By Marketers, For Marketers ep 3: Social & Relationship Marketing

On the third episode of By Marketers For Marketers, Jason and Korina Edwards, Head of Demand Generation at Matter Made, talk social marketing and selling. 

What is social selling or marketing?

Social selling is being behind a brand enough to recommend it to your network and friends. It comes with a big responsibility: you should only advocate for what you’d use yourself. Peer recommendations are more important than ever, and can be the deciding factor when you’re being pitched two similar products. They’re also valuable beyond making purchases–more and more, peer recommendations are given weight when to comes to hiring, as well as making personal choices. 

When it comes to making a big decision, you want to have a prior relationship with the company or person you’re doing business with. Do they have similar values? Do you hit it off? When you have a relationship, you trust them to sell you something that works well and is also the right fit for you. It’s way too common for sales reps to just focus on why a product is great, rather than focusing on what’s most relevant to your company. When you have a relationship though, you know that the other person has your best interests at heart. 

How can a salesperson build this type of relationship?

The most important factor is time. It’s obvious when someone is in a rush to educate you on a product, rather than learning about your problems. Because we’ve become desensitized to this sort of pitch, we’re much more likely to respond to something personal that cannot be automated. A good salesperson puts in the work to understand you, for instance by insightfully engaging with things you’ve said about yourself. When they demonstrate this sort of care, you’re also more likely to put in the time to get back to them. Then, the first call is getting to know them genuinely and telling them about your challenges, rather than rushing into a demo. Slowly, the representative should build a package that’s molded to your needs. Once they’ve done the work to know that you need the product, they can say with conviction how it will help you, and now you will trust that you’re a good fit.

When you’re younger in your career and find yourself in a leadership position, it’s important to emphasize that the quality of your interactions outweighs quantity. Relying on automation tools is poor leadership. 

How do you get to a place where you have enough customers sharing your product?

B2C’s always have influencer marketing programs. Influencers are people who are trusted. They have a reputation for being knowledgeable and aware of their audience. Because of this relationship, good influences are able to promote things they KNOW will help people, rather than any sponsorship that comes their way. 

We’re slowly seeing this more in B2B.  As you build your network, people are listening to you, and you’re building trust as you give recommendations and advice. You’re not selling a product directly, but if you have trust, people might give it a look your company a look anyways. They will associate the product with you: it’s probably smart, well-researched, and genuinely helpful. This is a new approach for sales, but not for marketers, who have always made it their mission to understand the problems of the people they’re trying to help

What’s the right balance of automation vs direct selling? 

Whichever is more work will give you the better conversion rate. It’s also important to keep in mind though that automation will work better in different industries. Read the room. Martech selling looks different than selling to mechanical industry leaders. Marketing to marketers is hardest, because we know all the tricks and its hard to impress us. 

For best results, you want happy medium. Automation might work fine if you are selling something inexpensive that a customer might not think twice about. With higher ticket accounts and more expensive products though, more time and quality research is needed, because your customer is making a big decision. Many of us are right in between, slightly above ecommerce. It’s a strange place to be because people think about their decisions, but don’t need everything to be personalized. Here, your inbound to outbound ratio should be more heavily weighted towards inbound. 

Not Just Engagement. Engagement AND ______…

If you really want to leverage demand generation practices in your account-based marketing programs in 2020, you can’t stop at engagement.

It’s a signal, and it’s important, but not the end goal for a marketer.

Engagement alone isn’t going to necessarily make your company any money or bring in a set number of new logos. If you stop here, that discussion with your boss on how you made a difference in your marketing efforts just got that much harder.

So how can we look at B2B differently today?

We’ve been trying to squeeze everything we do into a single measurement framework.

It’s always been a singular funnel and traditional ABM.

But is it really a linear path? Did we expect it to be so linear? Why do we assume that it will all follow a waterfall that leads to a conversion?

