Merged Marketing Podcast

180- Expanding Your Reach with Roundtable Marketing with Kevin Pettie and David Rankine

Expanding Your Reach with Roundtable Marketing with Kevin Pettie and David Rankine.

Without a doubt, the onset of Covid 19 pandemic signaled the greatest turmoil period for lots of businesses around the globe. In today’s episode, we have the honor of hosting two expert guests to get insight into the magic of the roundtable marketing system during Covid.   

David’s and Kevin’s journeys to being roundtable marketing experts – Kevin and David have worked together for about ten years in B2B telemarketing companies. For some time, they were successfully onboarding at least one new client every weekday. They realigned their business to a fractional CMO with a small base of lucrative clients. The onset of Covid cost them significant revenue loss, forcing them back to the market source to generate new clients. They further pivoted from promoting themselves to promoting roundtable Marketing.

Use of LinkedIn for promoting roundtable marketing awareness – Kevin says that they started by creating some events on LinkedIn and sent out invitations to their connections. They also undertook outreach programs on the platform, inviting signups to roundtables. He says that it has been their experience that it is helpful to consistently build a connections list on LinkedIn to send invites to the ideal customer profile.

Why is the roundtables marketing system more attractive to B2B – David explains that they mainly provide B2B business because they are the sort of business most predominant on LinkedIn.

The ideal size of a roundtable marketing system – Kevin argues that the number of people at a roundtable highly depends on the skills and capacity of the facilitator. The goal of the roundtable is to make it participatory for everyone. Thus it is best to keep the size manageable. As such, he drops a number between 4 and 10 people.

Tips for running an effective roundtable – David draws our attention to the need to engage the audience, right from welcoming them and through the discussion. It would help if you conversed with them about their business and its challenges while referencing them to the topic of discussion at the table.

Strategies for getting attendees to show – David lauds LinkedIn as the main contributor to successful signups following an invite (about 15%). He terms it the nature of LinkedIn for people to attend collaborative roundtables and workshops.

Incentives for inviting through other people’s connections – David and Kevin explain that they seek willing partners and invite connections of partners that fit the ideal customer profile. They achieve this with the help of their own master connection database that gives the right target based on job titles, location, or industry.

Leveraging automation in building connections – David says they utilize various automation tools to determine their ICP, create outreach messaging, send out invites, and follow-up details on the event. These tools include WeConnect, Sales Flow, Apollo, and Sales Navigator.

Virtual roundtables in the post-Covid era – David explains that the roundtables product built during the Covid period has persisted even in the post-Covid period. He says that it is now commonplace for people to meet on virtual roundtables, unlike in the past when it was more of face-to-face meetings.

Key Time Codes

  • (1:18) Kevin and David’s journey to today’s roundtable marketing experts –
  • (4:25) Use of LinkedIn for promoting roundtable marketing awareness
  • (7:00) Why is the roundtables marketing system more attractive to B2B businesses
  • (8:00) The perfect size of a roundtable marketing system
  • (10:18) Tips for running an effective roundtable
  • (11:14) Strategies of getting attendees to show  
  • (14:17) Leveraging automation tools in building connections
  • (17:52) Virtual roundtables in the post-Covid era
  • (19:38) David and Kevin’s contact information
  • (21:07) Their choice of brand representative for their company Professional Prospecting Systems and Contact


[00:00:03.460] – Show Intro

You’re listening to the Merged Marketing podcast with me, Jason Hunt. The mission with this show is to discuss all things marketing, sales, and mindset. It’s my hope for entrepreneurs like you to get the most from your efforts so that you can focus on what you do best. Let’s go. In Episode 180 of the Merged marketing podcast, I’m bringing on a couple marketers that I’ve been working pretty  closely with on campaigns recently. And these guys are experts in the field of round table marketing. This episode is titled Expanding Your Reach with round table Marketing. And my guests on this show are Kevin Pettit and David rankine. Kevin and David are B2B marketers with over 6,000. Campaigns under their belts for 2,300 clients from Fortune 100s to solo consultants across all b2b industries now, we dive into round table marketing strategies and how to drive attendees to your round tables. Without further ado, let’s kick it to my chat with David and Kevin.


