Cracking the Code: Intent Data and the Future of Logistics Marketing
Episode Transcript
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In this episode of Everything is Logistics, Blythe speaks with Kara Brown, CEO of LeadCoverage. They discuss the importance of intent data in modern marketing strategies for supply chain companies.

Kara explains how her company helps clients identify and act on buying signals, emphasizing the need for persistent follow-up and targeted messaging.

She shares insights on measuring marketing success through volume, velocity, and value metrics, and stresses the importance of marketers understanding these numbers to secure a seat at the executive table.


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Show Transcript

See full episode transcriptTranscript is autogenerated by AI

Blythe Brumleve: 0:05

Kara Brown second time on. Everything is Logistics. Yes, For folks who may not live under a rock and may not know who you are, give us the intro spiel.

Kara Brown: 0:16

I'm not sure that I'm under a rock-ish, but I appreciate that very much Well.

Blythe Brumleve: 0:21

I mean, if you're smart in logistics, you should know who Kara Brown is I do post on. Linkedin a lot. How about?

Kara Brown: 0:25

that. So I'm Kara Brown, I'm the CEO of Lead Coverage and we are really the only go-to-market consultancy in supply chain. So we're pretty big. There are 40 of us. Will Haraway is my partner and we do anything that touches the funnel the sales and marketing funnel but only for supply chains.

Blythe Brumleve: 0:43

We're very specific and that's very intentional. From our conversations, from the episodes I've heard you on. It's very intentional that you are saying no to other industries and you only focus on supply chain. Why theoretically turn?

Kara Brown: 0:56

down money. I mean, the riches are in the niches is really what it comes down to, and we say this to our customers as well. Right, Like we're here at TMSA today, you and I I and I just met a company that only does physical movements from jacks to puerto rico. Like awesome, yeah, so great. That is such a niche. Can you give us an economic value of how that works and what does it mean to the greater economy? Like, if you are really clearly aligned in one very specific niche, you can have a point of view on that niche that transcends sort of a sales process and you become a thought leader. So we've done the same thing in supply chain, right? So we are the go-to-market agency shop what we're going to call us consultancy and we have very specific do's and don'ts around all things demand, gen and go to market and supply chain, because we do this every day, all day.

Kara Brown: 1:52

If I were to extend into e-com or beauty or I don't know fintech, it wouldn't make any sense. I don't know anything about fintech, and so Will and I both come from the space. I came from Echo and Seco and Geotis. He comes from Manhattan. We've got really deep roots in the space. My favorite part is telling people. You don't have to explain it to me. I know the difference between LTL and LCL. Let's move on to other stuff, because we already understand the market.

Blythe Brumleve: 2:21

Right, exactly. And so with a lot of your I guess teachings because you are, you do post a lot to LinkedIn. You give the game away for folks who are willing to put in the work, and so for a lot of the things you talk about, it's the three things like post good news, track it and then follow up.

Kara Brown: 2:39

Number one yes, so awesome that you know what I say it means that I'm repeating myself ad nauseum and people are listening. So, thank you. And yeah, we wrote the book on it. It's actually a book coming out in the fall called the Revenue Engine and that is the philosophy Share good news, track interest, follow up. There's a little more to it than that.

Kara Brown: 2:58

So there's a little bit of a framework that we've built and the framework is that methodology three funnels. We think about the prospect funnel, the nurture funnel and the customer funnel, and then measurement, and we measure volume, velocity and value. So if you kind of have a framework around what you expect your go-to market to do for the business, we give you a nine-step sort of process to put it into. And if you're doing share good news, track interest, follow up, you're measuring these three funnels. Using volume, velocity and value. You give your marketing and your go-to-market team something to do. It's not just go get me revenue, but here are the leading indicators, these are the math. We want to see, the things we want to measure the KPIs that matter to the leadership team.

Blythe Brumleve: 3:41

So we talk about it all the time, and so you largely work with enterprise-level customers within the freight space. Are they give us a sense of like what the, I guess, the different segments that you focus on? Is it mostly brokerages, large carriers or tech, or what does that, I guess, that scope?

Kara Brown: 3:57

look like yeah, we'll touch anything in supply chain, we won't touch anything outside of supply chain. But supply chain for us is really three things the physical movement of goods, so we have clients that are direct carriers. We have clients that have lots and lots of assets. The tech that moves those goods so we have WMS and WES and TMS customers sort of across the board. And the money that moves those goods. So this is freight factoring and freight will pay an audit.

Kara Brown: 4:25

So anything that touches freight is really in our wheelhouse. We have clients that also are inside the four walls. We have clients that are robot customer and robot manufacturers and integrators, and we do go into the enterprise. We've been at this about eight years, so we've gone upmarket. Lucky for us, we still service the occasional startup. We do have to make sure that they have money to pay us, which is kind of a challenge, and we're not cheap. We are definitely not the least cost provider in the marketplace, but we are the best for sure, and we have delivered kind of insane amounts of ROI back to our customers.

