Today’s guest has quickly built a reputation as one of the leading minds in B2B marketing. Sangram Vajre is the Co-Founder & CMO of Terminus — a software as a service platform for account-based marketing — and the mastermind behind #FlipMyFunnel. He’s also the author of Account-Based Marketing For Dummies, and was named one of the 2018 top B2B influencers to watch by B2B News Network.Learn how to avoid typical #B2B marketing mistakes with @sangramvajre, author of ACCOUNT-BASED MARKETING FOR DUMMIES. #marketing #accountmanagement Click To Tweet
Sangram brings his ABM expertise to conferences across the nation, including Dreamforce, #FlipMyFunnel conferences, PFL’s Big Sky Big Ideas, and Hypergrowth. Now, he joins this episode to share that knowledge with us. Listen in to hear typical B2B marketing mistakes companies make, where marketers should be focusing their energy, and more.
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On Today’s Episode We’ll Learn:
- How account-based marketing differs from typical B2B marketing.
- The common, time-wasting disconnect between marketers and salespeople.
- What most companies tend to forget when they think about scaling.
- Why the typical funnel model isn’t a good thing for all marketers.
- Who should be involved in every decision-making process.
- What marketers need to be focusing on in addition to branding.
- When direct mail is a good idea.
- What Sangram says is the best measure of success.
- Marketing metrics that are not useful.
Key Resources for Sangram Vajre:
- Connect with Sangram Vajre: Website | LinkedIn | Twitter
- Amazon: Account-Based Marketing For Dummies
- Kindle: Account-Based Marketing For Dummies
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Full Episode Transcript:
Welcome to The Brainfluence Podcast, with Roger Dooley, author, speaker, and educator on neuromarketing and the psychology of persuasion. Every week, we talk with thought leaders that will help you improve your influence with factual evidence and concrete research. Introducing your host, Roger Dooley.
Roger Dooley: Welcome to the Brainfluence Podcast, I’m Roger Dooley. I often take pains to point out the similarities between business to business, and business to consumer marketing. In both of those, the customers are humans. B2B buyers aren’t necessarily a lot more rational in their decision making, at least once a product or service meets the specified criteria. But, there are differences between B2C and B2B marketing. And, this week’s guest is focused on the latter.
Roger Dooley: So, I’ll start with a self-intro. Who are you? And, what do you do?
Sangram Vajre: Thanks for having me on the show. Sangram, here. I am the co-founder and Chief Evangelist at Terminus, which is an account-based marketing platform based here in Atlanta. And, author of the Account-Based Marketing Book published by Wiley. That’s kind of me in a nutshell.
Roger Dooley: Great. Just so the audience can find you if they’re sitting at their keyboard or something, it’s Sangram Vajre. The book is Account-Based Marketing for Dummies. So, speaking of the book, Sangram, it’s one of the Dummies series and I’d add for our audience need, Dummies books aren’t necessarily dummed down. A few years ago I reviewed Neuro-Marketing for Dummies and it was really well researched and well written. And it was probably one of the most thorough books on the topic at the time, if not the most.
Roger Dooley: But, Dummies books do follow specific guidelines and have pretty tight specifications, right?
Sangram Vajre: Absolutely and yeah, I’m so glad you brought that up because every time anybody introduces. “Hey, Account-Based Marketing for Dummies”, I feel like we’re calling the people who might buy the book a dummy. And I think to your point, that’s not really the case. Wiley’s have a smaller imprint where they try to make sure that there are different topics that they’re testing and quite honestly, Dummies brand is really been there for about fifteen, twenty years. So, it allows any new writer to kind of get in and try a new topic and based on how it does, they actually might make, put it part of the bigger Wiley’s brand.
Sangram Vajre: So, I think in my view it’s a good book. And one of the reasons I wrote this book, Roger, is because I felt like there wasn’t anything written on the topic of account-based marketing two years ago. The best way as a marketer, I realized I had two choices. Either one, write an ebook or a set of eBooks and set of blogs and hopefully people will read, remember all those things that we all do anyway or write a book that is published through a very credible source like Wiley so that they won’t throw the book away.
