#9. How Steli Efti’s Content Strategy has Evolved from Growing Elastic Sales into Close

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Before Close.com was Close.io, they were Elastic Sales — an outsourced sales company for startups. Steli Efti bootstrapped Close since the beginning, meaning they didn’t have mountains of cash to fuel customer acquisition. Instead, content has been a central component since day one. Here’s how their strategy has evolved through pivots and building out a team, while still retaining the main essence that makes their content great.

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Finding a Niche in a Crowded Market

Steli started in 2012 with his first company Elastic Sales. The original vision was to empower companies around the world to scale their sales efforts.  

“At first we were running kind of an outsourced salespeople as a service company.” Steli explains.  “Our focus was B2B SaaS companies in the Bay area that had raised a Series A. They would come to us and say, ‘We have a product. We have a few customers but we don’t quite yet have everything else figured out.’ Or, they’d say ‘We have a small sales team, but it doesn’t quite work the way that we envisioned it should.’

We’d run a number of experiments for them, put together the different approaches and generate a sales process. Then we would recommend them to change some things, or recommend a specific sales playbook for their company. Then they could either outsource that to us and we would hire all the reps to do it for them, or give them the option to just do it internally.”

This approach worked well, and many of the companies preferred Steli and his team for the hands on sales work for them.

“Luckily, a lot of companies wanted to outsource to us. So, we ended up running defacto outsource sales teams for close to 200 venture backed startups in a time span of two years.”

Building Something For Yourself Creates Great Products

Steli was the very first sales person that company was renting out. But soon enough, he encountered a problem with the less-than-stellar CRM options out there.

“Through this process the team built an internal piece of software, never with the intention to launch it as a separate product, but to give ourselves software that didn’t suck and that we didn’t hate using.”

“Eventually the software product got really good. We developed a really strong point of view on what good sales software was and what it wasn’t. And then in 2013, we released it as a separate thing that customers could buy, not just our services but also the product.”

Within a time span of nine months the software began to outgrow the services business. That was when the entire focus of the business shifted.

Content Based on Experience Can Drive Sales

While building the software and developing the initial SaaS brand, Steli had a focus on writing and sharing content to attract business.

“Pretty much from the very beginning, even at Elastic Sales, I would write articles. We didn’t have our own blog, but we were publishing probably two guest posts per month.

We would publish on TechCrunch and Mashable quite regularly, as well as a bunch of sales focused publications. These articles would always get us a ton of inbound leads.

Especially places like TechCrunch would get hundreds and hundreds of companies filling out our contact form and wanting to work with us. Obviously a lot were not really qualified, but there were a few gems in between.

And that where we got a lot of confidence that content is something we should use. But there was no real strategy, no rhythm, no, company blog or any entity to publish stuff.”

Finding Simple Tools for Better Content Creation

Once Close launched, the strategy became clearer. Initially, Steli took a lot of the guest posts and rewrote them for the company’s own blog.

“We had such a massive bag of stories, tactics, strategies from Elastic Sales. I had a lifetime of sales experience and crazy stories to share.”

The problem was, the process was slow. He was only publishing every two to three weeks. The bottleneck was always the first draft, which took Steli at least a week, sometimes two.

“I was talking to Ramin who was a really good friend of mine and who I’d worked with before on some other internet marketing-related stuff. So I was talking to him and he suggested ‘Just push the record button on your phone and just talk me through it. Send it over and I’ll write a draft for you.’

“That was the moment when I said ‘I’m never going to write another single word in my life’. It was way easier than what I was doing before.”

Building Written Content from Audio and Video

This first innovation of content creation led to more of them, and an increase in the volume of content.

“About three along, I realized that if I stopped speaking to Ramin specifically on the recordings and just made it more general, then we could just publish the audio file as well.

And then I thought, well, if I just turn it on my Webcam on my laptop, we could record a video of me talking and we will have video and audio as two other content formats for this.

That was a big shift in Close’s content strategy.

