Should you consider podcasting as part of your multi-touch campaigns? Can podcasting improve your sales numbers, and can you use your sales skills to make a quality podcast – or use podcasting to hone your sales skills? Today’s guest is here to discuss how sales professionals could be using podcasts.
Michael Greenberg is the CEO of Call for Content, a podcasting agency that makes it easy for businesses and organizations to develop podcasts. Listen to the interview to hear what Michael has to say about strategies for using podcasts to drive sales, routines and duration options for beginning podcasters, and the importance of consistency in podcasting.
- Whether podcasting is on the radar for sales executives
- Success rates using podcasting strategies
- Inviting prospects onto the podcast as experts
- What sales executives can talk about on a podcast
- Typical rhythms of salespeople starting a podcast
- Building camaraderie through podcasts
- Coordinating guest posts with your social media
- Using podcast agencies
- Podcast duration guidelines
- What kind of research goes into a 30-minute podcast
- Consistency in podcasting
- Next steps for salespeople who are interested in podcasting
- Podcasts as an opportunity for role-playing
Marylou: Hey everybody, it’s Marylou Tyler. We have such […] great things to talk with you about today. But also, there’s this background noise that I hope you guys are going to bear with us. I really wanted to talk to Michael Greenberg today and know that the situation and the acoustics of this podcast may not be the best because there’s people next door trying to drill off or I don’t know what to call it, jackhammer their floor balcony in California here.
Michael Greenberg is the CEO of a company called Call for Content. He is an expert in many things, but mostly today, I want to talk to him about […] marketing and podcasting. We’re going to throw some wild ideas out to you guys about podcasting. What that means in terms of you, the sales executive, and whether or not you should consider podcasting as a part of your daily touches or multi touch campaigns. Without further ado, I’d like to welcome Michael to the podcast. Welcome Michael.
Michael: Marylou, thanks for having me today. We’re going to have a lot of fun, even with the noise.
Marylou: Yes, the noise is going to drive me insane, but we’ll get through it. Let’s try this weird and wild notion out the people of I am a sales executive at a Fortune 1000 company or even a startup, and I’m thinking about different channels that I could use to woo people over to my way of thinking and to start to convince them why my product or service would be best for them. Is podcasting even on the radar for mem Michael?
Michael: It should be, but it isn’t. Podcasting is this really weird thing that just appeared out of nowhere and that now every marketer has a little bit of budget set aside for, “We need some podcasting content. We need some audio content,” but the big thing and my background is a B2B growth strategy, so have neither a marketer nor a salesperson which lets me take out to both.
The big thing that the marketers forget is that that content is a chance to interact with a customer. I love podcasts for that because the best podcasts are interview shows. If you plan your show effectively, then it can be the show that all of your prospects, and all of your major accounts want to be on. It’s the warmest cold outreach that I do coming on and saying, “Hey, I’ve got this podcast. You’d be a good fit for it. Do you want to come on the show and talk about your business? Talk about what you’re doing?” Last we checked, it was 74% or 75% of all the outreach we do for inviting guests on, turns into a yes. It’s a real great door opener.
Marylou: […] people listening to Michael right now, pop quiz. What is our conversion rate? What is the conversion rate that we’re hoping for with our email engines? Well, if you guessed 79%, that was the old predictable revenue formula back in 2011 that we are hoping to get. Now, it’s down into the 2%-5% and Michael just threw out 75%. Doesn’t that sound so much better? For every 100 people you reach out to, to invite them onto our podcast, even if it’s 40% of the 100 that reply, that sounds interesting or what’s it about?
You just started the conversation with 10X, 20X, 30X of what you could do with an email engine. Think about that. Let that sink in and then Michael, I want to focus on what you just said with your inviting prospects. People with whom you want to do business with and flattering them beyond what they can imagine by saying, “Hey, I want you to come on as an expert and talk about your business,” who would say no?
Michael: People who don’t think it’s worth their time. We see good success with that strategy. In a small business space, it works exceedingly well up to middle market. For enterprise, it’s a multi touch process. You know you’re not going to make an enterprise sale often for one introduction. Knowing that generally, when we get to those bigger deals where we’ve got four or five stakeholders at the table, maybe more, and we’ve got to really break in there, we’ll be using the show either as our first entrance point in those deals or we’ll be using the show as a touch point to help move it forward and to help build relations with one of the stakeholders where we might be weaker.
Marylou: Remember, we have, based on predictable prospecting, three different types of stakeholders that we can go after. Decision makers, direct influencers, and even indirect influencers. Indirect influencers can cover industry-related hooks. It’s not just people within the company, it’s people who service the company in similar industry as to ours, but different products and services that we could reach out to, as well as people within the company itself who will be warm referrals for us getting in the door.
