Can a dentist have a fanbase? What about an insurance company? Yes, says David Meerman Scott, marketing & business growth speaker and author of the WSJ bestseller FANOCRACY. In this episode of Sales Lead Dog, host Chris Smith talks to David about his new book, and the idea that really meaningful marketing and selling happens when we turn our customers into our biggest fans and how to build an audience.
David has written over twelve books, four of which have been international best-sellers. In FANOCRACY, David explains how growing a fanbase is contrary to many of our widely held beliefs about selling — it’s about being a community builder, not the stereotypical “hunter.” But though it takes a leap of faith, it really works. “We found examples in all kinds of different marketplaces of people who have been able to build fans,” David explains — from the success of a skateboarding dentist to Duracell’s 10-million battery giveaway.
At the end of the day, it’s hard to argue with this compelling strategy, which flips selling and marketing on its head. But it’s actually pretty simple; as David says: “If you bring passion to what you do, that passion is infectious.”
Watch or listen to this episode about how to build an audience
Wed, 12/23 1:56PM • 56:49
people, fans, salesperson, company, book, grateful dead, reiko, skateboarding, haggerty, started, sales, crm, marketing, selling, absolutely, patients, daughter, true, batteries, point
Speakers of the discussion about how to build an audience
David Meerman Scott, Christopher Smith
Welcome to the Sales Lead Dog Podcast hosted by CRM technology and sales process expert Christopher Smith, talking with sales leaders that have separated themselves from the rest of the pack. Listen to find out how the best of the best achieve success with their team and CRM technology. And remember, unless you are the lead dog, the view never changes.
Christopher Smith 07:18
Welcome to Sales Lead Dog. We have a guest I’m super, super excited about to have on the show today, David Meerman Scott, the very well-known speaker, author, best selling-author. Welcome to Sales Lead Dog, David.
David Meerman Scott 10:17
It’s great to be here and being some lead dog stuff we’re going to talk about. Looking, looking forward to it.
Christopher Smith 10:24
Yeah. Welcome to the pack.
David Meerman Scott 10:26
There we go.
Christopher Smith 10:27
Yeah, I am just really excited to have you on here for a couple of reasons. One, and I think this is, we’re gonna dive into the, deeply into this on this episode, but you have an incredible background in marketing, and I think any sales leader that’s absolutely key for their success. So we want to talk about that, but also want to talk about your, your recent book, “Fanocracy.” So David, we can start wherever you want. But why don’t we, can we talk about your book “Fanocracy?” Tell us about how that started and, and tell us about the book.
David Meerman Scott 11:04
Absolutely. So, so I’ve written 12 books, and four of those are international bestsellers and probably best known over time was a book called “The New Rules of Marketing and PR.” It sold 400,000 copies in English, it’s now in the seventh edition and it’s in 29 languages from Albanian to Vietnamese, but over the last couple of years I’ve started to really feel like some of the ideas I pioneered around social media marketing have really taken a dangerous turn, and that’s particularly because the algorithms deployed by companies like Facebook have become truly evil, in my opinion, because they seed conspiracy theories, they drive people into tribes, they really are I believe a very dangerous thing. So I started to think about what are the things I love, and how can I look at marketing and sales as being something other than just social media, which I’ve been focused on for such a long time. And so I was talking to my daughter Reiko and I said to Reiko, “Geez what it what is with me and how much of a fan I am of live music?” and right behind me is my, my life Music Hall of Fame. I’ve been to 804 live shows in my life, I’ve been just 75 Grateful Dead concerts, which is kind of ridiculous.
Christopher Smith 12:31
David Meerman Scott 12:33
Reiko at the time had just started med school. She’s now 27 and at the time it was about five years ago, she’s 22 and started med school and she taught talking about how much of a fan of Harry Potter she is. Not only read every book multiple times, seen every movie multiple times, but wrote an 85,000 word alternative ending to the Harry Potter series where Draco Malfoy is a spy for the Order of the Phoenix and put that on a fanfiction site that’s been downloaded 1000s of times, so we were talking about how much of a fan we are the things we love. And we just decided to collaborate on what became this book, “Fanocracy: Turning Fans Into Customers and Customers Into Fans” ( How to build an audience ) because we recognized that one of the best ways for an organization to grow business is not to sell stuff.
