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99 | Drive revenue with a 'SMART' approach to sales and marketing alignment

43 min listen

Sales and Marketing Accelerating Revenue together. Now that's SMART.

This week we're joined by Leanne Chescoe, Marketing Director (EMEA), at Demandbase to discuss their SMART methodology when it comes to sales and marketing alignment.

We go into all the details on their account-based approach, essential 'contracts' between sales and marketing, and why the funnel is more of a champagne flute than a margarita glass. 

There are also some fairly tenuous animal analogies thrown in there too for good measure.  

Demandbase's SMART event is already oversubscribed! But you can sign up for the waitlist here


View the full transcript here

Harry: We're here on a lovely sunny day in London. We are with Leanne from Demandbase on another delightful episode of the tech marketing podcast. Welcome.

Leanne: Thank you. Thanks for having me. It's a pleasure. It

Harry: is a pleasure. So tell us and our audience, like, you know, how did you come to this position? And you know what it is

Leanne: that you do.

Leanne: Yeah. So I've been a career long B2B marketer. I always have to remember not to use the term lifelong because I've not done it since birth. And it's been, I've worked in the kind of technology industry and for the past seven years, specifically in the kind of marketing technology industry leading demand generation and ABM efforts for demand based where I head up our international market.

Leanne: And it's a really great position to be in where we're using our products. I get really close to our customers that are using it to have those kind of peer to peer conversations. And just being a real kind of ABM evangelist, as well as helping our new business and existing customer team generate.

Leanne: Pipeline and more revenue from our customer accounts. [00:01:00]

Harry: Thanks. There you go. I can understand why you'd be doing that from birth . That sounds very

Jon: exciting. . Well, I mean, we are huge of course, tech marketing evangelists here, both on the tech marketing podcast and at together. You know, you talk quite a lot at Demandbase about this smart sales and marketing accelerating revenue together.

Jon: Yeah. Like, I'm gonna, I'm gonna be controversial. Which one's more important? Sales and marketing.

Leanne: Both. I don't think you can. It's like the chicken and egg kind of situation, right? You can't do one without the other. So they're both integral. And I think they should be seen more as like one revenue team rather than being this kind of two different departments that have these silos, which is quite true of a lot of organizations as well.

Leanne: So I think they really have that common goal. It's generating revenue for the business, right? So I think both teams are equally as important.

Jon: And how, like, what's the foundations of that smart framework? Like, talk me through it. How do you get sales and marketing working better

Leanne: together? Yeah, and I think fundamentally, one of the key things that works really [00:02:00] well from a, just a go to market strategy perspective is having this account based approach.

Leanne: And there's lots of research out there that says that an ABM approach is more effective and has more effective ROI than any other marketing. Kind of channel or program that people do, and that's because people are focused on the accounts that are the right fit for their business based on, you know, ideal customer profile and the ones that are showing intent, various technologies out there, you know, like demand base that will give you that kind of insight and engagement.

Leanne: to really help you focus on, okay, I know these are the most relevant accounts. They're a good fit for my business, and we can craft some specific kind of strategies as sales and marketing teams to drive engagement with those accounts and ultimately pipeline. I

Jon: just, I always have a problem when we talk about sales and marketing alignment, because I feel like we've been talking about it forever.

Jon: Like, is there ever going to become a time when we stop

Leanne: talking about it? No, because I think it's still really siloed. I think. Account based marketing can really help close that gap [00:03:00] and it's around that collaboration as well and I think we've definitely experienced it. I've experienced it myself as a marketer with my sales teams, I probably have the best relationship with the sales team now than I've had compared to any other organization where I haven't really truly done ABM before.

Leanne: In those companies. So I think that definitely helps. It's that collaboration piece and it's that mindset shift of like, it's that one common goal that ultimately we're trying to drive revenue for the business and it's not about no marketing kind of filling the funnel and how we look at the funnel should be different rather than that kind of.

Leanne: Waterfall Margarita glass. I like to think of it as a cocktail analogy, rather than a Margarita glass, think about it as a champagne glass. And that's your kind of funnel where it's like you're filling the funnel with. Fewer leads, but there's better quality because the leads that are going in there are from your target accounts, accounts that match your ICP, ones that are showing those relevant signals that you can [00:04:00] actually close.

Leanne: I

Jon: just want to call out the fact that you've come out with an analogy before Harry has. It was a good one as well. It was a really good one. Champagne glass. Yeah, champagne analogy. I think we're going to trademark that now. I think that needs to be, it needs to be a thing, which is, it's not this giant.

Jon: You're starting with a huge swathe of unwashed at the top. It is much more about being focused. You talked to, you mentioned there around, you know, collaborating more with sales and some of the success you've had. Like, can you pinpoint one in your career long? Career of technology marketing.

Jon: Can you pinpoint like one example of incredible collaboration?

Leanne: There's a few I can think of that have really helped do that. So we have what we call our account entitlement. So that's part of our overall ABM or ABX strategy as we refer to it at demand base. And essentially entitlements is. This is for all of your target accounts.

