CloudTrade Podcast - Episode 7 - The role of marketing
Watch the podcast here, if you’d prefer to read about what was discussed, please read on.
Steve Britton, Director of Sales, talks to Sarah Pritchards about her role as CloudTrade's Marketing Manager. She describes how she uses her marketing training and experience to target the right audience for the CloudTrade data-capture solution.
Steve: Welcome to what I'm affectionately calling CloudTrade TV, a blog post that I'm doing on a weekly basis. At the moment I'm interviewing various members of the senior management team within CloudTrade and we're talking about different subjects that I believe will be of interest to our listeners, and with you, our Marketing Manager at CloudTrade, I've chosen to discuss the role of marketing in an organization. I wanted to talk a little bit today about your role in CloudTrade and how you can help the company's name, the company's brand and people’s awareness of the company, to get out into the global market because we're a UK-based company but we sell our services globally to partners and to end customers.
There's a massive job there for you to get your arms around. We've had an interesting year, I think we could all say, with the pandemic. It's caused numerous challenges for every organization. Interestingly, I suppose it's helped your role that people suddenly realized they needed to embrace the digital agenda because the old-fashioned physical mail rooms are closed. People aren't receiving mail anymore, so the CloudTrade service has been very much in vogue. Let's just tell the listeners that last month, March, which was our financial year end, we actually had our record number of transactions. So that's something to be very proud of, and congratulations to everybody in the team.
But coming back to the subject and the purpose of this conversation, which is looking at all the various channels that you have at your disposal to let the world know about CloudTrade. It's about brand awareness; it's about getting the message over in a saturated market. Why are we different? What are our differentiators and why should people come to talk to us?
You've got to take that message and disseminate that to the market. So I'm really interested to get your view in terms of how you address that.
Sarah: Wow, that's a big question, Steve. There are a couple of points really. I will address the first one. As Marketing Manager, as you've rightly touched on, my role is quite a diverse one. There're lots of roles and responsibilities within that. Primarily, it's about brand awareness; it's about demand generation. And it includes all those other areas like PR and working with our partners, and partner marketing, product marketing and customer marketing.
Our USP for our solution of our product is simple really. It is the fact that we have 100% data accuracy, and that that is guaranteed. It's a service. We guarantee that we manage that, and that's really unique. And that's something that the rest of the market simply can't compete on. So it's been incredibly important in the last year, and we've looked at refining our message, and getting that wider. So we do that in a number ways.
“…this year has been spreading the message that not only is CloudTrade's a fantastic solution… …but also that our product is one you can rely on…”
There are all sorts of digital channels, there are more traditional channels, and then there's working with our partners on co-campaigns. But it's been really important to differentiate ourselves, like you say in a saturated market, particularly on the invoicing side. The orders market is a little bit less saturated. This product not only delivers you 100% data accuracy, but we can prove it. It's simple as that really. And that's a message that people have previously struggled to understand because there are lots of solutions out there that do promise a lot. They promise AI or anything else flashy, and say: “Do you know what, I can make this perfect and you can save all these hours” etc, but they still cannot guarantee the fact that your data will be perfect.
So really important for us this year has been honing down and spreading the message that not only is CloudTrade's a fantastic solution, we are great to work with, our customers are extremely happy, our retention rate is super, super high, but also that our product is one you can rely on and that you can trust that data in your system.
Steve: You just took the words out of my mouth. You came up with a phrase “trusted data”.
Sarah: Yes, data you can trust, right there in your business, Yes, so important.
Sarah: Can you imagine if you're in a business and you bought in these solutions to solve your problem, but you're sitting there questioning whether that solution is doing its job for you. Or, do you actually need to get your team cross-checking the data? That defeats the object of bringing in a solution. It just feels that our competitors expect human input still. And surely that just can't continue. Just put CloudTrade on it and you'll be fine.
Steve: You're absolutely right. Let's come back to that in a moment. One of the things I think our listeners will be interested to hear about is how, when you are running a global business service, a shared service environment, an accounts payable department, it is really important to communicate what you are doing internally and externally. And I mentioned earlier on, there are so many channels.
I've often said to people that my view is that CloudTrade is the world's best kept secret. You know we've been around 10 years and actually, to your point, earlier, we do what it says on the tin. So I think we've earned our stripes with nearly 1000 sending parties, and, a bit shy of that in terms of receiving organisations. So we've got the use cases, we've got the reference-ability in the market. But there's still a huge opportunity out there for CloudTrade. So just think about those channels that our listeners would be interested in. Is it focusing on your network on LinkedIn? Is it focusing on Twitter, or is it Instagram or WhatsApp or other channels? Which is the right way to go to get your message out there? Or is it a combination of all of those?
