Tell us about your vision in ABM and the role it plays in current Marketing-Sales alignment.
Sales and marketing is undergoing a dramatic change today, which is truly shaping the role that Account-Based Marketing (ABM) plays for both teams. Customers are more empowered than ever, and they expect the companies they engage with to be connected and transparent across every part of their business.
In fact, 74% of business buyers say it’s very important for salespeople to be aware of marketing campaigns and offers in order to win their business. Prospects don’t see a difference between marketing and sales teams. They simply see a single company. If marketers don’t understand what’s happening in sales interactions — and vice versa — companies are missing out on a huge opportunity to create seamless customer experiences.
In many cases, ABM often doesn’t deliver on the expectations of complex B2B buying centers. Sales and marketing must undergo a dramatic shift to deliver customer-centric experiences across every touchpoint. To do this, companies need to centralize their ABM strategy around individual prospects, not vague personas, which means effectively using CRM to capture, analyze, and activate the right data. ABM blurs the line between sales and marketing, enabling both teams to align faster and focus on the same goal: delivering a memorable customer experience.
Additionally, the introduction of Artificial Intelligence (AI) will continue to play a huge role in ABM. With AI, B2B marketers are able to turn to predictive intelligence to get more accurate with when and how they engage with prospects at an account in order to win a customer’s business.
How does a B2B event such as ABM Innovation Summit 2019 benefit the full-funnel sales and marketing practices? Why should one attend the event?
In order to deliver on the vision for ABM, you need technology, people, and process to transform the way your organizations are functioning. This level of orchestration requires hands-on training and a deep level of understanding that events such as ABM Innovation Summit can provide.
Which sessions and keynotes at ABM Innovation Summit 2019 are you most keen to attend? And, why?
There are so many great sessions to choose from. I’m particularly looking forward to seeing Dom Lindars’ session on “Introducing the Latest in ABM and AI-Based Innovation at Demandbase.” AI is such an important piece of the ABM puzzle, and it’s important for businesses to start exploring how AI can elevate their ABM strategy and drive new insights.
I’m also looking forward to seeing Mathew Sweezey’s session on “The Future of Demand: What to Expect in the Next 1, 5, and 10 Years.” While it’s difficult to take a step back from day-to-day work, it’s crucial to begin thinking ahead about how to approach B2B marketing in the coming years.
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How much has the MarTech around ABM platforms evolved with the maturity of Data Management and Sales Intelligence tools?
Based on Salesforce’s own State of Marketing research, marketing organizations are projected to use a median of 15 data sources in 2019. This is a huge amount of data that marketers are on the hook for unifying across their organizations. As we have more data inputs, ABM platforms are becoming more powerful, providing the insights needed to connect in a more personalized way with prospects. We’re even seeing marketing and sales teams with the ability to connect in real time with prospects based on in-the-moment engagements. A few years ago, that was just a dream.
It’s also critical for sales and marketing to have access to the same sets of data, which ABM enables. Data management tools have an important role in ensuring data is not siloed, visualizing how datasets relate across teams and ensuring that AI-driven predictions can spur action. What’s most notable is that all these features have become automated and easier to use. Sales intelligence tools are pulling in more signals that provide a more complete view of a prospective customer.
For example, as the amount of data increases around lead generation, salespeople will need to make sense of it and become more data literate in a way that doesn’t require access to a data science team. AI can then sort through this immense amount of data to make it actionable so that it can be built into workflows and drive strategic insights in a user-friendly way.
What is the state of AI and data science in ABM technology? How do you build it at Salesforce Pardot?
Data is allowing businesses to scale at rapid rates by providing insights, patterns, and trends that were otherwise hard to access in the pre-digital era. But in order to make sense of this data, ABM technology requires additional innovation (like AI) to make it transparent, digestible, and actionable for sales reps or marketers. Data science can be baked into ABM technology, allowing marketers to access data-driven insights and Machine Learning models within seconds to help influence strategy.
Because Pardot is integrated into the Salesforce platform, sales cloud and marketing cloud data is automatically ready to use. We also have Einstein, our AI layer, that adds a key boost of intelligence. And because this is all in one Salesforce platform, the workflow is in a single place and connected to the rest of your CRM. What’s most important about these innovations is that they’re easy to use and accessible to everyone. If you’re forced to open up new tabs or these insights are not in an easy-to-find place, they’re not helpful. We’re building these tools to work together for a seamless experience.
What are the opportunities and risks you foresee in the way Big Data is shaping ABM and B2B Data Management landscape for 2020-2025? How does Salesforce Pardot and the ABM Innovation Summit prepare customers for these disruptions?
Opportunities are limitless as innovation makes big data more digestible without needing to have a Ph.D. in data science. As we see more tools on the market that make data accessible to more people, we’ll have greater insights to inform every touchpoint of a prospect’s journey through the funnel. That means sales reps and marketers will know exactly what efforts bring about the most return, and productivity has the potential to soar.
On the other hand, more data isn’t always better. Data cleanliness is often forgotten, but it’s crucial to making sense of it all. Teams will need to ensure that the overwhelming amount of data doesn’t become a distraction that hinders action. In addition to this, we’ve seen more companies hyperfocused on maintaining trust with customers via data privacy.
Salesforce’s State of Marketing research found that 51% of marketing teams say they’re more mindful about balancing personalization and privacy than they were two years ago. For marketers who want to enhance their ABM strategies, there is a fine balance between using personal data effectively to engage prospects while building trust with them.
What’s your prediction on the MarTech ecosystem witnessing all the innovations around automation, intent data, and AI?
In 2019, we’ll see an increase in marketing and sales teams working from the same platform. As a result, teams will more effectively break down silos and share insights. More tasks will become automated until a prospective customer’s intent hits a threshold that warrants a human to react and take over. AI and automation will help to surface the right information to the right person so that there’s a smooth sharing of data across sales and marketing. Transferring leads can then become more cyclical, rather than linear.
We can expect sales reps and marketers to move faster and work more efficiently with AI tools. Sales reps will have a better understanding of their target customer because insights and predictions are surfaced at the moment of interaction. Marketers will leverage AI to understand where their top leads are coming from and which types of content prospects are engaging with most.
Tell us about the ABM roadmap you have at Salesforce Pardot for the ABM community in 2019-2020. Which technology providers could better leverage your products?
Last year, we released an integration with Einstein Account-Based Marketing and Demandbase. This integration gives customers the ability to combine real-time ‘intent-to-buy’ data and account insights from Demandbase with their Salesforce Pardot data.
Additionally, we announced other innovations, like Einstein Behavior Scoring and Einstein Campaign Insights, that enable sales and marketing teams to better align and work from the same data sets, campaign insights, and customer engagement history. We’re continually thinking of ways to personalize experiences for prospects and help sales reps and marketers be more productive in their ABM efforts at scale.
Pardot is used by a wide variety of companies and technology providers, including organizations across healthcare and life sciences, financial services, and manufacturing. The bottom line, though, is that any company hoping to deliver high levels of personalization throughout the B2B buying process can benefit from Pardot.
Look out for more innovations to come later this year!
Thank you for answering all our questions!
Michael Kostow is the SVP and General Manager of Salesforce Pardot, B2B marketing automation by Salesforce, where he is responsible for driving product strategy and market execution. Mike is a six-year Salesforce veteran and has spent the past three years helping Pardot to become the fastest-growing and most widely-deployed marketing automation solution for Salesforce customers.
Pardot, B2B marketing automation by Salesforce, offers a marketing automation solution supporting the needs of B2B organizations of every size.