Christopher Smith 13:28
David Meerman Scott 13:28
But to build fans of their companies. So we spent five years researching and writing, and the book came out in early 2020, it hit the wall street journal bestseller list and super excited about how it came out. And Reiko had since graduated from med school, she’s currently an emergency resident at Boston Medical Center, she’s treating COVID patients. And so she’s totally on the front lines. But it was cool to write the book with her because obviously a woman, obviously a different generation than me. My wife’s Japanese, so she’s mixed-race and you know she loves different things than I do so, having a millennial, mixed-race woman who loves Harry Potter be a part of the book really added a lot to to my middle-aged Grateful Dead fan.
Christopher Smith 14:19
Yeah, well, not to mention, I can’t think of, you know as a dad, a better life memory than collaborating on a book with your daughter. How cool was that? It was super cool. You know, we had to really build a different level of trust in our relationship because she had to feel comfortable saying to me and she did, by the way, “You know, this chapter sucks daddy.” And and she did that, you know, and so we built a really great working relationship around that. And then I had an opportunity to make one of the the most fun phone calls of my entire life when I happened to be at a speaking gig, I was speaking at Tony Robbin’s business mastery event in Florida in January of 2020, and I, I found out that the Wall Street Journal was, put us on the bestseller list for that particular week and, you know, had a print copy of the paper in front of me and so I texted my daughter and I said, it was early in the morning is like six o’clock in the morning, I texted her and I said, “When you’re up, and you’ve had your tea, text me back, I want to call you,” so she did. And I said, “Congratulations, you are a Wall Street Journal bestselling author,” and she’s like, “Wow, where did that come from?” you know and and she was 26 at the time so imagine 26 years old and, and a Wall Street Journal bestselling author but she, I mean she was absolutely as important as I was to writing that book, no question about it because much of her ideas are in there. Right. That’s awesome. When I think about some of the things you were saying and, and I have the book and I’m currently reading it, and that’s my goal is to finish this over Christmas. I’ve got something good to read. To me, when I think about the companies that I love, those are companies that I have a really strong emotional attachment to I feel like I’m part of something. And that, and it’s like, almost ingrained. It is, it’s so interesting isn’t it. And everybody tells me that when we talk about this idea of fandom. I’m sure you could be fans of a rock band like I am or an author like Reiko is, but you can also be a fan of a company, a practice, service, an idea, and the companies that recognize that can be really successful. And so, at the fundamental level, what we learned around this idea of fanocracy, this idea of building fans, is that all humans, you and me, and everybody who’s watching or listening in on this, every human is hardwired in our brains to want to be part of a tribe of like-minded people, because when we’re part of a tribe of like-minded people, that’s when we’re safe and we’re secure and we’re comfortable, and that goes back 10s of 1000s of years in human evolution. You know you imagine a long, long, long time ago our ancestors, you know, running around the plains or the deserts or the woods, and we are safe when we are with our tribe and if we encountered another tribe or we encountered a wild animal, that’s when we were unsafe. Well that’s still true today, which is why any organization that can build a tribe of like minded people become super powerful, whether whether it’s the Grateful Dead or JK Rowling with Harry Potter but, and we found examples of all kinds of organizations. One of my favorite is a company called Haggerty. They’re an automobile insurance company, and I, the reason I love this example is because nearly everybody when I asked them, hate the idea of auto insurance. People don’t like to buy it, you know, you spend whatever a couple 1000 bucks on auto insurance ,you, you write the check and it’s annoying because it’s like you’re throwing the money away and you never want to use the product because it meant you crashed your car. So, this company Haggerty insurance specializes in classic car auto insurance, and I spoke a couple of times with Mckeel Haggerty, who’s the entrepreneurial CEO of a company, said “David, we can’t sell insurance the way everybody else does. It, it’s not a price thing it’s not about spending more money on ads than everyone else, it’s not about our sales people bugging people by cold calling them. What this is about, is we developed a fan base,” and so what they do is they go to classic car shows all over the country, and now with COVID it’s a little more difficult, but they go to these classic car shows, and they meet people who are fans of classic cars, and they then could have created a database of of 1000s and 1000s of different classic car models, and what their value, is because remember they’re a classic car auto insurance company, they know the values that people are insuring their cars for, and then they provide those values as a service to people in the form of this database. They have a YouTube channel with over a million subscribers. They have a driver’s club with 650,000 members, and all of these things drive fans. And then people like me, I own a 1973 Land Rover that’s been insured by Haggerty for nearly 20 years, when I get that bill, I’m happy to write the check. Because, because I’m a fan and and the ultimate test of this fandom is, even if a company comes along that’s cheaper, I won’t switch because I’m a fan of Haggerty. And so, it’s a, it’s kind of a different way of selling than most people are used to because it’s about building fans first, and then those fans become customers and then they become even more of a fan, and then they want to stay a customer for a long time, for the long haul. They are now the largest classic car insurance company in the world, double digit growth every year since they started, they’ll add something like 200,000 new customers this year, so, you know just absolutely doing a fabulous job. Yeah, they’re amazing. I’m very familiar with them, I’m a big classic auto fan.
David Meerman Scott 20:48
Do you have across the car yourself?
Christopher Smith 20:49
I don’t, that’s one of my ambitions. There you go, you got to put it on the list, man and it’d be a really good COVID thing to buy. It, it would. Once my kids are out of school, then I’ll feel comfortable spending money on that instead of tuition. Oh yeah, there you go, and my daughter’s already out, so I get that. Yeah. One of the things you know when you think about Haggerty and companies like them, what they’ve done, fundamentally, is they’ve shifted the conversation away from price, away from all these other things, you know they’ve really put themselves in the shoes of their customers. They absolutely have, and they’ve recognized that you don’t always have to as a salesperson, you don’t have to wrestle people to the ground every time. You know it’s not about interrupting them with ads or with cold calls or whatever it is, and then getting them to respond to some inane offer of some kind and then putting them into your click funnels or your sales process, and then trying to get them to the point where they close. I mean, it’s a lot better if you can figure out ways to build a tribe, to build a group of fans that are eager to do business with you that want to do business with you than it is to do the more traditional form of selling that so many people are used to. Oh yeah, I couldn’t agree more. That’s what I love about your book and to me what really excites this is that it’s not about, “Oh I need to get more clicks, or I need to get, you know, more subscribers or followers and then I’ll be successful.”
David Meerman Scott 22:28
Christopher Smith 22:28
This is really putting the focus where it needs to be. And that’s really understanding your customer, understanding what their life is like, what they care about. And that goes well beyond just business. Yeah, no, it truly does, and you know one of the things that’s difficult for a lot of people to use this kind of strategy to grow business is that it takes a little bit of a leap of faith, because it’s not the traditional way that we’ve sold for many years. It’s a bit more of, it’s a bit, a bit more of a almost a Grateful Dead style form of marketing because what you’re saying is, essentially, the more that you give to the universe, the more the universe gives back. Right.
David Meerman Scott 23:20
And, you know, without getting too much into the Northern California, airy fairy aspect of this, it really does require a leap of faith, that if you provide value in the form of your YouTube channel, if you provide value in the form of, and I’m thinking of Haggerty again here, of meeting people at classic car shows and just sharing your love of classic cars, not trying to sell them insurance.