Sangram Vajre: So I still get calls from our future customers, that they would say, “Hey, I have your book. Let’s just talk about this.” To me, that is the best business card of all times.
Roger Dooley: Right. I know I’ve spoken to Steve Genko who’s the author of the Neuro-Marketing Book and one of the things that annoyed him was that he wasn’t allowed to put references in because lots of readers like to dig deeper when they find something that interests them and particularly true if there’s a lot of research cited. Was there anything about the Dummies process that you found annoying or…? I’m a fellow Wiley author, by the way.
Sangram Vajre: You are. No, I know. Well, the Dummies series, to your point, it has a very strict format. But quite honestly, I needed that as a new author and I’m working on another book that’s kind of still in the works. That will be published through a different publishing company, but for the first time, if anybody out there listening right now is thinking that, “Hey man, I wanna write a book,” and maybe it’s in a bucket list or something like that. It is an extremely hard process, quite honestly. If somebody wasn’t behind me telling me what to do, having a timeline on my back saying, “You need to get this thing done,” I think I may have just written the first chapter.
Sangram Vajre: There is all there was to it, but Wiley, because they had a very strict timeline, deadline, and a process to go through it, it literally allowed me to get the book done in the six months timeframe that we agreed to do. To me, I was really thankful for that, even though it was annoying because somebody was on your back. But I think that actually allowed me to get the book done.
Roger Dooley: No, I hear you. Deadlines are great. I’m working on a new book now and I’m working to a September deadline and I, too need that cause otherwise, you tend to spend too much time researching and polishing and, “Oh, I got another idea.” Where if you have a deadline, you know that you’ve got to get specific stuff done, period. So, I think deadlines in just about anything helps. It’s like when the house gets clean once you’re gonna have a party, right? Okay, you actually gotta out-do this stuff.
Sangram Vajre: On that, real quick, when I started the company, Terminus with my two Co-Founders, I was at Pardot, running marketing, we got acquired and I was at sales force for about a couple of years. Then I left to start Terminus and my wife was, “Hey, you wanna start a start-up?” I’m like, “Yeah, do you have funding?” “No.” “Do other Co-Founders know how to build a company?” “No, this is their first time to.” And she’s like, “All right, it’s a new category?” “Yes.” Okay, account-based marketing, nobody heard about it before in 2015. But she did what absolutely any smart partner would do. She said, “Sangram, you have one year. Whatever you need to do you have one year to do it. And in one year, if you don’t show me this thing has legs, you need to go find a real job.”
Sangram Vajre: Roger, I can’t tell you, to me that’s statement was the most impactful statement for me starting the company and getting to a faster route than I think what I would have done, even if I’ve started this company without that.
Roger Dooley: Great. Well, that’s really interesting cause usually accountability might come from partners or people who provide financing and what-not. But there’s some spousal accountability. It’s great. So okay, we’ve said the words account-based marketing probably a couple dozen times already, it seems like. What is it? How does it differ from B2B marketing? It seems like B2B marketers have always treated customers accounts that need to be managed, they have Account Managers and so on. What do you mean or what does the industry mean by account-based marketing these days?
Sangram Vajre: Yeah, I think unfortunately there is a huge disconnect right now between B2B marketing and sales process. So, to your point, B2B sales team has always had Account Executive. Nobody hired, that I know of ever, a Lead-Executive which means people in the sales team knew that they have to focus on the accounts. They’re closing a deal with a company like Coke or GE or whatever and that have multiple people in that company that they’re engaged with.
Sangram Vajre: At the end of the day, they’re closing an account. Very different than a B2C experience. In the process, marketers have, for the last decade and a half since the old traditional phone has been in the world, we have been giving sales people leads, saying, “Hey, somebody downloaded an ebook. Here’s a lead. Somebody attended a webinar, here’s a lead.” But if the lead is not of the right account then you’re wasting your salespeople time. So over a period, what happened was, salespeople started to ignore what marketing is sending because marketers are not talking the language of the sale.
Sangram Vajre: It got worse by the time 2015 arrives, which was when Forrester came out with the research and said, ‘B2B marketers are able to only make sure that only one percent of the leads are turning into customers.’ Which means ninety-nine percent of what marketing is doing in B2B is not driving gravity. So, quite honestly, account-based marketing is just a better way of saying marketers get on the game with your sales team, focus on the account, not just leads, and make sure your engagement, your measurement, your success criteria campaigns are all focused on the accounts that your sales teams care about.
