Improving Sales Call Conversion Rates

My time spent in business to business technology sales has afforded me the opportunity to attend literally thousands of initial sales meetings with Prospects.  As a Chief Revenue Officer I also buy technology and services which means I sit on the other side of the desk as a Prospect. In both cases I’ve experienced initial sales meetings that go very well as well as ones that do not.  The ones that don’t go well, are sometimes due to reasons such as gaps between the Prospect’s requirements and the Seller’s offering.  However, too many times failure is the result of ineffective two way communication on the part of the Seller.

The two most common communication failure points of initial Sales Meetings I’ve seen are:

Issue A: Failure to provide the information Prospects want in the first sales meeting.

Issue B: Failure to communicate in ways that form a connection and hold the attention of Prospects to increase their interest and drive deeper engagement.

I have experienced the above issues working in small, medium and large companies and with new and experienced Sales Reps, Partners and Senior Executives. It is an ongoing problem.

Understanding What Prospects Want from First Sales Meetings

The first issue can be resolved through a deeper understanding of what information Prospects are really looking for in a first sales meeting.  What Prospects really want in a first sales meeting are “plain speak” answers to questions they use to assess if it is worth spending time with you to explore and possibly purchase your offering.  Often, much of the information Sellers want to share is not relevant to initial assessments of Prospects.  Examples are executive biographies, company history, extensive feature lists, deep dive demonstrations, etc.  What Prospects are interested in knowing based on my experience is listed below.

Understanding How to Hold Attention & Form Deeper Connections

The second issue can be resolved by learning from Neuroscience how to make a deeper connection with a Prospect when communicating.  You can actually create a bond with your Prospect, brain to brain!

What Sellers really need to hold attention and form deeper connections is the desire and ability to lead an empathetic and interactive two way discussion that has the utmost relevancy to the Prospect.  Sellers also need the competency to answer initial assessment questions through interesting and engaging stories. It’s common sense that Prospects are people and people do not like to be talked at, they prefer to have a voice.  People also get bored if they aren’t engaged in a conversation or if it lacks relevancy.  Their minds wander and all is lost.

According to Neuroscientists, if a Prospect is engaged by a Seller in an interactive discussion that includes relevant stories of interest, something magically happens at a cerebral level.  The two brains actually couple and mirror each other.  You read that correctly.  As quoted below by scientists “…interacting individuals are dynamically coupled rather than simply aligned.” It is worth repeating.  When a Prospect comprehends and is engaged with the Seller the two brains actually begin to mirror each other, they don’t just align.  I’m sure everyone has experienced this to some degree within our social and professional networks after any type of meeting has great flow and excites all attendees.  Imagine if the majority of initial sales meetings could go this way.  I believe most can and I’ve been involved in many that do.  The one caveat is your offering must be relevant to the Prospect’s business or buying needs.

The Information Prospects Want to Gain from a First Sales Meeting

Let’s first go deeper by reviewing what Prospects really want out of a first sales meeting. Based on my experience, most sincere Prospects want to perform an assessment of the following:

  1. Functionality: What does your offering do? What can it accomplish for them?
  2. Value: How is your offering going to add incremental value within their specific organizations?  What is the perceived general financial return and how long will it take?
  3. Differentiation: How does your offering differ from your competitors and why should they buy it versus other choices?
  4. Cost: General pricing information to determine if it is worth investing additional time exploring your offering based on their available or potential financial resources / budget.
  5. Risk: How credible and reliable are the Seller and the Company now and after the sale throughout the term of the contract?  Are any other Companies or Prospects within my vertical industry I respect who are using the product?

Here are a few other related issues:

Attention Spans of Prospects are on the downswing.

In recent years I have become acutely aware of the impatience and frustration of Prospects who simply want to obtain answers to their questions as quickly as possible and do not want to listen to lengthy sales presentations.  They want to get right to the points they want to assess.  When a Sales Rep is going through each of the slides in their standard sales presentation you can see Prospects chomping at the bit to get to their questions.  In many cases it’s because the slide content has absolutely nothing to do with their assessment criteria.

To make matters worse instead of communicating clearly in plain speak, Sales and Marketing functions across companies who are competing with each other are using marketing buzz words and have decreased the clarity of how companies and products differ and has created mass confusion with Prospects.

The point here is in many cases the Prospect is entering a first sales meeting with a concern or possibly a bias that they are not going to fully understand what they need from the meeting because of past negative experiences.

On the other hand, it isn’t an issue that Sellers want to earn commission and look impressive to their peers and manager. Nor is it an issue that Sellers want to qualify and convert an inbound or outbound lead into an opportunity they can manage through to a closed sale as fast as possible.  That is a Seller’s primary function.

There is nothing wrong with these goals unless they produce a negative outcome for the Prospect and for the Seller for that matter.  If the Sales Rep does not provide the Prospect with what they need in the first call or turns them off then the sale is lost.  If a sale is eventually made but there is a gap between what the Prospect thought they were going to experience post sale, then the sale will not stick and the customer will churn.  I.e. A closed sale that does not result in a happy customer and long term annuity revenue stream defeats the purpose.

First Sales Call Success Pitfalls

I believe Sellers need to avoid the following pitfalls:

  1. Talking at the Prospect and dominating conversations by delivering one way communication / “Sales Pitches” instead of leading two way interactive discussions that engage Prospects.
  2. Failing to excite Prospects by sharing stories of how their products / solutions came about and how they are helping similar Prospects.
  3. Discussing or demonstrating Use Cases that lack relevancy to Prospects.

Additional Tactical Sales Errors that Impact First Sales Call Success:

  • Mispronouncing a Prospect’s name(s). If you’re not sure, ask them up front
  • Delivering lengthy slide presentations in a first sales call
  • Spending too much time talking about the Biography of the Founders
  • Spending too much time on the Company Overview
  • Spending too much time on the Problem Statement
  • Using a “One Size Fits All” Sales Pitch Deck of slides
  • Using a Founder’s Venture Capital fund raising slides as a sales presentation slide deck
  • Poor pre-call Research that results in discussing Use Cases that have low relevance to the Prospect
  • Discussing Use Cases from a vertical industry different than the Prospect’s industry
  • Not explaining how an offering is different / better than competitors.
  • Sidestepping the Prospect’s questions or knowing enough about your product to answer the questions.
  • Asking basic rhetorical questions of the Prospect
  • One way communication pouring features and figures at the Prospect

I’m sure you get the point so I will stop here.

In its simplest form the above list characterizes self-centered, inwardly focused, primarily one way communication.  Unfortunately, I’ve seen too many people resort to one way communication in selling situations.  Perhaps it satisfies a need to feel in control when one is not certain of the outcome.  In other cases it’s possibly that the seller fancies him or herself as an Actor reciting lines in a performance.  In any case one way communication is the least effective at influencing and winning business.  It also goes against Science and distances Prospects.  Eg. When’s the last time you enjoyed being talked at in a conversation?  However, if you focus on the other person’s needs as well as your own the conversation will become balanced.