Christopher Smith 23:50
David Meerman Scott 23:51
And, and providing for free the database of the values of the cars that you’ve collected over the many years that you’ve insured them, you know these kinds of things, if you give them to the universe, those people will say “Geez, when I’m ready to insure my car, these people have educated me. These are the ones that I’m going to want to do my insurance with, not some random person who cold calls me.” And, and and this is true, I believe, a for every business. I mean we’re talking about, you know, an automobile insurance company here, but it’s true of B2B software companies, it’s true of consumer brands, it’s true of commodity products. I’ll give you an example in the commodity products, one of my favorite examples, it’s a story in our book is that Duracell ,the battery company, has a program they call Power Forward where they give away free batteries to people in need. And traditionally Power Forward has focused on natural disaster, hurricane, flood ,tornado. And when the power goes out, they go to that natural disaster area and they give away free batteries to people without power. It’s a fabulous program, they’ve given away 10s of millions of batteries over the course of this program, but they they pivoted it to be helpful during the pandemic, especially for first responders, you know fire and police and EMTs, as well as healthcare, and they’ve provided free batteries, as well as free charging stations to first responders and healthcare facilities. They’ve literally given away over 10 million batteries since the pandemic started, and totally free. And what it does is, again, it requires that leap of faith to say, the more batteries we give away, the more people who will be engaged with us, the more people who remember who we are. And then over time next week, next month, next year when they’re ready to buy batteries, they’re more likely to buy Duracell batteries, and it’s a way different approach, but it absolutely positively works. It’s an approach that talks about building fans first, rather than just trying to sell somebody something,
Christopher Smith 26:14
Right. So if I’m a sales leader, I’m listening to you and I’m thinking of myself, “Completely agree with what you’re doing, but we might be too far down the road to start down this path or it sounds really intimidating.” What do they need to do to start this process to get over that mental block and get this going? So I don’t think it needs to be an either or proposition. I think that what you, what any organization can do is give some thought to, “Is the way that we’re marketing and selling now working fabulously well?” And if you can say the way that your marketing and selling now is working fabulously well, we’re crushing it, we’re beating our numbers every single quarter, I wouldn’t change that, you know. If, if you’re if you’re crushing it using cold calls, who am I to say you should change? But the vast majority of people I speak with have found it increasingly difficult to do a great job by spending more money on advertising than the other guy, or by hiring more salespeople to pick up the phone and cold call than the other guy, or by doing the traditional B2B sales model of providing some offer like a free white paper that requires registration to get an email address and then you take that email address, and you start to hit them with emails, and then you have a way to phone them up and say, “Hey did you read our white paper?” or “Don’t you want to have a phone call with us to, to find out whether we can help you?” you know that approach. Again, if it’s working, great, I’m not telling you to stop, but the vast majority of people are telling me this, these, these sales playbooks that we used in the past and marketing playbooks we use in the past aren’t working. So what I would do in this case is, don’t try to go cold turkey, but begin building fans now. Begin approach, an approach that is a kinder and gentler approach to what you’re doing, to provide things with no expectation of anything in return, to figure out ways that you can build fans, to develop a genuine and true human connection, to develop a tribe of people that come together that want to do business with you. And over time, I would expect that you would be able to start to decrease the amount of traditional sales and marketing you’re doing as your ramp up of this approach of building fans starts to take off. Right. and I would imagine the, the payoff, you’re really talking when you build that true fan culture, it takes out a life of its own at some point, you know, you start to create that critical mass, and then it just explodes.
David Meerman Scott 29:19
Absolutely, it does. It’s it’s an amazing thing and, you know, one of the reasons that this whole idea started for me was, and you can see some Grateful Dead stuff behind me is that the grate, the Grateful Dead, my favorite band I’ve seen them 75 times, I actually wrote a book called “Marketing Lessons from the Grateful Dead” together with Brian Halligan, the CEO of HubSpot and Bill Walton the NBA Basketball Hall of Famer, the three of us wrote that book. What we recognized was here’s a band that gave away their music for free. What they did was they allowed fans to record their concerts. So unlike every other band, starting in the set 1970s, you know on the ticket every other band it said no recording allowed. No, no cameras, no audio recording devices, no video. And of course this was initially in the era before smartphones. The Grateful Dead said, “Why not? If you want to record our music, please do.” And they allowed fans to bring, literally you could bring professional level recording gear and people brought big old tape, tape recorders. And they actually, the band created power strips that you could plug into, you could have a, you could have a microphone stand and they actually created a taper section behind the mixing board, you can have a microphone stand to point the microphones up with the speakers. And what this did was first of all is radical that they did it, nobody else allowed this, you know, every other band said no. But then, what was the result of this was initially it was cassette tapes later on mp3 files that people like me then were exposed to the band. I had never heard them before, my buddies in college are playing these cassette tapes. I’m like, “Wow these guys are good,” and then I started to get into it and then I wanted to go see a show myself.
