Author: Jon Russo

by Jon Russo Jon Russo No Comments

Virtual Events: 6 Lessons Learned part 2

In our previous post,  I interviewed Tessa Barron who heads marketing for On24 on what she finds helpful for her clients (full disclosure, we’ve done integrations with On24 with our Marketing Automation and ABM clients prior to this interview).  Here are lessons 4-6 (but bulleted 1-3 thanks to wordpress).

  1. Our webinar benchmarks show that time over time, all webinars are around 50 to 60 minutes. In fact, we saw a minute increase, I believe in the last over the last year. Those, those results will be published in March. So I think that what that shows us is the on demand functionality and the, and the always on aspect of webinars is really becoming so much more important. So people are not treating them any more as this one off event that happens in a single moment and they have to be there. Instead. It’s this always on channel that prospects can come back to again and again. They can self educate, they can share with a buying group and it becomes an extremely valuable opportunity for them to have an entire buyer’s journey and entire experience in a single, in a single event, which I think is pretty phenomenal. You know, with the, typically in marketing we like to drip things out and it’s this six week nurture process and a single webinar, a prospect can get a the, you know, the thought leadership valuable content.
  2. Interactive.  They can also raise their hand to get a demo or book a meeting with the sales person. And actually our, our platform is designed for that to have that multi-touch experience. And so that’s why I think the link is actually staying the same. It’s just the context in which people consume them.
  3. ABM Webinars.  Personalization at scale.  Webinars are an amazing tactic for anyone’s ABM strategy and the role that they play is they offer that ability to get really personal with promotions but still leverage the meaty thought leadership content that is done at that general level.
  • They will take a thought leadership webinar that’s done by corporate or that’s done for the general population. And then what our platform specifically allows them to do is customize the different calls to action, customize the intros, the outros, the branding on it. And that gives them a really easy way to solve that ABM content challenge, but still personalize the different ways that they want someone to engage with them.
  •  And then I think at a higher level what we’re seeing is a lot of webinars by industry a lot of webinars by persona. And it turns out that because someone’s able to come in and have that conversation and have that interaction, a webinar channel is, is a personalized experience that someone is looking for that goes way deeper than just putting a logo on a landing page.
by Jon Russo Jon Russo No Comments

Virtual Events, 6 Lessons Learned part 1 of 2

(post 1 of 2)

I just ran a survey recently on marketing demand generation ABM techniques and webinars was the number one tactic across the board for B to B marketers to do. I caught up with Tessa Barron who heads Marketing for On24 and asked her a number of questions.

Tessa, what best practices suggestions would you have using webinars these days?

  1. So I think that the biggest thing I would suggest is stop thinking of webinars as a one off event and something that happens once and then gets thrown away and isn’t integrated as part of your overall buyer’s journey or overall integrated demand gen campaign. We add on 24 no surprise, obviously drink our own Kool-Aid and webinars are far and away our number one tactic when it comes to pipeline and in fact closed one pipeline.
  2. So I’d actually take your survey results one step further and say it’s not just effective from a generation of MQL standpoint, it’s all the way down the funnel. And so what we’ve really done is evolved our webinar program from just being a single event once a month to being something that is always on and is happening on a day in, day out basis. We do that in a few ways. 
    • One, we leverage simulive capabilities, which means you can record something once and replay it again and again. So we have a bottom of funnel webinar called our daily demo that happens every single day at 11:00 AM Pacific. So someone can sign up for multiple days in a week. They figure out it’s a no pressure environment to really get an understanding of our product.
    • And then way at the top of the funnel, we have a lot of different panels. We work with partners, we bring in other voices. What that allows us to do is broaden our perspective, but that can be difficult from a scheduling standpoint. So we, we often record panels, well I have a recording I think tomorrow. And then we’ll run it at a time that is best for all the different parties involved. So we are able to promote with different people and then have the convenience of the scheduling.
  3. Think about webinars as being a part of an integrated demand gen campaign. So you can use all your typical demand gen tactics, like your content reports, your blogs, your eBooks, and those should be driving momentum toward a big culmination, a culminating effect and use webinars or field events to drive urgency to get those prospects to convert.
    • And also to help drive motion with your outbound SDR or BDR teams and also your AEs. There was nothing better for them to then to be able to use a, a point in time to drive that urgency.
    • But if you just think of that as something separate that’s in a silo and not a part of this momentous and has alignment with the other content and messaging you’re pushing, then you’ll lose out on that halo effect that really helps you build that audience over time. And, and pipeline.
by Jon Russo Jon Russo No Comments

