What do you get when you combine an engineering nerd with a passion for marketing automation, and then add a pinch of heavy metal? You get Paul Sokol. Paul is an engineering nerd looking at the world in a way of processes, which is required for consistent and persistent disruption of selling. He wrote the Infusionsoft Cookbook, and today, he joins Mark S.A. Smith on the Selling Disruption Show to talk about using marketing automation to disrupt your customer sales.
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Disrupt Sales With Marketing Automation That Feels Human With Paul Sokol
What do you get when you combine an engineering nerd with a passion for marketing automation and then add a pinch of heavy metal? You’ll get my friend, Paul Sokol. He is an engineering nerd like me looking at the world in a way of processes, which is required for consistent and persistent disruption of selling. Paul is a geek of the highest cognitive capacity. He knows how to take that geekdom and turn it into money. Paul wrote the Infusionsoft Cookbook. If you go on Amazon.com and check it out, you’ll see that it’s the most expensive and the thickest book about Infusionsoft. It’s the one that can show you how to make money with Infusionsoft. Welcome, Paul.
Mark, how are you? Thanks for making me blush before I even say anything.
That’s a little bit of a disruption in the introduction. How are you using marketing automation to disrupt your customer’s sales?
One of my favorite ways is behavior-based marketing.
Tell us all about it.
I don’t know if that’s a specific term. These days, Frank Kern calls it Dynamic Response Marketing. It’s the idea of intentionally designing a customer experience for key milestones and paying attention to that. For example, early in the customer journey, you’re trying to acquire leads, offering a lead magnet. You’re familiar with the idea of a lead magnet. You give away something for free and then you can provide some value and all that jazz. Usually, it’s a linear and non-sexy thing. It’s like going on a date with someone that doesn’t listen to what you’re saying. In most cases, “Here’s my name and email.” They send you an email, “Here’s the eBook you requested.” It starts pounding you with other messages without even considering if you’ve even downloaded what you requested. As far as disruption, I take a more intelligent approach to it and follow up with people until they download what they request.
What a great idea. Let’s make sure that they said yes to the drink before we buy them another drink.
That seems obvious. For whatever reason and probably because of the technology, it was all linear drip. Now we can respond and we can react to that. What I’ll usually do in this specific tactic, someone requests a lead magnet and we send an email immediately, “Here it is. Enjoy it. Here’s the link and download it.” If they haven’t downloaded it in three days, I’ll send them a little email in the morning that says, “Good morning. I hope you’re doing well. I want to remind you you’re thing is still waiting for you. Here is the link.” If they still don’t download it four days after that, making it one full week after they made their initial request, I’ll send a final notice in the afternoon, “Good afternoon. This is your final reminder to request this thing you wanted.”
You’re using a touch of scarcity to drive the behavior that they initially said, “This is something I’m interested in,” in the heat of the moment. Part of our job as a disruptive sales professional is to keep the heat going and to keep the heat hot.
It also has a second hidden benefit of minimizing spam risk too. If you’re telling people, “This is the last email I’m sending you about this thing,” they’re going to be less likely to hit the Spam button and get you in trouble with the spam police. You’re right. It keeps the heat and keeps the flame on. That’s to get them to consume it. We’re intentionally building this experience from the moment that they request it and the next key milestone is that they consume it. We’re letting the automation do the tire kicking.
As sales professionals, our job is to keep pinging and bugging a customer until they tell us to go away or, “Okay, I’ll buy.” We’re doing this with an automation standpoint so we can touch people at the time when they’re most likely to respond. I know that you use timing as a key part of your secret sauce. Tell me a little more about that.
Let’s dig into the psychology of what I shared here. They immediately get an email. It’s that immediate gratification. It’s what they want. You’re being your word. We don’t know when that’s going to happen necessarily. That can happen at any point in the day.Be very specific about the things you speak to and intentionally avoid speaking about things you cannot speak to. Click To Tweet
I want to call something out that you said that was important. For you, it’s a second nature. I want my readers to get this. The reason why people buy from us is because they trust us to deliver when they give us their money. By going through an experience where we promise them something and then we immediately deliver, that is starting to train them that we are safe and we are trustworthy. It’s important to call out the fact that we promise them something. We are delivering on our promise. What do you want to do next?
Thanks for calling that out because you’re right. That is important. People are going to buy from you when they know, like, and trust you. One of the best ways to establish trust is to say, “I’m going to do something,” and then you show up as your word. That’s why this is effective after that initial email.
It is important, the psychology. Let’s do this.
They receive this immediate email. We’re good on our word. Whether they download it or not, it has nothing to do with us. It doesn’t mean anything. What’s important is that they’re downloading it. If they haven’t within three days, that’s a reasonable amount of time for somebody to download something. You would think that in the real world. For me, I’ll request something and maybe I want to check my email for another day or so.
If someone ping something on our social media, we may not want to read it on our mobile device. We may want to read it on a larger screen. There are a lot of reasons for us to delay.
