By Matt Heinz, President of Heinz Marketing

Late in 2015 we started producing a bi-weekly radio program called Sales Pipeline Radio, which currently runs every Thursday at 11:30 a.m. Pacific.  It’s just 30 minutes long, fast-paced and full of actionable advice, best practices and more for B2B sales & marketing professionals.

We’ve already featured some great guests and have a line up of awesome content and special guests into 2016. Our very first guest was Funnelholic author and Topo co-founder Craig Rosenberg.  Next we had Mike Weinberg, incredible writer, speaker, author, followed by Conrad Bayer, CEO & Founder of Tellwise.  Recent Guests: Jim KeenanJoanne BlackAaron RossJosiane FeigonMeagen Eisenberg, and Trish Bertuzzi.

We cover a wide range of topics, with a focus on sales development and inside sales priorities heading into and throughout the year. We’ll publish similar highlights here for upcoming episodes.  You can listen to full recordings of past shows at SalesPipelineRadio.com and subscribe on iTunes.

This episode features <span “>Matt Benati, the CEO and Co-founder of LeadGnome, an innovative Account Based Intelligence web service that mines email responses to deliver account-specific contacts, enhance existing leads, and provide actionable sales intelligence. Matt is a passionate believer that sales and marketing alignment, transparency, and communication optimize revenue generation, and he champions this philosophy in his teams and writings.  You can follow Matt on Twitter at @mattbenati.

Listen in and read our conversation below:

Matt:  We are on match wonderful mystery tour B2B conferences this fall. We are in Boston. If you would have asked me this 24 hours ago though I was… Spent the beginning of the week in Las Vegas at the CEB sales and marketing Summit which if you are in B2B and haven’t been to that, just fantastic. CEB is the, if you are familiar with the challenge of sale and the newer book,  Challenge Your Customer, those are book CEB materials; so spent the last couple of days digging into complex B2B sales and marketing strategy with them.

And then today in Boston for the marketing cross B2B forum, a great conference, one of those great conferences. You know it’s not too big, it’s not too small, it’s perfectly sized; you get to know some good people, great marketers, great people just in the trenches trying to get good work done. And it’s a lot of what we are trying to cover here on Sales Pipeline Radio.

Thanks again for joining us. I am your host Matt Heinz from Heinz Marketing and every week here live Thursdays at 2:30 Eastern 11:30 Pacific we are covering issues related to sales pipeline management, sales marketing, we blend it altogether. It’s all one big pipeline. We make money when deals close and marketing and sales both help with that a little bit.

You can find out more about past episodes as well as who is coming up on www.salespipelineradio.com. We would love you to follow our podcast which is available on the iTunes store and Google play and you can always get all the past episodes on demand both at www.HeinzMarketing.com and www.salespipelineradio.com.

Today, excited to feature a friend of mine who, talk about in the trenches, he is running his own company in the marketing technology space and is well-versed on all things sales and marketing and B2B; very excited today to have the CEO of a great product called Lead Gnome, Matt Benati. Matt thanks very much for joining Sales Pipeline Radio!

Benati:  Hey thanks Matt! This is the Matt and Matt show today huh?

Matt:  It is the Matt and Matt show; both of us from the East Coast where boy this morning when I flew in, I took the redeye from Vegas and it was gorgeous I mean just a beautiful, beautiful morning and looks like we may be in for a little bit of rain now here in the Boston area but really excited to have you on the show. I feel like with you we could spend a good… We could have you on for the next month and have just a ton of stuff we could cover.

But I want to dig in a little behind sort of this idea of Lead Gnome and as marketers look for ways to gain an advantage and to help their organizations find those incremental gains and improving the efficiency of their program, Lead Gnome just seems like a perfect example of something that is capturing an opportunity that most companies just completely miss. I know this isn’t meant to be a sales pitch but could you walk people through a little bit of what Lead Gnome does and what problem is solved.

Benati:  Yeah. I will, I agree with you 100%. So my background was technical and then into marketing and that combination really helped me when I could see the marketing side of the house particularly in lead gen and working with sales teams. And I have been in very small companies where I was in a single-digit hire; then at larger companies.

And it’s very consistent to me that folks are looking for that competitive advantage, marketing automation. ABM techniques, other techniques are sort of leveling the playfield and savvy marketers, 70 sales folks are always looking for that next thing that can help them go above the fray.

When I was leading the marketing team at companies other companies, some of the things that I was driving towards was leveraging a data set that most of us simply ignore. And that data set is really hard to tame and get into and pull information out of but if you could do it it’s a wonderful thing and we will get into that.

This data source, our campaign recline emails and so most marketers, most salespeople realize when they send an email or a email campaign, there’s a lot of information that comes back and most of us just let it go into the bit bucket so to speak. Some of us have sent people after it, sales teams are often told hey, go get that information. But you know, we are all so busy, we don’t have time.

