By Matt Heinz, President of Heinz Marketing

Late in 2015 we started producing a radio program called Sales Pipeline Radio, which currently runs every Thursday at 11:30 a.m. Pacific.  It’s just 30 minutes long, fast-paced and full of actionable advice, best practices and more for B2B sales & marketing professionals.

We’ve already featured some great guests and have a line up of awesome content and special guests coming up. Our very first guest was Funnelholic author and Topo co-founder Craig Rosenberg.  Next we had Mike Weinberg, incredible writer, speaker, author, followed by Conrad Bayer, CEO & Founder of Tellwise.  Recent Guests: Jim KeenanJoanne BlackAaron RossJosiane FeigonMeagen Eisenberg, and Trish Bertuzzi.

We cover a wide range of topics, with a focus on sales development and inside sales priorities heading into and throughout the year. We’ll publish similar highlights here for upcoming episodes.  You can listen to full recordings of past shows at SalesPipelineRadio.com and subscribe on iTunes.

If you haven’t caught their podcast yet, it’s not too late to binge listen to Robert Pease & Brian Hansford‘s show – Marketing Kranks on SoundCloud. Today they are taking over the show for Matt, who is traveling. The topic? All the ABM Noise…. the good, the bad, the ugly.

 

Paul:  Welcome everybody it’s time again another episode of Sales Pipeline Radio so grab your board, we are going to catch the latest wave. Today we have a guest host with us here, we have Brian Hansford with us. Hey Brian!

Brian:  How are you doing? I am glad to be here!

Paul:  Okay, right! I’m looking at your office here and it looks like you have sausages or something hung in the roof there!

Brian:  Yeah, so Matt Heinz is the driver behind the radio show here and I am actually sitting in his grand office. For those who don’t know, Matt is the master of anything meat.

Paul:  I didn’t know that!

Brian:  Yeah, he has some sausages hanging in the background here so yeah, it’s fun. It’s a fun office.

Paul:  All right. Well jump in, you’ve got your guest with here, I let you take off.

Brian:  All right! So I am Brian Hansford with Heinz Marketing. I am vice president of client services and I am filling in for Matt Heinz this week. He is a road warrior quite often and this week he’s actually out to doing some speaking and I have the honor and pleasure of actually filling in for him with my colleague Robert Pease. Robert how are you?

Robert:  I’m great Brian. Barely made this so I was kind of running from one meeting to the next but I’m excited to be here and I’m excited that we are hijacking Sales Pipeline Radio from Matt Heinz with the marketing Kranks. So good to talk to you, good to be on this, something that we started last year and I think we both had an extremely busy first quarter. A little behind on our Kranks episode so we are just going to kill two birds with one stone with this thing.

Brian:  Yeah. So for anybody that doesn’t know, we actually have another podcast from Heinz Marketing that Robert and I conduct it’s called Marketing Kranks and so Robert and I can be rather curmudgeonly with a certain things marketing or B2B sales and marketing. And we don’t get too cranky, we want to be constructive but we like to add a little bit of I don’t know, maybe a curmudgeon cranky spin on things, poke some of the common misconceptions or maybe the trendy misconceptions that we see and just try and offer some advice that people can actually find constructive to cut through the noise.

Robert:  Yeah, you know right?

Brian:  Yeah, so enjoy that. Robert where are you calling in from when you are doing planes, trains and automobiles? What part of the world are you in right now?

Robert:  I am in Eugene Oregon, home of the Oregon Ducks and it is a rainy Oregon Duck day here in Eugene.

Brian:  All right!

Robert:  You know Brian, we talk about being cranky or whatever but as it is we do what we do at Heinz. And I run a practice for Pipeline Performance, we are sort of sales pipeline people, we are revenue people, we are results oriented folks and there is just so much noise that I guess we are contributing to the noise but hopefully we see clarity around what it takes to build a funnel, what it takes to build a pipeline, how you actually execute sales and marketing for your monthly or quarterly objectives or whatever it is. And so we decided to add to voice to that where hopefully a lot of practical insight and some perspectives along the way.

Brian:  Right, right. Well I think we have a great topic today, it’s a common topic, it’s gaining some momentum but at the same time we hear a lot of confusion. And that’s the noise around account based marketing or account based selling and marketing. And I wanted to see if we could maybe talk to some of this a little bit and take some of the mystery out of it because I have to tell you just the kind of play on words a little bit, a lot of the noise that I hear it does make me cranky and I want to see if we can maybe just to break it down a little bit and help demystify some of the elements around account based marketing. And I think one of the things that we could talk about Robert is, is account based marketing new?

