How to Create Success in B2B with Data-Driven Marketing
On this week’s episode, we take a deep dive into data-driven marketing for B2B organizations with Julie Huval (Head of Marketing, Beck Technology). During our extremely informative discussion, Julie takes us behind the graphs and charts, and explains the advantages of being data driven when it comes to marketing. She also reveals her top predictions for data-driven marketing moving forward, her recommended tools (and her wish list) for analyzing data, and why she believes that those who can tell the story behind the numbers will ultimately win.
Topics discussed in this episode:
Christian Klepp, Julie Huval
Christian Klepp 00:08
Hi, and welcome to the B2B Marketers on a Mission podcast. I’m your host Christian Klepp, and one of the founders of EINBLICK Consulting. Our goal is to share inspirational stories, tips and insights from b2b marketers, digital entrepreneurs, and industry experts that will help you to think differently, succeed and scale your business.
Alright, welcome everyone to this episode of the B2B Marketers on a Mission podcast where you get your weekly dose of b2b marketing insights. This is your host Christian Klepp. And today, I’d like to welcome a guest into the show who was a pre-construction technology evangelist who speaks at industry events on construction technology, marketing best practices, and effective business operations. She’s also a talented marketing leader and a self-confessed data nerd. Julie Huval, welcome to the show.
Julie Huval 00:57
Thanks Christian for having me.
Christian Klepp 01:00
It’s really great to have you on here. And you know, why don’t we just get things started with something that you and I talked about during the pre-interview call. So you know, you developed your expertise and built your career around, I would say is a pretty important area – that’s data for b2b marketing. Right? So explain why you believe that leading with data is so important, not just in your field, but you know, in b2b marketing in general, and how that helps you to become a better marketer. So, in other words, what are the advantages of being data driven?
Julie Huval 01:34
Well, you know, one of the things that data allows us to do as marketing professionals, is it removes the emotions from decision making. You know, I talk to a lot of marketers that they may be a department of one. And whenever you’re that department of one or even a few, or even if there’s several, a lot of times whenever you can use data, and you see the black and white of, you know, how your audience is reacting to whatever initiatives or content you’re putting out there, that helps you make those decisions going forward, of what needs to change and what needs to be tweaked.
I use this phrase quite a bit in talking with people about this of, you know, as marketers, we’re creating a lot of the times, and someone wants to come back and they want to change what we were supposed to be doing or you know, hey have a tweak here, can we edit this? And like, how dare you tell me my baby is ugly. And so there is a lot of emotion ever comes into marketing. And whenever you can use the data and say, Yep, you know what, you’re right, let’s make some changes to that initiative. Let’s, let’s tweak this blog post, you know, let’s change how we’re doing social media strategy, it definitely helps to look at the data going, Yeah, let’s try this, let’s do some A/B testing. Because again, we’re very proud of our babies. But sometimes our babies do need to be edited every once in a while. So that definitely helps.
Christian Klepp 02:53
Yeah. Those are, those are definitely some interesting points. And I mean, you know, I would even dare say that leading with data is so important, because it helps you to like understand patterns and customer behavior. It helps you and your team also to make, and in fact, even other members of the organization to make informed decisions based on what the data is telling you, correct?
Julie Huval 03:20
Oh, yeah, well, and even then it’s, you know, in modern marketing, we’re doing this omni channel approach to get in front of people. And then, you know, and even then the omni channel that we’re using, they’re disconnected. And so trying to make sense of what’s working on one platform may not be working on another platform, and using data to look at that and make those decisions. I mean, marketing has a lot going on. So using data to help us make those decisions, and give us a big picture of it is really great, because we can get really focused and tunnel vision whenever we’re working on specific initiative. But you know, if you have these peaks and these valleys of how what we’re putting out there as marketers, is being consumed in what’s working, like, pardon me, like, hey, whatever is working, let’s do more of that. But if you don’t have the data to know what’s working, then you’re almost spinning your wheels. And it is one of those things of like, you feel like you can never get ahead. Because if you don’t know what to measure, you don’t know how people are accepting it.
Christian Klepp 04:25
Correct. And it’s back to that old adage of like, you know, what doesn’t get measured doesn’t get improved. Right?