Blythe Brumleve: 5:02

And so with ROI. I've heard you talk a lot about the different buying signals. So what are some of those buying signals, and are they the same across those different verticals, or are they? I would imagine, that they're different?

Kara Brown: 5:14

A buying signal is a buying signal, whether you're buying Dredge, otr or a TMS platform A buying signal. So there's actually a really good math piece about this. So Harvard Business Review says that 95% of your buying market so the folks that could buy your product, whatever it is, strategy or tech are not currently buying. So you are looking for the 5% who are currently buying what you are selling right now and that's really it. And so those buying signals whether someone's buying a new TMS software and they want to rip and replace, or they want to add something to it because they don't have the right quoting software, or they want to start doing small parcel and their TMS doesn't integrate whatever it is all the way up to I want to do a greenfield brownfield full. You know CapEx expenditure and I want to do a study on this the buying signals from customers are all the same. They're researching, they're showing intent and they're trying to find out more, and if you're in front of them at the right time with the right message, you can win the business. So how?

Blythe Brumleve: 6:20

are you, I guess, tracking that? Like I think you know, a lot of marketers, especially executives, are obsessed with tracking every single metric. So how are you, I guess, looking for those signals? Does it show up in a lead form? Does it show up in somebody visiting a website? Is it a combination of all of those things? Sure.

Kara Brown: 6:40

Form builds and website visits are very important. Those are table stakes. What's getting very sexy these days is intent data. So stay with me on what is intent data right? The way that I've been explaining this to people is kind of fun.

Kara Brown: 6:55

When Tim Cook gets on stage in 2026 and tells the market that he is insourcing his supply chain which I believe will happen order for them to compete with Amazon, that decision was made two years before by a Tiger team in Cupertino who were directed by the finance team that they never want to have another increase to their transportation piano, right. So Apple's reaction to what happened in the pandemic is going to result in Tim Cook insourcing their supply chain. It's pandemic is going to result in Tim Cook insourcing their supply chain. It's just not going to happen overnight. But those signals from the tire team at Cupertino are put into the marketplace. They're looking for real estate, they're looking for TMS, they're doing due diligence on WMS and WES and an OMS system. How does Apple take this outsourced, insane multi-billion dollar supply chain? That's a really big deal, right? And it doesn't happen because Tim Cook tells the marketplace in 2026. So if you are not in front of that tiger team, you are missing the opportunity. We now have tech. There's really two really strong pieces of technology we use to get in front of that Tiger team and it's working, but the key is you have to look for the breadcrumbs that the Tiger team is leaving behind.

Kara Brown: 8:12

Another great example when I first learned about intent data about 2022, we learned about sort of how do we dip our toe in the water? It was very expensive for a long time as I had this guy at this trade show pop in a bunch of supply chain keywords and he starts scrolling through the results. The very first result was Aldi. In the last seven days, someone from Aldi we didn't know who had searched for Sawgrass, xpo and Geodis. You and I both know Aldi was looking for a new 3PL.

Kara Brown: 8:42

It doesn't say Aldi's looking for a 3PL. You have to find the breadcrumbs and put them together from your own sort of point of view. But really, if Aldi was your customer and you were their current 3PL, that's a problem. Somebody needs to call Aldi. Or if you want Aldi to be a customer, now is the moment right. They are showing intent signals that they're actively in a buying cycle for something in the 3PL space. We don't know what it could be they need an extra set of hands somewhere. It could be that they're really going to market for a whole new system. Who knows? But someone needs to get in front of Aldi to find out.

Blythe Brumleve: 9:19

Are you in freight sales with a book of business looking for a new home? Or perhaps you're a freight agent in need of a better partnership? These are the kinds of conversations we're exploring in our podcast interview series called the Freight Agent Trenches, sponsored by SPI Logistics. Now I can tell you all day that SPI is one of the most successful logistics firms in North America, who helps their agents with back office operations such as admin, finance, it and sales. But I would much rather you hear it directly from SPI's freight agents themselves. And what better way to do that than by listening to the experienced freight agents tell their stories behind the how and the why they joined SPI? Hit the freight agent link in our show notes to listen to these conversations or, if you're ready to make the jump, visit spi3plcom.

Blythe Brumleve: 10:14

So how did I guess, you know, with marketing tech and logistics tech, and then also we have this sort of layer onto it with all these privacy concerns and, more you know, greater privacy adoption. How do you see that sort of evolving with intent data? Do you see it, you know, just expanding, especially in the United States, or decreasing a la Europe and their GDPR goals?

Kara Brown: 10:30

So GDPR is a problem in Europe, but it's not a problem in the States and these tools while I wish that I would have founded one in 2004, when it became possible, don't we all I know, right I?

