Remarkable Sales! Getting Clients to Know, Like, and Trust You

square 2

Mike Lieberman, CEO and Co-Founder, Square 2 Marketing (the first Hubspot Diamond agency), describes his company as a revenue growth agency. Its purpose is to create revenue generation “machines” for its clients that will provide scalable, repeatable, and predictable revenue growth results – starting with attracting website visitors, turning them into leads, and the helping clients convert these leads into new customers.

Mike feels that driving revenue growth is far more complicated and complex than it’s ever been before, Key to the process is the idea of, “How are we going to create an amazingly remarkable experience for our prospects?” and “How do we continue that experience?” He uses Disney’s “Experience Mapping” in describing a better (more remarkable) form of customer “sales experience.”

A remarkable sales experience starts when 90% of the initial conversation is about the customer. “What’s going on in your business? What brings you here today? Tell me what’s going on. What’s working? What’s not working? Why marketing? Tell us what you’re thinking.” Asking a lot of questions is the only way the sales team will know enough about the client to be helpful.

Mike believes that, when you ask people about themselves, “magical” things happen – they like talking about themselves and get comfortable. You have to give them the chance to feel safe with you – a nervous or uncertain client is more likely to balk at going forward. Mike notes that people buy emotionally first . . . and then later rationalize the decision. The key things that make someone feel safe are that they have to feel that they know, like and trust you.

Marketing today in a complicated mesh of strategy, tactics, technology, and analytics. Mike feels that many companies, large and small, “miss” because they fail to have a compelling message. He references Seth Godin, a savvy marketer who says your business has to be remarkable . . . as does your message. “Me, too” or vague and generic messages fail to communicate product and company strengths.

Mike is looking forward to more HubSpot add-on technology services and has developed a piece of comprehensive artificial intelligence software that scoops up date from HubSpot and Google Analytics (and other eventually other data-generating software), and then analyzes and synthesizes the data to provide insights and make recommendations. MaxG at maxg.ai is promoted as “the First AI-Powered B2B Marketing And Sales Insight And Recommendation Engine.” Agencies can sign up for pre-launch access on the maxg.ai website.

Mike is available on his company’s website at: Square 2 Marketing and on LinkedIn at: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mike-lieberman-7a9579 or https://www.linkedin.com/company/square-2-marketing.

ROB: Welcome to the Marketing Agency Leadership Podcast. I’m your host, Rob Kischuk, and I am joined today by Mike Lieberman, CEO and Co-Founder at Square 2 Marketing based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Mike, why don’t you start off by telling us a little bit about Square 2 and what makes Square 2 great?

MIKE: Sure. Thanks, Rob. Square 2, we really call ourselves a revenue growth agency. Over the years we’ve evolved into a company that helps our clients not only attract visitors to their website, but turn them into leads and then help our clients take those leads and turn them into new customers.

In essence, what we’re trying to do with our clients is create what we call a revenue generation machine that provides scalable, repeatable, and predictable results around revenue growth. We’re really prepared to help clients with all aspects of that journey.

ROB: For sure. Who wouldn’t want revenue growth? But what I’ve found is a lot of times it’s hard for someone who wants that kind of help to get out of our own way, where we don’t know what we don’t know. How do you help deliver on that promise of revenue growth when probably so much of the execution still relies on your clients?

MIKE: Yeah. One of the major challenges that we see today is that the actual exercise of driving revenue growth is way more complicated and far more complex than it’s ever been before. It’s not just about hiring a team of salespeople and hitting the streets. Maybe 15-20 years ago, that’s how a lot of companies got more business, just hiring more salespeople.

It’s no longer just about having a great website and having it found and driving a lot of traffic and trying to convert that traffic. There’s so many nuances and facets to revenue growth. What we generally try to do for clients is break it down in its most simple terms.

The way I try to explain it to people so that they get it is, “How are we going to create an amazingly remarkable experience for our prospects?” Generally I find that the more remarkable the experience, the more people hear about the company, the more visitors they get to the website, the more traction the content gets, the more leads they get.

