Transcript: That Marketing Platform Episode

Emma Dolby, Marketing Manager of Direct Air & Pipework, visits the podcast to talk about the setup she inherited coming into the role, what drove her desire for change, and how the transition to Spotler’s GatorSuite has made a difference to her team

Listen to the full conversation here.

Emma, thanks so much for joining us today. And could you tell our audience a bit about Direct Air, who you are and how your marketing is set up?

We’re a compressed air company. You could say we’re a one stop shop for everything compressed air: we do the design, the supply, the installation and maintenance and pretty much everything else in between. I should also add that we’re a third-generation family business. Direct Air was set up by my granddad and dad and our office was literally based on my grandparents’ garage in Coventry. So we’ve come quite a long way, considering the business operated without a marketing department or in fact a marketing employee for 24 years.

Oh Wow, that’s amazing. What changed in terms of getting you on board for the marketing side of things then.

We were just like any good business, we kind of had this desire to grow as a company and to stand out from the competition. And so that’s why we thought, okay, it’s about time that we invest in someone whose expertise is marketing. There was also this need to support sales, because they can’t do it all on their own.

When I joined almost three years ago, we invested in new branding, a new website and we started considering lead generation as a joint responsibility, so it wasn’t just Sales, but we’re still a very small team. So any platform’s external support that we invest in definitely has to be the right fit for us and Spotler certainly is that for us.

Fab! You’ve been using the Spotler platform for over a year now. Is that right?

Yes, I initially discovered you guys through GatorLeads. We made the decision that we wanted to get a new website and during the exploration of the project, we were like, “okay, there’s all this lead generation technology that we could utilise.” And so after doing a bit of a Google search, you guys came up. So, we did the free trial on our previous website, and really liked the looks of it, it was really easy to use. During the GatorLeads training, it was mentioned that GatorLeads was actually just part of the whole Suite. And it was perfect timing because I had just had enough with MailChimp at that point, and I was looking to find a new email marketing platform, so it kind of made sense to look into the rest of the Suite.

How did you find MailChimp? When you were using it was what were your frustrations with it?

Essentially, I inherited MailChimp because this is what the sales guys were using. It is quite simple tool to use, but it wasn’t a tool for using emails for lead generation. So I felt like I wanted some extra support, someone on the end of the phone or the email to talk through an email template. MailChimp really didn’t offer that there was no like training available one-to-one, their chat bot just kept directing me to FAQs and videos. And there were limitations in the automation. I was getting all these big grand ideas of what I wanted to do with like the new branding, and I kept coming back to this quite simple tool. I was thinking “Well, I’d rather pay for something that where we get an account manager and we can get that additional strategy and support.”

Good. I’m glad to hear it. Can you explain a bit more about how GatorSuite helps you with your marketing resource or as an extension to your team? You have touched on it already. But can you tell me a bit more about that?

Yeah, no problem. So, it’s probably worth considering some of the challenges that we have to kind of understand why it’s really good for us as a resource. So while we sell products we’re not an e-commerce business, so we’re selling products to solve solutions, to win maintenance contracts to maintain these long term customer-supplier relationships, and that does mean there’s varying sales cycle lengths, sometimes up to two years. So, leads and inquiries are literally worth their weight in gold to us. The Gator Suite means that we’ve got everything all in one place. Really cheesy, but we call it our marketing automation toolbox just like our engineering toolbox! And it’s easy to see how all the products link into one another, I’m not going into different dashboards to try and figure it out. I’ve really got to big-up our account manager James because having a dedicated account manager, they’re able to offer advice and give scenarios that the other customers are using. It was really enabling me to be able to think about what we want to speak to our customers rather than worry about how we were going to do it. And then you think, “Oh, god, it’s so easy and can be done so quickly.”

Brill! And could you tell me about a campaign in Gator that’s been really successful for Direct Air and how did you measure or prove its success?