Kara Brown: 10:41

wouldn't, be sitting here, I'd be in the Bora Bora, but we're super users of these tools. Now, right, the real material sort of situation for anyone in the United States is that anything business related is on the table. You can't spam people to their Gmail accounts. This is a real struggle for folks that target the SMB market, specifically e-com and small carriers, because they're still using Yahoo and Gmail email addresses and the email service providers see a Gmail address very differently than they see a you know, at walmartcom email address. So if you have a corporate email address, you're going to get hit because it's just part of the game, and the same is also true for intent data, because it's just part of the game, and the same is also true for intent data. So if you're using a corporate laptop or you're on a corporate IP address, it's all being tracked, right, and you can't get away from it. But it's the same way that you know. You and I are searching for a pair of shoes at Nordstrom and suddenly they show up in your Instagram feed and you're like thanks a lot, nordstrom, bye, right. It's the same idea, probably our best case study so far on this.

Kara Brown: 11:51

And there's another piece of this called programmatic media buying, which I won't bore you with. But if you think about intent data, there's like a better way to do Google OK. So I can't share the name specifically, but we'll just say an industrial shipping company. They ship industrial products clicked on an ad from a programmatic media display that we did for one customer. It was 48 cents to get that click. The click showed us intent. The sales team closed the deal. We don't close $500 million deals online, obviously a human being gets involved. But that click was the impetus to make the phone call and that became a half a billion dollar deal for one of our clients, which is actually like a billion percent ROI, which sounds really dumb. So we don't say it out loud very often, but it was a 48 cent click that turned into a half a billion dollar deal.

Blythe Brumleve: 12:43

But it was also and I've heard you talk about this a lot, especially on on Logistics, of Logistics. Just heard that podcast. I think you guys reported it, you know, about an hour or not an hour ago, a year ago, and so with those types of signals, then you're moving that person into what a cold outreach, a follow-up. What does that process look like? Are you handling that? Is the client handling that? So in our situation.

Kara Brown: 13:09

We do it, so we like to make, we actually make the first dial. So three or four years ago maybe longer than that we used to hand lead lists over to clients and say here are the individuals who are interested in you, please go call them. And then they wouldn't call them, and then they would tell us our leads were garbage. This is the never ending marketing, business, sales, right. So I was like you know what? I'm a CEO, I can just start my own SDR team. So we did. So we now have an SDR team that basically makes the first dial.

Kara Brown: 13:36

Blythe, are you real? Do you actually have shipments? Do you need drainage or OTR? How can I help make sure that happened? And then we set the meeting with the client. So we're not closing deals, we're definitely not doing spot. Market creates impossible. But for the larger enterprise deals where there's intent you're looking for an RFP, you're looking to get more information, all the examples are a good one. Hey, just checking in. How are things going? Are you looking for a 3PL, what's happening in your space, et cetera we can make that first dial.

Blythe Brumleve: 14:05

And so that gives them. I imagine, like, I think of that and I'm like why aren't the companies doing that? And it almost maybe signals back to the adversarial relationship historically between marketing and sales, where sales just thinks that, oh, these leads are garbage and why waste my time, I know what I'm doing. But you're actually taking it a step further, where you're making it and you're qualifying them for them and then handing it off to them in order for them to close the deal.

Kara Brown: 14:29

I mean, you know, sales and marketing conflict will always be. I think we're never, we're not going to solve. If I solved the sales and marketing conflict, I also would not be in this chair, right Like I would be very, very rich woman. We're doing what we can, client by client, and sometimes they have enormous sales teams that just need the lead list to be handed over and they have a really strong SOP. What's with it? Other times, more often than not the last three years in supply chain most of our clients become order takers and this isn't a dig at anybody. This is what it is. We all got EBITDA drunk in the pandemic. Everybody made a lot of money and it didn't take a lot to get it is. We all got EBITDA drunk in the pandemic. Everybody made a lot of money and it didn't take a lot to get new work. We were just accepting orders. So now you've got really big businesses that have become order takers and have kind of stopped the sales engine, if you will, and restarting that sales engine is really hard and what I mean by that is like dossier building. So you take an account plan and you're building out a dossier of the customer, like really following up enough One of the biggest areas that we see big issues or where people ask me all the time like when does this not work?

Kara Brown: 15:37

Our SOP on making dials and making sure that we get the right person on the phone is 35 touches yes, 35. You are not allowed on my team. You are not allowed to disqualify a record which is an email address to us. It's not a lead until there's money attached to it, a record until you've touched them 35 times. When we hand them back to the customer, oftentimes it's one, maybe three, and so people just aren't following up enough, because if you're going to touch someone 35 times, eventually they're going to tell you I am uninterested. Or you know what? I did sign up for that webinar or I did follow up on that download and I'm now I am interested in having a conversation. Sometimes we'll see that the person actually wants to have a meeting on like touch 34. And oftentimes, when we hand them back to customers, to our clients, right, two or three people touch it two or three times and then they disqualify it for whatever reason. So it's the disqualification of accounts that really probably should be qualified. It's a big problem.

Blythe Brumleve: 16:49

And so 35 times, that's unbelievable. You know you always hear, oh, seven times, or six or seven times, but I would imagine, as you know, people are spending more time on social media and Netflix and you know all of these things that are taking away our attention. That's probably where that 35 number comes from, because you have to compete with so many other things demanding that attention, yeah, and I think we're home, everybody's at home, right?

