SaaS Breakthrough – Featuring Kevin Ho

demio-saas breakthrough featuring kevin hoAbout Kevin Ho:

Kevin Ho is the VP of Marketing at Wishpond, an all-in-one marketing platform with a team of experts to help companies generate more sales online.

Kevin is a contributor to publications like Social Media Today, Google’s StartupGrind, and Convince and Convert.

meetdemio · How Wishpond Recreated their Sales Approach with a Hybrid SaaS

Show Notes:
02:30
A Marketing Platform And Services Combined
03:30
Perspective Gained While Growing From Support To VP Of Marketing
04:20
Evolving The ICPs As The Service Offering Evolved Organically
06:10
Moving From Listing Prices To A Calendar Pushing People To A Call
"So by pushing people directly to speak to our team and us guiding them and figuring out kind of from a needs driven perspective, what are you looking for? How can we add value? Here are the things that are potentially available to you, that seemed to work much better. And to be honest, like when we used to have prices listed and you're having people book calls with the team, then versus now, we're now at like a two it's basically double in terms of number of people we're getting talking to our team. It's very counterintuitive. It's almost like a lazy way out of just putting a calendar there and getting people to talk to us. But I mean, the results speak for themselves."
08:40
Main Metric: Number Of Demos Held With Account Executives
"The main metric that we were looking there was number of demos held with our account executives, which is basically like the opportunity for them to close. Across the entire funnel it's 2X. So it's not just on the front end where we're getting people converting on this form and then they never show up for calls. They show up for the calls. They actually engage with us throughout our sales process. And then the value is actually higher as well."
09:55
Automating Part Of The Follow-Up Process For The Self-Serve Side
11:30
The Multiple Benefits Of Doing Virtual Summits
"We have a list of people that we can follow up with after the event with calls-to-action, you know, Hey, do you want help with this? Here's some resources you can check out. And then on top of that, now we've established really good partnerships for future kind of integrations, webinars, lead sharing agreements, that kind of thing. So I'd say kind of on the, on the new, on the marketing channels thing, partnerships and the live events has been really good for us."
13:40
The Process Of Organizing A Virtual Summit
16:00
A Follow-Up Campaign Mid-Conference
18:20
Follow-Up Series And The Sales Team
19:55
Content Campaigns In A Platform With Many Arms
21:10
Tracking KPIs Across Channels
"We do track across channels. Like, we'll say like, we're, you know, how many demos held or demos booked are we getting through, you know, our ads channel, through our blog, through different CTAs on our website, but it's usually the one metric and it's, it would be demo sales (...) we always look further in to see, you know, what types of leads are these, what kind questions are they're asking. That's and how they are actually reaching it to the person who could potentially drive value for them and our company."
22:40
Internationalization And Marketing
"What we've done is that we've created multiple, basically a different version of our website. So depending on what country you come from, if you come from somewhere in Asia, where we really just couldn't speak to you because hours don't facilitate it, you'll see our old self service site where you can sign up directly on the platform. You don't have to speak to anyone. There's onboarding emails that go out like kind of almost equivalent to what we were doing like a year and a half ago prior to the switch to kind of a sales focus. So that we find is really beneficial because we can kind of have our cake and eat it too. We can, you know, increase LTV on the countries that we can service. And then we can also maintain MRR and, you know, good customer experience for all of our international customers who might not otherwise be able to speak to us."
24:30
Localization Tactical Challenges
25:40
Affiliate Program Growth Experiences
"Later I think we realized that affiliates prefer recurring revenue. And they prefer predictable sales processes versus like, you know, they prefer like a SaaS sign up where they know the sign up rate is like conversion rates, like 10%. And they know that, you know, I send a hundred people I'm going to convert 10, the value of each is X I'm gonna get 30% of that. So that was something that we learned."
30:30
Improving The Experience To Top-Of-The-Funnel Leads But Also For The Sales Team
31:20
Next: Experimenting With B2B Influencer Marketing
33:15
Lightning Questions
Transcript:

DA (02:20):
Hey, Kevin, thanks so much for joining me today on the SaaS breakthrough podcast. Excited to have you, and Wishpond on, how are you doing today?

KH (02:26):
I'm good. I'm good. Thanks for having me, David.

DA (02:29):
Yeah, it's a real pleasure. I've known Wishpond for a few years now. We've done some, some cool work together in the past, but for our listeners who don't know about the company, maybe explain a little bit about the company when it was founded, who the customers are and what you're doing uniquely in the marketplace.