What we can learn from Neuroscience (Study of the Brain)

It has been proven that if a communicator engages a listener in an interactive way and shares an engaging story a process called Neural Coupling occurs and more areas of our brain are activated.

According to Neuroscientists Greg J. StephensLauren J. Silbert and Uri Hasson only when a listener comprehends and “participates” in a story without their mind wandering, will neural coupling occur between the speaker and listener where both parties brains mirror each other.  The effect is broken when a listener’s mind wanders. i.e.  “…interacting individuals are dynamically coupled rather than simply aligned.”

The following additional scientists state “A story activates parts in the brain that allow the listener to turn the story into their own ideas and experience, thanks to a process called neural coupling”. Gregoriou, G.G., Gotts, S.J., Zhou, H. & Desimone, R. (2009b)

While it is fairly obvious, it’s also nice to know interactive two way conversations that include interesting stories have been scientifically proven to be more effective.

Summary of How to Improve First Sales Meetings

Given all of the above, how do we better engage Prospects?  The following list of recommendations is not all inclusive, however, it should be sufficient for increasing first sales call success in most cases.

  1. Invest the time it takes to become highly proficient at communicating through exciting short stories on how your offering came about, how your offering / company is different and better than competitors, how your offering is delivering high value for comparable Prospects and how well your company is supporting clients.
  2. Before an initial sales meeting understand the role / persona of the Prospect, take the time to visit their web site, understand the business they are in and try to locate online any current trends or news about their company you can converse about if it is relevant to your solution.
  3. Once you have researched your Prospect custom tailor your conversation and/or product demonstration to make it as relevant as possible for the Prospect.
  4. When in the first sales meeting lead an interactive two way conversation.  Listen and identify what the Prospect most wants to know.  Then answer the questions succinctly but by telling brief stories instead of delivering a one way general sales pitch.  Communicate passion and excitement as you answer their questions with your short stories.
  5. Instead of pitching Features, show the Prospect examples of Use Cases that are likely to be relevant for their business and then ask them if they are relevant or if they have any other concepts for how your offering might be used in their business.
  6. Include asking the qualification questions you need to ask to qualify the opportunity and increase your knowledge of how well your solution fits for the Prospect and your company.  If there are any open questions find out the specific requirements and validate inside your company that it still makes sense to proceed.
  7. If qualified, close and obtain agreement on next steps that satisfy your Prospect’s needs as well as your needs.

I hope you found the above to be interesting and the information is helpful for increasing the success rate of initial sales meetings.

A Customer’s View on Establishing Credibility for a New Product or New Company: Interview with Todd Inskeep, VIP Technology Customer

Our latest blog post on our series on establishing credibility for a new product or company is an interview with an actual technology customer.  I am honored that Todd Inskeep, one of the most respected customer executives in the technology industry, accepted my invitation for the following interview.  I hope our readers find it as meaningful as I have

Dave:  Good Afternoon Todd.  Great to speak with you again.

Todd:  Same here Dave.  Thank you for providing me with an opportunity to share my insight with technology vendors and other readers of your blog.

Dave:  You’re very welcome.

Dave:  Todd, We met when you were a Security Architect at Bank of America and part of an elite customer team in Information Security not to mention you were also one of my most important customers when I was with VeriSign.  Before I begin with our Q&A can you share with our readers a bit more on your background?

Todd:  Sure thing.  We met while I was passing six years in the bank’s Security Team, I’d done some operations around virtual private networks and digital certificates, architecture for several areas, and even leading the security and risk management team for our customer relationship management project. Since then I built out the bank’s identity and authentication architecture, and just finished four years on the bank’s consumer electronic channels team – working on strategies to grow the business, protected customers from fraud, and improve security in online banking.  I’m now working on consulting based on my security, mobile, and online banking experience.

Dave: You are having a very impressive career.  Thanks for filling our readers in on your background.

Dave:  Todd, I would like to ask you a few questions about how you as a senior technology customer views the credibility of vendors with whom you interact.  Does that sound okay by you?

Todd:  Sure.

Dave:  Let’s start with the following scenario; a technology vendor who you do not know decides that you are a key player in the company you are with and they need to meet with you and learn more about your role, responsibilities, projects, etc.

Dave:   What is a credible approach to obtaining a meeting with you and have you experienced this approach often?

Todd:   The best approach is when someone I know introduces me to the company or the principals in the company.  That builds on the credibility of the relationship, and often gains support because they want to talk about my problems and the things I’m working on.  Also, it usually aligns better to my strategic plans, my funding for the year, and things I’m actually interested in.  I actively work with my network so people know what areas I’m interested in, and where my energy is going.  That saves everyone a lot of time.

Dave: Where there any occasions where a less credible approach was taken and it backfired on the vendor?

Todd: Of course, cold calls are always difficult to get through, but there are other less credible approach companies really need to be alert for and prevent from the sales team.  I think vendors may not know, or understand when an approach backfires. When it does, it’s almost impossible to rebuild a trust relationship.  Two things that really impact a budding relationship are the repeat calls and the end around.  Repeat calls are somewhat common, and represent a failure to listen.  If I’ve said I’m not interested, I always try and tell a vendor why…it’s not my area, I don’t know who covers that.  If I’ve said we’re not interested, it means I’ve really thought about your product space, and have either another vendor identified, or funding plans that don’t cover that area this year.  A simple example might be a new authentication tool.   If you’re pushing me on a new tool when I’m a year or even two into the last three year contract I signed, I’m simply not interested.  No matter how good the tool is.  I’ve got time before I need to explore options, and I have something else I need to spend time on.

The end around is a similar situation. I’ve said no, but then I hear a vendor’s pitching to my technology (or business partner) in another part of the organization.  Or they’ve tried to connect higher in the management chain and my boss calls and asks me to meet with them. The product hasn’t changed, and the analysis of product fit hasn’t changed, but now I’ve got to go spend more time with the vendor, and with my management to document or share that analysis all over again.  Take no for an answer sometimes, or call me back nine to twelve months later when something has changed.

Dave:  Great points.

Dave:  Next, in the case where a phone or in person meeting was held with you, what Customer views on vendor credibility can you share with our readers?  Specifically, what have you experienced over the years that A. established and increased vendor credibility?  And B. lacked credibility and made you want to run?

Todd:  Several things that really establish credibility:

  1. The problem definition
  2. The story of how they developed their solution
  3. The management team
  4. Their other customers.
  5. When the Product Demo shows me how the product really solves my problem and fits into my business model and work flow.

These are all things that build great credibility – they show me you understand the space, you’ve though about the solution, and you can make it work.  All of these things get me interested.  It’s also good when you can credibly show me you’ve thought about the competition and differentiation.  Most companies make soliciting a single vendor difficult.  Getting two to three good vendors for a problem solution is best.  And winning those is good for your creditability too.  Solving the wrong problem is a big signal to run. Vendors who can’t really define how they fit in a larger ecosystem.

