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Middle of the Funnel

A Short Story On How We Increased ICP Demo Requests by 114%

Published May 5, 2021

Hi there, 

I wanted to share a short story of how we doubled our weekly ICP (ideal customer profile) inbound demo requests by making a relatively small tweak on our homepage.

(Scroll down to see the before and after homepage screenshots.)

How we doubled ICP demo requests in 1 month

It began with a Slack message.

Screen Shot 2021-04-28 at 6.52.18 PM

So, I untethered my inner Columbo, booted up Gong, and started to listen to recent sales calls.My Sales Director, Brandon, told the marketing team a significant number of demo requests that were coming in were non-ICP, and had misaligned use cases in mind.

Within a few calls, I quickly came to a realization.

The problem

Prospects were confused by our website.

They didn’t understand the problem we solve.

The Sales team were spending precious time talking to sign ups who had generic curiosity - who thought that Saleswhale was a chatbot, an attribution tool, or some magic science fiction AI tool.

The process

I decided to schedule 10+ calls with potential and existing customers. I leaned hard specifically on two questions:

  • What problem were you trying to solve when you bought / signed up for Saleswhale?
  • How would you describe Saleswhale to a fellow demand gen marketer, in your own words?

I fired up a spreadsheet, catalogued their answers, and teased out common themes and value propositions.

I tried to retain the original phrasing and vernacular used by our customers as much as possible.

There were themes around "Discovering more pipeline", "Leaving pipeline on the table", "Marketing leads slipping through the cracks".

Testing the new variations

I reached out to a marketing community (DGMG) with different homepage variations to solicit feedback. The community responded with 91 comments (!).

Screen Shot 2021-04-28 at 7.16.34 PM

The marketing team took all the feedback, sharpened our homepage more, and shipped an improved iteration within 48 hours.

got-a-winner

The improvement was almost instantaneous. Within one week, we set a record for highest sign up to SQL conversion, without any material change in marketing efforts.

(See: original LinkedIn post from 2 months ago here)

Epilogue

That was more than 2 months ago.

We now have the data from 2+ months later. 

Since the homepage revamp: 

Total weekly demo requests dropped by 12%. But weekly ICP demo requests more than doubled by 114%. 

We were no longer attracting people who had the wrong / vague idea of what Saleswhale did. The clearer positioning attracted more prospects who had the pain point we solve for.

We managed to land pilots with Cloud 100 companies; and saw a lift of over $450K in pipeline in the past 2 months.

Screen Shot 2021-04-28 at 6.56.03 PM

Here are the screenshots if you are curious.But most important of all, we were able to make our sales team’s lives easier - and which marketer doesn’t like having happy counterparts in Sales? :)

Homepage Before:

150493466_10164609172575237_5477442741650851049_n

Homepage After:

1614337263014

(it’s still not perfect - and there’s room for improvement. But IMO a massive improvement in clarity over the previous homepage)

Now, here are some interesting stuff I've come across 👇

What Nobody Tells You About Creating Customer Success Stories (But Should) - Joel Klettke

I came across Joel’s writing on the niche topic of case studies as I was researching on how to do our next batch of case studies better (the current ones are boring 😬).

There are some other gems on his blog as well on common case study mistakes and how to thoroughly prep for a customer case study interview

Why are great case studies important in demand generation?

To quote my mentor & adviser Mark Organ - “You should be looking at your SaaS business as an industrial process to turn awareness into advocates.”

There are few better assets for the Sales team than a juicy, meaty case study. 

I found out what really accelerated deals for Sales was showing customers how we helped businesses just like theirs achieve amazing results.

Great social proof, case studies and advocacy makes all our demand marketing efforts downstream so much easier.

Here are some raw notes I sent to the team on thoughts around case studies.

Podcast: Everyone Can Write by Ann Handley - Marketing Millennials

“You need to develop pathological empathy as a marketer. It’s not just about demographics or firmographics. You need to understand the psychographics of your customers. You need to deeply understand what your customers think. And to do that, you need to talk to them. You need to spend time jumping on customer calls, spend time in customer service, tag along in sales calls. And not enough marketers do this - pick up the phone at least once a week and talk to a customer.”

A key takeaway I learnt from Ann in this podcast is to pay close attention to how customers describe the problems your product is solving for them - and to pull the exact language and vernacular they use into our marketing campaigns.

Book: Everybody Writes: Your Go–To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content by Ann Handley

Scott Levy, a fellow Middle of the Funnel newsletter subscriber, asked me about critical inflection points in my writing journey.

And it was Ann Handley again.

It’s probably the one book I’d recommend people to pick up if they want to be a better writer.

Even skimming the table of contents is enough to give you ideas on how to improve your content.

Gong.io

I’ve mentioned Gong quite a few times in this newsletter.

If you are in B2B marketing, and you have not invested in a tool that captures and analyzes sales calls like Gong or Chorus yet, you should! 

Sales calls are a goldmine of information. Ground-truth information on what’s working and what’s not working in our demand generation programs. And rich voice-of-the-customer vernacular that we can steal for use in marketing campaigns.

Roam Research

I came across Roam Research last year, and it has been invaluable to help me to organize knowledge, and synthesize ideas.

As a marketer, it helps me stumble across ideas and re-combine old information in new and creative ways.

I wrote a short post about Roam here: www.linkedin.com/pulse/how-i-use-roam-research-become-better-growth-marketer-gabriel-lim

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