[Podcast] Funnelside Chats Presents: B2B Thought Leader Ardath Albee

[Podcast] Funnelside Chats Presents: B2B Thought Leader Ardath Albee

As BrightFunnel’s Content Marketing Manager, this week’s Funnelside Chat podcast is especially exciting for me because our featured guest is one of the industry’s most respected thought leaders and queen of content, Ardath Albee.

Throughout her episode, Ardath walks the audience through her background as a B2B marketing strategist, the importance of storytelling, and how she thinks Account-Based Marketing fits into modern martech. And as a fellow writer, content marketer, and former lit student, I was hooked on every word.

Here are a few of the biggest B2B content marketing lessons we took away from this week’s episode:

Strategically Develop Persona-Based Content

If you’re not fully fleshing out your buyer personas, you’re not doing the work you need to do in order to really connect with your prospects. If you want to create content that will interest your buyers, speak to their challenges, and earn their trust, you have to do the appropriate research to find out exactly who those buyers are, what their biggest challenges are, and what they need from you in order to solve those challenges.

Focus on Telling the Right Stories

According to Ardath, a lot of marketers take the idea of storytelling too literally. If you want to tell the kinds of stories that will really resonate with your audience, you need to recognize how your characters—your buyers, customers, and product(s)—interact with each other, and then orchestrate that information in a conversational way. She also points out that your buyer should always be the hero in your stories, so be sure you’re putting them at the center of every piece of content you produce.

Shift Your Culture to Better Align Marketing and Sales

During her podcast interview, Ardath references a company she’s been working with whose sales team has been having a hard time relinquishing control over the accounts who’ve begun their journey down the funnel. She suggests businesses focus on shifting their sales culture so that the team is encouraged to learn how to effectively share with marketing, and marketing can in turn help sales by creating content that will better orchestrate the buyer’s journey and move leads through the funnel faster.

Get to Know Your Customer’s Perspective

At the very end of the podcast episode—when Nadim asks Ardath what she thinks the audience should be reading—her response is truly that of a content marketer: always be learning more about the industry you’re marketing to and familiarizing yourself with your audience’s specific needs and challenges so that you can tell stories that will engage them.

You can listen to Ardath’s full eposide along with our others by checking out our Funnelside Chats podcast on SoundCloud. And be sure to follow us to get updates as we release new episodes!

5 Reasons We’re Pumped for Marketo Summit 2017

5 Reasons We’re Pumped for Marketo Summit 2017

Marketing’s biggest and most exciting event of the year—Marketo Summit—is fast approaching, and we, at BrightFunnel, are getting ready to rock n’ roll at this year’s conference. Our swag bags are packed and ready, our session schedules are planned, and we’re ready to drop some serious multi-touch attribution knowledge at the show.

What are we most excited about at this year’s Summit? Below, we’ve listed five reasons why we’re especially pumped for the event:

1. Summit is Back in SF, Baby!

While we enjoyed spending a week in sunny Las Vegas for last year’s conference, there’s no place like home—and for us, home is beautiful San Francisco. The bridges! The Victorians! The food! The wine! We love our fair city and are happy to share our favorite sights around the Moscone Center, like Union Square, the Bay Bridge, and the Ferry Building, with everyone else who’s attending.

2. Tracking Marketing Metrics in “The Funnel Forest”

This year, we decided to have a little more fun with our booth by turning it into an interactive experience. Visitors who stop by will get the chance to color, sign, or add a message to our “Funnel Forest”, featuring our Funnel Fox and friends. We’ll even have Funnel Forest coloring books that you can take home for yourself or your kids! Come say hi at Booth S447, grab a Sharpie and some swag, and learn how to track important marketing metrics through the Funnel Forest.

3. Chillin’ at Jillian’s

If you need to find a comfortable spot to rest your feet during the show—away from the hustle and bustle at Moscone—come join our team across the street! We’re sponsoring an exciting ABM Central event, hosted at Jillian’s on the corner of 4th and Howard Street, on Monday the 24th and Tuesday the 25th from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Stop by and you’ll get the chance to learn how to step up your ABM game, recharge with a latte, and network with like-minded marketers.

