It was incredible to host one of the breakout sessions this year at Gartner Sales & Marketing Conference in Las Vegas. The premise of the session was that ABM is incomplete without predictive and AI capabilities. While most companies are just starting their ABM journey, Olivier Thierry, CMO of Quorum Software has become a master. So, it was fitting to have him lead our discussion and share how he’s bringing his vision of ABM-at-scale to life at Quorum.
Since AI was in the title of the session, participants were eager to dive into the bits and bytes. However, Olivier’s advice was to think about AI more like Augmented Intelligence, Augmented Understanding, Augmented Discovery, and Augmented Targeting. As Olivier put in, “I believe a platform that has AI at the core is a much better approach, but I’m not overly concerned with the models and algorithms, it’s the results that matter.”
And Quorum is seeing results. Moving away from a “spray and pray” approach to a much more targeted and personal approach, has led to a YoY 40% increase in opportunities, allowing Quorum to reach their annual pipeline goal in less than 9 months.
Olivier credited the success to a few things:
Rather than waste time on “picking accounts,” Olivier started by uncovering what we at 6sense call “the dark funnel.” These are the accounts that are anonymously coming to Quorum’s website, or actively researching their products and/or services on third party sites. After all, we know 70+% of the sales cycle is done via digital research before you even speak with a prospect. Every participant was nodding their heads agreeing with this as a major pain-point they all face.
Quorum put their ABM platform to work right away. As a CMO with no inclination to hire IT resources, it is important to Quorum marketing that all of the tools in the stack be SaaS and open to multiple integration points. Deployment and integration needs to be straight forward. Olivier said that deployment of 6sense during the evaluation phase consisted of dropping a small tag on their website in order to demonstrate the discovery of “dark” accounts and their activities along with the ability to perform some initial behavioral segmentation. Once the purchase decision was made, no other installation was required and the ABM platform was readily available for use in order to target the right marketing touches, with the right message, at the right time. From ads, to personalized videos, to driving traffic to a trade show booth, Quorum was rapidly able to make their marketing dollars and efforts yield far better results.
Shifting Quorum’s focus to an account, not a person. Gartner cited that, based on their research, 9.6 people participate in a typical B2B buying decision. This is up from last year and will likely grow next year. The buying committee, or what Olivier calls the “demand unit,” is the critical point of focus. Olivier’s team has invested the time to really understand each of the personas that make up an individual product’s demand unit. Once personas and demand units are built, technology can be utilized to enrich account data on each persona, determine which personas are engaged and not engaged, and then determine the next best content stream and medium that drives augmented engagement and conversions. In fact, Olivier plans to abandon the traditional “lead” measurement during 2019 in favor of 6sense’s 6QL approach or MQLAs (where A is for account) – which is all about scoring an account, not a lead.
A well-orchestrated and careful roll out to sales. Salespeople are, of course, a critical part of the equation, but are unlikely to spend time digging for information. The shift to an ABM strategy needs to be clear, concise, and accurate, or Sales is unlikely to adopt. Olivier is in the process of delivering accounts to Sales that are “in-market” with the right level of detail on the personas who are engaged, along with suggested next steps for Sales reps, making it easy for them to quickly engage on the account and drive revenue results. He is doing this with selected products and a portion of the sales team in order to gauge success before a broader rollout.
At this point in the session, participants were excited but were questioning if this might all sound too good to be true. Surely, something like this must have taken Quorum forever to set up and cost a fortune in piecing together different technologies to make it all work.
Fortunately for all of the session participants – and all B2B Sales and Marketing professionals out there – Olivier put that notion aside. In fact, not only did it not take forever to set up, Quorum was actually able to start uncovering their “dark funnel” within 48 hours, and in just a few weeks had established targeted segments for accounts and personas that were generating results.
From a technology perspective, the combination of 6sense, Tealium, Uberflip, Pardot and Salesforce for CRM and email automation, Quorum has been able to execute a range of use cases from a simple ad targeting campaign to a highly complex multiple touch build-up and follow-up for a big trade show. Olivier is even going to begin leveraging this strategy for creative use cases like influencer marketing and partner engagement. Using Quorum’s 6Sense enabled Martech stack, Olivier and his team have been able to augment their targeting, identification and engagement with existing and newly found accounts, and drive significant value to Quorum’s business.