Julie Huval 04:31
Exactly. Well, and even then it’s, you know, data in the black and white is great for, you know, decisions in the here and now in the short term. The other thing and I think a lot of marketers that maybe aren’t necessarily leading a department yet are on the leadership team. You know, data also helps you: one, gives you the experience again in black and white in numbers of what works, and then you can use that experience and what you read into those numbers for forecasting. So a lot of times forecasting feels like a quote unquote, gut decision. And that’s not necessarily the case. It’s years of experience. It’s what you know that has worked in the past. And then also being able to say, you know what, they’re seasonal changes. There’s different things that just come up that you know is going to happen and being able to pull in that information. from years of whether it’s social media campaigns, or advertising or you know, virtual events, in person events, being able to take all that data and really apply it to what you want to do for marketing for your business. And really driving your business forward is, as always be able, it’s really nice to be able to pull that in and help you make those decisions. Christian, honestly, like, I’m the worst whenever it comes to making gut decisions. I think the other people in my leadership team would be like, just make that, you know, what is your gut telling you? And I’m like, ooh, let me go pull up that chart. Let me make sure that I’m not going to be wrong.
Christian Klepp 06:02
Julie Huval 06:03
But the more that you look at the data, and the more that you look at the trends over time, the the more confidence that people get going into forecasting and making those decisions for the long term success for business.
Christian Klepp 06:14
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, that’s, that’s a great insight. And I love how you brought up the topic of change, because, um, you know, I promise you, we’re not going to talk about COVID during this conversation, but certainly one thing that we can say is that last year was the year of changes across the board. Right. And you know, that’s applicable across several industries, several disciplines. Data for b2b marketing is certainly no exception. So, um, you know, on that note, let’s jam a little bit on this, because I’m sure you’ve got a few good ones here – the key misconceptions that you’ve seen out there that people have when it comes to using data for b2b marketing. So what do you… let’s say, what are the repeat offenders In your opinion?
Julie Huval 07:03
You know, I think one of them is, you can say it two ways, “I don’t know what to measure”, or “it can’t be measured.” And I hear people got.. you already know it, marketing is really tough to measure. And it is if you don’t know what to measure, right. So, you know, my advice is to, you know, 1) It is a myth. 2) Start with the goal in mind. So for my business, for my company, our goal in mind is that we want to generate a ton of marketing qualified leads. And so if that’s our goal, then we work back to what we want to measure. And I think a lot of times people are focusing on you know, open rates of an email, or, you know, how many times do people come to the website. You know, that might be the right metric for them. But it’s like, Okay, so what is your end goal? Does that help get to that end goal? And sometimes there is a lot of connecting the dots between what you can measure and what the end goal is. So for example, hey, I want to know how many people come to our website, because I have equated how many people come to our website means how many demos are going to be requested. And then once we get demo requests, how many of those turn into an opportunity for our sales team, and then from the sales opportunities, how many of those turn into customers. So I mean, I have all these conversion rates that track all the way through. And, and again, I know that they’re not set in stone, because the conversion rates change. And I know that we’re not going to talk about COVID. But I will say like being nimble with what you’re measuring and how you’re measuring it because a global pandemic comes up, you need to be able to turn on a dime. And I think that’s one of the things that, you know, the year of 2020 allowed us to do is really to focus on what to measure. So, again, I think a lot of people say that of like, can’t be measured or don’t know what to measure. Start with the end goal in mind, and a lot of times the end goal is not a marketing goal. It’s a business goal. So, just make sure that people know what they’re measuring.
Christian Klepp 09:04
Absolutely. And I mean, I like how you mentioned that about, like, it’s not necessarily a marketing goal. It’s also a business goal. And I think these two have to be intertwined somehow, because, you know, there’s a discussion about, like, how marketing has to be responsible for a part of the revenue that you know, and that’s how marketing has evolved as a discipline, not just now, but it’s, you know, just even if you look back at the past couple of years, and I like how you brought up, you know, what to measure and why. I mean, like, you know, take this podcast as an example, right? Do I measure how many people downloaded the podcast episodes, or do I measure it by okay how many people actually have listened to the podcast episodes from start to finish? How many people interact with me on a regular basis on different platforms to say that they’ve actually learned something from listening to the interviews and you know, you measure, you measure the quality or the outcome in that matter, right?
Julie Huval 10:03
Yeah. And, you know, there’s, like I said, it really depends on what the company’s goals are. And if, and I will say, this is where I’m going to give marketers some fire behind them…
Christian Klepp 10:14
Go, go, go go.
Julie Huval 10:15
You know that, you know, if you’re looking at your company goals. One, hopefully your company has goals. Two, if you are looking at your company goals, and you cannot make a direct connection between marketing in your company goals, or your company goals, the right goals. Because, again, I mean, marketing plays into a bunch of different things within an organization. And I think a lot of times, you know, companies may look at marketing as overhead or an admin role. And that’s not the case, marketing is very strategic. And if your company goals do not include the things that marketing can affect, then you know, your marketing is going to suffer, not your marketing team, just your business’s marketing is going to suffer because again, you haven’t put emphasis behind that, for people to really, you know, sink their teeth into and say, okay, we can make this happen, because marketing is going to own a piece of the revenue. Sales is going to be a piece of brand recognition. Your development team is going to make sure that they’re communicating trends. And you know, what our customers are saying that they like about specific features, back to marketing, because then we can turn that into more content and other stuff. If that’s not forefront, there’s, no matter how much good marketing you have, you know how much money you throw at marketing, if that’s not part of a company goal, it’s gonna suffer.