Christopher Smith 31:23
David Meerman Scott 31:24
And then I wanted to see another show and another show and another show to the point where I’ve probably spent over $100,000 on the Grateful Dead over the past 40 years. My first the first show I saw when I was 17 more than 40 years ago, and I haven’t gone this year because of COVID but last year in 2019, I went to six shows, three of them in Mexico, I traveled to Mexico with my buddies paid a lot of money to be on a beach to see the Dead & Company, which is the current incarnation. And so these ideas have been around for a long time, the idea, alternative ideas to selling and marketing have been around a long time. And, and they work, and they work for all kinds of different organizations. It just requires a big mindset shift.
Christopher Smith 32:18
Yeah, I mean amazing. I was thinking about your daughter as you were talking. If JK Rowling had got her army of lawyers involved and shut down all these fandom sites, and where you can’t do your fan fiction or you can’t put it out there, she’s cutting the legs out from all those people that care so passionately about this. And she, she supported it she did the same thing. Now she’s got this whole culture. You see, Harry Potter references everywhere. You know, and and I mean how foolish she would have been if she would have taken the more aggressive approach and shut that down. And that’s what most people do, that’s what most companies do. “No, that’s my intellectual property you can’t steal it.” And there is another way that’s not the only way the legal, the legal approach to business is not the only approach to business. You can also do a different approach. And I think especially now that this is a great approach because you know we all need some more humanity in our, in our lives, and when, you know, as we’re recording this, we’re in the thick of, of the pandemic. And when you can’t meet people in person, the idea of figuring out ways to meet them on a human level in so many ways is great for all kinds of companies. And as soon as you start to put your lawyer on the case that’s a very, very different way of doing business. Oh yeah. You’ve immediately become antagonistic. Yeah. And, you know, I was thinking about like the auto industry, you think about your relationship with your your your auto insurer. It’s an by nature antagonistic relationship and Haggerty completely flipped that on its head. Yeah, absolutely. And just, and my favorite, I just love that example because it is a business everyone hates people don’t like to buy auto insurance. They don’t like to use auto insurance, they don’t like to even think about auto insurance, yet here’s a company that’s built millions of fans in the auto insurance business. Yeah, because they’ve demonstrated very clearly, “We’re as passionate about this stuff as you are. And we’re going to help you, we’re going to we’re going to help you. We’re going to make it easier for you to enjoy your passion.”
David Meerman Scott 34:41
Right. That’s exactly right. Exactly right. And you know sometimes people push back on me and they say, David, I can’t do this because I’m, and then they give an excuse you know, B2B company, enterprise software company, nonprofit, government agency, I mean and but, but the truth is we found examples and all kinds of different marketplaces of people who’ve been able to build fans. And one of the most surprising things that Reiko and I learned as we started to do this research, and this is true of everyone who’s selling today is that if you bring passion to what you do, passion is infectious and people are more likely to want to do business with you. And we saw this again and again and again and this was the most surprising thing that we came across. People are more likely to do business with a salesperson who has passion for what they do, but also a salesperson who has passionate, passion for things in their professional lives, and they don’t, they don’t allow those to be separate, they actually bring those things together. You know, if you look on the typical salesperson’s LinkedIn, it’s it’s written in the third person. It’s, you know, John Smith is a, is a sales professional who always makes quota,” it’s like the worst thing you can possibly say, if you say, “Hey, I’m John and I love to surf, I also happen to be a great, a great way that you can engage to learn more about this business that I’m really strong and passionate about,” you know. It’s not about being a salesperson on LinkedIn, it’s not about the you, “I made quota for the last 48 quarters in a row.” It’s last thing that is that a potential customer wants to read when they go to your LinkedIn. They want to read that you’re passionate about life, that you’re passionate about the company you work for, and and we saw this again and again and again. I’ll give you a concrete example. I mentioned earlier I speak at Tony Robbin’s business mastery events around the world. I was speaking at one in Las Vegas I think it was two years ago, and I was speaking about this idea of fandom. And I was approached after my talk by a dentist, his name is Jon Marashi and Dr. Marashi, he said to me, “David, I’m a dentist. I don’t have fans.” And I said, “Well, let’s talk about that Doctor Marashi,” I said “What are you passionate about?” And he goes, “Oh my god, I love to skateboard. Akateboarding is my life, I am so passionate about skateboarding.” He, he came alive right when he started talking about skateboarding. And I said, “Dr. Marashi, you need to focus on skateboarding in your dental practice.”
