1.4: Jacob Schneider: Use Data to Start Better Conversations

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This is a podcast episode titled, 1.4: Jacob Schneider: Use Data to Start Better Conversations. The summary for this episode is: <p>Stanley Security's digital analytics experience manager, Jacob Schneider, has analyzed 1000s of Drift conversations. Literally. In his first role at the business security company, Jacob studied 2000 Drift conversations to find recurring themes across the global organization. He then had to communicate those findings back to the marketing team so that they could iterate on their existing campaign strategy. </p><p><br></p><p>So, what has Jacob learned from studying all these conversations, and how does he communicate those findings to the larger organization? Sammi gets into all of this and more on this episode of Conversation Starters.</p><p><br></p><p>Like this episode? We'd love it if you could leave us a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ review! And make sure to subscribe, so you never miss an opportunity to learn more about starting conversations in the Revenue Era.</p><p><br></p><p>You can connect with Sammi and the Drift Podcast Network on Twitter @sammireinstein,@DriftPodcasts, and Jacob on LinkedIn.</p>
How Jacob breaks down big data findings into bite-size action items for his team
03:03 MIN
The most interesting trends Jacob found by analyzing thousands of chat conversations
02:53 MIN
How Jacob and his team built out a unique data model based on Drift data
03:18 MIN

Sammi Reinstein: Hey, this is Sammi Reinstein, and you're listening to Conversation Starters. On this show, we talk all about bringing conversations back to B2B marketing and selling, because if there's one thing we know about doing business in the revenue era, it's that the best customer experience wins. Through the power of our own conversations with drifters, customers and special guests, we'll learn how to deliver a sales and marketing experience that puts the buyer first. Let's get into it. And we are back. Hey Elizabeth.

Elizabeth: Hey Sammi. I am really looking forward to your conversation today, so we're going to just jump right into it, but it's a seamless segue from last week's episode with Guy from Intellimize because if you remember and if you didn't listen to the episode, I'd recommend that you do, Guy made a lot of references to the importance of using data to create personalized website experiences.

Sammi Reinstein: Yes, today we are interviewing Jacob Schneider from Stanley Security and he is going to tell us more about how he uses data to create more conversations on his website.

Elizabeth: Yes, I think Jacob will have a really interesting story because he has been in a few roles at Stanley Security and has helped build out different reporting and analytics to create more personalized experiences.

Sammi Reinstein: Yeah.

Elizabeth: So fair warning that there will be a bit more Drift product talk than the previous episodes but I don't think you need to be a Drift user to get something out of the conversation.

Sammi Reinstein: Yeah, I agree. It's going to be a lot of how you use data and communicate that with your team and then of course from playbooks, how to use those insights and create better conversations. So I'm looking forward to it. Jacob, thank you so much for coming on the podcast.

Jacob Schneider: Yeah, absolutely. Thank you for having me Sammi. I appreciate it.

Sammi Reinstein: Of course. All right. So Jacob is going to walk us through the importance of using data to have more informed conversations but before we get into all of that, Jacob, I would love to learn a little bit more about you and what you do at Stanley Security.

Jacob Schneider: Yeah, absolutely. So my background is actually, I'm definitely on the marketing digital experience side of things, but my background is actually more in psychology. That's where I did a lot of my education and everything. I got a lot of experience actually working with data, running experiments, tests, looking at human behavior and some experience analyzing data and doing statistics, things like that, which lends itself well to an analytics type role. I actually started out at Stanley Security a few years ago doing HR as an intern. So I did that for a couple Summers, which was great, but I actually got more into the marketing analytics side of things, which I got to bring in more of my research and analysis side of things and understanding behavior, especially with marketing and the overlap with psychology. I got to do a lot more of that in that role. So I enjoy it a little bit better than when I was doing before and so I've stuck with that through the last couple years. My main role now at Stanley Security is working with our chatbot. So I work exclusively at Drift day in day out. That's a lot of my role and I work all the way from ideation and creation of playbooks all the way through to measuring them on the backend, analyzing the data, reporting out to the various teams. We work at a... Our team at Stanley works at a global scale, so reporting out to the different regional markets and overall improving and iterating on the experience from a chat perspective. And so that's a lot of my role in what I do, which it's nice because I get to work with, like I said, you can do a lot with data and analyzing behavior, especially from chat where you can literally see the decisions people are making and try to improve that experience that they're having. So it lends itself well, the background. So...