I looked for a solution, I couldn’t find one so I built it, that’s what Lead Gnome is all about.

Matt:  And I love this for a couple of reasons. I mean one just as an entrepreneur I love the idea of finding those pockets of value that the rest of the market is ignoring. And I also look at this and I think about how often we get those out of office messages and we throw them away, like we don’t even look at them anymore and there is so much valuable information in there. We spend so much time gnashing our teeth as B2B marketers and salespeople about how bad our data is and how hard it is to find really unique insights that help us sell and yet our inboxes are full of them with a bunch of emails that we delete. I mean what kind of information are we talking about?

When I get those I often see like well okay, someone is going to be back in the office in a couple of days. But as I look more closely at these now that I learn more about what you guys are doing, I see other people in the marketing organization I could talk to. I mean honestly I got one this morning from a colleague or sort of a company we work with and I knew she was out of the office but I got the response. And she basically gave me an org chart. Like she said well if you want help on this you go to this person. If you want someone who is responsible for X you go to this person. So in many cases we are looking for insight into those internal buying committees and sometimes those out of office messages will literally walk us through that.

Benati:  Absolutely, right? And we will get into all of the aspects of this. But you are right. I’ve seen as many as 20 come back in a single email with title just list it off, those are a top persons at the company, they want to make sure that they had the coverage they needed while they were out. And we see folks like I am going to shout out to my friend Craig Elias who wrote the book on sales trigger events. We think about bounces, right? He’s written a whole book essentially around trigger events and much of it focused on bounces where we can leverage things that most people throw away and he has this process to go in and turn one hard bounce into four opportunities.

We, when I approached him and said hey Craig, I love what you are doing here but how about if I can give you a three, six, even nine-month advantage on that email? Of course his whole mantra is first in wins and in fact it’s 74% of the time if you look at his data sets. So let’s take that one first.

A bounced email happens when somebody leaves the company and what’s really popular right now are “left the company” reply emails; hey, Matt’s no longer with the company but don’t worry, Sally is here to help out. And so what you know is that there has been a significant event within that organization. Matt who you have engaged with or maybe Matt is even your customer has left, you find that out immediately and now you have an opportunity to go find out where Matt went and start talking to him again because as salespeople we all know if you’ve got a great relationship with Matt in his current location, he’s probably going to a parallel or better job that has buying power again so you better go and knock on his door.

And we also give you Sally who has taken over for Matt. Sally is now your go to person at that existing account you have. And then we fill in the size of who did Sally… Jobs get replaced and where did the person that Matt replaced go to? So that adds up to four. And we no longer have to wait for a hard bounce right? We are giving you all the time and advantage you absolutely will beat the competition if you have that information so that’s one use case.

Matt:  I mean you, I want to walk through more of these use cases as well, this is fascinating to me. We’ve got Matt Benati today, the CEO of Lead Gnome on Sales Pipeline Radio.

And you made a comment in the midst of that where you basically said it, you referenced the phrase, “it adds up, it all adds up.” This to me is a perfect example of identifying an opportunity in existing operations that we are ignoring that may not be “earth shattering.” It may not be the silver bullet that too often we spend an awful lot of time looking for that really rarely if ever exists.

But I feel like in sales and marketing part of the game is adjustments, it’s finding those incremental opportunities to get better, it’s finding marginal improvement at various phases of the sales process that when stitched together creates a fairly compelling competitive advantage. And those little increases in productivity, those little increases in response rate and conversion rate across an entire marketing effort, across an entire sales organization can lead to massive change and massive impact on results.

Benati:  Agreed. And you brought up a great ends up early on which was the out of office. And here is a great example of that incremental approach. So hey it’s Matt, I am out of the office till Monday. While I am gone contact Sam.

Well we know a bunch of things now. And by the way just so we’re clear, this is not signature scraping, it’s not looking at headers although we do that, this is unpacking that unstructured or human written piece in the body of the email. This is not being done anywhere else. That’s where all the context is, that is where the gold is within these emails.

So again from that out of office email, we know Matt is out of the office until Monday. Well it’s pretty logical to key up your SDR to call Matt on Tuesday, give him a day to clean up from being at the conference or being on vacation and reach out to him on Tuesday because he’s going to be receptive, you know he’s in the office. And so one of the things that we talk about with our customers all the time is creating an automated process and Lead Gnome happens to do this, to set up a task, a scheduled task in your CRM, so that the lead owner knows that he should call or he should call Matt on Tuesday. And it just sounds so simple yet it dramatically improves your ability to connect with these folks and connect rates are really important. Every salesperson will tell you they call they call they call, it’s so painful and they wish that they didn’t have to keep calling.

Well if you know that that person is going to be back on a certain day you have a much better chance of connecting with them.

