Revenue Summit and B2B Growth
Earlier this month I had the opportunity to be a guest on one of my favorite podcasts, the B2B Growth Show.
While attending the Sales Hacker Revenue Summit in San Francisco I connected with the host of B2B Growth, James Carbary. We immediately hit it off and ended up being conference buddies for the day.
Revenue Summit is the #1 conference for aligning sales and marketing teams. The presentations were fantastic and led by leaders in Sales and Marketing.
Each session provided a ton of takeaways that can applied to Benefits Brokers and Commercial Insurance Producers.
This is a transcript of my interview on the podcast where we discuss my top three takeaways.
To listen to the full show, go here B2B Growth Show: What 2 Marketers Learned at a Sales Conference
James Carbary: Welcome back to the B2B Growth Show. We are here today with Dennis Carlson live at Revenue Summit in San Francisco. Dennis is the founder of Agency Leverage. Dennis, how you doing today?
Dennis Carlson: I’m doing great, James.
James Carbary: I’m really stoked to chat with you. You commented on a LinkedIn status of mine yesterday and mentioned that you were going to be here so we connected this afternoon and have been hanging out the entire event. Dennis, we’re going to talking the rest of this episode about your three takeaways from Revenue Summit today. Before we dive into that though, I’d love for listeners to just understand a little bit of context what you do. I’m really intrigued by just the niche that you’ve chosen to go after. Tell our listeners a little bit about that.
Dennis Carlson: Sure! I run Agency Leverage and we do marketing automation for commercial insurance agencies and benefits brokers. Those are people who sell insurance and employee benefit packages. Strictly B2B.
1. Sales Triggers
James Carbary: I love it. We were talking at dinner through what some of your key takeaways were from the event today, the first one that you mentioned was a talk that John Barrows and Morgan J. Ingram did on sales triggers, looking for triggers for your buyers. Talk to us about that. Why was it an intriguing talk for you?
Dennis Carlson: I thought it was really interesting, this idea that your prospective clients have these certain trigger events that their organizations are going through that would be a reason for them to purchase your products. In the case of my clients who maybe are selling an employee benefits package or HR technology services, maybe they see on LinkedIn that the company is hiring a number of folks that they weren’t before.Maybe you've got a 50 person company that all of a sudden is hiring 10 new people. There's an opportunity there for a benefits broker to adjust their benefits package and to have that conversation.Click To TweetTriggers like that, are really something I hadn’t spent a lot of time thinking about. But that data is easily accessible now. So, checking into LinkedIn and other resources to see what’s going on within an organization, that might be an opportunity to have a conversation that you otherwise wouldn’t have.
2. SEO: Simplified
James Carbary: The second one, got to be Eric Siu, he runs a podcast with Neil Patel called Marketing School and another podcast called Growth Everywhere. We were sitting next to each other for this talk and he came out of the gate talking about podcasting, which you kind of nudged me and like, “Hey, did you pay this guy to tell everybody in the room they should have a podcast?” which I love. He also talked about SEO later in his talk and he boiled it down to a really simple definition of what is SEO. Why did that stand out to you?
Dennis Carlson: Right. When you think about SEO there are so many directions you can go. You Google SEO and the amount of resources are just incredible. But a lot of the clients I deal with aren’t really doing any SEO in their organizations. It’s not something that the owner of an insurance agency is spending a lot of time thinking about.He broke down SEO into really just two factors which were content and linksClick To Tweetit really got me thinking about a simple way to help my clients understand SEO and just providing valuable, relevant content and then linking to high authority domains.
High authority domains are anything really of value on the internet, any website that you would normally go to is probably a high authority domain. Thinking about SEO just in those two terms I feel like can really help break down some of the barriers people have. They think this is something that they can’t attain, something that’s not achievable either on a small budget or with no marketing staff.
James Carbary: I know a lot of folks listening to this are trying to figure out how we simplify this. “I’m into this marketing stuff but my clients aren’t necessarily as tuned into it so how do I articulate things in a way that my clients will understand it?” That to me, like you said, is a perfect example of that. You and I understand SEO much more than the average person but with most of the folks that you sell to it makes perfect sense to think about SEO. They’re thinking about insurance and all the other problems that come along with that, but I did like Eric’s definition of it all boils down to content and links.
If you can create great content and you can get authoritative websites to link to it you’re doing SEO well, better than the lion’s share of people trying to produce content online.