The videos were transcribed and reworked into articles for publishing. This approach created a content machine that would increase the volume while maintaining the voice and quality.

The blog posts then turned into eBooks, email newsletters, tweets and all kinds of other form factors. This strategy of remixing and repurposing a lot of content became central to the Close content strategy: generating good quality from high quantity raw material at the beginning.

Real World Experience Is Always Most Compelling

What separates Close’s content from others is that it’s insightful. When you read it, you can tell that someone actually knows what they’re talking about.

It reads like an in-the-trenches salesperson sharing their real stories, as opposed to just another freelance writer that never gets beyond surface level.

“From the get-go, we wanted to have a distinct voice. I was never a strong writer. But on video and audio, not that I was that great, but it was easier for me to get my personality out there and to communicate in a distinct way. I think then Ramin worked really hard to try to capture that in writing. Then whenever we worked with other writers, he’d explain to them how to capture the voice and all that.”

Just like with the software, the content that Steli and his team created was what they wanted to read themselves.

“At first we were clear that we wanted to write things we would want to read as well. Then it evolved to be that we only write posts that are actionable. We wanted to give people actionable, direct advice so that by the end of the blog posts, they say, ‘Oh, I can now do this and I’m going to execute on it.’ That was the idea.”


Focus on Topics Instead of Obsessing About Keywords

Over time, even the most experienced writers run out of personal stories and ideas to draw from. At some stage there must be a transition from anecdotal evidence to keyword researched content.

“To a certain degree, I was blissfully unaware of keywords and SEO. I never thought strategically about the content. All I was doing was looking for great content ideas, great stories, great tactics. And whenever something popped up either in my head or an interaction would lead to a great idea or great insight, I would instantly record it, right in that moment. It was just very organic.

“Ramin started spending a little bit of time actually thinking about search traffic and keywords. He started tinkering in the background with these articles, but I was totally unaware of it.

“Especially in the last two years a lot of our content is not purely what we call ‘Steli’ content anymore. We have now found one or two people that we work with that generate content for us. It’s very different from my content, but it’s still very much fits into our grander content strategy and voice.

Today, some of those content pieces are very strategic, and based on the keywords Steli and Ramin are going after.  The company also does a lot more long form content which contrasts nicely with Steli’s videos.

“Whenever Ramin wanted something specific from me, he would never frame it with, ‘This is the keyword volume and this is why we need to do, or this article is falling ranking, can you update it?’. He would just say, ‘Steli, this article is out of date. Don’t you have any new ideas on this?’ Or, ‘Steli, you’ve never did a video on this specific problem, please do a video.’

This is a great lesson to take away from Close: any content can be reverse engineered for SEO.

The tactic is fairly simple; figuring out the story or topic, then finding a keyword to work in, and the SEO structure.

This concept also works well for older content can be reworked, redesigned for better keywords, and improved with more detail.

Rather than forcing yourself to write to keywords (which can be exhausting) focus on stories and lessons from the real world that will be valuable for readers and can rank for SEO.

How to Scale Content Without Losing Authenticity

Tying to match the SEO needs is a challenge all companies face. But the bigger difficulty is in scaling content creation without losing the value of the original voice.

“So far it’s been a journey of trial and error for us, especially in the beginning. Now we are a well oiled machine, but trying to grow that machine has been a lot of false starts for us. It takes time to find good writers and teach them what we want them to do.

We constantly are getting to our limitations on how can we keep scaling our content while the quality and keeping the core voice and the core focus, not losing ourselves in the noise. It’s just not easy. At least for us so far.”

For most, that means giving the writer enough information to actually know what’s needed, while giving them room to do the work themselves. Using generic guidelines, on-boarding documents, etc.

Steli and his team ask writers to show examples of previous content that fits into their strategy, or to show something that’s completely different yet proud of.

This helps to get a perspective on whether the writer is a match for their style, or whether it’s not going to work.