Leanne: These are the channels that we're going to use to drive engagement with them. And this is the budget that we're going to set. And for our target account list, we have a tiering structure. I think that's also been really successful [00:05:00] in that the the tiering determines the spend per account. So the higher up the count here, the more that we're going to spend on advertising to those accounts doing more kind of one to one personalization.

Leanne: Specific executive kind of outreach or programs for them. And then we have as part of that kind of order of the channels, this is our commitment of all of the different ways that we're going to engage with those accounts, the spend that we're going to attribute for, or to those accounts for this kind of given year.

Leanne: So we have our 2023 entitlements. And I always think about it as. It's almost like a contract between us and sales. Like, this is our commitment to you and the coverage that we're going to deliver across those accounts. So having that plan in place and sharing that with the team, they love to see that because they can see, okay, this is what marketing is doing to help me, you know, get in front of these accounts.

Leanne: The second thing that's been really key in driving that alignment is what we call ABX standups. And that's something that, again, I always say to our customers [00:06:00] to do this if they're struggling with sales to be bought into like an ABM way of doing things or just don't have great alignment. That's a monthly session.

Leanne: I sit with each of my account reps in their SDRs. And we go through like, where do you need help? So we'll use a lot of the data that we can get from demand based to understand where do your accounts sit across the funnel? What different journey stages are they at currently? Are they getting stuck at any particular journey stage?

Leanne: Is there something we need to do to re engage those accounts? Are you not getting enough pipeline at the top of the funnel? Do we need to put more investment there? Is it that there's a deal stuck that we can, you know, help you accelerate? If you've got a new target account list, it could be that we need to do some more kind of one to few campaigns.

Leanne: So do some like industry specific campaigns, for example. So all of those meetings are collaborative and that's coming up with like an idea as a team of like, what can we see? What's the kind of data telling us making those data driven decisions? Where do you need most help? But let's come up with a plan as the team and [00:07:00] execute on it.

Leanne: Is

Harry: everything like, so obviously it sounds like you're solving issues as they come about tailoring things. This client's going to need this. Can you do this type of thing? Are you finding that things are congealing to a set process just from doing it again and finding this is working regularly or is everything much more different than one might expect?

Leanne: So there are some instances where actually this is like a formula that works really well. So that kind of, and that's where the account kind of tiering part comes into it, where we determine like for those, that kind of white glove treatment, where it's more of that one to one approach, that would be accounts that hit a certain criteria that would be in a tier one account.

Leanne: High level of investments, a lot of time, like you can't do that when you're looking at an account list of hundreds particular or thousands of accounts, right? So you have to be selective in which accounts can fit into those specific programs. [00:08:00] But once you have that framework built out, you can use that and then swap out what those.

Leanne: Personalized experiences look like, but all of the content, when you're looking at it from a one to one perspective, all of that content is really specific to the account. And that's where the sales rep comes in. Cause they've got all of that knowledge that you can get so much from the data that you've got in your in your tools that you're using, but they've got that relationship element, which isn't always captured in a CRM tool.

Leanne: They can give you a little bit more information about, you know, that account. And so you would use that to. Create content that's really specific to them. And then there's other ways where we automate some of that as well. So we're able to leverage other technologies within our tech stack to automate that.

Leanne: And we can do that through demand base. We can say if an account hits this criteria, typically that's based on the engagement of that account. They're showing intent for one of our products or one of our competitors. It's high intent and it's a target account.[00:09:00] And even we might bring in certain persona levels and job levels within that criteria as well then generate this action.

Leanne: So that action could be add them to this ad campaign to this campaign through your marketing automation system to a sales tool like a sales loft or an outreach or send them a direct mail. So that's great when we can start to automate that and help to drive like more engagement. And get that kind of higher volume out that works in that way.

Leanne: So we use that automation to help. And

Harry: are you finding that is making things more successful at the lower tier accounts or at the higher tier accounts really like where the success is being

Leanne: found? The one to one in terms of the higher outreach We tend to see like higher average order values there, but the sales cycles tend to be longer because they're generally bigger accounts.

Leanne: So the velocity is not as fast as other deals that are in lower account [00:10:00] tiers. So that's what we typically see. And then we see more. broader engagement across the lower tier accounts because there's more of them.

Harry: And do you notice that the sales and marketing, do they have different preferences?

Harry: So is it the case that the sales team like are loving the numbers game or do they love the kind of the grind of the tier ones and marketing? Do they like doing like generic stuff or do they like that tailored bespoke

Leanne: stuff? Yeah, personally for me, I love doing the more like, Personal outreach. I really like the one to one campaign.

Leanne: So I've done some really fun campaigns where it's really specific to an account and the buying group within that account. So we'll have an ad campaign that's highly personalized for that account. Then we have a personalized landing page where we've curated content that's specific to that account.

