There's a reason our motto is “Investing in People”. Adaptive consultants are tech savvy entrepreneurs who are trained to become industry experts to provide the best service to our clients. That's why we’re extremely selective when it comes to our team.
Google vs Amazon – 4 Differences Search Marketers Need To Know
14th December 2018
Amazon is closing the gap on Google’s paid ad dominance – what should marketers understand about differences between the two platforms? WPP’s Martin Sorrell famously described Amazon’s rise to prominence in the paid advertising arena as a challenge that keeps him awake at night – and with good reason. With an estimated 40%+ of product searches now beginning on the Amazon platform, the sway the company holds over the ecommerce sector is without parallel, and it’s no wonder that the retail giant has made improving its offering to paid advertisers a top priority in recent years. Helmed by the richest man in modern history, Amazon certainly isn’t short of resources to take the fight to established paid search heavyweight Google and their flagship Ads product. So where is the opportunity for marketers, building strategies to achieve maximum return on brand and client ad investment across an evolving landscape? Amazon vs Google – how do the platforms differ, and how does this impact ROAS? We highlight 4 key differences between the reigning champion and the intimidating challenger… 1. Funnel stage Amazon’s in-built advantage over Google is that users on the ecommerce platform are typically lower in the sales funnel, closer to making a purchase decision and often in buying mode. Google users are more likely to be conducting research or exploring options. This foundational difference is reflected in click-through and conversion rates, with studies such as Marin’s benchmarking report showing a clear lead for Amazon ads in basic metrics. Amazon’s ecommerce infrastructure is also a key balance-tipper – many users browse the platform with billing and shipping details pre-registered, Prime delivery accounts and even 1-click ordering. For advertisers paying premium rates to drive users to product pages, the additional ease of purchase feeds back into delivering maximum ROI. 2. Reviews A complexity of the Amazon platform is the inclusion of user reviews in its core algorithm. Although many new security measures have been introduced to crack down on review manipulation (in the form of discounted products or even paid incentives for users to leave positive product comments), many retailers still exploit the power of a 5-star heavy review page to ‘game’ the system wherever possible. Both an opportunity and an obstacle for marketers, the importance and prominence of the user review feature needs to be factored into any overall Amazon marketing strategy. Just as Google’s algorithm changes have fought to provide users with genuinely helpful content and eliminate out-dated SEO link-building shortcuts, so Amazon will continue to focus on promoting products their user base endorses. 3. Redirection Where Google Ads typically redirect users to other sites, a fundamental platform difference is that Amazon advertising keeps users within the Amazon site. This gives Amazon marketers multiple opportunities to impact buyer behavior, with a range of tools and products available to deploy at different moments (brand ads, sponsored products, display ads, video ads, stores etc.). Amazon’s own suggestion engine also feeds into the mix, with “customers also bought” and “compare with similar items” features offering further product promotion opportunities. Where a Google ad can ultimately end in a terminated session if the user decides not to purchase a product, Amazon retains shoppers within the core platform, where marketers can use a comprehensive strategy to have a second (or even third) shot at securing a sale. 4. Data Although much has been made of the dizzying array of data held by Google on its product users, Amazon’s user information is more uniquely concentrated in the e-commerce field. Via its maps, search, mail and other products, Google may well know more about general human behaviour than any company past or present. Amazon, however, possesses a treasure trove of data exclusive to online shopping. Not only monitoring which products have been viewed and bought, Amazon also knows what has been added to wishlists, which reviews are read, how those reviews impact purchasing decisions… as well as understanding which products are returned, re-purchased or bought as gifts. The sheer volume of pure purchase-related information gives Amazon a current and future advantage to refine its offering to marketers and continue targeting greater ROAS for its growing user base. *** Looking for Paid Search career opportunities? Adaptive Digital recruits across Europe and the USA for digital marketing and ecommerce professionals, filling roles with brands & agencies in more than 20 countries. To view Adaptive Digital’s full range of open jobs, click here.Read more
Does Personal Brand Matter In SaaS Sales?