I can guarantee that 80% of you have at least one AI-powered gadget in your household. The concept of artificial intelligence transcends new boundaries each year; with the overwhelming number of intelligence-powered tools and gadgets, from speakers to software solutions, why not AI-powered ABM? AI + ABM… A match made in sales and marketing heaven.
In order to understand what it means to have your ABM powered by AI, let’s take it back a few steps. AI – artificial intelligence – meets ABM – account-based marketing. AI involves mimicking the cognitive functions of the human mind, and account-based marketing – in a nutshell – is a hyper-targeted B2B marketing strategy that focuses sales and marketing efforts on target accounts rather than leads.
An intelligent ABM solution would require big data analytics, constantly analyzing and extrapolating meaningful insight and using it to enhance your team’s personalized outreach and sales & marketing tactics. Even in the largest of corporations, the manpower for this type of ‘always on’ monitoring is just not feasible.
Here’s an idea: Merge AI with ABM, and create an ABM solution your sales team will love.
We Feel Your Pain
We already know what your sales team is struggling with, and that’s finding predictable marketing generating pipeline that closes, rather than just more leads. They want marketing aligned to sales. They want to find buyers when they’re active and in-market, so they can execute the right message through the right channel at the right time.
The first step in tackling ABM is prioritizing your business opportunities by figuring out your TAM. With your target accounts defined, you can then go about strategizing how you will reach them and when. Though account selection is step 1 of successful ABM application, it isn’t complete without predictive. You could be reaching out to all the right accounts at the wrong time. The key is being able to capture the intent across the account — across devices, channels, people and product categories.
Data + Intent + Predictive + ABM
Now you’ve got a bunch of activity happening, and you’re getting excited – the iron’s hot and you want to strike. But wait… It’s not time yet! This is where AI does the work for you. Rather than assuming when the right time is to reach out, predictive analytics and AI possess the ability to turn activity into actionable journey insight. Gathering intent data is only the half of it, the other half is using intelligence to piece together the mass amounts of data, extract meaning out of it and turn it into an action. Driven by recency, frequency, significance and role of user doing activity and runs a comparison to the normal level of activity, 6sense predictive AI gives you a pattern match of where the prospect is in their buyer journey.
This patent-protected AI-powered engine is constantly evaluating the ever-changing intent patterns to predict for company and product-specific buying behavior, packing quite the powerful punch for your sales and marketing teams to go full-speed ahead with their targeted outreach. Knowing exactly where your prospect is in their journey gives your team the ability to properly tailor the right message to the right audience at the right time.
The insights gathered from 6sense drive forth progressive action within sales teams such as executing campaigns and tactics, alerting sales of opportunities, creating targeted content which, in turn, leads to more qualified pipeline, shorter deal duration and more closed deals. When you take this next step and align your marketing with sales, you’ve achieved yet another ABM goal.
With the help of 6sense, sales loves marketing and marketing loves sales. Together they tackle ABM, with the power of AI.
Interested in hearing more about us? Get in touch with a 6sensor today!
Is it our unwavering commitment to delivering the most comprehensive ABM platform out there to B2B marketers? Our promise to provide top-of-the-line ‘always on’ customer service?
Our platform speaks for itself, but that alone doesn’t make someone want to work at a particular fast-paced, SF-based tech start-up over any other.
What excites people the most about joining 6sense is the people. It’s the team that makes you want to join, and here at 6sense, we’ve fortunate to have quite a stellar group of individuals. Solid camaraderie + spending time giving back to our community is our recipe for success.
What is GoodSense?
GoodSense was launched in the fall of 2015, as a partnership between 6sense and San Francisco Community School. SF Community School is located in the Excelsior District and has been committed to representing San Francisco diversity since it was founded in 1972.
Over the past three years, 6sense has participated and volunteered in various community events – “Hour of Code”, “Back to School” set up days, “Open House” and beautification projects. This past year, in particular, one of the main highlights was our support in the school’s Project Open House, an event that takes place in the fall and spring. The school invites families and community members to an evening of their students showcasing and presenting their semester projects, and wraps the night up with sweets and – a personal favorite – root beer floats. This year, the theme for their semester projects was centered around staying prepared for natural disasters – earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, you name it. After the event, the GoodSense team shared their favorite natural disaster facts with the rest of the 6sense team, garnering even more interest among the team for future volunteering opportunities.