Leanne: We've done outreach from our executive team. We've done CMO dinners as well. That's something that we do every quarter. So that I really like working because you can be really creative and you got to go to dinner really [00:11:00] cool. Like you

Jon: get

Leanne: nice dinners. Yeah, but on the kind of digital channel sides, that experience is really cool that you're serving them as well.

Leanne: So I like that. And we also leverage things like web chat tool. So we use a tool called qualified and we can serve up relevant experiences. Now that's great. And actually helping us reach. A lot of our target account lists and taking them and giving them specific offers, whether that's discounted tickets to one of a, you know, an event that we're sponsoring or there's other sort of various offers for what we call a pipeline acceleration report at demand base where that is using our data we can surface these are the top 20 accounts that are in market for your solution right now so we can build that out for prospects and we would you know use that as a sales tool essentially but we would offer that up for target accounts super cool

Jon: the so one thing that stands out from whenever I talk to anyone about sales and marketing alignment is This word relationship, like it becomes being, I'm going to put my techie hat on for a moment.

Jon: Like I [00:12:00] love having things automated where we see it, you know, we target account at the top of the funnel, top of the champagne glass and we see it and we have all these automated actions that kick off that nurture them towards sale. But in reality it does need that. I think you called it ABX meetings where you have that discussion around how you might build a personalized experience.

Jon: You know, what kind of structure have you put around those meetings to to gain better alignment with your sales team?

Leanne: Yeah. So again it could be, you know, I'll typically go and have a look at the data of their target account list and see where I think there needs to be.

Leanne: Typically it's been like an open forum, to be honest, and it's like, this is the challenge that I'm like, actually, I can see we're getting these accounts stuck, but a sales might be actually I want your help doing like this deal is going to come in like this quarter and I need your help try and drive more engagement there.

Leanne: So I always make suggestions, but they're typically [00:13:00] very open forums. Whatever the sales rep needs support on most.

Jon: We, I think we talked in our, you know, some of our previous calls about contracts and commitments. Like what does that look like between

Leanne: marketing and sales? Yeah, so that's the entitlements thing that I mentioned.

Leanne: So that's, that is our contract to sales to say this is everything we're going to deliver this year to drive that engagement. These are all the programs. So we have to be accountable for that as well. So that's definitely our kind of contract bit on the commitment side. One of the goals that I set myself every quarter is having a certain amount of our, certain percentage of our pipeline that's generated that quarter come from a target account.

Leanne: So we typically, my goal typically is like minimum 40%. So I meet with our SDR team every week and we'll have a look at the, what is the pipeline health and how is what is that made up of? Like, where does, are we getting enough target accounts into pipeline? What are some of the things that we need to do?

Leanne: And again, leveraging the insights from demand base. [00:14:00] I'm able to pinpoint these are target accounts that are at this stage. So we look at marketing qualified accounts that for us. Is we have a high conversion rate to pipeline for accounts that are at that stage. So they should be treated as high priority.

Leanne: So we can look at MQA accounts that haven't had sales outreach or sales touch on that account for three weeks or more. So like, let's get that engagement going with those accounts. We can see if there's, you know, accounts that are showing high intent for a competitor or one of our products.

Leanne: So we're always going to share that information weekly on like, this is where to focus your outreach on this week. Thank you. We're hosting a huge conference in a few weeks at London Zoo, our smart event, so using the smart name as well in that we are trying to drive meetings with target accounts.

Leanne: That's another thing like that's what the sales team are focused on right now is like. For the target accounts that are registered, we're trying to push meetings, but also do that personal outreach. We want to make sure that they, A, attend. It's a good reason to call. It's not a cold call. [00:15:00] It's that you've got that warmer engagement there because they've registered to attend our event.

Leanne: Check why they want to attend. Make sure that they're still coming. Gauge their interest, you know, in terms of why they want to attend and offer up a meeting as well. So yeah, anything that kind of fits either. Supporting a marketing program at putting that kind of account lens on it with regards to the target account list or looking at more broadly.

Leanne: Week on week. How can we drive pipeline and make sure that we're getting more target accounts there?

Harry: What are you guys gonna get up to at the zoo?

Leanne: Well, we've got fun half day conference plans And then the fun thing is the attendees get free access to the zoos. They can go in Who doesn't want to go to the zoo?

Leanne: Interact, go and hang out at Penguin Beach at London Zoo. Yeah, but

Harry: then when you ask them like, why do you want to come? They can't be like,

Jon: giraffes. I think it's because dealing with, between marketing and sales, it feels a bit like a zoo. Yeah, exactly that.

Leanne: I love that. So we're using a B2B jungle analogy.

Leanne: So I don't want to give too much away, but [00:16:00] it can be like a jungle at times, right? So we've got these kind of fun examples of where. Animals, there's fun metaphors for animals so I'll share one. Go on. So there's an elephant one, and obviously it's, we're relating it back to Demandbase, so elephants have exceptional memories, right?

Leanne: Yes. Much like a tool like Demandbase has around its target accounts, it remembers everything about them.

Jon: Fine. So there we go. So the, literally Demandbase is the elephant in the room in that case.

