How to create friction-free sales experiences with live chat (even at peak sales times!)

You may be wondering what you can do to improve on your conversion rates from all those ‘just browsing’ visits you had. You might even be hitting your head against a wall because you know how much it costs to get these no-spenders to the site in the first place.

Make it easier for customers to get in touch

The truth is, there’s a really common mistake a lot of businesses make that lets customers slip out the funnel at the last minute! But don’t worry, we’re here to tell you what it is, and more importantly, how to avoid it.

Expert marketer that you are, we’re sure you’ve successfully navigated your customer down from the awareness stage, through consideration, and delivered them to your ecommerce store to make a decision. You might think: ‘well, what more can I do?’ It turns out, something really simple.

Your awareness- and consideration-stage content might well be wonderful. But can you guarantee it has answered every single question your prospect has? That it reassures every worry or complaint? 

Customers are unique. So are their needs and use cases for your product or service. What will make a difference between you and your competitor at the decision stage? Or convince them to part with their hard-earned cash at all? Clearly displaying product information with absolute transparency helps. But you can’t list every single item that’s important to every single buyer. So what can you do?

You see, the biggest mistake businesses make at this stage is not making it easy enough for customers to reach out and ask an unanswered question.

Live chat opens doors

It’s that simple.

We’re not just talking about an info@ email address or a contact form that may as well go to nowhere. Today’s customers expect answers quickly, just like they would in a brick-and-mortar store. It’s expensive to take phone calls, and low on the customer’s contact preference list anyway. What you and every business needs is a way to manage inbound messages that are real-time and frictionless for your customers.

You’ve spent so much money on acquisition, especially during competitive times such as the Christmas shopping period, but improving ROI could be as simple as installing live chat onto your site with a few simple clicks.

Instead of losing customers at the last hurdle, Engagement Cloud’s Chat feature helps you:

  • remove barriers to sale
  • gives your agents opportunity to upsell
  • provides the kind of customer experience that keeps buyers coming back.

Don’t take our word for it! Forrester says that 44% of customers consider a conversation with a representative in real time the most important feature of an online shop’s website; 55% of customers will abandon the transaction if they can’t find an answer to a question; and live chat can result in a 40% increase in conversion rate and 10% increase in cart value. Winner!

Of course, Chat is just one way you can make your ecommerce store a pleasant place to be. Honorable mentions include tailored, relevant on-site product recommendations, friendly website navigation, and avoiding obnoxious ads or pop-ups at all costs! But with its track record of improving conversion rates and increasing average order value, Engagement Cloud’s live chat feature could be the difference between smashing those year-end targets out of the park or not quite reaching your true potential. We hope it’s the former 🙂

Get in touch to learn more about Engagement Cloud chat, and how it can work for you.

The post How to create friction-free sales experiences with live chat (even at peak sales times!) appeared first on dotdigital blog.

Reblogged 1 month ago from blog.dotdigital.com

15 Black Friday marketing hacks to drive more sales

Over the course of three weeks we’ve written a three-part blog series on the best Black Friday marketing hacks to smash your sales targets. The first blog outlined the first nine hacks, while the second blog revealed another 13. Now we’ve released the final 15 to get your final marketing preparations in gear.

You can get quick access to all 37 Black Friday marketing hacks here.

1. Skip the early morning madness

Like the early morning commute, battling crowds in the inbox can prove futile. Remember that Black Friday is, more so than on any other day, a numbers game. What’s the likelihood that this customer is going to open – let alone see – my email over my competitor’s? Our advice is to hold tight as the chaos ensues and wait for the right moment to pounce: your chances of getting noticed will increase from noon onward.

2. Find your hook

Maybe it’s a hidden discount or limited product range? Play on human curiosity so that subscribers can’t resist clicking through to discover your mystery offer. Think specific and unique. If your store stocks something artisan or handcrafted, drive the exclusivity factor. There’s no better incentive that prompts people to buy than something special.

3. Create a referral campaign

Referrals are one of the most trusted forms of advertising because people value the experiences of others. It stems from the theory of collective opinion: the psychological circumstance in which we reference the behaviors of others to guide our own decision-making (i.e. a purchase). Referred customers can be a great driver of brand loyalty and deliver even greater ROI than other customers. For your refer-a-friend program to go viral, make it irresistible and time-sensitive.

4. Make it fun – de-stress the experience

Who doesn’t like a party? Cue the music, snacks, and drinks for some festive fun! Physical stores that don’t embrace the festivities are lackluster places which won’t cut the mustard on Black Friday. Email your subscribers and make some noise on social media to get the word out.

