Have you ever wondered what competing digital marketers are pitching to your customers? We sat in on an actual sales presentation made by Yodle to a local merchant. Yodle is a top digital marketing company that claims to have 40,000 local merchant customers. Below is a recap of the go-to-market sales pitch, followed by an analysis of competitive strengths and weaknesses.
1. A brief needs analysis uncovers key objectives.
2. A series of slides shows the size and importance of Yodle to local search, including its major partners, large customers and BBB ratings:
The rep explains that Yodle is the largest company at what they do, and the #1 independent provider of digital marketing services to local businesses in the country.
3. The importance of mobile platforms. The sales rep walks through the next few slides on mobile, explaining that 83% of mobile searches result in a purchase within 24 hours, and that Yodle has a multi-screen solution, so that in the all-screen world, the customer will be set up with all screen-friendly websites. The rep claims that nobody else can do this and lists key platforms as mobile, tablet, PC and TV.
4. "Adversites" versus websites. The next part of the presentation covers Adversites, with the claim that these pages convert leads at a rate three times higher than a normal web site.
The rep then shows several screenshots of Adversites created for similar service providers.
The rep shows the difference between a mobile search result on a site that is not mobile ready versus a mobilized Adversite with click-to-call:
5. Organic versus paid search is explained:
6. Dashboard results are shown. A slide (missing here) also states that the customer would have a presence on 48 search engines, 31 branded web sites and 26 branded apps. The presentation does not clearly explain how.
The rep talks about how the company consistently monitors and adapts campaigns using dashboard monitoring. Here's the call tracking slide:
The dashboard also maps calls and emails:
7. Text ads as an option. The rep says that the company knows the top performing ads and shows a slide of text ads for a related category.
8. A slide shows a long list of key words identified for their category.
The rep promises that the company will recieve 1000 key words in their category.
9. Onboarding. An onboarding slide prompts the rep to show what will happen, that the company can be registered now, recieve a set up call from an account manager and begin recieving calls in 24 to 48 hours. At four weeks they get a review call, in 60 days they should see results increasing and the best response will be at the 90 day mark.
10. Pricing. The rep says there are discounts and packages that can can fit any number, from $500 to $5000, literally, hundreds or thousands. If the customer can tell them how many customers they need, the rep will suggest a range to correspond with that level of customers.
For the specific category, the rep suggested that for $500 to $800 the customer would probably receive 100 calls over three months, based on estimates from other companies in the same category, though not in the same city. The rep and customer both agreed this could yield ten new appointments.
Here's a list of real objections and quesitons from the customer with the responses:
Asked about who will ultimately handle the account the rep says that the good thing is that the rep is just the first contact and that the customer will have their own account manager.
Asked whether the Yodle will build the customer a site, the rep said that Yodle will not build the client their own web site, but that the Adversite can be used as a web site, and for an additional fee, the client can point their URL to the Adversite. The reason given is that everything Yodle does is quantifiable; if Yodle does not build the customer's own web site to the customer's own specifications, they cannot be accountable for their commitment to results.
Asked about claiming and writing profiles on other niche directories, the rep says Yodle will not do that.
Asked by the customer what happens if they do not get the requisite number of appointments, the rep responds that that would be a huge problem for Yodle since the contract minimum is only 90 days and that they could have estimated a much higher number of calls if they wanted the sale instead of showing realistic results.
The reps asks what the next step will be, and sets up another appointment.
Our take on the strengths and weaknesses
The customer liked the Yodle web site showing real time calls taking place via the platform to merchants around the country, their credibility as the #1 digital marketer to local businesses and Google Premium Partner status.
Turn-key packaging that tracks calls and emails with estimates of calls for the category with a specific price range.
The promise to begin delivering phone calls in 24 to 48 hours, ie instant gratification.
Adversites acting as a conversion page and helping with SEO, eliminate customer's need to get involved with readdressing their own site. Promise of turnkey performance.
The key slide setting up expectations helped clarify the process: The clearly stated 24 hours, 60 days and 90 days out, was a great prompt for a conversation about the length of the buy and how long it takes for the search engines to respond.
Flexible pricing to "match any budget."
90 day contracts do not require a long commitment.
Presentation sounded slightly canned. There is too much frontloading of information about the Yodle and its product offerings rather than about the customer. A true consultative sale would have an advantage.
No information given about on the local situation "on the ground" for the merchant category in their city. Text ads shown in the category were from a different state. Adversites were of a similar, not identical category. A company that shows local search results for best key words or unique key word strategies for the customer's additional obectives would gain an advantage.
Yodle services are limited. A company that could solve basic problems such as building their own web site or updating profiles in the top vertical directories that affect their industry locally would have an advantage.
No discussion around Google maps, where the customer, in this case. did not show up.
Wordpress sites are free, whereas the client will need to continue to pay to use Adversites.
The product offering is blurry. The sales rep on this call did not give a clear definition of what an Adversite is - whether they would be placed in one or multiple sites, or whether the packages included AdWords and how much. No explanation of what the 1,000 key words would be used for. A company that educated and explained products would have an advantage.
There was no evidence given that Aversites will ever show up on page one of an organic search for a competitive category where currently only one to two local business sites show up. No presentation of Adversites in any page one category, including the customer's, anywhere in the country. A company that showed success stories for the local category would have an advantage.
The call-tracking numbers are not the clients phone number. Google prefers/ranks companies that use a consistent phone number. Using a call-tracker such as Trumeasure that allows the customer to keep their own number via mirror-site technology would pose a competitive advantage.
The hand-off of the customer to a different account manager sounded dismissive. "We work as a team" may be a more successful approach.
Post-call Google search on Yodle yielded bad reviews.
Promotions is limited to AdWords. A company which offers more options would have an advantage.
The author, Alisa Cromer is publisher of a variety of online media, including LocalMediaInsider and MediaExecsTech, developed while on a fellowship with the Reynolds Journalism Institute and which has evolved into a leading marketing company for media technology start-ups. In 2017 she founded Worldstir.com, an online magazine, to showcases perspectives from around the world on new topic each month, translated from and to the top five languages in the world.