Leanne: What? Yeah, I didn't think about it that way. I don't know. That's a good thing. Elephants, I think it's the memory.

Leanne: Yeah, memory.

Jon: Yeah, they never forget. But they are also the elephant. So which... Oh, wait, I

Harry: just want to say. Go on. Are you going to ask about animals? Yeah, I'm going to ask about animals. Okay, good. Because I'm going to ask more about

Jon: animals. So you go. So we're going to, let's pull this through. So which animal would a sales, would the sales team be?

Jon: How would you represent the sales team in an animal? That was an awful

Leanne: question. Oh, that's a good question. Probably like a comedian because they can adapt, you know, they're changing the they can change their kind of personas [00:17:00] to match who they're speaking to. And really drill in and find out information and map to that kind of environment depending on who they're talking to.

Leanne: I think that would be a

Jon: good example. I think it's showing how collaborative you are with sales because I was thinking for some reason a hyena because they just chase everything. Yeah. So I was thinking the marketers

Harry: would be all lead generation, that's meerkat.

Jon: Why? Just because they keep popping up.

Jon: Because they're like, what's going on? Looking out for everything. That might be the ABM. Maybe that's the ABM. That's it. That's what that is. What's happening? What's happening? You, one really interesting point, coming back to how you were creating those target accounts. Yeah. You mentioned being data driven, which I think is the kind of the mountain we're all trying to climb.

Jon: Yeah. We all want to be more data driven. I don't, I've been in B2B marketing specific now for nearly 15 years and the one thing we're all chasing as cheaters is some kind of attribution model. Like if we, if someone could invent the attribution model that could say here is the magic way to tell what's working, I think, you know, they would be millionaires[00:18:00] or more.

Jon: So no, you know, no one's been able to solve that, but one really interesting thing you mentioned was. How you are, how you allocate and tier different funding based on the account, like, what's the science that goes into determining those different funding levels?

Leanne: I mean, there's not a lot of science that kind of goes into it to be honest.

Leanne: It's more about the budget that we have, the team that we have, those kind of resources and what we can, what we're able to deliver with that as well. We probably should be a little bit more scientific about it. But it's as simple as what is the budget? How much we want to allocate? I mean, so an example would be we have an always an approach to advertising.

Leanne: So we use our own platform to do that. Which I think is the right way to do it. For target accounts and some of our ICP accounts. And all account customers as well, and then all accounts that hit pipeline stage. We want to have that coverage from once they're in pipeline to close regardless of the account here to [00:19:00] help try and close that opportunity, but we allocate spend per account.

Leanne: So it's not in an advertising example, it's like the difference might be like 5. So we would spend, you know, an amount and it's typically. Close to best practice is around kind of 40 per account minimum So we'd spend a little bit more than that on tier one accounts Slightly less five dollars less for tier two slightly less for tier three.

Leanne: So it's not huge amount of differences

Jon: Yeah, I think those are what figures you quoting their CPA CPL or see like Cost per

Leanne: click. Yeah, that's what cost per account. Okay. Cost per account to advertise to those accounts. Fine, yeah. So that's how much we're going to allocate per account on each of these campaigns.

Leanne: I think one of the key things as well is the way that we structure those campaigns. So we have a really segmented approach where we we structure our campaigns by account tier, journey stage, which is really key [00:20:00] because that determines the content, like where they are in that stage. And what kind of content you should serve them.

Leanne: And then we also layer on intent. So they're showing any intent for products or competitors. And they also get that kind of messaging as well. So we, we might have, you know, 50 different campaigns running in a quarter across those target account lists. And in some of those campaigns that could be.

Leanne: Sometimes there's one account in there. That's really, that's been really successful as well. So I think that's key. So the tiering determines the spend journey stage determines the content. So that's been really helpful for us. But yeah, it's really about the budget that we're given and how we want to allocate it.

Jon: I think the journey point is really interesting because we know the B2B journey is changing massively at the moment. Have you started to adapt the journey stages based on what you're seeing in the B2B market?

Leanne: So it's mapped to the journey stages of your sales cycles. And that's something that's actually unique to us as a platform as well.

Leanne: We can map to [00:21:00] our customers journey stages. So whatever their kind of journey stages are, they're able to. in that way to get that insight in terms of where those accounts sit. So that's how we've, that's how we use it. But I think the key thing is it's about making that content like really relevant to that journey stage.

Leanne: Everybody can see, you can map your ad campaigns to it, any campaigns that you run through like a marketing automation tool or through a sales loft or an outreach type tool as well.

Jon: Like we, we often see. I would say the transition that we've seen is you, we've gone from lead scoring, which the temptation is to score things based on the effort someone puts into an asset.

Jon: Like, oh, they've read, they've watched a video quick, let's call them when in fact they're not thinking about where they are in the journey. So that, you know, the next kind of iteration of that was mapping. Mapping to where someone is in the journey. When we look at the, where the B2B journey, B2B buyer journey is changing, it is moving much more towards being user led.