5. Give back

Ethical marketing may be a competitive advantage in business, but that shouldn’t matter in the grand scheme of things. It’s about doing something decent. Think humanity over profit. Outdoor clothing retailer Patagonia hit the nail on the head back in 2016: The brand donated 100% of its Black Friday sales to grassroots organizations working to create positive change for the planet in their own backyards. If that doesn’t scream ethical brand, then who knows what does.

Find out more ethical marketing techniques in our customer engagement white paper here.

6. Bundle products together

Maximize the amount customers are willing to spend on Black Friday. Group complementary products – items that go well together. Use ‘complete the set’ or ‘complete the look’ as a CTA. Do this on your website, over email, and on social. It’s a sure-fire way to upsell and increase AOV on Black Friday.

7. Reward your social media fans

Grab your share of today’s growing social media engagement. Social is a viral platform perfect for sharing consecutive special discounts and exclusive content during the Black Friday period. Oh, and don’t forget to hashtag. #BlackFriday

8. Offer specific exclusive discounts

Making your offer as specific and exclusive as possible will differentiate your brand from the pack. The frustrating thing about Black Friday for marketers is that brands are practicing the same tactics, which means it’s even harder to get heard. So maybe offer 35% off selected products or 25% off everything for email subscribers only.

9. Provide members-only discounts

Exclusivity goes a long way on Black Friday. Sure, you’ll be running campaigns across your entire database, but don’t forget to target different groups with different offers. If you’re part of an exclusive group, like a membership or subscription, you’d expect something special during the holidays. So, don’t disappoint. Amazon is a great example: this brand offers special money-off discounts to Prime Members.

10. Offer an incentive to spend more

Sounds crazy since you’re already offering bargains left, right, and center. But adding a small incentive to boost spend at the check-out can increase AOV across the board. Free shipping and next-day delivery (on orders over a certain amount) are great ways to tempt customers to add on some extra items at the checkout.

11. Make your offers time-sensitive to drive urgency

Everything in the run-up to Black Friday is for a limited time only, but there’s always a way to spice things up. Use an hourglass GIF to emphasize your promotion’s time limit in email. If you’re really data-savvy, you could even use advanced personalization to trigger an individual countdown that activates on email open.

12. Rescue abandoned carts

82% of carts were abandoned online on Black Friday 2018 in the U.S. (Barilliance). So, if you’re not already triggering cart recovery emails, then you’re leaving serious money on the table! Cost-effective and easy to implement, this program runs like clockwork to recoup lost revenue.

13. Extend the season

Extend beyond Black Friday to encompass Cyber Monday and further. Why not prolong your campaigns to acquire new customers throughout the whole week after Cyber Monday? You’ll be able to reach people faster and easier. And don’t forget the people that avoid Black Friday, who you can target once all the chaos has died down.

14. Stay open late

There are only 24 hours in a day. Milk it.

15. Go the extra mile

Do something that puts a smile on customers’ faces. For example, as Cyber Monday draws to a close, send your subscribers a voucher that they can claim then and there, but redeem whenever they want to. No urgency, and no strings attached.


You made it!

A huge ‘well done!’ if you actually read through all 37 tips across the three Black Friday marketing hacks blogs. You’re taking your holiday marketing seriously, and so you should be – there’s a hefty amount of revenue at stake. So why not adopt some new ideas that can make a real difference to your results? And remember, if you need help with campaign planning, program builds, or creative work, the dotdigital team is always on hand to lend a hand.

Don’t forget your free cheatsheet here for all 37 Black Friday marketing hacks.

The post 15 Black Friday marketing hacks to drive more sales appeared first on dotdigital blog.

Reblogged 2 months ago from blog.dotdigital.com

How to use automation to create a smooth link between sales and marketing

A strong bridge between sales and marketing is a B2B company’s not-so-secret tool for success. With aligned sales and marketing, each team is in the best position to hit their most important KPIs and give consumers a more streamlined experience from the very first touchpoint.

In fact, LinkedIn research shows that
businesses with strong sales and marketing alignment are 67% more effective at
closing deals, 58% more effective at retaining customers, and drive 208% more
revenue as a result of their marketing efforts. Impressive, right?

To help get sales and marketing on the same page, you can optimize internal communication, hold regular meetings, and collaborate via shared metrics and dashboards. But you might not have thought about improving your sales-marketing relationship with automation.

Automation provides a myriad of benefits for any business. You can use the information you already have about
your contacts to automatically guide leads through your ideal marketing funnel.
Automated processes also help align your sales and marketing teams, especially
by kick-starting and facilitating processes, handovers, and data collection
that help you succeed.

But what should you get started with? And how
can you set up processes that get results? Let’s help you get started…

1.
Collect the right data for sales and marketing

To get the best results from automation, it’s
important to consider the data you’re collecting. Your audience’s attention is
incredibly valuable: every single form field should earn its place by being a
well-considered question that will give you valuable data.