KH (02:46):
Yeah. Great question. So Wishfond, we were founded in 2009 by CEO Ali. Initially started as a local product search app with the goal of helping local businesses find more local customers. Over time it evolved into a Facebook contest app, landing page editor with email marketing, and now we're an all-in-one marketing platform with the team to do it for you. Our current customers are mostly SMBs with the focus on driving sales. But maybe just don't know how how or they have the know how or the time to implement it on their own. I think the biggest challenge a lot of businesses are facing these days is, you know, time and affordability. So software might be cheap, but doesn't give you much help and agencies are expensive and freeze you up a lot of time. Wishpond essentially solves both those issues by being a marketing platform and services combined.

DA (03:29):
That's awesome. And when did you actually join the team? You said it's been around for about 11 years now right?

KH (03:34):
Yeah. So I joined back in 2015. I initially joined in the customer support team. You know, I moved kind of through the ranks and, you know, a content marketer, SDR account executive, and now my current role is VP of marketing.

DA (03:46):
That's amazing. How important do you think it is to kind of have that perspective in the customer support team? Some of our best team members have started there as well and kind of growed out of there.

KH (03:55):
Yeah, it's good. I mean, to be honest, like you hear a lot of like real feedback, both good and bad, which I think can really help both in marketing. Like for instance, you know, you might be, we might be saying something and maybe it doesn't necessarily make sense you know, to the actual people we're speaking to, or when I speak to the product team, having some good insights in terms of how people are actually using the platform. So it's been good, I think, and it also helped me you know, develop my technical skills, which is just handy for whatever you do.

DA (04:19):
Absolutely. Yeah. It's a great area to kind of hear all that feedback and just learn a ton along the way. So you mentioned, you know, over the past 11 years there's been a number of pivots. It sounds like your SMB ICP has kind of been the same throughout that process, but however you guys, you know, work through that product-market fit, why those pivots along the way to get where you are today?

KH (04:41):
Yeah. Good question. So, I mean, I think initially when we were a pure software, like a SaaS company, I think we were probably dealing with more marketers style people. People who are a little bit more technical who actually knew what a landing page was. So, you know, had the idea of what they wanted to do with it and were able to implement it. As we've introduced the managed services, I think we've started to attract more small business owners who might not be as savvy. And that's kind of the second ICP that we focus on. So it's evolved as our service offering has evolved. I think marketing business people from the get go, but I'd say probably leaning towards more marketers. And then now I'd say probably more towards the small business owner as the main ICP.

DA (05:19):
Was there a business challenge that caused you guys to continue to add onto the product? Like you just didn't have, you know, enough retention with the product type that you had that you had to continue to add on services as you grew?

KH (05:30):
Yeah. Good question. So, I mean, it kind of evolved organically to be honest, like we would have people coming to us even when I was in support years ago and asking, Hey, you know, we would send them an article on here's three AB testing, you know, tips to improve your landing page conversion rate. And then they would just say to us, like, is it just possible for you guys to do this for me? Or like, we'd be giving them, you know, help with their email copy and they go, do you guys have a service that does this? And you know, for a long time, our team was pushing back on it. Like, Hey, we don't do that. We're pure SaaS company. We don't have services. We don't want to get to the service business, but eventually demand became so strong and we started taking on small projects and we realized that that was actually a good business as well. And seeing the lifetime value of those customers go up and the churn decrease, I think it was really kind of an eye-opening experience for us.

DA (06:13):
Yeah. That makes a ton of sense. That makes a ton of sense. And I guess as you've expanded into that service and kind of listened to that need, you've had to change the way you've priced as well. And I noticed, you know, looking at the pricing aspect of your business, you kind of taken away from self-service SaaS, where you have a pricing page where everything now is kind of coming into basically demos or at a calendar page to book a time to speak with a specialist. From a marketing point of view you know, why this new strategy, why did you guys implement that? Was there a specific need of getting away from that self-service style?

KH (06:50):
Yeah, so I think, you know, one of the things that we were talking about for awhile was, you know, where are we going to drive? Where, how do we add the most value to our customers, right. And we're looking at kind of churn rates on self service and churn rates through our managed program and seeing, you know, what would be the best track for people. Our goal was just to kind of test it out and see, you know, would it be better potentially people getting people on like a demo of their sales team right away. And then, you know, would we be, you know, kind of bleeding on the self-service side as a result of that? My initial approach was that I wanted to be super clear with, you know, pricing. So I had all of our managed pricing listed, all of our self service pricing listed.