[00:01:01.270] – Jason

Welcome to the program, guys.


[00:01:03.430] – Kevin & David

Hi, Jason. Thanks for having us. Thanks for having us.


[00:01:05.690] – Jason

Awesome. I’ve been working with David and Kevin on some marketing campaigns for a while. I’ve been part of some round tables with them. These guys are the experts for round table marketing, so I’m glad to have them with me here today. Maybe first and foremost, we’ll talk a little bit about the journey to get to where you are today as round table marketing experts. David, we’ll start with you.


[00:01:24.990] – David

Basically, Kevin and I have worked together for probably 10 years, and we had separate B2B telemarketing companies, and we collaborated, and then we combined forces, probably four years ago, Kevin, something like that?


[00:01:39.160] – Kevin

The older we get, the less we don’t get the dates right. Four or six, something like that. Yeah, four or five.


[00:01:45.300] – David

But we had a really good system for generating B2B telemarketing clients using AdWords. And we were actually at one stage onboarding one new client a day, Monday through Friday, and decided about four years ago that we wanted to realign the business to be more of a fractional CMO type of business. So we had a smaller number of clients. We shut down all of our AdWords campaigns, and we had a smaller number of clients, and we were working in a more in depth basis with them. Everything’s going along fine. And then COVID came along and our bigger clients, our more lucrative clients, unfortunately, were in the wrong business for COVID. And so here we’re sitting here like everybody else, thinking, oh, this is going to end in a month. No problem. And then they said, oh, it can’t go on longer than two months. We all know what the story was. We ended up getting into big trouble because that was where a lot of our revenue was coming from. And then we realized that we had to go back to market, so to speak, and find a way to generate new clients. And it was a difficult time because obviously businesses were hunkered down.


[00:02:42.060] – David

So we started, initially, we had a very large email list that had been built up over the years from all the prospecting we did. And we started to invite people to something, probably more webinar, Kevin.


[00:02:51.690] – Kevin

It was more… I would say so.


[00:02:53.130] – David

We would say, Hey, look at all the great stuff that you’re going to learn from Kevin and David come on up to this event. And we got some people, but the problem was as everybody and their mother were running events like that during COVID. And somewhere along the line, and I can’t remember why or how, we shifted gears from promoting Kevin and David to promoting the people that were attending these round tables and the types of businesses. And so the invitation would focus on come and learn about the problems. Here are samples of some of the types of companies that are going to be on this round table. We called it a round table workshop. And then the amazing thing that we found in our registration form, we would ask people, what are the specific issues that you’re encountering right now? What’s your biggest challenge? And then when we found that we put that verbatim in the invitation, the results shot right up. So in other words, I guess that’s marketing 101, correct, Jason? In other words, you’re trying to capture exact thoughts that are floating around in the head of the people that are looking.


[00:03:55.140] – David

Of course, that allowed us to capture the exact thoughts in the exact words, the way they expressed it. So what’s happening is people would see those problems expressed that way and say, oh, that’s me. And then they would register for our event. And then we also shifted gears where we, instead of getting in there and giving them a bit, we would introduce ourselves briefly. And then we would say, Look, this is all about you people that are here today. Let’s talk about your problem. T hat brings you to the point where we developed the format.


[00:04:24.760] – Jason

So, Kevin, your wheelhouse has really been LinkedIn historically, right? And LinkedIn is really the engine behind a lot of the awareness for these round tables. Maybe explain how LinkedIn is being used as a tool to drive awareness.