And then how do we continue that experience? When there’s that handoff from marketing to sales, how do we make sure that sales doesn’t start selling? How do we make sure that sales continues the experience? I talk to clients a lot about Disney World and how they’ve mastered the art of creating an amazing experience, and that produces this incredible amount of people who come back year over year and spend thousands of dollars to visit the park because that experience is so amazing.

So, we try to help clients understand that, help them understand the complexity of the buyer journey today, how buyers are also confused. There are so many options and so much content for them to digest that this concept of an experience is what we try to lean on the most.

ROB: For someone who hasn’t been to Disney World or who hasn’t been there in a while, what are some of the down and dirty details that maybe you’ve noticed or other people have noticed that you think really exemplify what a remarkable experience might look like that could inspire any of us?

MIKE: Disney actually teaches classes on this. They call it Experience Mapping. The story I like to tell most frequently is they rallied the in-room housekeeping crew and said, “How can we make the in-room experience amazing? Obviously the park is amazing and the transportation is amazing and the food is amazing; when people are in the room, how do we make that experience amazing?”

Even if you haven’t been to Disney World, you probably imagine that there’s quite a bit of products for sale there, including in the room, where there’s a stuffed Mickey Mouse in most of the rooms. So the housekeeping staff decided that in sticking with Disney’s theme, which is a magical experience, they would make it appear as if this stuffed Mickey Mouse is alive.

The housekeeping crew, every time they go in and get the room ready for you at night – you’ve been out all day, you come back to the room – they put Mickey Mouse in a different place every single night. They know that most people stay 3.5 room nights, so they have three different places where Mickey finds himself.

When you come home on the first night, Mickey’s tucked under the covers. When you come home the second night, Mickey’s hanging from the shower and the water’s running as if he’s taking a shower. When you come back the last night, he’s looking out the window, like waiting for you to come back. Obviously what this does is it perpetuates the brand, which is magic, and it also gets you to buy the $50 Mickey Mouse doll, because what kid is leaving the Mickey that’s alive in the room when they go back to Toledo, Ohio or wherever they’re coming from?

By empowering your staff to look at your business’s experience through the eyes of your customers, through the eyes of your prospects, you can come up with some really innovative and interesting ways to perpetuate the brand, drive revenue, and create this really remarkable experience that people end up talking about.

ROB: For sure. It sounds like that living Mickey coming home creates some pressure on some parents, like the Elf on the Shelf. It’s Christmas season, so I see a lot of people – [laughs]

MIKE: Absolutely. “We can’t possibly leave Mickey here when we go home. He’s alive! Who’s going to take care of him?” So, he has to come with us, and throw him on the bill and off we go.

ROB: Do you know, is there maybe a playbook? Are the staff left to their own devices or is there a playbook, just a library of “here’s 10, 20, 50 different things that Mickey could do”?

MIKE: I don’t know for sure how they actually handle that. I think it’s just a handful of options, because really you don’t need 50 things for Mickey to do if they know everyone stays 3.5 nights. I think the key to that, really, is empowering the staff to decide what they can do in this room to make the experience even more remarkable.

That’s what we try to get through to our clients. What kind of experience do we need prospects to have with you from a marketing perspective? Clearly that’s web and social and content and email and those traditional touches that execute the marketing, but I think where the rubber really meets the road and where this really gets interesting is what that sales experience looks like – which is why we don’t just stop at the lead generation, but also help clients create that remarkable sales experience.

That’s usually where I see clients running into most of the problem. It’s not that difficult for us to ramp up their lead gen, but turning those leads into customers and revenue is still a pretty big challenge if that experience is mundane.

ROB: Right. If we take that Disney example and we start to transfer it over into the business world and the driving revenue growth world, what are some thoughts/experiences you’ve had of what a remarkable experience can look like specifically for a prospect?

MIKE: If we’re going to continue with the sales theme, you know most sales experiences are pretty bad. “What can I get you? What are you looking to buy today? Can we have an appointment? Can I send you a contract?” It’s a lot about them. “Let me tell you about our services. Let me tell you about our product.”