Kara Brown: 17:15

It's not the same as it used to be. You can't pick up the phone and ask Bob's assistant to put you through to Bob. Bob's got a cell phone and if you don't have Bob's cell phone number, you're not getting in front of Bob, right? So I think it's just a really different world than it used to be. We're, you know, in that sort of process of those 35 touches, depending on the client. We're including a LinkedIn outreach. We're including an email that says hey, my boss asked me to reach out to you.

Kara Brown: 17:40

I mean, there's all sorts of ways to get in front of someone. People ask me a lot like what's the best converting sales outreach, and the answer is there isn't one. The answer is you have to get in front of them when you know there's an issue, and even better if you can tell them I know you have this issue, right? I know that you're looking for, I don't know, a pickup out of Louisiana every other Thursday and you're looking for trucks at this specific time, right, there's a software that does that now too, like you can see all of these opportunities for buying signals and then give it back to them and say, hey, I know this is your pain point and I can solve it. It's very different than hey, do you have freight today?

Blythe Brumleve: 18:21

And it just sounds like that there's so many companies that are living kind of in the past as far as, like, their marketing and sales is concerned, and over the last few years it really has, you know, sort of taken on that tech approach. Are you finding that more companies are starting like your own customers, or they bought into the process before they ever become a customer of yours, or does it take a little bit of like convincing that, hey, this is the path that you should be taking? And here's X, y, z reasons why it's a good question?

Kara Brown: 18:53

If you're reaching out to me and we're having material conversations after you find out how expensive we are because we're pretty expensive you're in and you know that you're missing something. Maybe you don't know what you're missing quite yet, but someone like me comes along and we articulate it and we say it's intent data and then following up with those intent cues and we know how to do it. And here's a proven model and here are some examples of other clients that are doing this. Well, right, so we don't get a lot of pushback once we get on the phone. We do sometimes have a lot of education, a lot of education around this right, and people will say ask me the question okay, you do, lead gen, what's the best cadence, what's your best email cadence? And it's a weird question to me, because the email cadence is irrelevant. It's about the who.

Kara Brown: 19:44

So we spend a lot of time talking to prospects about what is your ideal customer profile, because the who is more important than the what.

Kara Brown: 19:55

And you can have, like this, really sexy campaign and you can spend thousands of dollars on social media and all this stuff, but if you're putting it in front of my mother-in-law, who's a lovely woman, she's not buying freight right, and so you have to make sure that you have the right who. The other challenge we see a lot is that everyone's using the same data, everyone's pulling lists out of Zoom and Foe and making phone calls against them, and that is not how you're going to win business right. So, to answer your question, I think smart executives in logistics know that what used to work isn't working, but they don't know what's going to work next. Our clients know what's going to work next because they hired us so they can see it. But the folks that we talk to that are like I know that I'm missing something, this should be better, but I don't know what could make it better are the ones that usually end up hiring us because they know that there's something else out there, but they just don't know quite what it is.

Blythe Brumleve: 20:56

So with a lot of your clients because for most I would say logistics companies, they have very small marketing teams. You're lucky to have one person that's dedicated to marketing. They're probably doing other tasks as well planning events and things like that. But what does, I guess, the normal sort of more successful structure look like of a marketing and sales team inside some of the you know the more profitable businesses? Yeah, it's so funny.

Kara Brown: 21:20

You say that I was number 12 at Echo Global Logistics. I was the marketing girl for a long time in my career, basically until I started my own company. I was the marketing girl for a long time in my career, basically until I started my own company. I was the marketing girl. So I feel this very acutely there's no right path. There's actually a really great book Sangram wrote it, called ABM is B2B, and in the back of this book he literally lays out the org structures of really strong marketing teams from tech to fintech. So he doesn't really have supply chain in there, but it kind of gives you a structure of like VP and demand gen and paid media et cetera, in a kind of selfish way. I'm not going to answer this question because you shouldn't need it, because you should hire us. Yeah, very true, but we still need a person internally to connect to right.

Kara Brown: 22:06

There are really three strategies working in the supply chain demand gen today and they are true executive thought leadership function, meaning that you have a point of view on a specific topic in the marketplace, and we've got lots of examples. Two is account-based marketing, which is intent data, which we talked about. And three is partnerships Partnership is the name of the game. You've got a really strong partnership agenda and you can get one to two partnership press releases out of order. You're in good shape and we just need a human or a human or two inside the organization to help us make it happen. So it's really like executive wrangling, if you will.

Kara Brown: 22:50

The great thing about lead coverage though it's supposed to be a sales pitch, but it is what it is is that we can teach those people right. So sometimes the goal is, hey, we're going to do the really sophisticated stuff like pull your intent data keywords out of the tool and load them up into RoleWorks. We're going to do the super high-level stuff. We're going to take you on this journey with us and you're going to learn how to execute the marketing campaigns in HubSpot, how to build an ICP list in Sales Intel. What does it look like in Zoom and Go Intent. These younger marketers can come with us on that journey. That happens a lot.