Christian Klepp 11:40
Absolutely, absolutely. So, Julie, you know, we’re currently at the start of 2021. And as I’ve mentioned the past couple of minutes, again, not necessarily talking about COVID, but we’ve just come out of one of the most challenging years for businesses across the different markets worldwide. Right. So talk to us about some of the changes to the landscape that you’ve seen as a result of the pandemic, and especially with regards to data for b2b marketing.
Julie Huval 12:12
Yeah, you know, I know I told you this in our pre interview call. But, I think it was like in, you know, very beginning of COVID, March, April, time. And I had a frank conversation with my boss, who’s the CEO of my company. And I said, Hey, I’m gonna be honest with you. I’ve never marketed during a global pandemic, I have no idea what to do. Because we started to see, you know, people’s interactions with our website, and our social media and our email open rates be very different than what I’ve seen any kind of seasonality in years before. And partly was because people were working from home or people are trying to figure out, how do I work from home and have my children do virtual schooling and, you know, all this other stuff? So I really believe last year made us very agile and very nimble as a marketing department. Because again, we started to see spikes and valleys in our data and was like, Okay, cool. Let’s go in, and let’s change something, let’s try something different. Let’s put out, we started putting out different content that had nothing to do with what we sold or who our demographic was, we started putting out content about, hey, what’s the best way to work from home, how to set up a home office, we got tons of traffic off of that. And because we got tons of traffic off of that, it also helped with our search engine optimization. It actually got in front of people going, Hey, you guys are different. This is great. So it built up our brand and all that. So you know, that was a great way.
The other thing. And I think we’re all still facing this, and I don’t think it’s going away, which I wanted to bring it up virtual events. Virtual events are everywhere. And you know, for some people, they’re like, great, I hate going to in person events, I don’t want to go and do that. For other people, they’re really struggling because in person events, you know, from a business side, they generate a lot of leads. From a personal side, you get to connect with people that maybe you only see once a year at a in-person event. And I am going to do… not being sponsored, but I’m going to plug in anyway. Andrew Davis is actually doing some short videos right now on his YouTube channel, through the loyalty loop program that he has about taking these virtual events, and not replacing the in-person event. You want to think of a virtual event, as this whole new being within marketing. And so for the companies that can actually take a virtual event and make it interactive and something that people want to engage with. Think of what that’s going to do to our marketing budgets going forward because if you can be just as successful with a virtual event as you were with an in person event, and you don’t have to fly people out. You don’t have to get a hotel. You don’t have to buy stuff for a booth. You don’t have to you know all this stuff that goes with in-person events. That’s huge if you can actually make an a virtual event work for you. Now, once we’ve past the trials and tribulations of COVID. And we were able to do in-person events safely. Imagine stacking the virtual events in the in-person events into the same calendar year, like what you’re gonna do for marketing. That’d be huge.
Christian Klepp 15:27
Absolutely. Well, you can probably kiss those trade shows in Vegas goodbye (laugh).
Julie Huval 15:32
Yeah, yeah. You know, Vegas is not one of my favorite places to go. But man, if I could get the same kind of ROI out of a virtual event versus an in-person event. Let’s do that every single week.
Christian Klepp 15:46
Yeah. No, you brought up a ton of great insights. But I think one of them that really stood out was this whole concept of just imagining how quickly now through this rapid digitalization, you know, that’s going on now, especially in the b2b space, how rapidly companies could actually scale what they’re doing online, versus like what you said, because it’s true. You know, any way you look at it, flying people to a certain destination to attend a conference and summit. The transportation and accommodation costs and all that. I mean, costs aside, but it’s time. Right? It’s time that they could have been… that they could have actually spent generating, sadly, already. And, you know, by doing all of that online, they’ve probably just like, cut, I wouldn’t say that they’ve completely like, you know, replaced the in-person events, but they probably, like saved a lot of time. And, you know, getting those events and those sales conversions.