Roger Dooley: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah, I think that problem goes back quite a bit earlier. I remember back in the early eighties, I was a Product Manager for a large steel products company and of course, it was a B2B. As part of a Corporate initiative, we were placing ads in design magazines because the overall Corporate objective was to find new applications for our products. Those, of course, would come from designers and engineers doing design. Now this was pre-internet so readers of these magazines would check off products they wanted on a little postcard in the magazine. They’d circle number 103, if your ad was number 103 and then mail it into the magazine.
Roger Dooley: I’m sure that still goes on today to some degree, but you can imagine what the quality of the leads was because you’d basically get people who were building files and what not, just curious, because they could not look it up on the internet then. So they’d check off probably couple dozen boxes on this and then they’d get stacks of mail every day for the next couple of months. The salespeople, after trying these leads for a little while, pretty much started ignoring them. They didn’t find…
Sangram Vajre: Right.
Roger Dooley: …them useful. But then the company was, or at least some managers were aggravated the salespeople weren’t following up on these valuable leads, so they’d put in systems to be sure salespeople followed up on them. You can imagine what the amount of time wasted was for really no benefit. I don’t know that any one of those ever turned into an actual sale, but there was a whole lot of effort devoted to getting those leads in the door and insuring the salespeople followed up on them. So, huge waste of time.
Sangram Vajre: Absolutely. I think that is, Roger, exactly the crux of this whole point. The fact that Forrester came out with this research in 2015 saying, ‘Less than one percent of the leads are turning customers.’ I think it a big slap on everyone who’s in marketing and including me because I’ve been in that shoe, is that, “Oh my goodness, what am I doing? I need to be shaken up here,” because marketers are getting more and more budget and right now, I think CMOs are having the most budget they ever had compared to the previous processors.
Sangram Vajre: But revenue is not driven by marketing. It’s actually driven by sales in most organizations. So what’s going on? I think account-based marketing really brings it back to a point that hey look, we gotta focus on the accounts and we gotta focus on customer experience. Well we can’t be as marketers only be thinking about brand and not be thinking about imagination and things that drive or move the needle.
Roger Dooley: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yep, so I’m guessing that many of our listeners think of the sales process as a funnel. I know I attend a fair number of Conversion Conferences and about every second slide deck has a picture of a funnel in it with leads coming in. Of course, there the emphasis is on doing a better job of converting these web visitors into actual leads. But where does the funnel model break down? Why is that not necessarily a good thing for everybody?
Sangram Vajre: Oh, man. It’s funny you ask that question. I’m also the Found of Flip My Funnel, so if somebody wants to check it out go to flipmyfunnel.com. It’s a community of B2B marketing and salespeople who believe in challenging the status quo. So I came up with this idea that look, if it has to be a funnel, let’s flip it. And when I flipped it, it really you think about it as a triangle where the stages are Identify, Expansion, Engagement, and Advocacy.
Sangram Vajre: The reason I go into that is because the old funnel doesn’t really work anymore. We all are inundated with so much noise through emails and calls and all the different ways we are getting contacted every day, the old funnel is no longer the way to do it. And that’s where the efficiency is, to your point exactly, Roger. The SAS model and the companies out there today, they’re all focused on squeezing the last dime out of every single one of those activities from top of the funnel to the bottom of the funnel. What if we were thinking about it wrong? What if we didn’t think about the funnel the right way? So, we just flipped the funnel on its head and started, if you are in B2B you should be able to know exactly the companies you want to go after. That’s what Identify means. You should be able to figure out which people in those companies you want to interest, that’s why Expansion phasing exists.
Sangram Vajre: The third on is Engagement which means, people are not just sitting around to pick up the phone. If people are on YouTube or on Linkedin or other channels, we need to engage people on their terms and finally turning them into advocates. So it’s a philosophy, not a product really. So that’s why it’s a community. I think we are definitely challenging the status quo because the funnel, as it existed for number of years, it really didn’t help from a customer experience perspective. Nobody wants to be prospected, everybody wants to be a customer, though.
