Our latest episode of Above the Cloud features an interview with Costantino Caroppo, a former CMO at the Italian digital agency Axelero and the self-described “father of the Italian IYP” for launching Seat Pagine Gialle’s first digital directories while an executive there. Seat Pagine Gialle is now part of Italiaonline.

A common thread in Costantino’s work at Axelero and at his new start-up Hub-U (which Costantino says will launch later this month) is his view that digital marketing platforms for SMBs do not need to build anything. The can simply integrate existing applications. “There is no need to reinvent the wheel,” he says. And the sales process is much more about service than initial sales. Costantino and talked about this new model for selling to small businesses over coffee outdoors at the Sofitel hotel in Hua Hin, Thailand, where we were both attending the recent AsiaComm conference. This life is hard at times.

Some key takeaways from my conversation with Costantino:

  • Don’t talk about your products in an initial sales conversation. Find out what matters to the small business and then apply solutions to those pain points.
  • After sale support is a potential game changer. The right process of guided marketing can product “natural upsell” in which the client asks for additional services based on the information they are being provided.
  • His vision for guided upsell is about human interaction today, but over time is increasingly automated and powered by AI.
  • Helping SMBs generate leads without helping them to better manage their customer base just drives up the cost of sales without improving customer lifetime value.
  • In his new start-up, Costantino is targeting software companies, banks, and telecoms more than media companies as likely channel partners.

“These channels [banks, telecoms, software companies] make sense from a synergy standpoint with respect to what they already sell to their customers,” Costantino explains. “A bank, for example, helps a small business make money through a point of sale device or some financial service management, credit management. If you connect a point of sale device to a CRM and record sales activities and relate them to a database of customers you enrich the database of customers. And based on that, you are able to direct marketing activities in a much smarter way than before.”

The full interview with Costantino begins at the 3:43 mark.

Here is Costantino presenting on a similar topic at the recent Asia Comm conference in Hua Hin, Thailand.

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