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Boston Marketo User Group – June Summary

Here are my notes from the June Boston Marketo User Group.  It’s a terrific user group having attended a few others on the east coast (DC, NYC, ATL), Boston seems to have the lead on making a great user group experience.

Thomas Zimmerman, Localytics

  • Compared the Marketo summit session topics and year over year summit performance
    • Lead Gen and Lead Lifecycles are ‘dead’ content wise vs. discussions around ABM and how to measure ABM (see below).
    • Underlying concern around budget and the ability to invest in new technologies – planning to use those technologies was a key conversation ahead of making the purchase of those technologies.
    • In slide two below (Buzzwords Y/Y), the percentage change is in topics year over year – so 0% represents no change in total topic count year over year.

 

MJ Hahn, Op Focus

  • Discussion around how companies could measure Sirius 2.0 waterfall
    • Discussed a SiriusDecisions measurement model in Salesforce that was persona driven where marketing creates the opportunity (which has process implications), avoids leads object altogether, and manages opportunity process through conversion
      • There was some customization to Salesforce but the SFDC customization was not entirely clear – eg. contact roles, related lists, custom objects, etc.
      • The discussion sounded like a ‘poor man’s’ Engagio implementation using a customized SFDC approach with weighted scores based on prospect sales and marketing engagement, difficult to tell how the model scales on score or persona change (e.g. do you need to manually update new scores?) but an intriguing model nonetheless.
    • Observation from Boston Marketo User Group leader – since Sirius 2.0 waterfall is new and typical sales cycles are 6-18 months long in B2B, the case studies at summit were basically implementation only, none spoke about actual ROI or results yet – but they expect at next year’s summit to start seeing results.

Jon Russo, B2B Fusion

  • Discussion around framework for ABM that was discussed at the Marketo Summit.
    • Starting point – baseline assessment
  • 5 key issues of ABM and MarTech we see in our engagements:
    • FOMO, Technology, and ABM Starting Point
    • Selecting the right targets (ICP, Accounts, Contacts)
    • Lack of the right ABM Intent Data strategy
    • Missing system and process requirements for ABM
    • Not hiring the right internal and external talent

 

Very few audience members had used intent data (2 in audience of 50) – a function the audience said of not having a clear enough need or the budget to execute on it, though most agreed the concept sounded interesting and relevant.

Of the 5 key issues, the topic of talent seemed to be the most challenging aspect many enterprises face.

Summary from BMUG Leaders:  Paul Green, Jody Spencer

Overall observations on Marketo Summit and SiriusDecisions Summit:

  • Reporting and analytics – there are not that many companies that figured out.
    • No one has Sirius funnel 2.0 figured out.
  • There aren’t a lot of companies embracing Artificial Intelligence (AI) – the feeling was AI is so over-hyped.  One audience member was using Conversica to handle lead responses.  Marketo has content AI.  Audience AI in Marketo.
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Top 5 MarTech & ABM Challenges for Marketing Leaders

At the 2018 Marketo Summit (#MKTGnation), we covered five common mistakes for MarTech and Account Based Marketing (ABM) deployments.

If you don’t have time to watch the embedded video, this is a ‘tweetable’ summary of each bullet point of our findings.

We began with some background.   Not every company uses the words ‘ABM’ but many companies are on a journey of account based selling and marketing.  Then we jumped into each of the five points below.

  • FOMO, Technology, and ABM Starting Point
    • Most companies have a ‘fear of missing out’, react, buy technology, realize that none of integrates.
    • Like a gym membership, people think having a gym membership (ABM technology) gets you in revenue shape (ABM strategy).  In reality, you need personal trainers to accelerate your progress with your gym membership.  Technology is not a strategy.
    • There are common elements of ABM deployments:  assessments, strategy, targeting, measurement, and XDR cadences.
  • Selecting the right targets (ICP, Accounts, Contacts)
    • Define your ideal customer profile based on qualitative and quantitative data.
    • Bounce it up against total addressable market and technologies to derive TAM.
    • Assess your data completeness at the account and lead level.
  • Lack of the right ABM Intent Data strategy
    • Account intent can be valuable when used for a personalized outreach.
    • Intent requires careful keyword selection and integration into business process.
  • Missing system and process requirements for ABM
    • Defining the customer experience on ABM is key.
    • Account disposition treatment is a critical arrangement across sales & marketing.
  • Not hiring the right internal and external talent
    • Internal talent needs to be well rounded across sales, inside sales, marketing, XDRs.
    • External talent needs to be a virtual extension of your team, agile, knowledgeable.

At the conclusion of the presentation, the sharpest audience issue that was felt was surprisingly the talent side of things – finding the right partners to augment the skills internally.  Initially, I would have thought Data as the #1 issue.

What trends are you seeing in Account Based Marketing?

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Account Based Everything – Podcast

Devon McDonald, a Partner at OpenView Venture Capital spoke with me on a recent podcast on Account Based Marketing best practices.  Our conversation covered areas of how to get even more out of your ABM people, process, & technology investments based on our experiences to date.