Nothing says “well-rounded” more than a team that can put their heads down when it’s crunch time, and also set aside volunteering time for our local schools and community. This year alone, the 6sense team volunteered 72.5 hours in total, and donated $995 worth of resources to the school.
Principal Zaia Vera of San Francisco Community School says,
“The support is so, so helpful! Our teachers work hard getting students ready for [Project Open House], so it’s great to have the volunteers help out. It frees us up with more time to do other things that need to be done. Thank you so much!”
We at 6sense are always happy to lend a helping hand, and have many more GoodSense efforts lined up for the rest of the year. Come join our extraordinary team – we’re hiring!
A few of our team members at various GoodSense events:
The topic of martech consolidation is hot right now, and we know because we’re doing it. It’s no longer about “we’ll stitch this point solution together with that point solution”, customers are done cobbling solutions together. What the people now want is something that synergistically combines these individual pieces and delivers one single, integrated platform.
Our Chief Commercial Officer, Srihari Kumar, sat down with Nick Ezzo, VP of Demand Gen at Sage Intacct, last week for an interactive webinar on this very topic – The Coming Wave of Martech Consolidation. With 17+ years in marketing – and prior to that, 10 years in IT – what better person to chat with about marketing technology than Nick Ezzo? Nick has seen the best (and worst) of both worlds, having been in the game long enough to have developed his own philosophy and methods for evaluating technology vendors. Needless to say, he knew what he was talking about.
Among the many words of wisdom he shared throughout the webinar, he shared his top seven tips to tech purchases:
Always go SaaS. Limit your exposure
Understand the time commitment involved with new tech
Ownership: What happens when a team member leaves?
Ensure your partner is with you for the long haul
Look for mutual wins. How can I help you reach your goals?
Maximize the value, or cut it.
Don’t waste your time with proof of concepts (POCs) unless you have a ton of extra time on your hands.
We would love to go into each and every one of these, but Nick does a better job of it with his personal accounts for each tip — Listen to the webinar recording here.
In his presentation, Nick mentioned the cost of bringing on one single vendor. Multiply that by how many tools you have in your stack, and you’re hit with a reality check. Not only is there hidden financial cost, but also added complexity, time, effort and resources that are compromised each time a new technology is evaluated (see below). Much of what Nick talks about all ties back to doing your due diligence with research beforehand and approaching the relationships as a two-way street – making sure your partner is with you for the long haul.
…And the Ugly
Nick delves into an unfortunate experience with ‘one of his favorite technologies becoming the bane of his existence’ as he mentions his history with Infer. It’s this very experience that brought him to exploring 6sense’s offering during his martech consolidation journey. While an experience like this is nothing short of disheartening, it is the very point that Nick stresses throughout the webinar –
Be careful about the vendors you work with. Although you love them today, they might be a different company tomorrow. Cover your bases.
With 6sense, for example, Nick talks about how he approached the beginning stages of the relationship. He mentioned what brought him to the decision of replacing the individual point solutions in his marketing tech stack with 6sense (more specifically, Terminus for display ads and Infer for scoring and routing). By now, he’s created a process to evaluate vendors that only comes with years of experience as well as trial & error. Nick’s secret sauce is checking references that the vendor both has and hasn’t provided. With this approach, he is able to obtain a more realistic perspective of the technology and unbiased use cases from a range of customers. Layered on top of this insight is his own research, calculations, background knowledge and – another tip – asking the hard questions in the product demos. He suggests getting all the nitty gritty details upfront before committing to signing on the dotted line, because you don’t want to be met with any surprises.
We highly recommend taking the time out to listen to Nick and Srihari’s webinar. Not only is there a great amount of value in each of these tips that Nick shares, but he also had an accompanying story for each one. These stories painted a clear picture for the audience to recognize the pain points of stitching several point solutions together — something they are probably experiencing a version of themselves – and why the move to a consolidated platform is more than just a trending topic, it’s a necessity.
With several point solutions comes several hurdles: juggling contracts, multiple points of contact, pricing structures, technologies that don’t seamlessly integrate with one another… just to name a few. There’s not enough time in the world to evaluate each and every point solution to see if it fits in your martech stack, and there’s not enough people on the team to support each and every tool. As the marketplace of vendors is starting to become more and more overwhelming, the next logical step is consolidation. One platform, end-to-end, to tackle all of your ABM efforts. Eliminate the noise, minimize the complexity, and clean up your technology stack.