I think a much more remarkable way to go about that is to flip that around completely 180 degrees and make it entirely about the prospect. Really, if you want to think about it, an analogy we use when we talk to our clients is make it more of a doctor/patient experience. That initial conversation when you’re looking for a new doctor, you don’t even talk to the doctor. You’re calling the office and you’re asking some general questions about the practice to decide if you want to make an appointment.

Then. if those questions are answered appropriately, you go ahead and make the appointment. When you show up at your first appointment, you’re filling out some paperwork, but when you meet with the doctor, he or she needs to get to know you better. So, they’re going to ask you a lot of questions.

We feel strongly like that’s where the sales process should really start. “What’s going on in your business? What brings you here today? Tell me what’s going on. What’s working? What’s not working? Why marketing? Tell us what you’re thinking.” Make it really all about them.

When we start to engage with a prospect – and the way we recommend clients engage with prospects – it’s very little about us. Maybe 10% of that initial conversation would be about us, and that would only be prompted by client inquiries. 90% of that initial conversation is going to be all about them. I can’t possibly help someone unless I know enough about them to be helpful.

That’s a big part of what we try to focus sales teams on: asking a lot of questions. Something magical happens, to stick with the Disney theme, when you ask people about themselves. First of all, they’re comfortable talking about themselves. They like talking about themselves. Generally, they loosen up and start to get a little more comfortable with you when you let them talk about themselves.

There are a couple of key activities that we need to see in the sales process. One, you’ve got to get people to feel safe with you. If I feel like I’m making a safe purchase decision, I’m going to be more likely to move forward. If I’m anxious or nervous or uncertain, I’m going to be less likely to go forward. I’m going to feel less good about you and your business also.

So, we’ve got to get them to feel safe, and to get them to feel safe, you’ve got to get them to know, like, and trust you. By getting them to talk about themselves – it’s like at a cocktail party. If you meet someone and they talk about themselves, you’re like, “Oh, that guy was kind of a… I don’t know if I really want to hang out with that guy anymore.”

But, if someone comes up to you and they’re like, “Hey, what’s going on? Tell me about your business. Tell me about your” – you’re like, “Oh, that guy was pretty nice. They really seemed interested in me.” Those endorphins and the feelings you get are all very similar to what’s going on in the sales process.

So, we want to get them to feel like they like us and trust us, and getting them to tell us what’s going on and getting them to talk about themselves is a big way to do that.

ROB: Excellent. Yes, that “know, like, and trust” point is so critical. I think, to your point, most people don’t realize that they like someone because they just spent the past half-hour talking about themselves. Yet it remains true in almost all human relationships.

MIKE: It is. People also buy emotionally first, and then rationalize that decision second. That emotional feeling all comes from feeling safe and knowing, liking, and trusting you also. It’s almost like a nonstarter if your sales process doesn’t give you an opportunity to set that up.

Marketing can support that too. If your website has a friendly tone, if the content is really educational, if the nurturing is reasonable and not overly aggressive, that can set the tone for “know, like, and trust” before the salespeople even talk to the prospect for the very first time.

ROB: Excellent. Mike, if we rewind the clock a little bit, what led you to start Square 2 Marketing?

MIKE: If I go back to 2003-ish, when I was working at a software company – I was running sales and marketing for a software company and was perfectly happy doing that, except that it started to appear to me a little like Groundhog Day. November would come and I would put my plan together and I would present it, and the other managers would be like, “Great, Mike, thanks.” They didn’t understand half of what I was saying, and I’d go back to my office.

I was just thinking, am I going to really do this for the rest of my life? One company, one plan all the time? I started to also realize that specifically small and medium-sized businesses primarily were really having trouble getting their hands around – even back then – the increasing complexity associated with marketing.