We have to remember that we’re still humans, so we factor that in. Let’s give them three days, especially because this is early in the customer journey. We don’t need to be blowing them up every single day like, “You wanted this thing.” A couple of days later, “Don’t forget.” We’re being cool here. We’re building that goodwill. We send it in the morning for a couple of reasons. One, we can start the email by saying, “Good morning.” The timestamp will show in the morning. It feels a lot more personalized and humanized. Also, we know that it’s common for people to check their emails in the morning. Why not? I usually set it together at 8:00 AM, whatever that person’s time zone is.
Their time zone is an important conversation concept here.
That’s the second email. That’s the reminder to say, “Here’s your cool thing.”
Before we get to the third thing, you are good at what you do. It’s awesome. I want to point out the psychology of sending this thing at 8:30 in the morning, their local time. If you send it at 3:00 in the morning, they know it’s an automated piece of crap. If I send it at a time when a normal human being might be sitting at their computer and typing stuff in, even though at some level they know this is automated, it changes the psychology of how they receive it. The local sending time becomes a critical component of generating that trust and disrupting the fact that this is an automated sequence. We want the automation to lose its automated feel and become personal.
Good automation doesn’t feel automated. It’s like if you go to a play or something, you never notice the sound or the lights if they’re doing their job. If they forget a lighting cue or a sound goes off the wrong time, you’re like, “Hold on a sec.”
Let’s get to our third point.
The other thing that it’s doing is it’s training them on when you’re around. If you’re sending an email automatically at 3:00 AM, people might be expecting to be able to send an email at 3:00 AM and expect the reply. By sending it at 8:00 AM, that’s reinforcing normal business hours. I’m not going to say veil because we don’t want to hide the automation. It should be there to enhance the experience and scaling the relationship. It shouldn’t feel automated.
Marketing automation done right is an extension of the salesperson doing what they would normally do, but doing it using the automation versus them having to bang it out themselves. As our friend David Garfinkel points out that automation creates the perfect salesperson doing the perfect thing at the perfect time.
We can even extend it as they’re doing the perfect thing at the perfect time to the perfect person on the perfect channel. These days channels are becoming even more relevant, knowing when to hit them. That’s everything. We’re going to get time to get the second email. The third one, that goes at four days after that last one. It’s one full week after they opted-in in the afternoon. We can say, “Good afternoon. A week ago, you requested this and you still haven’t downloaded.” We probably wouldn’t want to say it that directly unless you are maybe doing a demonstration of an automation system. You’d probably have a little less big botherly feel to it and do something like, “About a week ago, you requested this. I wanted to make sure you got it.” Be that cool person that’s there.
You can use the same language and the same approach if you were sitting there banging out the email or if you’re calling them on the phone. What would you say to them? That’s what you say to them.
Copywriting for automation itself is a niche skill. It doesn’t matter if you’re doing it to one people or a million people, it’s still individual relationships. Every email that you write, even though you know it’s going to go to a bunch of people, you should still write it like you’re writing it once to that one person. The cool thing about automation is that you can be specific about the things you speak to and intentionally avoid speaking about things you cannot speak to.
The brilliant thing about automation is that we get to identify who this person is, either from the campaign we’re running to invite them with a lead magnet or from information that they share with us or information that we cross load once we get their information from other services.
If we know that someone is on Facebook, we can invite them to follow our page on Facebook.
Once they do, then we have a new level of relationship and we can shift how we interact with them. That’s important. For example, one of my products sends out a regular email to support salespeople in their daily activities. I know who they are. I know what they sell. What happens is that I won’t send a recommendation for a corporate type of sales tip to somebody who’s doing retail sales. Without that level of understanding, the marketing automation is going to send out the same tip to everybody and people go, “They’re not talking to me,” and therefore I disconnect the relationship. It’s the same thing with everybody. All of us have different people that we sell to that have different motivational sets, different key performance indicators, and different reasons to take action. We have to make sure that we teach them what they need to know that connects with them in that moment. To me, that’s the most exciting thing about solid marketing automation.
Connecting with people at that moment where they’re engaging and they’re interacting. That’s the next part of the lead magnet strategy here, which is cool. I haven’t even covered that bit yet. The last thing I’ll say about this final email is that it goes out a week later. It happens in the afternoon because maybe they don’t open their email in the mornings. Let’s try hitting them late afternoon, 3:00, 3:30. We’re trying to cast the widest net possible to get them to download what they requested in the first place. You got to remember, this entire time they said, “Here’s my information. Send this to me.” Let’s try and feed it to them. Let’s lead the horse to water and put a straw in his mouth and tell him to crank up the heat.
It’s perfectly piggybacking off what you said of having the right messaging at the right time. It’s the follow-up of the lead magnet. This is something that I can’t necessarily say I invented. I know that I’ve been doing it for many years. I’ll share with you a story of why I love it, but it’s simple. Mark, you request this lead magnet. You get these emails. You download it. One day later when you download it, regardless of when you download it, that next morning is a light touch follow up email that says, “Thanks for checking out. Did you have any questions?” Maybe ask a more precise thing, “I spoke about this on number four. I want to talk more about this more. Do you have any questions?”