KH (07:25):
Everything was, you know, all the additional packages that we had on our pricing page. Like very transparent. For whatever reason though, you know, we tried dozens of these different variations. People maybe just got confused. Like I'm always, when I look at, you know, websites like Intercom and I look at HubSpot and I see that they have like a million different packages. A lot of times I thought that was good. I'm like, okay, cool. Like, you know, you get to know a lot about this company before ever speaking to them, but maybe they don't have context. I was kind of the, maybe the main finding that I had is that people, they were kind of doing their research, but they're not, they don't know what package they need. So the more information we seem to add, the less the conversion rates seemed to be. And, and it kind of, you seem to be filtering out people that would have otherwise talked to us.

KH (08:05):
So by pushing people directly to speak to our team and us guiding them and figuring out kind of from a needs driven perspective, what are you looking for? How can we add value? Here are the things that are potentially available to you, that seemed to work much better. And to be honest, like when we used to have prices listed and you're having people book calls with the team, then versus now, we're now at like a two it's basically double in terms of number of people we're getting talking to our team. It's very counterintuitive. It's almost like a lazy way out of just putting a calendar there and getting people to talk to us. But I mean, the results speak for themselves.

DA (08:38):
Yeah, no, that's great. And the main kind of KPI we're looking at, which is like traffic to the pricing page and then just conversion into the plans, or is this like a general kind of lead flow, a kind of sign up rate. And are you, were you able to talk to people that were buying on the self-service side and asking them questions on how they felt that enrollment processes, I guess I'm just trying to learn, you know, some of your takeaways from kind of this change you went through.

KH (09:04):
So, I mean, we did speak to some of the people from the self-service. So I mean, to be honest, you're going to get some, we did get some pushback. Some people are like, Oh, you know, I just want to sign up for self-service you know, this self-service platform, I don't necessary want to have to speak to, you know, a member of your sales team and we do have different flows available if that is the case. The metrics that we track though are not necessarily, it's traffic to the pricing page, it's demos booked, but it's also calls along every side of the part of the funnel. So it's going to be calls to or SDRs, it's demos held with our account executives and it's a dollar value of deals close with them. So really the main metric that we were looking there was number of demos held with our account executives, which is basically like the opportunity for them to close. Across the entire funnel it's 2X. So it's not just on the front end where we're getting people converting on this form and then they never show up for calls. They show up for the calls. They actually engage with us throughout our sales process. And then the value is actually higher as well.

DA (09:57):
Got it. And with your follow-up process, are you doing like custom quotes for everyone or are you more listening to their needs and then pushing them towards one of the packages that are just now given on the call (inaudible).

KH (10:10):
Yeah. Good question. So, I mean, we automated some of this, so for instance, you know, if you're going to go to a managed program, that's going to be built out for you and, you know, we're going to basically lay out what those options would be. From the self-serve side, one of the things, because we do have such a high volume of people coming to the website, we found it necessary to automate some of that. And, you know, part of that was actually looking as we're doing this experiment and seeing, okay, some of these people that are coming, although the top line demo bookings is increasing, we're not seeing the closing rate for these as good as they could be, or as least as we would expect on self-serve. So what we did with the automated some activity. So for instance, right when one of our account executives finishes a demo with one of the leads that wants one of our self-service plans, they can basically select a button within our CRM, and that's automatically going to send an email from that account executive with a login information.

KH (11:00):
So it's going to say, Hey, great chatting with you. Here's your account log in, here's your password. Here's something, you know, here's a resource that you can use to help you get set up. And then we automate a series of like three, four emails after that, that basically checks in with them if they need help. And then that's routed to our support team if they need assistance and basically just checks in to make sure that they're good along the way. So that's kind of the flow that we've done in terms of making sure that the self-serve side of it doesn't die necessarily, but still having the opportunity for our sales team to get on those calls.

DA (11:31):
I love that. And I kind of want to go a little bit deeper and a little bit on kind of how you're creating that automation. But I think the other side of this is also like making sure that you're driving the right traffic and the right leads to the website to sign up for those demos and making sure that you're qualifying them correctly. So let's talk about marketing channels, you know, as you've kind of moved into this role, have you been focusing on any new or testing out different channels, anything that stood out, I guess this year being a crazy year in terms of results from marketing campaigns?

