Alessandra we're jumping in. So why don't we start with a brief overview of Mailshake. Can you give me like a two sentence, little pitch?
Yeah. So Mailshake is a sales enablement platform. And we basically help people reach out to people that they haven't opted in yet. So, you know, might be a prospect or a lead that you want to get in front of via email or phone calls or LinkedIn. So getting in front of those people that you haven't had opt-in yet is the end-to-end sequences that we do in Mailshake.
Amazing. And you've been focusing a lot on LinkedIn and you have been finding really great success over a particular initiative that I want to dig into. So can you give me kind of an overview? What was the goal and intent for the initiative? How did you start?
I think with a lot of things, we look at first, you know, where is our audience and how are they interacting online? How are they engaging? And so for us in the sales space you know, we have a bit of a mix of sales and marketing, but we're really wanting to focus on the sales audience and they're on LinkedIn. And so we tried, you know, kind of the traditional, like we have our company page and all that kind of stuff, but it just wasn't really resonating. I think people are starting to buy more from people versus companies. And so we're like, well, how do we get in front of them? And that way, you know, so that's how it started. And then we just, well, we're like, how can we relieve into this, do kind of a little bit of engagement and see how it's going, but it's been really, really excited to kind of see the results.
So walk me through, start to finish. What does the campaign look like?
Yeah, sure. So it's kind of like an ongoing thing. So when we first started, we were like, let's just have mostly the sales and marketing team get involved. It was something where it was like, kind of optional. A lot of people would, would be like yeah, I want to participate. Or I want to just kind of like, maybe see how this is going. So we had like two or three people from the marketing team and a couple of people from the sales team who are, were opting in and saying, I want to get involved in this. And so we just had them start to post, and that was kind of phase one is let's just like start to post, let's see if we can enable them with training or anything like that, to help them really learn how to do that. More effectively specifically for LinkedIn, we bought a few courses and things like that for them to take. So that was kind of the first step in it, but it evolved since then, then to, about two or three other phases that we've worked on.
So let's look at that first phase. So you're enabling your employees, some from the sales team, some from the marketing team to become more active on LinkedIn on their personal pages, because you're recognizing that that might be a greater leverage than just continuing to post from Mailshake's company page. So you mentioned some resources and training. What was the content of these posts? Like, like how did we, how did we enable them with what, what the posts should be?
Yeah. So at first it was kind of them finding their voice and seeing like first of all, what kind of topics they wanted to post about. So we obviously wanted a mix of the things that were important to them, and then also some in the mix that maybe were based on our audience. So for example, getting in front of salespeople and like sales topics that they may want to talk about. So we didn't want to really restrict it to like only these topics. It was a, you know, we want it to be like, how do you find your really true, unique voice on LinkedIn? So some people, you know, our content manager, for example, she loves content and she loves to like, kind of build communities. So she focused on that. And then she would also add in sales, you know, topics into the mix. So I think first step was them just finding which topics they wanted to talk about and then leaning into the one that we're working really well for them.
Yeah. I think that's smart. I mean, I think as soon as we prescribe what their content looks like or even worse write it for them, then we've lost the whole point of the initiative, which is to make this a little bit more human and make it a little bit less robotic and less like it's coming from the company. So I like the idea of it being personal to them and that it should come from a sense of what they care about as well.
Yeah, absolutely. And so I think that's what really made it work is we weren't sitting there forcing it. We weren't saying like you have to post and, you know, you have to post these things, but it was more a matter of like celebrating that this was something that was going to be helpful for, I think not just the here and now and in the company, but also their career, you know? So I think that was something that we really instilled from our early phases. It's, it's something that's for your long-term career and something that also helps the company right now with some of our initiatives.
So what were the other phases? What happened after that?
