How do you collect leads for your B2B marketing strategy? Of course, landing pages and funnels are expected to attract leads.
The problem is that those leads are generally not aligned and not fully understanding your product.
Alessia Camera, Head of Marketing & Growth at Taxfix, shares how creating a product-led B2B acquisition strategy can make your leads as hot as the hot sauce on your hot dog.
[Transcript] Product-Led Tactics Your Sales Team Will Love
I’m very happy to introduce Alessia Camera, Head of Growth at Taxfix and actually a fellow Italian. Hello Alessia, thanks for joining us.
Thank you very much, Massimo. As you said, I’m in Milan, so I think I’m one of the few Italians from outside the US in this event. But I see we have many things in common because I’m gonna talk about product-led tactics, and I was actually following this track before.
And I think there’s gonna be a very nice path around how marketing, sales, and product teams can all work together to be more efficient and create a better product for the customers.
Hot Takes Live
Jun 28, 2023, 10:00 AM–3:00 PM EDT
During Hot Takes Live, SaaS leaders from some of the top companies you know and love will reveal some of their most unpopular opinions about Marketing, Sales, Ops, and Product.
In these laser-focused 10-minute sessions, leaders will share the counterintuitive insights and surprising data points that enabled them to disrupt their industry by going against the grain (and achieve better results in the process).
Before kicking off, just a couple of words about me.
Taxfix, the company I work for, is a Berlin-based company that works on a product for taxes, which is not the most amazing and funny product or funny topic in the world. But what we are trying to do, we are trying to help people make it at least less painful.
Something about me. I do like pizza. I don’t like pizza with pineapples like all Italians.
So if you really want to be my friend, don’t say when you’ll have pizza with pineapples, because that’s really painful for us Italians. We know that the world has different tastes. I accept that. I kind of understand that. But yeah, I just prefer not to know when you will eat a pizza with pineapples.
Anyway. Let’s kick it off.
In my experience, I’ve led quite a lot of marketing teams. When we were working on B2B acquisition strategies, I realized that there was a lot of mismatch or ways where we wanted to achieve the same goals, but it was very tricky to make both teams work together.
Those difficulties increased when we were all working on a digital product because the product side was basically given another layer of complication in the equation.
So I realized that, generally, people think that marketing is responsible for the acquisition or lead generation strategies (we’re talking about B2B), which is what the team feels responsible for and what other team expectations are about it.
So marketing is gonna be about making sure that traffic is coming through. And then, we have leads getting into the landing pages. And then, they often don’t know how and when, but this is more or less the expectation.
So what happens when the lead is getting there? And, people basically are signing up for the demo or the landing page. These leads are actually collected and managed by the salespeople. And so when an email pops up, I think about salespeople saying, “Oh, this is mine.”
So this is no more traffic. This is like one person that is really interested in this product that we are offering or the offer we are getting.
And from that point, the sales team is really thinking about transforming that lead into money. So spending a lot of time understanding how to do that transformation. So, for example, scheduling calls and gathering feedback on the product. The hope is basically getting that lead to convert into a paying customer.
But the way marketing and sales are working on achieving this is not really in a team way. It is not really in a connected way. As I said, marketing is the one that is generally pushing traffic to the website, and sales is the one where the responsibility and expectations are to transform that leads into a contract or into paying customers.
What I’m starting to think about is that, okay, so landing pages are the way that everyone in the world is actually using as a way to do this process. But as we heard before, why do we think about marketing? Why don’t we think about this as a whole process?
This means putting marketing, sales, and product together to make sure customers are engaged and leads are coming in, but also the transformation of leads to customers in a really effective way because I realized that there are some problems, and this process is actually broken.
So, the marketing team is pushing people to register. A lot of those leads, generally, are people that are not sure they ever understood what your product is about.
Perhaps, you think that these people actually read the landing page. Read the content and understand a little bit about the product. But in general, from my experience, you never know. And in most cases, those people didn’t read a word.
And so that’s very tricky because when sales take that lead, they think these people are actually interested. They think that their job is actually to transform that leading to paying customers.
But again, this process can be very tricky because it is not as linear as we think it is. In reality, it’s very different. In theory, yes, we’re saying that this is coming through how we read it in books and how everyone thinks about this.
In reality, this is not really working. And so when sales are collecting those leads, they’re spending a lot of time doing demos, a lot of calls, a lot of emails sent, a lot of messages on LinkedIn because, in the majority of the cases, people that are leaving their email address.
Maybe they’re not interested, or maybe they’re just leaving the address for many different reasons that we are not really sure of gathering as a motivation.
So from my experience at Taxfix, we’re asking this question, why don’t we create a product-driven, self-serve experience?
