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 Keenan; Joanne Black; Aaron Ross; Josiane Feigon, Meagen 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.
Sangram Vajre in this episode:
- In case some listeners have been living under a rock, what is account-based marketing and why does everyone in B2B need to know about this trend?
- Tell us about the Terminus technology. What problem does Terminus solve for its customers?
- Terminus just raised its Series B of $10.3M (total funding to date about $20M with Seed + Series A) can you tell us about the process and what you’ve learned working with VCs and angel investors?
- In 2016, you wrote “Account-Based Marketing for Dummies”, launched #FlipMyFunnel, and were named to the Direct Marketing News 40 Under 40 list. You helped build a category for ABM. What can you tell your fellow entrepreneurs about product-market fit and the importance of being part of a larger community in your industry?
- Terminus has won a ton of awards. #1 Best Place to Work from the Atlanta Business Chronicle in 2016. Startup of the Year in 2016 and 2017 from the AMA Atlanta, #1 in Employee Appreciation from the AJC and #3 for its Top Workplaces. What’s your secret to building such a great company?
- What’s next for you and Terminus?
BONUS: Terminus just announced their Series B and Top 45 ABM Superheroes .
Matt Heinz: Thanks so much for joining us today. Welcome everyone to Sales Pipeline Radio. It is apparently SiriusDecisions day, here on Sales Pipeline Radio. We’re just listening to CRM Radio, the show right before us on the SOMA Radio Network. And they were featuring another guest from the SiriusDecisions Conference. For those of you not familiar. SiriusDecisions is an analyst room in the B2B Marketing Space that has every year they put on a summit and get about 3,000 B2B marketers together and some refer to this as marketing nerd prom. Which it has elements of that for sure but it’s just a great sharing of information, new insights lots of great research on what’s going on in the B2B marketing world. We’re recording, or we are producing this show today, live from San Diego. Very near the show floor and it’s been a great week. Lots of good learning lots of good people here. One of the companies exhibiting here is Terminus. They are one of the leaders in the CRM or ABM Account Based Marketing movement. And their group has put together the #FlipMyFunnel movement. They’re done a fantastic job of raising awareness for the account based marketing opportunity.
And I’m really, really pleased today to have Sangram Vajre, the CMO and co-founder of Terminus on today to talk to us a little more about CR… excuse me. I keep trying to say CRM, Paul. We’re going to talk about ABM beyond the hype. Beyond the hashtag. What happens next, how do we put this into play in our organizations. Sangram, thanks so much for joining us today.
Sangram Vajre: Thanks man. Matt, I feel like we should, I should call ABM for CRM given the number of times you’ve said CRM so far.
Matt Heinz: Well, I think I’m just, you mean given that I’m at the SiriusDecisions Summit, you can forgive me for being a little acronym crazy. Everything is abbreviated somehow down here. We are here to talk about Account Based Marketing. I feel like, this is one thing that two years ago, the term Account Based Marketing, you know maybe barely existed. Today it’s on everyone’s mind. And everyone’s at some position of either doing it, or starting to do it, or thinking about it or trying to figure out what it means. And your movement that you’ve co-founded with the (hashtag) #FlipMyFunnel, I think has probably had more impact than anybody and anything to really raise that visibility.
Talk a little bit about flip my funnel, talk a little bit about what you guys have done in the ABM space to get where we are today.
Sangram Vajre: Sure. And thank you for sharing that. It is truly awesome to hear that. So ABM, is as you said, it’s out there. Everybody kind of gets it. You’re right, two years ago, like when I remember you did a Google search of it and there wasn’t anything outside of the IPSMA, kind of article. And maybe a Good Decision article somewhere and it wasn’t really part of that. So, very quickly like my background: I ran marketing at Pardot. Went to the acquisition of Salesforce. Spent a couple of years in Salesforce before starting Terminus. And one of the big reasons I kind of started Terminus is because all, as a marketer, everything that I’m measured in is leads. And I know, I know in my gut, I knew at that time, I still know and I think pretty much every single marketer and salespeople know that you are not measured, like measuring on leads is the last thing you want to be measured on. Because it can, there’s just staff after staff – less than 1% of the leads turn into customers. Like that’s true, right? And that’s insane. Less than 1% leads turn into customers. That’s not something that you want to get your name associated with that you’re getting in garbage.