KH (11:59):
Yeah. So a couple of things that we're focused on, we're testing out influencer marketing, which is something that we haven't really done before. We're also kind of re-exploring our ads strategy, which is kind of actually tandem in with the influencer thing that we're doing. But the other thing that we've been doing a lot o virtual summits. We did one last year, we had around 3,500 attendees. We just finished one up a week ago with 1500 registrants. We find a couple of things you know, those are really good for lead generation, right? So we're going to get a lot of, you know, decent leads. You watch a lot of good content and, you know, are engaging with our company.

KH (12:33):
They also allow us to create strong partnerships. So this last summit that we hosted, we hosted a live panel with Shopify and they basically did a Q&A, this is a great way for us to kind of announce the release of some of the things that we're doing. So we released a new Shopify marketing integration a couple months ago. So that was a really good way to piggyback off that. And then we also just find there's a lot of non-attributable things that we see that we, you know, we can't necessarily say, Hey, this is the exact reason, but we see like website traffic goes up. So we have SCRs who (inaudible) like our blog and our website, and basically, you know, chat with people and then book demos with our sales team. They get way more demos when this is happening.

KH (13:12):
We have a list of people that we can follow up with after the event with calls-to-action, you know, Hey, do you want help with this? Here's some resources you can check out. And then on top of that, now we've established really good partnerships for future kind of integrations, webinars, lead sharing agreements, that kind of thing. So I'd say kind of on the, on the new, on the marketing channels thing, partnerships and the live events has been really good for us. And that's something that we're going to continue into 2020.

DA (13:39):
Let's talk about that a little bit more. Cause I think that's such a relevant tool topic to, a lot of companies are now kind of moving all their events into virtual summits and during those virtual events. And we did one at the end of last year to year for this podcast, SaaS Breakthrough Summit as well. How did you go through the process of organizing who you want it to be in your speaker panel? How did you reach out to them and, you know, even get them involved in the first place?

KH (14:01):
Yeah, so, I mean, initially, so in the one that we did back, I think it was in March we kind of just went through our integration partner list to see who would be potentially interested in working with us because there was already that synergy there and we've had, you know, a historical relationship with them working together, promoting our integrations. So that was kind of the first one. We also have a lot of blog contributors that we work with. Those were kind of low hanging fruit as well. I would say we kind of just, you know, I have, we have one girl that works strictly just on outreach and was kind of outreaching to people and seeing you know, who was interested, gauging interests. And then we kind of made a schedule of five days and came up with, you know each day here's what all the topics will be and then saw where everyone would fit within that. In the second event that we did. So one of the questions that we asked in the first event was are you a marketing agency or are you a company? I think one of the questions was like, are you a company or you're an agency or something like that. And I think a third of the people from the 3,500 registered said that they were an agency and some of the questions around the summit, like when people were asking, like, how would this apply to my agency?

KH (15:07):
How do I work with clients? So the second version of the event that we ran was specifically agency-focus. And in that case, we reached out to a lot of our agency partners who are working with Wishpond as an agency, we work with Shopify as agency partner arm of things. And then we just kind of basically based off demand, we're saying, Hey, there's a need for this type of content. And then we decided we're gonna run with that.

DA (15:30):
Are you mostly asking for your partners to also do promotion on their side? Do you request or require a certain amount of leads to be driven?

KH (15:37):
Yeah. So the first one we didn't. The second one we did do a lead share and there was a minimum requirement. Basically we just said, if you get a hundred leads, we'll give you access to the list. And for us, that's, you know, usually that's someone sending out a, you know, a newsletter or adding it to a newsletter and a couple of social posts. So the requirements weren't super high, but you know, it's a low barrier to entry and it was you know enticing enough for a lot of people to get involved.

DA (16:01):
Yeah, no, I love that. I love that idea. And I think lead sharing is such a great kind of you know, value add for all parties involved. It's just like everyone wants to work together for a common goal there. So it's such a great way to do it. That's kind of what we did as well. One of the things I think I did poorly on that is in our followup sequences after the summit and really having like goals and alignment of what we were trying to do with those leads afterwards. You know, what kind of campaigns are you seeing working well afterwards, you had mentioned before you have the SDRs there, maybe you're dropping some, some information for us. We mostly did content drops along the way, and then product releases. You know, do you guys have like a specific, you know, post summit campaign that you've seen work really well?

