Interview with Etai Beck, CEO and Co-founder, Folloze
Tell us about your role at Folloze and how you got here. What’s the most fascinating aspect of leading an ABM platform?
I’m the CEO and one of the co-founders at Folloze. We are so excited to be writing the next chapter in marketing innovation history. As inbound marketing has matured and become a well-established practice, we are ready for the next challenge in B2B go-to-market, solved by Account Based Marketing. I came from enterprise, where the challenges were very clear, yet incredibly difficult to solve: On one hand Marketing spends a fortune in demand gen just to see more than 70% of leads never followed up on. At the same time, Sales constantly asks for more “air cover”, while being dissatisfied about the quality of leads. The cost of sales is far too high for many companies. This very inefficiency is where the big opportunity is.
Given the changing dynamic of marketing and sales technology landscape, where do you see Folloze fitting in a CMO’s stack?
The future of Martech depends on a practice and technology that can live in both the Marketing and Sales worlds. It has to bring together data and AI for accurate targeting, best practices in messaging, and a workflow allowing Sales to take an active role in the Marketing processes, yet with very little effort on their part. Folloze is in a unique position to play exactly that role, helping Marketing and Sales integrate, align and better engage with customers and prospects throughout the full life cycle.
What is the ‘State of Sales Engagement Automation’ technology in 2018?
Personalization is more important than ever before, and sales automation needs to look at accounts holistically. This will require a shift from focusing on the velocity of sales to now focus on the depth, strategy, precision and diligence of data-driven outlooks.
What does your ‘Ideal Customer’ Profile look like? Which industries are best suited to benefit from Folloze’s ABM Productivity Suite? Which new geographies are you currently targeting?
Folloze’s ideal customer is an enterprise selling to sophisticated buyers at the solution level. It usually offers multiple product lines and has a fairly large sales team – both in the field and internally. It’s an organization that needs to tell a variety of different stories to numerous different audiences, down to the level of individual accounts. These organizations take part in more complex deals and are companies that sell to customers that have multiple decision makers involved in their organizations. The accounts also have a lot of aspects of upsell, cross-sell and long-enduring relationships. This profile is usually in knowledge industries such as tech, professional services, medical devices and financial services.
We primarily target North America, but we are starting to see some growth on an international scale as we continue to work with large global companies.
What are the major pain points for B2B sales and marketing teams to engage, develop and win their top target accounts faster?
When an account executive is selling 5-10 product lines to 50-100 accounts, it becomes impossible for them to constantly identify which of their accounts can benefit from which solution, and then determine the best way to present the value proposition.
The result is missed opportunities and inefficient use of costly sales resources; AEs don’t necessarily “hunt” in the right places, nor can they provide the most suitable solution when they discover opportunities. Incoming leads are often not relevant to those top opportunities and do not represent decision makers. When leads raise their hands it’s often too late in the buying cycle.
Marketing and Sales are missing a practice to allow them to integrate intelligence, messaging and engagement in one coherent workflow.
What new technologies in sales automation and intelligence fascinate you the most? What are your thoughts on the future of ‘AR/VR/Video’ in full-funnel ABM campaigns?
I’m fascinated by AI and its use in sales and marketing for optimizing content, recommending targets, down to automatically engaging with prospects and customers.
Digital experiences are becoming super personalized and highly interactive, leveraging video and other types of media, utilizing AI to tell the most relevant stories.
What is the future of CRM? What does it take to master ABM models and strategies?
CRM is here to stay; however, it must continue to evolve. In order to master ABM strategy, CRM data has to be as clean, accurate and as up-to-date as possible – down to the account, buying center and contact. This requires automated insights that reflect what’s really going on in specific accounts. It’s critically important to have the intelligence to see what’s happening throughout every level of your ABM strategy – from programs to account views, to people views, all the way down to activity views. The mastery of the “big picture” is key.
What marketing and sales automation tools and technologies do you currently use?
Could you tell us about an outstanding digital campaign at Folloze?