And they were all doing it wrong. They thought, “If I do some email campaigns, my revenue will grow.” A couple months went by and that didn’t work. “Oh, maybe I need a new website,” and maybe they ran into a website development company who said, “You need a new website.” So, they bought a new website thinking that would help their revenue grow and that didn’t work. Then they met an SEO guy who had an agency and they said, “Oh, no, no, you need to be on the first page of Google.” “Yeah, well, I guess that makes sense. Okay, get me on the first page of Google.” That didn’t work.

So we kept running into people who were really struggling with what to do. They were good at whatever their business did, but they just had no idea what to do from a marketing perspective. My business partner Eric Keiles and I just said, look, there’s an opportunity here to help people see marketing differently, help them understand that 1 + 1 = 3, not just you do one thing and that’s going to work.

We just started talking to these CEOs of these companies, and we were speaking their language. It seemed like a tremendous opportunity for me to leave the corporate world and partner up with him – who had a small graphic design and ad specialties company – and turn it into a consulting company that could really help people look at their businesses differently, think differently about marketing and sales, and help them grow their businesses.

ROB: Right on. In 2003, we’re a couple years past 2001, maybe the economy’s not super great, and to an extent digital marketing agencies are not a dime a dozen. Did you even think that’s what you were at the time?

MIKE: We knew we were an agency. We didn’t really know exactly what kind of agency we were. I mean, in 2003 Facebook wasn’t even a company yet. That’s how far back we’re going. We really didn’t have all the tools we have now.

We did have a big focus on strategy, and to this day I believe one of the biggest misses in all kinds of marketing – big company, little company – one of the huge misses is they just don’t have a compelling message. Either it’s a “me too” message that all the competitors have, or it’s a really generic and vague message that’s not strong enough or doesn’t take a tough enough stance or really have anything to say.

They really think the tactics and their budget are going to carry the day, and that’s a huge mistake. If you don’t have anything interesting to say, don’t say anything at all. I’m a huge fan of Seth Godin, and you’ll hear me probably mention “remarkable” more times than you care to, but I really believe he is one of the smartest marketing guys out there when he says your business has to be remarkable.

Even back in 2003, we started working with clients to try to get them to be remarkable. The sad part about it is most of the businesses we met had a remarkable story; they just weren’t telling it. It was like the inside perception was great and the outside perception was just whatever anyone could get out.

So, from the very beginning we started to help them with strategy, messaging, stories, how to be remarkable, and differentiation, and then we bolted on whatever tactics we could at the time. Over the years we’ve just gotten more and more and more tactics at our disposal to help clients drive leads and close leads.

But still to this day, the biggest issue is strategy and the messaging and what they’re putting out there, and how they’ve connected these tactics. I still see a lot of tactical execution that is completely disconnected, meaning the email people don’t know what the search people are doing, and the web people are completely out of the loop.

It’s just not – not even integrated; integrated marketing has been a thing for a long time. It has to be orchestrated. You have to think more like a symphony orchestra and what goes into making beautiful music with all of those different instruments. That is a very difficult thing to execute on, and it’s why they practice so much. It’s why those musicians are brilliant in their spaces with their particular instruments, and the conductor is amazing, and the music is amazing. There’s so much that has to come together to get that symphony to produce an amazing concert.

I feel like today marketing and sales and revenue generation in general is kind of like getting that beautiful concert to execute.

ROB: It’s such a difficult thing to make that beautiful music. I think a lot of organizations feel like they’re in one of two modes, where they either have to do everything – not quite good enough and they’re spread super thin – or they do everything in silos where they do one thing great and let the other silos worry about their thing and expect someone else to coordinate.

How do you think about helping people to put the right amount of instruments into the orchestra and to play them all well for where they are?

MIKE: That’s a really good question, and generally the answer to that has really been consistent for all this time, and it’s: you’ve got to start with strategy.

What are you trying to accomplish? Is it, “I want to grow the company from $10 million to $50 million”? Because that’s going to be a different set of song music and I’m going to need a different orchestra and I’m going to need different instruments than if they want to go from $10 million to $11 million.