KH (16:43):
Well we have a couple of calls-to-action that have worked historically for us, like in our newsletter that we kind of repurpose for different campaigns. So for us you know, for, we had like one that was like, COVID related, if you want help getting information on COVID stuff, we sent that a bunch of times, we got tons and tons of leads from that. We also have another one where it's kinda like a personalized one-on-one you know, demo. We kind of phrase it a bit differently, but that works really well. So actually out of the, I mean, we kind of taken it as we go, like for instance, like on the live panel that we did with Shopify, Thinkific and Gorgias some of the questions at the end of the the end of the talk where people were saying, you know, can you give me an example of how this contest would be run? Or like what folow-up email should I send after that contest, similar to what we do after webinar and what kind of ad should I run to run this contest?

KH (17:31):
So this, the day after that, like not even waiting til the end of the conference, we sent out an email and actually screenshot some like some emails that people had sent us. That saying like, Hey Kevin, after your talk, I was interested in learning more about this. Can you send me an example? And someone else said like, Hey, you mentioned something about this ad for, can you give me an example of that? And I screenshot of that and I threw it in an email and I send it to all the registrant's and saying, Hey guys, we got such a demand for this type of information that we're opening up live one-on-one slots with our team hwere basically, you can talk to them and they'll walk you through live examples of, you know, campaigns in your industry based off, you know, this topic. And we got tons of responses from that, like with our sales team and kind of leads moving through the funnel. That's probably the first time that we've done a follow up mid conference, which was kind of weird, but it seemed to work pretty well.

DA (18:19):
I think that's a really good idea. Cause mid conference, you have the most engaged people and that's really awesome to see that kind of spike in, in those sales calls. So back to that point, we had talked about before kind of automating some of that sales process and a period like that you're not going to do any automations, obviously, but as people come in and I kind of think about our kind of sales flow, what are those automations that you've kind of created for the sales team? You had mentioned one being like push-to-self-serve. Do you have like a follow up campaign you know, if they're a warm lead, but they're not all the way closed. And then do you have like different, different follow up campaigns for all those sales teams?

KH (18:58):
So depending on the plan that you're on so we, so there's two, there's a couple. We have one if you're talking to our sales team and you're interested in like a fully managed package, we have a, you know, a, a followup series it'll go out for a longer period of time. It's a little bit more gentle, especially if someone's kind of like, Hey, I need to, you know, wait until my website's up and give me like, you know, two months or something like that. We have a series that goes out for that. We have different flows that go out if you're looking for different packages. So if you're looking for, you know, a growth plan or a pro plan or a basic plan, and then we also have one option, which is basically just enabling people. So majority of our plans, especially for self-serve require you put a credit card in before you're able to access the platform. That's just part of the signup flow that we have. We have another one too, if someone is really kicking the tires and they can just say, Hey, here's a click it and we give you like a free three-day trial, just get into the platform. That's probably like the highest funnel. And then we have the self-served ones and we have the fully managed ones.

DA (19:54):
Do you guys ever do anything with like drip campaigns for content that you have on the site, dropping eBooks or Academy, and you guys have an Academy content drops like that along the way. And are you seeing that kind of help those people, you know, move through that process?

KH (20:09):
A little bit, we actually separate, like, so for instance, you're referring to like the leads that we get from our eBooks?

DA (20:14):
Yeah. Maybe from your eBooks or even from those calls. I'm just, again, thinking through the sales process, like as maybe someone is waiting to build out their website, where are you dropping them content staying in front of them, or is that considered a lead rather than like a, you know, warm

KH (20:28):
We kind of separate those. Like we have our ebook and our kind of sales leads, and we kind of keep them separate in that regard. Like for our ebook leads, we'll send them like our newsletter content, webinar stuff. And then for the sales leads, we typically let them kind of engage with our account executives and the followups through there. But it's something that we have considered in terms of you know, what content we'd send them. You gotta be a little bit more careful though, especially because our platform is very, you know we have a lot of different arms to it. So someone might come to us for email marketing, someone might come to us for landing pages, contests, you know, there's a variety of different industries. So depending it would really we'd have to really focus the type of content that we'd be sending in those followups, like specifically for each lead, which would be a little bit more difficult to do you know, from the account executive side.

DA (21:13):
Having so many arms and like different entry points from like, again, the leads or the different types of you know packages that they can get. How are you guys tracking the KPIs related to that? Are you just grouping them into like general again, just asking, you said this before, but like appointments set, just conversions and not by channel and by request?

