Tom Hunt, Founder of Fame.so has cracked the code to become famous. Through podcasts, he has helped so many people achieve their dreams. Tom is the founder of Fame.so, helps you do two major things. Create amazingly good content around a specific niche, and make sure you are seen around other famous people in that niche.
Episode Show Notes
Tom Hunt founder of Fame.SO shares the ways he believes we have to change the way we are going to be marketing, podcasts, and his true feelings on cold calling. He shares what it takes to have a successful podcast and a few steps you should take if you want to have one. Tom is the founder of Fame.SO which is a UK advertising service that starts and grows the world's most profitable B2B podcasts.
Alex Meade, Beacons Point, VP of Sales & Marketing
Alex is the VP of Sales & Marketing at Beacons Point, a leader of HubSpot User Groups, the host of the B2B Growth Marketer Podcast, and a collector of Kurt Vonnegut books and San Diego craft beer.
Tom Hunt, Founder of Fame.SO
We start and grow the world's most profitable podcasts for growth focussed B2B businesses. We define strategy, find and book guests, train the host, produce the audio, promote the podcast, and much more.
Tom Hunt [00:00:00] If you’re pissing off 300 of your ideal customers a day, that’s going to stunt your growth. I think that is changing the way we have to market in B2B.
Alex Meade [00:00:13] Welcome to the B2B Growth Marketer Podcast. My name is Alex, your host. Today I’m with Tom Hunt, the founder of Fame and bCast. Tom, welcome.
Tom Hunt [00:00:23] Alex, thank you so much for having me.
Alex Meade [00:00:26] Obviously, you’re heavily involved in podcasts, as your two companies that you founded and cofounded are very heavily involved in that. You seem to be on a B2B side. I thought today, as this podcast revolution started, you launched heavily during the pandemic. I don’t think it started during the pandemic. Talk about some of the shifts in B2B marketing and where you see things going, as you’ve had a long career in leading marketing teams and now two companies that help marketers market better. Maybe just to start… Obviously, there’s been some shifts in B2B marketing and strategy. Is there an origin for some of these shifts? Besides the big elephant in the room of the pandemic, is there anything else that’s caused these shifts in how we’re marketing?
Tom Hunt [00:01:26] My thoughts, they’re going to be random thoughts. I haven’t gotten a full cohesive theory yet. I was trying to think about this today. Why is this thing changing? I think the answer is actually quite obvious. It’s the thing that has been changing almost every industry in the whole world since it was first conceived in the early 1990s. It’s the Internet, and it’s the flow of information. The question is: what impact is it having on the world of B2B buying or B2B marketing? Earlier today, I was like, “I think there’s no….” You can’t get away with stuff you used to be able to get away with because the flow of information… Everybody can know everything because information from the Internet has been—I don’t know—democratized. If you used to be calling 1,000 companies a day and annoying 30% of them, then previously, when there wasn’t review sites, communities, LinkedIn, then people would get annoyed with you, but then that wouldn’t spread. But now, if you’re pissing off 300 of your ideal customers a day, that’s going to stunt your growth. I think that is changing the way we have to market in B2B.
Alex Meade [00:02:46] Before it was siloed. Bob in accounting at a company in California couldn’t go complain about who called them from New York trying to sell them some software or whatever they’re selling. That’s interesting to think of… Talk about the Internet. The Internet is not a new thing, but it’s certainly evolving of how we interact with the Internet. I think it’s been evolving in the last couple of years. Definitely sped up by the pandemic. What do you see behavioral changes in the Internet?
Tom Hunt [00:03:22] I read a few books about the history of the Internet. I think Web 1 was when we were first able to… It was either just see stuff on web pages or we’re actually able to put stuff into web pages. It would be commenting on blogs. That was Web 1, a very static web page, where 2 we can comment on blogs. Sorry, Web 1 we can comment on blogs. Web 2 is this more immersive social experience. I think we’re just reaching the pinnacle of this. Over the past, I would say, 5 to 10 years is when Web 2 has really taken off. That has been the thing that’s really impacting B2B now, because you can go on LinkedIn, get seven recommendations for your next B2B marketing software provider. We’re obviously not going to dig into Web 3, because no one really knows what that’s going to do, especially to B2B marketing. Let’s not go there, because that’s a whole other episode.
Alex Meade [00:04:16] That was my next question. You knew that was coming.