Julie Huval 16:46
Oh, yeah. Well, you know, one of the things that we look at event technology is, you know, I mentioned ROI. So that’s return on investment. The other thing that we look at is return on value. And return on value is something that’s like, you got to put some more data points behind that one to really calculate it. But it’s like, you know, the ROI of how much do we spend? And how much did we get out of it. The return on value is, what am I going to be able to carry out of that event, that’s going to be better going forward? Because I think that ROV like, hey, if I spend $10,000, and then I get $12,000, back my ROI on that one is two grant right. But my return on value of like, man, I got to connect with customers, I got to talk to an industry partner that I’ve been meaning to connect with. And like, there’s that ROV, that return on value that takes you out further. And I think, you know, as we’re talking about b2b and data, like that’s one of the things of “don’t always look at the ROI, look at their return on value.” And then anything that you’re doing as a marketing initiative that can really generate tons of value, focus on that.
Christian Klepp 17:57
Exactly, exactly. And I hope I understood you correctly, but I think what you were saying earlier, Julie was that, um, you know, when hopefully, things do roll back to normal, eventually, whatever normal is now. Are we gonna… would you say that, we’re probably gonna see something of a hybrid model, in terms of these shows, these trade shows like it’s gonna be a mixture of like, virtual and in-person?
Julie Huval 18:21
Oh, yeah, I definitely think that and I think, you know, in the b2b space, especially in my industry and construction, you know, continuing education is very important. So I think, you know, for people that they may have to get away from their office, they may have to get away from their house in order to continue that education. And also, you know, especially in construction, and I know, in a lot of other industries, you know, building up relationships, there’s only so much you can do over video conferencing and being able to sit down and break bread with people goes a long way. And so I think there is going to be a hybrid, and I think it’s going to be better for business, I think it’s going to be better for our sanities. But, yeah, I think companies are going to figure out, hey if we were successful during the year 2020 with these different initiatives. And one of them, maybe virtual events. Cool. How do we keep doing that going forward. And for some of these, you know, in-person events that we didn’t really get a lot of value out of it. We replace and create our own virtual event, do it for a cheaper cost, and not have to tax our teams with logistics of traveling around the country. But still, you know, meet our revenue goals and meet business goals. I think there’s going to be a lot of that that we’re going to see going forward.
Christian Klepp 19:46
Yeah, no, well, definitely, definitely.
Hey, it’s Christian Klepp here. We’ll get back to the episode in a second. But first, is your brand struggling to cut through the noise? Are you trying to find more effective ways to reach your target audience and boost sales. Are you trying to pivot your business? If so, book a call with EINBLICK Consulting, our experienced consultants will work with you to help your b2b business to succeed and scale. Go to www.einblick.co for more information.
All right, Julie, I’m gonna ask you to like, stop whatever it is you’re doing right now. And please take out your crystal ball and look deep into the future. And tell me your top predictions when it comes to data for b2b marketing.
Julie Huval 20:32
So it’s gonna be my crystal ball and my wish list. Okay?
Christian Klepp 20:35
Julie Huval 20:37
So this first one, my wish list is like, Man, what if all of the data that we had within marketing lived in one platform?
Christian Klepp 20:45
Wow, amen to that.
Julie Huval 20:46
Yeah. Right. Like, Oh, my God, that’d be so awesome. And like, I would just, I’d be so much more productive with my day, because I wouldn’t have to jump into all these different platforms. And I know, we can do some of it today through platforms like Power BI and Google Data Studio.
Christian Klepp 21:02
Julie Huval 21:03
But a lot of that is still, you need to have some knowledge of how to work those big heavy platforms, and how to connect the data and how to make the data talk to each other. Because it’s me pulling an Excel file from one platform, an Excel file from the other platform, and then making them talk and Power BI, not the same like you have to do some rigging of that. So that’s… if anyone’s out there, that’s my wish list. And I think it’s also going to happen one day.
Christian Klepp 21:32
Julie Huval 21:33
I think another thing is that like we started off this conversation with, I think there’s going to be some marketing initiatives. More and more people are going to be doing this of recognizing what marketing initiatives are actually driving revenue dollars. And I think that’s very apparent. And I think, you know, as marketing itself becomes better aligned through data, I think that’s where it’s going to happen. And I tell my marketing department all the time, whatever we can do to make our salespersons life easier, let’s do that. Because, you know, it’s a lot easier for a salesperson to respond to someone requesting a demo, or requesting information, versus picking up the phone and making cold calls. And so…
Christian Klepp 22:18
Oh please, God. (laugh)
Julie Huval 22:21
What we’ve also noticed… I’m gonna throw out some numbers for you. We’ve noticed that anytime that we have an inbound come in, they close, we have a pretty long sell cycle, but they close about, I’m probably gonna say 45% faster than if someone was picking up the phone and calling someone to see if they want to buy our software. So they close 45% faster. You know, if we can get more of those than like, ideally, I want to have a salesperson, you know, sitting out in their hammock and being able to respond to a demo request, and still be super successful. If you know if marketing is having them do that. Heck, yes, I want to do that all the time. Because that means that we’re getting more customers faster, and we’re gonna hit our revenue goal for the company. I’m not opposed for anyone working in their hammock. Trust me if I could do it. If I could have two monitors, in my hammock, I will do it.