Robert:  The short answer is no, maybe in label and I think this has a particular applicability to business-to-business selling. So it’s not new to salespeople. Salespeople have always thought about selling your main accounts or other sorts of territory plan or whatever it is. What account based marketing sort of now marketing getting its religion and understanding campaigns need to be aligned around a very intentional set of accounts; and I guess the consulting world, the ideal customer profile. And it’s just about being very intentional and very methodical, right? It’s not activity for activity sake. I was saying in my markets, in my segment these are these accounts. These are the people’s accounts I need to reach and I am going to align and coordinate and essentially orchestrate my sales and marketing activities to that end.

So I don’t think it’s new in terms of a desired outcome. I think it’s maybe a little bit new in terms of label. And again I think it kind of gets at something that for 10 years people have been preaching about sales and marketing alignment. If everybody aligns around revenue then I think we are potentially a little bit more efficient the way we go and I think that’s one of the good things that comes out of ABM.

Brian:  Absolutely and I think one of the things that I really like that excites me about account based marketing is the intentional focus. So with demand generation or lead generation, what has driven marketers is just okay we need to generate leads. And the outcome is just generating leads and then we’ll throw them over the fence or over the cubicle wall and it’s sales’ problem from there.

The problem with that is you know that doesn’t work anymore. I mean you can certainly still focus on generating leads and individual contacts play a role in account based marketing but when you are intentionally focusing on an account, there are multiple individuals within that account.

So if you are… Let’s say you’re focusing on a segment or maybe a region and you have to pursue or manage how you are going to market or engage with specific personas within those accounts; and each of those are going to have different messages, they will have different motivations and influences and roles to play, it’s important to recognize how to treat those contacts individually, right? Or as much as possible that’s relevant to them in their world.

You can’t just blast everybody with messages or put content out there just expecting that to be relevant to everybody in your market. So I think the intentional piece I really like how you state that, it’s just very intentional. And focused and you may not have the volume but the quality of the outcomes should hopefully be better. Would you agree? Do you have thoughts on that?

Robert:  Yeah, absolutely. I think it creates a better experience for everyone. It’s a better experience for the potential customer so that they are not being poorly targeted with irrelevant messages to do something they don’t want to do. There’s a dial in terms of the need or the pain they have and the outcome they are seeking and kind of a very intentional, methodical conversation so you have a much better experience.

But the dirty little secret is that just because you can name of the account that you want to sell to and make your customers doesn’t mean they are ready to buy from you. And if you have this sort of scorecard policy where you are like look I’m going to pummel you with phone calls and emails for five days and if you don’t capitulate, I am going to move on to the next one, that doesn’t work in this kind of model.

And I coach companies and we get in and we talk about targets and segments like great, this was a conversation I was having earlier today. There are 3,000 potential customers in the segment that were talking about, right? Your swagger needs to be – they all will become my customer, it won’t be tomorrow. It won’t be next month, next quarter but eventually you will get them all. And if you have that mindset, then how you treat everybody through that process I think has a little more discipline to it.

So yeah, I certainly think it creates a better experience, again from the person who is being sold to but I also think internally the experience is better as well. And so you are right. You’re not going to have marketing that’s going to be able to generate a report that said it generated 1000 leads and then sales have to say yeah but only 8% of those actually had any type of qualification. So you sort of elevate beyond that a little bit and it becomes again, a conversation around – of those 2,000 or 3,000 accounts; tier 1, tier 2, tier 3, what are we programmatically doing to bring those people in understanding that not everybody is going to be ready and just have that much more sort of elevated and enlightened conversation internally. So again, everybody wins, right? I guess that’s one of the bottom lines to come out of ABM if done properly.

Brian:  Yeah and I think what is interesting with this approach when marketers start thinking about it, their account based marketing strategy or how that will work, it’s a natural progression to get out of the four walls of their department and actually engage more directly with sales to help identify the accounts, how you want to pursue those, who the critical individuals, the influencers, the stakeholders are within those accounts, what sales goals may be with pursuing those accounts you know so as opposed to marketing maybe basing that just purely on anecdotal information or maybe some guesses are some database information here were there, all of that is important, it plays a role but it doesn’t paint the complete picture.

You mentioned earlier, I think it’s a natural forcing function that doesn’t sound natural but it’s a natural way to get these two groups working together more collaboratively I think. So it’s just a matter of coming up with the objectives, who you want to focus on, where they are.

And I like how you say the swagger of pursuing accounts that you want. Okay, these are the accounts we are going after. It is a finite universe, it’s a finite pool here, these are the accounts that we are going to go after, it will take time but at least we know what we are going after, right?