Jon in the Press

…I’ll soon add a dedicated section to the website of the numerous times we’ve been cited in the press, but here are a few to start:

SourceTitleDate
CMS Newswire5 Ways to Prove Marketing’s Worth to the Board of DirectorsOctober 2019
Successly.ioThe 5 Biggest MarTech and ABM Mistakes Made by Marketing LeadersJuly 2018
EngagioHow to Kick-Start an Account Based Marketing StrategyJuly 2018
DemandGen ReportB2B Marketers Looking To Better Track Activity Across Buyer Stages, Channels & CampaignsJune 2018
DemandGen ReportB2B Marketers Looking To Better Track Activity Across Buyer Stages, Channels & CampaignsJune 2018
DemandGen ReportIndustry Experts, Practitioners Sound Off On The Evolution Of B2B Marketing OpsJune 2018
OpenView VentureDemystifying Account Based MarketingMay 2018
DemandGen ReportCustomer Obsession, Analytics & ABM Take Center Stage At Marketing Nation SummitMay 2018
MarTech AdvisorLessons Learned in an Account-Based Approach (ABA)February 2018
MarTech AdvisorWhat Kind of Talent is Required for ABM Success?February 2018
MarTech AdvisorWhen is Account Based Marketing Needed?January 2018
DemandGen ReportSAP America Acquires CallidusCloud For $2.4 BillionJanuary 2018
MarTech AdvisorHow to Convince Stakeholders ABA is Worth DoingJanuary 2018
DemandGen ReportMarketers Preparing For And Adapting To Email Compliance Standards Around The GlobeSeptember 2017
Chief MarketerWhat Are the Biggest B2B Pain Points?August 2017
DemandGen ReportFind Your Perfect Match: 7 Traits To Look For In A B2B AgencyJune 2017
DemandGen ReportB2B Marketers Report Stronger Results From Retargeting Programs Tied To ABM, Segmented CampaignsMay 2017
CIO ReviewMarketing and Sales Alignment Wow FactorMarch 2017
Marketing Land6 keys to more effective email marketingJuly 2016
MarTech AdvisorDigital Selling – 2017 MarTech Integration ChallengesMarch 2016
Sales Leadership Mgmt Assoc.40 Most Inspiring Leaders – Sales Lead ManagementDec 2015
SlideshareCritical KPI/ROI LessonsOctober 2013
SlideshareMarketing Automation – BtoB MagazineAugust 2013
SlideshareSales Enablement ConferenceAugust 2013
SlideshareFinding Relevant Prospects – BtoB Magazine WebinarAugust 2013
OtherDemand Generation: CMO Viewpoint #DemandConMay 2011

by Jon Russo Jon Russo No Comments

Marketing v Sales – ABM Perceptions

Very few companies do a pure Account Based strategy, most augment with a lead strategy.  When small or large companies do embark on this AB strategy through a Marketing led initiative, Sales and Sales Leaders may have preconceived notions of Marketing behavior or what is expected of Marketing.


Here are helpful tips on what trends we see in Enterprises who are event driven that need more help with changing the perception that Marketers are strategic in nature.