Jon: Like, do you have any tips on [00:22:00] stopping sales reaching out to someone too early? Does that still happen? You know, does that still happen even though we know that the journey

Leanne: is... Yeah, so journey, they use journey stages and we call it, instead of, it works like lead scoring, but we call it engagement minutes.

Leanne: And I think that's really key to get an idea of. When is the right time to reach out? So we've actually gone through a process quite recently of automating the follow up from inbound leads. And we've gone through our SDR team have helped us to map out what's a low priority lead, what's high priority lead.

Leanne: Anything that's a target account should not be, get any kind of automated outreach that should be personalised. But for the ones that come in and hit a lower engagement threshold, we can add them to certain, Campaigns and we can automate that through demand base again, and they get the relevant, you know, messaging and the relevant kind of added to the relevant nurture track for them.

Leanne: So I think that's really good to automate because you don't want to eat up your SDRs team following up those kind of lower priority inbound [00:23:00] leads. You really want them focused on the kind of act now stuff that comes in like a demo request, meeting request. Any target account, you know, engagement or leads that come in.

Leanne: So that's definitely helped. And I think it's also helpful that, I mean, our sales team really use that as a data point if it's under a certain engagement minute threshold. It's not, you know, we don't want to reach out to them and it's too high up in the journey. So it's about using those kind of data points together as well.

Leanne: That's the first

Jon: time I've heard, I mean, it feels so obvious now talking about it, like using engagement minutes. So if you studied that there is a particular point when you know someone's tipped over that threshold and it's worth following up. Is there anything you can share with us around what that

Leanne: tipping point is?

Leanne: I mean, the account, it really varies, to be honest. I think it's what we've seen in terms of where automations have worked. That really determines the the sales stage that they're at as well. So we've tested using direct mail. So like a a lower value e [00:24:00] e gift voucher or e gift option to accounts that are at a higher journey stage, a more kind of top of funnel, but it's a target account.

Leanne: We just didn't get any redemptions from it at all. So we're like, well, let's test it. Once they get to like demo stage, they're closer to getting into pipeline or they've had that demo and to help drive that engagement. It sounds obvious when you say it, but it's, you know, work works much better at that at that kind of stage.

Leanne: So we don't use it to entice people to take a meeting with us. Interestingly, that works in the U. S. Doesn't work for this market at all, when we're looking at it across a, an EMEA market perspective. Well,

Jon: the early redemptions work well in the U. S. Yeah,

Leanne: and to offer up a something in exchange for taking a meeting, here it feels a bit...

Jon: It makes me think there's a comedy sketch from a few years back I don't know if you remember this where it was a lot of very rich men stood around trying to call people to Go we've got all these yachts, and we just can't give them away [00:25:00] And it just makes us think I think we have this problem not problem, but In Europe, we almost have a compass where we feel we can't accept something.

Jon: Yeah, that's so true. And in the U. S., I'm not going to say they have less of a moral compass,

Leanne: but it is much more... They're more open to being sold to, I think, is what it is. Definitely, there's just more of like a sales culture. My

Jon: colleagues absolutely hate going for dinner with me in the U. S. because I have this habit of asking for the recommendation from the waiter.

Jon: In the U. K., most people wouldn't have tasted the menu. In the U. S., they're... They go into this like whole theater piece about how we flew this over on the wings of a dove and this was, and you're like, and you know, at the end of it, you're like, yeah, I think I'll have that. Thanks very much.

Jon: But you just don't see that in the UK. I think I also. I mean, I've got loads of stories in the U. S. where we get sold to, like, it is dangerous going into a shop unprepared and not knowing how to back them off. And I can imagine from a B2B perspective that mirrors, the culture mirrors across quite

Leanne: definitely.

Leanne: Yeah, I definitely, we've definitely seen that. Do you

Jon: think we're, this is a [00:26:00] theory that I've always had. Do you think being from the UK or being from Europe, let's say, and you're of course the EMEA Marketing Director do you think we are better prepared for the rest of the world than say your colleagues in the US?

Jon: In what sense? Because we have to deal with that subtlety of marketing because we have to deal with those different cultures, different languages, different ways of expressing things, different, you know, as we just, the example you've just used there, different ways that someone may interact with a campaign.

Jon: Do you think we're better prepared? While in the U. S. it tends to be very, It's just

Leanne: understanding your market and having that experience. Like it's very, it's just very different, isn't it? And the level of bias, I mean, the difference in ABM adoption and that in terms of how companies are using it.

Leanne: In the U. S. Versus like rest of the world, they're probably 18 months to two years ahead. In terms of the strategy and definitely using technology as part of that. I mean, I've been at demand base seven years. I've seen that shift change so much. So there's [00:27:00] definitely higher technology adoption like now.

Leanne: But sometimes I think some of the Ways that we run our ABM programs are more sophisticated. And I think it's because of the nuances of all the different kind of markets, because typically you have a marketer that's responsible for kind of multiple regions. So they have to understand that. And where they don't have that as much like complexity in the US around those kind of, you know, different markets and cultures and languages and all that, all of that kind of stuff as well.