So we were kind of, you know, it was one of those things where we had people who were pretty actively involved, but we had a couple of people on the sales team. We really wanted to get everyone involved in the sales team. So since then, what we've done is like, as we hire people into the sales team, it is something that we're just kind of already telling them ahead of time, like, Hey, as you joined the team one of the really important initiatives to us is to be active on LinkedIn, to post and be actively engaged with like commenting on other people's stuff, both from a sales and marketing perspective with hiring where we're starting to do that. So that was kind of like a 2.0, and then the 2.5 was you know, as rolling out, activating, enabling them. So that's the, you know, the phase we're in right now is just very, very early phase with these new sales hires, but how do we activate them to become more, more engaged and start posting and kind of get that motion for them to start being consistent with that.
Are any of these posts driving toward a very specific CTA or very specific book a demo, or is it really just all organic, like building connections, you know, creating relationships? Like what, what is the, what does success look like?
So we do have a mix of things. And so like the people who've kind of actively participated. They mix in, you know, if we have like a big launch or we have like a new feature that we're adding, they may say, Hey, this is what we're posting about. And then give that messaging to the sales team or other teams that may want to post about it. So that's kind of the enablement side of it. And then with the new people who are just joining the sales team this past month, then we are starting with you know, kind of a mix. So it's, it's probably about, maybe about a third of the posts are somewhat about what's going on in the company or things like that. But then we wanna encourage them to be at least two thirds or more of it to be just like things they want to talk about. And so we don't really push it. LinkedIn is actually even like, kind of starting to not give as much reach to things that are external. So we're like let's lean into that and just really focus on content that's in the platform and that people engage and consume in platform.
Yeah, absolutely. What are you finding, if at all, any trends around how often people are posting? So, so on average your sales team, and maybe it's different than your marketing team, what are you finding they're doing that's working well for them?
I think three times a week is probably ideal just to get in that kind of consistency and that motion. And you know, it's usually about the same. Our marketing team is a little more active, so they may post four to five times a week. We have had multiple members of our marketing team have participate in Brand 30. So that's a, basically a kind of you know, a community that posts for 30 days in a row on LinkedIn. And it's been great. Cause I mean, they, they, it really helps them just be consistent and realize that like, not every single post is gonna be a slam dunk, but that's okay because in the meantime they grew a community and they really have a, you know, what I'm calling super fans of these people who are just like so excited and love their content and are becoming really a fan of every single thing they put out there. You know? So that's kind of like the cadence we're finding is really works well.
We have a couple of team members who have done Brand 30 as well, and it has really allowed those voices to really come forward. I think it seems like a good program to help them develop sort of their own unique brand. Right. I mean, that's kind of the point. What other resources? So you mentioned some training, what other resources are you providing to help enable your sales and marketing teams to kind of do this initiative?
Yeah, I think what's important, especially cause we're cross team and, you know, kind of working cross-functionally with the sales team is having the internal advocate, especially on the team that we want to really activate even more so than the marketing team. So we actually have a fantastic member of our sales team, Maggie bloom, and she's she's doing training. So, you know, what that might look like is for example, we do, you know, once or twice a month where she'll do an actual training to the existing people who are participating our new sales team members that are coming in and really just kind of teaches them, is she made you an exercise during the training? Or she may just teach on the one specific topic. We also, as a team you know, kind of opted in whoever wants to opt in to take a course and (inaudible) I think it was called LinkedIn OS and so we took it all together as a team. And so we, we took kind of like two months to go through it and met every week as the team is, whoever wants to participate in that and talked about the topic that was discussed in the course. And so that was helpful. And I think we'll kind of just do rounds of that as we have new people joining because it was really helpful to break it down and piece by piece on how to, how to work through that.
Are there any expectations or guidelines you put in place, especially for maybe newbies who, who aren't familiar with posting on LinkedIn, or aren't familiar with creating content on social media, anything that you provided that said, like, don't talk about this or, you know, make sure your messages like this or anything like that, or was that not really a concern?