Typical “Good” Marketing behaviors working with Sales that we’ve observed

  • Work together on an Account Based weekly stand up meeting (#1 recommendation, Engagio CEO Oct 2019)
  • Be data driven on recommending Accounts for tiers/prioritization/selection – intent data or whitespace reports can assist in this effort.
  • Start small together – pilots, a few accounts, get wins, etc.
  • Provide ‘Marketing treatment’ options across tiers of accounts rather than a ‘pool of money’ approach toward these tiers.
  • Drive towards Marketing influenced reporting for existing accounts vs. sourced revenue
  • Work primarily with Sales Leadership so you have a better chance at scaling.  Leverage your Marketing leaders to reset expectations with Sales leaders if needed.

Typical “Not So Good” Marketing behaviors working with Sales that we’ve observed over the years:

  • Avoid doing administrative work on behalf of sales (meeting coordination, etc.).  You are not a sales assistant.
  • Let Sales do all the account selection without a Marketing point of view – major red flag, they’ll give you their hardest or worst accounts because they don’t want Marketing involvement, we’ve seen this before.
  • Provide a ‘pool of money’ concept where they are deciding how to spend your budget
  • Realize that with Marketing Sourced Reporting you are picking a battle when you choose this metric, the battle being: did Sales source this account revenue or did Marketing source it?  Make sure your processes and data ducks are in a row else risk measurement credibility.
  • Work with account executives on formulating an account based strategy – it will not scale.  Each deal will have unique experiences.   This may require executive Marketing leadership to reset expectations.

What is working for you in your interaction with Sales?

by Jon Russo Jon Russo No Comments

2020 Marketing Budgets

Here the latest on how Gartner thinks Marketing budgets are shaping up for 2020. It’s somewhat contradictory – on the heels of budgets not seen since 2011 with flat to declining budgets, the report is also saying Marketers are surprisingly optimistic with a small percentage saying they expect budget increases year over year despite the economic climate of China tariffs, Brexit, and other extraneous forces. Keep in mind that of the companies they polled, they consist of 326 b2b and b2c clients of theirs.

This one section I’ve highlighted here struck me as interesting.

  • Gartner saying y/y drop in MarTech significant but not a retraction – they are claiming the retraction is ‘more efficient use of MarTech’ vs. ‘disillusionment of use.’
    • In our experience, there is the start of retraction. If MarTech isn’t providing value to a company, it’s exited from that company. Many companies right now need agencies to prove the value of existing investments instead of recommending net new investments.
  • Gartner saying hiring MarTech generalists instead of specialists
    • I question that finding, that’s why so many companies are struggling with adoption right now – too many generalists have put the companies in a mess.
  • Marketing Analytics is highest strategic priority of investment.
    • This observation makes sense.
  • Hiring Marketing Ops is a recommendation
    • I agree with this observation
  • 12.6% of budget going to Marketing ops (2/3 of orgs have Marketing Ops). 
    • I’m on the board of MOCCA (Marketing Operations Cross Company Alliance) and would agree many MarTech vendors are now shifting efforts towards Marketing Operations.
  • Trend towards MVP agile budgeting on project based approach
  • CFOs are #1 inhibitor of Marketing
    • Are they an inhibitor or do Marketers not know the language of the CFO? CFOs can be real enablers if you can speak their language – CAC, Churn, retention, Net revenue dollar, etc.
  • CMOs gravitate towards volume vs. value metrics
    • Love that quote – very true

If you need a copy of their report, you can find it on their website Gartner.com or if send me an email for a copy of their report.

by Jon Russo Jon Russo No Comments

Intent Data – what is it?

What are the business benefits of Intent data?

Improves conversion odds. Intent helps your sales team identify which accounts are more likely to be interested or ‘in market’ vs. others, thus increasing the odds of successful pipeline conversion.

Prioritizes large number of accounts for sales to work through. When there is a one to many approach that your sales team is tackling, Intent data helps prioritize which accounts are more likely expressing some level of interest in your topic/product vs. other areas. 