Robert:  Right, yeah for sure it’s the “you will be mine” mindset. What’s interesting also about account based marketing if you think about different revenue streams; you have your net new which is a brand-new customer in your contract you bring into the thing and so there’s a lot of lead gen, demand gen that focuses in around that. But there is a side of it which is existing customers, right?

And people that have been customers for a while and maybe you don’t have a concerted sort of growth and existing accounts model. And so salespeople are left on their own to sort of try to upsell or extend their relationship or whatever it is and you can get real programmatic in your marketing around that as well, right? So account based marketing is not just for net new, it can certainly be for growing, expanding and continuing existing customer relationships.

And Brian you and I talked about this in the past, there’s lots of companies that don’t really have core competencies around customer marketing, right? In terms of leveraging what they work so hard to get in terms of an additional customer conversion; not only just expanding in that account but doing the right things to retain the customer, right? And to make sure that they are happy and you don’t get a cancellation. All these cancellations sort of factor in to what falls out the back of your funnel. Sometimes you work so hard to get stuff in, get it converted, create a customer but if you can’t keep the customer for as long as it took you to cover your cost of acquiring that customer, your business is broken.

Brian:  Absolutely! And I think that’s actually a really good cutoff point for our first break – excuse me. What I would like to do is we will take a short break here and then when we come back I want to talk a little bit more about the actual customer marketing piece. And then I want to get into marketing technology here, some of the components I think are valuable or some of the critical categories that can support an account based marketing strategy. So let’s take a short break here and when we get back we will just continue this discussion!

[Break]

Paul:  And now back to Brian and his partner, they are talking about all things Kranky I guess here today.

Brian:  Thanks everybody for waiting for us on that short break. Brian Hansford here with Heinz marketing and on the line with me is my colleague Robert Pease who runs our pipeline marketing practice. And we are talking about account based marketing.

And before the break we just started talking a little bit about customer marketing, how account based marketing isn’t all about net new accounts or net new business. One of the biggest treasures if not the biggest treasure business has if they are lucky enough to have customers, is being able to do deeper land and expand and find new opportunities within existing accounts. And in general, we don’t see a lot of businesses on the B2B side that are really focused or intentional about that.

And you know just looking at that as the opportunity, it’s all about net new logos and growing business through net new accounts and we are missing a lot of opportunities here I think in general with new customers. So Robert you mentioned that just before the break how we can pursue or look at pursuing customers or new business within existing customers. How do we apply account based marketing? How do we break through the noise just to look at the business that way?

Robert:  Yeah, I know there are sales functions around account management that existed forever so once a customer converts, it’s someone’s job and responsibility to manage that customer or standpoint. And I think this is about like in another area of alignment back into marketing. And it depends on the kind of product you have, right? If you are a one of a kind company, then that’s kind of scary. But if you have multiple product lines or multiple service lines, getting this sort of… The method and the approach of how you engage in how you do and how you upsell or resell and how you market to that existing customer base, that may very well be through the account manager but they have to have the same sort of programmatic support as like a sales development persons does or a salesperson. Like where do we want to take this relationship and what do we want to do? We just want to be on the annual renewal cycle and so we’re just trying to make sure we keep the business in place or is it we have sent back in our business and we know if our initial beachhead is going to be $1,000 a month, we have other products and services that we can sell that can take that up to $3,000 a month, what’s the program and the plan to get there?

And it’s essentially potentially the same kind of lead demand gen you are trying to qualify a potential expansion opportunity, you are trying to support this through the process. But I think it is. I think a lot of it is just getting that kind of account management account development posture and enabling that from a marketing standpoint because so much of marketing is related to sort of lead demand gen, beating the funnel and I just think customer marketing sort of gets kind of placed on the back burner or it’s for someone’s job description, right? But it ain’t broke so I know if someone turns or if there is a customer satisfaction issue that’s customer support or customer service and it’s not a core marketing piece.

I mean a lot of, just to extend the point a little bit here, routinely when I step into companies and they don’t have a programmatic and repeatable referral program, your customers are your best sources of new customers and you don’t necessarily always have to do giveaways and incentives but sometimes you just ask and tell them how they can be helpful and give them a way to do it and if you need to incentivize then think about it.

It may not make a hell of beans that you are going to give them a discount off of their bill, they might want an Amazon gift card so I think all of those things come into it. But at a bare minimum you have to have a customer referral program in place and it needs to be thought about and owned I believe by marketing as a program and it needs structure, it needs management, it needs reporting and creativity for execution.