14th December 2018
What does personal brand mean, how do you build one… and do you need it to sell software? The idea of ‘personal branding’ doesn’t seem to fit naturally into the software sales space at first. Personal branding for, say, a life coach? Sure. Life coaches are what they sell, so it stands to reason that they work hard on building their own reputation as much as that of the service they offer. Software sales rep? Perhaps not so obvious. Sales reps concentrate on promoting an existing brand – that of the software manufacturer whose product they’re representing. Why would they need – or want – a brand of their own? And yet some of the world’s greatest brands (many of them in tech) are closely linked to the reputations of the key individuals who are behind their success. Apple had Steve Jobs, Microsoft and Bill Gates are inextricable for many, and the visionary leadership of Jeff Bezos continues to push Amazon to new heights. In these high-profile instances, personal brand and corporate success intertwined to create an enhanced reputation and ultimately drive spectacular results. In the era of social selling, can sales reps learn from this marriage of personal and commercial brand-building pioneered by entrepreneurs, and what benefits can it bring? What is a ‘personal brand’? It can be helpful to start by clarifying what personal brand is not. Despite the efforts of many would-be internet entrepreneurs, a personal brand is not about working meticulously to create a public-facing image which is at odds with a concealed reality. Instead, personal branding is about taking action to ensure that your passions, values and experiences are clearly and authentically communicated to an audience – ideally a targeted audience that moves within your commercial field and will derive value from being included in your network. In it’s simplest form, personal brand is how others see us. While sales reps may work for someone else’s organization, represent a product they didn’t build, or earn a living by selling a solution they didn’t design, each person is an individual with a unique trajectory and set of experiences. Throughout their careers, sales reps (while following a broadly similar career pattern): Help different customers in different markets Encounter and solve different commercial challenges Read, analyze and react to different news sources Network with different peers, managers and out-of-industry contacts Attend and learn from different events, conferences and trainings Develop different methodologies, approaches and values The sum of these factors – plus many others – creates a unique profile. If the prominent characteristics of this profile can be accurately and regularly shared with a relevant community, the result is the development of a personal brand. How does it help? The way we develop our professional personas can have a direct impact on our ability to exert influence, attract opportunity and ultimately drive sales. An easy way to understand personal brand in action is to take a moment to think about the people we would turn to in our personal lives for guidance or advice. They often have a lot in common with one another. They’re usually people we trust, people with integrity, experienced in the field in which we’re asking for assistance, and – if they’re outside of our immediate circle – people we’ve heard positive things about from our own close contacts. Personal brand in business replicates this pattern, and helps professionals in all disciplines to establish a reputation in their domain which draws business and opportunity towards them. That reputation can differ greatly from one individual to the next. One person’s personal brand may be anchored in work ethic, another’s in innovation. Someone else may build their brand around thought leadership within a niche field. Whatever the foundation, personal brand provides people with a platform from which to communicate with an engaged audience – ultimately creating the opportunity to impart advice, generate discussion, facilitate introductions, share content or recommend a purchase. How do you build your brand? Although the power of personal brand lies in its authenticity, it does require careful definition in order to be consistently communicated. As with any brand, this exercise involves some fundamental categorization: Your audience Who is it that you help, what is the market sector in which you hope to attract a following and develop a reputation? Your value What core problem do you solve, and what value does your network and audience derive from their connection to you? Your authority What is your credibility founded on, what is your experience and what have you accomplished? Your identity What’s your story, what are you passionate about, and how does this fit your brand narrative? Defining and brand and inventing a brand are not the same thing. Where inventing implies plucking a set of values from thin air in order to create a desired (and unsubstantiated) veneer, definition means working out what’s at the heart of your professional identity and making sure brand-building activities are aligned with this. *** Once you’ve defined your personal brand, it’s time to put yourself out there and engage with your audience. Opportunities to develop brand identity are all around, as long as activity supports brand objectives by sharing relevant value with a target audience. Common steps to build personal brand include: Twitter LinkedIn (articles, vlogs, groups and thread discussions) Podcasts (personal and guest participation) YouTube channels (explainer videos, Q&As, tutorials, reviews) Webinars Blogs (corporate blogs, Medium articles, industry publication guest blogging) Meetups and networking events (hosting, organizing and attending) Conference and event participation (panel moderation, roundtable participation, keynote speaking) Whether it’s solving a specific business problem, reposting an article or patting yourself on the back by sharing positive customer feedback, there are abundant opportunities to connect your daily professional experience with your target audience in a way that creates value for them while strengthening your persona. Telling stories, teaching and entertaining all help to reflect your values and interests. Build the right connections with the right people, and the rewards will soon follow. *** Adaptive Tech recruits on behalf of high-growth SaaS vendors, filling roles at all levels including SDR, CSM, AE, Sales Engineering, VP and more. You can check out Adaptive Tech's SaaS sales vacancies in our job listings here.Read more