Our cold natural workflow is a bit of a beast. And we utilise the full suite to be able to achieve this. Leads and inquiries are what we want and that’s what I can give to our sales team and they can turn it into like an actual quotation that turns into a sale. So daily, we were identifying relevant companies who have visited our website. So for us, it’d be anyone that does any kind of manufacturing or production, then using different tools such as LinkedIn or the company’s website themselves to identify the role that we want to be able to get in touch with. And then using GatorMail, we’ve created a series of campaigns to be sent out sharing best practice advice, useful blog content, case studies. And we place it all within an automated workflow to help manage the prospects. So, we managed to get 917 contacts completing the workflow. Of those, 97 leads have passed on to Sales as Marketing Qualified Leads. We’re getting like almost 30% engagement rate with some of our emails that were Outlook style. So, when our sales guys get back in touch with them, it actually all marries up. They know Direct Air as a brand, and we were getting direct replies to emails from prospects. So yeah, it’s definitely, it’s all still heading in the right direction. And that’s almost 100 active leads our sales team are able to get in touch with and try and upsell things to.

Is that the first campaign of its kind you’ve done using Gator?

That was the first one that we did. And we’ve started now looking at introducing more tailored campaigns. Because our problem is, we do so much, it’s always hard to know what to talk to someone about. So, if you were to do a cold call, for instance, you could be there reading off a list of about 20 different services that we provide for them. So, the cold nurture campaign gave us the ability to see what content they were engaging with. So then when we touch base them, whether on via email or on the phone, we’re leading with something that we know that they’re interested in, which helped our sales team massively; they’ve got all the right literature and case studies that are relevant. So, it’s been really efficient for them as well as productive for us as marketing.

And, do you think you would have got sort of similar results if you’d have used MailChimp? Or do you think it’s totally different?

I think it’s totally different because I don’t honestly think that MailChimp had really the capacity for us to be able to go into as much detail in depth as we did. There is about 10 different content channels that we’ve got in our workflow, and within them, there’s like multiple emails. And you know, I could go on to the Gator Suite right now and be able to go into different groups of contacts and know, “okay, they accepted the workflow at this point, therefore, they engage with this.” I just feel like MailChimp, or at least the version of MailChimp that we were using, just wasn’t as sophisticated. And I didn’t have as much confidence in it because I didn’t, like I said, I didn’t have that account manager at the end of the phone either. Because if ever I’m stuck with something, I can pick up the phone and James can sense-check it for me, and I always get a really quick response from the support team. So I think even if I could have achieved the same result, I wouldn’t have felt confident in doing it on my own.

Yeah, that makes sense. And do you measure the Return On Investment of your campaigns? Are you in that stage?

We haven’t started doing it yet, because it’s a little bit hard to quantify the results of it if they’re still in the pipeline. I suppose to put it in perspective, we’re sometimes dealing with six-figure-deal projects. I think for us, the Return On Investment, like being able to nurture and reach out to this prospect all within one platform is ideal, because if we want to bring all the expertise in-house that we get through the Gator suite, that would be quite a significant impact to us as a business. We’ve got room for growth too, because by all means we’ve not exhausted everything that we could do. I think it’s hard to quantify but the indication is that it’s going to be a high return on investment.

We like to talk to our customers and understand what we can do better as well. Are there any limitations of the platform that you’ve noticed?

I mean hand on heart, the platform’s become more sophisticated since when we first started using it. For instance, initially, I didn’t even consider using GatorSocial. I was a Hootsuite convert, I’d used it in my previous role. I knew what I liked. So I was very, very set in stone about that not touching anything else. We actually had training on GatorSocial only the other week, and I’ve just cancelled our Hootsuite subscription.

Oh, wow. And have you started using GatorSocial yet?

Yes, our apprentice got trained up in it with Charlotte and it’s really easy to use, and even I’ve managed to use it without any training at all! So yeah, really, really good.

Fab! So would you recommend the Spotler platform to other B2B marketing teams?

Oh, absolutely. Working for an SME, there are limitations to what you can achieve in-house. Personally, I like to spend more time doing what I do best and that’s marketing. Spotler enables me to do this efficiently, it covers all the key communication channels, and they all correspond to each other. And the lead scoring is embedded throughout so it makes identifying the Marketing Leads and backing them up to Sales really simple. And the fact that I have an account manager to back up any of my campaigns or ideas. It’s just so reassuring.