Brian:  Right, you mentioned the renewal program and I think we see this all the time and I’ve certainly worked for companies that do this. They consider their customer marketing when they send an invoice to get the annual renewal and that’s actually completely backwards, just reaching out to them. The only time you reach out or engage is whether or not you have a technical problem, product support or you want to get them to renew.

There are so many opportunities or ways to reach out and touch that gem, that treasure of the business that you’ve worked so hard to build up. And you know I think I really like the idea of a referral program. And in fact I was just speaking with a business yesterday and over 80% of their net new business comes as a result of referrals. And so they want to figure out how to tap into that, make it a much more programmatic approach which is really exciting to hear that they recognize that. But it’s not always the case I think it’s easily overlooked.

Hey Robert, let’s talk just a few minutes about some of the technology components that we can wrap around or use to enable an account based marketing strategy. I actually wrote a blog on this on Heinz Marketing blog and posted it on my LinkedIn profile.

For me personally when I look at this in this very competitive universe of marketing technologies, I view there are four core categories or four components of an ABM strategy and there are all kinds of niche technologies you can add on top of that. But I think if you look at marketing automation integrated with CRM, and then you have sales enablement, predictive analytics and then on the back end just to help not only measure what’s happening or has happened but give some foresight or vision potentially what could come down in the future through attribution marketing or marketing performance management. So those are all big categories in and of themselves but to do you have any thoughts on how to use technology just real quickly in the last minutes that we have here how to enable an account based marketing process?

Robert:  Yeah I mean I am a believer in enabling process technology so get the business process down and then if there are places where there is a deficiency or lack of visibility then you can automate around that, right? I mean that stuff that is the multitouch or outbound selling tools, enablement stuff mechanically is really good and it works like it needs to but the brainwork is, what is the story that you are unfolding and in what order?

But once you get the story down then you now have someone that’s going to get engaged with you certain optimized around that. I think there’s tons of really cool things around predictive analytics and predictive scoring. Because again the awesome thing here with an account based approach you know who your customers are, you know what they look like and you can use that data to do all sorts of different interesting things; like find additional ones and find out where they are in the buying cycle. I think is a lot of TBD on that I think tracking an engagement. Again I think it’s like anything that will connect the dots between what marketing is doing and what sales is doing, it’s for a unified picture of funnel activity just helps the business no matter what. There’s lots of different vendors that float around in those spaces.

Brian:  Yeah. I think one of the nice things, one of the components you know, the predictive piece you can find with some very high confidence companies that are a good fit that may have initiatives, have budget there’s all kinds of data points and attributes that you can develop those models on. But then things like sales enablement where sales enablement has been a phrase or a term and a process that’s been around for very long time.

But I think there’s tools now that make it a much more integrated process to help marketing and sales work together so you have a consistent messaging. It helps sales reps become more productive I guess, they are spending more time selling. And it feeds into supporting the overall funnel effort which I think is very exciting. Whereas before you know sales reps, it’s still very common, sales reps, they are just on their own developing their own messages and maybe their own sales tools and content. So anyways let’s wrap up with that piece of the discussion and I think we have another break here and let’s turn it over and see what we have and…

Paul:  Well actually we are coming to the end of our half hour here.

Brian:  We are coming to the end of it, okay!

Paul:  There you go!

Robert:  That went fast!

Paul:  That was the half hour and a few seconds there.

Brian:  Yeah so thanks. It’s awesome to have a copilot that actually knows what the hell is going on, I am just along for the ride. So it’s a great pleasure to talk with this audience, thank you so much for producing this Robert. Safe travels man! I hope you don’t drown in the duck country down there, that’s enemy territory for me down there so be careful and safe travels.

Robert:  I am not taking any thoughts here, I am from the south so I have my own bias.

Paul:  And how does everybody reach you guys if they want to hear more or hear your other podcasts?

Brian:  So we are kicking off the 2017 editions of the Marketing Kranks podcast, we will actually get into production with those hopefully next week and you will be able to get those on Sound Cloud, iTunes and we will also publish availability of those on the Heinz Marketing blog. We very much like to hear any insights or input from anybody. You can reach me Brian@HeinzMarketing.com and that’s Brian with an “I.” And about how do we get in touch with you?

Robert:  You can reach me at Robert@HeinzMarketing.com and that’s Robert with an “R.”

Brian:  Right on! Well thank you everybody for listening in and if you have any feedback questions or how you look at account base marketing, these we would love to hear from you and continue the conversation.

Paul:  All right, we will leave it there.

You’ve been surfing along with the Kranky crew from Heinz Marketing here as they take a look at the latest and greatest in all sorts of ways to build your pipeline.

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