We recently participated in the B2B Marketing Exchange Conference. During the event, we held a series of customer speaking sessions as well as an exclusive executive dinner. We leveraged Folloze to create a digital experience through one of our boards and continuously sent personalized messages on behalf of our entire sales team to generate attendance and engagement pre- and post-event. As a result, we were able to engage in truly meaningful conversations with 20% of the conference attendees. These results show a prime example of how Folloze can help marketing and sales create a tremendous impact before, during and after an event.
How do you prepare for an AI-centric world as a business leader?
AI more than any other technology in the past is bringing to the surface significant challenges for society in economy, politics, morals and ethics. How do we feel about an accident triggered by a software bug? How do we feel about a sales bot overselling a product to my mom? How do we feel about cloning human beings? We must always follow our core values and make the most responsible decisions. Businesses can gain as much power as big governments with resources capable of impacting millions of people. The balance of power changes and we business leaders must never forget our responsibilities to the society we operate in.
I would highly recommend reading Dr. Robert Reich’s new book, “The Common Good”. While not focused on AI, it definitely puts a mirror in front of us, especially on Silicon Valley. Is it all about the money, or is there a higher cause? I’ll be spending the next few years thinking about that and exploring ways to embrace AI while not breaking the fine balance of power and people.
How do you inspire your people to work with technology?
We’re part of Silicon Valley – and people here are eating tech with a spoon every morning. The culture of this area is to embrace every piece of technology that we can put our hands on. Inspiration comes from our base culture of consuming technology at every turn – my focus is more about trying to find the best ways to leverage these emerging technologies and utilize them in a way that’s beneficial and meaningful to us.
One word that best describes how you work.
What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?
Every possible communications tool – from messaging apps such as iMessage, Whatsapp and Slack to social tools that keep me connected in my different circles of life, like LinkedIn and Facebook. I use multiple navigation apps, Waze, Google Maps and iPhone Maps. I also keep up to date with various news apps that help me stay connected with the outside world and frequently check in on Apple News, Washington Post, New York Times, CNN, Fox News and Youtube.
What’s your smartest work related shortcut or productivity hack?
My Mantra: “Today’s the day.” I don’t leave anything for tomorrow and make sure to get whatever is in front of me done as soon as possible.
What are you currently reading?
I consume a lot of video in my spare time – specifically on theoretical physics. I do my best learning late at night.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
The first boss I ever had taught me to always share the credit. At the end of the day, every success is a collective effort. When you present a great idea and you give credit to those who helped you, it’s a positive outcome for everyone.
Something you do better than others – the secret of your success?
I never give up. I am tenacious and stay on task by always looking for the next step and never losing focus. I have the ability to clearly see the big picture and operate in both strategic and tactical levels at the same time.
Tag people in the industry whose answers to these questions you would love to read:
Thank you Etai! That was fun and hope to see you back on MarTech Series soon.
Etai Beck is the CEO and Co-founder of Folloze. He has previously held senior positions at Juniper Networks.
Account Based Marketing is changing the way we think about B2B marketing and sales. Companies who target mid-large customers face significant pressure to step up marketing contribution to day to day sales needs. ABM is the answer, scale of ABM is the challenge. Implementing ABM at scale involves re-thinking of traditional categories like demand gen and sales development, it involves re-considering usage of traditional tools like marketing automation and sales enablement.
Folloze was built around the very concepts that unlock ABM – personalization of content experiences, delivery of marketing quality reach outs by sales using marketing templates. Folloze is the leading Enterprise Account Based Marketing and Sales Platform. We power Sales to use tailored Marketing strategies, accelerating revenue growth through increased customer engagement, at scale.
The MTS Martech Interview Series is a fun Q&A style chat which we really enjoy doing with martech leaders. With inspiration from Lifehacker’s How I work interviews, the MarTech Series Interviews follows a two part format On Marketing Technology, and This Is How I Work. The format was chosen because when we decided to start an interview series with the biggest and brightest minds in martech – we wanted to get insight into two areas … one – their ideas on marketing tech and two – insights into the philosophy and methods that make these leaders tick.