ABM

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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.

by Jon Russo Jon Russo No Comments

What should I measure in Marketing?

As I mentioned in a previous post, as a former CMO with a passion to measure marketing impact on the business, I’m often asked by others ‘what should we measure in marketing?’  Let’s dive deeper into ideas of what to actually measure.

We typically see two models depending on whether you are trying to take business decisions from measurement OR if you are trying to ‘account’ (or justify) marketing investment.

Model 1 – CEO/Board reporting

  • If your board of directors or CEO are interested in marketing reporting, they are going to care a lot about cost of acquisition, particularly in SaaS based companies. Lifetime value is also a valuable metric to consider when it comes time for acquisition costs – in a SaaS model, measuring lifetime value by cohorts can be helpful.  These are typically manual measurements vs. system measurements.
  • The cost of customer acquisition, particularly in SaaS based companies is a manual calculation vs. a system calculation yet is very valuable for board level reporting. This acquisition can be more valuable if done by cohorts.
    • It goes without saying the CAC to LTV ratio from the above figures is also worth showing a trend on.
  • In the maturing stage of a SaaS company (i.e. beyond 7 years old), they’ll eventually want to see a decrease in total marketing investment relative to that of revenues – ideally revenues should be climbing at a significantly faster rate at that point relative to that of marketing investment.
  • Measuring performance in cohort retention in SaaS models are a must do – but again need context. Often times we’ll hear of 90% annual retention rate celebrated yet if you look at the cohort retention rate over say a 3 year or more span, the retention rate in cohort will average more like 66%.  Marketing has a huge upside in influencing retention in these longer cohort areas as a small change in retention adds to a substantial bottom line improvement; however, most marketers have very little incentive to invest their time here vs. acquisition.  This is where looking at compensation plans is critical.

Model 2 – Head of Sales/ Marketing Reporting

  • Sales may be more interested in what you in marketing are sourcing although in our experiences, this conversation can be tricky with a head of sales because you are ‘accounting’ for how a deal gets sourced – be careful with this one politically!
  • For those Account Based Marketing fans, Account engagement could be another CEO or Sales metric to measure – we’re seeing that boards of directors in SaaS companies are not yet asking for this metric, yet for an account based strategy, it is a leading indication of success.
    • Account engagement can be measured a number of ways or tiers – from an account with a contact that has some level of engagement beyond an email open (for example, download, webinar attendance, booth visit, demo – a ‘success’ metric’).
    • It can also be measured as an open stage 0 or stage 1 opportunity against the account, preceded by some period of time with a campaign attached to the contact related to the opportunity.
  • If you are measuring a lead based approach, there can be a variety of models to consider – first touch, last touch, and multi-touch are the most common.
  • Multi-touch attribution is best handled by 3rd party software in addition to you your marketing automation platform and CRM system. For multi-touch attribution, there are a variety of models to consider – even touch across all points, a W touch model, or you can with some software packages rank/rate the touches based on frequency.
    • In our client base, we have experienced vendors like Full Circle, Bizible, Terminus, LeanData, Engagio, and Calibermind to name a few.  Each have its strengths and weaknesses.
    • We also see Tableau or a visual tool layered ontop of an SQL database.
    • Lastly, Excel which has been around since the 1800s is also a tool we see deployed (just seeing if anyone actually reads these posts lol).

What are you measuring in Marketing today and how are you measuring it?

by Jon Russo Jon Russo No Comments

5 Foundational Questions of Marketing Measurement

5 Foundational Questions of Marketing Measurement

First of a 2 part series. 

As a former CMO with a passion to measure marketing impact on the business, I’m often asked by others ‘what should we measure in marketing?’   The temptation is to race right to the visual presentation level of dashboards.   However, it’s best to start with getting context.

While it’s probably the right question to ask, it’s often a difficult question to answer without context.  However, there are usually common questions to consider on the journey to this answer.

  1. Let’s start with the first one – what is your reporting objective?

There are two typical models of reporting objectives – first is to make business decisions from the reporting, the second is to make Marketing as a function that is accountable for their impact.

Our next article will dive more deeply into what to actually measure.