Now, this is getting in the door. It can also be used for continuing the conversation which is drilling down into those stakeholders who “matter most” in getting us further into the pipeline. Michael, I’m sure people are thinking, “I don’t know. Me, do a podcast? No. How do I do that? What do I talk about?”
Michael: It’s your job to talk all day. The best salespeople I know, that is their job. If you’re building a sales organization, that’s your goal at the end of the day, to keep your sales executives on the phone or in meetings with prospects and clients, and that’s what your BDRs and your SDRs are for. That’s what everyone else is for, it’s to get them to that point. That being the case, you want to have a conversation. As the host of the show, you get to direct that conversation just like you’re directing me, Marylou.
It puts you in a really powerful position for getting in the door, especially on the big deals, we’ve seen success positioning the show and developing the format of the show to include some prospecting and qualification on air. Put a little context around this. Call for content. My company, we offer our white label services to agency partners who then resell to their clients. If I want to get in front of those agencies, I’d want to speak with the owner of the company.
Now, if I want to speak with them and see if they’re going to be a good fit, then I might interview them, have them on the show and I actually have a show focused on Colorado entrepreneurs that features a lot of agency owners, coincidentally. I might have them on the show and one of the questions I might ask on air is, “What’s next? How are you trying to grow? How are you trying to expand?”
If they say, “We’re growing really fast. Our biggest problems are that we just can’t hire fast enough, that we can’t staff up fast enough, but our clients love us and we’re selling more every day,” then I know after the recording in that 5-10 minutes at the end, while we’re just chatting after the show on how it went, I can bring up, “You mentioned on air that you guys are having difficulty scaling the budgets of your clients and your services to capture as much as possible. Have you looked at white label offerings before? They really don’t add to your workload, but they do add to your bottom line.”
I’ve been able to invite them on the show, have a great conversation with them, and warm them up to the idea of liking me, and working with me. Then when I make that recommendation, when I start that sales conversation after, I already know whether or not they’re a good fit.
Marylou: Exactly. We all know from learnings on this podcast for sure is that, we prequalify as well. In the invite, we can put our top three qualifiers so that they answer the question as part of the invitation and scheduling of the podcast itself. If I’m working in tiers of accounts […] people, we can do that by the questions, very simple questions we ask our client, for them to fill out part of the scheduling process.
What that does is it helps us hone in on certain areas of conversation that we want to make sure we cover with each of these people. Michael, what is a typical rhythm of someone starting up with a podcast? Are we trying to do one or two a week? Is it a daily thing for us? Once a month? What do you think would be a good rhythm for people who are thinking, “Wow, I never thought of this and I want to try it out.” What’s a typical schedule that you recommend?
Michael: This really comes down to your purpose with the show, and what your actual pipeline, how many prospects you actually close are, and the level of qualification you can reach before you speak with them as well. I generally recommend a weekly show to start, because it’s got that regular rhythm, but it’s not something where you have to go all in to get there.
That being said if you’re doing a weekly show you can’t be selling a $4,000 or $5,000 package. That’s not going to be able to move the needle for you if you only have 50 good prospects that you’re coming through the show. Knowing that if I’m doing a weekly show, I want to be targeting my highest value possible.
Marylou: Right. Let’s take the predictable revenue model of typically 8–10 qualified opportunities every month, somewhere in the greater than 5000 a month range, 10,000 a month range, so somewhere between those numbers. That breaks down to typically 3–5 meaningful conversations a day, of which some of those could be a podcast. We can do a podcast maybe two a week. I do typically two interviews every Tuesday. It is my schedule, my rhythm, and like anything, you get better as you go along. You start learning where people are having problems. “You,” as Michael said, “were in control of that conversation,” so we can lead them down the path of […] goodness towards what they need to think about or just jolt them into saying, “Oh my gosh, I never thought of it that way,” or “Wow, I didn’t realize there are other people out there that are suffering where I’m suffering,” kind of thing.
It allows us the opportunity to really hone our sales conversation to that sense of urgency point, but frame it in a podcast, where they’re telling us their story. We’re also getting great stories peers, potential newer prospects of ours and there’s a camaraderie there of sharing experiences in realizing that they’re not alone.
Michael: Yeah, to build on that. Let’s say, one of the biggest things I see people, especially sales people not making use of, when it comes to a podcast is coordinating and making sure that the guests post on their social media, whatever social’s big for your industry, so probably LinkedIn. That’s really important because your first 5 or 10 guests, you might not be able to get that major key account, that global VP, but once you’ve had on one or two people that they know, they want to be on the show just so they don’t look like they were left out.
