3 Ways to Update Your Buyer’s Journey from MarTech 2017

3 Ways to Update Your Buyer’s Journey from MarTech 2017

Each MarTech conference kicks off with Scott Brinker sharing the state of the marketing-technology landscape and this year’s conference was no different. As the mar tech landscape continues to grow at astounding rates, there are now almost 5,000 companies in the industry. That’s a huge jump from the 150 companies that made up the mar tech landscape back in 2011 when this analysis was first put together.

Not surprising, this revelation created a lot of buzz and chatter over the past week about the ever-changing buyer’s journey. With this many companies occupying the same space, many of the MarTech speakers discussed the increased competition over a buyer’s attention.

Below, we’ll share our top takeaways from the conference, as well as some tips for keeping your buyers engaged.

Takeaway #1: Know Thy Customer

We are living in the age of the customer. These days modern marketers live and die by the success or failure of a lead through the funnel. In his session on “identity resolution”, Joe Stanhope, the VP Principal Analyst at Forrester said that, “consumers expect to get what they want in their immediate context and moment of need.” With a fierce competition for attention, Joe said that 2017 will be the year in which smart marketers realize that to know and reach their customer, they will first have to identify ideal customer personas.

To be successful, Joe recommends that you, “understand the customer journey and the tipping points to engage with the right customer, at the right time.” He added that marketers need to realize that we are working in a competitive battleground. All the strategies and tactics that marketers use–landing pages, emails, and more–are not exclusive to any one company or industry. So when it comes to breaking through the noise to win more customers, we need to know thy customer first.

Expect this tactic to gain momentum just like account-based marketing has. According to Joe, “identity resolution” will become the key enabler for marketers to add more qualified leads to their pipeline by connecting what your customers want to the needs your platform, and serving up relevant content to the buyer on the right channel, at the right time.

Takeaway #2: Personalize Each Step of the Way

Think about the last time you were on the phone as a customer–you probably expected great customer service. You had an initial conversation with someone on the other end of the line and you want each person you speak to after that to have all the details of your issue or concern, right? Well Michel Feaster of Usermind, reminded us in her session that B2B marketers are committing a marketing sin by not passing along personalized details down the buyer’s journey.

Building on the theme of customers first, they stressed that marketers need to deliver a powerful end-to-end customer experience. Michel added that it’s important for sales and marketing to come together on this matter so that from the very first discovery call to each check-in call you have with a customer, the information about what they need to succeed is right there for everyone to use. To do so, she recommends adopting a “CRM 3.0” strategy, which combines real-time interactions, omni-channel delivery, and data and customer journey information to deliver contextual marketing. In other words, anything you discuss with your customer should be in the context of their previously expressed needs and wants.

The 5 steps that Michel recommends for adopting a CRM 3.0 are:

  1. Identify your core audience
  2. Develop your customer narrative
  3. Sequence and take note of key milestones along the way
  4. Build your in-house stack to support real-time customer personalization
  5. Orchestrate, scale, optimize and repeat.

Takeaway #3: Attention is a Gift

Social media influencer and guru Gary Vaynerchuk talks about this all the time, so I wasn’t surprised when a few speakers nodded to his theory that we’re living in the attention economy. If you’re unfamiliar with Gary V, he essentially believes that businesses, brands, and influencers alike need to go where people’s attention already is in order to make a good impression. In other words, focusing more on mobile and social apps rather than lengthy TV commercials that just get fast-forwarded.

Melissa Nazar of SnapApp applied this theory to B2B when she asked the audience, “when have you ever read a white paper and had a life-changing epiphany on the way you’re marketing or running your business?” The room responded with a chuckle, and let’s face it, you have maybe downloaded 10-15 ebooks as a B2B marketer but only once or twice have you actually used those insights to improve the way you market to customers.

Bharath Srinivasan of Nimble Storage also added to this concept in his session by stating that, “it’s difficult these days to catch a buyer’s attention with just one email or call to action.” With nearly 5,000 companies in Scott Brinker’s B2B landscape, Bharath is definitely hitting it right on the mark. He added, “our executive team (at Nimble Storage) doesn’t want to put in more dollars to marketing if we’re not showing the impact.”

So how do both Melissa and Bharath recommend capturing your target audience’s attention? The advice is two-fold. First, take a new approach to your content delivery. If no one’s going to have a life-changing epiphany from reading a lengthy white paper, why not send them a targeted, customized one-sheet on how your business meets their needs instead? Second, measure everything. And we mean, everything. Both speakers mentioned that the single most metric you should be tracking right now is marketing influenced revenue. How will you know what’s working and resonating with your buyers if you aren’t tracking how each and every marketing touch point is impacting their journey?