Christian Klepp 23:18
Yeah. I mean, I’d love to do that to Julie. But unfortunately, it’s just too cold in Toronto for that. (laugh)
Julie Huval 23:26
In Texas it’s lovely, and I could probably do it today. But I haven’t figured out the two monitor system in the hammock yet.
Christian Klepp 23:32
Yeah, yeah, that could be another one on your wish list.
Julie Huval 23:36
Here, and I have one more for my prediction for B2B marketing. Those that can tell the story behind the numbers will win.
Christian Klepp 23:45
Julie Huval 23:46
And what I mean by that is that, you know, marketers can really dig into the data that they have. And they can tell their leadership at their company. If they can tell their own department head, whoever it may be that you know, holds the purse strings or whatever may happen at their company, they’ll get more budget, they’ll get more resources, and they’ll get more tools to grow the right kinds of data. Because again, if I can say, hey, our virtual events are driving in a lot of leads, let’s bring in someone who specializes in virtual events. Let’s bring someone in, who can do video editing instead of us outsourcing it, let’s bring someone in who can do cool graphics, let’s really put an emphasis and getting our customers to come on and tell their story and their successes with our software. So again, I think the marketers that look at their data start to piece together that story and can actually communicate that well to other people in their business. They’re going to start to see some rewards out of that because people are going to take notice of going oh, wow, this actually works. Let’s do more of it.
Christian Klepp 24:54
Mm hmm. That’s an amazing list. Hopefully, some of those things will definitely come true in the near future, I have a feeling that somebody’s working on at least one of those things that you’ve listed.
Julie Huval 25:09
Christian Klepp 25:11
Fingers crossed. Yeah, Indeed, indeed. And if I’m not mistaken, I read a report a couple of weeks back, and I’d like to get your thoughts on that, because like, you know, one of the things also that they’re talking about moving forward as clearly as the technology is continuing to develop further, and obviously there’s a little bit of AI in the mix as well. They’re talking about, like, things like hyper targeting, right, using data to identify certain patterns within target groups of customers, you know, and to use that information and those insights to help drive not just marketing initiatives, but sales initiatives, because I mean, wouldn’t it be great if you could anticipate what the target audience is gonna do, or how they’re going to react to a certain piece of content? I mean, I think that’d be a bit of a game changer.
Julie Huval 26:04
Oh, yeah. I mean, and that’s where it kind of Account Based Marketing comes into play, whenever. And again, I think, and I use Account Based Marketing to reference what you’re just talking about, of like, it’s not always company XYZ. And I’m going to market it at one company and go deep and go wide in that one company. I think also Account Based Marketing are, you know, it’s for those decision makers, it’s for the end user, and I can do different things to those people based off of, you know, what their role is within their company, how they’re actually touching my company’s website. Hates it. I don’t think anybody’s going to be shocked by this. But we can see all that and we use that information to target them with specific types of email campaigns. And, hey, you know, what’s coming back? This isn’t data related, but I’m still gonna say it, because I think it’s a missed piece. Snail mail? It’s a beautiful marketing initiative. Do more.
Christian Klepp 26:58
Yeah, that funny thing.
Julie Huval 27:01
Yeah, we’re doing a lot of that this year as well. So snail mail, coming right to your mailbox, and we’re gonna be doing that. So, you know, I think, as companies get more into Account Based Marketing, and really that hyper specific stuff of what people are doing, and just day to day, what you know what their hobbies are, you’re not used to looking at Google stuff, Google can tell you what kind of hobbies that you’re into. And they’ll tell it to someone who is willing to pay for it. So there’s so much you can do out there with data. And not only that data that a company generates, but also like you were mentioning the data that people just have on their digital footprint. How can you read the tea leaves, and then make sure that you’re one of those tea leaves that they’re in front of all the time.
Christian Klepp 27:42
Mm hmm. Exactly. And I think you hit the nail on the head with the term digital footprint. And so to a certain extent tea leaves as well. So, um, you’ve mentioned a few platforms earlier, Julie, but like, you know, what are some of your top data analysis tools for b2b marketing? You know, that you would recommend to people out there?