Matt:  Yeah, it’s connect rates and it’s also context. I mean you gave a couple of examples of giving insight into not only went to respond to someone but with what information, with what angle. As you are getting smarter as an organization and addressing different people in the organization, let’s say you’ve got sort of your messaging map that tells you the different personas involved based on their role in the buying process it gives you further insight to be able to segment that message. It makes your marketing smarter; it makes your sales team smarter to have those insights.

And I feel like too often we are looking for definitive answers, we are looking for thunderbolts when we really need to be listening for whispers. We are looking for these big definitive answers on how precisely to sell to everybody and I am not seeing that. I continue to believe that there is no silver bullet like that and yet I feel like our customers are whispering to us all the time and they are giving us these subtle clues that are not always directed to us but they are definitely… It’s an opportunity that they were passing by on too significant a basis.

Again, got Matt Benati today here on Sales Pipeline Radio who is the CEO and founder of Lead Gnome. We are talking about buyer insights and what you do form a sales and marketing standpoint to do that. Matt what else are you seeing in the market in terms of those whispers? I mean I am really intrigued. Obviously you are seeing a lot of that kind of information in the out of office replies.

But quickly before we head to break, what are some other things that you think might be on the on the horizons and other insights that are identifiable and can be converted into action items for our sales teams?

Benati:  Here is a great one. We often see emails that are coming in explicitly to tell folks that their email address has changed or is changing soon. Now what does this tell you? They may, in their email say I just got married and so there’s a personal reason why their email address changed. But more often than not what we are seeing and you can look up lots of data on this around rebranding of companies, merger and acquisitions that are taking place. But more often than not, the email changes of which I believe the stat is 43% of email addresses change over a years’ time, that these are caused by true significant changes within the organization, they were just bought, there is a rebranding, there is something going on there and it’s really important that you take on that whisper and dig in. It’s a great touch point. Reach out to that person – hey, what’s going on? Because you will figure out whether if you’re trying to sell to them how has the dynamics changed?

Likewise if they are already a sales customer in a post sales process, how is your renewal looking now that something’s changed there? These are cool pieces of information for the sales team, for the account success team all across the organization including the marketing and these really need to be listened to and then take action on.

Matt:  I agree. Hey, we are going to take a quick break. We will be back in just a couple moments with Matt Benati. We will be talking a lot more about subtle and not so subtle signals we are getting from our customers, talk about what’s coming up on the future episodes, thanks for joining us. This is Sales Pipeline Radio!

[Break]

Paul:  All right and with that let’s get back to Matt and his guest!

Matt:  Thanks very much Paul. Well I appreciate everyone joining us, it’s exciting to see the number of people that are joining Sales Pipeline Radio both live as well as through the podcast continues to increase.

Not sure Paul if you’ve got, we were training internally, some of the metrics and results that we are starting to see over the last couple of months and just very humbled by those of you who are joining us so thanks very much for doing that. We would love to see you, of course next week we will be live again on Thursday every Thursday at 2:30 Eastern, 11:30 Pacific. Next week we are excited to have Jessica Fewless who runs field marketing for Demand Base and we are going to be talking about account based marketing but more specifically, how to sell the idea and program of account based marketing inside your organizations.

One thing to have one people are two persons excited about the program but a quote based marketing in particular you’ve got to make sure the sales team is engaged on their part. You’ve got to make sure a CFO is engaged so that they are going to fund the program. So we are going to be talking about strategies and specific tools and templates for how to get that across.

And one of the reasons I am excited about that is not just because of the frothiness around account based marketing this year but because no matter what you call it, the buying process is getting more complicated. There are more and more people that are involved.

Literally last year when CEB published the book The Challenger Customer, they estimated there were on average 5.4 people in the internal bank committee involved in making purchases in B2B. As of this summer, literally a year later they’ve already revised it up to 6.8 people. And at the conference I was at with CEB in the last couple of days most of the enterprise sellers that we talk to that are selling into enterprises, whether that number isn’t high enough, we are seeing way more than that. So when you think about how complex that’s getting now, it certainly implies a pretty high level of value on insights you can gather about who is in the organization, who is doing what, making sure that you have not only the right people but also the right roles and certainly that is one of the advantages of the product from our guest today Matt Benati who is a founder and CEO, president of Lead Gnome.

You know Matt, talk a little bit about the buying process as you see it. Is this getting more complex? It feels like it’s getting harder but I think we both have seen people that are sort of cutting through that not just with tools but with better messaging and better strategies. What’s really working for those that are still breaking through and seeing sales results today? As the buying committees get larger and as buying cycles get more complex, what are the commonalities of companies you see that are being successful today?

Benati:  Yeah, it’s a great segue. I mean I… You have mentioned a couple of stats Gartner a couple of months ago has said is the magic number seven, right? That’s increasing as we get more and more complex.

