Product Leader, Sales & Marketing Solutions At Dun & Bradstreet
ABM is an area where many people know they need to invest, but they either haven’t dipped their toes in the water yet or they haven’t been successful, for a variety of reasons. In this context, we spoke to Lauren Bakewell, Product Leader, Sales and Marketing Solutions, Dun & Bradstreet, to understand how ABM journeys impact customer engagement and what analytics can be used to measure it.
What is the most exciting aspect of leading the thought-train in ABM technology?
It’s always rewarding to me to be able to tell someone something that’s actually useful in their job and will help them improve performance. ABM is an area where many people know they need to invest, but they either haven’t dipped their toes in the water yet or they haven’t been successful, for a variety of reasons. We are able to talk to people about making data the basis of their ABM strategy and showing them how grounding on quality data as a core part of their technology really allows them to gain a connected and holistic account view. It’s such a simple solution and not something that people often think about.
What was the biggest attraction for you at Dreamforce 2018?
The people and energy. Dreamforce attracts the best and most innovative people and companies focused on the challenges of Sales and Marketing organizations. Every one of them comes to share and learn something new, which creates an environment of collaboration, creativity and humility. I love being part of it and know that it helps us improve the value that we bring to our SFDC customers.
Whom were you keen to meet at the event? Which sections appealed the most to you?
I truly enjoyed the time we spend with our customers most of all. It is unique to have so many customers from all segments of the market in one place and have the opportunity to listen to how they are using both technology and data to solve their specific challenges. Their feedback and insight definitely helps us with our roadmap planning.
It’s hard to pick what is most valuable, but clearly, the main keynotes for sales, marketing, analytics and service clouds are all really critical to understand the vision for the next couple of years. Customers need us to understand how to solve data issues across the Salesforce clouds and beyond into their own ecosystems, which is a big opportunity for us.
Which marketing and sales automation technologies are you most excited about?
Machine Learning and AI will absolutely change the way these teams operate; it already is, and I’m very excited to continue to work on solutions in this area.
Do you think there is a lot that needs to be done on CRM? What is hurting the CRM business the most?
The thing that is hurting CRM the most is the fact that it is not always connected to the rest of the organization. There is so much focus right now on the customer experience and having disconnected systems does not allow the many teams who play a part in the customer experience to share customer data across systems and silos. Without that shared data, it’s impossible for marketing, sales, customer success, billing, and other departments to make the most informed and up-to-date decisions.
How have the ABM journeys evolved with the maturity of data management and intelligent analytics?
To be honest, I think sales and marketing teams are just now feeling the pain of not implementing better data management strategies before trying to stand up an ABM program. Too many companies jumped all in on the ABM bandwagon and purchased a lot of technology that they thought would make ABM easier. But without the data foundation (that quality first-party data supplemented with trusted third-party data and shared in a structured way across the organization) the technology isn’t going to produce the expected results. For those companies who have found a way to activate data in a meaningful way, they are seeing real results. A recent study showed that organizations with data activation maturity were more likely to report increases across marketing/sales and customer metrics, with 73 percent reporting more rapid sales cycles, 73 percent reporting a higher return on marketing spend and 77 percent reporting increased customer retention and loyalty.
How do ABM journeys impact customer engagement? What analytics could ABM practitioners rely on to measure the performance of ABM journeys?
If done properly, you should see higher customer engagement with ABM journeys. By creating the alignment between marketing and sales upfront on who to target, then customizing content and interactions across both online and offline channels at the account level, we see more engagement earlier in the process and a faster time to close. While revenue is the ultimate measure of any ABM program, some early metrics you can also measure are pipeline, engagement, account penetration, upsell and cross-sell metrics, and customer satisfaction scores.
How do you utilize Marketing Attribution technologies to justify ROI on your budget?
We like to start with understanding the lifetime value of the customer we’re trying to acquire — that gives us a better idea of exactly how much we can spend to acquire or retain that customer.
What advice would you give to CMOs looking to invest in ABM now?
Invest in the data first. ABM is not a technology — it’s a programmatic method of connecting with high-value accounts in a meaningful and deep way across the organization. Investing in the data first gives you the information you need for both sellers and marketers to target the key accounts, find others like them, and understand the complete company hierarchy to more effectively structure your ABM programs and sales territories. Once that foundation is laid, then you can figure out which software or other technology makes sense to execute your strategy most efficiently.
What message do you have for CMOs in the industry when it comes to working with Intent Data?
Intent data alone is not enough. Especially in a B2B environment, you have to understand certain aspects about the account and have a way to connect that account to an individual taking actions. By combining intent data with other firmographic and demographic data, you get a holistic view of the account to improve the performance of marketing campaigns and seller outreach.
Would you provide us your take on turning AI-driven and enabled ABM by 2020?
I think many companies are already very much on the path to using AI or Machine Learning to speed up processes that are too time-consuming for humans to conduct. Automation through AI and Machine Learning leads to efficiencies; what once took a full weekend can now take a day or a couple of hours. There are a lot of different applications in the sales and marketing space for Machine Learning and AI solutions. For instance, chatbots are helping to nurture leads that sales teams don’t touch in a certain amount of time. Machine Learning algorithms can cleanse data, show new relationships in data and drive greater validity in that data to help companies make better business decisions. Again, it all comes down to the right data being fed into the algorithm.
An inspiring quote from past editions of Dreamforce that you have ever heard—
I think about this all the time when building our products: “We want to take all the complex things in the world and make it simple.” This quote is so inspiring and really one of the personal reasons I am proud to be part of the Salesforce ecosystem: “Business is the greatest platform for change.”
Thanks for chatting with us, Lauren.
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