In today’s MarTech conversation, we sat down with Will Pearlman, the head of marketing at the Tel Aviv-based MarTech startup Exceed. Pearlman discusses how he and his team have embraced their own AI software to augment their internal sales team. He also explains how great content marketing is all about responding to pain points.
Tell us about Exceed.ai
So Exceed.ai was founded in 2016. We’re made up of about 30 employees around the world. We’re primarily based here out of Tel Aviv, which is where the main office and about half the team is located, including myself.
Really the modern version of the product started in about 2018. It's an AI marketing and sales platform based on the idea that using email bots and chat bots you can actually engage and qualify more leads. We can actually interact, engage, and answer questions without actually having to get the marketer or sales teams involved.
What the goal really is, is to set those meetings for qualified opportunities, without having to have an SDR or a sales rep necessarily get involved in that process. This way, they don't have to spend time chasing leads and doing those tedious, mundane tasks—they get to spend their time actually doing what they love, which is having real conversations with qualified leads.
Of course, the chatbots and email bots can only do so much. They're not humans—they don't understand those different little tweaks. But they can pick up things in language and they can populate your CRM with important data. That way, when someone is qualified, when someone is ready to have that conversation with a human, the rep is well-informed going into the meeting. It can also disqualify a lead if someone really isn't the right fit.
Every job has stuff you have to do and AI takes away that have-to-do stuff and allows you to do what you want to do.
The thing that we look for in clients is anyone who has either a large volume of leads in their database that they want to reach out to or people who have around 100 to 200 inbound leads a month. The ideal fit is really those medium-size businesses that are really looking to scale rapidly.
What do you do in your day-to-day work as head of marketing of Exceed?
I report directly to the CEO. But as we're a startup it's kind of like everyone works for everyone—and with everyone. I work closely with our chief product officer. I have meetings with him all the time working on developing the product. I also work with our head of customer success, our head of sales, and our sales rep. We all kind of work together on everything.
I’m a marketer and any marketer’s responsibility is to generate leads and set quality meetings for your sales team. That's my goal as far as the KPIs I measure and things like that.
In marketing at Exceed, we use the standard tools that everyone does to do analytics and tracking. We have a CRM that Exceed rests on top of. Obviously, we use Exceed for our marketing. So we have all kinds of nurture flows and drips that our virtual assistants reach out on. I'm always monitoring those and working on improving those systems.
What are some of your goals and challenges at Exceed?
We’re a startup, so our goal in the short to medium term is to create more revenue opportunities and to save our customers time. Those are some of the key metrics we monitor.
I think one of the challenges, especially at a startup, is that everything's always moving so fast. So you have to figure out, “How do you prioritize?”
I think one of the things that was nice about Exceed was that it took some of that nurture stuff off our plate and lightened the load. Nevertheless, it's always a challenge to figure out how to prioritize things.
I think part of the process of prioritizing is really saying, “Where can we get the biggest wins? What's the low-hanging fruit?” You always have to look for the low-hanging fruit.
So, sometimes it's okay from a head of marketing or CMO perspective to let some things go a little bit. You can't do everything all the time, especially as a small company. So, sometimes you have to just realize that it's okay to say, “Hey, I just need to pick my battles and move on to something else” and say, “We'll take care of that on another day. We'll make a note of it. We'll leave it.” Don’t get me wrong, I have a long future task list, but there's plenty more to do today that's more important for the company.
I think one of the biggest things is just learning how to prioritize and make sure you can understand that even if you don't get to everything, it’s okay.
How does content marketing fit into your strategy?
Content is obviously key: That's how you get your name out there. That's how you bring leads in. The key to content is finding the pain points and expressing them and offering solutions.
Of course, our best leads probably aren't searching for “AI marketing.” If they are, they're not really ready for our solution; they’re probably just interested in it. So, that type of content is nice as far as brand awareness goes.
But from a content perspective, it's important to understand the difference between brand awareness versus low-funnel, high-intent content, where you're actually identifying someone's pain point.
When you identify what they need help with, then you can talk about your solution to help solve that pain point, because that's what everyone's looking for. No one’s looking for your solution. They're looking for an answer to “How do you solve my problem?”
That's the key to good content—to talk about different problems. Whether you're talking about making webinars or blogs or any other type of content generation, the way to start is to ask, “Okay, first what pain point are we addressing?” Then, “What is the solution for it?” And that can be an idea, a conversation, or, of course, a product reference.
Do you think different kinds of content are more useful for specific objectives?
Yeah, I think you definitely need a mix. I wouldn't say that there are specific types of content for specific objectives. I think the type of content you produce really depends on what you're trying to communicate.
Certain things can be expressed better through a blog. One of the keys to an effective content strategy is understanding, “Okay, whatever I'm trying to discuss, is it best to present it in a webinar or a video or a podcast or a blog?”
So, first, you identify what you want to talk about and then you think “What's the best way to present this out there?”