“In content, it’s not so much good or bad. It’s just different. Somebody’s style or tone of voice may or may not line up with exactly what we’re looking for or what we want.”

Mixing Art and Science into the Content Strategy

With all the obsession today on keywords, structure and measuring SEO, the risk is that the soul gets sucked out of any written piece. No person wants to read something that doesn’t make them feel.

“Content today bridges both. Most content that I see is too heavily focused on the numbers. So there’s no art in there. But the rare times when you see something that is written beautifully, it stands out.”

One interesting insight from Steli is that content from a year or two ago is often what is bringing in the most people. The content published today will perform six months from now.  Which begs the question of how long-term should content be planned out for?

“In the early days of Close, we had a very short time frame of measuring return and we just got lucky. When I started publishing about sales, almost nobody else in Silicon Valley was writing about sales. That was lucky. The next thing was that, back in that day a lot less content marketing in all of SaaS and the tech world. And then the third thing was that we had a few places that had massive audiences that we could get our content to rank up at the top. So you take all these things together and every blog post I published got us a ton of leads.”

I wonder if we had been the same team starting today with the same experience, I don’t know how it would have been. Because I guarantee you my early content would not have driven as greater results. I think my point of view today is that, again, we’re aiming for a balance between art and science.”

So how does a company like Close measure the ROI of their content? Is it all metrics based, or more about the feel that the piece gives to the reader?

For Steli and his team, it’s both.

“We have some articles where we are much harsher on when it comes to their ROI, where we write them with a very clear goal in terms of keyword ranking and traffic or updates that we do the certain pieces of content where we do that update specifically to move the article in the ranking, and then there will track and we’ll be very kind of numbers focused on like, did this accomplish anything or not?

“And then there’s still a lot of content where we don’t. Where we know this is strong content that will teach a lot of people things. And I think it needs a mixture of both things to build a real audience versus just generating traffic.

This is one of those things where you need a strong internal champion that can defend that not everything the marketing team does needs to have a measured ROI.”

All this leads to middle of the funnel content. Close used to email marketing, and have now started dabbling in webinars, but do these types of marketing prove effective?

“We constantly reevaluate everything we do and we don’t always come out at the same end of like our interpretation of these things. I think the daily sales motivation video, it came out of a really good idea, which was, we knew that salespeople love self help and motivational stuff.

And eventually I think there was just not enough drive and motivation to keep doing it. I still believe in that idea, we just never had the energy to keep working on it. We got a few thousand people to subscribe to that and many of them liked it, but it’s one of those projects that just didn’t grow. There’s still a kernel of opportunity there. But eventually I think we just ran out of passion for it.

The webinar was much more focused on metrics in the short term. We would actually measure how many registrations we would get, how many people showed up, how many of those turned into trials and customers of ours. We much more focused on ‘if this won’t drive ROI every webinar in some form or fashion, it’s not really worth our time’.”

How does content quantity play into the mix? Is repurposing a good strategy for increasing the quantity without losing the quality?

“Obviously everything depends on the way you do it. But I do think that repurposing or remixing content is still a super valid strategy today. I just think that most companies cannot do it. And the reason why they can’t do it is because their content is bad to begin with. So if you take something that is incredibly light in real content, you want to water it down a few more times, there’s just nothing in there anymore.

“So I think to begin with, if your content is not evergreen, if your content doesn’t have a distinct voice and point of view, it’s very hard to remix and repurpose.

Do people who consume the repurposed content ever get tired of it, or complain about seeing the same thing in different places?

“To this day, there’s not been a single time with somebody actually said, “Dude, I’ve seen your content multiple times, the same content in multiple places. Why do you repeat yourself?” Not a single time. And I get hundreds of emails every week for years now praising the content or commenting on the content one way or another. So I think that it’s still works. Just remember that you have to be mindful about what you are remixing and how you’re repurposing.”

When and How to Qualify a Ton of Leads

Steli and the Close content team have driven over 200,000 qualified inbound leads. For any business, that is incredible.