Christopher Smith 37:43
David Meerman Scott 37:44
And, and it was a 10 minute conversation, and about six months later he contacted me goes, “David I just wanted to get back to you. I’ve taken your advice. And I have integrated, my love of skateboarding with my dental practice.” Ao here’s what he did. On the walls physically in his practice, he has skateboards on the wall rather than artwork or or you know his degrees, like most people have, he’s got skateboards. He skateboards from one examination room to another examination room. On his practice’s website he has pictures of him skateboarding, and videos of him skateboarding. He had created an Instagram. It now has last time I checked, something like 15,000 followers, a dentist with 15,000 followers on his Instagram, and many of the photos and videos are him skateboarding, right, and he contacted me again, about six months after he called to tell me that he had done this, and he said, “I’ve got the data.” And the data, is that something like 30% of his new patients cited the fact that he’s the skateboarding dentist for why they for why they signed up with his practice, and he says that’s been responsible for 23% of new revenue over and above everything else, simply by sharing what he’s passionate about. But what I see with the vast majority of salespeople, is that, if you were to look on their LinkedIn, it’s like all sales all the time, all business all the time, you don’t know who they are as a person. If you meet them, you don’t know who they are as a person, and instead you know, hey I love the Grateful Dead, I’m cool with that, my daughter loves Harry Potter, Dr. Marashi loves skateboarding, both of us share a love for classic cars and that that brings a salesperson alive. So this idea of passion, really became important. So you know for sales leaders who are listening in on this conversation, I would encourage you to think about how you can bring that passion. And I’m going to provide one more example. I mentioned my daughter Reiko and my co-author in the, our book “Fanocracy” is now working in emergency medicine, she’s a doctor at Boston Medical Center. And, you know, she said, “It’s brutal, you know I’m dealing with COVID patients or patients who come in for something else. We have to assume they have COVID. We’re wearing PPE head to toe. You know, we’ve got hair, something covering our hair, something covering our mouth and our nose. We’ve got a protective shield, we’ve got our, you know, the, the, the clothing that we wear to protect ourselves, we look like a robot when we’re coming in to talk to a patient. So what, so what we do is we put something personal, something we’re passionate about as part of the clothing that we’re wearing.” So she for example might wear a Boston Bruins mask, as opposed to just a mask. Some people wear tie-dyed hair covering. Other people, which my daughter does, she wears a Black Lives Matter pin and she wears a rainbow pen. And she said when, when she walks into see a patient, and she’s wearing a Boston Bruins mask and a rainbow pin and Black Lives Matter pin, her patients come alive because she’s sharing something that’s, they’re passionate about. So rather than some automatron MD, who looks like a robot because of all this PPE they’re wearing. She all of a sudden comes in and she’s created a bond with this patient who’s scared, who’s worried about possibly dying from, from either a horrible disease or an accident, whatever the reason that came into the emergency room for. And so, and you know Dr. Marashi and my daughter who’s a doctor, those are healthcare related, but this is true of everybody. It’s true. Every salesperson. So I recommend to sales leaders who are listening in to think about how you can have your sales people’s personalities shine through. What are they passionate about? How can that shine through? How can the passion that they have for the company shine through? So they’re not just someone who’s trying to rescue the ground and taking money out of your wallet.