What is the time horizon there? How quickly do you want this ramped up? What resources do you have access to? Do you have salespeople, do you not have salespeople? Do you have the right technology in place? Are you missing all the technology, some of the technology?

Marketing today has really become this crazy compilation of strategy, tactics, technology, and analytics. If you don’t have the right strategy, if you don’t have the right tactics, if you don’t have the right analytics and metrics, and you don’t have the right technology, it’s going to be literally impossible to drive revenue. That’s why you see data like only 23% of companies met their revenue goals. That’s HubSpot’s data. Salesforce says it’s 44% of companies only meet their revenue goals.

To me, that’s an epidemic. To me, most companies should be smart enough to hit their revenue goals month over month, and the fact that so many are not is just a pure indication that people are confused and there’s misconfiguration and a lot of bad execution going on.

ROB: Right on. Mike, you’ve guided Square 2 through a variety of shifts in the market, and probably through some different groups of people and leadership styles and structures. What are some things you’ve learned from your experience in building Square 2 that you would do differently if you were starting from scratch today?

MIKE: [laughs] Well, I don’t know how comfortable you and your audience are going to be about this, but, if I was starting over again, I don’t know that I would build an agency. I think I might go in a different direction. [laughs]

The agency business is really hard – and I know all businesses are hard, but it just seems like there’s a lot of factors making the agency business more challenging. We’re trying to crack the code around those challenges with the way we price and guarantee results and some of the software we’re building on our own.

But, I think, in general, we probably should have looked at the sales and marketing thing together from the beginning. I remember very clearly, I had a client who we had been working with for maybe a year or so, and when we met them they were getting 30 leads a month. Fast forward to this point in the engagement, we’re getting them about 300 leads a month, and I’m thinking everything’s great.

The guy calls me up, he says, “Mike, we’ve got to talk.” I’m like, “What’s up? Things are going great.” He goes, “No, I think I’ve got to let you guys go.” I was like, “What are you talking about? We 10x’d the amount of leads.” He’s like, “I know, but I’m just really not getting any more revenue.” I said, “Wait a minute. How is that possible?” He said, “I don’t really know. Here’s what I think.”

I said, “Look, instead of firing us, let me dig into what’s going on – on the sales side – and see if I can figure out maybe what’s happening with all these leads.” That was our first pass at sales enablement services, even though we didn’t really know what it was called.

I think I maybe would’ve done that sooner. I think I maybe would’ve made that more actively part of what we offer earlier, and maybe had some of those sales conversations with clients earlier in our history, just to help them better understand the connection between sales and marketing.

Because, even with a little bit of digging, it was clear what was going on. They didn’t have the right comp plan for sales, they didn’t have the right salespeople, they didn’t have the right process. The main manager was holding onto the good leads and distributing the crappy leads, which was pissing people off. So, there were a lot of things wrong with that, which we clearly identified for them and then helped them fix.

But even then, I didn’t really think of that as something we should be doing all the time. It was like, “Oh, we helped this guy. Let me go back to my marketing side of things because that’s what we’ve always done.” But I probably would’ve done something like that sooner than later.

ROB: Interesting. It’s interesting you mention sales enablement. I’ve been going through this with my own sales team. At some point in time I wouldn’t have believed that sales enablement is even a thing, but we use HubSpot and we have a sales team, and our engineering team is sales enablement for our sales team.

I’ve been endlessly amazed by the variety of things that they want help with, that are the right thing for the company, but nobody’s necessarily the right person to help them. I would imagine a lot of businesses struggle with, how do I help my sales team use these tools that they have in their hands?

MIKE: Yeah. I also think sales is kind of this sacrosanct area of the company that a lot of people are like, “No, no, no, don’t mess with sales.” I’ve always felt like we need to do something different, we want to grow the company – let’s get a new agency in here. I think in the back of their mind they’re even thinking, “Well if that doesn’t work out, I could just fire them and blame them. They really wouldn’t have messed up so much in here, and I can find another agency or figure something else out.” That’s their fallback plan if things don’t work out.

