3 Trends in Marketing Technology

Earlier today I had a chance to talk at the Geek Out on Marketing Technology event and one of the topics was MarTech trends. With 4,000+ marketing technology companies, there are a number of excellent trends in the market.

Here are three trends discussed:

  1. Machine Learning – Take large amounts of data and find patterns and actionable insights that just weren’t possible before. Machine learning is the ability for computers to learn without being explicitly programmed. Think of all the applications in marketing from improving campaigns to targeting the best-fit accounts.
  2. Account-Based Marketing – Target named accounts with the right message at the right time. With account-based marketing, marketers are able to proactively engage with accounts that haven’t come through the traditional channels.
  3. Customer Data Platforms – Marketing is more than campaigns to attract prospects. Marketers are now expected to help guide the entire customer experience from first touch to signing as a customer to renewing at a future date. Customer data platforms pull in data from all the customer facing functions — sales, marketing, support, customer success, etc. — and provide a holistic view of the account as well as next actions to take.

It’s a great time to be in marketing technology and look for these three trends to grow in importance over the coming years.

What else? What are some more trends in marketing technology?

The Sales Play of the Day

Kyle Porter of SalesLoft tweeted his favorite sales play from today’s TOPO Summit. Sales plays are a repeatable process designed to acquire customers and turn them into advocates. Let’s look at the sales play of the day:

  1. Create specific content from lessons learned in the disco call.
  2. Conduct live (mid-sales cycle) value add workshops with multiple stakeholders.
  3. Reiterate objections and challenges in the sales presentation deck
  4. Customize the demo to their key challenges so they can see themselves in the product
  5. Create customized close plan to help deals close on time
  6. Memorable late stage marketing plays keep buyers from going dark (send them a pound of bacon!)
  7. Say “thank you” and thank your high value accounts after they sign with you

Entrepreneurs would do well to think through their sales plays and work towards an effective, repeatable process.

What else? What are some elements of your favorite sales plays?

Build Sales Capacity in Advance

Nakul Mandan has an excellent tweetstorm on the importance of building sales capacity in advance of growth. The idea is that startups get caught up in the here and now and don’t start hiring and training AEs, SDRs, and SEs soon enough for the long term goals.

The solution: plan 24 months in advance. Figure out the sales metrics and model the sales rep ramp.

When the startup is scaling fast, build sales capacity in advance.

The Four Recurring Activities to Build a Powerful Marketing Engine

Earlier today I was talking to a successful entrepreneur that has built an excellent company in only a few short years. Intrigued, I asked a simple question: how’d you do it? His response: we built community around our target audience. That sounds straightforward; I wanted details. Here are the four recurring activities to build a powerful marketing engine:

  1. Two Quality Blog Posts Per Week – Inbound marketing works well when done consistently with great content. Want to see an example of great content? Check out Hitenism.com.
  2. One Quality Webinar Per Week – Webinars work wonders. At Pardot, we ran a new one every week and they were super successful. Make great slides, get a guest speaker, and run a weekly webinar.
  3. One Quality Email Newsletter Per Week – Build a list of opt-in subscribers. Find people that care about quality content and send a weekly newsletter. Need an example? HubSpot has over 300,000 subscribers to their newsletter.
  4. One In-Person Event Per Month – People connect with people first, companies second. Run in-person events locally at first and then in major cities around the country. Build a tribe. Find the 1,000 true fans.

These four activities are hard to do well. After achieving product/market fit, this approach is excellent to build a repeatable customer acquisition process.

What else? What are some more thoughts on these four recurring activities to build a powerful marketing engine?

Example Account-Based Sales and Marketing Program

Terminus put on an excellent FlipMyFunnel class today. One element of the event was walking through an account-based sales and marketing program. Let’s take a look at their example:

Marketing Touch Points

  • Pre-cadence: Terminus Ads
  • During cadence: LinkedIn and Facebook retargeting to known contacts
  • After 1st 8 days: Direct mail to unresponsive accounts

Sales Touch Points

  • Day 1: Personalized video email (via Vidyard integration in SalesLoft)
  • Day 2: Email
  • Day 4: LinkedIn (Attempt to connect)
  • Day 6: InMail
  • Day 7: Video email (From different team member)
  • Day 8: Call, no VM
  • Day 8: Direct mail
  • Day 13: Call, LVM about the package
  • Day 13: Email about the package
  • Day 15: Video email
  • Day 16: Call, no VM
  • Day 20: Breakup video email

Most companies focus on making a certain number of calls and emails per day that ends up being broad and shallow. Modern customer acquisition teams run detailed outbound account-based sales and marketing program against their best-fit accounts using account-based intelligence.

Thanks to Terminus and the FlipMyFunnel team for putting on the event and sharing the excellent ideas.

What else? What are some more components of an effective account-based sales and marketing program?

Customer Acquisition As the #1 Challenge

As the cost to build an app has gone down over the last 10 years due to open source and cloud computing, the number of apps as grown. Now, there are dozens of apps that do the same thing in every category imaginable. The result: customer acquisition is the number one challenge with so much noise in the market. And, it’s only going to get more challenging.

Here are four things to work on to build a customer acquisition machine:

  1. Community – Work towards 1,000 true fans. Start small. Find the first 10 that care. Then the first 100. Nurture the community and grow it over time.
  2. Content – Write original content. Make a statement. Have a strong opinion. Put new ideas out there. Find a rhythm.
  3. Engage – Connect with people. Target best-fit accounts. Run a process. Follow the account-based engagement best practices.
  4. Experiment – Follow the Traction book. Constantly experiment. Try new ideas like micro apps and social selling.

Customer acquisition is the most difficult challenge required for startups to succeed. Invest in it early and build the expertise over time.

What else? What are some more ways to build a customer acquisition machine?

The Science of Enterprise Software Sales

Jyoti Bansal, founder and long-time CEO of AppDynamics (see S-1 IPO notes) that was recently acquired by Cisco for $3.4 billion, has an excellent blog post up titled The Science of Enterprise Software Sales — My Lessons from AppDynamics. Here are a few notes from the post:

  1. Your Path to $100 Million (or $1 Billion) Sales
    • Need to get to $100M of revenue growing fast than 40% a year to get a $1B valuation
    • Calculate the number of customers required for $100M in revenue based on average revenue per customer (e.g. 5,000 customers paying $20K/year)
  2. The Sales Capacity Model
    • Four key variables:
      1. Number of “ramped” sales reps.
      2. Productivity of each rep.
      3. Churn in ramped sales reps.
      4. Time to ramp a newly hired sales rep.
    • Track these variables and build a financial model
  3. The Demand Generation Model
    • Three key variables:
      1. Average deal size
      2. Deal close rate
      3. Average sales cycle
    • Track these variables and build a demand generation model
  4. The Sales Process
    • Three main objectives:
      1. Eliminate opportunities that aren’t well qualified.
      2. Justify the business case for your solution.
      3. Eliminate surprises.
  5. The Growth Constraints
    • Only a few constraints:
      1. Not enough product demand to achieve a higher growth rate
      2. Can’t compete effectively on product/pricings, etc.
      3. Need more cash than investors are willing to spend
      4. Can’t recruit, train, and absorb new people fast enough

Want to learn more? Go read The Science of Enterprise Software Sales — My Lessons from AppDynamics.