So, really for me, that’s when, that’s the problem that I felt and I saw. When I was at Salesforce and we started Terminus with the idea that “let’s just challenge the status quo of this thing.” And ABM just seemed like a natural part of it. I was a marketing conference at Scott-Rinker, flying there from San Francisco to Atlanta. I was in flight, I was sitting in the middle seat. Five hour flight. You think it’s crazy but when you’re sitting next to two drunk people, it actually gets super crazy and weird. And that’s how I was sitting for five hours and I had to get some things to do. And I just had a piece of napkin and a pen and I started to draw this traditional funnel that Scott talked about and I flipped it. That funnel, stack, horn. I was excited, none of the two drunks were excited, but I was really excited. And just wrote about it and ended up writing a book on account of this marketing and it ended up doing a ton of events and Matt, you were supportive of it. And thankfully now they’re like 6,000 plus people on the slack flip my funnel community and online where people just want to talk about how to do ABM. It’s phenomenal.
Matt Heinz: It’s amazing. We’re talking to Sangram Vajre, the CMO and Co-founder of Terminus today about Account Based Marketing. He is the author if the very well written book “ABM for Dummies.” And I really wish, I love a good origin story and I really wish there was video of you in that middle seat with two drunk people and in the middle, you know that cocktail napkin that sort of started this entire movement.
But let’s talk about where this goes from here. I think, you know we’ve gotten to the point where I think a lot of people understand and they’ve heard of ABM. They understand a little bit of what it means. I still hear a lot of people say “well isn’t this just, you know, better-targeted marketing like we’ve always done?” “Is this really new? Is there a new angle to this?” And you know, no matter what their opinion is people are trying to figure out “how do I translate all this potential into execution?” And of course that’s a big question because to do this well, there are a lot of moving parts but what is sort of the game plan that you guys recommend to Terminus customers and others exploring ABM? How do you really take this idea and make it operational, put it in to practice?
Sangram Vajre: That’s a great question. We feel like that’s almost on everyone’s mind right now and they’re not articulating it, maybe differently but that is on everyone’s mind. Like, I get it. It’s obvious right? And in two years from now, Matt, you know we should timestamp this and I think everybody’s gonna say “yeah, this is B2B marketing. What else were you doing two years ago?” Right, so this is just gonna become the standard. But the problem is people are still stuck in this demand generation idea. Which is give me more. Give me more. Then give me more, right? Which is more leads and that will solve all the pains and we all know it doesn’t really do that. And sales and marketing all this idea of like “who is working on what lead” and “that is my opportunity and I should get the credit” it’s a crap load of stuff.
So, really I think account based marketing really starts with the idea and that’s where the flip the funnel movement started like “let’s just focus on the expected accounts.” And once you start having that conversation, you’re no longer worried about credit. You’re worried about how do I get my foot in the door? Me/my being our company’s foot in the door and you start looking at accounting let’s get into 50% year one account 40% year two account 30% year three account. And really figure out ways to do those things and that might mean any and everything. Writing blogs, doing webinars, doing articles and stuff. So when it comes to kind of answering your question of execution I think the execution is not as hard as people make it or make it sound because the planning part is the hardest part. It’s the idea that if you are tasked with driving revenue and the place you start with is leads then you’re just looking at everything as the nail and just want to use a hammer. And it’s not that. We know it’s all different shapes, sizes and people and companies and accounts that you want to go after depending upon the size from the industry.
They all matter and if they matter then the message you use is going to more unique and personalized. And we all want to do this stuff. And guess what you can’t do these at super scale. You have to get a little bit deeper down and get into the weeds which means you have to spend time planning and doing things. And we all are become so, you know very much like let’s just do more, more, more, more, more. And that’s getting a problem. So execution Matt, I believe is not as hard. The planning is what’s hard and people are not yet jumping into the planning process with the full heart of both sales and marketing in it.