However, the problem that no one talks about is qualifying those 200,000 leads because a lot of them may be junk. How does Close deal with that unique challenge?

“I do think though what makes a big difference is the place we’re coming from. If our purpose was just ‘how can we growth hack for as big of a traffic source as possible?’, and then ‘how can we trick that traffic source to give us an email?’ then that’s just about getting numbers up.

And I think that that’s a big problem that a lot of companies have. For whatever reason, internal incentives, shortsightedness, whatever it is, the people that are working on these articles are focused on something that then creates distraction and noise.

I think for us there’s a few simple criteria we qualify by. We try to keep it as simple as possible where we could say if you sign up with these type of email addresses versus those type of email addresses, if you sign up from these IP, so from these places in the world versus those places in the world. And if you engage with our content in this particular way versus that particular way.

Just having these simple lead scoring criteria that kicks out the big majority of leads. That gives you have a higher level of certainty that they will translate into customers and long term business.

Another tactic can be onboarding for new leads. How does Close handle this aspect? Does it yield better customers long term? Does it help to avoid churn?

“Yeah, so there’s two tactics that can be super useful in this context. One is a disqualifying people preemptively. I could use keywords to make people disqualify themselves before they even go there. Same thing on the signup form. You can have a number of questions where as people answer those, you make them kind of disqualify themselves. That’s one thing.

The other thing that we do is when you sign up for stuff and you get our drip emails, there’s actually an email that will tell you when not to buy our product.

When you tell people they shouldn’t buy your product, that’s a unique concept. So they’ll respond and either ask for recommendation what else to buy, and then it starts a conversation.
Or they will respond to just say, ‘Thank you. This is an awesome email. I’m not not used to this.’

So we turn away a lot of customers that we know are not going to be good customers, ideal customers. So closing them now will generate short term revenue but it just going to turn it around and create more churn for us and support tickets and all kinds of other issues.” 

Steli and Close’s sales tactics and free content are incredibly useful no matter what phase of business you are in. His example shows that there is no shortcut or magic formula to create content that impacts people.

It takes time and effort, and persistence.

As for knowing whether something is ‘good’ content or not, Steli has settled on the fact that you just have to feel it.

“It’s not just pure art, but it’s not pure science either. There’s some of it that can’t be metric-driven and keyword-driven. You can have all kinds of KPIs and track the success of an article and then the other side of it is it can just be art. Whether reading it makes you feel something or not. That’s hard to capture, but it can be very powerful.”

From Sales as a Service to Close.io

Steli started in 2012 with a company called Elastic Sales. The original vision was to empower companies around the world to scale their sales efforts.  

“At first we were running kind of an outsourced salespeople as a service company.” Steli explains.  “Our focus was B2B SaaS companies in the Bay area that had raised a Series A. They would come to us and say, ‘We have a product. We have a few customers but we don’t quite yet have everything else figured out.’ Or, they’d say ‘We have a small sales team, but it doesn’t quite work the way that we envisioned it should.’

We’d run a number of experiments for them, put together the different approaches and generate a sales process. Then we would recommend them to change some things, or recommend a specific sales playbook for their company. Then they could either outsource that to us and we would hire all the reps to do it for them, or give them the option to just do it internally.”

This approach worked well, and many of the companies preferred Steli and his team to fo the hands on sales work for them.

“Luckily, a lot of companies wanted to outsource to us. So, we ended up running defacto outsource sales teams for close to 200 venture backed startups in a time span of two years.

Building Software for Ourselves First

Steli was the very first sales person that company was renting out. But soon enough, he encountered a problem with the less than stellar CRM options out there.

“Through this process the team built an internal piece of software, never with the intention to launch it as a separate product, but to give ourselves software that didn’t suck and that we didn’t hate using.”

Eventually the software product got really good. We developed a really strong point of view on what good sales software was and what it wasn’t. And then in 2013, we released it as a separate thing that customers could buy, not just our services but also the product.”