Marylou: Yes. There’s social […] involved. If you think about […], there are a number of buttons that we hit with the podcast. When I first started, the first person I interviewed was Darren Ross, who was the co-author of Predictable Revenue. From there, I just realized how much I loved it. So, I reached out to people I didn’t even know, colleagues that were in the field, and ask them to be on the podcast to talk about what they did and why they chose the field that they were in. It just snowballed from there, to the point where after a while, you get people reaching out to you—how cool is that—looking for interviews or, “Hey, I heard so and so, a colleague of mine on your podcast, do you take reservations, or can I be a guest?”
Michael: Yeah and that is reciprocity and the fact that your show only has so many episodes a year gets the scarcity. You’re inviting on authorities. And it gives them just another opportunity to continue to prove their authority. I was hoping I could make it through all six of the […].
Marylou: You did really great, Michael. What I want the audience to think about is, you guys are the masters of the sales conversation. Don’t forget that. You are the masters, so why not share a little bit of your genuine—first of all—enthusiasm for your product, your expertise in what your product can do, and your unique genius in how to sell this thing. What better way to demonstrate that over time, consistently, authentically, by doing a podcast? It’s a brilliant strategy to add to your toolbox.
Michael: Thank you. I can say without a doubt it works, especially for the solopreneur, for the consultant, for the executive coach. That’s a show that we’ve set up a call for content many times and that we consistently add six figures to their bottom line within the first 18 months.
Marylou: That’s just beautiful. I love it. Brilliant. I’m sure someone sitting at a SaaS company right now, […] financing, so there’s enough people, and I the lonely STR running a podcast, or is it really meant people who are in the account executive type […]? Michael, does it really matter?
Michael: I don’t think it really matters. I do think that you get more value when you have somebody higher up within the organization being the host of the show. A great example of a company that, (1) specializes in developing these types of shows, and (2) really does it mostly for middle market tech companies—hitting that SaaS right on—is Sweet Fish Media. They are podcast agency for B2B and they’re putting out a book around this content-based networking now.
Logan heads up their daily podcast show called The B2B Growth Show. He’s not the head of the company, nor is he the head of sales, but I guarantee, he passes plenty of leads back to the team.
Marylou: Right. The other thing to remember is that doing these types of podcasts builds your social proof. It also builds your ability to be the expert and be the thought leader in many areas. It’s just good will all the way around, because depending on the length of the podcast—we’ll go into that a little bit in a minute because I’m very curious about the length of these things—we go from an hour-and-a-half in some of them down the five-minute shorts. But importantly, I want to get through you guys is that this is something that is done routinely.
So, the first step is repetition, is doing it weekly. Whether you publish them or not is another thing. At least get those conversations and those interviews going because the repetition will lead to the discipline. That discipline will be lead to routine, and then finally it becomes a habit, which is what happened to me.
The other thing is, you’re growing your sales conversations. Albeit, they’re not always ask, ask, ask, they’re help, help, help in a lot of cases, but you’re also creating sweet training products for your team as to how to approach different situations. They can listen to different scenarios. Their prospects are challenged by, suffering with, just sick of, and articulating perhaps a way out. That is just gold in terms of training material or nuance in the sales conversation for your team.
Michael, let me ask you about the duration. Are there guidelines, best practices—I hate to use that term—are there guidelines to how long these things should be? Or is it dependent on industry? What are some of the criteria that you need to think about if we’re toying with the idea of doing a podcast?
Michael: First off, it’s important to develop a show that doesn’t look like you’re just using it for prospecting. That’s when I see people mess up quite a bit. If you’ve got a 15-minute daily show and you’re asking me, “What do I do?” then, “What are some tips for the audience?” we’ve got, say, 30- or 35-minute recording slot, and then when I come on air, you tell me, “Yeah, I’ve got four more of these that I’m recording today,” that’s a lot of red flags, because you’re not investing a lot of time into the show. You’re putting out the show very frequently.
As a result, an individual episode might not get as much promotion. Often times, those shows are done on the phone and they’re going to be lower audio quality. If you see all that together, you can know that that show’s probably being used to prospect, because it’s got the number is going through it and it’s designed in such a way that it isn’t really going to make great content. That’s key to look at, but going the other way, I really like a 30-minute show, because that’s about the average drive time, 30–35 minutes.