Sammi Reinstein: Yeah, definitely. I am a chatbot person. If I do say so myself, I used to be on our professional services team where I was building our playbook so I definitely relate to you. I nerd out over all of this stuff. I also was a psychology minor for two semesters and then I switched but I think that psychology does lend itself really well to a lot of what we do in marketing and from a data side of things where it can be so black and white in a way it does help to actually have that psychology background where you can take the data step further and think," Well, there's people behind this, how can we actually look at this and analyze this and take meaning from this?"

Jacob Schneider: Yeah. Absolutely and especially with... You can make a very structured approach, ask all the questions you want to collect data on and then just have a very robotic approach. But with the psychology part of it, you have to work in the conversational aspects of things and you definitely... It's you prongs, you want to have the conversational aspects and that right content in there, but then on the back end, you have to balance it with collecting the data you need to as well. So there's definitely a lot involved. So...

Sammi Reinstein: Yeah. And your title is long title. Your title is global digital analytics experience manager. Can you tell me, what does that mean? What does a digital experience analytics manager do?

Jacob Schneider: Yeah. Yes, it's a long title. And basically what it boils down to is the team that I work on, we work on our global digital experience, which especially in the age of COVID with more digital interactions is becoming more and more entwined with overall customer experience. We're seeing a lot more engagement on website, on chat, things like that, as people are trying to solve problems digitally and on our team, at least. So an analytics manager is essentially around all the elements of our digital experience, whether it be website, design, marketing automation, each of our team members has developed a discipline around that where we have research questions that we want to answer. In some ways, we're like an RMD team within marketing almost where we've developed our discipline around the element that we're responsible for and we ask those questions and answer them and use that insight to feed it out to the team. And so essentially what I'm doing is analyzing our digital experience from a chat perspective. And I have teammates that do marketing automation, develop virtual agents, all that kind of stuff. And our end goal is always to improve the experience that our customers are having and prospects as they're coming in. So it's pretty cool. There's a lot of voice of customer data that comes through, especially from chat from my perspective. So that's a huge data source for us and you can collect so much on that and really listen to the behaviors and the decisions that people are making and start to categorize that and figure out what the best strategy forward is. So I hope that answers your question.

Sammi Reinstein: Definitely. Isn't it so interesting. I often will go into our chat tools and look at insights and see how people are responding to certain messages or what they're saying in chat. That is one of the most interesting parts of going back into Drift is you can think one thing about what your customers are saying and then you actually go in and you can see," This is how they're talking about our products. And these are the type of questions that they're answering. We should probably change the way that we're talking about this."

Jacob Schneider: Yeah. You're spot on, absolutely spot on. There's always insight to be had. There's always opinions and biases that come in too. Like you said, you may think that they're coming in at a certain perspective but really that's not what they're looking for or you're not exactly solving the pain point that they're looking for and so you always have to look back at the data and figure out if you're really pushing that true path forward to improve their experience. Absolutely.

Sammi Reinstein: And looking back on data for some people is you're looking at this graph and you just completely understand what it means, you feel really comfortable in the data and for other people that might be really scary looking at data and potentially not being able to completely understand what certain data points mean. So how do you go back to your team who may not have that understanding like you do of this data and how do you communicate it in a way that makes sense to them?