4. Hearing from Our Favorite Revenue Rockstars

From James Corden’s keynote (Marketo Summit karaoke, anyone??) to Jill Rowley’s Social Selling presentation on Monday the 24th @ 11:30 a.m., our calendars have been filling up quickly as we plan for all the great sessions we want to attend. We’re expecting to learn a lot about what’s happening in content, customer marketing, AI, digital, and much more, from a lot of intelligent, well-respected thoughts leaders. And we can’t wait.

5. Pre-Party Primping at Novela

What’s a big blowout bash without an epic pre-party? We’re hosting our Barbers & Blowouts Pre-Party event at Novela, one of the city’s most happening downtown bars (and it’s right across the street from Moscone!). And trust us—you do not want to miss it. We’ll be bringing in a trusted team of hairstylists armed with curling irons and straighteners, talented makeup artists ready to paint a sharp cat-eye or bold red lip, and experienced barbers to treat fellas to a relaxing hot shave. Join us before Marketo’s official party to get all done up, and enjoy unique cocktails (including punch on tap!) and delicious apps. We’ll be there on Tuesday, April 25th from 5:30-8:30 p.m., making sure all of our guests are primped and primed for the big event!

As you can see, we have plenty of reasons to be excited about the upcoming Marketo Summit. From the event location to the expo floor to the parties, this year’s conference is shaping up to be one of the best yet!

Will you be there? Be sure to visit us at Booth S447, register for our pre-party, or schedule a meeting with one of our revenue intelligence experts!

Revenue Rockstar: Morgan Ingram

Revenue Rockstar: Morgan Ingram

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.

Morgan Ingram is the SDR Manager at Terminus and host of the SDR Chronicles, a YouTube channel that provides advice and tips to fellow SDRs.

BF: What makes a killer SDR?

Morgan: Three things make a killer SDR. First is curiosity: curious enough to ask questions and learn, and curious about everything that you do, because when you get on phone calls and you are not curious about that person’s business, you aren’t going to ask the right questions. And if you’re not curious as an SDR, you’re not going to ask the right questions to your leadership.

Secondly, they need to be willing to go hard every single day—willing to get in early and stay late. It may sound cliché, but that hard work will translate and push you to the next level. If you’re not afraid to hustle, if you’re not afraid to get after it—that is something I always see killer SDRs do.

And finally, they’ve got to have a willingness to face adversity. They need to be willing to prospect, get into the trenches, and be better everyday despite goal changes or higher quota goals.

These three attributes—along with a winning mindset—will get you where you need to go.

BF: How do you motivate an SDR team?

Morgan: Figure out what motivates your SDRs individually and use those motivations to inspire them. I know what motives each of my reps, and I use that as their fuel or their engine to get them to the goals they need to hit.

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

Morgan: We are super fortunate here with our SDR team in that there’s a family feel. Everyone is part of a family through highs and lows—we pick each other up. I think you always have to keep morale high and know that when you are failing, you’re all in it together—you’re not all on your own islands.

BF: How do you celebrate wins on the SDR team?

Morgan: We do a lot of things. We go out to lunch together every Friday. We have individual walk up songs that play when a demo is set by that SDR. We ring the gong when a demo we set closes as a deal. This helps us keep morale high and keeps us celebrating our wins together, which keeps us together as a family. That is the culture we built across the team and you keep that going every day by just getting and staying involved.

BF: As an SDR thought leader, what is something fun and unique about your team?

Morgan: The most unique thing on our team is that we each have a nickname—my nickname is Ming. I think it is unique that we are willing to joke with each other, but we all work really hard. There is a time to joke around and there is a time to focus and put in the work.