But when it comes to sales, bringing us in and having us redesign a sales process, that’s kind of – if we mess that up, we could potentially mess up the lifeblood of the company. So, I still think a lot of CEOs are hesitant to muck around in sales. It’s really only now that sales is starting to get some of the technology focus that marketing got 6 or 7 years ago.

Another thing I would’ve done differently with our agency is I would’ve had a much bigger technology focus sooner. We met HubSpot in 2009, and I went all-in on HubSpot and said, Llook, we’re just going to give HubSpot to all our clients. We need HubSpot to do a good engagement execution. We need HubSpot to get analytics on what’s working. Clients need HubSpot to automate some of the things that they’re paying us to do.” It just made so much sense.

We went all-in on HubSpot, and that’s what drove us to be HubSpot’s biggest partner at the time, and the Diamond level status – we got a lot of visibility in the HubSpot community because of that decision. I really looked at that in a very narrow way, and I should’ve looked at that in a more wide-ranging way.

I should’ve looked for six other HubSpots at the time. I’m not talking about HubSpot competitors; I’m talking about other technology tools that were emerging at the time that we could’ve also leaned in on and generated better relationships with them and more sales for their product and more commissions for us and more integrated services for them.

We’re trying to do that now, but it’s tougher now. Everyone keeps saying to me, “What’s the next HubSpot?” I don’t necessarily think there’s going to be another HubSpot, but I do think there are going to be add-on technology services that we as an agency can group together and stack together and deliver with some services also that allow us to lean into this technology trend, have good relationships with these technology partners, and really take care of the clients and drive some passive revenue for the agency also.

ROB: For sure. It’s an interesting point you make in there too, that when marketing makes an incorrect choice that doesn’t work out on a partner or vendor, they fire the vendor. When sales makes a bad choice on that, they all lose their jobs because they don’t make quota, and you reboot the whole sales organization. It certainly is a bit more consequential.

MIKE: Yeah. I also think sales organizations and sales leaders in general, you’re asking them to make a behavioral shift as well. Their understanding of supporting services is monthly sales training. “Okay everybody, come into the room and sit down and we’re going to have a speaker come in for an hour, and they’re going to train us on LinkedIn.” You check the box, “Yep, trained the sales team, off we go.”

Or maybe they buy a sales methodology, like Sandler or something like that. Again, it’s similar in its deployment. Those people come in and they give you a workbook and they train you on how to have different conversations with prospects or maybe ask different questions and that kind of thing. It’s very superficial, honestly, in terms of what that is.

It’s generally non-disruptive, too. They’re really basically executing the same process with a different wrapper, depending on who they pick to do some of that training. But they feel like they’re training their people and they feel like they’re doing something to improve results, even though generally results stay the same because they’re not really getting to the core of the issue.

When you’re talking about sales enablement, there’s so many more details, but you’re really getting into the mechanics of the sales organization. We’re looking at sales process. When do you send this to them? Are you sending it to them and talking to them, or just sending it to them? What is the email that you’re sending? Are you keeping track of the conversion rate associated with it?

You’re really monkeying around with the mechanics of the way the machine works, and I still think there are a lot of people who are wary of that and not too jazzed about an outside company coming in and really looking to rebuild the entire sales process – which, honestly and unfortunately, is what they need to do.

ROB: Right. Even within the company, it can always be a little bit difficult. People can feel like they’re being scrutinized or overly inspected, when all you really want to do is help the entire team sell better together. When you start to say, “What is the actual open rate on that message?” or, “Let’s look at your subject lines,” you want to come at it from a point of success. But I can imagine coming from the outside, there’s even that much more perhaps pressure or skepticism or feeling that you’re being looked at a little bit too closely.

MIKE: Yeah, all of that is true. That’s always been the heart of the issue with CRM, right? Sales has always looked at CRM as like “Big Brother.” Like, “I used to keep all this stuff on a spreadsheet on my hard drive, and now they want to know who I’m working with and where did that lead came from and what I said to them and when I said it to them.”