In a traditional approach to ABM, marketers may execute campaigns – such as buying and joining B2B targeting data, onboarding audiences, testing creative, content and channels, and enriching leads – but have no clear way of optimizing target account engagement across channels to drive demand and pipeline, and no clear insights into the impact on revenue and ROI from each program.

We know today’s model isn’t perfect. Traditional ABM doesn’t always turn into qualified hand-raisers or opportunities.

We’ve been doing this for the longest time, i.e. taking a possible name and adding it in a database, creating campaigns to nurture the email address, and repeat. It’s more than collecting email addresses – counting everyone as a lead isn’t the right definition of a lead.

This system is broken.

We let the traditional ABM vendors define ABM for us based on what their platforms were good at: engagement. It was an “ok” approach for its time, but it’s not how marketing works today.

It’s not adapting to the change in front of us today. People are changing the way they want to engage with us and what’s expected in those relationships. How we consume content is rapidly changing. To be a lead, there needs to be some type of intent.

Defining the double funnel

TOPO recently defined the Double Funnel. It ensures that the entire GTM organization has regular visibility into the performance of all go-to-market approaches all the way through the process to closed-won accounts and their impact on revenue.

TOPO Double Funnel

To simplify this a bit, you can think of the account-based funnel as your traditional ABM motion where you define a small set of target accounts, plan and manage campaigns around those accounts, etc. You can think of the volume funnel as all of the demand generation activities you’re doing to try and capture the additional latent demand that exists for your product outside of the handful of target accounts you’ve identified for your ABM program.

Given these differences, the tactics you use, and how you measure performance should be different. For example, you wouldn’t measure your demand generation funnel on # of target accounts engaged.

Both of these funnels should ultimately be measured against the revenue they deliver; however, that’s not happening enough with ABM programs as it should. They often stop at account engagement.

What your program should look like in 2020

You have to deploy programs and tools that actually allow you to tie and optimize your marketing efforts to the pipeline and revenue that they generate so that you can determine the ROI of your efforts. You need different methods to deliver and measure the two sides of your funnel: the account engagement/influence side as well as the demand generation side.

If you’re only doing account engagement and influence, and don’t have a clear way of showing how that approach leads to revenue, it’s time to rethink your strategy and include a new focus on demand generation.

Your strategy shouldn’t rely on one platform, it should look something like this:

Truly understand the uniqueness of your sales and marketing motion
–  Some companies may need 3 stages, some may need 7
–  Which aspects of your marketing and selling activities are unique to you or your industry?

Identify technologies and processes that can best address the uniqueness
–  This often isn’t a one-sized-fits-all end-to-end platform – but rather niche solutions placed in areas where you need better-than-average performance

Determine the goals for the program and how you’ll measure
–  If you find yourself measuring everything the same way, something is wrong
–  Each program should have a specific outcome and be measured based on that

Spend time identifying and prioritizing your target accounts list
–  This is way more than just industry, size, job title targeting – you need to use additional intelligence and create a small set of account that you have a great chance of winning

Ensure you have programs and tactics for both sides of this funnel ABM and Demand
–  What plays will you run against the target account list?
–  What campaigns, content, and offers will you have available for everyone else?

Establish a foundation in testing and experimentation
–  If you find yourself launching a campaign with only one iteration, you’re leaving money on the table.
–  It’s much more efficient to optimize an existing campaign vs. build an entirely new one.

Focus on ultimate revenue impact
–  Generates hundreds of tests and optimize to what ultimately drives revenue and not just clicks/leads
–  Pinpoint the best performing combinations of creatives, audiences, and offers and redirect your investments.

When executed correctly, this engagement plus demand generation approach can blow traditional ABM approaches out of the water. For example, say a marketer is running an ABM campaign using two different ad creatives and wants to optimize. The marketer would likely judge the performance of the campaign based on a traditional ABM-engagement standpoint, such as cost-per-click and cost-per-lead, and optimize accordingly. However, digging deeper into demand generation KPIs for the same campaign might reveal that the ad with a higher CPC or CPL actually generated a stronger pipeline, more closed wins, and ultimately a greater ROI.

