Episode 20- We speak with Liudmila Kiseleva CEO at Rampiq a Digital Marketing Agency for B2B/B2C SaaS and IT Businesses.
Liudmila talks about her journey over the last 17 Years in the Marketing space and how data driven analytics are critical to Marketing and Sales success in the B2B SaaS Space. She highlights how defining outcomes through data analytics vs. traditional Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL) vs. Sales Qualified Leads (SQL) models that hold both Sales and Marketing at a standstill in many SaaS businesses.
Learn how RampIQ's approach is winning accolades and results with their data driven approach to better marketing spend analysis, quantifiable results and better business outcomes related to sales and marketing investments.
Rampiq is a high-performing digital marketing agency focused on mining meaningful data insights, and applying these insights to maximizing online marketing investment. From detailed research and promotion strategy planning to meticulous execution, Rampiq is a dream team of online marketers ready to drive online campaign success, at scale. The Rampiq team is made up of over 20 uber-talented digital marketing consultants specializing in PPC, SEO, content marketing, and analytics.
Industry-wise, Rampiq puts a special focus on B2B IT & SaaS businesses, helping them reach alignment between their sales and marketing teams and drive revenue growth.
This podcast is sponsored by OMI. The company that makes CRM work. My guest today is Liudmila Kiseleva, who is the CEO of RampIQ. Liudmila, I would love to just start by asking you, you're just telling me about your personal past you were born in Belarus and grew up in Russia. I think I have that right. And you've lived in a bunch of countries. How did you get here? Living outside Washington DC running RampIQ.Liudmila Kiseleva:
<laugh> actually, I was born in Russia, but got itPlay the King:
Backwards.<laugh><laugh> there we go.Liudmila Kiseleva:
I came to the United States four years ago for the combination of business and professional reasons. But first and foremost, I came here to get my third master's degree. I actually have three, the first one is in international law. The second one is in digital marketing from the university of East London. So that brought me to London for a couple years. The third one is from the American university here in Washington, DC. And this is MS Analytics. So I decided to leverage my professional knowledge with some academics background in the area that I love, that's marketing and data. And this is what actually brought me here.Play the King:
Got it. And, and take me through the journey to what you do now with RampIQ. I mean, because it feels like a very modern business. Something that is very applicable right in 2022. I imagine you've been part of this world for a while and, something brought you here.Liudmila Kiseleva:
I've been in the industry and in the online marketing industry for more than 17 years now, RampIQ is the third generation and combination of the digital marketing agencies that I owned. So we are a full cycle, digital marketing agency and we worked with B2B, SaaS and IT companies, and we support our clients with the marketing strategy planning, lead generation planning and of course execution. So we provide services like niche analysis, competitive research, web analytics, SEO, paid Adds and content marketing. So we h ave pretty much full cycle when it comes to digital marketing needs o f like a B2B or a SaaS company.Play the King:
Gotcha. And so take me through how a company comes to RampIQ, what are they telling you? They need help with.Liudmila Kiseleva:
This is interesting because, I've been around for a while, I saw how the, um, intent and the potential to connect, my c lients, n eeds changed over time. So first we were hired just to do the job, like run a search engine optimization campaign for a website or launch a seasonal P PC ads for, for a particular business. But now the ne ed e volved to be m ore like the request for a dedicated really professional online marketing team. So most often we ac t a s a d edicated online marketing department for our clients where we substitute or facilitate. It r eally depends on the size of the business. The online marketing expertise we put together the team of professionals and we act like, you know, li ke a s a s e al t eam on the project, an d we delivered the results that a single person possibly could no t d eliver for the business anymore. What I mean here is that the industry evolved so much. So o ne person just cannot know at all, one person cannot be an expert in SEO and content marketing and pa id a ds and web analytics and be l ike a S wiss army knife for the business anymore. It's j ust too complex.Play the King:
That's, that's really interesting. And so just personally, is there one of these, one of these disciplines that you really love the most or<laugh>? Are you, are you agnostic?Liudmila Kiseleva:
<laugh> I still, like, I can flatter in myself, but I can be like an old version, but still Swiss army knife. I still can do most of the things like hands on. I do work with the clients directly, especially for, with the kinda onboarding and the larger accounts, sometimes, but I believe that the best way to work now is still to have, a few people on the project who know what they're doing in their particular areas. So this is how, we actually form the teams. The project teams, we have the customer success manager and this is the person who understands the business goals. We have the professionals working closely with him or with her to deliver specific tasks. We keep it under one roof, we keep it under the roof of customer success. And this is one of the initiatives that worked really great, both for the clients and for the team we introduced it early this year.Play the King:
