Zak: Can you start by telling us what MaxSold does?
Sushee: We are a high growth e-commerce business that manages online estate sales for our customers. For those downsizing, relocating or clearing an estate, we provide the local expert help and combine that with the online auction services to sell everything in two weeks. We’ve found a solid niche in the market, and we’ve been growing around 100% each year. Today we do about 200 auctions per month in 35 metros in North America.
Zak: How do you approach generating new demand for the business?
Sushee: We’ve segmented our audience into a bunch of different personas, and as we capture new leads we have automated email campaigns to appropriately follow up, in parallel to follow up calls from our sales team.
One of our personas we call “grandma”, this is someone who is downsizing to a new house. This is someone who is going to make a decision quickly, so we share a lot of social proof, information to build authority and to educate.
Another segment for us is real estate agents, who want to be more educated on how to refer a client to us, and what’s in it for them. For those we educate around our service, so they in turn can refer a customer. We let them know “what’s in it for you,” and how they benefit.
Zak: What systems do you have powering that sales and marketing process?
Sushee: For CRM, we didn’t need a lot of bells and whistles. PipelineDeals has a nice suite of functionality to help us manage sales tasks and workflows. It’s our third CRM over the past five years, and I think we’ll be sticking with it.
We wanted a smart marketing automation product, something that was smarter than MailChimp that could manage personas and our lead nurturing flows, and for this we chose Marketo.
We use Bedrock Data to keep our CRM and Marketo synchronized. We didn’t want to ever have to touch a CSV file, and we wanted to ensure data was flowing cleanly between both systems given how tightly aligned our process is between marketing and sales.
Bedrock Data keeps our data aligned between the two systems, which ensures our marketing follow-up is completely relevant based on the latest sales interaction. We have a tight sales and marketing process, powered by data.
Zak: What are the main things you are trying to get out of your marketing automation and Marketo?
Sushee: We are very focused on increasing conversion rates and conversion velocity, so having our marketing automation and CRM tightly aligned is crucial. This gives us the visibility to have our pulse on the business and make the right decisions to drive growth. We are in two countries right now and have ambitions to be in more countries. Having a tightly integrated system would be a key enabler for MaxSold’s fast international growth without the need for a massive back office.
Zak: What was it like working with the Bedrock Data team?
Sushee: Bedrock Data are truly the integration experts. I think of them as the data integration company. Right from my first contact with the company I could tell they truly understood data.
The nice thing about working together is there is a standard process to bring on board a customer like us so we were up and running in a matter of days. The team had a very practical approach to connecting Marketo with our CRM, which was very beneficial to us especially because we weren’t in a situation to bring on our own IT resources to setup or manage the project.
Zak: What tips would you give to other Marketo users?
Sushee: Even if a piece of functionality isn’t out of the box don’t give up. There are a number of things you can do to make it behave the way you want. Our team is constantly applying Marketo’s functionality and new product features to drive business growth.
My other tip is to be diligent with reviewing your performance data. If you are only getting 2-3% click through on email, you may as well not be sending those emails. So really look at what’s working and do more of that, and look at what’s not working and change it up.
The last tip is leverage Marketo and the underlying data to keep your communications as relevant as possible. We are seeing 60-70% open rates on most of our emails because they are well timed, persona relevant emails on topics of interest to our audience. Send them from salespeople so they have a personal touch; no one wants to receive a message from firstname.lastname@example.org.
We have moved away from batch and blast to really targeted, timely and relevant messages.
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