Christopher Smith 42:18
No. See what, your daughter’s, that’s amazing. She went from what is an incredibly clinical perspective or, or, you know, being viewed as incredibly clinical to now, she’s a human, she’s a person walking in the room.
David Meerman Scott 42:32
Yeah, it makes a huge, huge difference. She, she’s not doing it, but what a lot of people have been doing is they have a large pin made with their photograph on it, so that a patient can see what they look like if their mask is off. You know just things like that that humanize you, so you know as a salesperson or as a sales leader, how can you humanize the way that you’re selling. Right.
Christopher Smith 43:01
We’ve gone over our time but I’m totally great with that. If you have some more time I’d like to talk about CRM for a bit.
David Meerman Scott 43:08
Yeah, let’s, let’s spend a couple minutes on that, sure.
Christopher Smith 43:10
You have a tremendous background because of marketing with CRM. There’s a lot of companies that we deal with, we see a lot of the same things over and over again, where companies go in, they think CRM is going to solve all our problems. Once we implement CRM, we’re gonna have perfect sales process, perfect whatever. What advice do you have for sales leaders that are dealing with CRM issues?
David Meerman Scott 43:34
The biggest thing that I see as a problem with CRM, this big picture problem is that most of the ways that CRM is built, whether it’s hard coded into the system, or whether it’s the way it gets built through the sales process, is that it’s a traditional sales process that gets built in. And I see a huge problem with that, and I see it as actually going back several decades to very, very early client server CRM products, where at that time, there was one way to sell, you know. You had the sales funnel, you know, and you get the lead at the top, and then the lead at a certain point gets passed over the shoulder to the salesperson from the marketing team. And then you have the, the, you try to get the meeting and then when the meeting you try to get them to agree to a proposal and then you try to get them to agree to the pilot and then, you know, the sales funnel is clearly defined from the seller’s perspective. And it’s defined from the seller’s perspective from ancient history, you know, 1950s and I’m exaggerating a little bit but let’s say 1980s selling process or 1990 selling process, because that’s when the sales leader that helps to set these things up, or that’s when the company that created the, the CRM to begin with set them up, so that they’re inherently flawed because they’re not truly about building fans, they’re not truly about creating the kinds of relationships that can be valuable. And one of the biggest problems I see, to make it more this this concept more clear, is that a lot of CRM systems will credit the first point of contact and will also credit, the point, the last point of contact before a sale is made in ways that cause the marketing team and the sales team to be out of alignment in terms of the ways that they that they engage with potential and existing customers. And what I mean by that is if you have a CRM system where it’s talking, that one of the touch points is there’s a white paper that’s offered, and that that white paper, if somebody pushes the button and fills out the form, and then they see that there’s a that, that email address is finally given, that then the marketing team and the sales team and says, when that lead closes, the reason that it closed is because we built this fabulous white paper that got them to fill out the form, which gives you incredibly false data. Because the truth is, by the time they push that button, they’ve already done a ton of research, they’ve searched on Google, they might have gone to various rating sites to find out about you, they’ve checked out who is the CEO of the company on LinkedIn. They’ve poked all over your website and finally they fill out a form, that shouldn’t be given do, overdo credit. What you really needed the CRM system to do is to understand what are all the touch points, what are all the places that that potential customer has visited, and then give some of those credit as well I was talking to a CEO of a company recently, and he said, “David we learned something remarkable when we dug in deep to the data on our website. And what we learned is that 20% of our new business had at one point or another looked at my bio on my company’s website.” Now that’s a remarkable statistic that 20, that 20% of people who signed a contract at one point or another, went to the, the about page, clicked the management team page, clicked on the CEO’s bio and read it. And until you actually start to figure that out, you’re going to create false data for why something happened. And I don’t know of any CRM systems that are going to give credit to the CEO’s bio is one of the reasons why a deal closed, and that causes the marketing team to focus on the wrong thing. It’s all about getting those, the point of contact where they fill out the form causes the salesperson to focus on the wrong things. So I think the biggest problem is that these systems are focused on old ways of selling, not new ways of selling.