If you’re starting to explore consolidating your marketing tech stack or you have no idea how to start, look no further! Get in touch with a 6sensor today.
Imagine a world where your marketing technology stack consisted of one integrated ABM platform, from uncovering in-market accounts all the way to orchestrating multi-channel, multi-persona account plays. In this post, we look at five marketers who have made this dream a reality and presented their approach at the SiriusDecisions Summit last month.
Goodbye, Point Solutions. Hello, Consolidated Platform!
So, what exactly is a consolidated ABM platform? It has all the components of SiriusDecisions’ Demand Waterfall – determine target demand, identify and engage active demand, measure and improve engaged demand, focus and align with sales on prioritized and qualified demand – in one platform.
6sense unveiled this consolidated ABM platform, the 6sense Account Orchestration Platform, in May at SiriusDecisions Summit 2018. Our star customers did an excellent job of telling their stories – their ABM tales – of using 6sense’s consolidated ABM platform.
Lindsay Lyons, Director of Global Brand Content and Kay Somers, Director of Audiences Strategy for NA Commercial Marketing from Dell EMC, spoke about Dell’s success story with 6sense. Dell EMC had been looking for real time insights into their broad-reach initiatives that are typically harder to track. They had overall traffic data, general insight into their target audiences and buying center models; what they wanted was a view of engagement at the account level and this is where 6sense stepped in. Combining their own data and insights with 6sense predictive intent modeling to map buyer stage (snapshot below), they assigned relevant marketing tactics to the different buyer journey stages, allowing Dell EMC to invest in the right accounts and contacts at the right time, with the best message. Dell EMC closed out the presentation with a brief mention about what’s next with 6sense. Hearing our customers’ excitement for what the future holds? Music to our ears!
Sage Intacct’s VP of Demand Generation, Nick Ezzo, delivered a compelling presentation that drew people back to the 6sense booth after, wanting to learn more about us! He broke down the story of Sage Intacct’s ABM planning to ABM activation to support Sage Intacct’s shift in go-to-market strategy. ABM is at the heart of their transition from focusing exclusively on SMB accounts, to also targeting mid-market/strategic accounts. Sage Intacct built an ABM flow (snapshot below) by first identifying the right target accounts and then executing the campaign most appropriate for each account. In following this flow, Nick expressed the importance of not skimping on the data. Measuring is key when it comes to ABM, and Sage Intacct’s ABM reporting included details about their target account penetration, account engagement and opportunity progression. Seeing the enthusiasm in our customers inspires us to continue to better our product, so needless to say we’re eager to further strengthen our relationship with Sage Intacct!
Hanne Venables, Director of Marketing Operations of Xactly, also told an interesting story at Summit. Xactly was in the process of re-examining their go-to-market strategy; their evaluation involved determining if they were in fact going after the right verticals, selling to the right personas, and targeting the right accounts. This involved a deep dive into their CRM to first determine what data they have and don’t have. Then, as Hanne described their process, “prioritize, prioritize, prioritize,” referring to focusing campaigns and outreach on the right accounts and contacts, at the right time. They reached out to 6sense’s ZenIQ to help them with their ABM harmony. Xactly was able to succeed in account scoring, data enriching, expanding their target list, creating new content by persona and vertical, and building campaigns that delivered marketing generated pipeline (as shown below).
With their enhanced, hyper-targeted approach, they are excited to continue expanding their use of 6sense’s platform for additional capabilities. There’s no stopping them now!
Special congratulations to Centrify – another star customer of 6sense – for winning the Program of the Year Award this year at SiriusDecisions Summit. Rhonda Shantz, CMO of Centrify, presented about Centrify’s notable success and referenced 6sense as a contributing factor, empowering her sales and marketing teams with valuable insights which resulted in a 5x increase in engagement!
She then elaborated on how her team was using 6sense to really delve deep into their in-market accounts and their triggers in order to personalize their interactions; this resulted in a 6x increase in engagement with in-market accounts. A win for Centrify is a win for 6sense!
Consolidation is the logical next step in the marketing stack. In the coming months, we will bring you many more success stories of how marketers are crushing their pipeline goals with 6sense’s consolidated ABM platform. As one CMO put it nicely, “I was waiting for someone to do this and I am so glad to see 6sense blazing the trail in creating a consolidated ABM platform”.