For example from a pure security industry perspective, the companies that go create their own cryptographic algorithms are an issue. The government publishes well tested algorithms for every possible use. Those are thoroughly scrutinized and vetted. Why would I buy “Fred’s” crypto when there’s already a government algorithm that meets the need? Statistics is another big area where you can lose credibility. Use statistics that matter and mean something. Mark Twain said there “lies, damn lies, and statistics,” make your statistics meaningful and relevant.

Dave: Excellent points.

Dave: Todd, how important would you say the quality of the content on a vendor’s web site and general quality of a visitor’s experience on a technology vendor’s website be in establishing credibility with you?

Todd: Personally, I like a web site that visually tells me what the company is about.  What problem are they solving, and how are they solving it. Sometimes companies try to avoid complication and you end up feel line there’s a “magic happens here” box…that you can never understand.  I find that very frustrating.  A couple years ago we were looking at some fraud detection products.  Every vendor presentation and web site left me thinking they were saying my detection is the best – with nothing I could compare.  Not research, not numbers, just trust me, my detection is the best.  Give me some details, footnotes, references to university research.  Someplace on the web site you should be able to give me some detail.  This is actually something I encounter a lot with smaller companies and startups.  They worry too much about their secret sauce and not sharing the details that build credibility.

Dave:   Todd, how about vendors who established credibility in the first meeting with you and then continued to interact with you while you and your team evaluated their offering, what can you share with us regarding your experiences related to increasing or declining vendor credibility in a buying / selling cycle?

Todd: Stick with my process, and keep shooting straight.  I try very hard to tell you I’ve got a process – preliminary research, requirements building, RFQ, RFP, maybe a pilot or proof-of-concept before a final bid and a contract.  At financial institutions that can be a two year sales cycle…or it can be thirty days if you happen to have the right product at the right time (or more likely if you’ve built a relationship without a hard sales push – so you are top of mind with a solution when a problem becomes critical).  Tell me if you’ve got requirements back, or if you can’t meet requirements.  Don’t wait. Be up front and I may change the requirement, or it may take you out of contention. But we’ll both be happier in the long run.  Make sure your product manager and your sales team are well aligned.  Most problems of declining credibility come from a sales lead (or an engineer!) taking on more than the product can really do.

Dave:   Makes complete sense.

Dave:  Are there any examples you can share where you felt a vendor exemplified high credibility with you or your colleagues?

Todd: I wasn’t planning to name names, but we worked with a computer security company in 2010 that did a great job.  Staring about 2008 they contacted me through a mutual acquaintance and started talking about what they wanted to do, and how they wanted to make money.  So I got an early look at both the technology and the business model.  Then we kept in touch.  Their problem wasn’t high on our radar screen, but we kept catching up.  The product is live, we’ve got our first customer, now a million users.  Here’s how it could work for you.  We had more meetings with the technology team.  Here’s who’s using it.  Then we worked together and actually funded a proof-of-concept and measured results.  Those were great.  And we eventually hammered out an agreement for a multi-year contract.

I talked a couple weeks ago with the CEO of a software security company.  Neat product, but we haven’t been able to find a good use for it.  Nonetheless, they’ve built up great credibility by giving us some code to do prototypes and testing, and continuing to talk about requirements (even unfunded requirements).  So that vendor has seen and learned a ton about the issues his product is facing and has to solve for.  They’ve literally built a better product by working with us even though we were never able to close a sale.

Dave: Interesting.  It sounds like those companies who make a long term investment in building trust and credibility are the ones who win.

Dave:  How about on the flip side?  Any horror stories you feel comfortable sharing?    The names of the vendors can remain anonymous if you like.

Todd:  Well there’s a couple big names that are well known in the industry for low credibility.  They either treat their customers like they are a monopoly and just charge outrageous fees with no negotiation.  Or they change licensing terms and product costs arbitrarily and with little warning. Sometimes they have you over a barrel, you literally can’t change technologies and products; but that’s a very uncomfortable spot for a customer.  And it means buyers treat every situation like your product might be a future barrel.  And besides the hard feelings, sometimes these situations end up with the lawyers which just makes I more uncomfortable and pricey for everyone.  Negotiate openly and you can often avoid these issues.  Another easy tip, manage changes in your sales force carefully.  Large companies don’t like helping your new sales guy learn the org chart and business plan.

Dave:  Indeed.

Dave:  Todd, if you are an early stage technology company calling on an Account like your Alma Mater, Bank of America, can you share any general advice on how to approach the Account?

Todd: This may sound obvious, and it may sound too “now” but if you don’t already have a connection to the target company, use LinkedIn to find both who you want to talk to – who the decision maker is – and to find your path in.  That introduction through an existing trust relationship is huge.  And it pays to take the time to educate (or at least offer) the middleman.  If a company asks me to introduce someone to them, I usually review them first.  I won’t do an introduction unless I think the vendor and product offer real value in their space.  Plus I learn more.

Dave:  Good point. How about if you are a large established vendor, any advice for them?

Todd: Established vendors have a tough time too.  They are selling from their strength, but buyers have already boxed them in…those guys sell this kind of widget, if it’s a thing-a-ma-bob then you buy those from someone else. A new product from a large vendor is almost the same as a new product from a new vendor, do those guys have experience in this new area?  Where did they get it?  I’m looking for the same clues for creditability:  the problem definition, the story of how they developed their solution, the product demo, the management team, and other customers.

Dave:   I couldn’t agree more.

Dave:  Todd, last question.  Are there any final words you would like to share with our readers regarding your view on establishing credibility for a new product or new company?

Todd: Yes. It’s about relationships, problems and proof.  Use your relationships to open the doors, clearly define the problem you solve, and prove that you can deliver.

Dave:  Todd, thank you very much for your time.   I’ve really enjoyed this interview.  You have offered our readers an incredibly valuable perspective.  Enjoy the rest of your summer.

Todd:  You’re welcome Dave.  You too!

Using Persona Platforms to Establish Vendor Credibility

As we continue our series on establishing credibility for new technology companies or new products released by established technology vendors, we next cover using Persona Platforms also known as Message Platforms to establish more credibility.

Let’s start with a question.  How many times have you been in the situation where you were considering a product or service and the communication you were receiving was not on target for the level and type of information you were seeking?  If you are like me, the answer unfortunately is most of the time.

I’ve experienced issues with the quantity, quality and level of information. Vendors tend to either provide too much information or not enough information.  In some cases the quality of the writing, graphics or oral communication is poor.  However, the issue that is the most frustrating to me is when the level of information is not a match for my level of knowledge or my level of interest.  For example in my personal life I am part of a family and I play different roles in buying cycles. In some cases I’m an Approver / Funder for the purchase of a new Guitar Amp and I don’t really need to know all the intimate details and specifications of the Amp.  In other cases I am the Evaluator and Decision Maker for the purchase of a new Laptop for my business and in that case I do want to know everything I can possibly know about the product.  The problem I experience most of the time is I ask one higher level question and I receive a large volume of cryptic information which means nothing to me and I get turned off. I really wish they would qualify my audience and interest level up front before they misfire.  I’ve seen some websites do a good of this by stratifying visitors based on questions they ask up front.