KH (21:34):
No. So we do, we do track, we do track across channels. Like, we'll say like, we're, you know, how many demos held or demos booked are we getting through, you know, our ads channel, through our blog, through different CTAs on our website, but it's usually the one metric and it's, it would be demo sales. So we don't really care about like top of the, I mean, we do care about like the top of the funnel metrics, but really a lot of it is we need to look a couple of weeks in and how far they're moving through the funnel. Because it's really easy to get distracted by, like, we've done things in the past where we'll do like, Hey, free website analyzer, and we get a lead and we'll throw them into our CRM. And, you know, the person thinks they're getting their website analyzer. It's not really a lead. Right. It's kind of just somebody who wants something, a free tool or something, and they'll, they'll all just die on the unqualified stage of our pipeline. Right. So we always look further in to see, you know, what types of leads are these what kind questions are they're asking. That's and how they are actually reaching it to the person who could potentially drive value for them and our company.

DA (22:31):
Yeah. That makes sense. Especially having someone that's so wide open on that top of funnel that you have to have that qualification going through.

KH (22:38):
Yeah.

DA (22:38):
So that makes a ton of sense. I know you also do a lot of internationalization. It's a big you know, key feature of your platform. What role have you seen that play in your marketing? And, you know, lead generation there?

KH (22:51):
We, since we've, you know been around for quite some time, like we have a Spanish blog, we have a Portuguese blog. We have a lot of visitors from Europe, from Asia, kind of from all over the place. One of the things that we were concerned with when we were moving towards a model where we get everyone to book calls with our sales team was, how are we going to handle this? You know, especially when we don't have people that work, you know, between one to like, you know, between like 9:00 PM or 8:00 PM Pacific to 7:00 AM Pacific, right? Like we work on North American hours. It's not really the best experience for certain contacts, right. And we initially actually did made the switch entirely. And it was even having done that the net value is higher, so we didn't really care.

KH (23:33):
But that being said, we were still thinking, ok there's a segment of our audience, which is not able to sign up with us, which is not gonna be a good experience if they really, really want to sign up, they have to, you know, basically stay up til midnight to talk to us. It just wasn't, you know, not good for the customer. So what we've done is that we've created multiple, basically a different version of our website. So depending on what country you come from, if you come from somewhere in Asia, where we really just couldn't speak to you because hours don't facilitate it, you'll see our old self service site where you can sign up directly on the platform. You don't have to speak to anyone. There's onboarding emails that go out like kind of almost equivalent to what we were doing like a year and a half ago prior to the switch to kind of a sales focus. So that we find is really beneficial because we can kind of have our cake and eat it too. We can, you know, increase LTV on the countries that we can service. And then we can also maintain MRR and, you know, good customer experience for all of our international customers who might not otherwise be able to speak to us.

DA (24:33):
From a tactical level, how do you guys get that done? I think for us localization, as far as just like you know, language changes are so hard, like we've heard, you know, we want to see terms and conditions in a certain language or something like that. And that becomes a very difficult thing because you go through a translation service and you can't really trust, like, what are the, you know, what are the translations? Are they a hundred percent right. And stuff like that, especially for terms. So how'd, you guys actually go through that process of building all of those different languages, the right way for your front end website?

KH (24:59):
Ah, to be honest, I mean, we don't, we have a terms and conditions in English. I think we have it in Spanish and then we have it in Portuguese, but I mean, we've always had international clients. I've never really heard anyone being concerned about terms andconditions being in English. Tactically in terms of how we made the switch to redirect in those countries. That was something that one of our dev guys in the marketing side did, I don't think it's too tricky though. I think it's just a quick little app that you can install on your website that will allow you to redirect based off IP. I mean, again, some people will not, will get through just because they use what's it called? What's those things that redirect... VPNs so, I mean, you can still get some of those, but for the majority of people it's going to work.

DA (25:39):
That makes a lot of sense. Yeah. I like that. I really liked that idea. That was really a smart move. And what about your affiliate program? That's some I get questions on all the time here at Demio how our affiliate program is set up, how it's working and how we're growing it. What has that done for you guys on the marketing side and you know, how active are you in growing that affiliate base?

KH (25:59):
Yeah, so we've had a couple of cracks at, in the couple of last couple of years, trying to try to grow it and, you know, reaching out to smaller people and bigger people and seeing what we can do. To be completely honest, the majority of the value that we have from affiliates is, you know, they say there's like the 80/20 rule. It's probably like 99/1, or like 95/5 or something really for us, at least for affiliates. Like very, very small, very small number of affiliates are gonna drive the majority of value and they have for a long time. And we have, I mean, we have relationships with a couple of key blogs that, you know, refer us you know, as, as a vendor of choice for contests or landing pages or popups. And will mention us, we also have some affiliate partners, you know, in various parts of the world, like, you know, in South America and in Asia and Europe, that will basically refer us through marketing schools, that kind of thing. To be honest, we haven't really put a huge focus on it and a little, a little bit of time right now, just because the model that we work with isn't, I mean, people who go through our affiliate program are still going through our old self service sign up just because, you know, that's how our commission is, is done. So we probably will have to relook at our affiliate program soon. But a lot of the value that we're getting is just based off our historic partners that we've had for awhile.