By getting started on the path of multi-touch attribution, you are able to see where your buyers’ attention is now within your funnel and where you need to focus in order to get that attention. This allows your marking team to easily map out where they should focus their time and effort. If you want to learn more about how multi-touch attribution can work, check out this customer cast study we did with Nimble Storage!

See you all in October for MarTech Boston! 

[Podcast] Funnelside Chats Presents: Scott Brinker, Co-Founder & CTO of ion Interactive and Editor of ChiefMartec

[Podcast] Funnelside Chats Presents: Scott Brinker, Co-Founder & CTO of ion Interactive and Editor of ChiefMartec

We think that this week’s Funnelside Chats podcast episode is kind of a big deal.

It features Scott Brinker—the editor of chiefmartec.com, co-founder and CTO of ion interactive, and program chair of MarTech—and just happens to coincide with this week’s MarTech conference in San Francisco. (Be sure to come chat with our revenue intelligence team at Booth 1422 if you’ll be in attendance!)

From the state of the martech landscape today to the importance of holding on to the human element of marketing, Scott’s conversation with Nadim includes tons of great insights and advice across a range of interesting topics.
Below, we offer up our favorite highlights from our latest episode:

On the Evolution of Marketing Ops.

When Scott first started working with marketing teams, the role of marketing operations was not a very glorious one. But these days (over the past 5 or so years, that is), that’s all changed. Now that a solid marketing technology infrastructure is pretty much essential to the overall team’s success, marketing ops is a critical hire for most organizations. The role has grown in scope, too, as it now has the opportunity to partner with sales operations, using technology to bridge the gap and improve alignment between the two teams.

Being a Marketer is Hard Work.

According to Scott, marketing is one of the most difficult jobs out there. There’s so much going on and it’s changing all the time, so we have to be learning and relearning constantly in order to keep up with it all. It’s the only function in the corporation with such a wide-ranging extreme of responsibilities, from the more organic creative side to the more hardcore technology and data analytics side. You really need to become a jack of all trades to succeed as a marketer in the digital age.

The times are always a’changin’ (and that’s okay).

One of the big themes that permeates Scott’s interview is that of change—primarily, how to deal with it. As marketers, we need to get used to constant change because change is our only constant. In fact, bigger and bigger changes only seem to be coming at us faster and faster. Scott recently wrote and published a book called Hacking Marketing that’s partially about agile marketing and keeping up with change. He also recommends that listeners pick up a copy of Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s Anti-Fragile, a book that explores how organizations can get stronger by embracing change.

So what’s up next?

The possibilities for what the future of martech could look like are endless—and that’s what Scott finds so exciting about the industry. He says that the landscape has grown a lot in ways that surprise him, and it’s very hard to have a simple explanation for that because there are so many different forces at work and they’re all happening at the same time. He loves watching people essentially remake marketing and sales—and even business as a whole—with all of these emerging capabilities.

To hear even more of Scott’s marketing wisdom, tune into the full episode. And make sure you don’t miss any Funnelside Chats episodes by following our channel on iTunes or SoundCloud.

Revenue Rockstar: Brandon Redlinger from Engagio

Revenue Rockstar: Brandon Redlinger from Engagio

It’s no secret that having a healthy pipeline can help you exceed your revenue goals—but what is it that keeps your pipeline healthy? SDRs!

Sales development teams are responsible for initiating their business’ sales cycles, and those who run these hard-working pipeline machines are known as sales enablement leaders. Or, as we like to call them, Revenue Rockstars.

In this series, we chat with a few of these revenue rockstars to understand how they’ve gotten to where they are now, and find out what keeps their team focused as they work towards success.

Brandon Redlinger is the Director of Growth at Engagio.

1. What makes a killer SDR?

The number one thing that makes anyone in general successful—not just a sales rep—is grit. Angela Duckworth at University of Pennsylvania is a leading psychologist and thinker on the topic, and she defines grit as “perseverance and passion for long-term goals.” This is someone with high drive, motivation, and determination to succeed.

Next, the best reps think critically and ask the right questions. If you aren’t asking the right questions, then you’ll have a hard time finding the right answers. It’s a huge part of the SDR’s job in qualifying leads and accounts at the top of the sales funnel. Some of the best SDRs (and sales reps in general) are the most curious people I know.

