Top 6 Things I Learned from #FlipMyFunnel
I attended #FlipMyFunnel in Atlanta last week. It was a great conference focused on all things Account Based Marketing, hosted by Terminus. The event kicked off with a black-tie awards dinner called the ABMies. The energy and passion around celebrating these successful marketers reminded me of the time we started the Marketing awards (Markies) at Eloqua. The next day were the keynotes and sessions, and there were over 300 marketing and sales professionals in attendance.
Here are the top six things I learned from #FlipMyFunnel
6. Atlanta’s tech scene is booming
I hadn’t been to Atlanta in 8 years, and wow has it changed. When we arrived we went to the Atlanta Tech Village to visit Salesloft (modern sales engagement platform), one of the hottest startups around, and we couldn’t believe how big the tech scene has become. The Atlanta Tech Village was founded by David Cummings (Pardot), and there are 161 startups that reside in the co-working space. This level of “tech-density” is what every startup ecosystem needs to grow, and I am looking forward to being part of the “Toronto Tech Village” that OneEleven is opening up in January.
5. Don’t Be a Hero, Make Your Customer a Hero
Source: Sangram Vajre, #FlipMyFunnel
Sangram Vajre, CMO and co-founder of Terminus, kicked things off with a great keynote about the mega-trends that will shape the future of marketing. Of course ABM was one of them, because technology has enabled marketers to deliver a hyper-personalized experience at scale. And as Gartner says if the “average company has 5-12 people involved in every decision making process,” you better be thinking about an account based approach to selling your solution. But it was mega-trend #2 that really stood out for me, as Sangram shifted the discussion to customer advocacy as one of the best ways to grow your business (i.e. Flipping Your Funnel). “Don’t be the hero, make your customer the hero.” I couldn’t agree more, a focus on customer success will separate the winners from the losers in every category.
4. ABM Needs Sales to be Successful
Source: Julia Stead, #FlipMyFunnel
With all the talk about why ABM, it was nice to see Julia Stead up on stage talking about how to do ABM, as she detailed her ABM journey at Invoca. She broke down the 4 key steps in her rollout of ABM, and what process and tools she used to do them. It was enlightening to see a real-life example, and hear both the wins and challenges she faced. One key point was that you cannot be successful if you don’t align sales with your ABM strategy:
“Does the sales team have capacity, and are they structured the right way?”
3. Sales Development is a Tough, Tough Job
Later in the day I attended a Panel on how ABM can help sales development win. The panel had Chuck Jones, Director SD at Salesloft, Morgan J Ingram, SDR Team Lead at Terminus, Phill Keene, Manager Demand Generation at Octiv, and Josh Schwartz, Director of Sales at BizLibrary.
Chuck Jones started things off, talking about how the role of SDRs has had to evolve, because
“You can’t just put 100 leads into step 1 and hope to get 2 meetings, you need to be more targeted.”
I know we are seeing more dedicated outbound SDR teams being formed in smaller businesses.
Phill Keene continued the quality over quantity theme, but emphasized the need for outreach to have purpose:
“Really good SDRs use content to get their buyers thinking, to open up the opportunity for a dialogue.”
But the one thing I heard from every panelist, was how tough it is to be a SDR. No one wants to meet with you, answer your emails, pick up your phone calls. Yet you are tasked with building the first relationship with your future customers. Josh Schwartz had this advice for the next generation of SDRs:
“Take a CEO mentality when you start as a SDR, immerse yourself in everything and you will advance.”
2. The Future of ABM Must Include Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Source: MIT Technology Review
Over the course of the day, I spoke with lots of attendees, and visited some of the sponsor booths. There are lots of smart people using technology to enable an account based model. But as marketers use solutions like Terminus to scale ABM to hundreds or thousands of targeted accounts, how can the sales organization keep up? Technology cannot replace building trust with buyers, that requires a human-to-human interaction. AI is the perfect solution for becoming your virtual sales research assistant.
AI can research the insights on your accounts, understand when buying opportunities arise, and map the relationships you have that gives you access to decision makers. Salesforce.com reports that 33% of all salespeople say research is their no. 1 non-selling activity. For ABM to be successful we need to give that time back to sales, so they can do what they do best, build trusted relationships.
1. Your Network is Your Net Worth
From left to right: Koka Sexton, Amy Sturgill, Steve Woods, Anand Thaker, Patrice Greene, Kyle Porter, Me, Eric Spett
To cap it all off, Nudge hosted a dinner with the some of the brightest founders in marketing and sales tech. Although we originally banned “work talk” it was impossible to not dive in on where the ABM market is going, and how each company has set a vision to be part of it. Account based marketing, email marketing, social selling, modern sales, services, product, each of us had a slightly different angle on where the market was heading. However it was evident that working together as founders, helping each other when we can, was key to our success.
After a few more glasses of wine, the discussion shifted to family, friends, sleep habits (from 5 hrs avg. to 8 or 9 per night) and what drives us to live this crazy startup life. It became clear that while building a business is tremendously rewarding, it is the people you meet and the relationships you build that make you want to do it all over again.