And I’ll give you a quick example of like where people can find the fastest and the easiest success. And we all know that piloting programs is the best way to kind of test the waters. And I think people pilot the wrong place. People pilot the demand generation side of the house because that’s where they want. Let’s get into these 50 accounts and advertise or direct mail or do all the things that you possibly can with these 50 accounts and see what happens. Well that might work or that may not work, because you don’t know where they are in their buying process and the thought process and the budget process and all that stuff so there’s a lot of unknown variables. But one account raises their hand and says “I’m going to buy from you or your competitor.” Why wouldn’t we go sales and marketing and the entire company all in on those accounts? And I think pipeline velocity is the best way for companies to actually prove value of account based marketing.
Matt Heinz: Yeah, lots of good wisdom on that from Sangram here on the, on Sales Pipeline Radio today. You know I think the moving into execution and proving execution is surely a part of this. I think you can’t underestimate the cultural change required for companies to fully embrace account based marketing, account based revenue, account based everything. Not just from marketing our organization; which all of the sudden now is not just focused on, like you said, it was focused on the “more.” Too often marketers focus on more traffic, more leads, more of things that just provide volume and focus more on quality. On pipeline contribution. On focusing on and measuring the same metrics that the marketers, that the sales team cares about and focuses on. So you’ve got a cultural shift. Within marketing you’ve also got a cultural shift between sales and marketing.
Real quick before we’ve got take a break here. What are some of the keys, you know that you guys recommend and that you see working for companies as they begin to approach those cultural shifts inside their organizations?
Sangram Vajre: I think the biggest one that, Matt, I see is this aligning. And it sounds like a cliché. But it’s true, it’s aligning on the goals. Aligning on the fact that are we going to call, how when are we going to call this success? I think that’s where most people don’t ask that. They just jump into with their hands, feet and head in water and before they know, they’re too deep or too far away from where they want to be. So the problem with account based marketing or jumping in too soon, too quickly without the planning part of it in their mind, is that they just don’t know what the goals are. And unless you say, that let’s say my goal is to jump, get my foot in this door, or my feet in these doors. Or if it is like, I want to essentially create air cover for these opportunities that are in our pipeline. You’ve got to have some kind of goal. It sounds pretty stupid quite honestly, but that’s really what we do. We just jump in.
Matt Heinz: Yep. I love, love it. Love it. Talking to Sangram Vajre from Terminus on Sales Pipeline Radio today. We’ve got to take a quick break, pay some bills. Come back, talk a lot more about account based marketing. We’re going to talk about a little bit, the Demand Unit Waterfall that came out this week from SiriusDecisions and how that is, what they’ve done with the water feels very clearly a nod to the ABM opportunity and the ABM movement. We’ll be right back. Sales Pipeline Radio.
Matt Heinz: Awesome. Thank you very much, Paul. We’re very excited obviously to be here again on Thursday. As we are every Thursday at 2:30 Eastern/11:30 Pacific, for our live Sales Pipeline Radio. If you like what you’re hearing and you want to hear more of it you can catch all of our past episodes, they are all available on demand for free. SalesPipelineRadio.com. If you want to make sure you don’t miss a future episode of Sales Pipeline Radio, whether you are able to join us live or not, make sure you follow us on our podcast. It’s available on Google Play and the iTunes store.
Coming up in the next couple of weeks, over the next couple of months actually, we’ve got some great guests joining us on a number of different topics. Next week we have Paul Teshima who was one of the cofounders of Eloqua and is now the co-founder of Nudge. We’re going to be talking about the power of relationship marketing in what is increasingly a distracted and fragmented world. We’re also going to have Grant Cardone join us. If you’re in sales, you recognize the name Grant Cardone. We’re going to talk about his 10X System. We’re going to have Daniel Gaugler, the CMO at PFL and what they’re doing to increase Omni Channel and bring back offline marketing and channels into the B2B toolbox.
I want to continue more today with Sangrum Vajre, who’s the CMO and co-founder of Terminus. And I don’t know how much you’ve seen already, just literally yesterday morning they released your, Sangrum, the new what they call the Demand Unit Waterfall. And Sirius has had their Demand Waterfalls for years and used really weird terms like “Marketing Qualified Leads” “Sales Qualified Lead” and others were born. About four years ago they released an updated Demand Waterfall that actually added quite a bit of level of complexity in terms of where the leads were coming from. Whether it was marketing, telemarketing from sales. The new Demand Unit Waterfall released yesterday eliminates the word “lead.” It eliminates really the distinction between sales and marketing. So they use this term “Demand Unit” and so instead of talking about leads they just simply talk about different levels and stages of demand. And they did that intentionally because they know this isn’t sales versus marketing. This isn’t “Well I’ve got this company or I don’t.” Because sometimes there may be multiple instances of demand within an organization and I felt like it’s a simplified model that has a lot baked into it. But I felt like that was a strong nod to what we’re seeing in ABM.