Blythe Brumleve: 23:25

And so once a company decides to engage with a company like Lead Coverage, what does, I guess, a realistic timeframe look like, from once they start the onboarding process and get certain things buttoned up to when they start seeing the ROI, the results? Our fastest is 17 days, wow, yeah.

Kara Brown: 23:42

I thought you were about to say 17 months. No, our fastest is 17 days, my team is. I thought you were about to say 17 months. No, our fastest is 17 days. My team is going to beat me over the head when I put that on a podcast. We also do AR and PR so we help clients manage their Gartner relationships and their public relationships so their PR and their public relationships, so their PR. When it works really well, you have PR sort of starting. You have the demand gen team kicking up a campaign, coming up with topics, pulling the appropriate lists, and they kind of come together. So it really works well. When there is something happening, that's a hook that my partner and his team can get their hands in and there's a campaign that goes with it. So this is the share good news track interest follow-up right. So the sharing of good news can be someone else's good news.

Kara Brown: 24:38

We're here at TMSA today. I was walking through the hallway and someone told me that they are the company that only ships chemicals and they have a chemical depot in every single state in the United States. And I said do you have a chemical index? Like you should be sharing a chemical index with the world and he said to me yeah, maybe I was like no, no, no, I'm not. No, you should do that. That will work for revenue. Like someone needs to know that you are the thought leader on chemicals, chemical transportation nationwide, like that's amazing. So you take this piece of content and you share it with the marketplace on a regular basis and then the trade magazines get a hold of it and they're publishing it on your behalf and then it gets to the Wall Street Journal and it gets to Lorraine LaRocco's, the NBC, and you're part of the macro economic story of supply chain and that turns into these buying signals. That turns into revenue. So I think everyone's got a story and it's finding that hook. That's super important battle-ready strategy.

Blythe Brumleve: 25:43

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Blythe Brumleve: 26:26

What do you say to the executives who are like I don't have time for this, like posting to LinkedIn, doing marketing, like selling themselves, like thinking outside of the box when it comes to their marketing?

Kara Brown: 26:38

That's okay, I'll go work for your competitor. That's the first thing, I think. The second thing is, like you know, we do not expect executives to be writing content right, Like. There is an executive thought leadership component to this, which is you do have to have a point of view on the marketplace, but executives have this. Whether or not it's being mined well and delivered to the marketplace, it's a different story. I'll give you an example.

Kara Brown: 27:05

Redwood Logistics has been a customer for a really long time and got a couple of published case studies with them. They're a wonderful customer. When we first started with them in 2021, I think they had an internal cross-border index. They had a terrific cross-border team they still do and they were early to cross-border and they were publishing it internally. So they had this economic index and we just told them you should just share that with everybody. You should just turn it into an anonymized data thing and send it out. And they did and it worked.

Kara Brown: 27:36

So I think what I would say to executives is you're already doing it. You can't see how you monetize what you're already doing because no one from the outside is telling you what your hook is, but it doesn't take much and it's probably not a heavy lift. Lastly, we don't let our executives look at a blank piece of paper. So we have a phenomenal PR team and a great writer. She's been in supply chain 15 or 20 years and she writes all of our executive thought leadership content on behalf of the executive. So you get to post it yourself and read it, edit it, et cetera, et cetera, but it comes from our team and then we always give our executives this piece of advice. When it comes to LinkedIn, nobody's reading it, really like they're kind of reading it, but no one's reading every word and less than two percent of all of your followers will see your content.

Kara Brown: 28:31

So you have to post a lot for people to see it. And even then you should be repeating yourself, because we sat down here and you repeated back to me what I have been saying on linkedin for five years, which means I've won the game right. So you have to do the repetition in order for the market to know who you are posting once a month, what I have been saying on LinkedIn for five years, which means I've won the game right. But you have to do the repetition and work for the market to know who you are Posting once a month into a vacuum isn't going to move the needle.

Blythe Brumleve: 28:53

And that's, I think, for a lot of folks out there who want to. I want to start posting to LinkedIn, I want to start engaging with my community, and they post once and they get two likes and then they say, well, this doesn't work, and then they move on to something else. Or they post one thing and it does really well, and then they're a ghost town. So they, they, they don't get so busy.

Blythe Brumleve: 29:15

They don't know how to follow up whatever, and so I think for a lot of folks it's just getting used to saying the same thing a thousand different ways.

Kara Brown: 29:22

I mean I have. I've talked about this on many podcasts. I think you and I may have talked about this last time we talked. I have a very specific process, so I have a ghostwriter. She and I talk for about 45 minutes 30 to 45 minutes. Every Tuesday she writes six linked in posts for me out of that 45 minutes. We're to the point now where I don't even edit them anymore.

Kara Brown: 29:43

They just said this morning actually one hit LinkedIn. I was like that's a really good post. I'm glad I wrote that and we did it three weeks ago, so it doesn't take. It takes me 45 minutes to talk to a human. I never look at the keyboard. The team posts them. It takes them 15 minutes to get them scheduled. It's almost no money when we think about it and it's delivered between three and 5 million in truly attributable ROI to our business. Like, actually, I was at home delivery world last week. Someone who follows me on LinkedIn reached out and said hey, can we have breakfast? I said sure, no problem, I don't know this person. We got breakfast. This person brought seven people from their team and she was like all right, pitch us. So I did, and now I'm going to be the CEO, like it's the volume and the and the right just getting into the market on a regular basis. That's, that is how it's happening these days. I mean this is a. It's a proven model.

