March 8, 2016

9 Experts Discuss ABM at the #FlipMyFunnel Roadshow

The #FlipMyFunnel Roadshow wrapped up last week with some of the brightest minds and companies in the account-based marketing (ABM) space. Lucky for us, we were able to attend on-site and harness some of that knowledge for our podcast, B2B Nation.

Listen below to a short mashup episode featuring highlights from some of the speakers, sponsors, and thought leaders we interviewed in San Francisco. 

Jon Miller, CEO and Founder of Engagio

On the different styles of ABM:

“ABM has been around for at least 10 years. The term was originally coined by ITSMA. They and SiriusDecisions have been talking about it for a while now. What held ABM back was that it had a very formal and restrictive definition. ITSMA said it was treating each account as a ‘market of one’ — you conduct deep research to understand buying centers and people. At that level of account intimacy, you can create personalized, bespoke campaigns . . . true one-to-one marketing.

“This approach works incredibly well. It brings higher ROI than any other marketing activity, but people look at it and say, ‘Wow, that’s really hard and I don’t have staff for that. It doesn’t scale. That’s only for companies with big budgets.’ That kind of restrictive definition held it back. What’s happened in the past two years or less is the emergence of other styles of ABM. For example, you could still market to each account individually, but with much lighter research. Maybe you just want to know a couple details that are interesting and relevant. Your go-to market plan is still personalized, but on a one-to-few basis.

“There’s even a third tier that some call programmatic ABM. I call it traditional marketing with an account focus. For example: buying display ads that only engage target accounts.

“I’m not saying one style of ABM is better. They all work great for different kinds of businesses and different kinds of target markets. The emergence of these alternate styles and the technologies behind them are unlocking ABM for a much wider audience. That’s the spark, and then you have folks like me and Sangram pouring a bunch of fuel on the fire.”

Megan Heuer, Vice President and Group Director at SiriusDecisions

On ABM growth:

“We’ve been covering ABM for about 10 years at SiriusDecisions. We obviously are big believers in this space (and also in customer marketing and customer experience) as some of the biggest new opportunities B2B companies have to deliver on their growth goals — not just by doing better at demand generation but by doing better at customer engagement and delivering more value to their customer base.

“ABM is a missing piece in B2B right now, and we see it as an incredible opportunity to take advantage of the shift that’s happening. Adopters will have a strong competitive advantage. Over time, this will influence how B2B companies organize their marketing and sales functions. ABM will be a blend of pre and post-sale tactics in a much more balanced way.”

Sean Zinsmeister, Senior Director of Product Marketing at Infer

On his insights from the conference:

“You’re going to hear the idea of quality over quantity a lot more. I think different people will deploy that mentality in different ways, but that’s kind of the main principle around FlipMyFunnel.

“How do you turn and focus on retention? How do you get more from your best accounts? How do you turn customers into champions and spokespeople? These models are going to start making a lot of sense.

“The difference for us to focus on as marketers is contact value rather than segment value. A segment might be five people, but that segment is 10 times above the power line in terms of average sales price and win rate. Marketers will have to put those sales metrics into their pockets. They need to adapt, because that’s where all of this is headed. That’s the main ethos around this conference and ABM in general.”

Justin Gray, CEO & Chief Marketing Evangelist of LeadMD

On the importance of measurement for marketers:

“I said earlier that the theme was ‘quality,’ but when you look at someone like Jon Miller — former founder of Marketo, now jumping into this new venture — Jon doesn’t have the sales team. He’s up there as the CEO of the company, selling the platform, marketing the platform.

“The individuals you send to a conference to learn and drive business for your organization, we’re going to see those roles combine and congeal into this ‘smarketing’ hero who can talk about the business end, sell the platform, and is incredibly important across the entire spectrum. That is my personification of the conference theme: someone like Jon.”

Dave Rigotti, ‎Head of Marketing at Bizible

On shifting to lower-funnel metrics:

“Measurement has changed over the last 50 years since marketers have been driving leads for sales. Even 50-60 years ago, it was about leads. For most companies today that’s still the case. The marketer might be patting themselves on their back at the end of the month, saying they hit their MQL goal, but sales is the corner almost crying because they didn’t hit their quota.

“What we’ve seen over the past two or three years is with the growth of marketing technology. Marketers are now able to understand their campaign outcomes in terms of revenue, not just leads. Marketing teams are shifting down-funnel with their metrics to meet sales on their turf. It’s all about sales and marketing alignment. That’s what FlipMyFunnel champions.”

Adrienne Weissman, Chief Marketing and Revenue Officer at ‎G2 Crowd

On exposed marketing and product reviews:

“I don’t think it’s tedious for someone to manage a review strategy. It’s as simple as checking in with your customers and asking them to share their feedback. It’s also a nice way for brands to keep tabs on the competition. They can use what their customers are doing and saying to understand how they need to evolve their product and stay ahead. 

“It’s also important to have criticism in a review. If [a customer] only see positive reviews, [they’re] going to be suspicious. You have to trust the prospect can make a decision based on good and bad feedback instead of trying to force an illusion. ‘Exposed marketing’ will be a continuous evolution, but it’s definitely something brands should think about as they plan their market strategy.”

Matt Heinz, President of Heinz Marketing

On his key takeaway:

“The word that keeps coming to mind is ‘operationalize.’ It’s fine to sit and talk about strategy and approach, but what do I do when I get back to the office? How are other people doing this? What do I stop doing? 

“You can learn so much from people on stage and attendees sharing their stories and best and worst practices. To make this actionable, it all comes down to doing something. This conference has been really good so far at delivering that.”

Adam New-Waterson, ‎Chief Marketing Officer at LeanData,

FlipMyFunnel in one sentence:

“Make sure you pick the right people to go after, know what outcome you’re trying to drive, and have the ability to measure results.” 

Sangram Vajre, Godfather of ABM and Terminus CMO

On the future of ABM:

“By 2020, even within the next two years, ABM won’t be a new shiny thing. It will become basic marketing again — just marketing in a different way. ABM is getting so much buzz now because there are tools and technologies like ours [Terminus] making noise, but as CMOs start thinking about ABM and working on it, it’ll become like email and websites — just another part of the strategy.

“The prediction is, good or bad, ABM is no longer new. It’s marketing.”

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To hear each speaker’s episode in its entirety, please subscribe to our podcast, B2B Nation: Smarketing on iTunes! You can also find out more about the upcoming FlipMyFunnel Virtual Summit here. Let us know what you think about this episode by tweeting our handle, @B2BNation_Smar

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