For B2B marketers, every dollar counts, especially in these unprecedented times. Engagement may be a good signal of campaign performance, but it will not necessarily make your company any money or add any new clients to the roster. Stopping measurement at engagement will put marketers in a tough spot when it comes time to explain how their ABM campaigns actually made a difference. For marketers only looking at account engagement and influence without having a clear way of showing how that approach leads to revenue, it’s time to rethink strategy to include a focus on demand generation.

Getting Started With Demand Generation

Are you a marketer looking to increase revenue by closing more deals? Or, perhaps, you’re trying to develop a holistic upgrade to your product or service’s customer touch points.

It’s no secret that an effective demand generation strategy can help achieve these goals. More businesses are looking to better attain, nurture, and retain customers through their marketing strategies with enhanced demand generation, and you want in on the action.

So, you’ve found yourself asking the question: “How do I get started?”

Luckily, we’ve got the answer. This guide will break down (literally!) everything you need to know about demand generation, including:

  • The basics of demand generation
  • The key elements of demand generation strategy
  • Demand generation tools
  • Quality examples of demand generation

 

What is demand generation?

Demand generation is 90% of marketing. It’s a specific marketing function dedicated to identifying, creating, and nurturing “demand” for your product or service. It’s generally used as an umbrella term that encompasses various tactics, programs, and strategies.

Demand generation differs from lead generation, though the two are often confused. Lead generation is a part of the demand generation process that focuses on acquiring leads at the top of the sales funnel. Whereas, demand generation works on all levels of the sales funnel to enhance acquisition, development, and retention of all leads.

Basically, all lead generation is demand generation, but not all demand generation is lead generation.

Understanding that key difference, let’s move forward to breaking down the three main components of demand generation:

  1. Creating demand
  2. Identifying demand
  3. Nurturing demand

 

Creating demand

Demand creation does not always need to be product-led or product-influenced.

Good demand creation makes prospective buyers feel like they aren’t being sold to or having a product pushed onto them. It’s almost entirely educational.

It’s best to identify and position the problem (some prospective buyers may not even be aware of the problem), what they can accomplish by taking steps to address and/or eliminate the problem and then finally, the implications of not addressing the problem.

Identifying demand

At this stage, you have to work to get your product to those businesses that are actively in the process of looking for a solution to their challenges. These businesses have identified their challenges but haven’t yet settled on a way to solve them.

They are actively searching for a solution, and you want to ensure that they are readily considering your product. This component is about finding those people where they’re looking and bringing them into your sales funnel.

This can be challenging, as they may be considering a wide array of solutions, and your product may be pitted against your competitors during the decision-making process.

Nurturing demand

Demand can’t be turned off or on like a light switch. Nurturing demand means leveraging the initial demand to increase the pull to your solution or product. 

This component is the continued process of ensuring that the prospect has the information they need, exactly when they need it, to encourage them to choose your product over others.

You are also contending with the decision of some businesses not to pursue a solution, you have to make your solution a greater incentive than letting the challenge persist.

This is the time for supporting the growth of the brand and the customer.

Where should I start?

There’s no step-by-step playbook that’s going to improve your demand generation efforts exponentially. In fact, demand generation is going to look a little different for each business.

Marketers have to choose the tactics, programs, activities, and tools that best work for their business to increase the demand-side of the supply and demand equation.

That’s not to say there’s no clear cut answer to the question. Think of demand generation like a grid. On one axis, there are the tracks and programs that always need to be running for marketing to be effective. On the other axis, are the activities and tools a marketer has to work with to apply to those tracks and programs.

Let’s discuss marketing fundamentals and the marketer’s toolset.

Marketing foundation

There are certain foundational elements of marketing that always need to be happening to ensure that your marketing efforts are effective. These are the elements that are built on to form an effective and successful marketing strategy.

In fact, without them working in conjunction with one another, you’d be hard-pressed to bring in a single lead. The marketing programs/tracks that need to always be running include:

  • Identifying existing demand
  • Creating demand (including generating awareness)
  • Nurturing demand (including supporting the brand and customer growth)

 

You’ll notice these are the same core components of demand generation, and that’s no coincidence. Demand generation is a fundamental process of marketing.