Julie Huval 28:03
Yeah. So I’m going to start off with like, the freebies, and then we’ll go up. So, you know, I think the simplest one Google Analytics. And I know, it’s a big, heavy piece of machinery out there that you look at stuff, and you’re going what are all these numbers mean? Take the time, study it. I know that Google has some certifications that you can do with Google Analytics. It gives you a tons of information. And not just Google Analytics. There’s also the Google Search Console, a lot of information out of that. We also track Alexa web ranking is okay. It’s not the Alexa that sits in your home. It is part of the Amazon platform. But it’s Alexa web ranking and tells you how well your website’s doing in comparison to maybe some of your competitors out there.
Christian Klepp 28:51
Julie Huval 28:52
You know, another analysis tool, your CRM, I mean, people should be able to pull data out of whatever CRM system they’re using, whether it’s Salesforce, or HubSpot or Deltek. I mean, there’s all sorts of them out there. But being able to pull that information and really see, and I think that’s where you start getting into the granularity of who’s the decision maker at a company. And, you know, how often are they interacting with the email content that you’re sending out? How often are they responding to a salespersons email or phone call? To be able to look at that stuff is pretty powerful. And then we are going into like the Power BI, and we use Power. And I know earlier I mentioned the Google Data Studio, it’s a similar platform. My company we use Power BI so I’m a little bit more familiar with that one. But we’re able to bring in the data across the entire company and look at it in one snapshot. And that is very helpful whenever you start talking about customer renewals. Also like how quickly that time to market value of a customer. We can keep track of that, we want to reduce that number every single year and every single quarter. So being able to see that in one platform.
And then I’m going to mention this too. So you know, I work in the b2b space, I’m SaaS company, tech company. As it relates specifically to my company, and what I look at, I also look at our analytics on our support community, we have an online support community, I’m looking at how long people are, you know, when they log in, what kind of chats and ideas are putting out there. That’s a lot of great content for my marketing team to use. It’s awesome.
And then from an operational standpoint, within our business, we use a platform called 15Five and it’s to track. So we do weekly one to ones with our team members. But we also have a weekly kind of check in that you do and you give it a happiness score. So across the company, I know what the happiness score is of our team members. So if something’s not going well in the business that usually reflects in our happiness score. So like, again, being a company leader, and really wanting to make sure that we’re growing and scaling at the right clip, that’s been a great platform for us.
And then we also use lessonly for internal training, as well as external training. So lessonly, again, has a lot of great content and data that we can pull into marketing and going okay what kind of content? What kind of campaigns can we create, or training needs of our customers, as well as training needs that I see for our company?
Christian Klepp 31:26
Right. That was a fantastic list, Julie,
Julie Huval 31:31
I’m trying to be concise. There’s a lot of stuff out there.
Christian Klepp 31:34
Yeah, I can only imagine.
Julie Huval 31:36
I would say if anyone’s trying to get started with data, look at Google Analytics, check out your Alexa web ranking, you may be shocked. And then pull it you know, pull up your CRM, see what you can pull out of there to get started.
Christian Klepp 31:49
Well, that’s fantastic. And I mean, if I understood correctly, what you’ve been saying over the past couple of minutes, it’s the fine balance of like, you know, finding the right tools on free or paid. But, you know, couple that with the right processes and systems that are in place, so that people can learn how to use them, and continue to evolve as they’re using them, right? Because this is a continuous process. It’s not just okay, like, you know, use these platforms, and then you’re good to go.
Julie Huval 32:21
Yeah, no, like, one of the things I didn’t mention was, you know, marketing automation platform, our CRM has all that built in. But, you know, for someone that starting out, they have no budget, maybe MailChimp is the way to go. There’s a free version of that, being able to pull analytics from that. I think whatever you can do to get your hands on. Because if you’re flying blind in the world of marketing, and you’re not sure how your audience is responding to what you’re putting out, like, how are you going to get better. And so, you know, I think of it, you know, super athletes, they track of everything that they do, they know that if they eat, you know, a certain type of breakfast in the morning, how they’re going to respond whenever they come up to the big tournament later that day. So like the same thing in marketing, you have to know what you’re eating, to know what’s going to work going forward. So anywhere that you can do stuff on a digital platform. I think digital… super easy to measure in digital. Just make sure that you can get into the analytics, start digging around in it, Google search, whatever to like, how do I read the analytics of Twitter? How do I bring the analytics of you. It’s all out there. And it’s free. Like I’m all about, like, Where can I get the most bang for my buck? You don’t need to spend a fortune. Also, here’s my other tidbit of advice. Don’t go in for a consultant until you’ve actually started to like dig into the data yourself. Because you’ll end up spending a lot of money and spinning your wheels and the consultant is just going to charge you by the hour.
