The notion of guided sales and marketing is a hot topic in the local and small business marketing space, as well as in the small business SaaS space. Organizations are looking for optimal efficiency in how the acquire and onboard customers. And they are looking to make the right sales, the kind that fit the needs of the customer and therefore act as a bulwark against churn.

Guided sales and marketing is also attractive to many sales organizations because it creates an opportunity to reduce the variability in the sales process by reducing the amount of improvisation by sales reps.

On our latest On Target podcast we spoke with one of the most articulate advocates of guided marketing, ThriveHive chief product officer Perry Evans. Last year, ThriveHive (owned by Gatehouse Media) acquired Evans’ company Closely, which operated Perch, a mobile social media management app for SMBs. The acquisition brought together two organizations built on guided marketing — one (Perch) focused on social and mobile, and the other more focused on web presence and email marketing.

“We shared a common philosophy of a guided approach to marketing,” Evans said of the natural fit between the two organizations.

On the podcast Evans described what guided marketing is, a way to use data to intelligently guide a small business through the process of building a digital marketing program. And he also talked about what it is not, a pathway to a fully automated process that eliminates human intervention. Evans described this aspiration as “naive”. He believes a “Do It with Me” approach is the best defense against churn.

Ultimately, he see a verticalized guided marketing systems as the winning approach to the small business market.

Evans is a veteran of the battle to bring digital marketing software to the small business market. As he puts it, he has the flat forehead to show for it. Past start ups include Mapquest, Local Matters and Jabber as well as Perch.

Evans also talked about the state of marketing to small businesses (complex), the atmosphere for start ups in this space (mixed) and his philosophy for start up success (love the problem, not your solution for it, because your first stab at any solution is likely flawed).

We hope you enjoy the podcast. You can listen to it below.

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