Communication is another major part of the sales development role. It’s an SDR’s job to communicate effectively all day, every day. They’re constantly on the phone making cold calls, writing emails, tweeting, etc. Rockstar SDRs can communicate their ideas, both verbally and in written form, clearly and concisely.

Lastly, they have good time management skills. All SDRs have 24 hours in a day. The best reps spend their time on the right things. An SDR’s time is highly valuable. In fact, the true cost of an SDR is much more than you would think. The ability to know where they should be spending their time, then being able to focus their energy and resources there, is a huge advantage.

2. How do you motivate an SDR team?

First and foremost, the SDR has to join your team for the right reason. They have to believe in what they’re doing and why they’re doing it. Motivation and drive are key traits that I look for in a sales rep. It’s an uphill battle if you have to constantly worry about how to keep your salesforce motivated. Naturally driven people tend to stay driven on their own—they don’t need external motivation.

Having said that, there are things you can do to avoid reps dropping into a slump. No matter who you are, everyone has an off month, so put the structures into place to minimize the harm. When SDRs are given regular coaching and training, it’s easier for them to get over the slump and back to their quota-crushing selves. Also, making sure the reps know they’re valued, their voices are heard, and they’re given the proper recognition will keep turnover low and numbers high.

3. How do you maintain the culture with a high turnover rate position like an SDR?

The cutthroat, boiler room culture dramatized on the big screens is, unfortunately, a reality at many companies. However, it shouldn’t be.

Culture starts from the top. I’m not talking about the sales leader, I’m talking about the company leader—your CEO. Your company’s culture defines the environment, which dictates how people behave at work. There are many things that contribute to culture, such as vision, values, norms, systems, language, assumptions, etc.

This is the number one reason I believe that Engagio has a huge success story right out of the gates—Jon Miller and Brian Babcock defined and clearly articulated their core values before writing a single line of code.

To directly answer your question, we maintain a healthy culture by openly communicating to the SDR function; and, more broadly, the sales function—that this is a team sport, and we’re all in it together. Everyone, from marketing to customer success to engineering, knows that they must support everyone else, including sales.

4. How do you celebrate wins on the SDR team?

If there’s one thing that I’ve learned about SDRs (and pretty much anyone), it’s that they respond to incentives. A good sales SPIFF goes a long way. A good manager knows when to use an individual SPIFF versus a team SPIFF, but I’ve always felt that team incentives were more effective.

We also have a pretty unique deal bell—it’s a high-striker. Think of those games at carnivals to test strength whereby someone uses a mallet to strike a lever, which sends a puck up a tower to ring a bell at the top. After the AE rings in the new deal, he or she acknowledges and thanks everyone involved closing the account.

[Podcast] Funnelside Chats Presents: Howard Ting, CMO of Nutanix

[Podcast] Funnelside Chats Presents: Howard Ting, CMO of Nutanix

We’re excited to announce the launch of another episode of the FunnelSide Chats podcast! This week features CMO of Nutanix, Howard Ting.

During his interview with Nadim, Howard dropped some valuable marketing knowledge and delivered spectacular insights that had us nodding vigorously and taking notes as we listened in. From how he sort of stumbled into his first marketing role to how he’s used communication as a tool to solve the ol’ marketing-sales alignment problem, Howard’s stories are chock full of advice for aspiring and established marketers alike.

Below, we run through a few of our favorite moments from the interview:

Being a good marketer begins with being a good storyteller.

When asked what his secret weapon is as a marketer, Howard answered that while hard word, resilience, and a willingness to get better every day have gotten him to where he is now, his ability to tell a story with a unique and fresh perspective is what has helped him truly shine in his career. Howard used to be a DJ while in college, and he describes great marketing as being a lot like great mixing—you listen in on the ideas going on around you, absorb the best ones, and then join them together in a new way to create something original and compelling.

Data is a marketer’s best friend—and understanding it is the key to success.

According to Howard, attribution is the biggest challenge that marketers face when it comes to performance measurement. There’s so much data available, and so much of it can be inaccurate, that it can be hard to put everything together in the right ways so that we can make sense of it all. Marketers need to learn how to really read, understand, and analyze their data so that they can make smarter decisions based on the results they’re seeing.

CMOs have the power to change the perception of marketing.

