zendesk, Slack, Intercom, Salesforce, Groove, Zapier, etc.) What role do these integrations play in your marketing?

JustCall integrates with 44+ CRMs, Helpdesks, and marketing automation apps. Pipedrive, ActiveCampaign, Hubspot, Zoho are some of the major integrations of JustCall. Right now, Pipedrive is one of our major partnerships, and we are highly ranked in the Pipedrive marketplace. In addition to integrations, these partnerships open the door for joint marketing efforts. For example, we have done some joint webinars, multiple guest post articles, and joint case-studies with our integration partners.

8) How do you approach market research?

I start with SEO keyword research. The keyword and content research tools in Ahrefs are particularly helpful. Once I find some promising keywords, I look at the current content in the marketplace and then use the Skyscraper technique to develop our content.

When I find some promising content ideas, I group all of those ideas into a single content cluster. This is a way of organizing ideas. For example, I have started creating content clusters for customer service professionals because they are our second largest user group after-sales.

9) What are your favorite 2-3 marketing software tools, and why?

I use Mailchimp for email marketing. I like that they offer a design-friendly email service and that their emails look great on every device. Next, I find Unbounce to be an excellent tool for creating landing pages. Unbounce’s highly engaged user community was quite helpful.

10) Where should people go to learn more about you and your company?

For the company, you can visit JustCall. If you are interested in connecting with me, you can connect with me on LinkedIn.

Sharing The ExecVision Marketing Journey: A SaaS Marketing Q&A Interview With Sam Niro

When I discovered ExecVision a while back, I was impressed by their website. Yet, I wanted to know more. What marketing strategies and methods are they using to win in the marketplace? 

First, a few key facts about ExecVision. Founded in 2015, the company offers software to improve conversations in sales and customer service. They’ve worked with companies like REMAX Integra, OnDeck Capital and Hanover Research to improve sales and customer conversations.

Fortunately, Sam Niro, Senior Content Marketing Manager at ExecVision, recently joined me to share her insights in an interview.

Let’s start with Sam’s professional journey.

1) How did you get into marketing?

I started my career in graphic design as I earned my bachelor’s degree in that field. After working in graphic design for about a year, I had an opportunity to explore other areas of marketing. I started devouringreathe HubSpot blog, and that helped me to see what was possible with content marketing. Eventually, I found that content marketing was my marketing sweet spot for my skillset.

2) What is a marketing win you’ve achieved at ExecVision?

Over my first two years at the company, I participated in two website launches that realigned us to our ICP. It’s a unique opportunity to get involved in two launches in such a short timeframe.. From a marketing perspective, these projects were a win for me because both launches did not result in the typical backslide of search rankings. In fact, our most recent website relaunch even saw a 20% increase in organic traffic YoY in the first 90 days. . 

These launches also helped us better target our personas outside of the B2B SaaS sales team.. For example, some companies use the phrase “sales reps” to define their sales professionals. Now, we’re starting to attract companies that use other titles to describe their sales staff. These groups tend to have differences in how they sell – some have multi-month sales processes, while more transactional offerings tend to have a one-call close.

3) What are the top 3 most important marketing channels in your work?

For ExecVision, the most important marketing channels include:

  1. LinkedIn. LinkedIn is our bread and butter these days. It’s 80% or more of our social platform. Twitter is a secondary focus. Facebook is currently not a focus for us.
  2. Email. A combination of outbound email and email list. We have a regular weekly email newsletter. From an outbound perspective, we work on a list of targeted accounts – typically about 25 targeted accounts per salesperson. We look for themes around a critical business issue and a vertical to find out what to offer to them. Sometimes, there are challenges with inbound leads – they are not always a good match for sales.
  3. Content marketing. We publish blog posts and ebooks to attract leads. In 2019, this was one of our most successful blog posts: Your Low Activity Reps Don’t Need Call Coaching–They Need This. The content channel is also supported by This channel is supported by a display advertising on thee Google Ads Network, LinkedIn, and via Triblio, an ABM platform.

 4) How have you changed your marketing plans, if at all, as a result of COVID?

There have been a few changes. We’ve noticed that the way people work has changed. For example, sales managers cannot easily listen to sales calls the way they would in the office.

We’ve also changed our approach to webinars. We recently had a highly popular webinar with our co-founder and broke the webinar platform with more than 1200 attendees. We’ve also used Zoom to run an Ask Me Anything session, which was a great way to connect with the sales community during this time.

5) What frustrates you about marketing work today?

It can be challenging to meet deadlines when there are multiple stakeholders who need to sign off before a new campaign or program launches.

When I used to work in the office, I could drop by a person’s task to ask about their approval to start a marketing approval. I’ve been working full time remotely since November 2019, so I’ve had to adjust some of my practices since then.

6) What are your favorite software tools for marketing, and why?

My favorite tool is MarketMuse because it helps to improve content from an SEO perspective. For example, it helps to process written content and suggest related keywords to improve rankings. In addition to improving search performance, MarketMuse makes my work easier because editing content takes much less time.

Beyond MarketMuse, I use Google Drive and Asana daily. We used to rely on spreadsheets to organize our marketing work. Moving to Asana has made it much easier to gather feedback on work and move projects along. For email, I use Marketo to build out our emails.

7) What does your marketing team look like (employees, consultants, agencies)?

Today, our marketing team is made up of three people. Our senior director, Angela Goldman, manages our overall strategy and individual contributions. My colleague, Greg Acquavella, leads up our demand gen efforts and I tackle our content and copy needs.. While we all have a distinct role, there is also some overlap and redundancy between us.

8) What is your favorite marketing book, blog, or resource?

I’m a big fan of Drift and the content they produce. They do a great job of creating valuable content. I also follow Dave Gerhart on LinkedIn and many others who wouldn’t necessarily consider themselves to be influencers. There is sometimes an echo chamber in the SaaS sales tool space so it’s important to me to broaden my network and content consumption

9) What is the best way for people to learn more about you and the company?

To learn more about ExecVision, check out our website execvision.io and connect with me on LinkedIn. I also highly recommend you follow Steve Richard, our co-founder. He’s insanely knowledgable about sales and his life’s mission is to make every seller the best they can be.