Jacob Schneider: Yes, absolutely. It can get very complex even for people like me who sit in the data day in, day out, it's complex, especially when you're dealing with humans who are very complex and you never know what might be happening. So the way that I like to think about it is, conversations, especially just talking about conversational data, there's obviously all kinds that you can look at, but conversations are pretty complex. If you were to take a Drift conversation, export it to an Excel sheet, you have 30, 40 messages, individual messages, all constituting a conversation there. And that's a complex data source. That's a lot to digest. It takes time to read through and understand it. What you like to do is... What you want to do is simplify it as much as possible. And so what we've been doing and in our experience using conversational tags and labeling your data that way, that's a great tool in Drift to use. And something that we use a lot of is, say someone comes in, they say they want to talk to sales, we add a sales inquiry tag in there. Say they go further and they say," I want to upgrade my existing security system, add an upgrade tag. Capture email, add an email capture tag. Successful interaction, if they say," This is what I was looking for. I don't need anything else," add that it was a successful interaction. And then all of a sudden you've simplified all of these rows of messages into one line of this was a sales conversation, they want to upgrade, we got their email and this is what they were looking for, we resolved that. And so as you start to break down and start to tag things out and label, I would advocate for more tagging rather than less so you can answer all the possible questions you want to answer. That's the first step of communicating that out is simplifying it to that digestible level because then you can start to look at" Okay, across all of my conversations, this is how many were tagged with sales. This is how many... Within sales, how many were upgrades versus adding a new solution." And those are the types of things you find that 20% of your sales conversations were upgrades and maybe 80% were new installs. Well maybe you take that to your team, your content team and say," Hey, maybe let's develop a playbook for specifically people who are adding new solutions or new products or whatever that looks like." All of a sudden you've taken all of these conversations that are so long and hundred thousands of lines of messages and you simplified it into a pattern using the tags. And so that's the way that we like to look at it and it's definitely a manual process for us right now where we mine the data we look at it in a dashboard and we take that and send it off to the content team and say," Hey, let's ideate and try to come up with something here. Ideal state is definitely automating as much of that as possible setting limits for," Hey, if a page is exceeding this much sales intent, let's shoot a notification over to our content team and say," Hey, this is popping up, project pointed out, let's put out a playbook." That's the ideal state that we're working towards but I think just getting your data in a good place where it's simplified using tag or whatever that looks like, that's the first step to unlocking the power of communication. It needs to be digestible as much as possible. So that's how we approach it.

Sammi Reinstein: Yeah. Yeah. And I love the way that you're thinking about those insights and you're not keeping it just to Drift where you can say," Let's create another playbook or something from here," but that you're dispersing that data information to the whole team where your content marketing team could create a new asset about something that a lot of customers are asking about or you could update the language on a given landing page. And I love what you're saying about simplification because it makes it super easy to take those next steps.

Jacob Schneider: Yeah.

Sammi Reinstein: I also am a big fan of using tags. So for anyone that's not familiar with tagging in Drift, you can have the bot apply a tag when someone goes through a certain conversation flow. So I've also seen a lot of people use that at virtual events where people are wondering," What are people most interested in at this virtual event?" And tagging," They're interested in this type of speaker. They're mostly looking at agenda," and then using those insights and updating.

Jacob Schneider: Yeah, absolutely. Although we say it's simple, but I will emphasize it does take a lot of effort on the forefront of things to try to... Because you have to develop almost a model around it and make sure it's structured and everything like that. But yes, after you've done all the work, it simplifies it a whole lot. If you're able to do that.

Sammi Reinstein: Yeah.

Jacob Schneider: So..

Sammi Reinstein: Awesome. And Jacob are there any great stories you can share from an interesting trend you found analyzing the data?

