Account based marketing has become a hot topic as sales and marketing teams look to get more aligned in their strategies and prioritize the right accounts to hunt. I had the opportunity to attend ZoomInfo’s Growth Marketing Summit to dive into the world of B2B marketing and make sense of the shifts in the industry around sales and marketing solutions. I sat down with Joe Chernov, Vice President of Marketing at InsightSquared to talk through ABM and best strategies.
Tell us a bit about what you do for InsightSquared, and the mission?
We aspire to help all business people make better decisions thanks to easy access to data. We’ve started with sales professionals, because, after all, sales problems overshadow all others. People are frustrated with their CRM systems. All of their data is literally trapped in these massive databases, and it’s difficult to get it out, and nearly impossible to visualize it in a useable way. We provide all of the reporting that you should be able to get out of your CRM, but, for whatever reason, can’t.
We’re living in what Forrester calls, “The Age go the Customer,” but what’s specifically changed to reach that point and what’s important to focus on for B2B marketing?
Access to information has changed. I can buy the same gear I buy at REI online for cheaper. So why buy it at REI? Because of service and because of loyalty to the brand. I feel awful if I buy outdoor equipment anywhere but REI, and that’s because of their incredible in-store service, their favorable “Club” terms, and their values (that whole #OptOutside campaign on Black Friday). The same dynamic needs to take place in B2B marketing, a brand needs to stand for something meaningful while exceeding service expectations for long-term, durable differentiation.
What’s the biggest challenge of launching an ABM program?
Humans. The technology works well enough. You can find data that’s sufficiently reliable. There’s never a shortage of creative ideas. But to get human beings, with all of our biases and habits, to harmonize in new way, that’s what’s hard about ABM.
Can you share more about the human problem? How do you bridge marketing and sales to align in advance?
I think people get wrapped up in the hype of the idea too early on and buy a new piece of technology, they gain false sense of progress, that’s the easiest way to convince yourself you’ve solved the problem. Just because you buy a gym membership doesn’t mean you’re going to lose weight. You just need a pair of running sneakers to get started. The mistake is joining a bunch of gyms but not showing up. Just like in Crossfit, you have to prove that you have discipline and that you’re committed before you can really solve the problem
The way you get others to follow your lead and become advocates is through hard work. Create a force multiplier in the workplace, finding the promoters and amplifying their voice and working with detractors to breaking down their arguments.
How has business intelligence evolved to how we treat our customers?
Business intelligence is still just data being applied in new ways. It’s up to you to decide how you are going to act on it. So business intelligence gives us the means to treat customers differently, but smarter and more relevant treatment, that’s up to us. But by using our own product, we know on day 30 if a customer is at risk of churning on day 365. This type of insight is incredibly powerful, because we can prevent problems before the customer even realizes one is taking shape.
How do you make sure you have the cleanest sharpest data? To correct the path
Data in a leads word is trap and can reduce the size of the market. Use a number of data sources of different areas. Have data that is reliable and platforms with features that align with your organization. We use ZoomInfo because they have strong data quality, they have a feature that enrich accounts by adding information. That feature is mandatory and consistent with how our team operates.
What’s your best advice in turning your audience into lifelong advocates?
It will sound hokey, but it ultimately comes down to empathy. I’m loyal to REI because I feel a sense of kinship with the brand. But while the nature of that kinship may vary from company to company, the path to understanding it — that is, through empathy — is universal. For InsightSquared, we know that sales operations is an often overlooked role in organizations. The head of sales enjoys lots of celebrity, top reps go to Club. But what about the sales ops manager who ensures everyone on the sales team is equipped with the means to make smarter, data-backed decisions? Who’s looking out for her? We are. We exist to help sales operations up level their skills, network with one another, and even build their own brands. We do this not only through our technology, but by investing heavily in content, meet ups, online communities and high-end events. The hope is, that being more than just software will give rise to more than just customers.