Have you got an idea of how you might use Gator Suite in your in your future marketing plans? Have you got plans for new campaigns or workflows?

Yeah, well, we use, we’re quite active on social in general, but LinkedIn is quite a hotspot for us. Because we work in such a variety of different sectors. And it’s the one place that we know that everyone congregates on and people like to engage with our case studies and our on-site photos. So we’ve started just drip-feeding out the current content that we use, and now we’re going to be pulling together a targeted campaign. We’ve just started developing some white papers and a couple of different tools like an energy savings calculator. So I think we’re going to build them into our social strategy and try and push them on using GatorSocial.

Okay, that sounds great. Do you have all your own data or do you use third party purchased lists?

So we use all our own data, good old GDPR. And it did have an impact on our data bank but in a really good way, because it enabled us to cleanse all that dead data and data that we weren’t engaging with. They weren’t the right people Anyway, we managed to remove all of them from our system. And the way that we operate is honour, Legitimate business Interest position. Because, you know, if we’re contacting engineering managers of a food manufacturing company, that makes sense to us, and we’ve got a legitimate business interest to be reaching out to them. And so we’ve got all our personas in place. And we use a CRM system, which is GDPR compliant. And obviously, so is Spotler so we’re very careful with our data.

Yeah, right. Makes sense. So, tell me do you w3here do you get your inspiration from for new ideas? Do you go to certain websites? Or do you have particular sources or associations? Or where do you when you want to do something new? Where do you go and find information for that?

So we tend to, when we’re looking for inspiration, we think about like the hurdles that our customers want to overcome. And so we do a lot of we’re a member of the British Compressed Air Society which again, is as sexy as it sounds, but they’re the only UK organisation for compressed air. So they’re leading the way with legislations and standards and new industry breaking news. So that’s really important for us to be a member of because, again, like I said, compressed air, it’s that thing that people don’t necessarily think about or care about until they’ve got a problem. And so there’s lots of companies out there that aren’t compliant, and they’re not following certain rules. And so we see it as our kind of position to educate them and teach them on how to become compliant. And so we keep an eye on what BCAS are doing. We think about what hurdles our customers are wanting to overcome. And so whether that’s saving money, reducing their carbon footprint, and we use a combination of our own analytics too to see what people are engaged with. Because like I said, we do quite a lot of different things, but sometimes there might be a particular niche that we noticed as a spike people are interacting with such as nitrogen generation or something. So then we can pick that topic a lot more and do a whole blog campaign about it and do a workflow on it. And LinkedIn really is a great source of information for us, following the different sectors and the different roles and we’re quite active on Sales Navigator, keeping track of what people are talking about and what people are engaging with. And just so that we can be as industry-focused as possible.

Brill, lots of places to go and get inspiration from.

If someone out there was trying to decide between using like MailChimp and GatorSuite, what would you recommend to them?

I would say you want to ask the question. “Do you just watch send out an email every now and again, to let people know what you’re up to, or do you want to be able to put together a complete digital strategy, including, which includes email, marketing automation, and social and that interacts with your website?” because I think that’s the difference. MailChimp is a tool and it’s a tool that suits lots of companies, but it can only take you so far in the strategic approach. And especially if you’re a company and you’re time-poor or you’re resource-poor, you need to get things done and you need to get them done accurately, efficiently. But also you want them to look nice. The Gator Suite provides that because you’ve got all the tools in one place and new different things are being added all the time. We’re just starting to look into pop ups. Now that Something that if we were still a MailChimp customer, we would have to be paying a website developer to do something like that for our website. I think the Spotler platform enables you to do so much more than what you initially come into it looking for. You might be thinking, “Oh, I want to find leads”, or “I want to send an email out.” But actually the platform as a whole is so much more than that. And it seems to be growing all the time.

So, watch this space. Great. And thank you so much for your time today.

As no problem at all. I’ve really enjoyed it. Thank you very much.

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