In this episode, we discussed:
- Account-based marketing and the problem it solves
- Sangram’s upcoming appearance at the Co:llaborate Conference
Below are some of the highlights from our conversation.*
From Pardot to Terminus, FlipMyFunnel, and Authorship
“Before Terminus, I ran marketing at Pardot and was fortunate enough to go through two back-to-back acquisitions with DirectTarget and Salesforce. So I really saw the market as a startup CMO and then at a gigantic company to see how things get done at scale. After that, I left to co-found Terminus with a couple of great friends, Eric Spett and Eric Vass. It’s been a great journey in the last year and a half, and account-based marketing (ABM) has been the hottest topic since sliced bread, apparently. It’s been a really exciting ride with Terminus. I’m also the founder of FlipMyFunnel, which is a way to think about ABM holistically, rather than just as a buzzword. Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to publish an account-based marketing book, so it’s been a really good couple of years.”
What is account-based marketing?
“I do think that a lot of people are trying to figure it out, and I for one don’t think that I’ve figured it all out. We’re still on a journey to try to make sense of it. ABM is important because of the problem it’s going to solve.
“The problem is that there is this frightening stat that less than 1 percent of leads turn into customers. This stat was released by Forester a couple of years ago, and it really shows that as marketers in B2B we’ve gotten really good at lead generation . . . But we haven’t progressed or evolved beyond that stage. That’s the thesis around ABM: the old systems are clearly not working if 99 percent of your energy and resources don’t drive revenue, and who wants to be part of that?
“So that’s why ABM is interesting. The basic concept is that you don’t do marketing the same way for everyone. You focus on the customer accounts that fit your ICP (ideal customer profile) and double down on those. At the end of the day, you’re trying to focus and narrow your market size, which is a hard thing to do, because we’re used to spraying and praying. I think that’s why people get really excited and say ‘Oh, I want to do ABM,’ like it’s a tactic, but it’s not a tactic. It’s a strategic approach that requires that sales and marketing and even customer success work together to understand your common goal. You start with the end in mind and try to strategize. Then go out and build your marketing campaign.”
Account-centric vs. Account-Based Marketing
“Businesses have been doing “account-centric” activities for ages. In channel sales, for example, you talk to two people, five people at a time, and make offers to influence them. You make them part of the process and help everyone understand your value proposition, which is very account-centric.
“Account based marketing is different because your entire organization is focused on these accounts and treating these accounts as the most important ones to focus on. ABM requires an organizational change in how you approach different kinds of accounts.
“You can have a list of channels, but if you haven’t changed the way you approach accounts, you’re still only account-centric, which everyone everywhere does. Account-based means you’re going to engage your entire organization and also the entire organization of your channel partners and bring that all together. That’s where you’ll find the true value of account-based marketing and selling.”
What is FlipMyFunnel, and how does it apply to partner sales programs?
“You can check this on flipmyfunnel.com, but I started this by whole thing scribbling on a piece of paper on a plane, and I turned the existing funnel on its head. Then what you have is a triangle shape. There are four stages to it:
Identify: Find the accounts that you want to go after so you can get rid of noise.
Expand: This is new. Expand within your target accounts. Instead of selling to one person and getting more accounts, make contacts with the influencers and decision-makers within those same accounts.
Engagement: This is where sales and marketing really come together to make content that is relevant to the account/persona. Try to engage them on their terms. Not just in emails in calls, but social ads and direct mail, building a halo of content around them.
Advocacy: If you know the accounts and you engage on their terms, they may not be ready to buy today, but they could still become advocates. If you can turn your prospects into advocates (which is only possible when you’re focusing on a select few), then when they’re ready to buy, they will come back. So advocacy is just a natural outcome of the flipped funnel and ABM.”
How does ABM relate to partner marketing?
“At Terminus, we have about 300 accounts right now, and a lot of them run partner campaigns. What they do is they come in and give us list of accounts with a sales cycle of two years. We know that it’s not going to happen today or anytime soon. So instead of just emailing that one person they have in their CRM, they put that message in front of their entire business unit or executive team, through all the channels that Terminus provides in addition to all the other VIP meetings that they would normally conduct.
“What they have seen is accelerated engagement, because the accounts are talking about starting partner relationships. This has increased the velocity of business growth, and it’s a very relevant practice.”
Can you give us an idea of what you’ll be discussing at Co:llaborate?
“We’ll try to tailor this a little more to more channels and sales audiences, but what we’re really going to do is give an overview of the FlipMyFunnel concept. You don’t have to change everything you’re doing to the Flip My Funnel concept, but it definitely challenges the status quo.
“Then Justin Gray will talk about alignment, and John Miller will close by discussing measurement, sales development practices, and personalization. We’ll talk about how Flip My Funnel can be used in a channel sales perspective and how we can use sales and marketing alignment to help improve those channels.”
B2B Nation is a podcast for B2B sales and marketing professionals, featuring expert opinions and advice on the most important topics in the industry. Check out our other episodes on SoundCloud or follow us on Twitter: @Technology_Adv.