In order to gain more respect for marketing as a business function, the team needs to be able to prove what it’s accomplishing for the organization. So how does it do that? Howard’s advice is for CMOs—he suggests they start spreading more appreciation for marketing metrics and create more data-centric cultures within their teams. Not only will this allow for more self-sufficient reporting and better informed planning, it will also help the CMO earn a seat at the organization’s revenue table.

Always be consuming!

When asked about his advice for someone who would someday like to become a CMO, Howard’s answer is simple: consume as much content as possible, in as many places as possible. In order to keep ideas fresh and interesting, it’s important to read or listen to content from across industries, from your competitors, from other business’ with great marketing, and so on. Howard says that we as marketers should “read a lot, be curious, and ask a lot of questions.” This continuous quest for new information has gotten him to where he is today, and it can help other aspiring marketing leaders get to the top as well.

Listen to the full episode to hear more of Howard’s insights about the state of marketing today, and be sure to follow us on SoundCloud to stay on top of new episodes as they’re released every other week.

[Recap Blog] Marketo Summit 2017: What We Learned at This Year’s Big Event

[Recap Blog] Marketo Summit 2017: What We Learned at This Year’s Big Event

And that’s a wrap!

Marketo Summit 2017 was a whirlwind of a conference—we’re not really sure how it all flew by so quickly. Over the past few days, we’ve taken a lot in as we’ve listened to and learned from some of marketing’s biggest and brightest revenue rockstars. We collected some pretty cool swag from our neighbors in the Expo Hall, got all done up at BrightFunnel’s incredible Barbers & Blowouts event, and danced the night away to Train at Marketo’s big party.

Earlier this week, we talked a bit about what we took away from Day 1. Now, looking back over the course of the entire conference, we have a few more big ideas to add to our original list:

ABM is still the acronym on everyone’s lips.

As expected, ABM was the hot topic at the conference, and just about everyone who took the stage had something to say about it. But what made it particularly interesting this year was that everyone approached it from a different perspective, and depending on the speaker’s focus, Summit attendees could learn about everything from how to better align with sales and track progress, to how to plan and create more targeted content.

During Joe Chernov’s session, “What They Didn’t Teach You in ABM School,” we learned that marketers have to choose between pipeline ABM, which supports the BDR team, or sales velocity ABM, which supports the AEs. In one of the conference’s final sessions, “Create an Account-Based Marketing Strategy to Drive Consensus for Complex Sales,” content marketing queen Ardath Albee taught us how to build and connect the personas that can allow you to better infiltrate your targeted accounts. As we touched on in our last post, almost every presentation talked about the relationship between marketing and sales, from Lori Wizdo’s session about how to become a customer-obsessed team, to Matt Heinz’s session on how to change the cost-center perception of marketing. And Michael Brenner’s presentation, “2017: The Year of Tough Choices,” taught us how we can restructure our organizations to become truly customer-centric.

In one way or another, almost every single session that we attended taught us something different about how to become better at personalizing our marketing efforts for individual accounts.

Measurement makes the marketing world go round.

In the same vein as ABM, measurement was something that was featured in almost every session as well. Marketers are definitely in the process of figuring out which metrics they should track if they want to a) be seen as a contributing function within their organizations, b) align with sales and work better together to drive more deals across the finish line, and c) make smarter decisions when planning for future campaigns.

Marketo CEO Steve Lucas kicked the event off by mentioning measurement in his opening Keynote, stating that if we want to succeed in the “Engagement Economy”, we must all embrace our inner data scientists and learn how to make better sense of our results. Box CMO Carrie Palin continued the trend not long after when she said that metrics are what will bring everyone together to close the marketing and sales chasm. On Day 3, Matt Heinz took on the topic during his session, “Profit Center Marketing: Aligning and Measuring Teams Around Business Impact,” by offering his five keys to profit center marketing, two of which are purely metrics driven: quantify what success looks like, decide how will you measure it, and determine which metrics are important to you.

This year’s Summit made it very clear: marketers are hungry for the metrics that matter and eager to learn where and how to find them.

We’ve got to be our own biggest cheerleaders.

There’s no better show of marketers’ support for one another than at Summit itself. Everywhere we sat, stood, walked, or danced, we saw and heard people making connections—sharing professional advice, offering helpful suggestions, or simply introducing themselves to one another. You could sense in every room in the Moscone that we’re a group that not only learns side-by-side at conferences, but also lifts each other up and has fun together. And that’s because we all know what it’s like: it’s tough to be a marketer in this day and age!

