Jon Miller, CMO at Demandbase shares a few thoughts on what it takes to optimize core B2B marketing processes while taking us through some of Demandbase’s newest innovations in this quick catch-up:
Welcome to this 2022 MarTech Series chat, Jon…Demandbase has been having a lot of interesting and exciting updates off late: we’d love a quick overview and a deeper dive into one of your latest integrations with the TrustRadius platform…
Absolutely! We integrated with TrustRadius recently, which allows B2B marketers and sellers to reach, target, and engage in-market buyers who are actively researching them and their competitors. This type of partnership is important because it centers on intent data, which has become one of the most important tools in the B2B go-to-market (GTM) portfolio.
Your readers probably know that intent is the signal of that magic moment when a buyer might actually be interested in listening to and engaging with a company’s sales team. But what marketers and salespeople are just starting to understand is that there are all different types of intent. So while providers often share the same general approach, the sources of their data are different. This means that the intent data customers get from us at Demandbase will be different from the intent data they get from TrustRadius (ours is typically more top of the funnel while TrustRadius’ is usually further down the funnel).
This matters because this type of data is not competitive; it’s complementary. More intent data is like more leads, it’s a good thing! At Demandbase, we’re really proud of our intent data and we’re also proud to partner with other intent providers. After all, we know that having more data from more sources means our customers are far better equipped to spot opportunities earlier, close them faster, and be more relevant.
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For marketers and salespeople who are at the cusp of optimizing campaigns with better intent and purchase signals: what fundamentals would you share with them as they get started?
When it comes to activation, it’s helpful to first rewind a bit and understand the most common problem that prevents it. Historically, with intent data, this has been the fact that it’s not actionable. So, you might get all this data that could theoretically be really useful, but it’s delivered in a spreadsheet. Using it would require importing and running all sorts of processes, which take time and often result in the data being left unused.
With that in mind, intent requires that organizations have a way to make the data actionable. The most seamless way to do this is by ensuring that your intent data integrates with a workflow platform (like Demandbase ABX Cloud), because it sets you up to activate the data. Such integration allows the data to flow into your account-based programs, your CRM, and other systems. It also is positioned to be used in alerting sales and SDRs, and for use in predictive scoring, advertising, journey analytics, and more. In other words, the marketing side of the equation is to take the data and make it actionable.
Then, the sales side of the equation is to take action. Use what marketing has provided to you. Instead of wondering who to call next, look at the list of accounts showing interest in your category. It may sound obvious, but many teams are struggling to connect these dots and make the most of this data.
In today’s largely data-heavy and competitive B2B marketing environment, with most leaders knowing where to look and what kind of data or practices to follow to try and drive goals, the onus falls onto campaign teams to use this data and technology to enable better messaging and creativity that can help their brands stand out. What challenges do you still see teams face as they try and align all of this?
This is an interesting question because I actually don’t agree that most leaders know where to look and what kind of data or practices to follow. Some do but, generally speaking, many want to know those things but haven’t had the time, training or tools to keep up. This has resulted in some of the savviest sales and marketing leaders falling prey to account blindness, which is when your systems are fragmented, your buyers are increasingly anonymous, and you lack the clarity needed to reach them.
The only remedy for this is to make it a priority to achieve account intelligence instead, which hinges on accuracy. I could write an entire article about this topic alone (and have), but the gist is that organizations need to start by ensuring all of their first-party and third-party data are all integrated, cleansed, and made actionable. From there, you can orchestrate every action across all of your systems and channels, as well as de-anonymize your buyers.
The end result of account intelligence is the ability to deliver in-market accounts to sales that are ripe with opportunity, insights to marketing so they can personalize the buyer journey, and more visibility into — and cohesion across — all of your strategies. Of course this takes time and the right technology, but it’s required in order to get past the most common challenges sales teams and marketers face today.
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What are some of the top trends that come to mind for 2022 and beyond when it comes to evaluating and predicting the immediate future of the B2B marketing and martech space?
What immediately comes to mind here is that martech is evolving into go-to-market (GTM) technology. At Demandbase, that already happened and we’ve been leading the charge in focusing on go-to-market as a whole, with account-based experience and other key elements including data playing a starring role. But now other vendors are getting on board with the idea. As ABM platforms get more and more mature in adding capabilities, they’re being used for the functions that would otherwise have been used within marketing automation platforms. We’re not that far away from a world in which martech and go-to-market solutions are going to converge across the board, and organizations won’t need separate applications for marketing automation and ABM.
Second, there has also been a convergence between data and workflow vendors, like I talked about in one of the earlier questions.
This makes me think back to the early days of Marketo, when a company would buy Marketo but then would have to buy the data to fuel it from somebody else. Today, that’s all changed. Now data vendors are adding workflow applications to their platforms, and workflow vendors like Demandbase are providing robust data, including company info and contacts. The one-stop-shop model has become the goal, where the data works together with workflow and the predictive analytics, too. This is yet another positive shift, because it helps to deliver a smarter go-to-market.
As martech and B2B marketing evolves, what kind of martech and marketing practices (besides intent data and ABM!) do you feel will become more crucial to marketers?
I think a future trend in B2B is the emergence of the self-service buyer. There’s a stat from Gartner which revealed that 44% of millennials reported they would like to be able to make a purchase without ever talking to a salesperson. So, as this group continues to take on decision maker roles and lead buying committees, it will be important to give them tools they can use on their own. Even if your company may never be able to go fully toward ecommerce, there should still be some effort to deliver an experience for buyers who want to do more self-service.
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Some last thoughts, takeaways, before we wrap up!
I have just a couple final thoughts to share here. One is that account-based marketing (ABM) has undergone a necessary transition to account-based experience (ABX), which is a customer-centric approach to account-based go-to-market. ABX uses data and insights to orchestrate relevant, trusted marketing and sales actions throughout the B2B customer journey, and contribute toward smarter GTM.
Lastly, I’ve already talked about this a lot but it bears repeating: intent data is the magic that makes ABX work, and helps B2B organizations thrive. If you haven’t embraced it yet, I’d encourage you to do so immediately.
Demandbase helps marketing and sales teams overcome the disruptive data and technology fragmentation that inhibits insight and forces them to spam their prospects by injecting Account Intelligence into every step of the buyer journey.
Jon Miller is the CMO of Demandbase. In his role, Miller is responsible for driving Demandbase’s account-based go-to-market and evangelizing its mission of transforming how B2B companies market and sell. Miller has a long history of establishing and leading some of the most notable marketing technology companies. Most recently, Miller was the co-founder and CEO of Engagio, the leading Account-Based Orchestration Platform. Earlier, Miller co-founded and held the position of Chief Marketing Officer for Marketo (acquired by Adobe). He is recognized as one of the most influential executives in the marketing technology industry.
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