So what does all of this have to do with increasing vendor credibility in the tech industry?  Well as you can imagine the messaging your tech company is providing to the marketplace can either turn on or turn off would be customers.

The first two issues raised above are a “no brainer” and can easily be addressed.

A. In the age of information abundance, your company’s messaging / content needs to be as concise as possible.     Everyone is speed reading emails, website pages and product information these days.

B.  If your information isn’t well written and visually appealing you would be better off not offering it.

However, in regard to the third issue, Level Appropriateness or Fit or whatever you call it, the resolution may not be as apparent.

As the Founder of a Technology Company or a savvy Product Manager you may be writing your own copy or at the very least approving it.  Therefore you may be writing to the level you receive well.  And with tech companies that level is often, well, technical.  If you are marketing something to enterprises that costs more than a few thousand dollars, the issue is you not only need to establish credibility with the technical evaluators you need to establish credibility with their Director.  And the more your product costs and/or the more change it affects within a company the more levels of management get involved in the sales cycle.

Hence the core issue affecting credibility as it relates to Messaging.  Many technology vendors are not communicating on point to each level in their customer’s hierarchy.  Often “one size, fits all” messaging is used and it typically fails.  The question, “What’s in it for me?” is not answered effectively for every level of customer involved in your selling process. General messaging fails to communicate the personal gain to your audience far enough to strike a responsive chord.  Effective product messaging not only has to appeal to technical evaluators it also has to appeal to CXOs.  Your messaging also has to be concise and communicate how your product is unique when compared to competitive offerings.

As shown in the above diagram, the resolution to this third issue is to create Messaging Platforms that resonate within each level of customer with whom you are engaged.  I’m sure this makes complete sense to you since different levels of professionals care about different issues.  The starkest example is shareholder value.  Sure everyone in a company should care about increasing shareholder value.  And most CXOs are very focused on doing so.  However, when a middle manager is in a weekly staff meeting with his or her manager I doubt the topic of increasing shareholder value comes up every week because they have a job to get done.  If it is an IT Staff member they are quite busy worrying about keeping up with their project load, pleasing internal users and staying within corporate IT standards.  As you can see the point is simple, play to your audience and your audience contains a few different levels of interest.  When you move away from “one size fits all” messaging and better target your messages to your audience you connect better with the individuals you need to influence.  Final Approver VPs are no longer turned off by the speeds and feeds / feature speak they are not interested in hearing.  And likewise technologist / Evaluators are not turned off by benefit statements about how great the macro level changes are going to be for their company and shareholders.  Instead you are speaking the right level of language addressing the unique areas of acute pain each layer involved in the buying cycle is experiencing.

My company has produced award winning messaging and message platforms for clients in the past and we continue to be very active with our Messaging Service.  We typically focus on the following four levels and create a unique Message Platform for each level of customer in the buying hierarchy.  Here is an example in ascending order of responsibility:

1. The Evaluator. (Staff)

2. The Evaluator’s Manager aka the Recommender. (Manager or Director)

3. The Recommender’s Manager aka the Decision Maker. (Director or VP)

4. The Decision Maker’s Manager aka the Approver. (VP or CXO)

If the individuals you need to influence are a mix of business and IT customers, we would also include platforms to cover everyone.  It depends on what you are selling.  i.e. if you are only selling to IT then your message platforms would only cover the IT hierarchy.  If you are selling to the business side with IT as an Evaluator then both business and IT platforms are needed.

When completed, Message Platforms serve as a “living” guide for all future sales and marketing content.

Anyone can do this, however, since my company has extensive experience that has led to a deep understanding of the interest levels, areas of importance and language of enterprise business and IT customer hierarchies, we excel at it.  If your company needs assistance in this area we would welcome the opportunity to help.

For those companies who are just starting out and have limited budget, I suggest you take a stab at it yourself.  Here’s how:  Start by creating two platforms; the Evaluator and the Decision Maker.  On each platform net out the areas of acute pain you believe each level cares most about and then map your features and benefits against each pain point. Add how your product is unique from the competition and you’re off to a good start.  Then take each of these one page Message Platforms and use them as the guideline when producing sales & marketing content.  If the content is well written, brief/concise and on point for each level you are communication with then you will have demonstrated higher credibility through your communication than many of your competitors.


Good selling!



Bowery Capital Podcast: Account Targeting


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Screen Shot 2015-01-30 at 12.38.59 PMThis week Dave Govan, the CRO of Dynamic Yield,  joined us in the Bowery Capital studio to record another episode of the Bowery Capital Startup Sales Podcast: creating a landscape of potential customer companies by which sales and marketing teams can guide their efforts when they first go to market and as they scale. This topic is one that every early-stage startup has spent plenty of time working through. While different founders take different tacks, Dave walked us through the importance of building a core strategy document that formalizes and institutionalizes the process. He aptly calls this strategy piece a “Total Universe Of Accounts.” As we’ll learn, there’s a right way and a wrong way.

Dave has a stellar background as a long time CRO in the SaaS and marketing technology spaces. Over the last decade or so, Dave has served as an SVP leading North American Enterprise sales at VeriSign, and as an EVP at Sailthru, where he led global sales and oversaw a period of rapid expansion into the company’s growth phase. Currently, Dave is the CRO of DynamicYield, a fast-growing provider of SaaS website revenue yield optimization solutions. Finally, Dave is a prolific speaker on sales best practices in marketing SaaS and has authored a book on the topic called Crisis In The Enterprise.

Creating a Total Universe Of Accounts seems—on first glance—like a relatively straightforward exercise. But there are clear pitfalls and common mistakes that can lead to a confused and unfocused sales team early on in the life of a startup. As the CRO of DynamicYield, and a longtime SaaS, head of sales, Dave draws out a number of points that we hope you can use as a guide to improve your sales org. While no Total Universe Of Accounts is—or can be determined—the same, we lay out a clear process to built a focused, data-driven strategy that can help ensure that your early-stage sales team hits the ground running.

Give the podcast a listen here:

You can check out the transcript here:

NP: Hey, everyone. Welcome back to the Bowery Capital Startup Sales Podcast. Today, we have with us Dave Govan who is the Chief Revenue Officer of Dynamic Yield. How’s it going today, Dave?

DG: It’s going great, NP. Thanks for having me.

NP: Yeah. Thanks for joining us. So, I think to kick off, it would be great if you could just give us a little background on your role Dynamic Yield, what you guys do and then maybe a little bit on roles before that.

DG: Sure. At Dynamic Yield, I am global CRO. So, I work out at the world headquarters here in New York and we have an amazing marketing application where we’re helping media companies and e-commerce companies create more personalized and more engaging optimized experiences without the need for IT, without the need to integrate into content management systems, without the need to have development done because we provide a middle layer on the client side that drives everything. So, we are finding that major brands like The New York Times and Kenneth Cole etc. are really excited in getting some really tremendous results out of what we are doing.