Check all your forms and make sure you’re collecting
data that allows marketing and sales to qualify contacts and have the right
information as they move down the funnel. Don’t go overboard, though – it’s
important to ensure all questions are relevant and appropriate for the stage of
the funnel. Don’t ask for annual revenue to receive a top of funnel trends
report.

2.
Define the way leads should flow between Marketing and Sales

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking of your
marketing and sales funnels as separate entities. They’re very much connected,
and should always be considered in parallel.

Begin by getting a clear picture of what your funnels look like. Map them out – on paper with Post-Its if you need to. Make sure everyone agrees how leads enter your funnel, become qualified, and take key actions (such as requesting a demo) before becoming customers.

Next, pinpoint when your marketing team needs to pass leads to sales. Is it when a lead requests a demo? Or is it before then – maybe showing interest signals like visiting your pricing page?

Once you know exactly when a lead should move
to sales, you can use automation to reduce manual work and handovers. For
instance, if a qualified lead requests a demo, you can use your marketing tool
to change the contact owner to a sales representative and set a task for them
to reach out.

3.
Get your tools in sync

One powerful way to boost company efficiency
is to connect your marketing and sales tools.
With integrations and two-way contact syncs, you can automatically keep your
key business tools updated and ensure everyone has the latest data at hand.

List all the business tools you rely on. Are
they currently in sync, or do you have room for improvement? Set a goal to
streamline your data flow between the tools you use most and eliminate manual
uploads and updates.

As a starting point, consider synchronising contacts between your CRM and
email tool
, proposals system, and billing software if you
use these tools.

4. Deliver tailored content to
guide leads through your buyer’s journey

47% of marketing teams don’t have a documented
buyer’s journey, says Kapost in their 2018 B2B Marketing and Sales Alignment
Benchmark
. That’s a huge lost opportunity.

Make sure you’re clear on the key stages your
customers travel through before and after purchase. Once you’ve done that,
choose your best pieces of content for each stage (look at relevance, as well
as conversion rate and time on page). You can then create
emails to promote these content pieces
as part of
personalized workflows that deliver the right content at the right time, based
on certain triggers.

Consider adjusting the email sender and reply-to address depending on the stage of the funnel – perhaps having one marketer sending your top-of-funnel emails, and a product marketer or salesperson sending more product-focused messages. But make sure not to confuse your recipient with too many emails and too many senders.

Your goal should be to gradually move leads further down the funnel and motivate signs of engagement (such as demo requests). You can also use automation to schedule follow-ups when action is required from your contact, such as to finalize their demo booking or approve a sales proposal. Once a lead completes one workflow, you can choose to automatically trigger enrollment in another.

5. Set
up notifications to update key people in your team

Automation makes sending messages to contacts a breeze, but it can also radically improve your internal conversation. With your marketing software, set up internal workflows based on certain triggers (such as visiting your pricing page) to let your team know when a lead is engaging with bottom-of-funnel content or requires sales reach-out.

Alongside notifications, you can also create
automated tasks for your sales team to contact leads based on certain criteria.
That way you know your sales reps are always clear on the next action they need
to take, without wasting time trying to figure out priorities.


When you align
your sales and marketing
, you reap the benefits in every
area of your business. Automation is one of the best ways to create a smoother
bridge between your teams, as well as boosting overall productivity, response
times, and personalized outreach to contacts.

Ahead of your next sales
and marketing meeting, why not make a note to discuss how you can use automated
processes to improve your business performance and synergy

The post How to use automation to create a smooth link between sales and marketing appeared first on dotdigital blog.

Reblogged 9 months ago from blog.dotdigital.com

UK local SEO firm Movette shut down by regulators for deceptive sales practices

Firm falsely implied it was affiliated with Google and signed SMBs up to recurring annual contracts worth from $250 to more than $300.

The post UK local SEO firm Movette shut down by regulators for deceptive sales practices appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

Reblogged 2 years ago from feeds.searchengineland.com

6 sales tax truths every online seller needs to know

As a product seller, chances are high that one of your least favorite administrative hassles is dealing with sales tax. Collecting, reporting and filing sales tax is just one of those necessary evils you must master in order to get on with the fun and profitable parts of your business.

If you dread sales tax when your due date rolls around, or are just getting started, this guide will help you finally feel confident about sales tax!

Let’s dig in.

What is sales tax?

Sales tax is a small percentage tacked on to the sale price of a product or products. In the United States, forty-five states and Washington D.C. all have a sales tax. Sales tax is governed at the state level rather than the federal level, so each state gets to set it’s own sales tax rates, due dates, rules and laws.

Retailers (including online sellers) are required to collect sales tax when you make a taxable sale. Most tangible items that you sell will be taxable. In general, services are not taxable, though some states are attempting to change that.