Salespeople have always wanted to be left alone. “What are you talking about? As long as I hit my target, why do you care what I’m doing?” That’s generally been their position. All of that is really going away. It’s complete transparency into everything sales and marketing does, and again, sales is not always 100% open to the transparency aspect of how they’re executing.

ROB: Right. One thing you mentioned that I want to dig into for a moment is that you mentioned that you’re building some of your own software technology or solutions. What are you working on that you can talk about maybe right now?

MIKE: I’ve always wanted Square 2 to be an agency that innovates the industry. When I first ran into HubSpot, it felt like that. Now there’s 4,000 HubSpot agencies, so it’s really not interesting to be a HubSpot partner anymore, but it was in the beginning.

So now I’m looking at how we can continue to differentiate Square 2. One of the places where I think there’s a tremendous opportunity is in this artificial intelligence software space.

When I look at what tools are being rolled out, I see a lot of very siloed AI products. Like AI products that help you with your email campaigns and AI products that help you with content and AI products that help you with conversion rate optimization. They’re very narrow, and I get why they’re narrow. It’s easier to build a narrow offering than a wide offering.

I also get that they’re narrow because – this is the same issue that marketing has been dealing with since its infancy. Constant Contact comes out with an email product and people think, “I have an email product. Now I’m going to be good,” and someone sells them CMS and they think they’re going to be good. These point solutions have always been where we’ve come from, so it’s not surprising to me that there’s now AI point solutions.

I started to think to myself, is that even really going to help anybody? Honestly, is it really going to help me drive revenue if I can make my email just slightly more effective? I don’t think the answer is yes.

So, yeah, it’s interesting, and there’s probably value in it, but what we’re trying to do is come up with an insights and recommendations engine. There’s so much data out there that the general marketing person is just inundated in data. If you used HubSpot, you could spend an afternoon going through HubSpot dashboards and HubSpot reports and never really find any insights that would cause you to act differently.

What we’re trying to do is create a product that will suck in your HubSpot data and suck in your Google Analytics data, and eventually suck in Marketo and Salesforce and SEMrush and all these products that have data, analyze all that, synthesize all that, kick out insights – so we’re going to teach people how to find insights in the data – and then what are they supposed to do as a result of that insight?

So, it’s an insight and recommendation engine. We’re currently testing it with Square 2 clients, and it’s going to be released to the public in January. It’s called MAXG at maxg.ai, and when you sign up for it, it will tell you what you need to do to improve your results.

It’s going to look at your website, it’s going to look at your blog, it’s going to look at your campaign assets, and it’s going to say, “Hey, we found this, and this is working really well. Good job” or “We found this, and here’s the 6 things you can do to make this work better.” It’s going to give people literally a prioritized to-do list that should produce better results.

The way it’s doing that is, based on our experience, we’re teaching these AI engines, AI brain, how to analyze the results based on all of our years of experience doing exactly that – that’s really what we do as an agency – and then we’re codifying it into the tool so that clients can get similar advice from MAX for their companies.

ROB: Great stuff, Mike. We will get that link in the show notes for MAX. I encourage people to look for that and check it out. I’m sure Mike would be happy to hear some feedback on what people think when it comes out.

MIKE: I’d love that. And it’s going to be a free trial, so if anyone’s interested in it, they should be able to just sign up and attach it to their platform and start getting good recommendations from it.

ROB: Fantastic, Mike. Thank you for sharing so much experience, so many thoughts. This one, you dropped a lot of knowledge in a little bit of time, so folks might have needed to slow this one down from 2x to 1.5x in their podcast listener, and that is all good. Thank you for coming on the podcast and chatting with us.

MIKE: My pleasure. Thanks for having me.

ROB: All right, great to meet you. Take care. Bye.

Thank you for listening. The Marketing Agency Leadership Podcast is presented by Converge. Converge helps digital marketing agencies and brands automate their reporting so they can be more profitable, accurate, and responsive. To learn more about how Converge can automate your marketing reporting, email info@convergehq.com, or visit us on the web at convergehq.com.

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