NP: That’s awesome. And, maybe also just for account of the edification of our listeners here today, if maybe just give, you know, quick few points on kind of previous roles you’ve been in this kind of Head of Sales role of, you know, a number of companies.

DG: Sure. Yeah, sure.

NP: Yeah.

DG: I had the great pleasure to be Chief Revenue Officer at Sailthru and prior to that, I had my own consulting business. I actually advised CEOs in tech on optimizing go-to-market strategies and execution. That was called G2 Strategic Advisory Services. I authored a book on improving tech sales. It’s called “Crisis and the Enterprise” that’s available on Amazon. I’ve written a blog for a number of years and I formerly ran North America for Verisign and I worked at Oracle and a couple of startups in between. I started in Personalization back in the late 90’s when it was really early stage and I’ve had a couple of opportunities to work in that space. So, I’ve been very fortunate.

NP: So, we have a lot to learn from Dave here today, but what we will focus in on and what we’re going to dive into is creating a total universe of customers. And so, I will let Dave dive into to that concept, but I think it’s a lesson and a number of anecdotes here that should be extremely useful to both heads of sales and early startup CEOs as they think about building their sales organization and how to attack the right customers at the right time.

DG: Thanks NP. I’m very passionate about these topics. So, I’m excited to speak with you about it. So, after you create a business plan, you start operating, you have your go-to-market strategy in place and hopefully, you’ve put together a market map that really clearly identifies the voice of the customer that you are following, particularly from a persona standpoint and this will resonate with a lot of folks who work in this space. And so, you know the titles of people that you’re interested in marketing and selling to, you know what they care about and you have that down and then as you develop your solution, you lay out your solution strategy. Obviously, it addresses the needs of those people and what they’re interested in. And so, it flows very well how you’re exploring competitive vulnerabilities etc. and then it comes down to the actual execution of marketing and sales and that’s where creating a total universe of accounts comes into play. And so, what we’re looking for there really is it’s… while it may seem cool to try to sell your product to everyone and every type of company, it actually doesn’t work in B2B and that’s really the area that I’ve focused in throughout my career. What’s really more important is to identify those verticals, those two or three core verticals, to quote Geoffrey Moore’s work in ‘Crossing the Chasm’, which is a classic at this point, he really nailed it with his technology adoption curve where he laid out the, the earliest adopters, innovators and then you have early adopters, you have mainstream, late adopters, and laggards. So, in our case we are looking for people who are innovators and early adopters or if they are in a mainstream company, they are an innovator within their company and that’s the case with many new technology companies. It’s very important to find change agents and people who are looking to make a difference. So, that concept of people also applies to companies. There are companies that have a reputation for being more innovative in the, you know, in their markets than others and so that factors into filtering from a total universe of account’s perspective. But essentially, in a nutshell, it’s filtering out by SIC code, you know, vertical, sub-vertical, where you’re really going to add the most value, where your solution’s going to add the most value.

NP: So, yeah. All this happened there for us actually, so… but, you know, we’re talking about creating this, you know, total universe of customers and there are a kind of number of axes or a number of, you know, number of qualifiers for each company we can consider. You know, we just talked about industry vertical or SIC code. You can also think about to what extent they are an effective adopter of technology, whether they are an early adopter, you know, they have good champions for working with tech vendors internally or whether they are laggard. That would be a kind of a second axis. There are also a number of others, so how big the company it is in terms of revenue or employees, potentially even geography depending on how you structure your sales team. So I guess considering these different factors, Dave, maybe we could just take it back, imagine, you know, you’re working with a CEO relatively early on in the life of a company.

DG: Yes.

NP: And, you’re having this conversation of, “Okay, we have a sense for who our ideal customers are, but we need to create this total universe of customers.” How, you know, you’re welcome to use the actual anecdotes or just talk about it generally about how you kind of think through each one of these axes and do you actually end up coming up with that physical list at the end of that, you know, consideration set?

DG: Yes. That’s a great question. Yeah, so again it goes back to the go-to-market strategy planning with the founder, with the CEO, and sitting down and looking at like – where do we do the most good? Where do we add the most value?

NP: Yeah.
DG: From-from his or her perspective and then understanding that and then discussing use cases like practical use cases because at the end of the day, customers don’t buy features. They buy… first of all, we sell ideas and then they buy use cases, so it’s very important to come up with those use cases so we think about those use cases and then which actual types of companies, which industries and types of companies could benefit from those use cases so we use that and it’s always… I’ve never had an issue anywhere of working with a CEO on this, so it just kind of flows very…

NP: Sure.

DG: … very organically.

NP: Sure. So, let’s think through, I guess, a couple of those axes that you might consider as you’re building the total universe of customers. So, we talked a little bit about, you know, industry vertical, so you know, if you’re relatively early on… obviously if you have a vertical solution, you know, like DealerTrack, you know, one company that we…

DG: Yes.

NP: … we talked about in our previous podcast, you know, that who you’re going after, but…

DG: Correct.

NP: You have a horizontal solution. How do you test ‘would this vertical be a good one?’

DG: Sure. Yeah. So, if it’s like super, super early, you would have engaged with one particular type of company and, you know, I think it’s a well known best practice that when you’re launching a company, you actually don’t want to do it in a vacuum. You want to have real world input into your product design and implementation, so you will have just by, you know, natural flow, you’re going to have experience working in a particular type of company or vertical. In some cases though experiment in multiple and then see which ones resonate more…

NP: Yeah.

DG: In some cases, it’s like you start somewhere, but then you realize actually the market is a little different than you thought. So, you know, you’re flexible and you respond to that additional knowledge and kind of just make an adjustment, but at some point fairly quickly you realize really where you’re adding the most value…

NP: Yeah.

DG: …with your, you know, with your IP and that’s when you decide to focus in how to focus…

NP: That makes sense. Now, do you in your experience… is that a conversation that happens between you as the CRO and the CEO and the CMO on an ongoing basis? Are you pulling those data points from SCR sales people? Are you doing outside market research? I guess, how do you… there’s a lot of data to be consolidated.

DG: No, it’s a great point. In practicality, in most cases, that’s already been discovered by the time I am hired.

NP: Sure.

DG: Because the founders, they start with a very tiny team of people and they figure that out ahead of time.

NP: Yeah.

DG: In some cases though, the CRO may co-found and then they are figuring it out together.

NP: Yeah.

DG: But, in many cases, it’s identified and so, I found in my particular case, I’ve played a role of what I’d call optimization in that where they have figured out some really great places to start, but all the pieces weren’t necessarily put together.

NP: Sure.

DG: And that’s where I came in and helped optimize it further, refining a vertical, for example, like if you can say it’s e-commerce online retail, like in our industry, for example, I figured out that there’s also a utility aspect of value, so in other words if you’re consuming lots of different media content or you have many different products to sell that are highly taste-preferential, then, you know, the value of proposition is going to be very high. If it’s a utility-oriented relationship with a consumer, meaning I only come to the site when I need X.

NP: Yeah.

