ActiveConversion CEO Fred Yee was recently featured on The Global Petroleum Podcast Series presented by our friends over at EnergyNow to discuss marketing in the oilfield. Hosted by energy industry veteran David Yager, the conversation was recorded live at the 2017 Global Petroleum Show. Focusing on sales and marketing in the energy sector, Fred and David discuss important sales and marketing challenges facing service providers in the energy business and discuss the practical implications of using technology to remain more competitive during downturns.
David: Well Fred, welcome to the Energy Dialogues, why don’t you tell us a little bit about your business?
Fred: I’ve been an entrepreneur for many years now, working in the technology side, but also in the sales and marketing side. It always occurred to me that it was odd that the industrial companies didn’t do much for marketing. It was always about “Oh we don’t need this” and all about word of mouth.
It’s pretty random how sales and marketing have worked for industrial companies, you have to get lucky.
David: I ran oilfield service companies for years and you are bang on the money.
Fred: When this thing called Google came around I knew it was going to change the way people did business since it is way easier to market to people who are already looking for what you do.
David: It beats putting an ad in the back of the yellow pages.
Fred: We paired that with technology that tells you who is looking and ties that together with scoring them (so you know who your best prospects are).
David: Business was what I like to call frothy (in the oil patch) since the turn of the century, its’ been great. We had a little set back in ’09, then, you-know-what hit the fan in 2015.
Fred: I hear it a lot in the oil patch, the ones who are surviving, there’s business, but it’s very competitive. A lot of guys are chasing the same piece of the pie.
David: Do you find that you have a more engaged audience than you did before (the downturn)?
Fred: They’re more engaged when we are in the process of selling to them. After they become customers, and the phone keeps ringing and the emails keep coming in, they’re just happy to let it run. It’s different from running (traditional) advertising campaigns or something like this. It’s an ongoing sort of thing.
David: Now, you still need an account rep to help keep things out of the ditch.
Fred: For ongoing customers (yes). We did have a prospect who only had 3 customers before the crash.
David: I’m guessing two of them were the wrong ones.
I ran public companies for 25 years, and that was the first question most investors asked, whether we did more than 10% of business with one customer.
Fred: Exactly. That’s another reason to have it. It’s business 101 to not have more than 5-10% of your business come from one customer.
David: Anything else we’ve missed?
Fred: Well, what I said earlier rings true. Just because word-of-mouth has worked in the past (things have changed). Get on board, invest some money in marketing that works to attract new customers, in new geographies, to get through down turns.
David: We’ll call it word-of-electron, rather than word-of-mouth.
About Fred Yee
Fred Yee is the founder and CEO of ActiveConversion, a company that makes online marketing work for industrial companies. Fred was voted as one of the 40 Most Inspiring Leaders in Sales Lead Management in 2017, and his work with ActiveConversion has helped hundreds of businesses succeed online. ActiveConversion is Fred’s third successful company, and he continues to explore the possibilities of technology in industrial sales and marketing.