Not sure how much time you’ve spent on that but curious your reaction to the direction they’re taking on the waterfall.
Sangram Vajre: Yeah, definitely watching curiously on Twitter and all the Tweets that have gone on that. And it’s funny, it’s like paparazzi. The new waterfall are just ready with their phones just snapping pictures and tweeting. It’s so funny. Marketers are actually nerds they just don’t know. Crazy right? But in general I feel like yeah absolutely. It’s a nod toward ABM and that’s great. And we all know, ABM is like, just because it’s called Account Based Marketing doesn’t mean it’s only a marketing function. It’s like “marketing, wake up. It’s time to get on with the game here. Sales has already been talking to accounts. Remember they don’t hire lead executives, they hire account executives. So marketers stop talking about leads and get with the program.”
So I feel like it’s really marketers who’ve been behind. And I’m not trying to criticize anybody. I have been a marketer and I’ve been one of the biggest proponent of lead-based in my days at Pardot. So I am just recognizing my own shortcomings and adapting with the future, what it needs to be. But I also think that, I don’t know how much you validate this is, I do feel like these waterfalls and stuff, they make things complicated. Because it’s hard to kind of tie everything together and the conversation, somebody listening at this radio thing you’re doing right now and let’s say they go to terminus.com and setup a demo. How do we, unless we give them a promo code or something like that, how do we track that. Right?
So I think it’s increasingly hard with the number of ways people can get to know who you are and what you do. And I think the credit system between sales and marketing needs to go away, but that doesn’t mean accountability goes away. And I just worry that, we’re just trying to put more and more models and it just makes the finance guy go nuts. But I don’t really know if it helps marketers and sales to do real marketing and real sales.
Matt Heinz: I would agree with you. I think there’s a huge opportunity for more marketers to embrace what I would call marketing performance management. Which is the practice of making your marketing better, understanding what marketing is working, leaning in on the things that are working and reducing your efforts on things that aren’t working.
When it comes to attribution between sales and marketing, I agree with you. I don’t really care that much about that. I mean if you’ve got an inside sales rep and a field sales rep and they’re both focused on building pipeline and closing deals, they don’t worry about who got credit for the next deal in the pipeline. They just have a common goal. I think, to the large extent, so should it also be between sales and marketing. And I think if there’s any legacy of what I will call #abmfrothiness. As we sort of get in to a mode where this become part of what everyone’s doing as a foundational part of their marketing. I think one big impact of the spotlight on ABM is not just revenue responsibility for the marketing organization to embrace the metrics of the sales organization cares about. But a much tighter alignment between sales and marketing where you eliminate some of those turf battles. Where you no longer worry about where it came from. Knowing that this stuff is complex. Let’s not pretend that the white paper downloaded generated the seven figure deal that took nine months to close. But it takes time to do this.
I want to shift gears just a little bit. You bring a lot of interesting angles to the conversation. I know we’ve been talking a lot about account based marketing and we talked a little bit about flip my funnel and a little bit about ABM for Dummies, which I highly recommend everyone go check out. And you can find that at terminus.com. But I also want to talk about just the flip my funnel movement in general. Less about from the ABM angle and more from a marketing strategy angle. I mean you guys have been very successful at using sort of an entity and a brand that us parallel to the Terminus brand, to raise awareness for the categories, awareness for the opportunities and therefore also raise awareness for the product and the company.
If you would, talk a little bit about what that process has been like. What that experience has been like and what lessons you’ve identified that might help other marketers with similar opportunities. You know leverage that angle as well.
Sangram Vajre: I would love to man. And how much time you got?
Matt Heinz: Well Paul is going to cut us off in about nine minutes if not less. So yeah, we’re at that.