Here is a helpful checklist summarizing that discussion and assumes the organization has already defined and agreed upon what the term ‘account based marketing’ means to them.   

 

  • ABM Roadmap to align Sales, Marketing & Executives

 

    • Strategy:  who is the ideal customer profile (ICP), what does he/she need?
    • Data:  how are leads connected to accounts?
    • Programs:  how customized is the content for the ICP?
    • Technology: what is the right mix of tools to enable your strategy across sales and marketing teams.

 

 

 

  • Developing an ABM strategy for long term success
    • Organizational ABM Framework:  are the key stakeholders defined and a roadmap for launching and optimizing ABM over the next 18 months?
    • Defined KPIs:  what are the key metrics essential to track during the early, mid, and late phases of your ABM program?
    • Pilot program:  what is your gameplan around creating a pilot program?

 

  • Baseline performance to set organizational expectations

 

    • Systems Health:  are existing systems supporting the right strategy and maximum capacity?   
    • Data Status:  are your account and contact universe complete?
    • Conversion and/or Business Process:  how will you treat accounts across sales and marketing?

 

  • Measure for impact & improvement

 

    • Data – what are the metrics around your target account profiles?
    • Data – what is the current state of account and contact data completeness?
    • What account waterfall metrics are applicable to your historical lead based model?

 

  • Lead Generation/Prospecting with ABM Accounts

 

    • Frequency:  how have you optimized for frequency?
    • Message:  what value add are you creating in each interaction?
    • Account intelligence:  how are you capturing intelligence around your target accounts?

 

  • People

 

    • Internal – are the right team skills in place?
      • Marketing
      • Sales
      • xDR
    • External agencies – agile?  Understand ABM & Systems?

Be sure to check out the full podcast here!

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What’s The Impact Of The New Demand Unit Waterfall?

As published in DemandGen Reports, May 2017

By Jon Russo, Founder B2B Fusion, @b2bcmo

For B2B revenue leaders that are contemplating adoption of the new SiriusDecision’s Demand Unit Waterfall, here are five impact areas on B2B strategies and initiatives to consider:

  1. Develop a data strategy: install proper data processes, match leads to accounts (Ringlead, Full Circle, Lean Data, etc.) and establish the right global account hierarchies. After Fuze CMO Brian Kardon and his team invested significant time and energy in a data strategy, his team experienced massive growth success.
  1. Embrace an Account Based approach. CMO Peter Herbert of VersionOne describes his very successful Account Based journey as, “real progress B2B revenue teams are making towards a more intelligent, proactive, and efficient way of going to market.”  This new approach reinforces a need for an ABM strategy of account identification and investments (Engagio, DemandBase, Radius, Everstring, Oceanos, Terminus, Kwanzoo, Big Willow, etc.)
  1. Align and measure. Herbert says, “B2B teams are shifting from working in silos to capture and handoff leads to working together to engage — in a more compelling way.”  Build supporting Salesforce structures, data lakes with Business Intelligence overlays like Anish Jariwala at Informatica has created, or leverage tools that measure most of this new waterfall (Engagio, Full Circle Insights, etc.)
  1. Select attributes of the buying committee but...anticipate challenges identifying the right buying authorities from scouts or key influencers, especially if roles change deal to deal. Expect assumptions and manual intervention as Sales uses Salesforce contact roles sparingly, Marketers create personas, and roles change.
  1. Retain the right internal and external talent to support this new waterfall and maximize technology investment ROI. Augment internal teams with knowledgeable external sales and marketing performance firms that extend internal strategy reach and best practice system capabilities to improve odds of visible success and to move in a more agile manner.
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Celebrating the life of Karen Hirschhorn

cathy

Karen (in black) at her recent birthday party with Cathy Hawley

The people IN a company are what makes the competitive difference, it is not technology or product.  People come from different situations, different cultures, and different points of view – the more diverse viewpoints, the richer the quality of decision by teams led by people.  I’ve been blessed working with many individuals working with and for me on a variety of different teams all across the globe – people who today succeed in running marketing for their company, running inside sales globally, running their own PR agency businesses, running marketing for divisions of big companies, and running other businesses like global IT as the acting CIO for a F500 company.   Others have become individual contributor experts in their field in demand generation or in product marketing in a variety of industries, SaaS security in particular.  There is nothing more satisfying reflecting on the success of my team members in their capacity today.  I’ve learned tremendously from each of them.

Last night, I heard some sad news about one of these team members and this is a first for me in my career – that someone that was once on my team has passed away.  This news hit me pretty hard and it caused me to reflect on our brief journey together.

Karen Hirschhorn was referred to me by a colleague and had also been applying to an opening then at the time at ReturnPath, a growing SaaS email deliverability company.  The role Karen was applying for was new, in a location other than our NYC global corporate headquarters, and a role that required a blend of technical finesse as well as strong people skills to deal with a variety of personalities.  The role would have been challenging for anyone given that stage of growth and the expectations around new product capabilities.