Kara Brown: 30:37

And so that's how you so, from like a data tracking perspective like there, is there really a way to say like I was on this podcast and this person wanted to have a meeting with me, so yes, I mean, I closed a million-dollar deal from the last time I was on your podcast and I know that because he told me I heard you on Blythe's podcast and I'd like to be your customer and pay you a million dollars. So like that works. So thank you for that. That's a social media.

Blythe Brumleve: 31:05

Exactly yes, so like that works.

Kara Brown: 31:07

So thank you for that that's a social media, so you are welcome to use that. Um, so yes, of course you can get attribution If someone tells you where they come from. People ask me a lot of times like what do you pay attention to in your own LinkedIn? And I don't. I don't track anything. I don't look at number of followers or engagements or likes or anything like that. For me, it's about just getting out there on a regular basis and I can't be obsessed with it. I mean I could, but I can't because otherwise I'll just it'll, I'll get bogged down in the muck. Um, for me, it's about getting out there on a regular basis. I'll tell you a funny story. Why so? A dear friend of mine I worked with him 20 years ago. He ended up being a CTO at a giant forward and we had dinner one night out of cocktails and he said kiddo, I'm so proud of you, the men, that I used to work for love.

Kara Brown: 31:51

To call me kiddo even though I'm a 40 year old woman. Kiddo, I'm so proud of you. You're doing great. I really love everything you're doing. I read every LinkedIn post and I was like you have never liked, shared, engaged, told me you were alive, Like where have you been? And he's like and I never will. But I'm so proud of you and I read them all and you're the first person to pop up when I see my LinkedIn on my phone and I'm just so proud of you and there's no way to find that in a data point, but someone telling you that?

Kara Brown: 32:21

Yes, and so I kind of gave up worrying about the math when it turned into revenue and it's just one channel of money that we use. I'm on podcasts. We wrote a book, we're here at a trade show, like there's lots of ways that we market ourselves, but for the executives that we coach through this, I just try to remind them. Like almost no one's going to read it. Right, it's really important to share on a regular basis, and most importantly is to share a very specific point of view, right, just always sharing the same point of view, whatever it is, whether it's capacity or tech advancement, whatever it is that you're going to make your thing, own it and talk about it all the time, because eventually you want someone like you to spit back at you. You're the guy that knows about, you know free bull pan on it. You're the guy that knows about drainage. You're the guy that knows about otr rates out of Memphis, like, whatever is your expertise, put it out there all the time and so for.

Blythe Brumleve: 33:18

For many companies that you you said yourself you're you're very expensive, so you, only you have a certain level of client base. But if a company is thinking about making that move and wants to get their ducks in a row, what does that look like before? Or what should they have their ducks in a certain row before they reach out to a company like yours?

Kara Brown: 33:39

We're happy to help folks get set up.

Kara Brown: 33:41

We do. We are the HubSpot shop for supply chain. I think HubSpot is the best CRM and marketing automation program that anyone can buy. Salesforce is really expensive and complicated. Hubspot's getting more complicated but you can still use it and DIY it. It doesn't take a $300,000 a year developer to make changes. It's pretty simple. Anybody can use it. So we stand up Hub pub spots all the time and we'll take data out of MailChimp and Doho and Salesforce and put them in the right place and kind of move it around for you.

Kara Brown: 34:17

I can't think of anything that would exclude anyone from being a customer. Like, hey, if you don't have this thing ready to go, who would take you as a customer? I think more importantly is probably executive alignment, like making sure that this is something that the team wants to spend money on and that they understand that the investment is going to pay off but may not pay off tomorrow. Right, like we're looking at this as a sort of a commitment to changing your go-to-market from maybe a bang in the phone style of dollars to a more data play. That's usually where we um. Well, it's not even true, but, but I'll say if someone were to come to me and we get into a into a pitch situation where we're trying to convince them to come work for us and we can't see a world where they will have um access to data or interest in intent data.

Kara Brown: 35:05

It's probably. Just maybe they're not ready, yeah, so it could just be like a growing pains where they will have access to data or interest in intent data.

Blythe Brumleve: 35:08

It's probably just maybe they're not ready. Yeah, so it could just be like a growing pains where you got to kind of figure it out for yourself first but then when you reach, you know, maybe a profitable level of a company instead of, maybe investor, just VC funded, oh, startups are a whole other deal.

Kara Brown: 35:23

I mean startups generally understand go to market what they need to be doing and how to do it. They're just cash strapped so they prefer to find a young person to get it done and not pay a professional, which is totally fine. Startups are a problem because they run out of money to pay for them, which is a challenge for me because I need to pay my people. But I mean we definitely work with startups all the time, you know if it's appropriate.