Tom Hunt [00:04:20] I haven’t really committed any thought to how Web 3 is going to impact B2B marketing. But in three years, once I start thinking about that, Alex, we can have another episode.
Alex Meade [00:04:33] Great. If we’re at the pinnacle of Web 2, is there anything…? For those B2B marketers out there, what can they do now to still capture some of this social interaction, some of these LinkedIn, new apps, and products like Clubhouse? The Rise and Fall of Clubhouse podcast, he’s like, “Even within a Web 2.0, there’s got to be a map even for that.” If we’re still in it, what’s left in this Web 2.0 for people to still utilize, and get better at, and still get value out of?
Tom Hunt [00:05:25] Going back to the cold-calling pharma company, the example, pissing off 30% of them. I think the best companies have been doing—maybe do a couple of case studies—over the past three to five years is the opposite of that, trying to annoy nobody. The opposite of annoying nobody is making everybody, even if they’re not your target customers, like and trust you. If you do that, ultimately, they’re going to make a more educated decision of who they want to buy from. Then they’re just going to come to your site, because somebody talked about you in a community or in a Slack group. They’re going to come to your site. They’re going to request a demo. They’re going to request a proposal. That’s the key. It’s a mindset shift. Once you’ve made that mindset shift, then there are tactical strategies we can go through. But if you haven’t made that shift in your head yet, then it’s just not going to work. We can pick out a couple of examples of this if that’s going to make it easier for our audience.
Alex Meade [00:06:38] Give me an example.
Tom Hunt [00:06:41] I’m going to be a little bit self-aggrandizing here. One example is I have a group called SaaS Marketer. It’s a Facebook group, 11 point 7,000 people on Facebook in a group. Obviously, in the description, I link to Fame and bCast services related to that. I don’t think I’ve ever pitched in our group. I just write. I post one thing every day on LinkedIn and in that group. It’s never pitching. It might be like, “Go and listen to this podcast episode,” but there’s no pitching. The interesting thing is that I would say 90% of that group probably wouldn’t ever be customers because their businesses are too small, or they’re not even in SaaS. But I still get people that either come from the group and come to work with us, or I get people say they talked to somebody who’s in our group, and then they came to us. Here’s an example of instead of calling people up pitching and annoying them, actually trying to improve their lives or their careers. They like and trust us, and that eventually comes back. It’s releasing control and just relying on the good of the universe. If you say that to a CFO, most CFOs are going to tell you, “You’re an idiot.” It’s the jump, the leap you have to make.
Alex Meade [00:08:06] It’s certainly the challenge marketers face. I think everybody knows by now that’s a good strategy, but you still need metrics, you still need numbers, you still need to show improvement. It’s a give and take. It’s tug of war between—what you’re saying—let’s go be really helpful. Let’s create content that we aren’t trying to get someone to convert on. Let’s just try to create something that’s going to be valuable to them, help their careers, just a hey, try this trick, or tip, or whatever it is versus here’s a thesis of why you should be podcasting and why Fame and bCast are the best options. It’s something that’s more general helpful, how to… You just gave that example. The CFO was like, “Okay, cool, but where’s the revenue?” How do you play that game while also providing and getting that data to show results?
Tom Hunt [00:09:11] Exactly. If you’re doing that stuff right, this content creation stuff right, then you will, over a long enough time period, have people coming to you, assuming you have a service that people actually want, to buy your thing. The question is, we just have to go to the CFO and say that out of the 100 people that we sold last year, 17 of them said they listened to our podcast or they came from our Facebook group. You’ve got a simple solution on your request a demo, request proposal form, open text field where we’re like, “Where did you hear about us?” Make sure you’re saving and analyzing that, because somebody might get it wrong, as well. They might be like [inaudible 00:09:55] Their friend told about you, they google you, and they come to you. I would say that’s the most reliable way to prove to your CFO that the thing is working because no tech is going to tell you they came from a Facebook group.
Alex Meade [00:10:09] I feel like there’s some backlash on the attribution software out there because it’s not capturing what we’re talking about. It’s not saying, hey; this person came from our Facebook group, or LinkedIn group, or from our podcast. Are you at Fame or at bCast…? I don’t know if you have a sales process, if they talk to a salesperson or if it’s a forum. Are you asking people at purchase like, “Hey, how’d you hear about us?”
