Mark S A Smith is a business growth strategist who hosts the Selling Disruption Show. In this interview he interviews, Jason Kramer the Founder of Cultivize, a company that helps identifies the right customers, nurture them to where they fall in love with you, and then convert them into paying customers.
Listen to the complete podcast here.
Jason and Mark met on LinkedIn and Jason said, “We can help you figure out who’s visiting your website, and we’ll tell you how to get hold of them once you know who they are.” I was intrigued. Jason gave me a little snippet of code that I pasted onto a couple of my websites, and then he would be reaching out to me every couple of days with, “Mark, here are a couple of companies that have visited your website. Do you want to get hold of them?” That’s a brilliant piece of magic. How did you stumble into this? How can our audience use this magic to figure out whose visiting them? The people who have raised their hand said, “I want more,” then you can reach out and keep the conversation going.
Many businesses use what we call traditional email service providers, Constant Contact, Mail Chimp, etc. You send out an email to a list and you’re super excited that you’ve got a 30% open rate or whatever the number might be. The reality is that what do that 30% of people do? More importantly, what about the other 70% that haven’t taken any action? A lot has changed since the world of email marketing over the last 15+ years. A lot of people may have heard the term automated marketing or lead nurturing. Even the term marketing itself, despite it being around for decades, is still vague to some people. It can mean many things. There’s no surprise that marketing automation is also still a vague term.
Disruptive Marketing: We’re in a digital age where everything we do is being monitored.
Does this sound familiar when trying to schedule an email blast? “Tim, how about Tuesday morning we send out an email at 10:00 AM to our entire database?” Linda says, “What about Thursday?” Ultimately, Tim and Linda aren’t either correct or wrong because they’re deciding when their customers and prospects want to hear from them. We all know that’s not how business and how sales work. You’ve got to strike when the iron’s hot. You’ve got to strike when a prospect is showing interest. Somebody walking into a retail store is immediately showing interest because they’ve walked through the door. What Cultiviez’s lead nurturing system is doing essentially is creating that virtual door to let you know when people are walking through it. We’re doing that in the web world. 99% of the businesses we help do not have a brick and mortar presence. In fact, 99% of them aren’t even an e-commerce website. They’re selling a service to either consumers or businesses. They don’t even have a mechanism in place via their website to know who’s interested and who’s even potentially making a purchase. What we do is something quite simple. We all are familiar with the idea of the abandoned cart mechanism. Maybe you haven’t heard of it, but we’ve all experienced it.
We place an order, decide something distracts us. We get a phone call, we don’t place the order. Now what?
It’s all about learning behavior. It’s all about tracking. We’re in a digital age where everything we do is being monitored. Whether we want to accept it or not, it is the reality of the world we live in. Jason and his team help their clients take advantage of that technology and that information that’s out there for their clients. You don’t need to be a $100 million company in order to leverage that technology. The majority of our clients are in that $2 million to $50 million range.
You can read “The Playbook for Winning in Lead Nurturing” to see how to amplify the ability of your sales team to close more deals. It’s far more cost-effective to nurture the contacts/leads in your current database, versus spending money to generate new ones. The reality is that you haven’t spoken to many of those people in a long time. The Cultivize strategy and technology system lets you know when that person has come back to your website and realized they’re not even filling out a form. They’re either going on the website, they’re watching a video, they’re reading a blog that you recently posted. They’re checking out a new service that you have added. They’re doing some level of engagement because they’re interested. If you don’t have a way to know that they’re interested, then that’s a potential piece of business that you potentially lost.
The other aspect of this is the anonymous visitor. People ask Jason all the time, “Jason, what about the people that aren’t in my database? What about the companies that are coming to my website that I’ve never spoken to before? How do I identify those people?” The unique thing about his platform is that we’re able to track and identify repeat visitors that are coming to your website. By utilizing the IP address, which essentially for the non-geeks out there is the phone number for their computer, we see when a visitor comes multiple times. We can then cross-reference that IP address and be able to match it up with information about their business.
You and your team have figured out and accumulated billions of IP addresses. IP for the non-geeks stands for internet protocol. How have figured out how to identify what IP address belongs to what company.
That’s the secret sauce and that is a moving target, so you’ve got a lot of technology going on to help maintain that list of IP addresses and who it belongs to. I know it’s difficult to always identify an individual, but the point is that we can identify which company is. It’s very likely that the person that you want to reach out to, you know what their function is, you know what their role is.
One scenario is using this information and going on LinkedIn and then be able to trace to whom you’re looking for that works for that company. The great thing about LinkedIn is that there’s a good chance that you might even have a connection in common. It’s no longer what a cold call. It turns into a warm call.
Disruptive Marketing: A company can get amazingly high revenue, but they can’t grow their business exponentially without any real software and system in place.
An example is Jason had a client that was selling fire prevention systems for buildings. Using the Cultivize platform and strategy, they were able to see that a prominent museum in Manhattan visited their website that was not a client. They were able to pull in whom the facility’s manager was through this same system. Rather than cold calling and trying to find out who that facility’s manager was, which would have been weeks if not months’ worth of work, they called upon the facilities’ manager. They didn’t come out and say, “This is how we got your info,” but they said, “We’d work with other museums, and we wanted to reach out to see if we could have a conversation with you about the services we provide for other museums in Manhattan.” The conversation went very quickly to the appreciation of the phone call and the outreach to getting a scheduled meeting. Without that facility manager’s name and number, that probably would have never happened.
Every conversation has to be relevant or it does damage to your company’s brand.
The problem with cold calling is that we’re asking people to give us something, their precious time when they owe us nothing. When we can make a call and identify the fact that we have something that they’re interested in, the conversation is more valuable to the prospective customer. Why not have conversations with people who give a damn about what you’re selling at the time when they give a damn about what you’re selling? That’s what Cultivize helps people do.