Having that, I call it a commuter show, works well. If you go up to the hour or to the 45 minute, I don’t think you’re going to have a problem there. If you’ve got more technical topics to discuss, if you’re really digging in, then that could be quite doable. The other thing to look at with that, though, is you’re editing costs and the actual amount of time it might go into making the show sound good and look good afterwards. Once you get up to the hour that can start to get expensive or just time consuming. The 30 minute is really what I recommend for no other reason than it works well. Once you start going to the extremes, you run into difficulties.
Marylou: Let’s talk then research for the 30 minute programs. A lot of times, it’s basically drilled into our heads that we’ve got to research any type of account that we’re going after, whether it’s what I call a jump account, […] accounts that no matter what they respond to us, we jump as high as they want us to jump because we want them as our client. We do a lot of research and try to personalize that conversation. On average what research goes into a 30-minute podcast?
Michael: It’s very similar to the same research you do before a sales call. You want to know who they are, you want to know where they come from, you want to know what they’re trying to deal with if you can, and you want to be ready to talk. Even more important than research before a show is looking at the format and the outline of the episode. I like to think it anywhere from three to five segments. Even though they might not be real segments, even though you might not have a lightning round, or you might not have an outro section, that you announced to the audience.
When I think about my personal show, we start out with their journey, how did they get started as an entrepreneur, and then we move into what their business does today. That’s a segment, too. With that current business, we talk about the industry climate, we talk about some other things going on there. Then we moved to segment three, looking forward. That’s talking about the opportunities for growth, what they see coming in the next five years. Then, we transition at the end to our final segment, which is a book recommendation.
You will see that in every single episode. You will see that, even in the show notes that becomes apparent. If I have their LinkedIn profile and I skimmed their website, I know what we’re talking about and I know it’s going to produce the desired result for me at the end.
Marylou: I know from you personally, when I’ve been a guest on podcast, sometimes I get some interview questions that they want to know before I come on. There’s also the ability to give them a couple topics that I’m interested in speaking about, and some of them also let me know that there’s like a hot seat session, which is fun, especially if you’re an industry expert the way I am. They just sit you down and say, “Okay, here’s our top three questions,” like blind-folded, “that we want you to answer,” which sometimes are fun to do.
The point here, though folks, is if there’s a rhythm, if you could put together what I call a storyboard, the acts of the podcast, that would help you to organize your thoughts, and who would be a good candidate to be on as well. Remember, the influence map of decision makers, direct influencers, and indirect influences are all viable people we want to talk to at some point in the sales pipeline, depending where we focus our efforts, whether it’s prospecting, closing, servicing. We want to make sure that we’ve covered that bull’s eye with guests, because everyone who we touch or are engaged with, we want to make sure that we have as guests on the show, so that everybody feels represented.
I make a big effort to bring in marketing people, salespeople, operations people, analysts, digital marketing, and things that are in and around my sphere of influence, because that gives the audience an education beyond what they’re used to seeing, like today’s show.
When we’ve come in really thinking about, “Wow, I should have a podcast,” it’s not something that we think about. We’re so drawn to email, telephone, direct mail, and social, we don’t really think about the other avenues of conversation that we can be having with prospects to win the right to have that next conversation and further advance them in the pipeline.
I really enjoy the fact that, Michael, you want us to think about this is a show we’re producing. This is a movie or a radio show and there is a format to that. Consistency is comforting to the audience as well.
Michael: Yeah, without consistency, if they don’t know what’s coming next, they stop listening. I know that, having audited shows where somebody will bring me in and why their downloads dropped three months ago, Well, you dropped that hot seat, you dropped your lightning round. That’s thrown all your listeners off.
That consistency makes it easier for you to be able to go week after week and it makes it easier for your audience to listen. It also makes it easier for the guest when they come on, because then they can listen to a past episode and be like, “Oh, okay. I know what I’m getting into,” and be comfortable when they start.
Marylou: Let’s recap here for the audience. We just heard Michael that the response to conversion rates of implementing a podcasting type of channel in and around our sales conversation, is going to lift our ability to talk with more people, which is what we are hired to do, is to have more legal sales conversation that convert to opportunities, that convert to close one deal.
We also learned that, while it’s nice to have the expert in the field of the podcast, we can certainly contribute to that. So, for an STR—there’s an AE who we love the way they talk to clients—we want to strongly suggest that they consider doing some type of show. Or we organize that, so that we have industry experts on every week talking about whatever, then we invite prospects and talk about their situation.
We learned about the formats. We learned about the time, finding elements, somewhere between 30 and 45 would start as a good show. Though if I’m thinking, Michael, “All right, I want to talk to my manager about this. I want to consider doing this. I’m a solo out there. I had been working in property and casualty insurance, and I want to build my book, so I want to be able to do this,” what’s a good next step? If I got this tickle in my throat thinking, “Hmm. This is something I want to explore,” what should we do next?