Roger Dooley: Mm-hmm (affirmative). You know this reminds me of one potential, and I don’t know the company or their strategy, what their strategy was but one of the slides that I often show is a really awful form for sort of a lead-gen application where there’s about thirteen fields with all sorts of qualifying questions and what not. Any conversion expert would look at that and say, “Man, your conversion rates are gonna suck with that. You need to get rid of all those fields.” Just figure out what you really need, you know. The name and the email address, maybe or just one or two key pieces of information.
Roger Dooley: Of course if you do that, wow, the number of leads is gonna go up dramatically. At the same time it could be self-defeating if really what you’re doing is getting a whole lot of leads that aren’t really that motivated. To fill out that original form, you had to really want what ever it was the company was offering, but if all you have to do is stick in your email address to get some kind of a white paper download that you find interesting or whatever it is, you’re gonna greatly increase your lead volume but not necessarily the lead quality.
Sangram Vajre: Absolutely. First of all, I’m so glad you brought that up. The challenge that I think most B2B marketers are facing or most companies are facing is, they all want a scale, they scale with a rapid pace, and typically the board, the CEO, and the finance team is trying to figure out how do we scale? The best way people know how to scale is pull up that Excel spreadsheet and then add zeros to all the numbers and say if we only had ten thousand, if you want to get thousand leads so let’s just get ten thousand leads a month, what would that do to our conversion demand-generation if everything remains the same, that will mean ten million more money or ten million dollars more every quarter. And that’s a great business plan.
Sangram Vajre: That’s what happens when companies try to think about scaling. They just start adding zeros. But what they forget in the process is, that’s not how you can scale, that’s not how the market looks at you. You would be better served and the money would be better spent and you’d probably have a higher margin on your customers if you want to build a very profitable business, is really about focusing on can we optimize the conversion rates from an opportunity to close one? Or if we can observe your customers from a one-product to a two-product or a three-product strategy, that’s what you’re doing.
Sangram Vajre: All those things, at the end of the day the color of money is still green, so marketing focused on purely demand-generation adding those zeros and driving more leads, is definitely not the only way to drive revenue. The revenue could be driven in many more ways that could be extremely profitable for a company. As you talked through that, I started to really relive some of the moments that I had in my previous jobs where all everybody wanted me to do is to drive more leads and I was like how about driving more revenue? Would that be a good thing? Then they’re like yeah, of course that’s the reason we want to do more leads. I’m like no, no, no. Leads does not necessarily equal revenue. Revenue could also be increased by all these different things.
Sangram Vajre: That is the crux of the whole challenge. How do you get everybody bought into this idea of revenue generation as opposed to being marketers as lead generators?
Roger Dooley: Mm-hmm (affirmative). So Sangram, now I’ll use the acronym ABM. Is ABM sort of inextricably tied to technology and is ABM software a distinct category from, say CRM software which when I first became familiar with the concept, I said oh, that’s like CRM, right? Why don’t you explain that?
Sangram Vajre: Absolutely. So ABM is a newer category. You’re absolutely right. For salespeople, CRM has been there salesforce, obviously pioneered that and it’s been a great place for salespeople to log all of their activities. From a marketing perspective, if you think about it for B2B marketers, there really has been no marketing platform, at all. Typically we did a survey where we found out that on an average a B2B marketer uses about twenty tools. Which is crazy to think about. Twenty different tools to log in and out throughout the day, to run webinars, emails, lists, newsletters, and all those different things that landing pages, whatever they are doing all day long, there are about twenty tools that they’re using.
Sangram Vajre: There have not been a true platform for marketers where they could manage it just like salespeople do in CRM. So I think that was a great way to compare. Now I believe that the intremus is one of them where we are trying to truly figure out a way to build a modern marketers platform that will allow marketers to behave in such a way that will allow them to focus on the right kind of customers that their sales teams want.
Sangram Vajre: Because in B2B, you cannot be distinct from sales if you’re in marketing. You have to be in locked step with it. So I think it’s becoming that, it’s definitely a new category like Gacner and Forrester, they’re putting their approach on, this year on a magic quadron then things like that which legitimizes the category. But the best place, probably to go for and do more research, would be companies like G2 Crowd, which allows all the companies in Tech software to publish their own pieces on it and then let the customers of all these different companies chose which company they are aligned with and then you will see a more far bigger array of companies that fit the ABM category right now.