Okay, great. And then give me some examples of clients that you have. I don't know if you're allowed to tell me some, some names, what kind of companies are they, what business, what industries are they in?Liudmila Kiseleva:
Yeah, I hope, Brad doesn't mind,<laugh> me sharing the OMI is our client for many years. We work with SaaS companies and IT companies and one of the most recent parts of like patterns that we share that we saw in our client portfolio is the B2B SaaS. We can also work with B2C SaaS, too. This is where our specialty is, and this is where we would like to grow ourselves.Play the King:
Can you tell me what it has been like for over the past? Say, I don't know, six, seven years, maybe five, six years where it felt like SaaS companies were just sort of taking over the whole world and now where, you know, there's like there's talk of recession, there are fears of this downturn and things look a little different. How are companies operating what were your engagements like during the really, really good times? And now how are they shaping up now that things seem a little tinierLiudmila Kiseleva:
Typically as any other marketing costs. This is something that we saw on our agency part. We have a lot of clients ordering more and more services over time, and then suddenly they either drop off or start cutting costs like crazy. That's typical. That's not the first crisis or not the first recession that I'm facing. This one is a little bit different with the speed, how people take decisions. So unfortunately, we saw like a rapid shift in changes in the contracts that we are currently managing, but it's not about the performance of my team. It's more about the product market field. And, you know, like this is probably relates more to the customers of our customers, so that instability starts to affect them harder and it hits them. The first costs that usually people kind of cut down is either the ads spend and then marketing spend or simultaneously two of those.Play the King:
Gotcha. And, and so what have you guys been doing to sort of support your clients as they try to navigate this?Liudmila Kiseleva:
We are pretty much data driven as a company, so we don't just run campaigns and look at the webinar analytics metrics and stuff like that. Of course we do take in that into account, but what we tend to do with the B2B SaaS companies, we heavily rely on, we heavily use the CRM data. So we designed an approach where we started to help the sales and companies to look at their CRM data in a slightly different way. We call it advanced sales, marketing metrics. I even recorded the series of videos about it. So we try to employ data to avoid panic mode, decisions and make sure that the CEOs and the executive team and the sales team and the marketing team of the business do look at their leads in a particular way. So we use CRM data to drive decisions. Let's say like, hypothetically, we have an average size sales company, we have the CEO, we have the marketing department and we have the sales department. Of course there is kind of marketing and budget spent. So we have a typical set of metrics everybody looks at. But, when we look a little bit deeper to the data that a SaaS business typically has, we can notice the metrics, for example, like disqualification rate. So everybody looks at SQLs, right? Sales qualification leads(SQL) and the rates. But, rarely people look at disqualification rate, this is how much you lose. This is how much you win. This is how much you lose mm-hmm<affirmative> mm-hmm<affirmative>. And this is one of the ways to quickly identify where the business is bleeding, where you put the budget that like you should, you should not be doing that because like, if you just look at the cost per lead cost per requisition, it will give you some information about how much you're paying per lead. But if you look at the disqualification rate, it immediately kind of switches you to the mode where, Hey, here, I'm losing money. This is exactly what I'm losing money. So this is pretty much effective. Not too many businesses do that. And this is a perfect KPI for the marketing team. And this is the perfect KPI for the channel performance. For example, if you are a specific campaign within your paid ads is driving your disqualification rate through the roof, you should not be spending too much there. You should be looking for the ways where you can get better performance,Play the King:
Right? Yeah. That makes sense. And so on the RampIQ website, you divide things up by size of the business and what the business focuses on. You have everything from startups to SaaS companies. So I wonder how are these approaches different for various companies? Like I know that's a very broad,<laugh>, that's a very broad question. Maybe you could focus onSaaS companies and talk to me about like the biggest obstacles they face and how you guys approach that.Liudmila Kiseleva:
Actually, this is where we came to the conclusion that the company size does not really matter because, the data, is pretty much the same. It's only the volume of the data that you're dealing with, but not the data itself and the metrics themselves. So for example, take the cost per demo. When SaaS companies run demos, they have a metric which is cost per demo. That is going to be universal regardless the size of the company, you will have a certain cost attached to the demo. This is where the data driven or like advanced metrics driven approach really works because it helps to solve a really important problem. It aligns the marketing and sales team. Basically what we try to help sales businesses with is to not just have the, just sales in just marketing, but have like the growth department, growthteam. We do it through CRM data as well.Play the King:
And so, talk to me about for SaaS companies, What are some obstacles you see, how do you help companies, get past them or overcome them?Liudmila Kiseleva:
One of the biggest concerns that we hear over and over and over from Saas CEOs that we work with is the never ending conflict between the sales and marketing department. Hmm. I guess like sales are saying like, Hey, we don't have enough. Good leads. And marketing will be like, Hey, we've just sent you like a ton of leads, but you're not closing or you are not even kinda looking at them. So, one of the CEOs I talked to recently told me, Hey, they fight all the time.<laugh> this is where like maybe couple of years ago, like five, seven years ago, we were hired, as I said, to do like really specific tasks, just to run the pains, help the content marketing launch, the seasonal offering support. Now, they need more in the building, the growth teams that will help CEOs to align the companies. They did the teams within their company, within their organization. This is where the proper analytics systems become really helpful. So what you do and what we do before we even start any kind of marketing recommendations, what to do with your SEO, which keywords to target, or how much do I spend on Google ads? We can't answer those questions, but our answers will be so much better if we look at the leads quality by source and spend some time with sales and marketing team, trying to understand the pitfalls. And usually what we see is a businesses do not have the proper analytics systems in place. They collect some data, but they don't use it as a system. This is where, uh, we can help integrate the web analytics, all the digital marketing data with CRM data. And it works so much better. We typically have a lot of insights straight away. This is what we do. First hand, we set up the analytic system. The second thing that we do, we try to see if the teams, or like the people within the SaaS company, or within the sales organization, if they are on the same page in terms of the CRM statuses. So do they call the same things, but the same names, usually they don't,<laugh> usually the definition of a good lead. Like if for the sales accepted, lead sales, qualified, lead marketing, qualified, lead, and everything, and then is think that they haven't seen people just don't know how to, how to read this data. And how can you make decisions if you just don't don't call same things by the same name, you are lost!Play the King:
Yeah, of course.<laugh> I can see why the data comes in so handy within these departments are squabbling. Like, oh, you didn't send this leads. Well, here they are. We we're gonna show'em to you.<laugh>.Liudmila Kiseleva:
Yeah. This is where we where we have an alignment session in place where we hear like, uh, okay, sales, what is SQL for you? They tell us, and then we say marketing, does it relate to you? They say, mm, yeah. Maybe yes, no. And, and, and then we, we develop some kind of like a glossary or at least like fixed set of statuses and say like, okay, so now we call those leads. Like, MTLS this sales accepted leads, so on and so forth. And only then we, can start looking into marketing budgets the channels and do the actual implementation because then we can s hout to the sales floor. Hey, we generated five SQLs. U m, yesterday how's the quality. How do you see those leads? Is it relevant? So what we do as a consultant before we start doing actual marketing work, w e try to see how we can align, both sales and marketing t eams t hrough data, through their own CRM data, not anything external, something that we invented, n o, uh, something that they a lready h ave in the business, but don't use but pro-actively as a tool to help them be o n the same page. We noticed in one of the most recent projects we worked with, t hat the sales cycle l inks was over 180 days. This is how poorly the sales cycle was designed. And, uh, w hen we sent them a bunch of really good leads, uh, our message to their k ind executive team was if you keep your sales cycle the same length, like 1 80 days, a nd you will have to wait at least half a year before you see those leads working. So our suggestion would be to see if we can customize t he w orkflow or see what we can do to speed up the s ales cycle. We can continue sending you those kind of marketing qualified leads and spend your budgets over and over. But, o ur recommendation would be actually to align the teams together and see how you can get the value. So this is the kind of feedback that their CEO was really happy to hear. Although she was really surprised to see, t he real,< laugh> l engths of those of the sales cycle s tages.Play the King:
<laugh> I can sympathize with that feeling of shock, and I'm glad I know this finally<laugh>, you know?Liudmila Kiseleva:
Yeah. Wow. This is the results evaluation culture, right? It's not just the markting, it's not just the sales it's how you look at your data together. If you set up the cadence of meetings and you look just at the numbers all the time, you know, people conflicts team conflicts, it does not just go away, but they fade away a little bit and everybody becomes more productive and more aligned.Play the King:
Yeah. You're not just marketing, you're also, uh, like a therapy session for the businessLiudmila Kiseleva:
<laugh> yeah. They can find in the talk, right.<laugh> and they can, they can talk to data, numbers don't lie or if they do, why they don't do it so often as people. So, data alignment is a very cool thing.Play the King:
Liudmila, This has been really fascinating. I wonder if you could tell our audience where they can find more about RampIQ and how to get in touch with you.Liudmila Kiseleva:
Sure. Our website is very simple RampIQ.agency, and you can always connect with me on LinkedIn. My last name is pretty much unique and you'll definitely find me.Play the King:
It will be in the show notes. I'm sure people will come out and reach out and thank you for your time today. And I appreciate the conversation.Liudmila Kiseleva:
Thank you. That was a great pleasure. Thank you so much.