Tom Hunt [00:10:39] It’s a very topical question, Alex, because I should be, and I do. But at the same time, the other thing you need to do, I think it’d be to just make your buying process, especially if you have people in the way of it, as smooth as you possibly can. That’s even to go to the extent that you don’t say anything or ask any questions if they’re not going to further the deal. I have started doing it recently. I ask everyone that buys, obviously, but I’m trying to remove all blockers. You’re trying to make someone think in the sales process where you really don’t want them to. I think the right answer is probably yes, to do that. But at the moment, I’m so concerned about the conversion rate and making the buying process amazing that I haven’t been saying that.
Alex Meade [00:11:26] I only bring that up because you talked about that example of how do you send your CFO, “Hey, the podcast is working. Out of the last quarter, five customers said they listened.” How do we capture that data other than just asking the customers? How did you get…?
Tom Hunt [00:11:51] A free text field on the form, on the request demo, or the request proposal form. If you think about it, if you’re selling a $100K a year thing, and you’re worried about conversion on that form, then if somebody is not willing to write that on the form, then you’re definitely not going to go through the process of buying a $100K thing. I don’t think it makes the buying process that much more tricky, but I just don’t… Look, to be honest, most buyers don’t care getting asked that question, either. Maybe I’m just a bit paranoid about it. Maybe I should just start asking everybody.
Alex Meade [00:12:28] I think you have the philosophy; let’s make this as easy and smooth as possible. Once you know it works, there’s a philosophy there of add as much as you want, and if it’s not working, start to remove things or just to start slowly adding things to see if it’s going to cause a dip in conversions. I think it’s valuable. I think you see the value, and I don’t think you need to see the numbers to say that it’s working for you. But there’s a lot of companies out there… If they’re just going to start a B2B business, they’re going to start a podcast targeting their customers to put the time and effort that goes into… It takes a lot of time to edit these things for people that don’t have editing backgrounds or a team to do it. It is a time commitment to create podcasts. It’s a lot easier than it used to be with tools like Riverside and other things like that, but it’s still a commitment. I think for a lot of companies to make that type of commitment, they need to be able to show something for it other than hey, we have 30 new followers this month. Some of these podcasts, that’s the growth that they’re getting, because it’s very niche, it’s very in their space. Let me frame the question this way: if there’s a marketing director or marketing manager out there who’s being tasked to create more content—they’re doing their research; they’re big podcasters; they love listening—what’s the advice? How would they get started? What’s a way to go about that?
Tom Hunt [00:14:10] Getting started on the show. Step one, we want to convince our CEO to be the host. The way you do that is you say, “Look, we’re going to turn you into an interviewing machine. You’re only going to spend 45 minutes per episode. We’re going to prep you, and we’re going to put you on calls with ideal customers, ideal partners, or just really interesting people with big audiences in the space, our niche.” That’s step one. Once you’ve done that, he’s going to actually find the guests. It’s pretty easy on LinkedIn. You just write a nice message, say you love their stuff, and then, “Do you want to come on the show?” That’s step two. Step three, as you put that in, get the host to interview. Step four, if the budget is low, you can just find a freelancer to edit this for not very much at all. This actually happened. I got into B2B podcasting because we went through this exact process, except I was head of marketing at a B2B SaaS company. I wasn’t the CEO, but I was the host. I was like, “Team, can you do this for me?” We started doing it. The first episodes were just horrendous, really badly edited. [inaudible 00:15:19]. The real, actual gift from that process was obviously, we are meeting a lot of people who were good customers, partners, or had a big audience, but it was learning about that customer persona. I think those are tactical steps to get started. But I think before getting started, it’s useful to understand how this could be valuable for the company. As we’ve talked about this whole episode, we want to be creating information that’s actually going to improve the lives of our customers. That’s great. Takes a long time to start getting stuff to show the CFO, though. What are the other ways we can convince the CFO or the CEO that this thing is going to be useful to do? How do we do that? A, we show the amount of resources that it’s going to take. It’s actually not that much, because we can do most of it ourselves, and we can get a freelancer for quite cheap. Number two, what are the other benefits? We’re going to network. We’re going to meet these people who could be buyers. They could be customers. They could share our episodes because they’ve got the audience. I actually think the hidden benefit is that you start to learn a lot about the industry, and your customers, and potential customers. That’s probably what I recommend is looking at the other benefits. The whole ethos behind Fame—if you get other benefits from the process, you’re going to keep investing. You build an audience that’s actually going to give you an ROI. The longer we can get a client to run the show, the more likely they are to stay. That’s important, I think.
