By Matt Heinz, President of Heinz Marketing

If you’re not already subscribed to Sales Pipeline Radio, or listening live every Thursday at 11:30 a.m. Pacific you can find the transcription and recording here on the blog every Monday morning.  The show is less than 30 minutes, fast-paced and full of actionable advice, best practices and more for B2B sales & marketing professionals.

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This week’s episode is called “From Process to Profits: How Systems Will Increase Your Sales“.  We talk about sales strategy with Bethany Fagan, CMO at PandaDoc. Full disclosure, I am a PandaDoc customer and a very happy one.  I wanted to have her on to talk about templates as part of the sales process. Sometimes things like templates can be perceived as perhaps less exciting parts of the process. It’s not as exciting as the creative. It’s not as exciting as let’s go make more dials or figuring out how to get reps to engage with our prospects, to engage with our reps.

But process and systems are the backbone of successful, predictable, scalable sales organizations.

We talk a bit about what PandaDoc has seen on this and how important process and templates are. This and a lot more! 

Listen in and/or read the full transcript below.

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Matt:  Thank you everyone for joining us on another episode of Sales Pipeline Radio. We’re so happy to be here with all y’all. We are here live every Thursday at 11:30 Pacific, 2:30 Eastern, and thank you for joining us in the middle of your workday. If you’re joining us live on the Funnel Media Radio Network. With those of you just joining us on the podcast, we can be found anywhere that fine podcasts are sold or made available for free, which is more likely the case. If you’re getting charged for this podcast, please let me know. That’s probably not supposed to happen.

Paul:  I’ve been charging lately. I got a secret back channel. I’m making money off of these here.

Matt:  Aw man, that’s terrible. Well, I appreciate everyone joining us, and if you like what you hear today, if you like what you’ve heard so far, make sure you subscribe. We appreciate it very much, and you can hear every episode of Sales Pipeline Radio, past, present, and future at salespipelineradio.com. We are featuring some of the best and brightest minds in sales and marketing every week on the show. Today is absolutely no different. Very excited to have with us today Bethany Fagan, she is the content marketing manager for PandaDoc. Bethany, thanks so much for joining us today.

Bethany:  Thanks so much for having me, Matt.

Matt:  So we have two choices. We can either focus today on Mountaineer football, or we could talk about sales process and sales strategy. What’s your pick?

Bethany:  Well, both are tough. I mean, both of my favorite subjects. I mean, I’m actually heading to Morgantown this weekend to see the game, so I’m super excited. I haven’t been back in a couple of years, so I’m so pumped to hopefully watch us crush Oklahoma State, but we’ll see.

Matt:  Well, I mean it’s, I know that all of us who are college football fans who have alumni we’re routing for, and we go up and down with our teams. Everybody has their lulls, everyone has their highs. One thing I’d love for you to describe, before we get into our topic today is, as a West Virginia fan, please describe to the rest of the country what a pepperoni roll is.

Bethany:  I guess you could call it a mash-up between like a hot pocket and a calzone, I guess, but you could eat it hot or cold. I don’t know, I wasn’t, honestly, I wasn’t a fan of them when I was in college, but I mean they were definitely all the rage in West Virginia.

Matt:  Yeah. So I got a buddy who also went to West Virginia, and he never told me about them, but then I was reading an article a couple years ago about pepperoni rolls, and I mentioned it to him and he’s like, how did you like, cause it’s not necessarily something you see a lot around the country. He was like, how did you find that about pepperoni rolls? So yeah, but apparently quite the, where Iowa State has the Bush Lights, West Virginia has pepperoni rolls of moonshine.

Bethany:  Yeah, exactly. We have pepperoni rolls of moonshine. That’s so true.

Matt:  Awesome. All right, well we can talk more about college football, but let’s talk a little bit about sales strategy. I’m very excited to have you join us today. Full disclosure, I am the PandaDoc customer and a very happy one, but I wanted to have you on today to discuss how templates are a part of the sales process. And I think sometimes, Bethany, those can be perceived as perhaps less exciting parts of the process. It’s not as exciting as the creative. It’s not as exciting as let’s go make more dials or figure out how to get reps to engage with our prospects, to engage with our reps. But you know, process and systems are the backbone of successful, predictable, scalable sales organizations. Talk a little bit about what you guys have seen on that and sort of how important process and templates have been for you.