Michael Brenner said it best during his session on Tuesday afternoon: we have to champion our colleagues, make sure their ideas are heard, and support them in their efforts because that’s the best way to make sure that we, as marketing teams, can experiment, learn, grow, and succeed. When we’re able to trust that our colleagues will be our champions instead of just following orders from the top-down, we’re more free to work together to execute new ideas, innovate our industry, and have fun with each other in the process. BrightFunnel’s Barbers & Blowouts party was the perfect example of this—our team brainstormed together and championed the brightest ideas, and it ended up resulting in one of the hottest after-parties at this year’s Summit (ICYMI, we rented out a trendy cocktail bar near the Moscone, brought in hairstylists, makeup artists, and barbers, and helped Marketo party goers primp and network before the big event!).

If we continue to help each other out and stand up for each other’s ideas, then the sky’s the limit for us marketers.

Between the sessions, the parties, and the overall vibe, this year’s Marketo Summit definitely fit its theme of the Engagement Economy to a T. This year, we learned a lot about how we can better connect with our customers and each other, and walked away ready to turn those lessons into actions that will help us thrive in our companies and careers.

Until next time!

[Live Blog] The Age of the Engagement Economy: Day 1 of Marketo Summit 2017

[Live Blog] The Age of the Engagement Economy: Day 1 of Marketo Summit 2017

Day one of Marketo’s Marketing Summit 2017 definitely lived up to our expectations! We laughed with James Corden during the opening Keynote, enjoyed a few lattes from the coffee cart at Jillian’s, and had some fun coloring in our Funnel Forest in the Expo Hall. We also sat in on several interesting sessions led by the industry’s top thought leaders, and learned a ton about what some of marketing’s biggest influencers are thinking about and focusing on these days.

james-corden-market-summit

This year’s theme—Leading in the Engagement Economy—was definitely a key topic throughout all the sessions that we attended. There’s no doubt about what the world of marketing is prioritizing these days: putting the customer at the center of everything.

Below, we walk through a few of our highlights from yesterday’s sessions:

#KnowThyBuyer

From the opening Keynote to industry influencer Jill Rowley’s presentation on social selling, the concept that marketers need to get to know their customers—their needs, challenges, interests, and more—was heard loud and clear throughout Summit’s first day. By building strong, lasting relationships with your prospects and customers, you encourage the kind of loyalty that will help you drive continuous revenue.

In his session “The 3 Key Pillars for Potent Content Marketing,” Jeff Bullas talked about how content marketers can succeed if they’re able to attract, seduce, and then finally gain commitment from their audiences. And how do you accomplish all three of these goals? By studying your buyers to find out where they are (Twitter or Google, for instance), what they’re interested in or challenged by, and how they consume their content (Bullas suggests using easy-to-understand language to seduce online audiences, for example, but this might change depending on your buyer).

know-thy-buyer

Good Data Drives Good Decisions

We as marketers need to be smart about where we’re investing our dollars. During one of the Keynote panels, Box CMO Carrie Palin spoke about how her marketing team has committed to a certain level of revenue contribution, and they’re able to show and grow that contribution by collecting and analyzing the right data. The only way for marketers to gather better insights and make better decisions is to be data-driven, and to continuously test and improve upon their strategies based on results.

Bullas added to this during his session by stating that one of the biggest challenges content marketers face is showing results, because engagement has to show up in the bottom line or marketing won’t be able to prove its value. By collecting the right data and measuring the impact of our work, we can a) continue to optimize our efforts and b) show how those efforts are helping to grow the business.

Marketing and Sales Can (and Should) Get Along

During his session about Account-Based Marketing, Joe Chernov, VP of Marketing at InsightSquared, spoke about how “credit” can be a dirty word because marketing and sales teams often fight over who should get it. But the two teams have to learn how to play nice if they want to succeed with an account-based strategy, which has marketers getting more personal with account influencers in order to really connect. If marketing and sales are not properly aligned, it disturbs the personalized and engaging buying experience that our customers crave.

Jill Rowley also touched on the relationship between marketing and sales in her session, telling the audience  that social selling is an initiative that must have buy-in from both teams in order to be successful. Sales has to do away with the concept that they shouldn’t step in until a lead has been perfectly scored and nurtured, and marketing needs to learn more about the sales process as well. Both teams have to come together and learn how to see things through the eyes of their customers in order to engage effectively.

All in all, day one was exciting, fun, and full of interesting tidbits around how we as marketers can better connect with our audiences. We’re definitely looking forward to what the rest of the conference has in store!