Word of mouth and referrals is not a sustainable or scalable marketing methodology.
If you’re thinking about selling your company and your marketing method is referrals and word of mouth, you are unsaleable because the new owner can’t pour money into marketing and grow the company. It’s the icing on the cake but it is not the cake.
We do have a few criteria that make a good fit for companies that we like to work with, and not only like to work with but can help. If they don’t fit these criteria, then it’s nearly impossible for us to make any type of impact. One is they have to have at least a dedicated salesperson or team. If there’s not somebody that’s going to be accountable and responsible for business development, that’s going to utilize this software it will not be as effective. When I say utilize software, I’m talking about maybe an hour or two a week at most. It’s not like you’re sitting all day on it, but you have to have someone that’s going to be there dedicated.
If you’re spending a couple of hundred dollars a month on Facebook and you’re testing out Google Ads and you’re dibbling and dabbling around, that’s not sustainable lead gen.
You have to have a marketing company you’re working with or somebody in-house that has a strategy that’s going to produce quantifiable and quality leads on an ongoing basis for the Cultivize system to do the magic it can do.
If you’re spending $2k/month or more on marketing and lead gen, you must have a lead nurturing and sales enablement process in place. If not, it’s quite likely leads will fall out of the funnel and you’ll be burning your marketing dollars. You MUST have a CRM as a systematic way to track sales.
Disruptive Marketing: When hiring someone else to help grow your business, make sure they’re going to be delivering the quality that you would expect from your own internal team.
After that, it’s about personality more than anything. A company that is passionate about what they do, they’re dedicated to it. They don’t run their business as a hobby, but they’re in it to win it. Those are the types of personalities that Jason and his team look for from a business owner as well as the company themselves.
What can you provide to somebody who wants to put together those processes?
What the Cultivize team provides is more than the software, more than the technology. Jason’s company prior to forming Cultivize was around for many years, and we provided digital marketing, branding, and marketing services. Every one of our clients will start off with an in-depth conversation about their company, goals, sales process, marketing efforts, and additional critical components to developing a customized strategy. Each month a one-hour strategy consultation is had with Jason himself and each client’s sales and/or marketing team.
In addition to that, the Cultivize team can create content for blogs, for email newsletters. We’ll help design and create landing pages as well as all the nuts and bolts that go into the platform. They’re willing to help as much as needed. For the clients that have an in-house team or an external marketing partner, that’s terrific too. They train those people to make sure that they know how to get the most out of the system.
What’s the most interesting project that you’ve been working with that Cultivize has helped grow with the methodology that you bring to the party?
There’s one that comes to mind and I can happily share it here with the audience. It’s a company called Edco. What Edco does is they provide fundraising programs for robotic programs at schools. The way that they do this is a little like a crowdsourcing type of methodology limited directly to this one specialty. What we’re able to do with our platform is we’re able through what’s called an API, which stands for application program interface. What that means is that they’ve built a custom platform that their users go onto to create these fundraising pages to invite teams to build out a place for people to donate and to contribute. Through this API, we’ve been able to integrate our platform into their platform easily. The magic happens that when someone creates an account, there are different levels of getting to that fundraising process. For example, when you create an account you’re prompted to, “You’ve created an account, let’s create a fundraising page. They’ve created a page. Let’s invite some team members to the page. You have team members there, let’s set a goal. Let’s invite some people to donate.”
There are all these steps to have a successful campaign. Their software on their own has no way to engage the people that are creating these accounts. It has no way to educate them about the value of inviting new team members, about getting people to participate. We’re able to create specific drip email content that goes out to each member based on certain aspects of their profile. For example, if they didn’t reach their goal at a specific time, an email gets sent out through our platform. If they did reach their goal, we send out a congratulations email. If they haven’t added as many team members as we think they should have, an email goes out for that. What we’re able to do is we’re able to constantly be nurturing it and informing these users on how to get the most out of that Edco platform to make it a successful fundraising campaign for their school and their robotics program. That’s one example that’s specifically how we’re able to customize our platform to adapt to another piece of software that already exists.
Another example would be is for a heating and ventilation company. It’s a distributor. It’s the largest distributor in the Northeast. They distributed for Mitsubishi, Honeywell, Luxaire and a number of other nationally and globally recognized brands. What we’re able to do with the platform in their unique case is we’re able to produce content for key specific customer audience. This company operates across the Eastern Seaboard in nineteen different locations. We’re able to not in the case of my example of sending an email newsletter to your entire database. We’re able to send out content specific to branch managers, sales managers, internal communication, customers of specific locations, to vendors. All this is possible because of the automation of the segmentation of data that we have in the system. Another thing that is as important is segmenting data. What we’re able to do is create automated rules to say, “If for example, your location equals X, then you’re going to get these series of emails. If your zip code is X. If this happens, then this is going to move your data from one place to another.” There are all these rules we’ve created for that particular client and others that help them create a systemized way to organize their data, which makes for effective content delivery to specific audiences.
Where to go from here?
First, you’ve got to create relevance for everybody you’re reaching out to. You have to have a marketing system. One of the most important questions to ask yourself, “Do you have a formal funded marketing plan and sales process?” Formal is a critical aspect and funded is a critical aspect. If the answer is no, I can predict that your business is on the downward slide whether you believe it or not. It’s critical to put together these systems if you’re going to create the best possible operation. With Jason and the Cultivize methodology of being able to identify prospective customers that are coming to your website. What a critical and interesting aspect of having people who are interested. They’re hungry for your information. To be able to reach back out to them and say, “The reason why I’m reaching out is that here’s what we do for customers like you,” and then having that conversation to accelerate the relationship.
Jason is available for complimentary consultations to answer any questions you may have, schedule a call here