Sales tax rates vary by state and local area. A few friendly states only have one statewide sales tax rate. But most states also allow local areas such as counties, cities and special taxing districts to collect sales tax as well. This makes sense when you realize that state and local governments use sales tax to pay for necessary budget items like schools, roads and public safety.

As a retailer, however, you need to make sure you’re collecting the correct amount of sales tax in each local area.

Example:

The Colorado state sales tax rate is 2.9%. But local areas are also allowed to tack on extra sales tax. If you were a merchant located in Centennial, Colorado, here is the combination of rates you should charge your customer:

Colorado State Rate 2.9%
Arapahoe County 0.25%
City of Centennial 2.5%
Regional Transportation District Tax 1%
Scientific and Cultural Facilities District 0.1%
Total 6.75%

 

Now that we know what sales tax is and why we’re required to charge it, let’s move on…

Who has to charge sales tax to which customers?

As a retailer, you are only required to collect sales tax from buyers in states where you have sales tax nexus. Sales tax nexus is just a fancy legalese way to say “significant connection” to a state. If you have nexus in a state, then that state considers you on the hook for charging sales tax to buyers in the state.

You’ll always have sales tax nexus in your home state, but you may find that certain business activities create nexus in other states, too. They include:

  • A location – an office, warehouse, store, or other physical place of business
  • Personnel – an employee, contractor, salesperson, installer or other person doing work for your business
  • Inventory – Most states consider storing inventory in the state to cause nexus even if you have no other place of business or personnel
  • Affiliates – Someone who advertises your products in exchange for a cut of the profits creates nexus in many states
  • A drop shipping relationship – If you have a 3rd party ship to your buyers, you may create nexus
  • Selling products at a tradeshow or other event – Some states consider you to have nexus even if you only sell there temporarily

To help you determine whether or not your business activities give you sales tax nexus, you can find out what every state’s laws have to say about nexus here.

If you do have nexus in a state, your next step is to…

Register for a Sales Tax Permit

Before you can legally begin collecting sales tax from buyers in a state, you are required to obtain a sales tax permit. You can do this with your state’s taxing authority, usually called the [State] Department of Revenue.  Here’s information on how to register for a sales tax permit in every state.

When you receive your sales tax permit, you will also receive instructions on when to file and at what frequency.

Most of the time, you will be required to file sales tax either monthly, quarterly or annually. The general rule of thumb is that the higher your sales volume in a state, the more often the state will want you to file a sales tax return and remit sales tax due.

Now that you have your sales tax permit in hand, your next step is to begin collecting sales tax from your customers.

How to collect sales tax as an online retailer

Most online platforms allow you to collect sales tax from your customers, though some platforms are more robust than others when it comes to allowing you to collect the correct amount of sales tax.

Origin vs. destination-based sales tax collection

Long story short – a handful of states are “origin-based” sales tax states. If your business activities are based in one of these states and you sell online, you’re in luck. When selling to buyers in your state, all you need to do is collect sales tax at your local rate. This means you only need to collect sales tax at a single tax rate (Example: 6.5%) if you are fortunate enough to live in an origin-based state.

On the other hand, most states are “destination-based” sales tax states, which can be a real nightmare when it comes to collecting sales tax. In destination-based states, sellers are required to collect sales tax at the rate of the buyer’s ship-to address. States can have hundreds or thousands of local taxing jurisdictions. Remember, each county and city may have a sales tax, plus any special taxing districts. This is where collecting the right amount of sales tax can get a whole lot more complicated.

To even further complicate matters, most of the time you are required to collect sales tax using destination-based rules in any state aside from your home state. You can read a much more detailed explanation of origin vs. destination based sales tax collection here.

Product taxability

When collecting sales tax, you should also keep your product’s taxability in mind. Most tangible products are taxable, but some states make exceptions for necessities such as grocery items or clothing. If you have sales tax nexus in more than one state, you may find that you charge sales on clothing to buyers in one state, but should not charge sales tax on clothing to buyers in another.

Shipping taxability

Also, if you charge your customers for shipping, you may also need to consider sales tax. Some states require sales tax on shipping charges, and some do not. Here’s a list of states that do and do not require sales tax on shipping charges.

If this all sounds overly complicated, don’t worry. Even if you have built your own online store, or use a shopping cart like Magento, a smart sales tax collection solution like TaxJar’s SmartCalcs sales tax API has you covered!

Once you’re collecting sales tax, your sales tax filing due date will roll around before you know it. When that happens…

Report how much sales tax you’ve collected

When it comes time to file your sales tax return, your first step is to figure out how much sales tax you collected from buyers in your state. This includes breaking down how much sales tax you collected from buyers in each city, county and other special taxing jurisdiction. As you can imagine, this gets more difficult the higher volume you are or if you sell through multiple online channels.