Blythe Brumleve: 35:53

So last couple of questions here. You know we're at TMSA, you're giving a talk, yeah, are there any? By the time this airs? You know the talk will be over. So what, I guess, sort of key takeaways can you give us from your talk that you're going to be giving? So the talk today?

Kara Brown: 36:07

is about the book. That has been a labor, just a labor, very happy it's almost done. It's 60,000 words on exactly what we do every day, all day. I believe in the power of giving away the thought leadership, so we are literally writing a book on exactly what we do and how we do it every day and giving it to the marketplace. It'll be ready in the fall. So today's talk is really just about the framework and how we think about share good news, track interest, follow up.

Kara Brown: 36:37

You and I didn't spend a lot of time today on the funnels, or measurement. Let's spend a little bit more time today at the TMSA talk talking about why we think there are three funnels. We think of strangers, people who do not know who you are, and then to no longer strangers and then from no longer stranger to money attached and then customers. Marketing, usually inside of transportation companies, is not responsible for cross-sell and up-sell. It's just really not something that it's usually the sales team responsible for that.

Kara Brown: 37:07

With intent data, we now have an opportunity to be in front of the customer journey, which is kind of interesting. The other thing we'll talk about today at the top is measurement and volume, velocity and value of records through each of those funnels. I had a really interesting conversation with a woman that wanted to work for me and I asked her some pretty basic questions about volumes inside their company. She worked for a transportation company at the time and she couldn't tell me basic pipeline volumes. What's your goal for a new customer acquisition? What's your goal for pipeline? What's your goal for a new customer?

Blythe Brumleve: 37:47


Kara Brown: 37:48

What's your goal for pipeline? And we had another RFP come in and big company, huge company missed their 2023 numbers by 50%, but wanted to double their 2024 expected goals. And I was like you want to 3X what you didn't do last year this year, like how much are you going to pay for that? And it was just, they were so far away from each other. So we're going to talk a little bit today about math and marketing math. And it's not data, it's not analytics, it's just math and how marketers are missing an opportunity to have a seat at the table because they're unprepared to have a conversation about math. They don't know where to start. So we basically in the book, give you where to start.

Blythe Brumleve: 38:29

Where just a little preview of like where do you start if you are that one Volume?

Kara Brown: 38:33

velocity and value in the funnel. So volume is how many do I need at every stage in the funnel to meet my goal? And we backwards math it in. So if your goal is a 100 for the year, divide that by 12. And it's pretty simple math. This is not hard right, but that's the volume of deals you need. The value is your average deal size. Now I'm agnostic. If you want to use lifetime value, ltv, or annual run rate, arr, you just have to pick one and it usually comes from the leadership team. The leadership team is already using this map. They may not have told you the map, but somebody has this map because no one's running companies without some plan.

Blythe Brumleve: 39:15

Most people aren't running companies without some plan.

Kara Brown: 39:18

And so the marketing maps of volume how many value is? How much are each one of those worth? So you can then value the whole pipeline and you can say to your boss I have attributed $200 million to the pipeline because I can show you that my LinkedIn posts, the trade shows we went to, the campaigns we're running, are delivering pipeline into. And I don't want credit for closing it, just give me credit for having a piece of putting it there right. And then velocity, which is the hardest one to get. Velocity is how fast these deals are moving into and out of your pipeline either close one or close loss.

Kara Brown: 39:58

And this requires timestamping inside of CRM. So we like HubSpot for it. It's a really easy tool. We can give you these velocity metrics. But even if the people in the room here at TMSA started just with volume and value, there would be more people at the table at these leadership meetings than there are today in marketing and sales. And I have such a passion for helping these transportation marketers make an impact. I was the marketing girl I made sell slicks right. I've done battle cards, sell sheets, pop-up banners, advertisements, like I've done it all. The only thing that has allowed me a seat at the table. Is math what?

Blythe Brumleve: 40:40

a sound clip. I feel like I need to be writing these down, like off to the side, like okay, we're going to cut this clip and cut that clip because that it's really well said, because you have to understand the math behind what you're working with. Otherwise you're unfortunately going to be one of these people that it's going to be expendable when times get tough and they need to cut salaries, and so if they don't see you, they don't see the ROI of what you bring to the table, then you are going to be on the chopping block before anybody else and no one, no one is going to do it for you.

Kara Brown: 41:07

No sales leader ever in the history of my career has ever said I'm going to give you credit for that deal. Even deals that I have literally closed myself right, like here is the deal, the sales leader is always like no, no, no, I you know, and that's totally fine, that's their job they have, they get commissioned for this. Like this is. Their role is to close deals and marketing just needs to show the value that you're preparing sales to get that deal and that the velocity of the pipeline is shrinking because of your good marketing.

Kara Brown: 41:41

Now that's a that's a 301 kind of opportunity. So if you know the velocity of your deal pipeline today and you can show that you've shrunken your deal pipeline velocity because of your good work, that's another way to show value. That's really hard. It requires benchmarking. These are all kind of sophisticated things that we do for our clients, but dipping our toe in the water today is going to be know your ARR or LTV. I'm agnostic as to what it is, but get yourself a number and then understand how many deals you need in your pipeline to show that you are moving the deal for the business.

