Michael Whife | CEO | President | Co-Founder | SSG

Selling Simplified Group: Empowering B2B Businesses with Data-Driven Marketing Technology

Founded in 2012, Selling Simplified Group, Inc. (SSG) provides B2B Demand Generation services, tools, and technology to help their customers drive business growth and build deeper engagements among their target audience. SSG is headquartered in Denver, CO and services clients globally via thirteen fully-staffed regional offices in APAC, EMEA, and North America.

The company is one of the top players of the sector and is a controller of 175M+ global B2B records. It aims to empower companies in their marketing and sales efforts through unprecedented customer insights and a real-time pulse on intent, via a comprehensive suite of data enrichment, marketing, and analytics tools.

SSG is recognized for its innovative, intelligent, and compliant solutions to identifying, analyzing, and capturing B2B demand backed by enriched, intent-based data—with a core mission of helping people make more meaningful B2B connections.

In an interview with Insights Success, Michael Whife, CEO, President, & Co-Founder of SSG shares his views on current events, company products and services, and the necessity for businesses to align with new tech advancements.

 Below are the highlights of the interview:

 Please list the popular solutions that make your company standout from the competition.

 All of SSG’s solutions center around leveraging the heaps of B2B intelligence stored within our global database and extracting the level of customer insights that our clients need to better position and promote their products and services to targeted markets.

 Visionayr, the complete marketing solution from Selling Simplified, was designed to give B2B marketers a real-time view of organic demand and intent surrounding their products and customers. Backed by SSG’s robust global data, Visionayr allows users to host and promote multiple pieces of their content in a centralized branded hub, and trace engagement analytics back to key accounts and prospects at a highly competitive cost per lead.

Integrated Programmatic solutions from Selling Simplified leverage SSG’s 1st-party data to target and retarget customers via display ads around the web. Unlike a 3rd-party data approach, SSG’s Integrated Programmatic offerings ensure 100% targeting accuracy for more relevant impressions, and can be leveraged as part of a multichannel lead gen strategy.

As the founder/CEO/Director, what is your opinion on the impact of the current Pandemic on the Marketing Industry and the related sales market in general?
Almost overnight, COVID-19 laid a chasm between two schools of marketing: one which had begun to incorporate digital methods but still relied heavily on face-to-face, telemarketing, and out-of-home; the other which had holistically adopted a fully digital transformation. Fortunately, we found ourselves in the latter group, and not only were we able to survive, but experience immense growth as the field of competition thinned out early in 2020.

As we return to a semblance of pre-pandemic life, marketers will likely once again invest in trade shows, physical marketing campaigns, and face-to-face initiatives. But the general consensus among marketers is that even these tactics will have a hybrid structure or digital element to them going forward, and that marketing itself is permanently transformed.

This new digital-first marketing model has proven incredibly beneficial for both marketers and their customers. Marketers that have adapted to the new landscape are gaining better leads, better customer insights, and seeing better ROI. Additionally, customers are increasingly comfortable with a digital buying cycle, with many saying that they would prefer to not have a sales conversation until much later, if at all, during the sales cycle.

In short, the pandemic will certainly have long-term effects on the marketing industry, and sadly some companies won’t be able to adapt and survive. But, that won’t be for lack of advanced tools and effective digital marketing roadmaps.

What is your opinion on the necessity for businesses to align their offerings with newer analytical tools, especially when it comes to B2B connections?
Having access to comprehensive customer insights will be a key for B2B businesses. Today’s customer expects that brands have a detailed and accurate understanding of them and their unique business needs, but often aren’t willing to offer up that information over the phone or even via a traditional web form. The answer therefor must be found in behavioral data—of which there is plenty.

Today’s analytical tools are designed to make sense of behavioral data and facilitate more relevant marketing efforts and more timely sales inquiries. Visionayr’s analytics, for example, illuminate the best leads for sales and marketing teams to focus on in real time by displaying the type of engagement that leads to sales.

In your opinion, what could be the future of the Marketing & Advertising market post the COVID-19 pandemic? And how are you strategizing Selling Simplified’s operations for that future?

