Procurify is a B2B fintech company that creates software to help organizations better track and control spend management. Their primary audience is busy CFOs. They launched their podcast "Spend Culture Stories" in November 2017 and after just 50 episodes, the podcast has hit the top 30 on Apple Podcasts in the management category.
Host Dani Hao estimates that approximately 30% of podcast guests have gone on to become revenue generating partners or customers. While it can take a while to move from podcast guest to Procurify partner, the podcast “quickens up that entire process because we're able to offer value to them right away,” Dani says in this episode of Brands That Podcast.
Monitoring podcast ROI is notoriously difficult, but Procurify has a unique approach to tracking sales that originate from its podcast.
Here’s how it works: The podcast is the first touch, it’s an “awareness piece.” Procurify nurtures that relationship by inviting CFOs or other C-Suite executives as guests on Spend Culture Stories. An executive isn’t likely to be the person investigating a new tool or solution — it’s often a more junior person — which is why the company diligently tracks specific contacts under the account name in Salesforce, their CRM.
Then when someone from the account comes in as an inbound lead through website form, for example, “it can be directly attributed to that specific target account where you can say the first touch where we had a contact with this account was through the podcast,” Dani explains.
At the same time, Dani is quick to caution that a podcast is not purely for lead generation. It’s a credibility tool and a brand builder. She’s witnessed this as the show has grown. At first, they did a lot of outbound to secure guests, but as the podcast has grown, most guests are coming to them via referrals or other channels.
While Spend Culture Stories is building a following in its niche, an average episode gets 500 to 700 listens within a week of launch — way up from the five to 10 downloads per episode in the beginning. But listens is just one of many metrics the team looks at to evaluate their efforts.
Listen to this episode to get the strategy behind Spend Culture Stories’ guest selection, how Dani and the team nurture relationships before and after the episode, and why Dani sees the podcast as a powerful entrypoint for partnerships that help Procurify grow.
💡 Name: Dani Hao
💥 What she does: She’s the Community & Events Lead at Vancouver-based Procurify and is also the Host and Producer of the company’s podcast Spend Culture Stories.
🧠 Get smart: “I've had instances where we had the podcast with one CFO or one organization and we've done multiple things for them right afterwards, because they liked working with us such as running an event with us, maybe co-writing a white paper,” says Dani. “Sometimes it's not really easy to quantify the ROI from this, but it's more of like, you started off with the podcast as a gateway, and then it gives you 10 things in return.”
Leverage a “post podcast package” to nurture relationships with your guests 👉 After a podcast interview, Procurify sends guests an information package that includes when the podcast will be live and follows up on any supporting information needed. Based on the podcast conversation, Procurify will then offer a suggestion for next steps — which Dani calls the “business ask” — inviting the guest to have a conversation with either the sales or partnerships team (depending on what makes most sense).
Close the loop with your sales team (they can use the podcast in outreach) 👉 Procurify has a tracking mechanism on its website to detect visitor domains. After a CFO has appeared on the podcast, Procurify’s BDR team can use that information as well as website data to do warm outreach. Dani describes it like this: “We can say, Hey, notice that you're checking out Procurify, you're looking for something — we've actually interviewed your CFO on this podcast. I'm just wondering if there's anything we can answer for you in terms of questions.”
Tracking interactions with all contacts at target accounts is essential and will help empower sales operations to leverage the podcast.
Go “very niche” to make your podcast stand out 👉 One reason why Spend Culture has been able to grow is because Procurify created a show for CFOs and finance leaders who didn’t have many podcast options. But even if you’re in a competitive space, Dani says you get results by drilling down on the target audience. It could be CMOs at SaaS startups or CMOs who don’t have a marketing background. She says the key thing to figure out is: “What is the specific niche that you want to reach with your podcasts and how can you differentiate yourself from the ones already out there?”
Transcript excerpts from the conversation
“The podcast has been pivotal for driving growth within our social and also within our partnerships program … podcast is a really great way to build partnerships because it's such an easy ask. … when approaching partnerships as a strategy a lot of people get stuck with, what is the current ask? What is it that we want to get from the partners and how can we add value? And I think the podcast is such an easy win because first of all, it acts like a conduit between the conversation with whoever you're trying to get in front of. And then secondly, from that conversation, you can really discover, what are the core competencies? What are the value-adds that this potential partner can bring you? And then from that conversation, you can produce something with them right away, which is a win. And from that, it opens up a lot of doorways to other collaborations within the company, too.”
“It normally takes a while because when you have that initial conversation, they might not yet be ready to explore a solution … Afterwards, I don't even really reach out to them myself. Normally they would say, Hey, by the way, since we've done this with Procurify, we're now looking for a solution that manages our spending. And you guys came to mind because we’ve done that podcast together. Can I see the product in person?”
“Don't think about the podcast as a pure lead generation tool, because it really isn't. I would say that it's more of a platform for you to build a brand and credibility and content, really. … I would say that from one interview, you have, you know, 10 different assets that now you can reuse and recycle. And for especially companies that don't really have a large content team, this is like a really easy way for you to get content right off the bat.”
“If you want to build a brand apart from just using, for example, PR or content, and, you know, actually elevate it to the next generation of what I think brand building will be, then the podcast is definitely something that you should look into. … I actually used to be in PR, and I think when a lot of people think about PR or communications, they think about the typical press releases, media releases and whatnot. But I think moving forward, what people actually want is a showcase of your credibility and you as a thought leader in the space that you're in.
And when you are able to actually host your own platform and to showcase the thought leaders in your industry, aside from yourself, that's I think where the long term gain is really worth it.”
“The way that we differentiate ourselves is that we like to have very natural, unfiltered conversations. So we even like to say in our podcast preparation document: don't be afraid to swear if you feel like it, don't be afraid to really tell us your true feelings, because that's really what we want to give to our audiences. And that's kind of how we stand out … we kind of pride ourselves in being more like misfits in the industry and more of the younger players. So we like to have a more conversational angle from our podcasts. We don't like to make it too rehearsed.”
“In the very beginning, we focused a lot on the numbers and that kind of stressed us out a little bit, because you'd be surprised to understand how slowly a podcast grows when it comes to the actual downloads and listenership. So we don't like to look at that just because our strategy also is that the podcast is part of our content strategy — it’s not like a singular entity on its own. … we like to think about, from the podcast, what is the aggregate amount of impressions and what is the aggregate amount of people that actually interacted with our content in any other way? … we track on top of just the aggregate listens because we feel we've got to give people options, not everybody's going to listen to the episode.”
[19:37] “From the quality perspective, [the podcast] really adds credit ability to our content.
We are now a top 30, I believe, management podcast on iTunes. So when we mentioned that on top of the white papers that we produce, that really adds that level of credibility, and that really helps us get even better guests on the show.”
[41:29] “Not everybody will have time to read the blog post, but maybe they'll find value in that specific quote that we share on social from that episode. So I would say, look at it in terms of a comprehensive view — don't try to get too sucked into the numbers because you're playing a losing game there”
[45:59] “One thing we do track every week is the ranking. So we want to see where we are in comparison with our competitors’ podcasts. So that's, I think, a better measurement of success rather than specifically just how many downloads or how many listens.”