Roger Dooley: Mm-hmm (affirmative). You mentioned sales and marketing working lock step, but also what happens after the sale is important, right, as well. I think that all too often, as sales closes a deal and then pretty much takes a bow and then goes down to hunt the next one. But the post-sale process may be the most important part of all, right?
Sangram Vajre: Absolutely, man. You’re bringing me right to my talk track there, so that’s really cool. Quite honestly, really the point with account-based marketing and the more we distill it down and if everybody wants to take a step back and think okay, what is that thing? Is it really just focusing on the right account? Of course it is. But think about this for a second. When marketers are focused on demand-generation, they’re focused on any and everybody that they may think want to buy from you. Right?
Sangram Vajre: That’s why they’re so spread out right now. But if you think about when an opportunity’s created in the sales process, we already know that that company and the set of people in those companies have raised their hand and said they gonna buy. Are they gonna buy from you or are they gonna buy from your competitor? They’ve already pre-qualified themselves. In that case, marketing should double-down and help give sales team air covered through all the other activities like display advertising or Linkedin or videos or events, whatever it might be.
Sangram Vajre: And even more importantly, to your point, Roger, when the deal is closed, you are at a point where you know everything about, as much as possible about that account. You know why they bought it, you know what their painpoints are, so now when you’re trying to observe them through other products or other add-ons, you should be doing account-based marketing which means every conversation you’re gonna have with them are gonna be very personalized and very relevant.
Sangram Vajre: So I think they value of ABM, why I’m so passionate and excited about it is, it’s not like marketing automation. Marketing automation put marketers in a box of email marketing for lead gen. And account-based marketing elevates marketers to be having a full control or at least influence over the entire customer journey that goes from demand-generation, problem velocity, to observing your customers.
Roger Dooley: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Well stuff like on-boarding, I would guess, is important when you have new customers because you mentioned shern in the book and obviously shern is undesirable. If you sign up customers and then lose them after a few months or after a year even, A) you’ve gotta replace those customers with new customers to keep revenue even constant but also you’ve got, basically, customers who have failed with your product or service and they aren’t necessarily gonna do you any favors. If anybody says, “Hey, what do you think about Terminus?” I don’t know, we tried them for nine months and it didn’t work out. Who all should be involved in that? Marketing should probably be involved, sales, who? What other areas?
Sangram Vajre: I think customer success is a huge part of it. I think at Terminus, for example, Customer Success Team is involved in every decision-making process because they are the ones that have the pulse of the customer. When we think about who’s over IU customer, who are we going after? We don’t just look at it in the future and say well let’s just go after that market. Of course we have to project on some of these things and estimate and think about where a market opportunity is, but also we have to go back and look at our existing customer base and saying who among our customer base and what industries are the most successful of all?
Sangram Vajre: A lot of times, the answer is right there underneath you and you’ve been looking and searching for it all over the world. We have found for ourselves is right now our technology companies and SAS industry in North America and Canada are very, very successful doing ABM. They’re more forward-thinking in the idea of ABM and that will be the first to focus on. Then we saw when manufacturing was in early one coming in, but they were not as successful, so we need to figure out what do we need to do enable more manufacturing customers and industry people to learn about ABM.
Sangram Vajre: All those examples really allows you to see where do I want to focus and how much percentage of my time and money do I need to spend on it? So we made a strategic decision we gonna spend fifty percent of our time on the things that we know and then we’re gonna split out the rest of the fifty percent of the time on the markets that we want to uncover or discover and figure out if there is more pulse there. We know that fifty percent is we know we’re good at, and now we’re experimenting with the other fifty percent, allow you to have the confidence and it also allows you to see what’s predictable in your revenue engine where you might have hiccups in future.
Roger Dooley: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Well, analyzing customer success rates really informs a couple of processes. First of all, if you are successful in a given area, that shows where you really do need to work on leads and sales because chances are new clients that you sign up that are in that category like you mentioned, in your case SAS stuff, would be likely to have a high degree of success and would be profitable customers but also identifies those areas where there may be a need for the product or service, but for whatever reason, it’s not quite right for those markets either. People aren’t being trained properly or the product features aren’t right or something like that.