Leanne: So yeah,

Jon: That's why I think it makes us better prepared as marketeers. I've always, it's just something I've always reflected on coming from the UK. Coming from England that I just think because we have to we are more subtle and less in your face But I do think that culture is starting to change.

Jon: Yeah, we are starting to become more up front. Yeah, I'd say

Leanne: it's not always comfortable though. Is it No, it's definitely not such a British thing to be like more reserved. Definitely. So the

Jon: The intriguing thing we're finding, I think the two cultures need to blend a bit more. I think they, [00:28:00] the U S does need to get more subtle and we need to be more upfront when we want to be.

Jon: But bringing it back to ABM for a moment, you know, we haven't that list that you talked about creating, how did you create that target list? Like what's the science behind? Putting

Leanne: that together. So our kind of ethos around it. It's marketing driven, but it's sales owned. So marketing, and this is where our Amazing marketing operations team and sales operations team really come in and help us to understand what is our, what should our idle customer profile be?

Leanne: And that's something that we revisit every year because we want, and we look at what is our existing customer profile made up of. So what are the typical industries that buy our products? What are the revenue ranges, the employee sizes, what technologies are they using where are they based geographically?

Leanne: There's a few different kind of factors that make up what would be a good target account for us. And then we also look at what does that look like from a pipeline perspective. So the ones that aren't yet customers, [00:29:00] are we still seeing that for new business as well? So we review that every year and then we come up with our ICP and then within our ICP we score each criteria.

Leanne: So from a score of like zero to five, so five is being like, that's the best fit for us. So things like the technology that they use, the industries that they're in, where they're based geographically, employee size, revenue, all of those things that I mentioned, they will get a score. And then that score is aggregated at the account level, and that's an overall account score.

Leanne: So ones that accounts that score closest to five. Should be considered to be a target account list. So we would share that so we've gone through that analysis. We've got all of that data. We've got all the ones that are we deem as a good fit that have those good account scores that shared with the account team and then they make the decision on yes, that's a target account.

Leanne: There's going to be others on their radar. Could be a new sales person has joined the team and they've had a really good relationship with these 10 accounts from their previous company and they want to try and [00:30:00] sell to them and they're going to be on their target account list. We won't say no to that because you have to bring in that relationship aspect to it as well.

Leanne: And then we let them pick their target accounts and tear their accounts as well. And then the account tiering, we revisit that every quarter. So we'll make smaller changes if we know that account is either become a customer or they're no longer in market, they've bought a competitive solution or they're, they don't have the budget or whatever that might be.

Leanne: We'll make this kind of smaller changes to it. And then we do a bigger refresh every six months. So we feel this is a good six months is a reasonable amount of time to try and drive that engagement. If we're not seeing any engagement, that account has been, you know, stuck at the funnel. Let's move them off the target account list and refresh that with some new accounts.

Leanne: So,

Jon: so you're taking, there's a scientific approach with the scoring. And you've still taken a little bit of a human approach with, if there's a particular, if a salesperson has got a relationship that they can utilize to get a deeper. Yeah, well, to get a call really [00:31:00] feels a bit like how we should probably do dating Harry.

Harry: Yeah, right. Let's be for yourself, man I'm on I'm sticking with my tier threes for now

Leanne: And I think that having that approach to like the target account list it's it really helps with that alignment piece because ultimately we're not going to mark to sales and saying This is your target account list.

Leanne: We're giving them that, you know, we're working together to come up with that. And we're giving them some helpful suggestions and it's all kind of data driven.

Jon: We can't do a, we can't talk about automation without using the two letters that I'm sure we're all sick of talking about now, which is artificial intelligence.

Jon: Like how are you starting to see AI come into These kind of processes. Like, are you utilizing it with your sales and marketing alignment? What's worked well? What hasn't? Because we're seeing a lot of talk about artificial intelligence, but actually not that many people are using it day to day.

Jon: Have you started to see it coming to your

Leanne: day to day? So, we do. And there's an, I want to share an example that I actually heard on a [00:32:00] roundtable talking specifically about the use of AI for B2B marketing. There was one company, I'm going to forget the name. But there was a chat based in the Netherlands where they had replaced their entire SDR function.

Leanne: With an A. I. Tool. Okay. They're using. They had integration with GPT. I can feel a

Jon: lot of SDRs quaking their boots.

Leanne: Yeah. And they had built their own model so that it automated all of the responses to any kind of inbound leads that they had. And they were able to respond in multiple languages as well.

Leanne: So really sophisticated. I, my kind of questions when I heard about it was like, what is your type of business? So it was more Smaller deal values, highly transactional. I think for that kind of business that kind of approach could work where you are, you know, you're dealing with these larger kind of accounts, more complex B to B sales cycles tend to be longer and more complex.