That’s good because it gets a chance to resell the read.
Even if they never download it, which is the neat part that’s onto this tactic.
One of the strategies that we taught in the book, Guerilla TeleSelling, many years ago is when you call somebody up and you say, “Remember that thing you asked me to send you? What did you like best about it?” You assume that they did the read. This is an extension of that. It’s along the lines of, “If you read this, you probably remember reading about this point.” If they haven’t, it resells the read. If they have, it reinforces the read. Both of which moves us down the customer journey exactly how we want them to move to take the next step.The most exciting thing about solid marketing automation is connecting with people at that moment where they're engaging and interacting. Click To Tweet
It’s also further positioning you as that expert and authority, which is what any good lead magnet content should do. It should keep pointing to you as the ideal solution for whatever their problem is.
We talk about that in Selling Disruption. The whole idea for selling high margin products is to be the authority. You have to be the expert when you’re going to get that level of margin out of your customers.
This is simulating a real relationship and that’s all that automation is because this would be real life. If I were to send you something and be like, “Check out this cool PDF,” I may not be able to track that you’re downloading it because I’m using Gmail or whatever. I would very much send an email the next day and be like, “What do you think? Was that cool?” With marketing automation, we can do that and make it timely and relevant because it’s always with respect to when they take action. If they download it immediately on that first email, they get it the next day. If they drag their feet for two weeks and then they finally download it, it goes out the next day.
Here’s my story about this tactic and why I love it. Back in the day when I was working at Infusionsoft as a success coach when I first started, this was probably around 2011 and 2012, my job was to help people get going with Infusionsoft when they bought it. No problem. I was working with a lady, high-end, B2B services on the magnitude of thousands, longer buying cycle. It’s a boutique service for branding. She had an eBook and we built this mechanism but it was even simpler. There was an email that went out immediately delivering it and then there is an email one week later that said,
“Remember to download it.” That was it. There was the email that next morning if they did download it that says, “What do you think?”
Here’s the story. You get this built halfway through our coaching calls. She throws it on her website. One lady randomly ops-in without any promotion or whatnot. She happened to be on my client’s site and saw it. She opted-in. She didn’t download the eBook. No worries. On the next coaching call, she tells me that the one-week reminder went out to this lady and she downloaded the eBook as she was instructed and she loved it. The next day, when my client “happened” to email her saying, “What did you think about it?” This lady was impressed that she replied and immediately became a multi-thousand-dollar client because of this one tactic.
It’s an instant response.
That funnel had a 100% conversion rate for two weeks that we were working together. Since then, more people have gone into it. She was shocked that someone was paying attention to her and that’s why she ended up choosing my client to work with her. It’s not rocket science. That’s the crazy thing. It’s simple.
It’s an elegant solution. The reality is that when it comes to a person purchasing a product when there’s competition, the competitive race isn’t who’s best, it’s who can get to understanding fastest. Marketing automation allows us the opportunity to create understanding faster by interacting in an intelligent fashion with our customers. They show us their level of understanding through the sequence of the customer journey. That creates selling disruption.
Now you can go into the standard sales drip, but think about that. You’ve established the relationship and respected it. It’s not until they jumped through two hoops that you start laying it out a little thicker, try and drive an appointment, or whatever is the next step in the journey. The advanced tactic that I briefly hinted earlier is that even if they never download it, you can send them follow up emails and it’s a similar content. It addresses the fact that they never download it and that’s okay. We’re not admonishing them or making them wrong. We’re saying, “It looks like you’re busy. You don’t have time to read this. I still wanted to follow up with you because on page two, I spoke about that. I want to talk more about that.” The same email is what would have happened if they download it.
The great aspect of that is that we make some decisions in the heat of the moment. Something triggers us and says, “This looks great. This can solve a problem that’s going to help me realize a dream.” Frequently we will make a call and we will make a touch and then something cools off or we get surrounded by alligators or we don’t have the money to buy it now. For 1,000 different reasons, the person cools off. The fact that they found it interesting to begin, gives you a high probability of success with that person over the long haul. Marketing automation allows us to keep the fire going until they’re ready.
One of my favorite phrases with customers that said, “I want to talk,” and then they cool off and we can’t get ahold of them is I send my mail that says, “I want you to know I’m ready when you are, but not until.” They always laugh when I say that because they get it that I’m there when they have made that decision that this is now a priority. Management of priorities is one of the key secrets to selling disruption. Paul, this has been awesome. What a great conversation. What do you have for our readers? You’ve got more goodness to share with them.
Thanks for having me. What I’ve done is I’ve assembled some strategies for disruptive selling and how it can be used as marketing automation. It’s 3 Engagement Hacks For Stealth Selling.
I’ve seen them. They’re absolutely worth the read.
You’ll get to see a little bit of what I’ve spoken about in this episode because I do practice what I preach. There’s some of that behavior-based stuff in there.
Thank you, Paul, for being my guest. It’s always a delight. We’re going to probably do this again sometime in the near future.
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