Michael: I’ll make my shameless plug here. I would go to callforcontent.com and download the B2B Podcast Playbook.
Marylou: Playbooks. Yay, we love playbooks.
Michael: So do I. As a company, we’re getting ready to put out our first podcast, but we’ve only put out playbooks up until now, because when somebody asks me, “How do you do this thing?” I can just say, “Hey, we posted the entire playbook we use,” and that makes things easy for everyone.
The playbook covers a couple other different types of shows that are not quite as sales-focused. We’ve got one that we talk about called the authority builder show, and that really is designed for B2B prospecting and sales. We’ve got our formula in there. Doing the math, is a B2B podcast worth it? Where we walk you through, how many customers? What’s my close rate? What number of prospects am I coming on versus other subject matter experts? How many podcasts am I doing? And my customer value. We’ve got a little equation we walk through to see, is this show worthwhile from a business case standpoint?
Marylou: We love formulas, too. We love playbooks, we love formulas, because that specificity around, “Should I or shouldn’t I?” when you let the data tell you and help you make those decisions rather than just pulling something out of the air, is much better.
Michael: And for a week, we sure found it’s right around that 10,000 mark for average […] value.
Marylou: For those of you driving who are saying, “I can’t write this down,” I will put everything in Michael’s show notes. All the links to his website, a link to the playbook so that you guys can download away and start working on this.
We’re entering the era of hyper personalization. Mass emails are horribly, just […] in the market, and the response rates more importantly are just negligible; they’re horrible. We want to be able to differentiate ourselves and set ourselves apart from the crowd. What better way for us to do so by letting people know our authentic self through conversation?
This is a great way for us to hone our conversation. We get better and better the more we practice and what better way to practice than having a podcast where you’re asking questions, and you’re getting feedback, and you’re responding to that feedback, you’re really honing your sale skills at the same time. I wholeheartedly believe that the more that you’re doing these types of conversations, the better you can get at it. Do you agree, Michael?
Michael: Yeah. She does a weekly podcast just for their sales team and they chose podcast because those guys are on the road a lot. They’ve got an outside sales team and they focus on, “Hey, here are some updates on information. Here’s what’s working for our people right now.” It’s like a mini sales call, almost. I know I, with our sales team and with some of the investments I’ve made in other organizations, we do mock sales calls all the time. One of the biggest things especially with new reps, or with a new market, or with a new product, or service is just putting those reps in and it’s just getting on calls. Podcast guarantees that every time you have that podcast, you’re going to have at least a conversation.
Marylou: And if you record it, then you have a role play that is in the library for the sales skills development, which is so important. I mean, with my clients, I constantly harp on huddles and role playing. The more we practice our conversations, the better we get. It’s like an actor. An actor reads from a script. […] actors. They really sounds like they’re reading from a script when they finally deliver the performance. That is essentially what role playing gives us the opportunity to do. It’s to finesse that conversation so that it’s just naturally rolling off our tongues.
Podcasts give you that ability and I love that idea, Michael, with remote sales forces which I have a ton of, is to get together and do a podcast, and broadcast that out. We can archive it into a library. We can transcribe the audio into snippets of conversation that we can then import into our templates for emails, voicemails, voice conversations, and even direct mail. There is a plethora of repurposing that goes on by recording these conversations as well as building our sales skills.
Michael, thank you so much for joining us today. I know we could talk forever, but I do want to be respectful of the crowd here. I have all the information to put on the page to get a hold of you. Anything else you want us to know before we disconnect today?
Michael: Yeah, one last thing. I have office hours. They are office hours with a professor. There is a resource and then I record my calls so can create great content from them later. Anywhere on the website, the chatbot should be able to direct you to that office hours. If you want to just sit with me and work through how to get your show to your manager, I am happy to do that, or if you just want to sit with me and talk about how bread baking crosses over into sales, we can do that, too.
Marylou: Wonderful. Well, thank you so much for your time. Again guys, this is a channel that is not even thinking outside the box, but it kind of is because we’re just not used to this. This is the perfect channel for those of you who already or want to master the sales conversations, and also start building your prospect database of people who want to further conversations with you because they get to know you via this medium. It’s just a natural way. Flattery, all the wonderful triggers that we’re trying to get people. Curiosity, social […] it’s all there in a podcast format […] people on our show. Thanks again, Michael, for your time. I very much appreciate you coming on.
Michael: Yeah. Thank you Marylou. It’s been a lot of fun.