Bethany:  Yeah, I mean it’s the bread and butter of why PandaDoc exists, right? I mean, I’m sure if you guys have heard from my CEO Mikita, he talked a while ago about why he founded PandaDoc, he had an agency, he found it very cumbersome to and time consuming to create sales proposals or any kind of just client facing document. And he knew that there had to be a better way to kind of streamline the process and streamline the creation process. And also without requiring a lot of resources and heavy lifting from anyone but himself. I think sales people move a mile a minute. They have to keep deals moving forward. And in order to do that, just templates and processes and any kind of tools to make that a little bit easier. I think they see just better productivity, potentially increasing close rates and potentially more revenue from it.

Matt:  Well, one example I usually give when we talk about the importance of having templates and tools in some cases is, in sales you tend to have unique conversations with prospects in every case. Every prospect’s a little different, their situation, their culture. But there’s a lot more similarities in the engagements that we have with prospects than people give it credit for it. There’s a lot more similarities in terms of the questions we get, the follow ups that happen. And so if you have reps writing their own emails, and you’ve got six reps across the sales force writing the same email six different ways, six different times every single day. And I’m not even really exaggerating. I mean that happens in a large sales organization. I mean if nothing else that speaks to the impact that having some templates can have. Even if you take a template and then do some customization to it, that is going to not only be faster, more efficient, but also likely more successful because there’s an assumption that template was built on some level of best practice or successful implementation before. Correct?

Bethany:  Yeah, absolutely. I mean we experienced this recently. We did an ebook with HubSpot on just 20 plus sales templates, and we covered everything from qualifying questions to sales email templates and then of course proposals and then contracts and invoicing templates too. And I think one of the bigger wins that we experienced was once we kind of templatized some of our email templates, we use some examples from HubSpot and then we also use some of our own just best practices and kind of testing and trying things that were working and didn’t work. So over about seven weeks I think we tried, I forget how many templates it was, but it was about 10,000 emails, so that speaks to your point of reps just sending out a ton of emails every single day. By just perfecting our sales email templates, we were able to see a 10% increase in opens, about 90% increase in response rate, and I think it generated about $15,000 more in revenue for us just by perfecting our email templates and that process around emailing prospects.

Matt:  I mentioned before we’re talking here today on Sales Pipeline Radio with Bethany Fagan. She’s the content marketing manager at PandaDoc, and we are a PandaDoc customer. I think one of the reasons we initially started with PandaDoc was we wanted to improve the look and feel of our proposals. We’d been using basically Word documents, Word templates beforehand, and so we wanted something that would add a little better level of professionalism. And I think that what we got in addition to that is having some consistency of what we produce, right? I mean I think when we had just saved versions of Word docs in a bunch of different places, they were all a little different. So you may have made some edits to one, but then those edits may not make it to the next one if you pull the wrong template the next time.

Talk a little bit about why it’s so important to have kind of a content library. You know, whether you’re using PandaDoc or whether you’re just sort of creating a systematic way to implement templates and tools in your organization. What is the best practices for having a content template that could people know where it is and then you can pull from to ensure consistency of those materials.

Bethany:  Yeah, you hit on it already Matt. I think it’s, especially when you’re a growing organization and you have a lot of sales reps on the team, there are people who join the team and then get promoted or leave the team or then you have onboarding new sales reps, and I think where sales teams struggle is just having a central repository of where they can go and store content. I think there’s some tools out there that do a decent job of it, but you want to have a central location of a tool that they’re already using and have that in one place so that’s easy for everybody to find.

Like you’d mentioned, one rep may have one version and then missed an email from let’s say legal that there was a new version and forgot to save that. And then what if they go back and use that old version, and then the red line process takes longer because it turns out they were using the incorrect contract or the incorrect proposal. So I think you get what I’m saying. It’s super important to make sure that there is one location where everybody can go to, and also all of the other teams within the organization has access to so that they can update the relevant content with the most up to date piece of, whether it’s an agreement or whether it’s a photo, an image, or even kind of a, what I call a logo soup of current customers that they can cite in a proposal, let’s just say.