Leanne: I don't think that approach works. So and [00:33:00] ABM, we've talked a lot about personalization. You can't be personalized when you're pulling in all of that kind of other information about those accounts. In using a kind of bot essentially. So I think it can work in that highly transactional type business, but where you're dealing with multiple multi kind of Complex accounts.

Leanne: I don't think it works. Yeah,

Jon: I would be inclined to agree with you. Like the quote that our head of copy loves to use here is, I didn't have time to write you a short letter, so I wrote you a long one. And chat GPT has a habit of writing long, long winded pieces of content. So even if you use it to write an email, it tends to be fairly obvious it's been written by AI now.

Jon: Now that it's been around for six months or more. So it is. I think it has its place in maybe helping to write, you know, unblock let's say remove the creative block that you might want from writing something like that, but certainly automating your [00:34:00] entire SDR team. I would, I think it's a horrible idea.

Jon: Yeah,

Leanne: I don't, I'm, I was quite horrified when

Jon: I, and he was saying, but was he, was this particular individual at the round table saying they've had success with that?

Leanne: Yeah. And he was like, it's been amazing. And they actually had higher pipeline. From it as well. So, but I don't know how much of that is offset from not having the overheads of an SDR function as well about going into not knowing his business.

Leanne: I think for us using it, I've definitely used it in ways of trying to be more efficient with it's more like suggest a kind of copy that helped me. Right. An email or come up with some subject lines and you use little bits of it because like you say, you know, it's not always going to be in your language and your tone that you would use, but it might come up some really cool subject lines that you can test.

Leanne: And it's just a quick way of you being like, Oh, I've got this framework for something. Okay. I like that, but I'm going to take that bit out. I'm going to add this bit in so it can be really quick for getting copywriting done, depending on what you're using it for as well. Yeah, I think it can be really [00:35:00] helpful.

Leanne: One of our SDR team actually uses AI a lot. He uses a lot of different tools. He's going to share that at the smart event. Actually, he'll be on stage. Talking about ones that he uses to help with sales development. So there's sort of eight different ones that he has it has in his arsenal.

Leanne: Essentially that are free. I believe that he uses. Actually, one might be a paid one. But he's using that to help, you know, automate some of that. Some of the outreach as well. Yeah, I

Jon: agree. Like helping to rewrite copy or come like remove any creative block that you might have. It can be really helpful.

Jon: I've heard the best way I've heard of summarizing a lot of tools today. It's not like having one Einstein, it's like having a thousand interns. You know, you're gonna, you're gonna get a broad set of examples that you can pull from, but they're not gonna be, not gonna be perfect. Yeah. You're gonna certainly miss a lot of the knowledge that,

Leanne: that we have.

Leanne: But I think in that instance of where he's using those tools. It's really to help automate some of those, like the live lower priority stuff that I mentioned earlier. It's really like where I can automate things, let's [00:36:00] leverage the technology, which can be great to help you be more efficient. So it frees up that time to spend more on like, I want to put something highly personalized together for a tier one account.

Leanne: So it's giving them more time back to do those kind of tasks.

Harry: And for everyone else, it'd be like, take them to the zoo.

Jon: The so let's start with, because we've covered so much in today's podcast. Like if there were, you know, let's say you were to start your career again in a B2B technology marketing, like what would be the initial steps you would take?

Jon: When, you know, as a marketeer.

Leanne: Yeah, I always think about this kind of, you know, I've been at Demandbase for seven years. So I think what would that kind of going into that kind of next role look like? And for me, it would be, ABM would be like, that's a non negotiable for me. So I would say having that, having an ABM approach to what you're doing as well.

Leanne: Definitely there's still a place for like demand gen. And I think when we think about it from a budget [00:37:00] standpoint. Roughly, like 60 percent of your budget would be demand gen, 40 percent should be ABM could be different depending on the ABM maturity of some organizations that might be the other way around.

Leanne: But I think having that ABM approach definitely because ultimately it's about focusing your time, your resources on those accounts that you can actually sell to the ones that are in market that are showing the, those in market buying signals. And really focusing your effort on trying to like drive engagement, ultimately get pipeline from those accounts.

Leanne: . And then sharing all of that insight with your sales team is the other key thing that, that alignment piece is so key, like the key to any successful A B M strategy is working as that team, having that alignment, sharing, all of that great insight so that they're able to use that in their outreach to those accounts as

Jon: well.

Jon: I've got two very controversial questions based on that. So the, when it, when someone first explained when would we say abms. began

Leanne: as a term? I think it was [00:38:00] 2004. Okay. Coined by what was formerly ITSMA at the time. Yes, of course.

Jon: Yes. Yes. Nearly 20 years. It feels younger than that when I look back at it now, but you're probably right.

Leanne: It's probably just, we've all spent a long time. I've seen an official stat flying around somewhere. 2004 sticks out.

Jon: But this is the controversial question. Like ABM. For me, it just feels like good marketing. Yeah. Like you should have a target account list. You should know what your ideal customer profile is.