Enables account targeting with appropriate nurture campaign air cover and/or banner interest based on account need. Intent data can trigger use cases of better web banner advertising (e.g. a surround sound effect on targeting) and improved nurturing odds based on what an account is actually interested in.

Improves ROI/utilization of existing Marketing & Sales Technology. Intent when integrated with the marketing automation or CRM platform can be used in a more aggressive way than using those same platforms without intent data.

There are a variety of intent data providers – G2 Crowd, Bombora, Big Willow (recently acquired), & TechTarget to name a few.

How are you using Intent Data?

 

by Jon Russo Jon Russo No Comments

#TOPO summary – ABM 2019

Today’s post is a Guest Contribution by Jennifer Metherell. Jennifer has recently attended the TOPO conference and summarized the trip on what she learned relative to her 50+ ABM experiences.

1) Embarking on the ABM Journey – every successful organization who has effectively built an ABM practice all had one common theme – START SMALL!  All of the organizations who shared their stories chose 3-5 accounts who they could sell more solutions too or a large solution too and ran well-orchestrated plays to them for both new or existing logos.  The main reasons they did this: 

  • Limited resources to execute internally 
  • Pilots were run to get sales and marketing aligned on simple common goals
  • No technology buys needed to execute 

2) Forget the Funnel – As customer experience plays a stronger role in differentiating your product and reduces churn, more and more organizations are ditching the concept of the Funnel for a holistic approach to customer acquisition and expansion. They are looking at more at their customer relationship as a loop and understand that growth and sustainability come from a symbiotic view.  This viewpoint also helps pave the way for more internal groups to work together with a single account plan from sales, to implementation and on to account management.  The traditional funnel is great for transactional relationships but lacks the structural needs to make the customer first a strategy in the organization. 


3) MQL – So long, farewell, we hate to say goodbye!  Ok let’s face it the concept of the MQL is needed as a first step in getting Sales and Marketing working together, but really this is just a mechanism for building a better path of KPI’s. TOPO was the first place I have seen a widely accepted and commonly spoke about the concept of the MQA. Organizations who are focused on targeting ICP accounts understand that more than one person buys and if you are waiting for inbound then you are probably too late.  It was refreshing to see so many talk about driving engagement with the right accounts and people and use pipeline created or closed as the metrics they report. However, this does imply that Marketing is aligned with Sales and they jointly agreed to an ICP, target lists as well as a process for working accounts. In addition, this new process is fully supported by a newer set of tools in the marketing place like provide insights – intent data, account level engagement, and account scoring. 


4) Intent Data – If you are waiting to drive inbound leads you are late for the party! Intent data is finally maturing along with a set of best practice business process for implementation.  Forward thinking and high growth companies have developed the following practices within their organization:

  • Jointly defined an ICP with C-Suite, Sales & Marketing 
  • Understand the personas and playbooks for gaining market share
  • Purchased tools to show intent along with engagement for creation of an account score to prioritize with sales and marketing 

Just like that co-worker who does not sit and wait to be promoted through years of service, people using intent data ensure market growth by outmaneuvering their competitors. Seeing this stuff is sooooo cool. It reminds of when we first got Marketing automation and were like “Oh my gosh we can see who opened our emails!” Thank you 2005 – LOVE THIS STUFF


5) Shared organization strategies for driving alignment with sales and marketing while totally crushing it: 

  • SDR/BDR whatever you want to call it lives under marketing but is paid by a sales comp plan 
  • Sales and Marketing start annual planning together by developing an organization whitespace report 
  • Marketing understands and has accountability against the revenue targets the same way sales does 

We’re really passionate about ABM – if we can be a resource to you, let us know how!

by Jon Russo Jon Russo No Comments

Part 2 – Account Based Measurement

In our previous post, we outlined a maturity curve for measurement.

Today we dive more deeply into ABM Measurement.

