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Reducing the Cost of C-Level Introductions by 10x with a Custom Podcast

Salesforce Platform is a low-code way to integrate and utilize Salesforce CRM Data. While most employees within a company’s revenue functions are very familiar with Salesforce, Salesforce Platform’s prospective audience was much less familiar with its existence. Salesforce Platform caters to CIOs and CTOs to build applications and leverage the rich customer data contained within Salesforce.

Despite the multitude of use cases and seamless integration with the world’s #1 CRM, Platform struggled to capture the attention of prospective CIOs and IT departments. In 2018, Platform partnered with Mission.org to experiment with a new, podcast-focused marketing strategy to increase content production, drive awareness, and ultimately accelerate pipeline.

Problem:
  • Only 4% of CIOs in the Fortune 1000 knew about Salesforce Platform.
  • Salesforce’s previous attempts to reach CIOs were costly, hard-to-measure paid ads, events, and articles.
  • Difficult to open accounts with traditional prospecting. Spent $50,000 on average to reach one C-Level prospect.
Solution:
  • Created a custom media channel that became a top podcast in the tech industry.
  • Invited prospects and thought leaders on as guests, creating a community of IT professionals.
  • Bypassed traditional sales tactics to create direct, authentic connections with customers and prospects at 1/10th the cost.
  • Invested in evergreen content production. Each episode can be used in countless ways to drive organic interest and traffic to Salesforce Platform.
Results:
  • 10x decrease in cost per introduction to a qualified C-Level decision maker.
  • 130% increase in awareness among key Salesforce Platform prospects.
  • More consistent pipeline and predictable revenue
  • Got exclusive access to an engaged community of IT professionals, executives, and rising stars in the industry
  • Created a steady stream of evergreen content that can be used to share customer stories, connect with prospects, build an engaged audience, and more

Launching IT Visionaries in 2018, Becoming A Top Tech Podcast

In August of 2018, Mission.org launched IT Visionaries in partnership with Platform. IT Visionaries is a twice weekly podcast series that features interviews with trailblazing CIOs, CTOs, and CISOs. Since the show’s launch, more than 340 episodes have been recorded and released, the show has ranked in the Top Tech podcasts multiple times, including topping the charts at #1 several times, and has seen more than 1.5 million downloads.

Beyond excelling in the podcast market, IT Visionaries has also demonstrated itself as an essential value creator across several KPIs for Platform.

Creating a Highly-Targeted, High-Intent Audience

Platform previously sought to drive conversions via traditional media and marketing techniques. They invested in paid ad campaigns and paid articles on leading CIO- and IT-focused publications and websites.

This methodology put them in front of their ideal buyer, but conversions were low and costs per qualified lead were high.

They turned to podcasting as an opportunity to build an organic, engaged community of potential buyers for lower cost, higher ROI, and create a long-term relationship with this group.

“Ad-avoidance may plague many marketing channels, but not podcasts.”

According to Marketing Week, “Ad-avoidance may plague many marketing channels, but not podcasts. In fact, 78% of listeners actually approve of podcast sponsorships. Why? Because the listeners make the connection that the advertising funds the content that they truly value.” In fact, “67% of listeners could recall products and brands featured in ads.

Other marketing techniques focus on getting as many views, clicks, or impressions as possible – whether or not the engagement is from a qualified lead. Instead, IT Visionaries focused on attracting and securing listeners specifically within Platform’s target audience who enjoy the content, stick around, and tell their friends. With this niche focus in mind, Mission was able to build – through organic and paid growth – a high-intent, highly-engaged audience.

So what does that audience look like? 50% of IT Visionaries listeners have a household income of over $100k a year. 80% of them have college or graduate-level education. Our audience has been built by specifically targeting executive, director, and managerial-level IT personas.

The show’s listener base has grown steadily month over month and year over year indicating a highly engaged audience that listens to IT Visionaries regularly.

Today, IT Visionaries is more than a podcast, it is a community of IT leaders.

Increased Awareness Among the Fortune 1000

Not only is Platform able to tap into a niche-listenership, but they are also able to use the podcast even more strategically – by inviting qualified leads directly on the show. It is through this methodology that the value of a custom podcast really begins to stand out.

Before 2018, Platform relied heavily on events and webinars to increase awareness of their product. Platform estimated that, at the time, these traditional prospecting methods resulted in only 4% awareness among the Fortune 1000.

On average, Platform saw an investment of $50,000 per event (this figure does not include the time investment or employee resources used to secure and plan these events). If these efforts resulted in a connection with one prominent CIO, that was considered a win. 

After launching IT Visionaries, Platform was able to tap into these prospects in a more organic, authentic way and for a much less expensive CPA — by inviting them directly on the podcast to start the conversation.

IT Visionaries guests are some of the most prominent IT leaders in the industry. Since launch, the show has featured interviews with several Fortune 1000 IT leaders. These include interviews with people like:

Through the podcast, Platform has a direct connection to these IT leaders and thus a direct connection to their ideal customer. By rolling out the red carpet for each guest and providing them with a valuable experience, they are left with a lasting impression that Platform can capitalize on.

“Such an awesome episode and your team does a great job with the production of it all.”

“Loved starting my day with [this interview]. Can’t wait to hear the podcast.”

“They’re a dream team. Was the best podcast experience I’ve had to date.”

Since the launch of IT Visionaries, awareness of Platform among CIOs has increased from 4% to 9.2%. And while awareness has increased, cost per acquisition has significantly decreased. Where before Platform was spending $50,000 per qualified introduction, they are now seeing that same connection being made in a more meaningful way for 10x less the cost.

Improved Content Output and an Investment in Evergreen Content

Platform has also seen a dramatic increase in the content produced (and quality of content produced) via this method versus previous content development methods.

The podcast provides insight into pain points customers or prospects may be experiencing and creates a “source of constant information” according to one Salesforce product lead. “It’s about making that hour worth of time and compounding the content from it.”

With the podcast, they see at least 8 pieces of new content made per week in the form of episodes, social shareables, videos, and more. 

As these interviews and episodes are evergreen, the content continues to receive traffic long after the episode was recorded and aired. Platform can leverage this content in real-time as it is created and refer the archives to repurpose old content for new initiatives.

Using a Custom Podcast to Drive Results

In the three years since IT Visionaries launched, Platform continues to leverage the podcast in numerous ways to meet their evolving needs and marketing goals.

“The team at Mission has been instrumental in the success of our podcast.”

Salesforce VP

According to one Salesforce VP, “The team at Mission has been instrumental in the success of our podcast. What you get to hear on the surface when listening to the podcast is only a small piece of what the team at Mission brings to the table. The team handles everything from recruiting and vetting candidates to podcast prep and production to post-show follow up. But, they don’t stop there. What makes Mission an absolute powerhouse and amazing partner are their strength in growth marketing and social where they shine and are always generating quality downloads and engaging content. But most important of all, the entire team is completely professional and agile so that they easily pivot to new directions for content or ideas we want to test. From day 1, our experience has been nothing short of extraordinary.”

A custom podcast has allowed Platform to… 

  • See a significant increase (130%) in awareness among key Salesforce Platform prospects.
  • See a 10x decrease in cost per introduction to a qualified lead
  • Build a more consistent, predictable revenue model
  • Create evergreen content that can be used (and reused) in marketing and sales initiatives across the company.