Jon: You should be targeting them. You should be personalizing your copy. You shouldn't be going out with a board message. Like, should everyone be doing more ABM and less other stuff? Or should the other stuff look more like ABM? Like, what's the answer? Well, I

Leanne: think again, going back to one of the earlier points I mentioned, like at the beginning of the podcast is ABM is proven to be one of the most or the most successful channel outperform so many other channels and shows the highest amount of ROI.

Leanne: So why wouldn't you spend more time doing that? And it sounds really obvious when you say [00:39:00] it, doesn't it? Like, why wouldn't you be more personalized and only target the accounts in? It also depends on how your how your business is set up, what you're measured on as well. If you're really leads focused and.

Leanne: Bus, more businesses are moving away from that and moving more into these kind of a b M models. , of

Jon: seen Ian. And like, what does an a B M model look like in, in your example?

Leanne: So being more focused on. less focus on leads and it's more accounts. And like, actually, again the the champagne glass and the margarita glass analogy don't think about your pipeline, not that margarita glass.

Leanne: Think about it as a champagne glass. I think we've been conditioned and measured for so long on like fill the top of the funnel with all of these leads. And historically, Marketing have done that. And then it's like, Oh, we've got the lead jobs done, our jobs done. We hand it over to sales. It's like that kind of baton pass where it's not like a relay race anymore, right?

Leanne: It's you're working together as that kind of team, you're all rowing in like the same direction. So it's [00:40:00] around. Yeah, we want to get those leads into the into the pipeline for you. But we want to make sure that the pipelines made up of like really good quality. Okay. So making yourself accountable to like having those goals of what that would be, you know, what should the engagement from the target account list look like?

Leanne: So when you're building out your campaigns, a simple goal might be, right, I want to get X percentage of target accounts on my website within the first 30 days of launching this campaign. That's a good starting point. Then as they get further down, they progress to the next forward journey stage.

Leanne: It's around getting them into pipeline and trying to increase that velocity as well. Those would be. Some of the key kind of metrics that I would use yeah, those are the

Jon: key kind of things. So my second controversial question there is with sales marketing alignment, is it just about inviting yourself to the sales meetings?

Jon: Like, is that, was that a challenge you had to go through or were they already quite, were those? I'm,

Leanne: yeah, I mean I'm in a unique position in where we're using our own technology. We're like customer zero for our own [00:41:00] platform. So. They have to be on board with using, we're selling ABM technology, right? So you have to be on board with an ABM way of thinking we're using our own technology.

Leanne: So, I'm spoiled in that way, but definitely there's still, obviously there are new sales, people that have joined the team that haven't done ABM at all or not in the way that we do at demand base. So I'm really understanding the data. And so there's that education to go through of what. This is what our ABM strategy looks like.

Leanne: And that's evolved, you know, that continues to evolve. It's not like a one and done thing, continue to make improvements to it and test things that work, you know, some things that work, some things that don't. So yeah, definitely having those getting into those sales meetings or creating those meetings of like, aside from those one to one ABM stand ups, I have a monthly one for our new business team on like, these are programs to generate pipeline.

Leanne: For your kind of target accounts, plus the kind of tier four accounts as well. So I think it is making sure that you're [00:42:00] sharing all of that information with them and all of the insights that they're getting, but communicating like what that strategy is and getting there a buy in from the off.

Leanne: And there's always. People that would be resistant and not bought into ABM either they don't fully understand it. There needs to be some more educational. They've done it at another company. It doesn't work. Or you have ones that have that lone wolf mentality. It was one of the animal examples that you shared earlier where they're I can't remember the animal now.

Leanne: Hyena. Hyena. Thank you. Yes. It's like the hyena, right? So my advice to customers that are in that situation is like you're always going to have one that's a little bit more Marketing friendly, right? It's going to be somebody that's more willing to test out things that you have a better relationship, use that person as a case study, test out some ABM campaigns to their accounts, prove that the model works, get them to be your kind of advocate and help you sell that internally and you know, salespeople naturally very competitive as soon as they can start to see, well, this person's getting more attention, they're getting more budget, they're getting [00:43:00] these great results from their Yeah.

Leanne: Accounts like I want in on that as well. That's naturally, you know, going to happen and seeing their kind of peer advocating for it as well. Definitely help.

Jon: That's so you need to be less like lone wolves, but I love loving the animal analogies today. It's been very strong. Leanne, it's been fantastic to have you on the pod on the tech marketing podcast myself and Harry.

Jon: Thank you so much for joining us. Like if anyone wants to learn more about why they should be drinking more champagne and less martinis, where can they find out more? Well,

Leanne: we've got a ton of resources on our website. It's a demand based dot com. Or if you're based in the UK, we've got our London Zoo event.

Leanne: So come along on the 27th of September. That's our SMART event at London Zoo. And

Jon: if you want to hear about how much of a jungle the B2B marketing is, B2B marketing and sales is learn more about it there. But no, thank you very much for joining us. Thanks so much.

Leanne: Thanks for having me.

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