Jacob Schneider: Yeah, absolutely. Well, I've got... We have quite a discipline built around the tagging everything. So once you have that, you have all kinds of stories and trends that you notice and things like that, as you can imagine. One that I like to share though that comes to mind is... Actually when I was originally developing our model around how we wanted to tag things before we did our big implementation when we first started was I essentially sat down and read through over 1, 000 conversations by hand. All of those rows I was talking about with conversations, I read through all of those and essentially... which is a lot of work, but it's a lot... It gives you great insight into what your customers are really saying and how you can improve things. And what I did was I essentially labeled, what was the intent that they were coming in for? Were they looking for a sales team? Were they looking for a support issue for our existing customers? Were they just looking to learn about our solutions and our offerings? I labeled that. I labeled what the content of the conversation was. Was it around a certain solution? Was it around... Was there a specific ask in there and then the outcome, what was it successful? What did they drop off? Did we get a lead created, things like that. And so I went through and I looked at the trends very manually and developed that. And we actually noticed right off the bat that a lot of it was coming in was, at least for our US data was support based. So that was a large portion of what was coming in. And previously with our initial implementation of Drift, it had been... It's a sales marketing tool let's use it as that, but as we were seeing the data didn't lie. Our customers were coming in and interacting with the chatbot for a different purpose than we intended. And so we had to shift our experience to cater to that because the customers were going to say what they're going to say and you have to respond to that. And that's part of it is you have to build things out to cater to that audience. And so we actually ended up changing the first question of our chatbot entirely. Previously, it had been just basic, how can we help you today? With a few different options around those different intents. But we changed it when we noticed that there was a lot of support to be a question about, are you an existing customer or new to Stanley? And that based on your response there, it fundamentally changed your experience from then on because all of our customers got an enhanced support experience where that was an option that was built out. They could try to do a couple different things around support that covered some of the main issues. We also had sales and educational built in there, but we had to focus on the support because that was such a large aspect of what was coming in. Whereas the prospect side was focused primarily on a couple different sales options and then learning about our solutions. So rather than off the bat, just that inside alone and honestly that insight of all the support that came in has driven a lot of other changes as well to our website, to the type of virtual agents that we develop in other areas. So that alone has been a huge insight, a big takeaway that shifted the way that we approach our visitors on our digital side.

Sammi Reinstein: Yeah. Talk about getting close to the customer. I mean, reading all of those conversations and then taking action of what your customers are looking for. And then from there too, your buyers are getting a better experience because they don't have to go through different support paths and such. You can customize that experience too. That's great to hear how you updated and shifted strategy. I am curious when you were rolling out creating playbooks, what was the process behind that? What was the strategy behind getting those playbooks up and running?

Jacob Schneider: Yeah, so I think initially it's just getting your base product out and out there. So like a basic version of the playbook that you can use to capture all of those intents and really start to measure in different places, the website, having a wide implementation of a basic playbook allows you to measure a lot of things and then figure out where your personalization can come into play. Obviously you don't want a general experience for everything because every page has different intents. You have different segments that are coming into different places. But then I think the approach that we took was taking a basic listening to the data and then expanding from there and letting the data guide any further personalization or changes that we made to the approach.

Sammi Reinstein: Let the data guide the changes, all of that.

Jacob Schneider: Yes. Yes.

Sammi Reinstein: And you have some... Do you have humans also? Is it just the bot? What does that look like?

Jacob Schneider: Yeah, so we have... We do have some live reps in there from our inside sales team. So we have a few reps that sit and cover those types of inquiries. We have a solid pipeline built out there. We are still in our maturity of developing, more of our sales organization of getting into Drift using the tool, starting to expand into booking meetings and right on people's calendars and using Drift video for outreach, those kinds of things. But we like to automate as much as possible because if we can spare a human resource and cover the issue entirely in chat and in an automated fashion, we'd like to do that. And so it just... It depends. And you're always going to have... Especially when we have so much support that coming in with security integrators, there's all kinds of support issues that could come up. And so you have to require a lot of different people to be part of the chat process to cover everything that you need to cover. And so we've developed processes around automating what we can and then sending them to a live... Maybe to a live calling agent or something like that when we can't solve the issue that they're looking for. So it depends and we're starting to mature there quite a bit but it's coming along. So...

Sammi Reinstein: Yeah. And you mentioned earlier that you have global playbooks. When you were rolling those out, how did you have to shift your strategy?