Matt:  First time I think I’ve heard the term logo soup on Sales Pipeline Radio, but I think I liked that a lot.

Bethany:  I’ve always called it that as a marketer. I don’t even know where I got it, but I know reps always ask me for it like, Hey, what are logos that I can use on a consistent basis? And I guess I’ve just kind of coined that term myself. So you’re welcome I guess.

Matt:  Yeah, no. You mentioned the ebook you guys put together with HubSpot on the, with, that’s a collection of templates. Talk a little bit about sort of where that came from, and how did you decide what templates to put in that ebook? I would imagine there’s an awful lot of different places you could go, but what were some of the priorities or some of the most requested templates that made it in there?

Bethany:  Yeah, so here at PandaDoc, we’ve really built a nice robust template library, and I think that’s really helped us drive kind of an inbound marketing engine for us. If you go to our website, PandaDoc.com/templates, we have templates from wedding planning proposals to a W9 form that you can kind of fill out on your own and use. And HubSpot is also known for being inbound driven, but also just having a better process around marketing automation.

So we got together, we knew that we wanted to cover the end to end sales process, so we took a look at some sales templates that they have towards the top of the funnel and then we kind of looked at our best performing templates towards the bottom of the funnel on our end and kind of pulled from there and said, okay, well we’re willing to put this proposal quote and contract template in and then we would love your guys’ help for, as far as lead gen type questions to ask to make sure that people are qualifying leads correctly. They’re masters of email. So what kind of successes have they seen from an email template standpoint, not only at the beginning but then following up on sales deals and things. So we really tried to play on each other’s strengths throughout the entire sales cycle to come up with those 20 plus templates that we featured.

Matt:  Love it. I want to talk a little bit more about that when we get back from the break. We’re going to have to take quick break here, pay some bills. We’ll be back here with more with Bethany Fagan. She’s the content marketing manager for PandaDoc. Talking about templates, talking about process might talk a little tatertot pork chop too. We’ll see. We’ll be right back.

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Paul:  And we head back to Matt and his guest. And before we go there, I’ve got to remind everybody that for you true Mountaineer fans out there, we do a show here on the Funnel Radio Network with West Virginia University’s school of online data marketing communications. We do it every morning here. Couple of shows before yours. There you go. Everyone should tune in.

Matt:  That’s phenomenal. And we don’t get as many West Virginia love on the show and now we have, it’s becoming just a thematic thing here. Before we keep going here, Bethany, I mentioned people are wondering, what the heck are we going to do? Is this going to turn into a food show in addition to a college football show? I’m referencing, of course your dogs, Tater Tot and Pork Chop. And I hadn’t had a chance to ask you this before, but I guess I’ll do it live on Funnel Media Radio. Where did you come up with those names?

Bethany:  So they’re French Bulldogs, and I feel like, I mean anybody who knows that breed knows that they, I think they just are better served with a food kind of name. But honestly, I wanted to name, we got Tater Tot first. My husband and I were talking, and I was like, I want to name him something, maybe French, you know, Pierre, Remi. And then we picked him up and were in the car driving back to our place, and he’s just asleep in my lap, and I’m like, you know what, he’s just, he looks golden Brown, like a Tater Tot. And I still wasn’t even sold on his name. And then just the days after my husband kept calling him Tater Tot, and I was like, okay, I guess this dog’s name is Tater Tot, and that’s how we got his name.

Matt:  That is so good. The people that live in front of us, they have a dog, a rescue dog, his name is Boss, and we just get to call him Boss, and I don’t know, dog names can be a lot of fun. I want to talk a little bit more about this ebook you guys did with HubSpot cause I think it really is worth checking out. I think you can just go to PandaDoc.com, I know you can get a copy there. But I think this, and we talked earlier before the break about sort of the prioritization of the type of content in there. And what I liked, what I also liked about it is this isn’t just you guys making up content. You actually pulled best practices from a number of companies that have been successful at implementing better templates and proposal tools. Talk a little bit about how you chose the companies that were featured here and sort of what were some of the criteria to select those that were doing it so well.