DG: … and I am really only interested in X and you might be able to sell me across only Y, but it’s probably not going to happen that often, so if you think of like hardware, for example…

NP: Sure.

DG: … so, there’s always exceptions obviously and there’s lots of gray technologies being used by these more utilitarian companies.

NP: Yeah.

DG: But, in general, so, there is some like learned knowledge that folks like myself will apply as well as we’re looking at it. On the other hand, if you look like at fashion, for example, fashion is a wonderful vertical for what we do and companies like us because there is this high taste preference…

NP: Yeah.

DG: … which is very, very… there are actually a significant number of cohorts yet to be discovered and identified by our analytics which our automation could then work off of and help engage those individuals and the same thing on media as well, the same principle applies if there is a diversity of content and a healthy volume of content…

NP: Yeah.

DG: … the algorithms are going to do the work and really add a lot of value. If you’re a site where you’re really publishing like, you know, one story a day or two, like highly, highly specialized a couple of stories a day…

NP: Yeah.

DG: It’s… we could… So, our value is going to be less. So, as a CRO, we take that into account as we’re doing the… defining the universe in at a sub-vertical level. We’re looking at that as well.

NP: Got it. So, I guess, you know, just to recap like, you know, financial… something like financial services versus the fashion vertical…

DG: Right.

NP: In your case you looked at, you know, really what is the value, the main value proposition of our product and what does that… what metric or, you know, what features does that tie to? In this case, it’s, you know, how much content do you put out there?

DG: Yes.

NP: And, you know, and then you analyze industry verticals in that way and then…

DG: That’s right.

NP: …maybe you find a new one that say, “Hey! I had no idea that autos did so much content, but you have a good idea”.

DG: Correct. So, like a contrast would be in financial services and in insurance, if it’s say, a financial services company that has a lot of really great content like in or, you know,
someone like that, then solutions like ours will add a lot of value, right?

NP: Yeah.

DG: But, if it’s an insurance company that, you know, how often does a consumer buy insurance? How many different types of insurance products are there? It’s pretty much set and done. Now, we could still optimize landing pages for that customer and add value in the, you know, there’s definitely an opportunity to do business there, but it’s not going to be, like when you’re trying to grow a business, if you’re trying to be… if you’re trying to go too broad, you’re going to have issues because you’re going to wind up chasing opportunities that are going to be lower in terms of volume and value.

NP: Right.

DG: And it’s not… you’re not going to get as high of an ROI, whereas if you figure this out and you concentrate on the sweet spots in the market…

NP: Yeah.

DG: … then you’re going to drag more on.

NP: That makes a lot of sense. I think also, I mean, a kind of a sub-point here is, I mean, if we are thinking about our total universe of customers in terms of industry verticals, well, you know, once you have a couple of great adopters within fashion, just to give an example, you probably have a really good idea of how they procure software, what their specific, industry-specific pain points are…

DG: Yes.

NP: … and you can expand within that vertical.

DG: Absolutely. And that comes back to use cases. That’s spot on, NP. So, we know from working with online fashion retailers and other types of retailers like that, we know what use cases we were providing and they were using that are driving in the highest value.

NP: Yeah.

DG: So, when we commuNPate across that vertical, we can just give simple examples of that and in many cases, it resonates and there’s always unique situations where we expand and innovate together.

NP: Yeah.

DG: But, in many cases, it resonates. So, that’s spot on. I wanted to mention one other aspect of segmentation that is actually a… somewhat tricky for if you are involved. Like I am in the marketing technology space, right?

NP: Yeah.

DG: And you see the LUMAscape and there’s like a thousand companies literally and the LUMAscape in various reports, right? So, the traditional methods that tech companies go through to segment actually really don’t apply much in our space. So, it’s important for sales leaders and for marketers and for founders and CEOs, it’s important for them to recognize this and segment accordingly. So, what I mean by that, well, a traditional tech company… I used to work at Oracle, for example, we would look at these number of employees that the customer has as total revenue, sometimes locations depending on what we are doing and in the age of Internet 2.0 or 3.0.

NP: Yeah.

DG: They really kind of go out the window.

NP: Right.

DG: Because what we’re really interested in is the size of the internet community.

NP: Yeah.

DG: That’s what really matters to us, so you can… I’ve had situations in the past where literally there’s a 70 person company that’s doing a high six figure transaction with my organization for that reason.

NP: Yeah.

DG: But, they have five million registered users…

NP: Right.

DG: … on the internet or they have, you know, they are contacting ten million people on a regular basis. If you look at Mashable, for example.

NP: Yeah.

DG: It’s a perfect example and Mashable has 150 employees or something like that, may be 100. … somewhere around there and they are a 5 star prospect for us.

NP: Right.

DG: Right? Whereas there could be a, you know, a pharmaceutical company like Pfizer which has, you know, an enormous amount of employees and for what we sell and what we do, they’re going to be actually a low… a lower end prospect for us.

NP: Sure. You know, it’s a really good point and I think, you know, it ties back into the… to the concept as well of value based selling…

DG: Yes.

NP: … and also pricing. You know, you could have a giant organization, you know, if you’re selling mobile analytics solutions, you could have a giant Fortune 500 company, you have, you know, John Deere or Caterpillar, may not be relevant whatsoever and, you know, a very small app publisher where it’s their entire business. So, that’s an over-simplified, but, you know, another…

DG: It’s right on though.

NP: Yeah.

DG: And the same thing applies, you know, if you’re selling a solution for big data development organizations, right?

NP: Right, yeah.

DG: I mean, , you don’t know how many developers or data scientists the company has just by looking at the center demographics. It actually got to simulate into the community and you have to come up with some intelligence that tells you that.

NP: Right.

DG: Right? And some of that’s done through old fashion, making calls and figuring that out and some of it’s done through research doing research reports and going to conferences, but whatever it is you’re selling and to whom, you have to align the segmentation to get to that total universe of accounts with that because if you’re working on other principles, you’re actually going to leave money on the table. You’re going to, you know, miss an opportunity.

NP: Yeah. So, in your guys’ case, I think that’s an interesting point that I am thinking about, you know, the relevant team and how big that team as kind of a proxy for how important is this value prop to them. So, in your guys’ case, did you ever look at, you know, like LinkedIn, something along those lines to say, “Hey, how big is their web content team?” or something along those lines?
DG: Absolutely. It’s a great question. There are a lot of ‘aha’s’ in the data. Actually, I had an opportunity to meet Bill Campbell back when I was at Verisign. He was an advisor and that’s his quote, so, I’ll credit the former CEO of Intuit with that.

NP: Yeah.

DG: Yeah. The ‘aha’s’ are in the data and so, a lot of these technologies and tools that we use, you can actually pick up some interesting data filters like, for example, which used to be Jigsaw, now is owned by Salesforce, I’ve identified it a kind of a cool unique identifier of criteria-wise, which is the number of contacts.

NP: Yeah.

DG: So, the number of contacts in for a particular company, I would actually like at a manual level in some cases, my organization would create this humongous spreadsheet of all, you know, entities in a vertical…

NP: Yeah.