[00:04:37.930] – Kevin

Yeah, sure. W e use it, as David was saying, when we first started, it was very heavily email. That’s how we were getting people out to these, you have tens, 20, 30,000 people on a list to get a handful of people out. We started doing a couple of different things. One way we did it is we created just events on LinkedIn. I don’t even remember how we… I’ve been using LinkedIn for years, but not in that specific way. So we created some events. We started inviting our connections to these events. We thought, Oh, we don’t have to send out a thousand invitations, and we get 100 and whatever we got, 20 people registering, and 30 people show up. And then the people that registered didn’t show up eventually show up down the road. This is great. So we started doing that. And then the other way we do it is still through outreach through LinkedIn, just to try to… One thing we did learn is you need to continuously keep building your connection list on LinkedIn because that’s who you can invite through the LinkedIn events. You can only invite your LinkedIn connections and to be very intentional on who you’re reaching out to.


[00:05:41.410] – Kevin

You’re reaching out to people that fit your ideal client profile. We invite them en masse or bulk through the LinkedIn event, and then we reach out to new people to connect them, to invite them to round tables. That’s typically how we do it now.


[00:05:56.650] – Jason

I think one of the most powerful ways to use LinkedIn is doing that targeting based on job title, which is very relevant to this type of strategy around making round table marketing systems. Because spraying and praying on Facebook or Instagram might not be the best approach to garner that interest. Whereas LinkedIn, you can make it very targeted. And so you’re not getting a bunch of construction managers along with dentists all going to one round table. You can really siphen it off. Yeah.


[00:06:24.220] – Kevin

I don’t think it would work. Part of the power of it seems to be this is a round table for, say, VPs of sales. Not managers, not directors, not marketing people. It’s for VPs of sales, just as an example. And they want to be on there with other VPs of sales and maybe the same type of industry or other industries, but they don’t want to be on there with sales managers, or they want to be on there with people that understand and have the same issues and challenges that they do. So you’re quite right. The title is.


[00:06:54.940] – Jason

Very important. Now, you guys predominantly focus or mainly focus on the B2B market. And why is the Round table marketing system more attractive to B2B businesses? This is a lay up of a question, David.


[00:07:07.270] – David

Yes, the reason we do it, because our services are provided mainly to B2B, although we have some B2C clients. And then within LinkedIn itself, I think you end up getting primarily B2B. So if you’re going to use LinkedIn as your platform to generate invitations, it ends up mainly being B2B companies.


[00:07:24.930] – Jason

So B2B companies are mainly the ones that are interested in these rounds because I can see it being.


[00:07:29.470] – David

Attractive you know what? That wouldn’t be true. Any group of people that think of themselves as being part of a group, whether they’re B2B or B2C, that’s essentially what the attraction is. The person says to themselves, Hey, that type of company looks like my world. T hat person, and then they are thinking title, they’re thinking size of company, and they’re saying, Okay, is that my crowd, so to speak? So it really wouldn’t matter what group you could use it for academia, any group of people that think they want to get in with their peers.


[00:07:58.790] – Jason

I want to talk a bit about the perfect size or the ideal size for a round table because I find that the round table marketing system approach disrupts webinars in a sense. Because rather than one person speaking to a group of 20 or 30, it’s much more collaborative. Kevin?


[00:08:15.350] – Kevin

Yeah, absolutely. I think it really depends on the skill of the facilitator of the round table. So for myself, who’s not as skilled as David, I would like a smaller group because I find it hard. So maybe 4 to 6 people for me is probably all I could handle comfortably. David, we’ve had I think probably maybe up to 10 people, David, where it’s still… The main thing is you’re making a promise to someone when you’re inviting them. You’re promising them that it’s an interactive round table and they’re going to get to participate. So really, you want to honor that. And if you have too many people in there, it’s hard to do that. If you’re a capable facilitator, which maybe I would be under that level of capable, I’ll put myself there. are 6 to 8, 6 to 8 would probably.


