Top ABM Interview: TechBytes with Gabe Rogol, CEO at Demandbase
Journey into Tech
Hi Gabe. You come from a fascinating Sales background where you have managed vastly different portfolios. You recently celebrated your 7th work anniversary at Demandbase. Could you tell us about this enriching journey and how you landed at Demandbase?
Yes, I’ve had a long career in the Publishing, Martech, and Adtech worlds. The first, nearly 15 years of my career, was spent in the B2B publishing world, focusing on enabling marketers to achieve their brand, demand, and revenue goals by reaching unique audiences. Over that period, Marketing and Advertising technology transformed dramatically, and the demands on marketers to use technology to improve ROI increased.
In the early 2010s, I noticed that marketers were asking more and more to focus their activities on specific accounts that could buy their solutions, avoiding waste. Coincidently, I was introduced to Chris Golec (Founder of Demandbase), who was getting ready to launch the first ad technology that could target specific accounts. I jumped at the opportunity to join and haven’t looked back.
What are your thoughts on Marketing and Sales alignment? How do you align your Marketing and Sales team at Demandbase using Sales Enablement and ABM techniques?
Marketing and Sales alignment is essential to Marketing success and is the primary stumbling block in the execution of programs. Marketing and Sales can no longer work sequentially, i.e., Marketing hands off leads to Sales, they have to work in unison from the first touch, to close, to supporting customers; therefore they must be more integrated and aligned than ever.
We at Demandbase, like other B2B organizations, have not been immune to Sales and Marketing alignment challenges in the past. The foundation of our Marketing and Sales teams is based on a standard Go-to-Market approach, across an agreed-upon target account list, priority in quarter accounts that are showing intent, rules of engagement, weekly planning sessions, and aligned metrics (pipeline, close rate, and closed business). You can distill the best practices into aligned account lists, executive alignment, on-going check-ins, and standard measures.
Could you tell us about your most outstanding customer win in the recent months? Which new markets and industries are you planning to expand into?
We are all operating within unprecedented times, and we have had to take a different approach to education and to bring in new customers. Our Sales and Customer Success teams took a consultative, educational approach to help prospects and customers understand the value proposition of ABM, and how to execute a successful strategy designed for their needs, even in these challenging times.
I’m proud of some of the ways we’re supporting customers to help with the COVID 19 crisis. We helped a large software company offer free collaboration software to institutions by donating technology and media to target the education sector. We also helped a large medical device company promote free training and support for ventilators by giving our technology and media.
In terms of our customer base, Demandbase works with some of the most notable B2B global brands across various industries. We remain focused on delivering industry-changing innovation that empowers and transforms the way B2B companies go-to-market.
As a CEO of a B2B Marketing Tech company, what challenges do you face within and outside the organization to sell your product? What message do you have for other CEOs who head data-driven marketing tech product companies?
Currently, every business, across all industries, sizes, locations, is facing unprecedented challenges with the health pandemic gripping the global community. Of course, CEOs are concerned with the safety and wellbeing of the employees; first and foremost, myself included.
A major challenge B2B marketers and organizations face is the continued reliance on metrics that are not indicative of ROI or revenue impact by marketers. Marketers tend to be stuck with either top-of-funnel metrics like impressions, clicks, and view throughs or leads in how they’re measured. The B2B customer journey has changed, clicks by themselves are meaningless, leads are dwindling, it’s critical business adapt and connect Marketing with more meaningful metrics like account engagement, pipeline, close rates, and closed-won business.
ABM Innovation Summit is just around the corner. What unique sessions and keynotes has Demandbase identified for this year’s edition?
The ABM Innovation Summit has become the premier event for B2B organizations that are committed to investing in ABM to grow their businesses. The entire Demandbase team had worked incredibly hard to put on what would have been the best ABM Innovation Summit in our 6-year history. However, we made the difficult decision to cancel the event to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our attendees, sponsors, and our employees.
This year’s ABM Innovation Summit theme was ABM Next, which means moving into a new phase of ABM adoption, in which technology and best practices are standardized. Up till now, B2B marketers have not consistently tapped into the full potential of ABM, due to a lack of standardization. Our goal for this year’s summit was to initiate a standard definition of ABM technology and practices to enable widespread success.
Recently, we hosted a webinar where we shared the product keynote slated for the ABM Innovation Summit that speaks to the 2020 event theme. We welcome folks to take a look at the on-demand version of the webinar to learn more about what’s on the horizon for ABM and how Demandbase will continue to drive the future of ABM innovation.
How can Demandbase’s ABM Innovation Summit benefit users and SDRs better leverage ABM technologies?
Over the past six years, the ABM Innovation Summit has evolved and become the premier event for B2B organizations and marketers who are committed to adopting ABM as well as learning the latest techniques and technologies to execute successful strategies. Our attendees have found the ABM Innovation Summit to be an incredibly valuable resource for them to learn more about ABM and grow their skill sets to become the next generation of revenue leaders.
No ABM strategy can be successful unless Sales and Marketing teams are aligned, and that means Sales teams need to not only embrace the approach but leverage the available technologies. Sales teams must use the same ABM tools as their Marketing counterparts to understand where buyers are within the customer journey, what they need, partner with marketing to deliver the experiences they (buyers) expect to drive growth.
What is the approach you often take to invest in a Marketing and Sales tool/suite for your company? Tell us about your Martech/Sales tech budget?
As I mentioned earlier, Sales and Marketing alignment is paramount to ABM, and that applies to each team’s technology stacks. Both sides research and evaluate several solutions based on a specific set of criteria, including use cases.
Once our Sales and Marketing teams have narrowed down their options, both groups come together to evaluate finalists based on trial runs, ensure that the solution(s) would deliver value to both groups, pass security review, no overlap with current technologies, and finally, which solution(s) fit into our Sales/Marketing budgets. Once the teams agree on the solution, they move forward with securing approval from the leadership team and then work with the selected vendor to get our teams up and running.
Based on our own experience of investing in Marketing and Sales technology tools, we wanted to create a tool for B2B organizations to help them identify the solutions they need to effectively go-to-market. Demandbase’s ABM Stack Evaluator is a seven-question survey that generates a customized report of tech recommendations for matching the right technologies from 20 Marketing technology vendors that helps B2B marketers to accelerate their ABM strategies and drive significant growth for their organizations.
Tag the one person in the industry whose answers to these questions you would love to read.
Adam Blitzer, Chief Executive Officer at Salesforce Marketing Cloud.
Gabriel Rogol is the Chief Executive Officer of Demandbase. In his role, Rogol is responsible for fulfilling the company’s mission of transforming how B2B companies go-to-market. Since joining Demandbase in 2012, Rogol has been integral in setting the product and corporate strategy for the company.
Throughout his two-plus decade career, Rogol has held leadership positions, including managing world-class customer service and sales teams at IDG and other leading publishers. Rogol received his BA in Comparative Literature and Russian Language and Literature from Brown University.
Demandbase, the leader in Account-Based Marketing (ABM), offers the only Artificial Intelligence-enabled, comprehensive ABM platform that spans Advertising, Marketing, Sales and Analytics. Our patented IP technology helps B2B businesses identify companies to target, market to them across the web and on their website, and close business faster. Enterprise leaders and high-growth companies such as Accenture, Adobe, DocuSign, GE, Salesforce and others use Demandbase to drive their ABM strategy and maximize their marketing performance.