Alex Meade [00:16:54] As a fellow marketer and B2B marketing agency, we’re in a similar space. What do you tell…? You’ve got a prospect who’s like, “Yeah, I want a podcast.” But realistically, Tom, how long is it going to take for me to see traction—traction on followers, traction on listeners, traction on people engaging, traction on people actually inquiring about our services?
Tom Hunt [00:17:32] I say that we wouldn’t look for any ROI on the listener side for six months. We’re not going to put any ads in. We’re just going to focus on making awesome content for them while also building connections with people that have big audiences, partners, or customers. Then after six months, assuming it’s a biweekly show, that’s 12 relationships we would have built. Probably would have learned a lot about our potential customers, about the market, and potentially some of those partners or customers would have moved into the sales funnel for us. Because we haven’t put any ads in, and we’ve been improving the content slightly every week or every month—the audience may be small depending on the niche—we’ll be growing. At that point we’re going to start to… Ideally, after month eight or month nine, we check the inbound form, the inbound demo requests in that free text field. We’re just hoping we’re going to do a CTRL-F on that Google Sheet, and there’s going to be the word podcast in there. If I was a betting man, I would put money on the fact that if you did this, if you executed this well for nine months and you had a part of the people actually want to buy, that you would have a number of results for that search.
Alex Meade [00:18:46] You mentioned biweekly. What is a frequency that you recommend? Is it worth doing if you’re doing one a month? Is it worth doing…? Do you need to do one a week, one every two weeks?
Tom Hunt [00:19:02] I feel like it’s going to the gym. If you want to get a result, you need to do more. But you only do more if you can maintain the quality. The answer to that question is as frequent as possible where the quality is maintained. That could be mostly… In the show it’s probably not going to grow that fast if it’s monthly. Or it could be biweekly, or it could be weekly.
Alex Meade [00:19:21] Let’s talk about the future. Since we’ve been talking a lot about podcasting—I think that is a big part of what B2B companies can do—answer it either via podcasts or just B2B in general. What does the next 12 months, 18 months look like in the B2B marketing space? Is there going to be a lot of change? Are we going to be where we are now? What do you think?
Tom Hunt [00:19:52] I think the trends we’re seeing driven by the pinnacle of Web 2 are going to retain. The way I like to measure… It’s like an imaginary metric. If you can have… I call them positive impressions. Not just an impression. All the paid platforms gives you impressions. We want positive impressions. An impression that leaves the person… We have a better emotional connection to you. What we need to do or what becomes even more important in the next year is getting these positive impressions ideally targeted on people that could buy. That’s really what we want. If we are doing the opposite of that, if we’re getting negative targeted impressions and we’re actually annoying those people that could buy from us, both of these are going to compound either way, up or down. I find it super interesting sometimes when a B2B company is running ads, and these ads are just not working, but then they’ve also been cold-calling and annoying people for the past three years. Obviously, your ads are going to be rubbish, because you’ve annoyed the whole market over the past three years. It isn’t that your ad copy is bad or your targeting is bad; it’s that no one likes you. This is what we need to start doing. We need to start making people like us.
Alex Meade [00:21:13] You don’t seem to be a fan of cold-calling outbound. Is that right?
Tom Hunt [00:21:23] Yeah. I guess it’s because… I’m quite introverted. There is absolutely no way you’re going to get me cold-calling people. I actually have my phone set so that if it’s an unknown number, it just doesn’t ring. [inaudible 00:21:34]. I’m just not doing that. I’m obviously biased. I’m also [inaudible 00:21:39] marketing and sales, even though I’ve done all the sales for these businesses. For sure, I’m biased. Probably outbound can maybe be done in a way that doesn’t annoy people. I’m sure the best people who are doing it can do it without annoying people. I wouldn’t say I’m against outbound. I’m against annoying people. If you can work out a way to do outbound and not annoy people, I’m for that.