Sales tax automation can help here, too. Just link up all of you sales channels – from marketplaces like Amazon FBA or Etsy, to shopping carts like Magento or Shopify, or even a POS like Square – and technology will take care of the rest. We’ll product a return-ready report that you can use to fill out your sales tax filing forms in minutes, not hours.

If you truly never want to see a sales tax return again, you can also AutoFile your sales tax returns in most states. This allows you to spend time on the parts of your business that truly matter.

Once you’ve determined how much sales tax you’ve collected in your nexus states (either with a sales tax automation solution or tediously, with a complicated spreadsheet) your next and final step is to…

File your sales tax return

When you registered for your sales tax permit, your state gave you a sales tax filing frequency and due dates. You can check your sales tax filing due dates here.

When it’s time to file, you can file online at your state’s department of revenue, or AutoFile using a sales tax automation solution.

There are a couple of important things to consider when filing your sales tax returns:

  1. Always file a sales tax return by the due date – This is true even if you didn’t collect a penny in sales tax. States consider your sales tax filing a “check in” and if you fail to file you may end up with a monetary penalty or even having your sales tax permit revoked.
  2. Don’t discount discounts – About half the states with a sales tax realize that asking you, the retailer, to serve as tax collector places and extra burden on your business. If you file on time, they’ll allow you to keep a small percentage (usually 1-3%) of the sales tax you’ve collected. It isn’t much, but it’s free money!

And that’s it! You’ve filed your sales tax return and you’re all set.  Need more info? Check out our Sales Tax 101 for Online Sellers Guide, or join over 6,000 of your fellow sellers and sales tax experts over at the Sales Tax for eCommerce Sellers Facebook Group.

The post 6 sales tax truths every online seller needs to know appeared first on The Email Marketing Blog.

Reblogged 3 years ago from blog.dotmailer.com

Ecommerce email marketing – Best practices to triple your sales

Unlike the one-to-many communication model used across social media platforms, blogs and advertisements, ecommerce email marketing works on a simple, one-to-one basis. If you perfect your email campaigns, you’re almost guaranteed to boost sales, improve customer loyalty and build your ecommerce brand image within no time.

Whether it’s a monthly update, a welcome email or an upcoming sale notification, these tips will put your business ahead of the curve.

Keep it personal

Emails are a direct form of marketing communication, so you’ll want to keep your messages light and personal. And it all starts with the greeting. Sending out countless detached, irrelevant emails isn’t going to get you or your business very far; customers like to feel as though you’ve carefully crafted an email specifically for them.

Something as simple as adding the customer’s name in the greeting is a good start. Consumers would much rather open an email to read something like, “Good morning, Karen!” instead of a general mass greeting. With the right email marketing provider, a simple automated personalization tool can make this task easy.

Another way to keep your emails personal, yet professional, is to add dynamic content. Dynamic content is content that changes based on the preference or the demographics of your customers, which allows your business to target individual subscribers. Adding dynamic content to your emails could be as easy as switching the image that is displayed for your male subscribers versus your female subscribers.

Make it clear as to who you are

Once you’ve selected a personal greeting, let your customers know who you are. The more information you provide, the less likely your email will be tossed into the spam pile.

Every person wants to know the following three things when they receive an email:

  • Who is writing to me?
  • Why are they writing to me?
  • What to do they want me to do?

You want to make sure the “who” part is answered almost immediately upon opening, as this is the basis for legitimizing the rest of the email.

Grab their attention

Think about the subject line before shooting off an email with something generic. It should be engaging and interesting enough for the receiver to open the email. Remember, your email is competing against several other “unread” messages sitting in their inbox, so why should they open yours? The subject line is the first thing readers see – think of it as a first impression.

Keep it short and sweet

Keeping your emails concise is crucial. While you may be tempted to cram in as much information as possible, do refrain. Follow these three rules: make your email:

  • Exclusive – let your readers know they’ve received this email because they’re special. For example, let them know they are the “first to know” about your newest products or offer them an “exclusive discount.”
  • Urgent – try and make the proposition a limited-time offer.
  • Simple – don’t crowd the email with too many visuals or information. Stick to one or two calls-to-action and one or two key messages.

Remember: People want to know who you are, why you are contacting them, and what you want them to do, all within a few sentences or paragraphs.

Double and triple check everything you send out

Sending an email with broken links or out-of-date information sends the wrong message. Be sure to check your links and proofread your copy before it’s sent out.

In addition, redundant coding and an excessive use of links, text, and images are practices that should be avoided. If you’re unsure about your emails’ link or image-to-text ratio, try running your email through a spam checker before sending it out.