DG: I would sort by the number of contacts in back then Jigsaw and scan that and then all the entities that had only like one or two contacts or a zero…

NP: Right.

DG: … just remove them right away. We would just like literally get rid of them. Why?’s space on user-generated content for people like, you know, selling and if there’s not enough people actually who care about selling to an entity because maybe they are too small yet, then why should we, you know, bother?

NP: Yeah, like a good leading indicator that they may not be an early adopter…

DG: Yeah.

NP: … or that tech friendly.

DG: Yeah. And I’ll share one other one with you too which I’ve discovered in our space and particularly in the online marketing tech space. So, there’s lots of different data… we’ve all been… data types we’ve been familiar with. There is, Alexa Rankings, Google PageRank, you know, all those data, right?

NP: Sure.

DG: But, it is arduous to look up all of these data points for my team, so I… I don’t know if it was just by luck or if through research, but I found this really cool site… hopefully after this they don’t shut down you know from volume, but it’s called And what’s cool about is they actually take all those different matrix and they us… they have their own algorithms and they create their own score, so there is an FWR score that is based on a scale of 1 to 5, 5 being the highest and so you know like a Mashable would be like a 5.0 and a new… a very new brand that’s just getting started would be a 1 etc. So, I have discovered that this is actually free to use.

NP: What does that score speak to?

DG: It’s… so… it’s… it’s a propriety score they have created that combines Google PageRank, the number of back links, the… Alexa Ranking, you know, a number of different matrix. They don’t expose the actual formula because I was curious about that. So I tested it myself and kind of like just did a sample audit and I checked it out and I would say for my segmentation purposes it is about 85-90 percent accurate in terms of the score on correlating to the size of the opportunity for a company like ours in a marketing text based. As a result we have basically been using it’s… and they call it the FWR score, we have been using FWR scores and adding that in our CRM system which is and I have used that to segment between my mid market team, enterprise team. When we get a lead that comes in, we look up the FWR score and we determine that will tell us like how important… so, a quick example we are doing some really effective marketing retargeting now, and we just… two days we had a large Polish media site come in, in Polish, but you know we weren’t familiar with it because we don’t live in Poland, no offense to anyone who does and… but, we quickly went to, looked it up and it is a 5 star property based on what they are doing. There are a lot of Polish speaking people who read that and… and it is a great… it looks like a great site and a great brand. So, as a result we knew not to like blow this off and just… but to pursue it heavily and that’s what we are doing. So, the point to these two anecdotal stories is there are depending on your industry, there are other data sources today and I am sure there is more added next month that you can find and use to help create this total universe of accounts that you want to focus on.

NP: Great! So, lets talk for a second about, you know, we have this total universe of accounts, you know we chatted a little bit earlier about the concept that if you wanted to blow this list out to you know enormous proportions, right? There is an ideal size you know and that probably ties to the size of your org, how many sales people you have. How do you think about what the ideal size is?
DG: Sure. So, I would answer that in… in the following way; it depends on where you are at in your journey, how mature of a company or how many sales resources you have, how horizontal versus vertical your solution is. So, for example, if I was like Zendesk back in the day which has a horizontal tool that can be sold many different places for customer support, right, lower ticket item, it would… my total universe of accounts would probably be fairly large. If you are a… marketing app… SaaS marketing application like ours, I actually don’t want a total universe of accounts of 200,000, that’s not going to… I know from experience that’s not going to actually serve me well. I want a narrower list, I want something like 8,000-10,000 accounts in the total universe of accounts because I know based on filtering for in our case for ecommerce and media, I know that that quantity is probably going to give me most of mid markets and enterprise accounts I am interested in at this point in time. Now, there are always exceptions, just because we define it, it doesn’t mean we turn away someone that comes in, like the Polish news site or community site example, we don’t turn away someone just because they are not on our predefined list. But this definitely helps us focus more and then over time I would see our total universe of accounts expanding by something like, you know 5x and 10x as we enter additional verticals with additional use cases, then we will add financial services and consumer package goods, you know other industries that… as we grow. So, it is really I think… it’s a… it’s a matter of where you are at in your journey and you know what your resources are and what you are trying to accomplish.
NP: So, to… to help, you know listeners kind of place themselves along this you know… I guess they are where they are in their journey and how they should think about the size of their list, could you give us a sense of… if you were targeting 8 or 10,000 on your total universe of accounts of your customers how many… how many people did you have on your sales team then, just approximately?

DG: Yeah. So, right now, we are building out our sales organization and right now we have about a dozen people and we are growing very quickly, we are hiring if anyone is interested, please approach me. But, so we have a combination of market developers and of enterprise sales reps and pre sales people that are focused on…on this and we are partnering with marketing in terms of the total universe of accounts so… but, leveraging some really great technologies that allow us to automate, outreach and have analytics. We are able to actually get a lot more done than you would think this size of team could get done, like literally one of my SDRs I think this person had 3,000 touches so far this month and is generating some really excellent meetings again because we are focused. The main benefit of having a narrower total universe of accounts is you have already pre qualified that a) the comp… the verticals are fit, b) the company is a fit, c) the titles are fit, so when she goes through her… you know her list and she is looking at titles she has already got it pre defined before she even begins outreach. they are all pre qualified for general suspect fit, right. And then it is a question of timing, appetite, you know budget, all of that but at least we know as I was mentioning to you before we know which hills we want to climb and so at least we know like where we are going, right versus if you are… if you are more or like kind of stuck in that vast green field, you are always going to be reacting because any opportunity that happens to be brought in by marketing you are going to react to, you are going to spend sales resources on and there is an opportunity … cost associated with that. So, we really look to… to minimize opportunity cost and maximize engagement in areas where we know it can lead to pipe line contribution.

NP: Yep, I think, you know, that’s a good plan. I mean, you kind of have that you know total universe of accounts or customers, that’s also kind of a resource that is… unifies the sales and marketing, right because you have this context for the marketing team for what is or what should be a marketing qualified leader at MQL such that MQLs… you know, such that marketers don’t have in their minds, oh this is MQL but then a sales person gets it, says well this is a crap lead.

DG: Yes, I am smiling very widely because that is a classic discussion that goes on and fortunately we… marketing and sales at Dynamic Yield are great partners and you know we are all working together and everyone is listening to each other. But that is a classic situation where there is literally like I am staffing now and I recently interviewed a candidate recently and I wont mention where from but the candidate literally said this person is responsible for customer acquisition that are you know their field reps would no longer accept any inbound leads from this company and its like wow! You know, that’s pretty bad. So, it can get to extreme places but we are avoiding that through collaboration, education, commuNPation, just making sure because scoring is very important. One thing I just wanted to weave in too, if you were like at a seed stage or even earlier you would even have a micro set of in terms of your total universe of accounts. I think that’s healthy and I think it is okay to say, you know what I am going to start with 500 accounts and we have designated… and they could be a mix of mid market and large and tiny depending what you do or they could be all of one size but like at that stage you are just trying to get any customers, so focus is really, really important and that’s okay, right. Then as you start to go to growth stage where we are then you want to have a tangible set that is still focused but at… from a macro perspective at something greater that you can mine. Don’t forget also that the… when it comes down to titles we don’t only pursue one person even when your focused on selling a marketing application there are 4 to 6 titles that we are pursuing in an enterprise account and probably 2 or 3 in a mid market account. So, when you do the numbers and say 10,000 accounts then multiply it by that number of people the suspect list gets fairly large quickly so it’s statistically speaking it’s a pretty good sample size to work off of to generate the type of results we are looking to do which is hyper growth.