Christopher Smith 48:26
Right. And that reinforces your whole point about the book, “Fanocracy,” that those people that are on your on your website, and they’re reading the bio, they’re trying to make that emotional connection, they’re trying to see, “Are these people, are we the same? Are we aligned? Are they are they going to help me? Are these people I can trust to help me?” Yes, and that’s what they’re looking for.
David Meerman Scott 48:52
Absolutely, and just a little thing on the CEO bio,
Christopher Smith 48:57
David Meerman Scott 48:57
I tell this to all CEOs, make, do two things with your bio. No CEOs do this unless I tell them to, but number one write in first person. CEOs don’t do that, they’re all written in third person, and number two, inject conflict into your bio. No CEO does that either. Have conflict and to say, I was thinking about becoming a doctor, I mean I’m just making this up off the top of my head, but I was thinking about becoming a doctor, you know, I went to, I did pre-med in college, I took the MCAT, and I was just about to go to medical school, but then I had a huge fight with my father and I decided that, “Hell with that. I’m going to go to Asia and live there for two years. I came back and I started this company and we’ve been growing,” and it’s just like, whoa, where did that come from but all of a sudden you realize this is a human being. And that because it was written in first person, because there was conflict introduced, the reader is like drawn in like a movie to what is this person talking about. And, and that’s super super interesting stuff.
Christopher Smith 50:05
That is, that’s fascinating. Well, this has been incredible. I, my excitement has been fulfilled being able to meet you and talk with you. This has been absolutely amazing. Thank you again for being on the podcast. If people want to reach out and connect with you, also, let’s plug the book, where can they get your book?
David Meerman Scott 50:27
So learn how to build an audience for Turning Fans Into Customers and Customers Into Fans,” Reiko and I built a cool website at www.fanocracy.com. On that website, you’ll see some of the stories that we’ve talked about today and some other stories, a few videos on there. It’ll point to places you can buy but it’s all over. If you’re an audio book person, we read it ourselves, Reiko and I read it ourselves, which was fun, going to the studio together and doing that. On social media, most of the platforms, @DMScott, and I use my middle name Meerman professionally, so that if you were to go to Google and type in David Meerman Scott, you will get me because I’m the only person in the world with that name.
Christopher Smith 51:18
Yep, That’s smart. That’s a marketer.
David Meerman Scott 51:20
There you go. Well my name is David Scott, and there were on a lot of David Scott’s when I, when I, when I first started checking it out more than 20 years ago. So my very first website that I made more than 20 years ago, I realized I had to do something different, so I started using my middle name professionally.
Christopher Smith 51:39
I can’t do anything with Christopher Smith, I mean, its.
David Meerman Scott 51:42
That is gonna, you are, you’re not as not good. Unless you become the most famous Christopher Smith.
Christopher Smith 51:49
That’s my ambition.
David Meerman Scott 51:50
There you go.
Christopher Smith 51:51
Well thank you again for being on Sales Lead Dog. My pleasure. It’s really great to be here. Thanks so much.
As we end this discussion on Sales Lead Dog, be sure to subscribe to catch all our episodes on social media. Follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram. Watch the videos on YouTube, and you can also find our episodes on our website at Empellorcrm.com/salesleaddog. Sales Lead Dog is supported by Empellor CRM, delivering objectively better CRM for business guaranteed.
Quotes about how to build an audience
- “All humans, you and me and everybody who’s watching and listening to this, is hard-wired in our brains to be part of a tribe of like-minded people.” (11:11-11:26)
- “If you bring passion to what you do, that passion is infectious, and people are more likely to want to do business with you.” (29:33-29:41)
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If you have any question on how Empellor CRM can help you? Contact Christopher Smith
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