A top email marketing platform includes spam check and preview tools so your email not only appears at its best, but also reaches its intended audience. These checks also ensure everyone in your team (or appropriate stakeholders) can review before you hit send.

When done right, the direct and personalized nature of email marketing means you’re likely to see a boost in online sales. By following these tips, you’re setting yourself up for a successful marketing campaign.

The post Ecommerce email marketing – Best practices to triple your sales appeared first on The Email Marketing Blog.

Reblogged 3 years ago from blog.dotmailer.com

Darryl, the man behind dotmailer’s Custom Technical Solutions team

Why did you decide to come to dotmailer?

I first got to know dotmailer when the company was just a bunch of young enthusiastic web developers called Ellipsis Media back in 1999. I was introduced by one of my suppliers and we decided to bring them on board to build a recruitment website for one of our clients. That client was Amnesty International and the job role was Secretary General. Not bad for a Croydon company whose biggest client before that was Scobles the plumber’s merchants. So, I was probably dotmailer’s first ever corporate client! After that, I used dotmailer at each company I worked for and then one day they approached a colleague and me and asked us if we wanted to work for them. That was 2013.  We grabbed the opportunity with both hands and haven’t looked back since.

Tell us a bit about your role

I’m the Global Head of Technical Solutions which actually gives me responsibility for 2 teams. First, Custom Technical Solutions (CTS), who build bespoke applications and tools for customers that allow them to integrate more closely with dotmailer and make life easier. Second, Technical Pre-sales, which spans our 3 territories (EMEA, US and APAC) and works with prospective and existing clients to figure out the best solution and fit within dotmailer.

What accomplishments are you most proud of from your dotmailer time so far?

I would say so far it has to be helping to turn the CTS team from just 2 people into a group of 7 highly skilled and dedicated men and women who have become an intrinsic and valued part of the dotmailer organization. Also I really enjoy being part of the Senior Technical Management team. Here we have the ability to influence the direction and structure of the platform on a daily basis.

Meet Darryl Clark – the cheese and peanut butter sandwich lover

Can you speak a bit about your background and that of your team? What experience and expertise is required to join this team?

My background is quite diverse from a stint in the Army, through design college, web development, business analysis to heading up my current teams. I would say the most valuable skill that I have is being highly analytical. I love nothing more than listening to a client’s requirements and digging deep to work out how we can answer these if not exceed them.

As a team, we love nothing more than brainstorming our ideas. Every member has a valid input and we listen. Everyone has the opportunity to influence what we do and our motto is “there is no such thing as a stupid question.”

To work in my teams you have to be analytical but open minded to the fact that other people may have a better answer than you. Embrace other people’s input and use it to give our clients the best possible solution. We are hugely detail conscious, but have to be acutely aware that we need to tailor what we say to our audience so being able to talk to anyone at any level is hugely valuable.

How much of the dotmailer platform is easily customizable and when does it cross over into something that requires your team’s expertise? How much time is spent on these custom solutions one-time or ongoing?

I’ll let you in on a little secret here. We don’t actually do anything that our customers can’t do with dotmailer given the right knowledge and resources. This is because we build all of our solutions using the dotmailer public API. The API has hundreds of methods in both SOAP and REST versions, which allows you to do a huge amount with the dotmailer platform. We do have a vast amount of experience and knowledge in the team so we may well be able to build a solution quicker than our customers. We are more than happy to help them and their development teams build a solution using us on a consultancy basis to lessen the steepness of the learning curve.

Our aim when building a solution for a customer is that it runs silently in the background and does what it should without any fuss.

What are your plans for the Custom Tech Solutions team going forward?

The great thing about Custom Technical Solutions is you never know what is around the corner as our customers have very diverse needs. What we are concentrating on at the moment is refining our processes to ensure that they are as streamlined as possible and allow us to give as much information to the customer as we can. We are also always looking at the technology and coding approaches that we use to make sure that we build the most innovative and robust solutions.

We are also looking at our external marketing and sharing our knowledge through blogs so keep an eye on the website for our insights.

What are the most common questions that you get when speaking to a prospective customer?

Most questions seem to revolve around reassurance such as “Have you done this before?”, “How safe is my data?”, “What about security?”, “Can you talk to my developers?”, “Do I need to do anything?”.  In most instances, we are the ones asking the questions as we need to find out information as soon as possible so that we can analyse it to ensure that we have the right detail to provide the right solution.

Can you tell us about the dotmailer differentiators you highlight when speaking to prospective customers that seem to really resonate?

We talk a lot about working with best of breed so for example a customer can use our Channel Extensions in automation programs to fire out an SMS to a contact using their existing provider. We don’t force customers down one route, we like to let them decide for themselves.