  1. What role are you in?

This can be complex – if you are ‘doing the work’ vs. ‘delegating the work’ there is a tendency in our clients of ‘doers’ to provide vanity metrics to their boss – web page visits, clicks, downloads.   ‘Doers’ that get promoted make that vanity metric connection to business impact – retention rates, new revenue growth, etc.  ‘Doers’ that also ask to get their compensation tied to pipeline performance are ahead of the curve relative to their peer set.  If you are the ‘C’ level leader of Marketing, the next post will dive into what exactly to measure from a business impact perspective.

  1. Who owns Salesforce?

This is a key question because getting marketing attribution done right relies on Salesforce process and methodology.   If marketing is the ‘owner’ which we find in about 30% of the cases, the ability to orchestrate change is much easier.  As a ‘guest’ in Salesforce, you then rely on others to help you execute that change.   Dashboarding inside or outside of salesforce could also be a function of who owns it and where is the information most credible.  We typically recommend dashboarding inside Salesforce.

  1. What state is your data in?

With data decaying at 3%/month due to people changing jobs (in a good economy!), a database without governance is like ordering a year’s worth of milk supply at your home thinking you will be good forever on your milk diet.  Data is at the heart of sales effectiveness, marketing effectiveness, and inside sales effectiveness – so much productivity is lost here because ‘no one owns the data’.  This is a critical function that also drives attribution.  So it’s prudent when measuring to know the exact state of your data.  We often recommend creating a dashboard for this data.

  1. What is your selling motion?

Are you a transactional sale?  An enterprise sale?  A sale involving partners?  A sale that has cold to qualify with a BDR function?  Each of these has dramatically different attribution needs and/or use cases in measurement.

 

What are you seeing as common questions or issues in measuring marketing?

by Jon Russo Jon Russo No Comments

Myths of Account Based Marketing

I recently compared notes with Kelvin Gee, Sr. Director of Modern Marketing Business Transformation at Oracle, on myth’s on Account Based Marketing.  Even though Oracle owns Eloqua, his points are quite valid across any size company using any automation platform.

  • Kelvin: The first myth is that account-based is only for big accounts, and while that might be true, that’s where the account-based is most intense, with the data and processing technologies today we can scale account-based all the way down to pyramid. So not just the tip of the pyramid but the middle layer and the bottom layer. So account-based at scale is what we’re trying to prove out today.
    • Jon’s opinion: Kelvin makes a great point for non-transactional, b2b purchases, in theory ABM can extend throughout the funnel.  The challenge is scaling in a personalized way throughout the funnel, as well as prioritizing the most meaningful accounts in the funnel.

  • Kelvin: The second myth is that account-based is just a tactic. Sometimes people think that, oh if we just run an executive event or dinner for particular account, that’s account-based, but no, account-based is actually a strategy, a fundamentally different way of how marketers do business and it takes a different approach in terms of who you’re focused on, the tactics that are in play, the orchestration with the sales and then how you measure your stuff is completely different. So that’s why it’s really a strategy and not just a series of tactics.
    • Jon’s opinion: another great point here by Kelvin and one where we see a number of other outside agencies ‘muddying up’ the tactics of ABM vs. defining a true ABM strategy.  Thinking through the right plays and right treatment for types of accounts is a much different thought process than executing a tactic.

 

  • Kelvin: The last myth is that most people call it ABM, and what we’re trying to do is change the nomenclature internally because if we just say account-based marketing or ABM, sales will just think, it’s just another marketing campaign, it’s the campaign of the month or campaign of the day and again, if account-based is truly a strategy that aligns different parts of the organization including sales and customer success teams, as well as other parts of the organization, service as well, we can’t call it account-based marketing, because it implies only one part of the house and it just reinforces the fact that this is another campaign and we don’t wanna do that so we’re fundamentally calling it account-based or account-based strategy, so those are three myths that we’re trying to debunk here at Oracle.
    • Jon’s opinion: the definition of ‘account based’ can vary wildly by company.  It’s wise to get sales and marketing in a room to really define what the account based definition is, what the treatment is, and what the expectations are.  Measurement helps, too.

 

What kinds of myths are you busting?

by Jon Russo Jon Russo No Comments

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.
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?