Bethany:  I think for us as we’ve had, we’ve tried and tested a bunch of different sales tools, and I think honestly it’s just what we’ve used and seen success with within our own tech stack. We have success with Sales Loft. We knew that they were a very big leader in emails and automating outreach emails. So we, they have some great data on successes around that, so we knew that was a no brainer. HubSpot, obviously they’re a leader in marketing automation, and not only are they a partner of ours, we integrate with them, so that was an easy choice. I think also it’s just following companies on social media and those who are positioning themselves as thought leaders. I think we’re seeing this shift of everybody wants to know what everybody’s secret sauce is. And for us, we have no problem sharing that. We want to share our sales success with everyone else and those who are willing to do the same, kind of make it easy for us to partner with them.

Matt:  Why are templates in and sort of a tools like this such an important thing for marketers to invest in as well? I think people may look at this and think, okay, this is an operations requirement, this is a sales priority. Why should a marketing manager in a B to B company prioritize improving templates and consistency of tools and sales documents?

Bethany:  I mean for me, my personal opinion is, I’ve always viewed my job as a marketer, as sales. I mean obviously our customers are our number one customers, but I also kind of look at sales as my number one customer, being a marketer. And I want to support them and help them be as successful as they possibly can. And I’ve just found that when I enable them to do their jobs more efficiently and a little bit better, the happier our sales team is. And I think that makes just the sales marketing relationship a little bit better for the entire organization.

Matt:  Yeah, I would agree. And talk a little bit about sort of how you guys sort of drink your own champagne on this as well. How does the marketing team and the sales team operate together at PandaDoc to sort of, really sort of leverage what you guys teach others to do, and then talk about what kind of impact that’s had?

Bethany:  It’s definitely changed and evolved over the four years that I’ve been with the company. But I think we love using our own tool, and we’ve actually made strides within the product team. I know recently, for example, I have one of our product managers at men’s to reach out to me because we’re looking to improve our editor and improve the content library and how marketers build content there to deploy for the sales team.

So it was really great that we’re kind of opening, we’re using our own champions and our own experts internally to help build the product and make the product better for everybody else. So I think we’ve definitely done a good job, not only bridging the gap between sales and marketing, but also bridging the gap between product sales and marketing, especially given we have our office in Minsk, and that’s where a majority of the product team sits. So it’s always hard for them to hear sales conversations and be in the day to day of kind of what marketing is doing and what sales is doing, and that’s why we built the tools to improve both of the lives of marketers and sales people. So it’s definitely been fun to kind of see the product team develop and kind of put together some product managers for each core functions of our product and really kind of use our own internal resources to just make PandaDoc that much better.

Matt:  Love it. Got just a few more minutes here with Bethany Fagan, the content marketing manager for PandaDoc. I guess, switch gears a little bit. Let’s talk about kind of your role and the impact that’s had. I think you’re, as someone who’s focused on content development and sort of driving sort of engagement and attention from your customers and prospects, you’ve got a lot of competition. There’s literally thousands of other companies that are trying to get the attention of people that are buying sales and marketing tools. What are some things that you have learned that sort of help you stand out, some things that you might recommend other content managers, content marketers as they head into 2020, that they could take a look at and leverage as well.

Bethany:  I think for me it’s my role, I had first started as a partner marketing manager, and I was working with a lot of our integration partners to do some co marketing activities. And what’s funny is, I then went through this transition of kind of playing this marketer but business development type role, and it’s kind of, Hey, let’s do a webinar or let’s do a podcast or let’s just even do a blog swap. And some people were very hesitant to do that, to kind of, I think share lists and that sort of thing.

But now, as a content marketer, I feel like it’s come back full circle. Now you see more people wanting to partner up and wanting to share leads and wanting to kind of share knowledge on the subject that they share a similar audience with. So that’s kind of where I’ve seen the biggest shift is kind of folks and marketers not really wanting to do that to now wanting to do that because it’s just the more you know and the more wealth you can share, I think the more that you can nurture and grow your leads to turn them into customers. That’s kind of where I find it funny that I went from a partner marketing role and then this content role, but it’s pretty much kind of stayed the same in a way.