Six Game-changing Interview Questions to Ask
7th December 2018
The questions you ask during interview play a key role in the impression you make on a prospective employer – choose wisely... Even at the most innovative companies, interviews can follow a predictable pattern. When the interviewer is comfortable that they’ve completed their assessment of you, a familiar question rolls around: “Do you have any questions for us?” What you choose to ask can have a greater impact than you might suspect. If you produce the same questions as everyone else (“What do you like most about your job?”, “What does your ideal candidate look like?”), you might learn some valuable information, but you can’t expect to be stand out for your innovation or make yourself memorable to the interviewer. If you ask something more thought-provoking, however, you can not only set yourself apart from the competition but take the conversation into unexplored territory which the interviewer has not talked about with other applicants. Your conversation becomes memorable, and you have a chance to score points not available to other candidates by discussing things they don’t discuss. Having a selection of insightful, business-focused questions ready can help you distinguish yourself from the crowd and create a unique exchange with the interviewer. Here are 6 examples and why they work: 1. What short-term opportunities do you see for the team to improve results? Asking this shows that you’re focused on coming into the role to make an impact. You move away from typical interview generalities (candidate experience, desired skills etc.) to focus on tangible results and what actions can be taken to deliver better outcomes. At the end of the day, this is what the interviewer needs most on their team – no amount of experience or ability matters unless it’s applied to make a difference. Making the question about team rather than the individual role can also reassure the interviewer that you understand your function as being part of a wider collaborative effort. 2. What’s the best investment the team has made? This question demonstrates an appreciation of budget and resources, understanding that team results are shaped by the resources at their disposition. Linking work outcomes to the investment and platform provided by the company reveals an ability to think about team performance from a more strategic angle, showing the interviewer that you have the capacity to think beyond the immediate confines of your personal role. It also gives the interviewer an opportunity to talk about positive aspects of the team you’ll be joining - if they are the hiring manager then they may well have been responsible for the investment they choose as their answer. 3. How do you see the team in 3 years’ time? Asking questions with a time horizon creates confidence that you are thinking about your position in the long term, and expect to be part of that team after 3 years. The question implies a level of ambition, probing on opportunities that may be created as the team expands. It also invites the interviewer to talk about their own growth goals, and to share the plans they have for developing the group. You then have the opportunity to ensure that your interview performance and responses synch with these objectives. 4. Are there trends you’re worried you’re not keeping pace with? This shows that you view your role in a commercial context, and don’t expect anything outside your job description to be someone else’s problem. Rather than be a passive member of the team, you are aware of threats and challenges in business and assume shared responsibility for overcoming these together with your manager and colleagues. Raising the issue of trends also takes the conversation into a wider reflection on industry news and developments, where you can have a chance to showcase your expertise and share your opinions of where things are headed. 5. What will be the next big investment the team will make? Probing around future change to the team illustrates a potential to think big as well as small. In addition to joining the team to excel in your assigned function, you’re also interested in the roadmap for the team’s evolution. Are there any big changes coming up? What tools, infrastructure or additional talent would help the team’s performance move to the next level? You demonstrate a collaborative mindset, focus on team success and excitement for the future. 6. What are you most proud of about the team? By inviting the interviewer to talk about what they’re proud of, you switch the conversation onto their own career and contribution, which inevitably generates a positive vibe in the discussion. Putting them and what they’re proud of in the spotlight helps show that you’re aware of your manager’s own career, and creates an opportunity for you to make clear that you will be an asset to their personal development and ambitions – joining the team to give, to support and not simply to follow instructions. *** Ready to explore new digital marketing career opportunities? Adaptive Digital recruits across Europe and the USA for digital marketing and ecommerce professionals, filling roles with brands & agencies in more than 20 countries. To view Adaptive Digital’s full range of open jobs, click here.Read more