Sangram Vajre: I think it multiple things Roger, as you and I have chatted so far. People are starting to look at marketing and sales as if they are two different teams. One of the things I’ve realized working at Pardot, at Salesforce, and other start-up and thankfully some iconic brands, I’ve learned that at the end of the day, your customer really doesn’t care. Your customer cares about a really one-team approach which means if they have an issue, they want to look at you, no matter who they are talking to, they gotta feel like they can trust you.
Sangram Vajre: Internally we have this philosophy of one team, which means internally and externally to our customers, we should never say or never think, “Oh let me pass you over to the marketing team” or “Let me just send you over to this team”. No, no. I got you. Let me find an answer for you and come back to you and also bring the right person along with me so that we can see where we wanna go. That level, and I think this is a lesson learned from B2C world, is in B2B we really try, and it’s unfortunate but I’m gonna say it, we try to pass the buck and say that’s not my job.
Sangram Vajre: People will do well if they take that vocabulary out of their whole mindset and really, really focus on this idea of one team. We are here to serve our customers and future customers and we have to be one team every day in order to serve them.
Roger Dooley: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah, okay. Now let’s maybe give some of the marketers in our audience pause and actually that’s probably most of our audience. In your book, you list a bunch of marketing metrics that are probably not useful. Why don’t you hit a few of those and explain maybe why they’re not so good, even though those are the metrics that probably many of our listeners grade themselves on or are graded on by somebody else.
Sangram Vajre: This is gonna take me down the famous blog post, the thing I’m called upon to write. I wrote a blog post called ‘We Are All One-night Stand Marketers’. You can imagine that got a positive and a lot of controversial commentary on it. That really brings me to that list. Because I think if you are a marketer today who gets excited about number of downloads, you’re a one-night stand marketer. Because you’re not thinking about are these the right people and are the right people engaging with me and are downloading that thing. So that’s one. Another one, this is my favorite one, where you get really, really, really, really excited when you have a ton of people register for your webinar. Well, great. How many of those people in your webinar are aligned directly with the people that your sales team have in the pipeline?
Sangram Vajre: Based on data research that we have done, it’s typically three to five percent. So rest of them are actually useless to your sales team. Instead of saying hey, we got so many people. We need to look at do we have the right people. That’s another metric. The one that I’ve lately been on, we spend too much time in the book, quite honestly on this, but lately I’ve been very, very excited about and I don’t think people are measuring on the flip side of it, is time. I wanna pause there for a second for people to kind of sink in. Time to me is one of the most important measure of success.
Sangram Vajre: Let me explain, let’s say you and your spouse, you have challenges with your spouse. Well you’re stop spending time with me, with them, right? That’s very reflective of those or if you and your co-worker have an issue, you’re gonna spend less time with them because you’re gonna try to literally avoid. You’re gonna try to park in a different parking spot if you’re trying to avoid contact with them. So time is such an interesting element that I don’t think most marketers are even thinking about it.
Sangram Vajre: The way to measure time in B2B is, are these people and how many of the people that you’re targeting in an account so let’s say five people in an account, are spending time with you on your website, on your content, on your webinar, with your sales team, or responding to emails, or even reading your emails? If none of them are doing that, I think you will have a very good way to look at an gauge if that deal is gonna get closed or not. And I think as marketers, you have all the data in the world to measure that level of insight.
Roger Dooley: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Time is actually in many cases, a good metric. In different ways, Ryan Leveck and his book Ask, he does these surveys and one of the things that is a really key indicator for him is not the answers that people provide, but the length of answers. If somebody takes the time to write two paragraphs versus somebody else who puts a yes or no or just a three word answer, there’s clearly a lot more engagement with that person who wrote all the text. And that’s a proxy for time, I guess. But it’s that level of commitment that shows okay, we’ve hit some kind of a hot button here.