[00:09:02.660] – Jason

Be ideal. Yeah, it makes sense. You want to give a proper opportunity for everybody to get the value out of a round table session as well. Don’t want it to be a bait and switch where it’s a round table but it turns into.


[00:09:12.660] – Kevin

A sales function.


[00:09:14.180] – Jason



[00:09:15.070] – Kevin

Exactly. But you will find sometimes the odd person just wants to tie it back in the weeds as it were. And conversely, you’ll find someone that may want to take more than their fair share of the time to manage that as well.


[00:09:27.220] – Jason

You got to have a conch and a timeline.


[00:09:29.450] – David

On the conch. Well, that’s for sure.


[00:09:32.280] – Speaker 4

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[00:10:18.090] – Jason

So, David, in terms of best practices for running an effective round table, what tips can you lend to the audience?


[00:10:24.490] – David

Basically, you want to engage them. And I think that’s true of any event. When you go to a good webinar, usually the host is trying to engage people a little bit in the beginning, especially through a round table. What happens typically, they don’t all come in at once. Some will come in two minutes before or one minute before and so on. Given that it’s a small group, so you try to engage them as they come in. Hi, welcome. There’s just going to be a small group. We’re just coming in here. Make them feel comfortable. If there aren’t a large number of people in Round table, then we’ll usually ask them, Just tell us a little bit about your business. What’s the challenge that you’re struggling with that brought you here? What was your interest in coming here? Then I typically make notes as I’m doing that, and then I reference them as we’re going back. As the discussion progresses along through the round table, I can remember that somebody said this type of business, so I’ll bring them back into the discussion.


[00:11:13.940] – Jason

In terms of the means of driving those attendees to a round table, what do you find works best? Because like you said before, you’re leveraging email, LinkedIn. Are there any word of mouth, I’m assuming as well? What strategies are actually working best in getting those attendees to show?


[00:11:29.760] – David

Linkedin probably gets, I don’t think I’d be stretching it to say it gets at least a 20 to 30… So if we invite a thousand connections in LinkedIn, it’ll go as high as 15 % that register. And you know that if you invite a thousand people by email, and then you also got to remember that they don’t necessarily know you. A lot of the methodologies we use now is where we share connections. So we may be inviting connections that don’t know us personally, but we’re inviting them through somebody else’s connections. So there’s no question that LinkedIn is the king when it comes to it. I guess it’s a LinkedIn ish thing to attend collaborative round tables and workshops, that type.


[00:12:08.610] – Jason

Of thing. Okay. Now, you just mentioned there about inviting other people’s connections to the round tables. How do you get that buy in from people? That’s the key because people might be a little reluctant to say, Hey, look, I’m just going to spray this entire audience of people that follow me on LinkedIn when they might not all be relevant for it. Is there a certain element of buy in or how to…


[00:12:28.450] – David

What’s the incentive? We have developed what we refer to as a master connection database. The idea with there is, you can explain the technology behind that, Kevin, in terms of how we scrape from LinkedIn in order to create a specific master connection database.


[00:12:41.640] – Kevin

Yeah, I think there’s a couple of things. The first part is you do need to get buy in. You need to find a partner that wants to partner. So if someone wants to collaborate with you and we’re going to run a round table and they’re going to invite some of their connection stars and we’ll reciprocate. So you have to have that mindset that you do want a partner. And then what we do, we want to invite people that are really fit the ideal client profile for the round table. So we will go in, we have a piece of software that we use and we’ll take everyone’s, our partners, our connections and our partners connections, and we’ll run them through the software, and then we can get some granular data. We can get their titles, their location, their industry, how big of a company they are, and then we’ll send out invitations that way. Then we just keep aggregating those invitations, the connections, and our partners to that.


