Early stage marketing

If you are a start-up, with a single product, and you sell to other businesses, then product marketing is basically the foundation of your whole go-to-market.

The way you talk about the product, the way you differentiate from other alternatives, the unique point of view that makes you worth considering, the material you need to go out there and influence people, the knowledge of you target customer and of their pains.

Perhaps you can’t afford a product marketer. But make sure that whoever is doing marketing will focus on those things for at least 80% of their time. It will pay off.

Fix my issue

Three reasons why this is a great customer service interaction.

05:46 PM | Me: Hi! We made a mistake when trying to change the credit card linked to our account. Basically, we put the wrong e-mail address, and now I have paid for a fully new account instead of payment for the account we already have. Messy, eh?

05:46 PM | Bot operator: If your scheduled payment failed, please, refer to attached Help article for instructions on how to re-process it.

05:46 PM | Bot operator: [App: Article Inserter]

05:46 PM | Bot operator: Did that answer help, or are you looking for something else?

05:46 PM | Me: Talk to a person 👤

05:46 PM | Bot operator: Sure thing! Ahrefs typically replies in under 4m.

05:48 PM | Person from Ahrefs: Hi there thanks for reaching out. Which email address did you pay by mistake to?

05:49 PM | Me: The original account is with *emailaddress*, I paid now with *emailaddress*

05:49 PM | Person from Ahrefs: I will check with our billing team to help move it over to the correct account

05:50 PM | Me: Thank you. Is there something I have to do?

05:50 PM | Person from Ahrefs: nope, please wait for 2-3 hours for the change to be complete

05:50 PM | Me: Thank you!

06:07 PM | Person from Ahrefs: Hi there, the switch is done. Kindly check *emailaddress* and confirm? Please let me know if you have any further questions.

  1. The person helping actually read the first message in the chat, avoiding to ask me to repeat the problem or other silly information – as so often is the case.
  2. In two instances, the service did underpromise and overdeliver – first for the waiting time, then for the time it would take for the change to be effective.
  3. The interaction was straight to the point and focused on having my problem solved – no how are you?, no hope you will have a sunny day!, no I am sorry to hear about your issue.

All in all, a billing issue was solved in 21 minutes, and I got exactly 4 minutes of interaction with a chat bot and a customer service rep.

Note: a couple of bonus points for the tool that Ahrefs is using, that first suggested a relevant article from their knowledge base in the attempt to fix my issue without interaction, then allowed me to download the full conversation without having to ask anybody.

Get it going

Keep in mind that some tools that we use daily in marketing (and not only) are just ideas that stuck.

As such, it is good to periodically review them to make sure that they are still useful and that people using them agree on what they are for.

The funnel is such an idea.

Everybody uses it and talks about it all the time. Yet even within the same organisation, it is usual to have different people look at it from different angles, defining different stages in different ways, and generally using the levers for somewhat contrasting purposes.

So, asking what a visitor is, what a lead is, what qualification means, and agreeing on the process that moves traffic back and forth is a great place for teams to start. And to go back to whenever it makes sense.

Without this conversation, chances are that you are all focusing on separate parts. And that’s not how the funnel gets going.

Sales and Marketing

The leads we are getting are no good.

Sales reps do not know how to sell.

This is a common exchange in B2B. And it’s where most strategies and plans go to die.

Try changing the approach to the following.

What information might we benefit from to get better leads?

What information might we need to close more sales?

You know the saying, two pairs of eyes are better than one. Imagine two pairs of eyes, two experts, two brains, two departments focused on solving the same problem.

Figure it out

The current situation is unprecedented. The pandemic is putting a strain on everybody. A huge amount of people have suffered serious consequences.

And if after two years your company is still using Covid as a tentative reason to excuse poor customer service, delayed deliveries, price increases, product shortages, it’s time for you to stop.

Rethink your business, instead, and figure out a way to provide the experience people expect.

That’s your responsibility.

Note: the image of this post is from Tom Fishburne @Marketoonist.