Alex Meade [00:22:00] I’m right there with you. I am in sales. I lead our sales marketing, and I call people. For the record, I do not like cold-calling. I stopped doing it probably three years ago because I don’t like it. I never answer my phone if I don’t know the number. I let it ring. If it’s important, it goes to voicemail, or they’ll text me. If it’s somebody I know, I’ll call them back. There’s no need for me to answer my phone because 98% of it is either a cold call trying to sell me something I don’t want or automated response from a scam IRS trying to get my tax info or something. I’m with you. I don’t like cold-calling as much. Cold-emailing, I think, can be done in a way that is in the same philosophy, what you’re talking about. How do we just help you? How do we be…? How do we leave a positive impact, I think is a good way to think of it. How do we leave a positive impact with people we interact with, whether that’s cold email, whether that’s LinkedIn, podcasts, as well, all the channels that we have as an agency? Our philosophy is how do we be helpful first, and then if it’s a good opportunity, it’ll come back; it’ll come to us. Through emails, we try more personalized. Let’s be humans and connect. If you’re not interested, that’s fine. No, I’m not going to email you 30 times if you say no or if you don’t respond because you clearly are not interested. I think I’m right there with you. Well, Tom, we’re getting close…
Tom Hunt [00:23:38] Quick question, Alex. Can I ask you a question about cold-calling?
Alex Meade [00:23:42] Yes.
Tom Hunt [00:23:43] Three years ago, when you were into it—Let’s say you did 100 dials in a day—how many of those people do you think had positive versus negative impressions? I’m assuming mostly positive because you’re a really great guy.
Alex Meade [00:23:55] Mostly negative. Here’s the thing about me when I cold-call—I get really awkward and uncomfortable. I don’t talk like this. I go into it being like… I jump. I’m like, “Okay, be normal.” Then the answer is like, “Oh, this is Alex from B2B.” I get super anxious and stressed about it. It’s funny that I’m in sales, and I can’t handle a cold call.
Tom Hunt [00:24:23] Fair enough. Mainly negative. We didn’t harm the brand too much.
Alex Meade [00:24:30] I was not doing 100 a day. I was doing 30 a week, 20 a week. It was very targeted. That stopped a while ago.
Tom Hunt [00:24:41] [inaudible]
Alex Meade [00:24:43] Hopefully, it’s all right. We do other things. Hopefully, we share my good side more.
Tom Hunt [00:24:47] Like this podcast. There are people out there that are like, “I really enjoyed that episode. Maybe I would never be a customer, or I’m not going to buy right now.” But if the universe is a good place, at some point, that’s going to come back to you.
Alex Meade [00:25:02] We’ve gotten more work… We’ve gotten plenty of work from people who changed jobs. We knew them. I’ve got some mastermind groups for marketers, not really in our audience, that came back two years later. It’s like, “Hey, I’m now the head of marketing at this company, and we’re looking at HubSpot.” That’s something we do. The universe, if you put the right vibe out there, it will come back. I think everyone’s probably got examples of that story. As long as you are not being annoying and not being a jerk.
Tom Hunt [00:25:43] It’s proven psychology. I agree with the vibe, that you want to be nice, you want to have high energy, whatever. But it’s also proven psychology. It’s called the law of reciprocity. If you help someone at some point, they want to pay back the debt. We’re biased to do that. It makes total sense.
Alex Meade [00:25:59] Well, I could probably talk to you for another hour. This is fun. Well, we’re almost out of time. What I want to do is… Where can people find you? Where do you want…? I know you have a couple of podcasts. What should you want people to check out? I would recommend people check out your website. You guys do have this… I did notice you have this podcasting course, which I would recommend people check out.
Tom Hunt [00:26:28] Completely free. Zero to 140,000 downloads. [inaudible 00:26:33] on LinkedIn, connect to me, ask me any questions. I have a show similar vibe to this, Confessions of a B2B Marketer, you can find in any podcast directory.
Alex Meade [00:26:46] I love that. A friend of mine, Ashley Levesque, started this support group. It’s called the Marketers Support Group. We just talk about all the things. Is this really a thing that we either have to do as marketers? Marketers always say, “I’m also the IT person at my company. Why am I the expert of Gmail because your email’s broken? That’s not what I know.” I love that Confessions of a Marketer. I love it. Well, Tom, thank you so much. This has been great.
Tom Hunt [00:27:20] Awesome, Alex. No, thanks so much. I really enjoyed the chat.
Alex Meade [00:27:23] All right. Thanks.