I’ve been in enterprise B2B companies for a couple of decades and it’s clearly getting much more challenging. And the whole concept of ABM is out there to help, right? And Jon Miller and his metrics, he is sort of known for metrics, the whole idea of coverage is critically important when you are trying to penetrate and map out accounts and then devised the right strategies on an account by account basis.

And ABM is one of those things that’s old that’s come back and it’s new now so to speak but these to me, the modern ABM is doing a couple of things. It’s focusing again on the true sales model which is targeting accounts. But it’s doing something more this time around; it’s aligning sales and marketing. I am passionately involved with that discussion. In all my years of marketing, that’s one of sort of the keystones to my strategy, how do we align sales and marketing?

ABM tries to do this and I think it does it well and when you are talking about campaign reclining emails, this is a great strategy to get further into those accounts broader and deeper into those accounts because if you just think about what’s happening, you are sending out an email to your targeted accounts and what you are getting back is from those accounts.

So in our examples we found a replacement for somebody who left the company or we found an alternative person while somebody is on vacation or at a conference. You are increasing your sphere of influence and being able to map the account in a very ABM like fashion. And I think that gaining that coverage, working within that sphere of influence as it broadens and reaching out to those people, is critically important for the company.

Matt:  Yeah, I would agree. I think you covered a couple of important things there. As I mentioned at the beginning of the show Matt, I think you and I, we could spend an awful lot of time talking about this and running out of time already unfortunately but I think for me it’s a little frustrating that we continue to call it account based marketing because this does not work if this is purely a marketing initiative. This is clearly, to be successful with account-based selling, account based revenue, however you want to call it, this is an account versus lead oriented approach that integrates sales and marketing activities into a single set of coordinated plays, a single set of coordinated messages.

So gone are the days when like for instance we have been talking a lot about out of office messages and how much insight is in those. I mean gone are the days when we could say oh well that’s a sales follow or that’s a marketing follow-up or this is simply input in Marketo from the lead stand board, this is simply put for a sales team to be able to follow up. Our prospects aren’t giving us that margin of error anymore. They are crazy busy, they’ve got 1000 other things you have to do and 1000 other vendors trying to get their attention.

So if you approach them with multiple messages, if you approach them with conflicting messages, at best you look like you don’t know what you are doing. At worst you are pushing prospects away. And so whether it’s out of office messages or insights from outside from the outside market, I mean I think being able to coordinate them together is critically important.

You know Matt, as we have to wrap up here in a couple minutes just curious, just take a look in the future little bit. We are getting into the fall; it’s raining a little bit more. We are looking at next year, like how does this continue to evolve? What other insights and buying signals do you expect maybe a year from now we are talking about that have evolved as some of those incremental gains in response and conversion value for sales and marketing?

Benati:  Yeah. I think what we are going to be able to do in the not too distant future is expand from this simple, and I call it simple although technologically wise it’s not but this simple notion of mining the information within these emails, but being able to marry that with other bits of information for each and every one of our customers; say their Salesforce, Marketo data etc., and then provide some predictions. You know the whole idea of predictive analytics is near and dear to my heart. I have been in a couple of those companies, it’s something that can really be leveraged here to drive home new opportunities, to drive that pipeline, grow that pipeline and really look at the companies or the accounts where you have a higher degree of success and some of the other ones, they need a little bit more nurturing.

So I believe that if we marry what we are learning here with some of the other data that we have within the organization, the predictions are going to be truly impactful on the revenue driving capacity of the organization.

Matt:  You’ve got it. Well hey Matt, this has gone fast, this has been great. I had full expectations that you were going to bring a lot of value and in a short amount of time you did so I want to thank our guest Matt Benati. Definitely check out Lead Gnome online. They’ve got some great content, great insights and it’s worth learning more from Matt if you can. If you want to hear a replay of this great conversation with Matt Benati, you can go to www.salespipelineradio.com, we will have a full replay there.

Make sure you don’t miss any episode even if you can’t join us live by subscribing to the podcast on Sales Pipeline Radio at Google play and the iTunes Store. And as always we will have a transcript of this, sort of an edited transcript of this conversation with Matt on our blog at www.HeinzMarketing.com.

Make sure you join us next week Thursday every Thursday 2:30 Eastern, 11:30 Pacific. Next week we are going to be talking more about account based marketing, account-based selling and how to truly get that process off the ground and get everybody on your internal team, sales, marketing, finance operations, the IT group, get them all on board so you can move forward with that and really any program you want to sell internally.

So thanks again Matt for joining us today, thank you Paul as always for your masterful production behind the scenes and we will see you next week. This is Matt Heinz! You have been listening to Sales Pipeline Radio!

Paul:  Yes you have Sales Pipeline Radio the only show that takes a look at the complete sales pipeline from start to finish brought to you by Matt Heinz from Heinz Marketing.

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