Christian Klepp 33:50
Mm hmm. Exactly. Yeah, you know, we come to one of the favorite parts… my favorite part of the interview anyway. Commonly held beliefs, conventional wisdom, you know, these funny little words. And you know, you’ve got them in every discipline. Right. So in your opinion, talk to us about one of those beliefs that people have, when it comes to using data to drive marketing, why you strongly disagree with it.
Julie Huval 34:21
So I think one of them that I’ve heard before, is only marketing data can be used to drive marketing. And, you know, I am a firm believer that that is not the case. Because I mean, part of it is is I look at my sales team. And you know, they’re on the front lines of talking with prospects. They’re the first people I go to to ask about trends. Hey, what are you hearing? What are people saying? And then I can go to our services team, and they’ll tell me like, Man, this customer was great to work with during the implementation. They had their stuff together. They worked on this for, you know, a couple of weeks before we even got on the call and going, Well, great. What is it about that customer that I can go out and find more customers just like that, to get them into our pipeline. And then you know, even working with our software developers of, you know, what features are you guys noticing that customers are really thrilled about? And then marketing can turn that around and create ideas and content around that type of stuff. So let me, for the simple fact of I go into our support community and look at our data. It tells me how our customers are liking our products and where they’re struggling, and what kind of stuff can we put out there? And hopefully, and again, I want to make the lives of every one of my company easier. What can we put out there on the interwebs, that, you know, hey, it’s already out there, someone has a question of how to solve an issue that keeps popping up. And it’s a simple fix, it’s already on our Twitter account, or we already have a video for it on YouTube. And that just makes our support teams lives easier. So I think being able to use data, not just within marketing, and also that also means marketers need to understand what’s happening in the business. Again, I think a lot of times, people get pigeonholed, they get, you know, focused on one thing, and they don’t think outside of what they’re focusing on and working on. But just like getting a pulse read of what’s happening. And again, not just in your business, but in your industry. I read a lot of industry magazines to know what’s happening and what people are talking about, what’s coming up, especially in construction. And in government regulations. It’s always changing. So I think if people just, you know, focus on looking at data outside of marketing, they’re, they’re going to be super successful with that.
Christian Klepp 36:41
Yeah, no, that’s a great insight. And I think the word that you were trying to avoid saying which is sacrilegious, by the way, is the word siloed. Right. Trying not to be siloed. And trying to like expand the horizon a little bit, looking beyond, you know, what your what your business unit or your department is doing, right?
Julie Huval 36:59
Yeah, I feel like siloed is, you know, a four letter word that we’re not supposed to say. So, I’m trying to use like, hyper focused, and then I get it. Because you know, there’s times where I’m head down deep into something, and I can get hyper focused. And I also think too, if anyone is listening to this, that, you know, they’re not in marketing, but this resonates with them. Invite your marketing people to the table, have them start talking about what they’re doing in marketing, and how does that apply to the initiatives that the company is doing? So, you know, sometimes marketing wants to be there, but they’re not being invited. And they don’t know that they can just barge in and sit themselves down, which is what I did. But yeah, I think, you know, it’s a holistic approach, because if you’re expecting one department to function on their own, without giving them anything behind the curtain, you know, the company as a whole is going to struggle.
Christian Klepp 37:56
That’s absolutely right. Absolutely right. Um, so talk to us about one thing that you think people should start doing. And one thing you think people should stop doing when it comes to data marketing, or data for marketing, rather, in b2b.
Julie Huval 38:12
So I think people should stop disagreeing with people who, quote unquote, don’t get marketing, start talking to them about using the data. And again, this is how I got into the data and analytics earlier in my career. I was getting a lot of pushback from people that I think they thought they knew how to run a business. And I thought they knew how to run a business. And then I would show them the black and white numbers of this is what our data is saying. And if they wanted to argue with the numbers, that was on them, because they were no longer arguing with me. And so, again, and I think it goes back to the communicating. As marketers, we should be good at communicating. But taking those numbers and again, marketers who say I don’t like numbers, and you’re really good at communicating visually through graphics, so create charts. And so like, being able to take a chart and tell someone the story behind that pie chart, graph, whatever it is, of, you know, what’s working, what’s not working, you start to create a more collaborative conversation, instead of going to someone and saying, Hey, we need money, hey, I can’t do this, hey, I don’t have time to do that. Turn it into more of a collaboration session. And you’ll slowly start to get those people who say, Hey, I don’t get marketing, they’ll start to get it and then I’ll start to be a proponent of it.