Within a time span of nine months the software began to outgrow the services business. That was when the entire focus of the business shifted to focus on that.

From Guest Posts to Sales

Alongside building the software and through the development of the SaaS brand, Steli always had an eye on content marketing as a source of new business.

“Pretty much from the very beginning, even at Elastic Sales, I would write articles. We didn’t have our own blog, but we were publishing probably two guest posts per month somewhere.

We would publish on TechCrunch and Mashable quite regularly, as well as a bunch of sales focused publications. These articles would always get us a ton of inbound leads.

Especially places like TechCrunch would get hundreds and hundreds of companies filling out our contact form and wanting to work with us. Obviously a lot were not really qualified, but there were a few gems in between.

And that where we got a lot of confidence that content is something we should use. But there was no real strategy, no rhythm, no, company blog or any entity to publish stuff.”

Creating a Content Strategy

Once Close launched the strategy became clearer. Steli took a lot of the guest posts and rewrote them for the company’s own blog.

“We had such a massive bag of stories, tactics, strategies from Elastic Sales. I had a lifetime of sales experience and crazy stories to share. This was a bank full of ideas.”

The problem was, the process was slow. He was only publishing something every two to three weeks. The bottleneck was always the first draft, which took Steli at least a week, sometimes two.

“I was talking to Ramin who was a really good friend of mine and who I’d worked with before on some other internet marketing related stuff. So I was talking to him and he suggested ‘Just push the record button on your phone and just talk me through it. Send it over and I’ll write a draft for you.’

“That was the moment when I said ‘I’m never going to write another single word in my life’. It was way easier than what I was doing before.”

From Written to Audio to Video Content

“About three or four posts along, I realized that if I stopped speaking to Ramin specifically on the recordings and just made it more general, then we could just publish the audio file as well.

And then I thought, well, if I just turn it on my Webcam on my laptop, we could record a video of me talking and we will have video and audio as two other content formats for this.

That was a big shift in Close’s content strategy. Running videos through a content machine that would take a video and turn it into a blog post.

The blog posts then turned into eBooks, email newsletters, tweets and all kinds of other form factors. This strategy of remixing and repurposing a lot of content became central to the Close content strategy: generating good quality from high quantity raw material at the beginning.

Walking The Talk

One of the things that separates Close’s content is that it’s insightful. When you read it, you can tell that someone actually knows what they’re talking about.

“From the get-go, we wanted to have a distinct voice. I was never a strong writer. But on video and audio, not that I was that great, but it was easier for me to get my personality out there and to communicate in a distinct way. I think then Ramin worked really hard to try to capture that in writing. Then whenever we worked with other writers, he’d explain to them how to capture the voice and all that.”

Just like with the software, the content that Steli and his team created was what they wanted to read themselves.

“At first we were clear that we wanted to write things we would want to read as well. Then it evolved to be that we only write posts that are actionable. We wanted to give people actionable, direct advice so that by the end of the blog posts, they say, ‘Oh, I can now do this and I’m going to execute on it.’ That was the idea.

Interviewer: Got you. How has…I feel like when it first started out, were you mostly pulling from like anecdotal evidence or stuff you’d live through versus how has that transitioned? Like, do you spend more time on keyword research? Do you know what I mean? Has it become more formalized like over the last few years?


Choosing Topics vs. Keyword Research

Over time, even the most experienced writers run out of personal stories and ideas to draw from. At some stage there must be a transition from anecdotal evidence to keyword researched content.

“To a certain degree, I was blissfully unaware of keywords and SEO. I never thought strategically about the content. All I was doing was looking for great content ideas, great stories, great tactics. And whenever something popped up either in my head or an interaction would lead to a great idea or great insight, I would instantly record it, right in that moment. It was just very organic.

“Ramin fairly early on started spending a little bit of time actually thinking about search traffic and keywords. He started tinkering in the background with these articles, but I was totally unaware of it.

