Media coverage? Isn’t Pipedrive sales management software?, you may ask. Well, Pipedrive is deal management software and lots of smart companies are using our tool to manage their hiring, fundraising, partnership or even media outreach pipelines, as is the case with Lesson.ly, maker of slick teaching and learning software. Lesson.ly have a well-oiled process for getting the word out, which Pipedrive is a small part of, so we had a chat with Conner Burt to find out more.
First you have to find the publications most relevant for you. Do a Google search for "top [insert topic] blogs" and/or "top [insert topic] influencers". You will be amazed at how many people out there have already done the work for you. What I typically do is find a few lists (usually "top 25" or "top 10") and find which people exist on all of them.
Then you want to prioritize them. Make a spreadsheet with their Twitter follower and blog subscriber count. (I use Feedly). Once you have your data, it's easy to rank them most to least and work your way from top to bottom, but that's not always the best. We find that people near the top are either overworked or too arrogant to help out. So, we mark the most influential for another day and proceed to reach out to those in the sweetspot of having a large enough following that they are worth reaching out to, but aren't large enough to be out of reach. The sweet spot range is different for every niche, but in general, find people who have between 5k - 30k followers on Twitter.
Getting a response is by far the most difficult part of outreach. We find two key tactics to work really well, especially when working with influencers nearing the top of the sweet spot.
1. Prove that you are worth talking to by including press you've already received. We include a link to our write up on TechCrunch and the write up on Fast Company about our partner non profit, The First Fund.
2. Follow up once per week until they respond. Keep in mind that just because they haven't responded doesn't mean they're not interested. It probably just means they're too busy. If however, they are not interested, you will at least find out for sure.
Media outreach can get pretty messy for us, especially since multiple folks are engaging various “prospects.” We quickly realized we needed a way to stay on the same page, so we started using Pipedrive.
Outreach can have a lot of back and forth, but we wanted to keep it simple, so we decided on these steps: No Contact > Contact Made > Committed > Delivered > Closed / Won. We start with No Contact so that any time someone has a new suggestion of a blog or news outlet we should be a part of, they can add it in without us actually having to contact them.
Once someone responds to our outreach, their deal record is moved to Contact Made. From there, if we have a formal commitment from the contact to push forward with a blog post or article, their deal record is moved to Committed. Once we have written a piece of content or the contact has written for us, they move to Delivered. Only when the content is published and live do we consider it closed. We’ve seen it happen many times where we’ll send content out, but it won’t be published for 2–6 weeks; Pipedrive helps us stay on top of that reality.
You can use the Products feature and deal name to improve the transparency of the pipeline. We use the outreach pipeline for both earned and owned media, because our goal is to have both of these coming from each of our outreach contacts. For those unfamiliar with the terminology, “owned media” is content that we will post on our site, but is written by someone else. “Earned media” is content that we will write, but it will be posted on someone else’s site. When using Pipedrive, we designate if the deal will be owned or earned in the deal name for quick access, but also have both as separate products to attach to each outreach deal.
It’s useful to define some custom fields too. We are constantly adding new opportunities to the outreach pipeline, so we keep it straight using the Confidence Rating custom field. The more important or influential a site is, the more stars it has. This is really helpful because we like to mix it up and contact to 2–3 high influence opportunities and 2–3 low-medium influence sifying our content portfolio.
(Note from editor: we at Pipedrive are using the “Deal value” field for the same purpose - both options help to prioritise ongoing conversations.)
We use a custom field labeled “Why?” to designate which buyer persona(s) we are targeting for that particular outreach deal. This allows us to stay on the same page about how we are going to tailor the communication and content to fit that specific persona’s needs.
We have done a lot of research to identify who we are targeting as a business and have turned it into six unique buyer personas. The ultimate goal is to use this as a guidepost for our inbound and outbound lead generation efforts. For example, we have a buyer persona named "Client Satisfaction".
Knowing this info about clients tells us what blogs they are probably reading, who they follow on social media, and provides a basis for our sales team to find specific outbound prospects using Linkedin, Salesloft, and other tools.
For one thing, the Zapier–Pipedrive integrations allow us to add organization and people records right from Google Docs. We have a series of standard person fields that we want imported into pipedrive (name, title, company, email, phone, address, etc). We populate this spreadsheet with new leads (either through manual sourcing or automatically through Salesloft. From there, every 15 minutes the "Zap" runs, and folks are automatically added.
Switching gears - please share some creative uses of Lesson.ly.
I love to talk about Datasift, because they are growing so quickly, and Lesson.ly is facilitating that growth by giving their product team an easy and affordable way to keep the Datasift team on the same page about product updates, which happen often. Traditional learning management systems—what people in the space call LMSs—aren’t suited for these fast-paced business environments. Our platform is all about usefulness and accessibility, not high-minded theory or overcomplicated workflows for the sake of appearing more valuable, while actually providing less.
Outside of the box, Lesson.ly is being used by marketing whiz Jay Baer as a digital supplement to his book. Short lessons follow chapters on various topics.
Priority #1 is to stay laser focused on disrupting the learning software space by providing a dead simple and affordable application that clients love and use. We do, however, believe that Lesson.ly will power other learning environments in the medium to long term.
We see brands and organizations better leveraging teaching opportunities. For example, every product manual should be a fun, engaging lesson. Waiting in hospitals, organizations should teach expecting mothers about their diet, or heart-unhealthy males about changing their habits. We'll see more philanthropic uses of Lesson.ly - like we do at our sister nonprofit, the First Fund - where we use the application to help educate first grade parents on college saving tactics.
In general, we think Lesson.ly will change the way people think about teaching and learning. To get there, we've got aggressive hiring plans and sales targets.
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