The Number One Report You Need to Assess the Health of Your Funnel

The Number One Report You Need to Assess the Health of Your Funnel

Learn about all the reports you should rely on as a data-driven B2B marketer by downloading our latest ebook.

What should you be reporting on as a data-driven marketer? Which metrics do you pull if you want to accurately report on marketing’s performance and improve your buyer’s journey in the future? Hard questions to answer. Luckily, here at BrightFunnel, we can shed some light on this topic.

If you’re looking to better understand the impact of your work throughout the funnel, intelligently plan for future campaigns at every stage, and prove how your work is helping grow the business as a whole, one report that you need to start looking at is your revenue funnel analysis.

Revenue funnel analysis reports give you a consistent look into how leads are flowing through your sales funnel. This type of report lets you understand the percentage of leads that become MQLs, meetings, pipeline, and closed-won deals. By understanding what percentage of opportunities turn into deals, what percentage of SQLs turn into opportunities, and so on, as a marketer, you can plan better. If you know that you need X amount of deals at the bottom of your funnel, you can work your way up to understand how many leads you need at the top!

Cohorted Revenue Waterfall and Stage Snapshot

There are a couple of different ways for you to look at this type of report. First, you can look at your funnel through a cohorted waterfall view. This shows how all leads generated during a certain period of time flow through your funnel. In other words, out of the 1000 leads you have created so far this quarter, how many of those leads have made it to MQL, SQL, or opportunities.

cohorted-waterfall

Second, you can look at this data as a stage snapshot, which shows you where everything is in your funnel at any given time, regardless of when the initial lead was generated. It is essentially a “snapshot” or a moment in time.

stage-snapshot

Why Does It Matter?

Funnel analysis reports give you a glimpse into how you’re moving leads through your sales funnel to closed-won. By looking at each stage in detail, you can determine where leads are getting stuck. Are leads getting stuck at the top of your funnel in the open lead stage? Maybe it’s time to rethink your nurture programs. Are they becoming MQLs but then falling off? You might want to redefine your stages with that disconnect in mind. Are SDRs booking meetings that aren’t converting into opportunities? Marketing and sales should come together to figure out what they can change in order to push those leads through.

Additionally, by understanding how leads convert through each stage, you and your sales leadership can better plan for how you are going to get to the number you need quarter-over-quarter.

What Do I Track?

To understand your sales funnel, you need to look at your leads, MQLs, SALs, SQLs, Opportunities, and Closed deals—or your own equivalent lead and sales stages. You can track this in your CRM, but it requires manual calculations around how leads are converting through each. However, this can be time consuming and difficult, and most marketers lack the resources to do this easily.

You can also use tools, such as BrightFunnel, that pull the conversion data in from your CRM and offer.

Revenue funnel analysis is just one of the top five reports that we recommend for every B2B marketer. To get the lowdown on even more helpful reports, download our latest ebook.

Funnelside Chats Presents: Jill Rowley

Funnelside Chats Presents: Jill Rowley

On the latest episode of the Funnelside Chats podcast, hosted by our CEO Nadim Hossain, guest Jill Rowley gives listeners the rundown on social selling, personalization, and what it takes to be a successful salesperson in the modern age.

Jill describes herself as “a sales professional trapped in a marketer’s body.” She’s a social selling maven who has mastered the ability to build authentic relationships with buyers, and because of that, she’s been able to drive more revenue, deliver more value, and inspire more customer advocacy throughout her career. Luckily for us, her Funnelside Chats episode is chock-full of lessons she’s learned, insights she’s gained, and advice she loves to share.

Below, we share a few of highlights from Jill’s interview with Nadim:

“Social selling” is all about building and fostering impactful relationships.

Jill didn’t invent the concept of social selling, but she most definitely helped it become a popular B2B tactic. And according to this expert, being successful at social selling requires you to find, listen to, relate with, connect to, and engage your buyers (and the people who influence your buyers) across their networks. If you can do this well, you can create lasting relationships with your prospects and customers that will follow them wherever they go.