Sangram Vajre: So in general, you’re right, it has been a phenomenal experience. Never done this before in this fashion and I think when you’re trying to build a new category or be one of the people who are trying to build the new category out there, you have to create buzz and noise about it. And we, Terminus, is based in Atlanta. We’re doing really good. But it’s not, we’re not going be able to compete with the market if you’re not out there, right? And what I realized was, nobody really cares, not that this is going to really sound weird, but like nobody really cares about your product in the early days. Like, just nobody.
They care about that you care about them. And they care about that you care about their problems. And I’m going to sound pretty crazy here, but that is what really helped us win a lot of the deals and a lot of the early momentum. And I think by doing flip my funnel, which is a clear philosophy and marketers use it in their stuff as well, so now it’s becoming – if you want to do ABM, well check out flipmyfunnel.com. It’s a philosophy about how to think strategically.
And then also look at tools that can apply to that philosophy to do ABM. I think that’s becoming the standard. And we set out two years ago, saying if ABM becomes a category, (and we don’t know that because gladly it is) we want to make sure that everyone has a philosophy around how to do ABM strategically. Not the details, but strategically. And if everybody out there actually starts using the flip my funnel model, to do it, without necessarily attributions of Terminus or not, that would be awesome. Because now we have a category where we can go and compete.
So, that’s very much how it all started and you know, Terminus has a booth just like everybody else at all these conferences. We still haven’t done really a Terminus session, if you will, at any of the conferences. It is all about bringing partners. Strategic, amazing talk leaders like yourself and others to come and speak. And then bring also the competitors: today’s or tomorrow’s. We’re all playing in the same space together and we realize that if we all come together, then there will be enough people looking at it and maybe there is something here. And there will be enough conversations that will clearly create a larger community. And then it makes sense to compete with our product, but competing with our products first, didn’t make any sense to us. And we wanted to make sure that enough people talked about the problem and that there needs to be a solution so that we, as a company, will have a chance to win.
And now, we feel like we’re getting to that point where everybody is talking enough about it. But it was a very hard process to kind of think through. As you know, events are extremely hard. We did nine events or so in the last year and a half. Like in 5 or 6 different cities. But the last one we had 1,500 people coming in and like 100 speakers and stuff. And so it’s a hard thing to do without putting your brand out there. But we completely unbranded. Didn’t make it about Terminus. Made it about the problem and the community and to your point, it definitely paid off.
Matt Heinz: That’s awesome. We’re just wrapping up here with Sangram Vajre the CMO at Terminus. The author of Account Based Marketing for Dummies. Let’s talk about some of the other resources that are available. You guys did a great job creating a lot of great content. You’ve got a great team working with you to just provide some phenomenal resources. I know you guys recently released the Top 45 ABM Superheroes list. So lots of great other practitioners to check out there, that are doing some great things in their own account based marketing programs.
You guys have produced a couple of great guides, some more recent, more curated account based marketing resources that have been well received. What are some other things people should check out to learn more about account based marketing from Terminus and elsewhere?
Sangram Vajre: I think, in fact thanks for sharing about the 45 Superheroes. They definitely check that out on Terminus. I will give a shout out and we didn’t know how this was going, but we put the ABM in stack. People can actually go to terminus.com and there’s a link for ABM stack there and you can build your own ABM stack. There are over 250 companies who’ve done it to see where the gaps are from technology and tools perspective. So I’d love for everybody to check it out.
Matt Heinz: Awesome. Well we’re running out of time unfortunately, but I want to thank our guest Sangram Vajre, the CMO and cofounder of Terminus joining us today. Lots of great insight. I want to think the lovely and talented Lauren Patrick for setting all this up and helping us with content today. If you want to hear more from Sangram or hear a replay of today’s presentation and want to share that with other folks in your organization or other folks in your network, you’ll be able to catch that on salespipelineradio.com A full replay of this entire conversation. If you want to make sure you don’t miss any of our future episodes with Grant Cardone with Paul Teshima and others, make sure you follow us on our podcast at Google Play and the iTunes store. And look forward to seeing you whenever you can make it here live.
Thanks very much for joining us today, live from Las Vegas at the SiriusDecisions Conference. This is Matt Heinz, thanks very much for joining us, we’ll see you next week, on Sales Pipeline Radio.