An Interview with a CMO: Payability’s Jim Shook

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Payability is a new fintech company that provides high-growth Amazon and marketplace sellers with scalable cash flow solutions. Payability allows sellers to skip Amazon’s 14-day payments, allowing them to get paid daily and turn more inventory faster. In 2017, Payability advanced over $500 million in capital to sellers.

In this article, we interviewed Payability’s Chief Marketing Officer, Jim Shook. We asked him about marketing, the finance industry, trust, and the challenges faced by companies like Payability.

Payability x Trustpilot

Trustpilot: What are some of the major challenges you face in marketing to the finance industry? Any challenges specific to your audience (Amazon Marketplace Sellers)?

Jim Shook: One of our greatest challenges as a relatively young finance company is building trust. Many of the financial institutions the average business owner is familiar with have been around for decades. While we do benefit in many ways from being more nimble, building awareness and trust can take time.

TP: Can you tell us some of the strategies/initiatives that have worked really well for you?

JS: We’ve seen success engaging with partner companies and influencers in the marketplace seller space. These partnerships not only help us build trust, they also help us reach potential customers at the right time and place.

Payability Trustbox Carousel

Payability’s review section on their homepage, found below the fold.

TP: What are some challenges Payability has had to overcome? Any failed initiatives or memorable lessons?

JS: Some of the biggest challenges we’ve had to overcome are misconceptions about pricing or how Payability works. For example, we used to have a minimum monthly fee of $250 that we dropped almost a year ago, yet we still see people who think it’s still in effect.

The importance of clarity and simplicity in our copy cannot be understated.

This can be a challenge when terms can get somewhat technical or nuanced. The key is consistency and clarity across all of our channels. This doesn’t include just marketing, but sales and client services as well.

TP: What drives your thinking as a CMO - any common strategies or experiences you bring to different companies or departments?

JS: In my experience, business growth occurs when two things happen:

  1. The value you provide is substantially higher than the cost (both financial cost and hassle factor) of your service.
  2. You enable, amplify and encourage the promotion of your product or service by your happiest customers.

Both require a clear value proposition delivered with a seamless experience across all departments (sales, client services, etc) and customer touchpoints (onboarding, email marketing, etc).

TP: Are there any new trends, technologies, or strategies that you’re keeping an eye on? Anything you might consider testing?

JS: We’ve done a good amount of live video but we’d like to do more. Posting a live, unedited video from a happy customer is a great way to build trust and transparency.

TP: Below are two video case study examples Payability shared with us.

TP: How do you see your audience and your audience’s potential changing? How do you keep up?

JS: Our sellers are always moving to other marketplaces so we want to make sure we can work with them wherever they’re selling. They also have many needs that are tangential to financing, and we want to be able to not just help them finance their business, but ultimately grow their business. The more we can help our customers grow, the wider our audience will be.

TP: What made you consider reviews as part of your marketing or business strategy?

JS: We wanted to amplify our happy customers and give them a place to tell others how happy they are with Payability.

Reviews give customers the perfect platform to tell their story and give potential customers visibility into the actual Payability experience.

TP: How did you arrive at Trustpilot as the solution of your choice? JS: I had worked with Trustpilot before and had a good experience. I know that their team is always looking out for their clients and is focused on growing the platform. Good SEO and product functionality were also deciding factors. TP: How much of a part do reviews play in your marketing strategy? Do they drive any KPI's? JS: Reviews play a huge role in our marketing strategy. The majority of our customers do substantial research prior to signing up and they want to hear from unbiased people that are in the same situation as they are.

Payability's Reviews Page

Payability has an entire section of their site dedicated to just reviews

If a customer is still on the fence during the sales process, verified reviews from real customers help close the sale.

TP: What’s the biggest advantages the business has seen from using Trustpilot?

JS: Trustpilot helps companies cut through the noise and point potential customers and partners to verified customer reviews. It’s incredibly valuable to have a way to show people what the actual customer experience is really like.

TP: What are your challenges going forward as a business? How does Trustpilot help with these challenges?

JS: Clear communication is one of, if not the, most important marketing challenges and opportunities right now. Trustpilot helps because customers can often explain the value proposition and feature set even better than we can, and in ways that resonate with people like them.

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