[00:13:31.910] – David

Shared pool. So for example, Jason, if you were going to hold a round table and you wanted to invite a very specific industry in a very specific title, we would go into the Master database and just pull down a report. And it would say, Okay, there might be three or four different people’s LinkedIn accounts that contain those connections. Then what we do is we have our admin go into each of those people’s LinkedIn accounts, but only inviting the specific ones that match the criteria to your event.


[00:13:58.880] – Jason

I think one of the most effective approaches that we made with the round tables that we are collaboratively working on together is the ability to leverage automation to build connections. Because a lot of people interested in this type of approach might not have the amount of connections that would make it worth their time to invite them on a regular round table. Maybe, Kevin, you can speak a little bit to some of the automation tools and how they work in conjunction with driving awareness to the round tables. Yeah, sure.


[00:14:24.520] – Kevin

So we use different pieces of automation to help us reach out to people and connect with them on LinkedIn. Would you want me to name some of the specific tools?


[00:14:33.200] – Jason

Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, definitely. Yeah, for sure. Because I think a lot of people don’t understand the power of automation on some of these platforms to automate a lot of this because I think people listening right now are like, this is a great idea. In theory, I’m interested, but I just don’t have the time.


[00:14:47.290] – Kevin

Half a day to do this. We’ve used a lot of different pieces of software. We use this piece of software called the Salesforce. We used another one called We Connect. There’s no shortage of them if you Google them. If you Google them, they’re Skyley each other’s opto. But right now, we’re mainly using a piece of software called We Connect. That does take a little bit of work to get it set up and running. Then we use sales navigator, which is a subscription add on to LinkedIn, which has a whole bunch of filters. As we talked about before, we want to make sure that we’re getting a real granular list. So we’ll create that list in sales navigator using whatever filters fit our ICP, our ideal client profile, and then we’ll pull that into the software and we’ll create our outreach messaging. And then we’ll set it up and then we’ll let it run so that on a daily basis, somewhere between 40 to 50 invitations to connect per day are going out inviting people to Round table. When they connect, we’ll send a follow up, automatically send a follow up message with more details on the Round table.


[00:15:47.030] – Kevin

Then you could run a parallel campaign at the same time to people that you’re already connected to inviting them to a round table. That’s the main piece of automation that we use. We use another piece of software called Apollo, which is the tool that actually scrapes your connections. When you download, it’s very hard to get your list of connections out of LinkedIn. If you download all your connections, you don’t get a lot of information on them. So we run them through Apollo, and then we get just tons of data. We get all their social accounts, get how many employees they have, all that good stuff. So those are the two main software tools that we use. And then we have VAs because there’s still some heavy lifting. Once you have those lists, we’re sending those invitations out manually one at a time. We have some VAs that do that work.


[00:16:31.660] – Jason

I can attest to some of these platforms Kevin’s talking about because I was able to grow my connection base pretty quickly to 4,000 from where it was at prior to us engaging myself, engaging some of these platforms. Definitely a lot of power to that in terms of the automating those connections. I don’t think LinkedIn is starting to get to a place where it’s becoming a little bit saturated in terms of some of the automation. So obviously you need to make it look as authentic as possible, which can be done. I feel it can easily be done just by engaging them with a couple of automated messages and then manually going in there to those people that actually receive and respond back.


[00:17:05.040] – Commercial break

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[00:17:48.410] – Jason

I want to talk a bit about what we’re talking about here in terms of COVID because the round table marketing system saved you during COVID. Now with COVID over and people more engaging in person live events. Does that have any effect on this? Are you still seeing there are people engaged in these type of virtual activities?


[00:18:06.660] – David

Oh, absolutely. The Round table thing became a product for us, and we scaled it to the point where we build what we call a marketing and sales operating system. And it can include running round tables, but we also implement Edge because you’ve collaborated with us on some of those clients. Social media, CRM, email, automation, that type of thing as well, too. But it became the springboard that allowed us to be able to reach out to a much larger audience and build up trust very quickly because you’re sitting in a little meeting that’s not much bigger than what we’re sitting in here and people are getting to know you and trust you very quickly. So that opens the door for a lot of other stuff.