“Especially in the last two years a lot of our content is not purely what we call ‘Steli’ content anymore. We have now found one or two people that we work with that generate content for us. It’s very different from my content, but it’s still very much fits into our grander content strategy and voice.

Usually those pieces of content are very strategic, and based on the keywords we’re going after.  
We do a lot more long form content than we used to, because my videos didn’t use to be the complete guide to topic XYZ.

“Whenever Ramin wanted something specific from me, he would never frame it with, ‘This is the keyword volume and this is why we need to do, or this article is falling ranking, can you update it?’. He would just say, ‘Steli, this article is out of date. Don’t you have any new ideas on this?’ Or, ‘Steli, you’ve never did a video on this specific problem, please do a video.’

This approach of reverse engineering for SEO value seems to be working for Close. Figuring out the story or topic, then finding a keyword to work in, and the SEO structure. Also embracing idea that older content can be reworked and improved with more detail.

Building A Content Team

Perhaps bigger than trying to match the SEO needs is the difficulty of scaling the content creation while not losing the value or the original voice.

“So far it’s been a journey of trial and error for us, especially in the beginning. Now we are a well oiled machine, but trying to grow that machine has been a lot of false starts for us.Now we know how to find these writers and we can give them what they need to succeed and what we want them to do. I think that that took us a lot of time.

We constantly are getting to our limitations on how can we keep scaling our content while the quality and keeping the core voice and the core focus, not losing ourselves in the noise. It’s just not easy. At least for us so far.”

For companies like Close to scale their content means giving the writer enough information to actually know what’s needed, while giving them room to do the work themselves. Using generic guidelines, onboarding documents, etc.

They also ask writers to show examples of previous content that fits into their strategy, or to show something that’s completely different yet proud of.

Mixing Art and Science into the Content Strategy

“In content, it’s not so much good or bad. It’s just different. Somebody’s style or tone of voice may or may not line up with exactly what we’re looking for or what we want.”

“It’s not just pure art, but it’s not pure science either. There’s some of it that can’t be metric-driven and keyword-driven. There can be strategic reasons behind it and all that. You can have all kinds of KPIs and track the success of an article and then the other side of it is it can just be art. Whether reading it makes you feel something or not. That’s hard to capture, but it can be very powerful.”

“Content today bridges both. Most content that I see is too heavily focused on the numbers. So there’s no art in there. But the rare times when you see something that is written beautifully, it stands out.”

One interesting insight from Steli is that content from a year or two ago is often what is bringing in the most people. The content published today will perform six months from now.  Which begs the question of how long-term should content be planned out for?

“In the early days of Close, we had a very short time frame of measuring return and we just got lucky. When I started publishing about sales, almost nobody else in Silicon Valley was writing about sales. That was lucky. The next thing was that, back in that day a lot less content marketing in all of SaaS and the tech world. And then the third thing was that we had a few places that had massive audiences that we could get our content to rank up at the top. So you take all these things together and every blog post I published got us a ton of leads.”

I wonder if we had been the same team starting today with the same experience, I don’t know how it would have been. Because I guarantee you my early content would not have driven as greater results. I think my point of view today is that, again, we’re aiming for a balance between art and science.”

So how does a company like Close measure the ROI of their content? Is it all metrics based, or more about the feel that the

“We have some articles where we are much harsher on when it comes to their ROI, where we write them with a very clear goal in terms of keyword ranking and traffic or updates that we do the certain pieces of content where we do that update specifically to move the article in the ranking, and then there will track and we’ll be very kind of numbers focused on like, did this accomplish anything or not?

“And then there’s still a lot of content where we don’t. Where we know this is strong content that will teach a lot of people things. And I think it needs a mixture of both things to build a real audience versus just generating traffic.

This is one of those things where you need a strong internal champion that can defend that not everything the marketing team does needs to have a measured ROI.”

All this leads to middle of the funnel content. Close used to email marketing, and have now started dabbling in webinars, but do these types of marketing prove effective?