Marketing and advertising will continue to take place mostly in the digital sphere and will become increasingly data-driven and personalized. At SSG, we’re accelerating on developing our proprietary marketing tools, and powering them with our 1st-party data. We plan to continue empowering our clients with the global data and the first-rate technology needed to work smarter, not harder, in their marketing and sales efforts. This includes developing tools to make quality B2B data more accessible, enhancing Visionayr’s features and analytics capabilities, offering more multi-channel programs, and integrating seamlessly with existing marketing stacks and CRMs to help our clients build a more complete view of demand.

What is the demand strategy and how do you gather your demand database?

Our own demand strategy relies on many of the tools and approaches that we offer our clients globally. We’re reevaluating our personas and the effect that the COVID-19 pandemic had on their business needs, and coming up with more creative and bespoke ways to service a larger segment of the B2B industry. As always, we’re focused on building, enhancing, and translating our global database using both our proprietary data tools and a community-based model designed to make public domain data rapidly available to data and marketing teams.

If given a chance, what is the one thing that you would change about the demand-centered ecosystem in your respective market?

I’d love to see a greater effort to move away from mass targeting, and more of a focus on personalization and high-value engagement. At the end of the day, none of this is possible without a razor-sharp focus on quality, 1st-party data.

As an established business leader, what would be your advice to the budding entrepreneurs aspiring to venture into the marketing industry?

The marketing industry evolves rapidly—almost daily. As much as possible, try to remain ahead of the curve of trends and technology, and aim to understand how these market trends can be leveraged by your unique strengths while underscoring your core mission. Innovating around your core mission is the best way to ensure that you can remain relevant and offer a unique benefit to your target market even in the face of competition.

How do you envision on sustaining your company’s competency in a cutthroat and volatile world of business? Where do you see your company in the next five years?

We’ve positioned SSG in a way that allows us to deeply examine and understand changing market needs, and diversify our global operations rapidly and in an agile fashion. We’re focused on developing tools that work symbiotically with our database to improve overall output while continually adding intelligence to our data. In this sense, we can exponentially improve the ways we serve our clients. Additionally, our growing global footprint disperses SSG’s thought leadership in a way that makes us extremely competitive.  We plan to sustain our trend of growth and expansion and continue taking a hyper-localized approach to demand generation, while adapting our products and offerings for a subscription-based model that allows clients to tap into real-time intent and quality data.

What is your idea of Corporate Social Responsibility?

 Giving back to the communities that we benefit from is a major executive priority of mine. When we talk about SSG’s hyper-localized approach to doing business, one of the biggest elements is our model of hiring local to create fully-operational regional offices. We don’t believe in servicing clients from overseas, and we make sure to create jobs in the countries where we do business.

Another concept that is becoming increasingly important, especially in companies in our field, is the need to be data responsible. Data is an incredibly personal form of currency that, when mishandled, can have dangerous effects. We’ve always taken data security and privacy seriously, and I consider it a major responsibility of mine and of my company’s.

Clients Review

 “Selling Simplified knows their database. They are able to recommend which content will resonate best among certain audiences, and the scope and variety of their database allows us to reach niche audiences within our target market.” Ngoc Trong, Marketing Specialist, ANZ, Marketo

 “Since testing Visionayr, I’m able to deliver additional engagement metrics to my clients that I wasn’t before. Augmenting a campaign delivery with insights into content consumption times and trends lets me tell my clients a more multi-faceted story.” Stefanie O’Connor, Associate Director, Media, JUST Media, Inc.

“In making ourselves relevant to our target audience, we constantly look for ways to do things differently and better. That’s why I was keen to explore Visionayr—because the way it delivers content is more compelling than the traditional approach.” Wei Leng Tan, Director of Revenue Marketing, APAC, Poly

“Selling Simplified was very successful in helping us supplement our organic outreach, at a competitive rate. Their customer services set them apart as well—they take the time to gain a deep understanding of the goals and business requirements of your campaign, ensuring you receive maximum ROI.” Stephanie Gray, Marketing Manager, Australia,  InfoTrust Co.