DA (27:13):
And that's actually a really good point. And I think it's something that I've been thinking about is someone that goes through a demo process, sales process, a custom plan, or one of the bigger plans that you guys have. Those wouldn't be qualified in the affiliate program, only self-serve where you're not giving commission to someone else.

KH (27:31):
Yeah, exactly. And I mean, we, so for our affiliate program, we actually send, if you click on an affiliate link, you just get the, like the SaaS signup page. So like we're being transparent with our affiliates. You know, if you're, if you're promoting us, we're not going to send them to talk to a sales person, like it's going to go through, especially cause a lot of the articles that refer to us and that are referring to us in the past, speak to us in regards to our SaaS tools. Right. So you want to keep that consistent. So they'll be able to sign up like on a self service plan right away without speaking to someone. But from other channels, they'll, they'll go through a different flow. So we've kind of segmented out you know, the channels depending on, you know, what they expect to see and what, what expectations we've set with our partners in the past.

DA (28:14):
Yeah, no, that's a really good point. And for us, you know, we give 30% recurring commission. And so my question has always been, how do we pair that with, you know, sales people commissions, cause all of a sudden then you're really losing a lot of revenue to both affiliate and then like a sales person commission. So that makes a lot of sense something for everyone to kind of think about as they build out an affiliate program. And just one of the caveats of having one. And I think the point you made about like 95/5 is pretty much what we have and what I hear from everybody. Right? So you have about 5% of your affiliates do 95, 99% of your sales. So that's really awesome. And I guess looking back over the past you know, a few years here, maybe this year has been very different, I'm sure COVID year any hard lessons learned, things that didn't work out as expected?

KH (29:04):
A couple, a couple of things. So, I mean, we did try it. It's funny, you mentioned the affiliate thing. Like we did try probably, you know, less than a year ago as we were moving towards more of a sales driven approach, like, you know, speaking to a sales person, all that I, you know, I had this kind of light bulb moment and said, okay, what if we incentivize affiliates to schedule calls with our sales team and we're gonna give them, you know, $50 or, you know, a hundred dollars for every, you know, demo that's held because there's value there for both parties. And we actually do like a press release. And we, in terms of revenue tracking, we built it on a new affiliate tracking software, did an announcement to all of our affiliates. And it was basically like crickets.

KH (29:44):
Like we didn't, you know, we were getting maybe a little bit of traffic to the pages that we're tracking, but like hardly any, and after having kind of, you know, looked over that later I think we realized that affiliates prefer recurring revenue. And they prefer predictable sales processes versus like, you know, they prefer like a SaaS sign up where they know the sign up rate is like conversion rates, like 10%. And they know that, you know, I send a hundred people I'm going to convert 10, the value of each is X I'm gonna get 30% of that. So that was something that we learned. And also I think we've tried a lot of things in the last, you know couple of years, but in this year we always kinda go back to it too. But to get a lot of top of the funnel leads that maybe aren't the most qualified. So part of that might just be not being super clear with what our calls to action are. So moving forward, I think one of the things that we're focused on is just being super clear, transparent, even if it's been a potentially mean less top of the funnel leads giving them a better customer experience, then also giving a better experience to our team as they handle you know, the different people coming through the funnel.

DA (30:46):
Explain that more. What do you mean by a better for your team?

KH (30:48):
Well, I mean, like, say for instance, we're giving, like we say like, Hey, get your, you know, a year ago we did like, Hey, get your, your website analyzed and give us your name, your email, your phone number. And then we have our sales person following up. And then they're both kind of like, what do you know, what are we talking about here? Right. There's, there's like a, a lead that's a little bit unsure about what we're offering, our sales. You know, they're not necessarily coming to our team looking for something our team's going, why are we talking to this person? Right. So it's kind of a bad experience for everyone when you're not super clear with what you're offering in terms of those call actions.