Stage 1 “Undergraduate”

  • Account Based Basic Measurement – sometimes done in conjunction with Stage 1, this is where the SiriusDecisions 3.0 Account based measurement model begins to come into play with account level attribution.  
  • The most common measurement value we are hearing that Marketers are reporting up to their boards or CEO level on in this stage is that of Account Engagement within certain tiered accounts (Marketing Engaged Accounts).
    • An alternative to this measurement are ‘meetings within target accounts.’
  • The advantage of displaying this stage is one of unifying a view from both sales and marketing vs. the earlier models of celebrating marketing attribution on what could be low overall closing performance.   It also has the benefit of being a leading indicator of pipeline creation and actual revenue produced from ABM initiatives.
  • Other funnel measurements can be installed based on account status values leading to/through an opportunity stage.   Rather than snapshots of engagement, it’s also more valuable to show the trend of engagement over a period of time (from the last board meeting) to show progress. 

Stage 2 “Masters”

  • Advanced Account Based Measurement where sales and marketing channel effectiveness can be tested more deeply than that of other stages referenced above – this approach could leverage Engagio’s DASH product where ALL of sales and marketing activities are rolled up against the account with ‘fractional’ influence measurement models that can vary depending on how the user configures the attribution across all sales and marketing activities.   Why this approach may be helpful:

  • This measurement includes digital aspects that are commonly measured today, physical aspects (like face to face meetings) as well as velocity.
    • There is the ability to weight different elements of the buying process (persona, type of campaign and/or type of activity) such that an end user could test different models for the optimal weighting and scoring method.  We’ve seen other technologies get to a similar destination but through alot more business process change and engineering to get to the destination
    • A look back capability measuring any activity or campaign over a specified period, giving a client the ability to model different weighting structures and different minutes (although that ability would take some manual effort, it’s doable).
    • In most cases, all account activity is rolled to an account, including that of anonymous web traffic which is frequently missed by other measurement tools, valuable for those enterprises using Eloqua, Pardot, and Marketo.  This is valuable information to also aggregate in the overall activity of the account.
    • The ability to measure activities that precede a business outcome specified by the end user – for example:
      • Activities that precede an actual purchase
      • Activities that precede an opportunity creation
      • Activities that precede a meeting or MQA

It’s also easy to use.  We’ve been engaged with other measurement solutions that require either a massive process overhaul change impacting all users of a system (like Salesforce) and/or technical SQL programming that are robust yet resource intensive.  The ease of use of this native Salesforce deployment which works in either classic or lightning makes it appealing on several levels.

What are you finding valuable in your marketing measurement as it relates to ABM if you are in the mid-market?

by Jon Russo Jon Russo No Comments

Account Based Measurement, Part 1

Marketing measurement is a passion of ours at B2B Fusion based on these prior posts.  We’re starting to see more advanced business impact capabilities for Account Based Measurement that are valuable for Marketing executive reporting at the board level – and a maturity curve is starting to emerge in measurement that spans both lead based systems as well as Account Based systems.

There are also a number of measurement systems in today’s market ranging from Excel to (expensive) Google 360 to companies that dedicate themselves to measurement like Bizible, Full Circle, Proof Analytics, CaliberMind, Hive9, Strala, and Engagio among other measurement solutions that use BI from a data lake (Looker, Domo, etc.).   It’s impossible to cover all alternative measurement vendors in this one blog post.

There is a maturity of measurement in organizations as it relates to ABM and assumes a mid market (sub $500mm USD total revenue or less) company.  I’ll use ‘education’ levels as an analogy to explain.

One important “pre-requisite” for any stage – proper business process must be installed to have tangible as well as credible results. We’re running on a big assumption explaining these levels that you’ve already got the right business process in place. Data hygiene is a secondary pre-requisite. Where data goes bad at 2-3%/month according to Salesforce, proper attribution is only as good as the underlying data.