8 Powerful SaaS Sales LinkedIn Profile Tips
7th December 2018
Money-maker or deal-breaker – is your LinkedIn profile optimized to help you sell? A busy sales rep’s LinkedIn profile gets views from hundreds of people for hundreds of different reasons, reaching far beyond direct prospects checking them out online. Every post, comment, like or share reverberates through the online community of 500m+ members, and building a powerful profile that pro-actively contributes to pushing new and existing prospects along the sales funnel can be an investment worth many thousands of dollars in its cumulative impact. Looking to turn your LinkedIn profile from a static bio into a lead-gen engine? Here are the essentials: 1. Photo OK, let’s get through this one fast - LinkedIn profile photos have the simple purpose of presenting you as an approachable professional. You might be amazed that this point even makes our list, but… let’s just say that there are some wide-ranging interpretations out there of what this concept might mean. Remember, the function of your photo is to help bridge the gap that exists from not meeting your customer in person. So, if your picture shows you cropped out from a blurry wedding group photo, behind reflective ski goggles or zoomed out to 1,000 yards on top of a mountain peak, you’re creating a needless barrier that can be solved with a neutral background and a cell phone camera. Easy fix. 2. Banner image Your profile’s banner image is freely available advertising space – why not make use of it? As a minimum, it should represent your brand for top-of-mind awareness – ideally with your company’s tagline. At best, have your marketing team create a banner image that delivers an elevator pitch of your offering, compelling headline sales data, an engaging screen capture or a client quote. What’s likely to move prospects down the funnel faster – a generic cityscape backdrop or a powerful customer testimonial? 3. Headline LinkedIn offers you the chance to customize your ‘headline’. This is not the same as your current job title – it’s what sits at the top of your profile, and what people will see when you pop up in their news feeds. To get the most out of it, tell people about the results you create, not your job function. Who’s going to get a foot in the door faster with target prospects in the video adtech space? 'Account Executive' or 'Helping marketers improve ROI on video ad spend' Quick hint – it’s best not to go overboard here. Remember to keep it intelligible and relevant. You’ll see plenty of quirky and well-intentioned headlines that actually confuse more than they help, e.g. "Delighting customers with awesome user experiences" OK... so what do you do? 4. Summary Your summary sits right under your photo and is the centrepiece of your profile. This is your chance to promote your solution - not yourself. As well as an engaging overview of your product and how it helps customers, remember you can drive prospects to even more compelling sales materials – product overview videos, customer testimonials etc. Use specific page links - don’t make prospects work to find good information about your offering. If you want to frame your solution with some context about the company behind your product, try and keep it concise. A deluge of stats about growth, investment, awards etc. can obstruct your key message – the problem you solve for your customers. 5. Activity This is where prospects can see what you’re up to on the LinkedIn platform. If you’re a real solutions expert in a niche community, that should shine through – what do you like, what do you share? What do you comment on, what do you say? Who do you engage with? Details like this can be the difference between prospects returning calls or answering emails… if they look for evidence that you’re engaged with your community but your profile is a ghost town – you have to work that much harder. 6. Experience When top sales reps summarize their experience, they find a way to intertwine their experience with results they’ve achieved for their customers. You can still showcase your personal performance, but take a look at the difference below: 'Exceeded sales quota by 15% for 3x consecutive years' vs 'Exceeded sales quota by 15% for the 3x consecutive years, helping over 120 accounting firms save an average of 30% on payroll processing costs' 7. Media Attaching media to your profile (in the form of flyers, product overviews, data sheets etc.) is a chance to get any visitor who lands on your profile to explore your product. It often takes weeks of emails, calls, voicemails and old-school prospecting to get a chance to show a prospect the highlights of your solution – why miss the chance if they’re on your profile, ready to learn? Just make sure it’s up to date, and work with marketing to ensure content is evergreen. Outdated market reports, product releases or company news weaken your relevance and can do more harm than good. 8. Recommendations While you’re not in control of any unsolicited recommendations graciously bestowed by benevolent co-workers or customers, it’s common practice for mutually respecting peers or business associates to request recommendations to round out their profile. If you do pro-actively seek recommendations (plenty of people do), it’s worth asking if connections can reference your business impact as well as your personal qualities. Again, the difference can be powerful: 'Helen was a pleasure to work with - responsive and professional' vs 'Helen was a pleasure to work with - responsive, professional, and helped us dramatically reduce the amount of time we spent finding key data across our organization.' *** Adaptive Tech recruits on behalf of high-growth SaaS vendors, filling roles at all levels including SDR, CSM, AE, Sales Engineering, VP and more. You can check out Adaptive Tech's SaaS sales vacancies in our job listings here.Read more