No? I mean, I think it's kind of one of those things where as a team, we're very much more a matter of like kind of ask for forgiveness instead of permission. And because we like to have it be not as like kind of corporate and you don't really have those like very strict guidelines around it. So I think it's always easier to pull things back and, you know, we hire people who are usually very in line with our culture anyway. So they're going to usually have like a pretty good feeling for what to post and not to post. But I think, you know, especially when people are just starting to, when, when we put any kind of guidelines or like, you know, clear kind of this, this and that then they start to feel a little restricted and they second guess themselves, you know, so then they're about to post and they're like, oh, is this going to be okay? Or is it going to be approved or something like that? So I think we just need to kind of just have no in, in our case. Cause we are pretty like kind of free with our brand guidelines and we don't really, really have a lot of strict ins on that. We just kind of let them do whatever they want.
So what are you seeing as a result? What kinds of you know, successes have you found?
Yeah, for sure. So we had, you know, some good growth on the following on our page and actually I like so that I can remind myself of some of these I'll pull some of up. But yeah, we had so referral traffic from LinkedIn, we had grown by nearly 40%. And so in terms of our company page metrics, we had impressions up by 420%, follows up by 22%. So, you know, that's kind of the company page, we've seen the, the spillover effect that it's had on that. But I think the more exciting thing is individual team members. So our team pulled this up for, you know, kind of how they're all doing. Their influence has grown by over 150% and, you know, growth, the followers or engagement or views. So like I think those are the kind of specific metrics that's really been exciting. I, I personally, you know, I'm very excited about how it's been impacting the individuals versus the company, because I think the coolest thing has been to see that yeah, it does by proxy, get those company results on our company page and you know, the kind of results on that, but much more. So I think from the individual perspectives as they're building their own brands,
Are there any other sort of intangible, or maybe rather non-company successes that you can point to individually as a result of this like company members who are suddenly, you know, requesting more public speaking opportunities or feeling more confident in X, Y, and Z? Like what else can we share about the incredible opportunities that these people are now finding by way of this initiative with anything?
I mean, I think the coolest thing is, so what we do is we actually have a LinkedIn channel on our slack. And so we are like very highly engaged in there. We celebrate each other's wins. We comment on each other's posts. You know, you see a lot of our team members posting in there where they're saying like, oh, this is so cool. Someone reached out to me that I've been following for awhile. And they actually were like saying, I love your content. So that's really exciting for them or, you know, they feel much more empowered where their voice and they may post, like when I started this, I wasn't really confident, but now I really feel like I can post content confidently. And even like, you know, our, our partner manager, he's writing a book and not that this is like the only thing I'm sure that inspired him to, but I think it just helps helps people like him find their voice and see like, Hey, I'm building a community for some future state. Right. So it might be even beyond us. I mean, I think it's one of those things where it's not just like here in this company at Mailshake, but they likely will have more career opportunities and like all that kind of thing, you know, over time because of this, I think that's really gonna open up doors, I think as well, you know, for them as individuals.
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, not that you want any of your team members to leave and I'm sure they never will, but one of the best things that I see on LinkedIn all the time are people sharing their success with their personal brand and not having to ever submit a resume again, like the relationships that they're making and the impact that they're having on colleagues at other companies has really opened up the door for different kinds of job seeking and different kinds of hiring kind of, you know, hiring in DMS versus the more traditional sort of route, which I know so many colleagues who, who read LinkedIn exclusively to finding their new opportunity, which is so awesome.