[00:18:44.960] – Kevin

So I think COVID, just jumping off that or adding to it, I think COVID was like the Charles Dickens, it was the best of times. It was the worst of times because it did decimate the business. Not decimate, but it was not good. It was ugly. But people weren’t as keen three years ago to only do these types of interactions. Most of it had to be face to face. People were heavily driven to face to face. You don’t trade dollars through virtual meetings. You’ve got to be face to face. Now it’s just three years later, this is just how it’s done. So it’s really bad, but because it happened, it’s made these virtual round table. It’s very easy to do now. No one blocks and says, Oh, I wouldn’t attend those. I only do in person stuff.


[00:19:27.520] – Jason

That’s awesome. I think there might be people in the audience that might have questions about round table marketing. They might be interested in attending a session or even how they can better use LinkedIn for automation. What’s the best way our audience can get in touch with you, David and then Kevin?


[00:19:42.260] – David

That’s a good question. We don’t actually have a website specifically for the round tables. I guess you can go to your website, Kevin. They could contact you, hey?


[00:19:50.070] – Kevin

Yeah. My company is Contact Profit Group and it’s contact with a K and it’s contactprofit group. Com. My email is KPeddie, Peddie is P E D T IE@contactprofit group. Com. It’s contact with a K. They can give us a call, 519 823 6247. Any of those are good.


[00:20:11.160] – David

Awesome. Or on my website, I have a video that talks about the experiences of one of our clients. T hat’s professionalprospecting. Com. Awesome.


[00:20:20.600] – Jason

W e end every episode with the same question. That question is this, if you can choose one person, dead or alive, to represent professional prospecting systems and contact, who would it be and why? We’ll start with you, David.


[00:20:31.910] – David

I can’t think of anybody off the top of my head. I’m going to have to defer to you, Kevin.


[00:20:35.880] – Kevin

I was hoping you’d do that. I’m just thinking of people I’d like to hang out with, but I probably would not want them to represent my company. Oh, my gosh. I wish I had a heads up on that one. I’d have you represent my company, Jason.


[00:20:48.750] – David

That’s my answer. There you go.


[00:20:51.150] – Kevin

I like your style. I like your style. So that’s my answer. Awesome.


[00:20:54.770] – Jason

I’ll take it. We’re going to add that to the list. We got a lot of Mohamed Ali. He has a lot of Steve jobs. Not as many Jason Hunts, but I will take that.


[00:21:01.770] – Kevin

No, I stick with my Jason Hunts. A ctually, this is how we met actually, through me reaching out to you to invite you to a round table, probably a year or so ago. So if you want to apply to run the company, just let me know when.


[00:21:16.670] – Jason

You’re ready. I’m sending my resume.


[00:21:18.070] – David

All right, good.


[00:21:19.860] – Jason

Thanks for your time, guys. I appreciate it.


[00:21:21.980] – David

Thanks for having us.


[00:21:23.330] – Show outro

Real quick, guys, if you are active on Instagram or TikTok, I encourage you to go on over and give my personal profile a follow @jhunt official, J AY, HUNT, OFF, ICIAL. Over there on Instagram and TikTok, I’m posting my favorite highlights from the Merged Marketing podcast, along with some of the highlights from my speaking engagements overseas as well as locally. Ton of value. Go on over and check it out at Jhan official. I’d like to thank you for listening to the Merged Marketing podcast and I invite you to subscribe so you never miss an episode of the Merged Marketing podcast. One of the best ways to do that is to add us to your Instagram @mergedmedia. M E R GED, M E D, IA. Go on over there, give Merged Media follow and subscribe and never miss an episode. Thank you so much for listening. We’ll talk to you soon.

Did you enjoy this episode? if so, please check out our previous episode on Marketing Systems for Tiny Teams & Budgets with Sarah Noel Block

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