B2B Past, Present and Future: Q&A with Craig Rosenberg


By Matt Heinz, President of Heinz Marketing

Having known Craig Rosenberg for years now, I’ve come to know two things about the man.  One, he’s an original.  Two, he’s brilliant.  His insights, analysis and predictions on the B2B sales and marketing space are typically spot-on.

If you’re managing a fast-growth B2B sales or marketing organization, you’d be well served to join me at TOPO’s second-annual Summit this April in San Francisco.  As a preview, I sat down recently with Craig to talk about what’s happened in the past 12 months, what’s likely upcoming, and what Summit attendees will learn.

The B2B event schedule is pretty crowded, especially in the spring.  Why should you prioritize TOPO Summit?

You actually asked me that last year so it’s fun to look back. When you asked me that last year, I responded with 4 reasons:

  • The best sales leaders in the world will be speaking and attending
  • Specificity wins
  • Topics that matter
  • And it will be fun as hell

This year, the reasons are pretty similar but with some changes:

  • The best sales and marketing leaders in the world will be speaking and attending

    There are two things to remember:

1.  We invite people from the fastest growing companies in the world and they come. In our first year (last year), we got 800 people and they were from the cream of the crop.

2.  We added marketing tracks this year! We have dedicated tracks for marketing leaders, Account-Based Everything, and marketing operations. I’m glad we did, because the demand from marketers has been incredible.

  • Specificity wins

    That was and is the mantra for TOPO. I can’t say enough how that has truly differentiated our events from others. Besides TOPO Analysts, all our speakers are successful practitioners and we ask them to provide specific details on how they operationalize. As a result, the content is extremely valuable. And last year’s attendees tell us that…all the time.

  • Topics that matter

    We are looking for people who are one step ahead at solving real problems. We have tracks for

    • Sales
    • Sales Development
    • Sales Operations
    • Marketing
    • Marketing Operations, and of course
    • Account-Based Everything

They aren’t allowed to present on “10 Ways Marketers Are Publishers” or the “5 Rules of Twitter”…instead we will cover areas like:

    • “The Framework for Successful Account-Based Sales Development”
    • “Building a Global Sales Operations Organization”, and
    • “The Key Elements of a Revenue-Driving Account-Based Marketing Strategy”
  • And it will be fun as hell…again.

    We know that a great event is about content, peer networking, and fun. The parties were a blast last year and we have even better events planned this year.

Youre drawing sales and marketing professionals, and it feels like those lines are blurring for successful companies.  How do you see it?

Organizationally, the lines are not blurring. There are still marketers and there are still sales people. They have distinct responsibilities. I think what you are referring to is the fact that the rigid, silo’d milestones that governed the revenue chain are breaking down. For example, organizations aren’t saying “marketing, you create MQLs and sales, you close them”. Instead, marketing, sales development, and sales are working together to drive “win” metrics – target account pipeline and revenue. As a result, we have seen surging interest from both sides to learn more about what the others are doing. Marketers want to talk about sales plays and sales wants to talk about marketing plays. It’s another reason why the TOPO Summit will be bigger and better this year.

Theres a big push in many organizations to ask marketing to embrace revenue responsibility, to be held accountable for the sales output of their efforts.  Is that fair?  How are you seeing companies and marketing departments do that?

I touched on that a bit in my earlier answer. Shared revenue responsibility is the fundamental premise of the account-based movement – everyone driving for the same thing – closed business. But to get to the point where marketers are accountable for revenue requires resources and alignment that most organizations are not ready for. I recommend starting with marketing-SDR orchestration and signing up for TAP (Target Account Pipeline). Our data shows that account-based programs that start with marketing-SDR collaboration show results within a year. Once an organization starts delivering TAP lift, then they can move to better collaboration with sales and sign up for revenue.

Is ABM a fad?  

No, it’s a return to normal. The volume and velocity revolution has existed for less than 10 years and has been remarkable for feeding SMB and mid-market sales teams. But to get into the prospects you want…you have to do Account-based. The idea of account-based has been around for a long time, but our ability to “go to town” with it is unprecedented. Today’s ABM is made better by our learnings from digital demand generation, excellent sales development teams, buyer-responsive sales people, and technology to drive it at scale.

Whats new in the past 12 months?  Whats on the agenda for Summit that people should key in on?

  • Account-based will be a theme for marketing, sales development, and sales.
  • Tech stacks continue to evolve and we will see some of the most sophisticated stacks in the business
  • New buyer-responsive sales plays

Our analysts are unveiling new data and findings at the event and we are always amazed at the new learnings our speakers bring to the table. In other words, come and find out…you won’t leave disappointed.

What did you learn from last year about putting on a great event, and how has that changed the plan (and agenda) for the 2017 Summit?

I think the big thing is to be maniacal about quality – quality of speakers and their content, the venue, and more importantly, the attendees. We are really account-based in our approach, we focus our efforts on getting the right people together for the conference. It’s harder than spray and praying, but it’s why we are back doing it again, and are 300% ahead on registration volume.

Register now for TOPO Summit 2017. Use HeinzMktgPromo15 to get 15% off!