Absolutely. Yeah. I shared with my team recently that you know, Zoey Hartsfield, she, she works in the team at Dooly, I believe. And so she's she's a great example of someone who it's not like she's been doing this for 10 years on LinkedIn. You know, I think she said about a year ago is when she really got active, but she mentioned that she had like 65 companies recruit her in the past year, you know, since she's been active and and so many connections and all that kind of stuff. And I think that's really cool because that's showing all of us that are starting to post and be more active, like a future state for all the things that happened. And even she, you know, for example on her, her example there, she didn't leave the company that she was at, but it was just like she had, you know, all these kinds of networking and connections. And so it's really exciting cause I think it's, you know, sometimes it's intimidating, but it can really help a lot for, for that plus you know, the nice benefit of the company that you're at, if you really like them then it gets that kind of like recruiting motion for them as well. Like we are more appealing to people as we're hiring because they see our, our, you know, our team and they really understand our culture at that point because they see it within our team.
Absolutely. I love that. So you also have some insights on the dark funnel and I want to hear all about it. So tell me all the things.
I love how you said it. It's like, it's the dark funnel it's so we need like a smoke machine or something here, but
Can we get some (inaudible) posts? Can we get some like, sounds over that for me?
Absolutely. That'd be, I love it. But yeah. And it's funny cause it's, you know, one of those things where I think things are changing in B2B marketing especially, where right now things like where we're doing on LinkedIn are not necessarily where we can really directly attribute it. Right. It's not something that we can say, okay, there's like these leads that came in specifically from that, but there's like all the kind of, you know, I call them the squishy metrics that we're seeing, like are the kind of things that people are, are telling us like, Hey, I'd like to demo or, you know, we would, that's something that's fantastic. We're getting more and more of that are the byproducts of this. And so, with the dark funnel is basically the concept that there's you know, community building or, you know, social influence or advocacy or those kinds of things, even social media in a certain way as a part of that. That really are not the things that necessarily show up in the metrics are like clearly directly attributable, but it's really impacting the business over long-term. So I'm a big believer in that. And I think that's why we're really believing in these initiatives like this,
You know, I just saw a great post from Nick Bennett at Alyce, shout out to Nick who just screenshotted an email that had come from a prospect who basically said like, yes, Alyce, I will take your meeting, but I want you to know it's because of Nick and it's because I've been seeing Nick on LinkedIn and I really respect him and I like his stuff and I trust him. So I'm going to trust you. And his point was the same, which was, this means much to me personally, this means so much to our business. It means so much to the work that I've been doing out here that I knew was going to work, but it doesn't show up anywhere. It's not, you know, it's not going to show up in my, in Salesforce and you know, how do we as marketers? How do we measure the dark funnel? Or how do we think about turning that into something predictable maybe or sustainable.
Yeah. And so that's, I think the tough question, because we've, you know, we've been trained and I always think of the last few years of like big data and, so data focus, I'm a highly data focused marketer. Like I love data, I love the story. You can tell us internally and externally, but I think there's a part of it that's, you know, kind of giving up control. I am a big believer. I talk a lot about the golden ratio and just being like, Hey, can we, you know, have 20% of our efforts or whatever it might look like for kind of this like branding, play awareness, play dark funnel kind of stuff. And then that way it's like, we kind of give up, almost give up control of that a little bit. And so that's like one side of it, but I think in terms of measurement, like my kind of new belief has been that you know, cause in our, in our business we kind of over-index on SEO, but I think, which is great.
But I think, you know, really the health of the multiple channels that might lead into dark funnel or to like those kinds of things are your direct traffic. You know, if your direct traffic is growing, I think that's a direct indicator of, you know, that maybe it's social and brand building and all those kinds of things that are leading to that really healthy metric. And it may be a lower volume of direct traffic versus some of these other traffic channels. But if that's having a consistent growth you know, kind of month over month and that's a really healthy metric to measure some of these things that are a little harder to like directly attribute.
Yeah, I love that. That's really smart. So wrapping up this initiative, what are next steps? How will this wrap up? Is this something that is now kind of part of your onboarding experience? Like now this is just something that you all do because that's amazing, but how does this, how does this keep going?