NP: Yeah. Now say… I guess, just as a quick aside say you have 5 roles or 5 people that are in an organization that is you know a great… great fit in one of your top prospects in your total universe of accounts how do you go about pursuing that customer, you know in… in kind of a focused way? So did you actually have the same person touch all the 5 people of this organization or is it totally laissez faire?

DG: Yeah. So, they could hit really in two ways in terms of introducing Dynamic Yield, so we have a 7 touch process that we have laid out for outbound, which my organization is responsible for, which combines LinkedIn, email and phone and… and its quite effective, again because we have pre qualified the suspects and then marketing is actually running more like thought leadership, blogging, eBooks and… you know, from that angle so… and retargeting as I mentioned before, so they do cross over from time to time but we are very careful not to spam the… you know, the total universe of accounts and contacts in there, we are very careful about that and we are not… at the same moment in time we don’t have the separate organizations attacking the same target in terms of introducing the company. And then if we don’t have engagement after that… you know after that process we place it on nurture back to marketing and then marketing can… you know send our news letter to them if they wanted or they can opt out, it kind of flows like that.

NP: Got it. And finally, I think you know what? I… what I’d like to touch on is as you know a company grows, we were just discussing you know that the total universe of accounts or customers is going to grow not just in terms of… of volume of customers and also volume of touch points especially as you… kind of move up into the enterprise tier but also you know certain over time as you learn more about different customers, certain industry verticals. You may learn more about those customers and say, actually look fashion is much more compelling than we thought, these guys are great adaptors you know so what are… what are maybe some of the ways that you know you guys evolve the list over time so maybe expanding on a vertical based on you know the matrix you collect?

DG: Sure, absolutely. So, as the product portfolio roadmap continues to unfold we have a great development organization, they are coming up with new capabilities constantly, so we look at it from a go to market standpoint if our… you know for broadening, yeah. And we have product management so we look at that from that perspective and then it would expand then, if that answers your question. Sometimes we find we have an epiphany where someone got hold of our IP and our application and started using it in a certain way that we weren’t familiar with right and we then listened really well to them. We had like a division of a larger company we sold to and they actually figured out they could create more variations of landing pages faster with Dynamic Yield, so they just went on a tear and created like 70-80 variations for their business which is on the online gaming space and you know we hadn’t identified that use case, we knew that they could do it but we hadn’t identified that so as a result we listened to the customer, we actually tweaked a few things to help them and then we added a new feature to our capability which is landing page developer. And so, I think most companies are pretty good at this point at listening to the market and that is where we pride ourselves in doing that.

NP: Awesome.

DG: Yeah.

NP: So, you know, the final question on my end you know would just be as your… you have this at this point we have this you know successful total universe of customers and… various different verticals and business is growing, you know what is your internal process, I am just… get down to exactly how you guys review and audit the list over time as just opposed to letting kind of your lease list on sales force grow while you are in control.

DG: Sure, the way we work is I am empowered to lead a commercial efforts of the organization so… but I work very collaboratively with marketing and with my manager, the CEO, so I will observe something that is going on or someone will commuNPate something with me and then I’ll come up with a draft concept to expand, circulate it amongst the customer success team, a leader there, my colleagues, marketing, my manager and then we will just agree that this makes sense or doesn’t make sense. So, it’s… we are a nimble company where we are like really low on bureaucracy and politics fortunately so we get a lot done in a short period of time. And we think in more established companies that I have worked at in the past obviously it is a bigger ship and respectfully there is more consideration to be taken into account so in that case it is probably like a 6 months or 12 months project or something to do it. But I also if I have time to mention one more sort of you know idea I wanted to share…

NP: Sure.

DG: So, the other thing I would recommend your listeners keep their eyes open for our specific cohorts that they can identify through … selling and use of our or their technology and what I mean by that is so we… if not familiar with the term, its like a micro segment, multidimensional micro segment within the you know your segment itself. And so, coincidentally, our major value add for Dynamic Yield is we help large brands, small brands etc. identify cohorts they weren’t aware of and then in like seconds or minutes be able to create the cohort through our audience capability and then take action to personalize and engage that cohort whether it is video enthusiasts for media companies or just general ad users. For example, in one large brand we… we discovered that only 5 percent of users are consuming 50 percent of the ads and then another 20 percent are consuming or clicking on the balance of the 50 percent. So, basic you have 25 percent of users that are clicking on ads and 75 percent that are not, so for our customer we have automation that figures that out and moves them and engages them. But, the same principle applies for B2B tech vendors as well. So you know if we just really early on keep your eyes open and just watch what’s flowing and look for those cohorts I… again, going back to GeoffreyMoore I think one of the key filters for the cohort is those innovators.

NP: Yep.

DG: So, as you lead your market development teams, I coach my team to do a lot of online research when they you know use some of the technologies and tools that are out there to you know to get like Newsle, for example to get updates and when you see one of your prime suspects speaking at conferences on innovation, digital innovation add them to that. And there are other dimensions to the co…cohorts as well, for example Ghostery, a free Plugin for Chrome which will tell you what technologies are running on any site. So, we all have Ghostery running and as soon as we look up a prospect site we immediately look to see what they have running on their site, how much they have running on their site as well and that can help us, that adds another dimension to the cohort, like are they a heavy technology adopter, you can see that right away or is there like hardly anything on the site; it tells you a lot. So, whatever you are focusing on marketing or selling there are these other you know somewhat esoteric you know filters that you can add as you are doing your targeting so you have your total universe of account and you won’t be adding the cohorts there, you will have that… but as your then you are going through the programs and developing that there is another opportunity in addition to that to add… take cohort based thinking and apply it in market development and selling.

NP: Yep.

DG:Like, for one example, if we find that it’s like this one cohort that I have created that is just shows as a really, really right lucrative prospect, we may make a decision that the market development person is going to ask their enterprise sales director to actually pursue that suspect instead of the market development person.

NP: Sure.

DG: So, it is kind of having some flexibility around that.

NP: Yeah. So, as you are kind of able to collect more granular data about your customers, you tell on to them, use different tools to learn about, you know, their engagement and how innovative they are. You know, you can start to even add new kind of ways to segment customers on an even more granular basis than just industry size etc.

DG:Exactly, exactly.

NP: Cool. That makes sense. Well, Dave I think that’s about it for this broadcast, but I really just want to thank you for joining us today. Really appreciate you coming in.

DG: You are welcome, NP. It is great to speak with you and I was excited to be here.