Sarah: I think you've hit the nail on the head there. I think for today’s technology solutions, it differs according to your market, and it differs according to your audience. For us, it's a bit of a hybrid. So we've got the digital end which is websites, social media - probably more LinkedIn and Twitter rather than Instagram or TikTok - we haven't quite got that far yet.
“… really it's a hybrid approach across the whole spectrum of marketing activities.”
And then there's the other angle that is perhaps a bit more traditional like the networking, the event marketing, working with customers, looking at referrals. Because like you say our customers are extremely happy with CloudTrade. We have upwards, way upwards, of 95% retention rate at the moment. It's awesome. Once they've got us on board, they want us to stay. And that's a great referral message. So it's a combination of all those factors. And naturally our partners are very happy with that too, because their customers are happy. So referrals, great case studies showcasing what we can do, is probably the best way. But really it's a hybrid approach across the whole spectrum of marketing activities.
Steve: OK, interesting. I find that if I'm doing an outreach campaign, reaching out to my great network on LinkedIn - and hopefully these podcasts are going to grow the number of people who are following me - it is by far the easiest. We don't go big time in CloudTrade about trying to sell, sell, sell. What we are trying to do is understand what the market needs and what our customers require, and then how we can help when we deliver against that. And it's understanding the business needs that we're working on holistically.
What we deliver is an output, and that could be a file structure that's going to be read by a machine, but we really need to understand what that delivery is going to do for the business's required outcomes. Am I just wanting to receive some data and then post it somewhere and then somebody comes and looks at that information? Or do I need to do it completely automated, which is where CloudTrade sits? There's a lot of information in that message. You can only put so much in social media. I don't know what the concentration span is of the average person these days when they're reading something or listening, but it's not very long.
Steve: So part of your expertise is understanding how people will consume certain messages and words and phrases to give the right meaning. I'm interested in your insight in terms of how that information is structured to get the audience to be aware. And, in marketing terms, what's that ‘call to action’ we want to deliver? Because we want people to read something, then we want them to do something about it.
“… picking up on pain points is the really, really key thing.”
Sarah: Absolutely. I think that what you're saying is that you just need to disseminate that information, but I think picking up on pain points is the really, really key thing. So if you know somebody is struggling with something and it's causing them an issue, you want to answer that, you want to come back and say, do you know, I've got a solution for that. So when you're communicating what you've done or what you're about to do, or finding something out, you need to get people's attention, you need to get that engagement, and often raising a pain point, or providing an answer to a pain point is how best to do that. So it might be the case of someone saying: "I stopped manual input in my business for the accounts payable department completely, got rid of it". And then your network, your audience, who are going to be like you with similar pain points, are going to say: "Hang on a minute, how did you do that?" And that's where you start sharing that information.
And, like you say, call to actions are incredibly important. What do you want someone to do on receipt of that information? Is it that they want you to just reach out to them, because relationships are incredibly important and perhaps it is somebody that you know? Or is it that you want them to engage with a piece of content, download it, you want them to request a demo because they're thinking: “Hang on a minute, I want to see that too”?
“… you have to be there as a solution consultant rather than a salesperson…”
It really is picking up on those key drivers that are motivating our audience and answering those questions, and like I say people buy off people, people sell to people. So you have to be personable and you have to be there as a solution consultant, rather than a salesperson. Perhaps the traditional used-car salesman approach is never a good one, so a solutions consultant who can go and answer those questions is always the best way with your content.
Steve: Yes, absolutely. Getting that message out there in a succinct manner is an art form.
“… the summary of a modern marketing department’s approach: learning, testing, doing, expanding.”
Sarah: It is, and we're still refining it. Marketers are experts in this, but we are always learning, we're picking it up off each other. If you ever go to a marketing event, these are the best networks. We always learn off each other, and share best tips, because people change, systems change, how we react changes. So we're always learning, always tweaking and refining and testing. That's probably the summary of a modern marketing department’s approach: learning, testing, doing, expanding.
Steve: Absolutely. And I think the other important thing, and I know that you welcome this with open arms, is getting feedback from our customers about how they perceive the messaging from CloudTrade. It's all part of that refinement, because they are our partners at the end of the day and we want our customers to come on the journey with us.
Sarah: We certainly do. Marketers love feedback. If something works, please tell us, and we will do more of it. If it doesn't quite work, then we will refine it and do it again. That's absolutely fine. I tend to have an open-door policy with our sales people. Give me a call anytime, a chat through anything, we'll test it, see how it resonates. But yes, feedback is always welcome. Because ultimately we just all want to be successful.
Steve: Absolutely, Sarah. Thank you for your input today. I hope the listeners have found it interesting and if they want to learn anything more about CloudTrade or about marketing, they should come and talk to Sarah.
Sarah: Please do. I'd love to hear from you all. Thanks Steve. Thanks for your time.
Steve: Take care, Thanks very much. Bye.