Stage 0 “Associate Degree”

  • the Sirius 1.0 or 2.0 model which is person or lead based, single then multi-touch attribution.  This seems to be the minimum several SaaS companies or mid-market clients already have installed where Marketers are progressively being measured on opportunities sourced from Marketing.  It’s become a familiar metric to boards with CAC (cost of acquisition), LTV (lifetime value) and related measurements.
  • There are typically either single or multi touch models.   The model leverages marketing automation and Salesforce.com, with some shortcomings in measurement but is a bare minimum measurement system in either a first or last touch model.  Companies like Bizible (now Marketo) and Full Circle Insights overcame single touch shortcomings with a multi touch digital and campaign attribution in their respecitve service offers to follow closely with the 1.0 and 2.0 models.
    • One example of multi-touch is a vendor like Full Circle, where there can be a variety of different ways to measure touches (linear, U shaped, W shaped, etc.) to attribute the campaign effort.
  • In this stage of measurement, there is no need yet to measure Account Based Marketing.   There may be a need to keep a lead based measurement alongside an Account Based structure which leads to the next stage.

In our follow on post, we’ll look at stages 1 and 2.

If you have feedback on what works well for you in stage 0, please let me know.

by Jon Russo Jon Russo No Comments

Adobe’s Account Based Marketing Experience (ABX)

(Full disclosure – we were recently named an Adobe Insider and have been a long standing partner of Marketo, neither of which influence our point of view below.  Our expertise is Account Based Marketing in/around Marketo offer for B2B, so you’ll see that point of view reflected below).

Adobe announced an initiative to aggressively go after an ‘Account Based Experience’ because customers buy experiences, not products, according to the CEO of Adobe.  Adobe views the Account Based Experience encompassing Sales, Marketing, and Customer Support.

Adobe is 5 months in their B2B acquisition of Marketo (and about 9 months into Magento) but at their recent summit, they had a number of announcements relevant to B2B that we summarized in this video:

Let me add more color as to what we saw.

Here is what is most significant to me coming out of the show as it relates to Account Based Experience – I see all sorts of possibilities with Adobe’s vast resource base, it’s enterprise customer focus, and it’s strong relationship with Microsoft who owns LinkedIn. More specifically:

  • Adobe can potentially leverage their Test & Target product to push relevant content to websites that are specific to end user need, thus personalizing an ABX experience.  The price point may need to come down as T&T is enterprise grade, Marketo is more mid-market focused.  But the promise here is very strong.
    • Demandbase was also referenced as a strong intergration partner;  in theory, integrating Test & Target with Demandbase would drive that customized content experience for ABX.
  • With an Account Based Conversation integration with Drift, a conversation can be had via chat that is relevant to the buyer who is on the receiving side of chat – for example, an initial chat with a ‘C’ level executive may have different content track to start with a ‘non-C’ level within a target account.
  • LinkedIn
    • While it was not entirely clear what the exact relationship would be, we are guessing it will allow the ability to pass users to target from the sales team’s Sales Navigator licenese to a company’s LinkedIn’s ads.
    • There may be some limitation here on the number of ads or contacts that one can reach.  This integration sounds promising but more needs to be seen here beyond the press release.
  • With it’s announcement of LiveRamp and Demandbase, Adobe Marketo users can now target companies via ads that are in those respective networks.
  • CDP development
    • While they used the words CDP (Customer Data Platform), as a creative company, it was not entirely clear to me what they intended or meant.  It is a Marketing buzzword but it is indeed the right direction for a B2B for Account Based Experiences where all data from all touch points is aggregated, orchestrated, then focused towards end users.

I think what excited me most about Adobe is they have wasted no time digging into understanding how Marketo can enable them to reach new markets or be combined with existing technologies to drive a deeper, rich ABX experience.  Having witnessed other marketing automation provider acquisitions, this one seems to have moved significantly quicker with a more unified vision than that of other similar-sized acquisitions. 

Five months into an acquisition isn’t very long, though. It’ll be interesting to see what the next year holds in store with Adobe and the progress they make against their own objectives.