“We constantly reevaluate everything we do and we don’t always come out at the same end of like our interpretation of these things. I think the daily sales motivation video, it came out of a really good idea, which was, we knew that salespeople love self help and motivational stuff.

And eventually I think there was just not enough drive and motivation to keep doing it. I still believe in that idea, we just never had the energy to keep working on it. We got a few thousand people to subscribe to that and many of them liked it, but it’s one of those projects that just didn’t grow. There’s still a kernel of opportunity there. But eventually I think we just ran out of passion for it.

The webinar was much more focused on metrics in the short term. We would actually measure how many registrations we would get, how many people showed up, how many of those turned into trials and customers of ours. We much more focused on ‘if this won’t drive ROI every webinar in some form or fashion, it’s not really worth our time’.”

How does quantity of content play into the mix? Is repurposing a good strategy for increasing the quantity without losing the quality?

“Obviously everything depends on the way you do it. But I do think that repurposing or remixing content is still a super valid strategy today. I just think that most companies cannot do it. And the reason why they can’t do it is because their content is bad to begin with. So if you take something that is incredibly light in real content, you want to water it down a few more times, there’s just nothing in there anymore.

“So I think to begin with, if your content is not evergreen, if your content doesn’t have a distinct voice and point of view, it’s very hard to remix and repurpose.

Do people who consume the repurposed content ever get tired of it, or complain about seeing the same thing in different places?

“To this day, there’s not been a single time with somebody actually said, “Dude, I’ve seen your content multiple times, the same content in multiple places. Why do you repeat yourself?” Not a single time. And I get hundreds of emails every week for years now praising the content or commenting on the content one way or another. So I think that it’s still works. Just remember that you have to be mindful about what you are remixing and how you’re repurposing.”

When and How to Qualify a Ton of Leads

One of the urban legends (at least in the marketing world) is how Steli and the Close content team have driven over 200,000 qualified inbound leads. However, the problem that no one talks about is qualifying all those leads because a lot of them may be junk. How does Close deal with that unique challenge?

“I do think though what makes a big difference is the place we’re coming from. If our purpose was just ‘how can we growth hack for as big of a traffic source as possible?’, and then ‘how can we trick that traffic source to give us an email?’ then that’s just about getting numbers up.

And I think that that’s a big problem that a lot of companies have. For whatever reason, internal incentives, shortsightedness, whatever it is, the people that are working on these articles are focused on something that then creates distraction and noise.

I think for us there’s a few simple criteria we qualify by. We try to keep it as simple as possible where we could say if you sign up with these type of email addresses versus those type of email addresses, if you sign up from these IP, so from these places in the world versus those places in the world. And if you engage with our content in this particular way versus that particular way.

Just having these simple lead scoring criteria that kicks out the big majority of leads. That gives you have a higher level of certainty that they will translate into customers and long term business.

Another tactic can be onboarding for new leads. How does Close handle this aspect? Does it yield better customers long term? Does it help to avoid churn?

“Yeah, so there’s two tactics that can be super useful in this context. One is a disqualifying people preemptively. I could use keywords to make people disqualify themselves before they even go there. Same thing on the signup form. You can have a number of questions where as people answer those, you make them kind of disqualify themselves. That’s one thing.

The other thing that we do is when you sign up for stuff and you get our drip emails, there’s actually an email that will tell you when not to buy our product.

When you tell people they shouldn’t buy your product, that’s a unique concept. So they’ll respond and either ask for recommendation what else to buy, and then it starts a conversation.
Or they will respond to just say, ‘Thank you. This is an awesome email. I’m not not used to this.’

So we turn away a lot of customers that we know are not going to be good customers, ideal customers. So closing them now will generate short term revenue but it just going to turn it around and create more churn for us and support tickets and all kinds of other issues. 

One thing is for certain, whether you need a CRM for Sales or not, you can learn a lot from reading and listening to Steli. His sales tactics and free content is incredibly useful no matter what phase of business you are in.