Among the half dozen finalists I had interviewed for the position, Karen really stood out above the crowd.  She was coming from a situation where after a successful 10 year career, she had started her own business after overcoming a setback in her health (we couldn’t talk about that in the interview as it is illegal to ask); she felt it was time to transition back into a corporate role with more day to day structure with a team as she got the bug out of her system to work for herself.

There were several attributes that I remember most about Karen as she applied for the role.  She was hungry to make an impact – an impact we’d all later feel.  Unlike the other candidates that interviewed, Karen had an edge about her presence and firmness which was later helpful to pioneer and plow new ground as the first head of product marketing in an evolving growing company with strong day to day personalities.  Karen demonstrated she could make an informed point of view, hold her ground firmly, yet had the knowledge when to back away from that point of view.  Karen was more versatile than most;  at the time of the growth stage of the company, we were pivoting from a North America centric view of sales/marketing to that of a global one – she was the first recruit on the team that was fluent in 3 other languages other than English and had lived in Europe before (we later hired 3 other multi-lingual marketers so I’m not sure what language they all spoke!)  She had global perspectives that others may not have had on the team and with her peers outside the group that could help us take a broader viewpoint.  Karen did great in the role with little day to day guidance as I expected.

One day over lunch a few years ago, we talked about some of the day to day challenges and how she forged through them – she had kind of laughed at one point over lunch and made a gentle reference to me about her fighting cancer successfully and how the real battle had already taken place there and anything else in life was really minor in the big picture.  She had bonded with another team member who had overcome a similar cancer battle and he too had that same perspective – they both struck me as very mentally tough people.  She also had a passion for yoga – and had aspirations to teach yoga to survivors of life threatening illnesses.   Though from New York, she loved the calmness of the Colorado mountains;  on one of her visits to New York City, I recall her being anxious to return to an area that was ‘quieter’ and certainly Colorado was that in contrast to NYC.

So while I’m saddened by her passing, I wanted to celebrate the life qualities I saw in her that made me say ‘yes, this is someone I want on my team.’  Her memories will live on with me and with others that worked with her.  Karen and her family are in my prayers.

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The First 100 Days: Insights and Lessons

Velocidi’s Salon Series, a quarterly series that aims to address the top-of-mind issues for CMOs, included a talk led this week by Margaret Molloy.  Our topic was The First 100 Days: Insights and Lessons featuring Maryam Banikarim, CMO of Gannett  Co. Inc. with about 50 other executive audience members.  Maryam talked candidly about the challenges she faced as she transitioned a 100 year culture into the digital age.   After Maryam’s talk, we broke into subgroups and talked about digital challenges CMOs face going into 2012.

Here were the leadership take aways from Maryam on the onboarding process:

  • No silver leadership bullets in leadership. Frequently expectations are for a new CMO to be the savior or offer up a ‘silver bullet’ strategy.  As emphasized in Jim Collin’s latest book, it usually is a series of smaller steps that get a company to success (ala Southwest Airlines succeeding in a tough competitive environment.)
  • Emphasis of building the right team, either externally or internally – you are only as good as your team, and as hard as it is, those that are not ready for change need to exit the organization.  Select the hungry, driven people.
  • Be relentless when selling executive level change in a culture that is not geared for change.
  • As a CMO,  be direct, authentic, honest, speak your mind, and keep building organizational bridges
  • Move the conversation forward – use phases like ‘We’re all in this together’.

Digital take aways from our sub group break out session:

  • Lead by example on the digital front – all marketing leaders should be running ‘experiments’ or ‘tests’ (some called it fail fast, I’m looking more optimistically!) with multiple digital technologies – some marketing teams have been mandated to tweet and/or blog.
  • Community is important to gain acceptance – build internal constituents from the C-Suite (ie CEO) and also keep an eye on how the external community is perceiving your brand on the digital front.
  • Tie digital technologies to business impact – important to show business progress on all levels.

Another GREAT session by @MargaretMolloy and the @Velocidi team!

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Mr. Jon Russo


Jon Russo is a senior marketing executive with specific expertise in Software as a Service (SaaS) and recurring revenue service models targeting business to business segments. With twenty years Silicon Valley and global operational experience in high technology companies with annual revenue from $2 million to $2.5 billion, he led two companies through 300% growth supported by innovative marketing programs and marketing automation. As head of marketing, he has participated in two successful exits of service companies through an Initial Public Offering (I.P.O.) as a corporate officer and a $180 million acquisition. He has overseen 3 marketing automation implementations, the latest implementation leveraging Eloqua, InsideView, and Bulldog. He has partnered with SAP, Marketo, Aprimo, and Eloqua among others.

He earned an M.B.A. from the Haas School of Business, University of California at Berkeley, and an undergraduate degree in Finance from the University of Connecticut.

 

Jon consults on marketing automation, dashboard measurement/creation, marketing ROI, marketing strategy, and channel strategy on a global basis.