KBK Communications founder and CEO, Jan Beery, joined Clodagh Higgins on her podcast, Agency Life. Together they discuss topics surrounding how digital transformation is affecting the need for businesses to evolve their online sales opportunities, how marketing has evolved specifically in the medical industry, and why educating on the power of the various tools available can transform the role of marketing as a revenue-generating machine, working cohesively with sales.
Clodagh starts by asking Jan to talk about her backstory and how she got KBK started.
“I’ve been in medical manufacturing for over 25 years. I was brought over into the media when I was in Chicago and the idea was that I would help them navigate healthcare,” Jan recalls. When she started this journey she discovered that the agencies that were currently representing the industry did not understand it at all. She came to the realization that the programs they were using and their advertising budgets just didn’t make sense. After making this realization, Jan began talking to different agencies' clients and giving them new ideas to try. Jan says she did this because “the sales side of her knew that their ideas weren’t going to resonate.” After doing this for a while, a couple of physician groups reached out to Jan and asked her why doesn’t she help them? Low and behold, this is how KBK was born.
When Jan first started KBK, digital media was just beginning. To continue evolving with this new form of advertising Jan was always asking, “Then what?” If you were to go to a trade show to meet with leads, then what do you want to happen? Digital is the same. If you are driving somebody to your website, like driving them to your booth at a trade show, then what do you want to happen? You want them to take action.
Jan describes this best by saying, “you can no longer look at a company’s website as a brochure online. You have to view it as a brick-and-mortar store. We want our campaigns to bring people to our websites where customers can then take action.” Treating any website this way is the foundation of digital marketing.
“People are looking for information when, where, and how they want to find it,” Jan says. “If you think about your own behaviors, they aren't going to change just because you go to work. If you are researching a product or service you are going to do it in the same way at work you would anywhere else.” This levels the field with large companies because people are researching with questions. KBK’s job is to provide them with solutions and answers. We do this by connecting with the audience through different types of content or programs.
“Based on the last couple of years do you think the healthcare industry embraces change or are they waiting for things to get back to normal?”
“It’s a bit of a mix,” Jan starts off saying. The healthcare industry is innovative, but not very quick to evolve. Therefore, many sales reps have hung on to the old way of doing things, but the industry is evolving around them. “The industry is not going to go back,” Jan says. “The old way of selling is dead and the new way is using a CRM to reach out. There are so many tools that are providing information and intelligence that it's helping sales reps sell smarter, reach a larger audience, engage more, and serve customers better.”
One thing that is really changing the digital marketing industry is video. KBK partners with Vidyard and through this Jan was able to learn a lot about KBK’s sales process. Jan says, “We could now have a prospecting folder and other folders, I can grab different product offerings we have from our various folders, and then I can stack a video of me on top of that.” This helps us explain our processes to the client before our first meeting in one moment instead of numerous emails. We can then tie it into our CRM and then everything becomes full circle.
“And teaching companies how to do that as well” mentions Clodaugh, “like combining HubSpot, the CRM, the marketing, and the Vidyard package together. It’s a lot of opportunity to educate a whole industry, even multiple industries.”
This has caused sales and marketing to really merge together.
“Seeing marketing not only as a lead generator and working with sales, but also a revenue generator,” explains Jan. To help with the sales process, questions, strategies, plans, and confidence-boosting you have to help them understand how you use the two together. “It’s evolving us. This is also what I love about KBK because it was totally designed to help our industry,” Jan says.
At KBK we want to build our strategy as if we were somebody on the team. This allows us to see the triggers and pain points. We can help them prioritize things like their budget, internal resources, CRM, ERP, and integration. Our end goal is to build the digital sales team, and marketing is critically involved in that.
We know the industry as well as all of the nuances in the sales industry. Client’s don’t have to teach us about the medical industry sales process. This is huge because the industry is very complex, but we can hit the ground running to build out the digital strategy.
“It’s clear that you love, love, love the agency life. What would you do if one day I hypothetically came along and said Jan, hand me the keys to the agency this is no longer your job. What would you go and do?”
“I’ve thought about that a lot actually because there are a lot of things I am interested in,” Jan starts off. “I think that I would be doing something to help different companies in some capacity because I see a lot of value in that. I see so many people that started businesses by providing a solution and they had a dream. I see myself helping with something to that capacity, but I’m also an animal lover. I can see myself having more time to do something with that. I swam with manatees for the first time over Thanksgiving which was amazing! It opened my eyes up to a whole new area I love!”
“We get a lot of newbies listening to the show, they are just starting out in their first year. With someone with the range of experience and the depth of knowledge you have, what advice would you give to some agency owners out there?
Jan’s advice is, “You started this because you had a passion for something so keep following that passion and listen to your gut. If something doesn’t feel right, listen to it. There were so many times I didn’t listen and I regret it. So, if something hits your gut and it doesn’t feel right you need to listen to it. Also, niche your nice.”
Click here to listen to the full podcast.