Demand Generation (new!)

by Jon Russo Jon Russo No Comments

MarTech Integration Strategy

How should you be thinking of your integration strategy with over 7000 MarTech vendors? How do I think of an ABM MarTech strategy? Whether you are a B2B CMO or an aspiring one, these are key areas to consider in your integration strategy based on our experiences over the last decade.

What is important to know about your Martech integration? 

  • Clearly define with your stakeholders what the ultimate business outcome is (use case).  Is it a better customer experience?  Better reporting?  Less heavy lifting on manual tasks?   Then figure out an integration strategy.
  • Be aware.  Many vendors will err toward saying they integrate with platforms or defer to saying ‘it is on the roadmap’ because it’s an important sales objective to overcome.  There may be different degrees of integration that may or may not meet your use case.
  • Trust but verify.  Vendors may err on quickly saying they solve your integration needs to meet your key objection.   

What should you ask your prospective vendor? 

  • Review your use case with the vendor to make sure they understand what you are trying to accomplish business wise.
  • Ask to talk with customer references on an identical use case integration.  Do a secondary check with vendor neutral consultant agencies that specialize in the areas of integration to triangulate the risks. (This will sound somewhat self-serving, but many vendor neutral consultants don’t have a horse in the game of integration).
  • Check on PII (personal identifiable information) impact/compliance in an integrated scenario.   With GDPR and soon the upcoming California vote on CCPA, it is prudent to know how your data is being treated in systems, whether in the cloud or storing ‘at rest’.

Why do you see integration rising in importance — even above things like price and ease-of-use?

  • Customer Experience:  in the post-Covid world, b2b marketing leaders are planning for a more integrated digital experience for their prospects/customers.  Greater client satisfaction leads to greater retention rates and right now, retention is very meaningful to business.
  • Reporting:  The single biggest failure of non-integrated systems is reporting.  It becomes impossible to report on business impact of marketing and make business decisions when islands of reporting and islands of non-integrated technology exist.  CMOs lose credibility when non-integrated strategies and disparate reporting exists.
  • Cost & Scale:  There is a strong need for an orchestration of platforms to save on people costs rather than having people do the same routine activity.  Integration enables automation to scale.

What are you finding working in your integration strategy?

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

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

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

Waterfall Metrics

Many companies, particularly older SaaS companies, are still stuck with a lead based sales and marketing system while testing an account based system.  For those with a lead based system, the handoff points between sales and marketing can be critical.

In many client scenarios, we see low conversion rates between MQLs and SALs.  This is a sample set from all Marketo customers that ranges from 20% to 33% based on the maturity of the company of their funnel conversion.  The conversion rate is a function of Average Selling Price, Total contract value, sales cycle length and sales cycle type.  

In our experiences of seeing a pattern of low MQL to SAL conversion, this situation can usually be traced to 1 of 4 items or combo of items:

  1. No rigid acceptance criteria by the receiving function (SDRs) and/or no clear lead definition criteria agreed upon by sales and marketing – no accountability by parties or dashboards that can trigger non-compliance alerts and thus finger pointing.
  2. Too high of quantities of MQLs pushed to SDRs that are of low quality or low value – this is what we see most frequently as evidenced by actual conversion rates
  3. Lack of capacity of SDRs to execute on MQLs that marketing produces, so SALs are left untouched.
  4. SDR function that works for head of sales who is more motivated to do pure outbound ‘dial for dollars’ than to follow up on inbound.

Sometimes Marketing is unfairly asked to contribute even MORE to pipeline year over year across a flat or minimally growing budget against a weak conversion point that we spelled out above – we see that phenomenon quite a bit in the first quarter of the year.  In some cases, this calculation makes sense as investors want to see a more efficient sales/marketing engine as evidenced by a lower Cost of Customer Acquisition (CAC) over time.  However, Marketers are asked to make a “step function” change in CAC which is extremely risky to hit expectation wise.

There are ways to combat this increased pipeline challenge of marketing shouldering all the burden and other ways to improve revenue for the company that marketing can influence:

  • Fix the MQL to SAL problem – depending on the cause as identified above, one could address this overall conversion issue.
  • Reduce churn – with customer marketing, you can help drive better LTV and with better churn numbers, you can reduce the pressure sales AND marketing feel on generating new business – you have to generate fewer new MQLs to sustain revenue
  • Ask your CFO what he/she thinks about the sustainability of a step function change in CAC;  in our experiences, that is not a scalable solution in any SaaS environment, a good CFO will know that and may come to your defense.

Addressing any of these areas will help for better sales and marketing alignment, improved stakeholder satisfaction, and longer term tenure by a head of marketing.

What trends are you finding in your waterfall lead metrics?

by Jon Russo Jon Russo No Comments

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?

by Jon Russo Jon Russo No Comments

Part 4.  Lessons Learned in an Account-Based Approach (ABA)

 

As published in MarTech Advisor

 

In our industry conversations and experiences with over 100+ Account based deployments, we find that many marketers, particularly SaaS companies or large enterprises, believe they’re “already doing account based marketing.” When we dig a little deeper to uncover what that means, we find it means their progress is very different for a lot of companies.

 

(See article on MarTech Advisor)

by Jon Russo Jon Russo No Comments

Part 3. What kind of talent is required for ABM success?

 

As published in MarTech Advisor

As Gartner recently pointed out in their October 2017 survey, nearly half of all discretionary marketing spend is dedicated toward internal people or external agency support.

In today’s series, we’ll talk about key resources needed to successfully pull off an ABM strategy to build on our earlier ABM posts of when to create a strategy and how to convince stakeholders of the strategy.

by Jon Russo Jon Russo No Comments

Part 2 – How to convince stakeholders ABA is worth doing.

 

 

As published in MarTech Advisor

 

In Part 1 of our series, we talked about when an Account Based Approach (ABA) should be embarked upon.  In today’s piece, we’ll talk about how to enlist stakeholders that ABA is worth doing.

 

Account-Based Marketing or selling can not happen only within the Marketing department, which makes it very challenging for those of you in cultures that need to prove success out before embarking in a larger initiative. You need executive support, as well as the support of your peers in sales.

 

(Click on the link above for the rest of the article as published in MarTech advisor!)