Sangram Vajre: Absolutely. I think time is such an integral part of who we are as humans and I think that’s what you started off the top of the hour. In the podcast, you said something about, I was just taking notes on it, you said well, at the end of the day it’s all human, it’s all human interactions, B2B, B2C, all those things. That is so true. All of us as humans, what is our greatest asset beyond people or families, beyond humans? It’s our time. We don’t want to waste time. The reason Uber exists is because people want to have convenience and time, save their time on instead of swiping the credit card and waiting for tax that you know it’s gonna be not necessarily clean and all that. So the whole idea is time, people would be served better if they recognized the importance of time and cultivate and surround themselves and figure out how do I get my future customers to spend more time with me?
Roger Dooley: Mm-hmm (affirmative). So one thing I liked about one part of the book, Sangram, is that old-fashioned direct mail actually has purpose in ABM which is kind of surprising because it seems overall to be a very sort of techy orient thing where you’ve got everything electronic and you’ve got measurement and quick response and using all the tools that the internet provides these days. So when is direct mail a good idea?
Sangram Vajre: You are so right. I’m so glad you brought that up, man. I’ve been really thinking about this idea and even two years ago I think it’s even better now, that this is the experience that we, as customers, want, that we, as consumers want is of, quite honestly, high-touch and high-tech. So let me explain that for a second. High-tech meaning yes we want, we are all digital human beings now and we love, we read emails, we go to different places, we see who adds a website, all those things and we want to be passively nurtured through the digital experience that we all get.
Sangram Vajre: We actually do. We appreciate a good interaction, digitally. High-touch means at the same time we long as humans, we long for that physical connection with somebody, with something in order to feel more connected with that person or that opportunity, whatever that might be. So this idea of high-tech, high-touch coming together is very powerful. To your point, I think direct mail is back. I think direct mail in the B2B world, how many people and this is a question for your audience so they can raise their hand and we’ll assume they did when we ask this question is, how many of you guys open a FedEx package as soon as you see them on your table?
Sangram Vajre: Chances are hundred percent of them will drop everything even if they’re talking to someone, oh, I got a FedEx package, I’m gonna open this up and see what’s in it for me, just drop everything and check out the FedEx package. Why? Well, because you don’t get that anymore. You actually appreciate that, so it all comes down to are you creating a personalized experience for your customer, then go shows and this is the main part, that shows that you care more than anybody else. And I think that’s the combination of high-tech and high-touch together.
Roger Dooley: Mm-hmm (affirmative). What size businesses can effectively use ABM?
Sangram Vajre: I think it depends on who you’re selling to. And really what we learn and this was a great, great, great debate that we had internally in tests that we had run, we felt like well if you’re an enterprise companies then this make sense or a mid-market company it makes sense. Maybe assembly doesn’t. But it doesn’t really matter, a lot of our customers who are SMB which means they’re a small shop, are perfectly using ABM. It really doesn’t matter who are customer is. What matters is who are customer’s customer is. If you are a company that have then you’re customers are a target-list of account, you know the industry that you’re going after, and you know the list of accounts, and you know the drolls, and titles of the people that you need to reach out to, if you know those two things, ABM is for you.
Sangram Vajre: If you don’t know those things, let’s say you’re selling shoes, ABM is not for you. Or let’s say you’re selling ten dollar per month subscription thing, then that’s not for you. But if you’re selling a thousand bucks a month subscription, absolutely ABM is for you. So really in short, ABM is for a company that knows who they’re selling to.
Roger Dooley: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Great, well that seems like a pretty good place to wrap up. Let me remind our listeners that we’re speaking with Sangram Vajre, author of Account-Based Marketing for Dummies. Sangram, how can people find you?
Sangram Vajre: Linkedin is my preferred choice of communication outside of email and Twitter. So you can go Linkedin @sangramvajre, I post something interesting, try to post something interesting over there every single day.
Roger Dooley: Great, well we will link there to Account-Based Marketing for Dummies and any other resources we talked about on the show notes page at rogerdooley.com/podcast and they’ll be a text version of our conversation there as well. Sangram, thanks for being on the show.
Sangram Vajre: Roger, thank you. Thank you so much.
Roger Dooley: Thank you for joining me for this episode of the Brainfluence podcast. To continue the discussion and to find your own path to brainy success, please visit us at rogerdooley.com.
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