Christian Klepp 39:40
You know what Julie, you lay that out so beautifully. I’m gonna have to just recap a little bit what you said. And what I mean, it really is spot on. And you know, it’s interesting, because in a previous lifetime, I was a product marketer, and that was one of the things that one of my direct reports had always told me because I was there once too where we would keep getting pushed back from sales, even, you know, after we came back with all this analysis and what have you. And one of the things that she said, which I’ll never forget is like, you have to understand what it is that the data is telling you. And extract those insights, right? Answer the question, so what, right. And use that to tell, you know, use the data to tell a story that convinces or not necessarily convinced, it’s probably not the right word, but influences the other members of the organization, and convinces them that this is the right approach to take. Because at the end of the day, you know, as cheesy as this is gonna sound, we’re all on the same team.
Julie Huval 40:43
Yeah. And also you don’t feel like you’re part of the same team, switch companies.
Christian Klepp 40:48
Right. Right. Exactly. Exactly. Julie, you know, you’ve given us so many great and valuable insights. So we’ll go to the bit now where you, you know, tell the listeners a little bit about who you are, what you do.
Julie Huval 41:04
Now, I get to explain why I’m actually talking about this stuff. (laugh) My street cred. Yeah, so I describe myself as an analytics nerd and marketing geek. And I wear that badge with privilege. And I just love it, like I, I love me a good chart, and I love me some good graphics. And like, they just speak volumes to me. So I work for a company called Beck technology, we develop pre construction software for the construction industry. Started with them about nine years ago. And at that time, we were a company of 12. And I was the first marketing person they had ever hired. So I was a marketing department of one for several years. And now we, I don’t know the number because we’re hiring like crazy, but we have over 60 employees, and marketing department this year is going to be up to seven. Yeah, so again, I’m not just blowing smoke, whenever I say talk to the people that say that they don’t think that they know marketing, show them the data, it works. Yeah, and then myself, I’m born, raised, educated, and everything I live in Texas. Did a short little stint after college in Colorado and had a blast and then moved back to do my master’s degree. But yeah, that’s, that’s what I do. I’m third generation construction worker. So a lot of my family still, they work out in the field, or they work for other construction companies. And so, you know, every single holiday, every single weekend, it’s usually talking about construction. And I feel like I’m at home.
Christian Klepp 42:38
That’s an amazing story. I mean, like talk about like the humble origins of the quintessential b2b marketer.
Julie Huval 42:46
Yeah, it’s funny, because I started off in this industry in human resources. And, yeah, I know. And whenever I tell people that they’re like, really you? And I’m like, it’s amazing. But I really enjoyed marketing, I love communicating. And so, you know, I will say, you know, our company is going through a huge growth spurt right now. And one of the things that we’re really focusing on as a leadership team is making sure that we’re scaling our company, the right amount, and making sure that our culture stays intact and, and giving people all the resources that they need to be successful. But I will say one of the things that, you know, we do these, and it’s not just marketing data, it’s even company data, we do feedback from our employees, do surveys throughout the year. And one of the things I’m very proud of our leadership team is that they notice, Hey, guys, we need to do a better job of communicating things that are happening in the business. So marketing is playing a bigger and bigger role, externally and internally in our business. And in you know, thankfully, other people in that in the company realize that a lot of things that marketers do well are things that we need to do better at within the company, so that we can still be… we’re best place to work in Dallas, we’re gonna keep doing that. And also, we hire in a very tough space. So we want to make sure that we bring in the best applicants, the more that we can communicate and the right clip and the right tone, and everything, it works well for our business. So inside and out.
Christian Klepp 44:17
Fantastic. And I mean, that in itself is already quite an achievement. So well done.
Julie Huval 44:21
Thank you. Thank you.
Christian Klepp 44:25
Julie, this has been such a great session. So thanks so much for coming on and sharing. What’s the best way for people out there to connect with you?
Julie Huval 44:33
Connect with me on LinkedIn, and I’m going to say this: One, if anyone sends me a LinkedIn request, and make sure you put in a note in there that hey, I listened to you on Christian’s podcast. I will accept it 100% of the time. If you just send me a random LinkedIn request, I get a lot of those from salespeople. I may not accept it, but make sure that you say hey, this is what I heard you from or listened to, and let’s connect on that. I’d love to talk with people about data, about analytics, about marketing, about how to market during a global pandemic because I still don’t know what to do. So yeah, I love connecting with other marketers.
Christian Klepp 45:13
There you have it, folks, you got you got a pretty broad menu there of topics you can talk to Julie about. So come prepared. (laugh) Julie, once again, this has been such an insightful and informative session. So thanks again for your time. Take care. Stay safe and talk to you soon.
Julie Huval 45:30
Christian Klepp 45:31
All right. Bye for now. Thank you for joining us on this episode of the B2B Marketers on a Mission podcast. To learn more about what we do here at EINBLICK, please visit our website at www.einblick.co and be sure to subscribe to the show on iTunes or your favorite podcast player.
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