Fred Yee, CEO of ActiveConversion, was a recent guest on the TechnologyAdvice Expert Interview Series. The series, which is hosted by TechnologyAdvice’s Josh Bland, explores a variety of business and technology landscapes through conversations with industry leaders.
In this episode, we discuss everything from CRM integration to data and analytics for marketers, as well as best practices for lead conversion.
Below are a few highlights from our conversation:
TechnologyAdvice: What are some of the bigger trends that excite you and that you want to further integrate with ActiveConversion?
Fred Yee: Things like what we’re doing now — audiocast, podcast, webinar. When you offer something for people to learn from, that’s great for attracting contacts, people will sign up for that. They’ll sign up for content marketing, even though it’s really been around for ten years.
It’s really starting to hit its stride because people understand how important that is. I’m speaking primarily from a B2B standpoint and probably B2B industrial type lens at this point. So they may be a little bit further back on the curve, but I also think it’s the bulk of the curve.
TA: How important is data and analytics in marketing?
Yee: I think management, senior management in particular, knows that analytics exist. If you go into a B2C company boardroom, you’ll get asked ”What did the analytics say?” all the time. They get it, it’s a non-issue to ask for it and it should just always be there. B2B, it’s still: “Well, I know how many visitors come to our website, what else do I need to know?” Because they really haven’t grasped how to actually use that information and combine it with sales intelligence to close more deals.
That’s how we actually got started. We even had a predecessor product to ActiveConversion called ActiveMeter, which was almost like what Google Analytics is today. Obviously, not as full featured, but we used to have 40,000 users of it. It’s a free analytics service and literally I could say everybody and their dog would use it or something like it. But today, it’s definitely become more mainstream.
TA: What are some of the biggest challenges in marketing automation?
Yee: The biggest challenge customers face is proving it to their management, and it’s a bit of a Catch-22. First, you need something to track it, so that’s where the analytics and the marketing automation software comes into play. And the other side is they need to know how to harness online traffic to get people to their websites and to their landing pages and to their ads, to have something to track. So again, as simple as that sounds, unless people see proof, they’re not willing to fund that sort of thing.
TA: How important is having CRM integration for something like marketing automation?
Yee: It is very important, which is why we have Salesforce and Pipedrive integration. But we find it’s also based on whether or not that company is using a CRM, and it tends to still be larger or more sophisticated companies that use CRMs, as funny as that sounds. Because I think I read somewhere, not that long ago, that for most people, literally sixty to seventy percent of the CRMs out there are called Outlook.
They’re just using their own personal database so to speak. CRMs are still fairly difficult to implement for a lot of people, because it’s like implementing an accounting system. There’s probably as many fails as there are wins. But again, getting it back into perspective, it is important. But we find a lot of customers don’t have CRMs or don’t have ones where they can be easily tied in to products like ActiveConversion.
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About Josh Bland
Josh Bland is a digital media specialist for TechnologyAdvice in Nashfille, Tenessee. He leads the charge on podcast and video strategy, and has interviewed individuals from Google, Microsoft, Box, Salesforce, and other leading influences worldwide.