Also, I really like to emphasize the fact that there is always more than one way to do something within the dotmailer platform. This means we can usually find a way to do something that works for a client within the platform. If not, then we call in CTS to work out if there is a way that we can build something that will — whether this is automating uploads for a small client or mass sending from thousands of child accounts for an enterprise level one.

What do you see as the future of marketing automation technology?  Will one size ever fit all? Or more customization going forward?

The 64 million dollar question. One size will never fit all. Companies and their systems are too organic for that. There isn’t one car that suits every driver or one racquet that suits every sport. Working with a top drawer partner network and building our system to be as open as possible from an integration perspective means that our customers can make dotmailer mold to their business and not the other way round…and adding to that the fact that we are building lots of features in the platform that will blow your socks off.

Tell us a bit about yourself – favorite sports team, favorite food, guilty pleasure, favorite band, favorite vacation spot?

I’m a dyed in the wool Gooner (aka Arsenal Football Club fan) thanks to my Grandfather leading me down the right path as a child. If you are still reading this after that bombshell, then food-wise I pretty much like everything apart from coriander which as far as I’m concerned is the Devils own spawn. I don’t really have a favorite band, but am partial to a bit of Level 42 and Kings of Leon and you will also find me listening to 90s drum and bass and proper old school hip hop. My favorite holiday destination is any decent villa that I can relax in and spend time with my family and I went to Paris recently and loved that. Guilty pleasure – well that probably has to be confessing to liking Coldplay or the fact that my favorite sandwich is peanut butter, cheese and salad cream. Go on try it, you’ll love it.

Want to meet more of the dotmailer team? Say hi to Darren Hockley, Global Head of Support, and Dan Morris, EVP for North America.

Reblogged 3 years ago from blog.dotmailer.com

Meet Dan Morris, Executive Vice President, North America

  1. Why did you decide to come to dotmailer?

The top three reasons were People, Product and Opportunity. I met the people who make up our business and heard their stories from the past 18 years, learned about the platform and market leading status they had built in the UK, and saw that I could add value with my U.S. high growth business experience. I’ve been working with marketers, entrepreneurs and business owners for years across a series of different roles, and saw that I could apply what I’d learned from that and the start-up space to dotmailer’s U.S. operation. dotmailer has had clients in the U.S. for 12 years and we’re positioned to grow the user base of our powerful and easy-to-use platform significantly. I knew I could make a difference here, and what closed the deal for me was the people.  Every single person I’ve met is deeply committed to the business, to the success of our customers and to making our solution simple and efficient.  We’re a great group of passionate people and I’m proud to have joined the dotfamily.

Dan Morris, dotmailer’s EVP for North America in the new NYC office

      1. Tell us a bit about your new role

dotmailer has been in business and in this space for more than 18 years. We were a web agency, then a Systems Integrator, and we got into the email business that way, ultimately building the dotmailer platform thousands of people use daily. This means we know this space better than anyone and we have the perfect solutions to align closely with our customers and the solutions flexible enough to grow with them.  My role is to take all that experience and the platform and grow our U.S. presence. My early focus has been on identifying the right team to execute our growth plans. We want to be the market leader in the U.S. in the next three years – just like we’ve done in the UK –  so getting the right people in the right spots was critical.  We quickly assessed the skills of the U.S. team and made changes that were necessary in order to provide the right focus on customer success. Next, we set out to completely rebuild dotmailer’s commercial approach in the U.S.  We simplified our offers to three bundles, so that pricing and what’s included in those bundles is transparent to our customers.  We’ve heard great things about this already from clients and partners. We’re also increasing our resources on customer success and support.  We’re intensely focused on ease of on-boarding, ease of use and speed of use.  We consistently hear how easy and smooth a process it is to use dotmailer’s tools.  That’s key for us – when you buy a dotmailer solution, we want to onboard you quickly and make sure you have all of your questions answered right away so that you can move right into using it.  Customers are raving about this, so we know it’s working well.

  1. What early accomplishments are you most proud of from your dotmailer time so far?

I’ve been at dotmailer for eight months now and I’m really proud of all we’ve accomplished together.  We spent a lot of time assessing where we needed to restructure and where we needed to invest.  We made the changes we needed, invested in our partner program, localized tech support, customer on-boarding and added customer success team members.  We have the right people in the right roles and it’s making a difference.  We have a commercial approach that is clear with the complete transparency that we wanted to provide our customers.  We’ve got a more customer-focused approach and we’re on-boarding customers quickly so they’re up and running faster.  We have happier customers than ever before and that’s the key to everything we do.

  1. You’ve moved the U.S. team to a new office. Can you tell us why and a bit about the new space?

I thought it was very important to create a NY office space that was tied to branding and other offices around the world, and also had its own NY energy and culture for our team here – to foster collaboration and to have some fun.  It was also important for us that we had a flexible space where we could welcome customers, partners and resellers, and also hold classes and dotUniversity training sessions. I’m really grateful to the team who worked on the space because it really reflects our team and what we care about.   At any given time, you’ll see a training session happening, the team collaborating, a customer dropping in to ask a few questions or a partner dropping in to work from here.  We love our new, NYC space.