Yeah, I think this is kind of this last cohort of people we had joined the company was the largest group we've had. So we're just kind of seeing what works for that. I, and so I, I would love to say that we have a really clear kind of playbook that we have internally. It's more, more of the same of what I've already mentioned, but what we did learn with this next group is, having people that have already been doing it for a while to mentor the incoming cohort, you know, if the sales team, for example, and you know, almost make it like a fun competition, it's not, you know, it's not even that there's any prizes, but we like to kind of joke around with each other and be like, oh, our team's going to win or, you know, that kind of thing.
And it's been fun because it's something that, you know, it activates them and also gives them a mentor internally to feel like they're really empowered to not overthink it, to just like getting that emotion and posting all that kind of stuff. But I think first step is, you know, a lot of times it's very hard to find advocates at your company, for example, that are like really like willing to do this. So I always think start as the individual person is like a good place to start if you're like, oh, I'm in sales or marketing or any of that just start posting and then like maybe take part in something like Brand 30, or just say, I'm going to post like consistently for, you know, X number of weeks, like three times a week, and then just start to see what resonates. But I think that's like the first kind of baby step to, to build that. And then you'll see that consistency really pays off over the long term.
That's great advice. Let's pivot to some lightning questions, but before we do that, I want to ask you one leadership question. So I want to know we are midway through the quarter more than midway through the quarter. I don't know. We're in the middle of the quarter. We're, we're not at the end of the quarter and we're not at the beginning. So Q4 is hard for a lot of reasons, I think, but as a leader, as VP of marketing at Mailshake, what are you struggling most with this quarter in particular?
Yeah. I mean, it's, it's not necessarily unique to this quarter, but I think right now we're just trying to almost go back to the basics and, you know, understand our audience. I think that sometimes in the slower quarters, like Q4, it really makes you reassess and be like, do we understand our audience really well do. And I think that's something that like, even when you think you do, you have to keep on going back to it. Cause there's a lot of that inherited knowledge or previous teams or previous areas, which could be six months ago. It was a previous era really, and how quickly things change. So I think really getting a clear understanding is difficult. And you just have to keep on going through those motions, which we're kind of doing as a company right now.
Yeah. That's so important. It's so important. And it's so true. I mean, especially now in COVID world, it's everything around us is changing and it literally changes every day and our audience does along with it and their expectations change. Yeah. I think that's really smart. I'm glad that you said that. Okay. Lightning questions. You ready? Okay. Number one, what is one thing you did this week to support your team?
I mean kind of on topic, but I think, you know, just encouraging them to post and to really be active, but, and celebrate those wins like publicly, you know, I think that's the key thing where we had some good improvements on our traffic, for example, on our, you know, organic search celebrating those wins in Slack and just being like, Hey, these people are doing a great job. It was really something I think is important for leaders to do.
Totally agree. Why don't we do that more? Why that's so hard for us to celebrate staff or to find out what's working? I agree.
I think it happens like in, in meetings and it kind of, I feel like it's just gets lost sometimes in that. So sometimes it happens in a meeting or like one, you know, some people are in that meeting and not. So I think it's very important to realize that like, you know, the whole company needs to be aware of efforts that people are making to really make improvements to, to what's happening in the company and the results.
I totally agree. We actually, at Banzai, we implemented, we got rid of like our standard all hands meeting and we replaced it with what's called a weekly wins where on Fridays, our all hands is exclusively tied to wins from every department. It is not update based. It is not project based. It is only about wins. And we also include like Ashley bought a new house. Someone got engaged, like personal wins and excitements because if you're not intentional about it, it won't happen. And to your point, it's not enough usually just for a small group of people to know, like we have to really shout that from the rooftops. And it's a culture thing, right? Like if we share it with the entire organization now the entire organization is motivated and inspired and engaged and appreciative. And I just think, I don't know why we do that so poorly, but I'm so glad that more leaders are trying to figure out how to do it well or at all.