So we are putting product as the core of the experience, and it’s basically putting the product at the center, combining together marketing and sales to make sure that we attract the companies and we are getting leads of people that are really interested in what we are offering.
We are talking about taxes. We’re not talking about a super amazing product. So for us, making sure that these people were interested in what we were offering was basically the most important part.
So here’s what we’ve done. We created this landing page. We A/B tested a normal landing page for lead acquisition against a product-led landing page where people could actually play a little bit with the product, understand how it was working, and push them into really thinking whether they wanted to try it out for their company.
So we were kind of pushing our leads to experience the product. How we wanted to do that and why we wanted to do that. So we really wanted to show people because digital taxes, let’s say, are a very new topic for Europe.
For Italy, but even for Germany. We really wanted to show people how to use the product and understand the value and the competitive advantage they could get by doing the taxes in an app instead of doing it through an accountant.
Through this experience, we were sure that people were getting more curious; they were really getting into “Oh, you hooked me; I can really do my taxes through an app, through a product.”
And we realized that companies that were basically signing up through the demo and through A/B testing were really more interested. We were getting people who were already hot leads, people who were curious, and leads who were already hot.
And, then, our sales team didn’t have to spend endless time doing demos and showing how the product was working.
We realized that this psychological value, the Ikea factor, means that when people spend so much time with the product, they’re actually more interested because this time that they spend engaging with the product is actually what is driving them to use it even more.
So the key takeaway is “Tell me, and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me, and I learn.”
And it’s actually what we also learned about taxes. People really want to understand how to use it, really want to ask questions, and really want to read the content. This is about their overall experience.
And the A/B test was pushed by Product, which gave us much better results, much more curiosity, and much more interested companies that ended up becoming paying customers for Taxfix.
And I think that’s it.
Thank you, Alessia, that was super insightful. And I love how it connects perfectly with the previous session because, in the end, I think one of the biggest problems is really about breaking down silos.
Whether it’s marketing and product, product and sales, marketing and sales, that’s the biggest challenge, and we often experience it.
Marketing says sales it’s not closing enough leads, sales are saying marketing is generating bad leads, and so on. Overall the PLG approach, product-led growth, makes a lot of sense, and in the end, I think you’ll always have customers that prefer a different approach. I don’t like speaking with sales; I prefer to play with a product. Other people prefer a sales-driven demo. I think it’s really about letting potential customer pick their favorite path.
Yes, I totally agree.
One thing that I find extremely challenging in a product-led growth scenario is that some products like Breadcrumbs, for example, where we need connection with third parties, again, you have the same problem because it’s not like, “Oh, I’m just gonna sign up and upload all my tax record to see how it works. “
Some products have a challenging activation, so how do you solve that problem? Do you provide sandbox data? Do you just expose a small feature of a product? Have you tested it? What did work well for you?
Yeah, so one of the challenges around B2B products is complex products; it’s very tricky to create a functional demo that allows people to try out the experience themselves.
So I think there are a couple of approaches here.
So either you are trying to provide an experience that is self-serve enough and is maybe one or two features that can be implemented. Maybe it’s not a fully functioning product, but this is basically the minimum value for the customers to understand how it works.
For example, this is the approach Amplitude used when they were using self-serve at the beginning. Not really allowing people to experience the full-functioning product, just maybe a portion of it, and the most important part is actually giving out value.
I think it’s really about finding what the customer would like to do in a way that is good enough for them to experience and understand the product.
Another approach that is also working can be videos about other features that are more approachable, maybe a feature that is not really representing the product. Still, it’s just allowing people to understand how to use it and activate their curiosity around it.
The main part is letting people try out the experience, pushing on the curiosity and value they can get from the product; it doesn’t need to be experiencing the full product.
I think it’s really about understanding your customer, the expectation, and the experience they would like to get, and then playing with what you can provide.
That makes a lot of sense. Thank you so much, Alessia. And we have Michael asking whether you think product-led applies to a service company that doesn’t own a product but builds products for others as a product agency.
This is a very good question.
In my experience, I haven’t seen this approach working for agencies’ business models, especially when the products you provide to other companies are complex and different from what already exists. It’s very tricky to push it out as a kind of white label or a SaaS model, which can be very complex.
In these cases, I also think that there’s no curiosity around usage. Hence, people are not thinking, “Oh, I want to use it because I want to make sure I can actually trust this company to develop my product with them.”
I think that what you want to understand are the level and the quality, so maybe, in this case, a video or a demo can be good enough to show your expertise.
Product-led growth is more about when you have a product, you have software, and people need to experience it to understand whether the value they can get is there, the curiosity is there, and the experience they want to get is there.
So I think they are two different models.
Awesome, thank you so much, Alessia.
Thank you very much for having me.