We had a spectacular reception this week to celebrate the opening of this office with customers, partners and the dotmailer leadership team in attendance. Please take a look at the photos from our event on Facebook.

Guests and the team at dotmailer's new NYC office warming party

Guests and the team at dotmailer’s new NYC office warming party

  1. What did you learn from your days in the start-up space that you’re applying at dotmailer?

The start-up space is a great place to learn. You have to know where every dollar is going and coming from, so every choice you make needs to be backed up with a business case for that investment.  You try lots of different things to see if they’ll work and you’re ready to turn those tactics up or down quickly based on an assessment of the results. You also learn things don’t have to stay the way they are, and can change if you make them change. You always listen and learn – to customers, partners, industry veterans, advisors, etc. to better understand what’s working and not working.  dotmailer has been in business for 18 years now, and so there are so many great contributors across the business who know how things have worked and yet are always keen to keep improving.  I am constantly in listening and learning mode so that I can understand all of the unique perspectives our team brings and what we need to act on.

  1. What are your plans for the U.S. and the sales function there?

On our path to being the market leader in the U.S., I’m focused on three things going forward: 1 – I want our customers to be truly happy.  It’s already a big focus in the dotmailer organization – and we’re working hard to understand their challenges and goals so we can take product and service to the next level. 2 – Creating an even more robust program around partners, resellers and further building out our channel partners to continuously improve sales and customer service programs. We recently launched a certification program to ensure partners have all the training and resources they need to support our mutual customers.  3 – We have an aggressive growth plan for the U.S. and I’m very focused on making sure our team is well trained, and that we remain thoughtful and measured as we take the steps to grow.  We want to always keep an eye on what we’re known for – tools that are powerful and simple to use – and make sure everything else we offer remains accessible and valuable as we execute our growth plans.

  1. What are the most common questions that you get when speaking to a prospective customer?

The questions we usually get are around price, service level and flexibility.  How much does dotmailer cost?  How well are you going to look after my business?  How will you integrate into my existing stack and then my plans for future growth? We now have three transparent bundle options with specifics around what’s included published right on our website.  We have introduced a customer success team that’s focused only on taking great care of our customers and we’re hearing stories every day that tells me this is working.  And we have all of the tools to support our customers as they grow and to also integrate into their existing stacks – often integrating so well that you can use dotmailer from within Magento, Salesforce or Dynamics, for example.

  1. Can you tell us about the dotmailer differentiators you highlight when speaking to prospective customers that seem to really resonate?

In addition to the ones above – ease of use, speed of use and the ability to scale with you. With dotmailer’s tiered program, you can start with a lighter level of functionality and grow into more advanced functionality as you need it. The platform itself is so easy to use that most marketers are able to build campaigns in minutes that would have taken hours on other platforms. Our customer success team is also with you all the way if ever you want or need help.  We’ve built a very powerful platform and we have a fantastic team to help you with personalized service as an extended part of your team and we’re ready to grow with you.

  1. How much time is your team on the road vs. in the office? Any road warrior tips to share?

I’ve spent a lot of time on the road, one year I attended 22 tradeshows! Top tip when flying is to be willing to give up your seat for families or groups once you’re at the airport gate, as you’ll often be rewarded with a better seat for helping the airline make the family or group happy. Win win! Since joining dotmailer, I’m focused on being in office and present for the team and customers as much as possible. I can usually be found in our new, NYC office where I spend a lot of time with our team, in customer meetings, in trainings and other hosted events, sales conversations or marketing meetings. I’m here to help the team, clients and partners to succeed, and will always do my best to say yes! Once our prospective customers see how quickly and efficiently they can execute tasks with dotmailer solutions vs. their existing solutions, it’s a no-brainer for them.  I love seeing and hearing their reactions.

  1. Tell us a bit about yourself – favorite sports team, favorite food, guilty pleasure, favorite band, favorite vacation spot?

I’m originally from Yorkshire in England, and grew up just outside York. I moved to the U.S. about seven years ago to join a very fast growing startup, we took it from 5 to well over 300 people which was a fantastic experience. I moved to NYC almost two years ago, and I love exploring this great city.  There’s so much to see and do.  Outside of dotmailer, my passion is cars, and I also enjoy skeet shooting, almost all types of music, and I love to travel – my goal is to get to India, Thailand, Australia and Japan in the near future.

Want to find out more about the dotfamily? Check out our recent post about Darren Hockley, Global Head of Support.

Reblogged 3 years ago from blog.dotmailer.com