No, I love it because I think it breaks down those silos. A lot of times, you know, the development team, you have a win and the sales team and the marketing and, you know, they kind of live in those silos still where it's like, we may be working cross-Functionally pretty well, but you know, then it may not, it may not be something that gets brought up in all hands, but it is, like I said, if you have like an intentional weekly or however often then it's like, Hey, we have, we make the space for it. I think that's the important thing. So we either make the space for it or, you know, in our case we just kind of try to be as real-time with it as we can and, and celebrate that on slack so that people are like in the loop and they can be like, oh, yay. We all celebrate together versus just kind of like in our own team. And that's it.
I love it. Okay. Number two, what is your most embarrassing webinar moment?
I have a fun one on this. It wasn't a webinar, but I was doing like a live stream when I had a business previously. And I always use this example because it's like, it doesn't have to be perfect. I'm streaming. And then all of a sudden, my dog literally threw up like right next to me. And it was probably loud enough that people could hear it, but then it was so funny. It was like, I, the reason I love that story is because I was like, I'm mortified. Like, this is so bad. And then afterwards, I don't even know if anyone cared or knew or whatever, but I was like, I was personally thinking it was so terrible. And then they were just like, this is fantastic. I learned so much, but like no one said anything. So I think like just you know, push the button, go live, do a webinar, whatever, you know, just like without those kind of self defeating thoughts, I think is really important because people just want real and, and actual people
Just do the thing. This is exactly what you were talking about, about humanizing, right? It's like, we're all working from home. Like that's the reality of what's happening? I had a very similar experience on a webinar where my dog only barks when a mail carrier comes and drops off mail and she is otherwise like literally a perfect angel. And of course in the midst of this webinar the mail came and despite my best efforts of like, pretending, like I was still, you know, and I've got like treats down here for her. It just, she just was barking crazy. And I must have gone beat red. And in the chat, I started seeing people be like, let's see her pick her up, like, what's her name? And I saw, I gave her a little preview and brought her down and everyone was just like, it was just a moment. And then it passed immediately. They, you never think, you always think it's worse than it is. Like, you never have the perfect perspective that goes for pretty much everything.
Yeah. I love it. I always tell people that I think they did some study about like people who made a mistake actually were more trustworthy than people who didn't. And so, I mean, you know, maybe don't like purposely make the mistakes, but I think like we're all human. And so it's one of those things where people are like, oh, it's a real person. Like, and now even the whole sales cycle is becoming more human. Like, it's just like, Hey, let's buy her humans be, you know, make, make sure it's something they actually need. So it goes along with that, it's just like, you know, be yourself. And we've all kind of gotten a little bit more permission to do that.
I totally agree. Okay. Last question. What is your favorite tool that you can't live without?
Oh, man. I think so I love Airtable. I actually you know, I love spreadsheets and all that kind of stuff, but Airtable is fantastic. We use it for our content calendar. And so it's really easy way for us to share different views with different teams that maybe just want to see like a really like a calendar view or they maybe want to see it in like a grid view or a workflow view. So that's a fantastic one. And then I just like personally use it as a better way for me to organize data so that if I want to slice and dice it, it's a little bit clearer than Google sheets. And, you know, I can just like have my spreadsheet phone there cause I love to just nerd out on spreadsheets. So I kind of switched, you know, back in Google, Google sheets were kind of more of the day to day, but when I want to have like a really like documented process or something that is going to be long-term for our team to reference
That's amazing Alessandra, it was so, so nice to connect with you. Thank you for your insight. I really appreciate your your walking us through your results, your goal, and being super candid about wanting to make business a little bit more human. I think we could all use a little bit more of that, so really, really appreciate all of your help and where can people find you and Mailshake if they want to learn more.
Yeah, for sure. So of course we're very active on LinkedIn and so check us out on LinkedIn and then I love connecting with people on there as well. And then you, if you want to take a look at our website, it's mailshake.com, not milkshake like the dessert mailshake.com is where you can find more information about our product.
Thank you all Alessandra.
Thank you for having me.