3. The ROI of Podcasts (how meta is that?)
James Carbary: The third thing we’re going to talk about, again going back to Eric Siu’s talk, is podcasts. Now, you and I throughout the day have been talking about podcasting and the different benefits and stuff but what stood out to you whenever Eric started talking about the ROI of podcasts?
Dennis Carlson: You know, I think my comment to you when we were talking about this was you’d actually have to prove to me that there is not an ROI in podcasts. I’m not just saying that because we’re here talking to each other, I really believe that if you can get a conversation with somebody that would be a potential client and you can do that on a repeatable basis, even just having a project that you’re working on together with somebody that would be a prospective client, is going to produce better results than a cold call or even a cold meeting that someone begrudgingly gave you.This idea that you're actually going to highlight somebody's organization, the work that they do, and in turn have this relationship that you build with them, seems like automatic ROI.Click To Tweet
From a previous life I’ve done some of this doing interviews with folks on blogs, people that I wouldn’t have access to otherwise, and I saw the results of it so I’m a firm believer in it.
James Carbary: Yeah. Even during John and Morgan’s talk, we closed a deal with a podcast guest that I interviewed six days ago. I got an email from her, “Hey James, we’re going to move forward with the $1500 dollar a month package,” It just works and I’m seeing it a lot from the relationship between the host and the guest.
Eric’s talk was more talking about, in terms of listener-ship and seeing the progression of how his show has grown from an audience perspective. You and I are meeting because you listened to this show.
Dennis Carlson: That’s right.
James Carbary: We’re going to be friends for a long time now. The ancillary business benefit that comes off of that I think is really cool but I feel like Eric talked more about audience building, which is certainly a piece of it, but offline, outside of the talk, you and I were talking about what are some of the real, tangible benefits.
Dennis Carlson: I you want to talk marketing attribution. I feel like when you’re talking about a podcast and you want to talk about marketing attribution, that direct line to a sales rep sitting with a prospective client and having that conversation you can directly attribute. The PR you get, the extra mileage you get for branding and for audience exposure, for awareness level exposure, those are all things that are fantastic, but much harder to track in the long run.For the people that I'm working with (benefits brokers and insurance agencies), they're going to want to see results pretty quickly. What better result than 'I'll just put you across the table from somebody that you want to have as a client.'Click To Tweet
James Carbary: Yep, and we were just talking to another influencer, I won’t mention his name. I don’t think he’d have a problem with me saying his name but I won’t, just in case. I was asking him how his podcast was going, and just asking him are you guys leveraging it for biz dev? He’s like, “Oh, every single guest that I bring on is, I’m only bringing them on because I have a potential client.”
It’s just like I just want more people to be embracing podcasting in this way because it’s not going to work forever, you’ve heard me say this to a lot of people who I’ve talked to today.
Dennis Carlson: Right.
James Carbary: It’s like, marketers ruin everything, I’m a marketer so I’m comfortable saying that. This gravy train isn’t going to be here forever, soon everybody has a podcast, so take advantage of this stuff now while it’s still this novel, unique way to bridge a relationship with somebody that’s not, “Hey, I want to sell my thing.”
Anything else that you’re taking away today? Obviously these three: simple definition of SEO, ROI of podcasts, sales triggers. Anything else that stood out?
Dennis Carlson: I think one thing that stood out but it’s not necessarily unique to Revenue Summit but you hear over and over again is about marketing and sales alignment.
Getting an organization to understand that marketing and sales are inextricably linked but also have their unique differences, but all should be working towards the same goal.
When we talk about revenue goal those should be carried by marketing and sales and really helping organizations that don’t think in those terms, understand that, I think is something to take to my clients and I think is a good takeaway from the summit.
James Carbary: Awesome. Dennis, if there’s somebody listening and they want to stay connected with you, they want to learn more about Agency Leverage, what’s the best way for them to go about doing that?
Dennis Carlson: Sure, I’m really easy to find. I’m on LinkedIn, Dennis Carlson and Agencyleverage.com. Twitter is @agencyleverage and dc AT agencyleverage DOT com is my email so I’m really easy to find.
James Carbary: Awesome, Dennis. Thank you so much for your time, man, this has been awesome, really appreciate it.
Dennis Carlson: Thanks, James.
To listen to the full show, go here B2B Growth Show: What 2 Marketers Learned at a Sales Conference