Matt:  Well, everything the light touches is content, right? And I’m curious as well, relating to that, in a previous role you were managing both content and PR. I think that some people see those as very closely related, some people see them as church and state. How do you think about sort of the integration or the similarities and differences between, so what some people think is content marketing today and sort of traditional PR?

Bethany:  It’s funny, I went to inbound this year, and I think there was a lot of conversations around how PR can benefit content and vice versa. And then how a lot of people are also starting these content repositories or these kind of almost, I guess you would call them like a journalistic type of website, right? Where you’re just putting a bunch of content on one page and kind of turning yourself into a New York Times, if you will, where you’re just feeding content and pushing content in front of your audience and who you’re looking to grab the attention of. So I think that it’s, we’re actually working on a few other new pieces of content that I think will help us in the PR world. We want to start to kind of dig into our customer data and start to really report on how sales teams are benefiting from using the product, which is of course big PR, right?

It’s kind of getting us in front of the audience and showing customers and showing prospects like, Hey, we do actually know what we’re talking about. We’ve seen when people adopt PandaDoc or adopt a tool like a software proposal solution, they can double the amount of deals they do or they can save this amount of time in their day. I think anytime you can kind of give somebody snippets of information, whether it’s from a PR piece or just a content piece, you’re providing value either way. So to me it’s, they’re kind of one in the same.

Matt:  Well Paul, it sounds like we might need to improve the Mountaineer presence on the Funnel Media Radio Network with perhaps a PandaDoc radio show. Not that I’m putting them on the spot for that, but I think she seemed like a natural here.

Paul:  She seems a natural, she seems open to the idea of continuing the conversation.

Matt:  Well, we won’t put her on the spot for that, but I think that, just last question here for our guests today, and thanks again for joining us Bethany, we will put a link to the book of templates up on the notes for this podcast. The last question I want to get in front of you. As you think about your career so far and some of the people that have influenced you, some of the people that have really sort of helped you along the way, they could be managers, authors, speakers, professors, who are some people that have really had a big impact on you that you might recommend other people check out as well?

Bethany:  Yeah. I think for me it’s actually probably somebody who’s not well known at all, but I used to actually sell apartments in Philadelphia, and I had a manager, her name was Maria, and she was very hard on me, but she taught me one very valuable lesson, which I still practice today, which is never assume anything. I think a lot of people are always embarrassed to learn more or embarrassed to ask questions or embarrassed to go after something and instead they just kind of assume things and then get a little flustered and kind of get out of whack. But she’s always taught me to never assume anything, always learn more, always ask questions, and always kind of just be on the horizon for the next biggest baddest thing you could possibly learn. So she’s kind of the one who I kind of keep in the back of my mind.

Matt:  That’s such a great addition. Well thank you so much. Thanks again to our guest, Bethany Fagan. If you want to learn more about PandaDoc, check out PandaDoc.com. Check out the book they have on sales templates. You can also check out the PandaDoc paperless blog. Highly recommend both those resources. We are out of time. We’re going to be back next week. Actually next week is going to be Thanksgiving day. We will not be broadcasting live on Thanksgiving day, but if you, if you’re bored, if you need a little break from the family, you can check us out on salespipelineradio.com. We’ve got 185 plus past episodes up there for you to check out. We’ll be here again the beginning of December and work through the end of the year. Looking forward to it. But for today, my name is Matt Heinz. On behalf of our great producer Paul, this is Sales Pipeline Radio.

 

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Sales Pipeline Radio is hosted by Matt Heinz of Heinz Marketing which is a program on the Funnel Radio Channel.

Heinz Marketing   Funnel Radio Podcast Channel by the Funnel Media Group, LLC

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Sales Pipeline Radio is sponsored and produced by Heinz Marketing on the Funnel Radio Channel.  I interview the best and brightest minds in sales and Marketing.  If you would like to be a guest on Sales Pipeline Radio send an email to Sheena.