Blythe Brumleve: 42:16

Have you really only accomplished this kind of sort of eagle-eyed view of your marketing plan inside of HubSpot or Salesforce, or does Google Analytics still play a role for some of these companies? Google Analytics is useless. It's true, it's useless.

Kara Brown: 42:33

You stand on that. It's anonymized data, so why bother, right? Especially if you have people coming to your website to get quotes, like spot quotes, or they're coming to log in every day. Your Google Analytics data is never going to be something that's interesting. We don't even pay attention to it. It's not a part of the KPIs that we pull for clients, because intent data is so much more important, right? Google Analytics is also could be rando visitors, bots, et cetera, and it doesn't tell you who right, etc. And it doesn't tell you who Right. So instead, willworks, sixth Sense these intent tools are telling you the actual humans that are coming to your site. The sexiest piece of this is actually Sixth Sense has a relationship with Bark.

Kara Brown: 43:19

So if you are an enterprise, or even not even an enterprise, some of the transportation clients we work with are not enterprise customers, but they're on a Gartner Magic Quadrant, for whatever reason, you can see the downloads from Gartner inside of six cents, but you have to own the record Like. This is the biggest issue that we see. When we walk into a client, we say what is your total addressable market, what is your ICP and how many are there? And they say everyone that ships. But that's not true, right? There's 20,000 shippers over 7 million of rate. They're not all your customers, right? So we kind of take the TAM down.

Kara Brown: 43:58

Let's say it's 5,000 shippers that are right in your wheelhouse. You know exactly who they are. Do you own the email address of every human who can buy from you? And I get like kind of like deer in the headlights looks like I don't, I don't know. And then we go look in the CRM and there's like 2,200 email addresses on a 5,000 company tamp you should have 20,000 email addresses that are all clean and ready to go, right. And so I think a lot of marketers today that I see are spending a lot of time on the what, and the what might get you Google analytic users, it might get you eyeballs right. But the who is more important, because if my mother-in-law stumbles upon your website again, lovely lady, not your ICP, she's not moving crazy, she's not moving crazy, she's in the book. I hope she's okay with that, With that exact example, actually. So no, google Analytics to us is sort of useless. Anything that has anonymous data anymore is kind of useless, mostly because we have IP specific data and that's just so much more actionable.

Blythe Brumleve: 45:03

So I think that's a good place to sort of stop this conversation, because, number one, you've dropped a lot of hot takes and, number two, it's freaking hot as balls out here and sweat is dripping down my back. And that is probably that's probably TMI for for for the show. But, kara, another great conversation, another great interview. Thank you for for bearing with me and sitting outside. We're in New Orleans, for people who may not be aware, and Blade is in the sun and I am not.

Kara Brown: 45:29

I'm 100% in the shade and I could feel the sweat dripping down.

Blythe Brumleve: 45:33

Oh I'm so sorry. You did a great job, Thank you, but I am ready to jump back into that AC. So for folks who may not follow you on LinkedIn or be familiar with lead coverage how can they follow you?

Kara Brown: 45:47

How can they connect with you? Yeah, find me on LinkedIn. I'm Kara Smith-Brown. Easiest way to get ahold of us you can shoot me a LinkedIn message or find us at leadcoveragecom. Perfect.

Blythe Brumleve: 45:54

Thank you, karen, yeah.

Blythe Brumleve: 45:59

I hope you enjoyed this episode of Everything is Logistics, a podcast for the thinkers in freight, telling the stories behind how your favorite stuff and people get from point A to B. Subscribe to the show, sign up for our newsletter and follow our socials over at everythingislogisticscom. And in addition to the podcast, I also wanted to let y'all know about another company I operate, and that's Digital Dispatch, where we help you build a better website. Now, a lot of the times, we hand this task of building a new website or refreshing a current one off to a coworker's child, a neighbor down the street or a stranger around the world, where you probably spend more time explaining the freight industry than it takes to actually build the dang website.

Blythe Brumleve: 46:40

Well, that doesn't happen at Digital Dispatch. We've been building online since 2009, but we're also early adopters of AI, automation and other website tactics that help your company to be a central place to pull in all of your social media posts, recruit new employees and give potential customers a glimpse into how you operate your business. Our new website builds start as low as $1,500, along with ongoing website management, maintenance and updates starting at $90 a month, plus some bonus, freight marketing and sales content similar to what you hear on the podcast. You can watch a quick explainer video over on digitaldispatchio. Just check out the pricing page once you arrive and you can see how we can build your digital ecosystem on a strong foundation. Until then, I hope you enjoyed this episode. I'll see you all real soon and go Jags.

About the Author

Blythe Brumleve
Blythe Brumleve
Creative entrepreneur in freight. Founder of Digital Dispatch and host of Everything is Logistics. Co-Founder at Jax Podcasters Unite. Board member of Transportation Marketing and Sales Association. Freightwaves on-air personality. Annoying Jaguars fan. test

To read more about Blythe, check out her full bio here.