DA (31:16):
That makes a lot of sense. I think that goes back to kinda, we were talking about before about those qualification processes and then also really making sure that like you're protecting your sales team's time, right. Like giving them warm leads that are going to be the best for them so that they can give them the best value too. But that's super helpful to think about and you know, learn from as we move forward. And I guess looking forward in that, in that same light, you know, any challenges, new opportunities, things you're excited for, for the rest of the year kind of going through Q3 right now?

KH (31:46):
Yeah. So looking forward, I would say you know, live events, webinars, virtual events, partnerships is going to be big. I'm excited about some of the influencer marketing stuff that we're doing. Scaling up on the paid ad side of thing. That's probably the biggest opportunity to see is, is, you know, some of the partnerships that we have you know growing our lists continually that's probably the biggest things.

DA (32:12):
What are you actively doing for B2B influencer marketing? Like what have you, I guess you're in the experimentation mode right now, but what have you kind of looked at as the key parts of that campaign?

KH (32:24):
Yeah. So I don't want to get into too many details because this is something that's you know, that we're currently working on and maybe, you know, I can come back later and give you the results on that. But basically we're just, we're working with key influencers and companies to basically figure out ways that we can both add value to each others so, but I don't want to get into too many, too many details and the specifics of it.

DA (32:46):
We'll definitely have to circle back on that later in the year. Cause I think, you know, I guess what I was going to go with that is you know, strategic partnerships, live events, summits are going to get more crowded as it becomes a busier time for everyone to do that. And I'm just really excited to see, you know, what new tactics and strategies and partnerships come out of all this, you know, we're actively doing that stuff too. And I'm always trying to think like what would be new and innovative there. So I would be very keen to hear about that later down the road. But that sounds great. What I want to do now is I want to flip over to our lightning round questions. Just ask you five quick questions that you can answer with the first best thought that comes to mind. You ready to get started?

KH (33:25):
Sounds good. Let's do it.

DA (33:27):
Alright, let's do this. You're gonna do great. What advice would you give for early stage SaaS companies starting marketing today?

KH (33:35):
Don't do freemium.

DA (33:36):
Why is that? Is that from an experience here?

KH (33:38):
Yeah, that's from experience. Yeah, we tried it in the past and it just never panned out. I think if you're gonna do freemium, you have to have a good customer success plan to get them upgraded, just getting people on a freemium plan and not having any goal or plan to sign them up to upgraded plans or having pricing models that make sense to move them through the funnel or kind of up towards the paid plan is going to be big challenge.

DA (34:02):
Makes a lot of sense. What skill do you think is vital for marketing teams to improve and build on today?

KH (34:09):
Copywriting.

DA (34:10):
Best educational resource you recommend for learning about marketing, growth or copywriting?

KH (34:15):
The book Traction by Gabriel Weinberg.

DA (34:18):
It's a great book, right on my desk here. Love it.

KH (34:20):
Nice.

DA (34:20):
What about a favorite tool you can't live without?

KH (34:23):
Evernote.

DA (34:24):
And brand business or team that you admire today?

KH (34:28):
Yes. This might sound weird, but the UFC.

DA (34:30):
Why is that?

KH (34:32):
I just really like the, the media content that they put out and I, you know, how they've grown over the past, you know, couple of decades it's been pretty incredible.

DA (34:40):
Is that really about storytelling advertising or just sensationalization of like headlines and stuff like that? What is it about that like kind of news media?

KH (34:48):
Yeah. Well, I mean, it's, it's, it's a little bit of all of that, right? I mean, it's a little bit of the storytelling. It's a little bit about content distribution there, you know, a model with ESPN and their subscription model now and how they're able to basically monopolize a whole industry. So it's, it's a lot of things, but I think their from a business side of things think very savvy.

DA (35:09):
Yeah. And I, and I love hearing these different, like, you know, outside of software brands or businesses, cause we can learn so much from them, right? Like how are they're doing unique parts of their business and their marketing. And I think it kind of translates no matter what industry you're in, those things translate so well. But Kevin, I just want to say thank you so much for joining me today. It was wonderful to have you on, learn a little bit more about Wishpond what you guys are doing over there. Some of the major changes it's going to be an exciting rest of the year for you all.

KH (35:34):
Yeah. Appreciate it. Thanks so much, David.

DA (35:37):
Alright, thanks for your time, Kevin. And we'll talk to you soon.

KH (35:38):
Sounds good.
(...)

Resources:
Learn More About Wishpond:
https://www.wishpond.com/
Connect With Kevin:
https://twitter.com/mayoshrimp
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