Jacob Schneider: Yeah, luckily it wasn't actually a huge shift. Because we take a very standardized approach, especially when we were just starting out with a couple regions, we took a very standardized approach to having the same tags between playbooks, having similar paths where possible in the playbooks themselves and really what it took was to standardize that across regions as well. And so once you have that structure in place, you can really start to scale it to the other regions, to a certain extent. You always have different trends, different things, you have different cultural things, you have different intent breakdowns based off of different business functions, things like that by region. And so you definitely have to listen to that. So like for example, for us, we noticed that our UK implementation of Drift was seeing a lot more sales relative to support compared to our US implementation. And so we still wanted to make sure that support was taken care of in the chat experience in the UK but also we have a slightly larger opportunity for sales on the UK side and for our Canada region, we have quite a bit of residential security as part of our business there whereas in the US, it's not as big a part of our business. So we can't scale direct video surveillance, commercial playbook directly to Canada without considering that residential market as well. So there's always little nuances between the markets of course that you have to listen to and take into consideration as you strategize. But at the core level, at the common denominator as I would call it is you have your intense, your content and your outcomes, which is what it boils down to where across all of your conversations, across the regions 80, 90% of, of the conversations that are happening are either going to be sales, educational or support based and that's just something that we've found. And so that's a scalable model that we can look at intent across regions and start to look at trends that way as well. So you scale as you can and the structure helps with that but there's also the subtle differences and things like that. Another big thing that I'll mention is the naming conventions and the data governance, everything in that is crucial as well. And that's an underrated portion of it because if you don't keep a structured approach there, then you're going to spend more time trying to figure out what your data even is saying than actually interpreting it and finding the trends. So, one example there is we have one account for our global regions and so all of our playbooks are labeled with the region that they're serving, the purpose of the playbook and then what type of playbook it is, whether it's for lead generation or if it's more general purpose playbook, whatever that looks like, that helps us from a data tracking and just an operational perspective, keep everything separated and make sure that everything's organized in a coherent fashion. So there's a lot that goes into it. And we're rolling out a new implementation with our Nordics teams and we're taking an approach there, we're taking a very general playbook like I said before with taking a general playbook and then letting the data tell us what to personalize from there, because there's going to be those regional differences. And so you have to start at that base level and grow from there.

Sammi Reinstein: Yeah, I completely agree. I think that naming conventions are a super underrated aspect of Drift. And I think that any ops person listening to you would give you a big round of a pause because it makes their life so much easier when you're going back through and you're trying to find something. So for anyone starting with Drifts, I would come up with the naming convention and keep it the same and people like Jacob will thank you for it later. I also like what you said earlier with the global rollout using the data still to guide that personalization update because every region is going to have certain subtleties, right? There might be more formal ways of speaking or more relaxed ways of speaking or ways that you ask email. And I think just getting something up and running and from there AB testing different things and letting the engagement rates guide you and letting the drop off guide you and changing things from there.

Jacob Schneider: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. We've run AB tests... I'm glad that you mentioned that. We've run some AB tests that we assume," If this is working in one region, let's try this in another region and see if it works." Well, maybe that's not an assumption you could necessarily make. And so you have to run... You should probably run a test there as well and just see if that's something that scales and then you can start to understand what scales and what doesn't and that'll help drive the strategy as well. AB testing is another one that we're looking at expanding use on and is really helping us out a lot. So glad you brought that up.

Sammi Reinstein: And my final question for you, Jacob, I have heard about this model in Tableau that you have built that has very much so helped you understand the data that's coming through from Drift and actioning on it. Can you tell me a little bit more about that?