What you measure affects your sales and marketing alignment.

It’s simple: if marketing is tracking its impact on pipeline and revenue—as opposed to only tracking something like the number of inbound leads—then sales will feel more connected to what marketing is doing. During her interview, Jill gives a real life example of this from a company that she’s on the board of, where sales and marketing misalignment is a direct result of the marketing team’s not being measured on contribution to pipeline and revenue.

“More” doesn’t always mean “better.”

According to Jill, a lot of sales teams will invest in ‘more’ without considering the bigger picture. More emails and more calls to more people at more companies does not necessarily mean you will see more success. In fact, it probably won’t. Instead, Jill suggests that sales teams spend more time thinking about how they can become more relevant, more helpful, more human, and more handy so that they can better connect with their prospects and create more meaningful relationships.

The best salespeople are constantly learning alongside their buyers.

One piece of advice that Jill gives to salespeople who are attending conferences is that they shouldn’t be solely focused on manning the booth—they should be attending the sessions and learning about the same things their buyers are learning about and interested in, where their buyers are learning. If you want to really connect with your prospects, you have to get to know their world, understand their interests, and intelligently speak to the things they’re excited about and challenged by.

Puppies make great podcast guests, too.

If you want to know what we’re talking about here, you’ll just have to tune in.

To listen to Jill’s full episode, along with more featuring other B2B thought leaders, check out our Funnelside Chats podcast on Soundcloud. And if you like what you hear, be sure to follow us to get updates as we release new episodes!

Funnelside Chats Presents: Jon Miller

Funnelside Chats Presents: Jon Miller

This week, we launched our podcast series, Funnelside Chats, which features top thought leaders from across the B2B landscape alongside our Co-Founder and CEO Nadim Hossain.

Here at BrightFunnel, we’re really excited about this podcast for several reasons, but one of the biggest reasons we love the podcast so much is that we get the opportunity to listen to in-depth, interesting conversations with really some cool folks.

The first podcast in the series features Marketo Co-Founder and Engagio CEO Jon Miller. Kicking things off with Jon simply made sense to us because—as a founder of marketing automation giant Marketo and current CEO of Account-Based Everything platform Engagio—he understands and can speak to the Martech world better than most. And his interview did not disappoint.

Here are a few of our biggest takeaways from Jon’s conversation with Nadim:

We marketers should all read The One to One Future, like, right now.

During his interview, Jon mentions that this book—which he read as a college student—was a huge inspiration as he worked for, built, and grew companies over his career. His takeaways from the book are directly tied to Engagio’s mission to help its customers personalize every marketing action so that they can make account-based efforts more relevant at scale.

Hyper-growth requires three very important factors to line up at the same time.

Founders and CEOs take note: According to Jon, companies that want to grow quickly need to 1) be in a good category that is sprouting up at the same time as your business, 2) create a good product that pleases customers and drives advocacy, and 3) foster good sales and marketing alignment and execution.

A company’s culture is just as crucial to its success as its product.

During the interview, Jon says that there are two kinds of companies: those that are smart—meaning they have a great product and a solid strategy—and those that are healthy, or have goals like maintaining employee morale, attracting the right talent, and reducing turnover. When co-founding Engagio, he put a lot of thought into how he could build a company that could be both smart and healthy.

As a CEO, you can expect to get as much out of your marketing team as you put into it.

According to Jon, the amount of money you decide to invest in your sales and marketing organizations will dictate the results you see from those organizations. For instance, if you’re investing 90 cents into marketing for every dollar you invest in sales, you’ll most likely see about 90% of your pipeline being influenced by marketing’s activities. On the flip side, if you’re only investing 20 cents in marketing for every dollar spent on sales, the percentage of marketing-influenced pipeline will shrink significantly. Make your investment decisions with this in mind.

Want to hear more wisdom from Jon’s interview? Tune into our kickoff episode, and be sure to follow us on Soundcloud to keep up with Nadim’s Funnelside Chats.

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