Jacob Schneider: Yeah, absolutely. So the Tableau dashboard is where all of our data from Drift lives, all of our conversation data, all of our contact data, we report it in through an API connection and it refreshes on a daily basis. And a lot of effort from the team... I was heavily involved with it, but a lot of effort overall from the team in inputting that together and it provides a whole lot of insight to us. So it breaks down just like I mentioned before already is the intent, the outcomes and then also the content of the conversations. And that's the model that we built out. And as you... When we started that we had a list of business questions that we wanted to answer. So what's the breakdown of intents? What's our common intents, what are our outcomes? And you let that guide the things that you visualize. And you want to make sure that if you have a specific question in mind that you're visualizing that. So one example is we were curious when a lot of our conversations were happening in the day. And so we actually built out a part of the dashboard that tells you how many conversations are happening by hour of the day and then you can also filter it by the intent. So you can see where all of our sales conversations happening. When are they happening? When are the support conversations coming in? And if you want to talk about feeding that insight out to the teams, you could use that in a lot of ways. You could use the sales data or educational data to say, maybe we can time our email sense more around this time because we're seeing a lot more engagement. We also noticed just overall that we were getting a lot of engagement from the West coast influencing the times that people were chatting in. They were chatting in at 6: 00 PM Eastern time as the peak rate where our Eastern operations are wrapped up by five Eastern. So there's a lot of insight to be had there and that's just one example. We can start to look at once you have the model in place of intent, content and outcomes, whatever those may look like for you, you can layer in by playbook. You can filter it down to, I want to see how this playbook is performing, see the intent behind it and see what the outcomes are, how many leads were generated and start to visualize that by playbook, by region. If the conversation... We can also filter, if the conversation included just a bot or a bot plus a human jumped in and see how those different performance. And again, that's all coming from the structure and everything, the tagging, everything behind it. Essentially, anything that we tag and we capture in a conversation we can visualize because we have that structure in place. So any visualization we want to create, we have the power to do that because of all the work that's been put into it and the discipline around it. Another one that jumps to mind is the firmographic data that we've been looking at. One example, actually a great example of expanding past a general experience and getting to very personalized experience is we had a conversation pattern that we were noticing where a couple industries in the particular had elevated sales in compared... Elevated sales conversation members, I should say, in comparison to other regions and we didn't have a personalized experience there. So we said," Hey, this looks like a great opportunity to build out a playbook specific to that vertical. So let's go after that and develop a playbook," and that's what we've been doing and it's those kinds of things that you start to know as you build out the visualizations, look at the trends and it's just a great tool to see all that in real time and take action on it.

Sammi Reinstein: Yeah. Yeah. Well, Jacob, you are certainly very, buyer- centric, customer- centric using what your customers are telling you, your buyers are telling you to create better, more personalized and more for conversation. So thank you so much for coming on the podcast. I certainly learned a lot and I'm sure our listeners did too. So thank you so much.

Jacob Schneider: Yeah. Thank you so much for having me. I had a great time talking with you.

Elizabeth: Well, I think it's safe to say that Jacob is definitely a power user of Drift.

Sammi Reinstein: Certainly a power user of Drift. I love talking to people who are in Drift like that.

Elizabeth: Yeah. I could tell.

Sammi Reinstein: And just hearing how they're using different parts of the Drift platform to take insights and bring that to the whole marketing team. It was exciting to hear how much Jacob was looking into what buyers and customers were saying and really personalizing the experience from that.

Elizabeth: Yeah. I loved the specific use cases and examples he had of this is what we were seeing and this is how we changed it to be better and deliver those personalized experiences.

Sammi Reinstein: Yeah.

Elizabeth: And next week, we're going to keep the conversation going on that personalization.

Sammi Reinstein: Yes. Keeping the conversation rolling, tune in next week. We can't wait to see you there. Thanks so much for listening to Conversation Starters. If you liked this episode, please leave us a six star review by clicking the link in the show notes and hit subscribe so you never miss another one. You can connect with me on Twitter at Sammi Reinstein and follow all of our shows at Drift podcasts.


Stanley Security's digital analytics experience manager, Jacob Schneider, has analyzed 1000s of Drift conversations. Literally. In his first role at the business security company, Jacob studied 2000 Drift conversations to find recurring themes across the global organization. He then had to communicate those findings back to the marketing team so that they could iterate on their existing campaign strategy.

So, what has Jacob learned from studying all these conversations, and how does he communicate those findings to the larger organization? Sammi gets into all of this and more on this episode of Conversation Starters.

The Highlights:

  • (2:25) - How Jacob became a Drift on Drift expert
  • (5:15) - What exactly does a digital analytics experience manager do?
  • (8:06) - How Jacob breaks down big data findings into bite-size action items for his team
  • (12:45) - The most interesting trends Jacob found by analyzing thousands of chat conversations
  • (16:15) - Stanley Security's process to getting playbooks up and running
  • (17:13) - How Stanley Security balances live chat vs. automated answers
  • (18:37) - Stanley Security's global playbook strategy
  • (23:22) - How Jacob and his team built out a unique data model based on Drift data
  • (27:29) - Episode wrap up

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