The biggest differentiator is that while both are umbrella terms, demand generation falls under the umbrella of marketing, which plays host to any and all efforts to promote a product or service.

There are many different ways to go about achieving that goal, as the marketer’s tool belt is massive.

The Marketer’s tool belt

A marketer’s tool belt is their greatest asset. It encompasses the range of practices, techniques, strategies, and, well, tools that a marketer can use to bolster their marketing efforts.

It’s not a good idea to stretch yourself and resources thin by trying to hit on each of these tools. The marketing tools you utilize should be customized to fit your business’ needs. 

Here’s a non-exhaustive list of the marketing tools you can work with:

Content

  • Website
  • Blog and educational resources
  • Videos
  • Podcasts
  • Case studies / Testimonials
  • Third-party reviews

 

 

Targeting

  • Target account list
  • Intent data
  • Technographic data
  • Firmographic data
  • Demographic data

 

 

Tactics

  • Organic and paid search
  • Organic and paid social
  • Display advertising / retargeting
  • Content syndication
  • Email marketing
  • Events
  • Webinars

The list is lengthy, but it’s filled with techniques that can provide a lasting positive impact and high ROI when done effectively.

To boost effectiveness, combine various tools to create a specialized program within a given track. Examples below.

Example 1: Run paid social to target ideal customers in a market.

  • Track: Identify existing demand
  • Program: DoorDash Demo campaign
  • Tools: Target Account List; LinkedIn; Facebook

Example 2: Cold outbound to prospects using a competitor’s product

  • Track: Create demand
  • Program: Sales competitive cold outbound
  • Tools: Technographic data; Outbound; Email

Whichever tools you choose to utilize in your marketing efforts is up to you!

Most marketers make an informed decision regarding the marketing avenues they’ll use for a company, including a process of trial and error. It’s not an exact science.

However, if you want to maximize the efficacy of your demand generation strategy, you’ll need to choose tools that allow you to target prospects vs. simply reaching a wide audience.

High-level differences between Account-Based Marketing and Demand Generation

In yet another case of “all this is that, but not all that is this.” Account-based marketing, or ABM, is a specific type of demand generation, as described above.

ABM is associated primarily with you, as a marketing/sales department, narrowing down your options and deciding which prospects to go after. Then you’ll begin building programs that will help you pursue them.

ABM is generally used as a part of the creating or identifying demand tracks.

For example, you can have a track geared toward creating demand, and the program can be “run a competitive ABM program.” You’’ then choose to use several specific tools to do so.

The key difference is that demand generation has a much broader scope than ABM. For example, with demand generation, you also want to build an SEO-optimized website that will attract organic traffic that will ultimately turn into a deal.

Website optimization for SEO is not an ABM program, but it definitely would be a demand generation program.

Key takeaways

Demand generation can be a rewarding process, but it takes time and effort to pull off a successful demand generation strategy.

The key is to understand the parts of the whole. Demand generation is a part of an effective marketing strategy, in the same way that ABM can be a part of the demand generation process.

Understand that demand generation isn’t always straightforward. Creating the right strategy means figuring out which tools and techniques will work best for your business.

metadata.io Ranks 233 on Inc. 5000 List

Named in top 250 of the 2020 Inc. 5000 Fastest Growing Private Companies in America Annual List, Reporting an impressive growth rate of 1869.18% revenue growth over three years

San Francisco, CA,  Aug. 12, 2020 — metadata.io, the autonomous demand generation company, today announced that Inc. Magazine revealed the company’s ranking as No. 233 on its 39th annual Inc. 5000, the most prestigious ranking of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies. 

With three-year revenue Increase of 1869.18%, this is the first year that company has made the Inc. 5000 list and will be featured in the September issue of Inc.

The list represents a unique look at the most successful companies within the American economy’s most dynamic segment—its independent small businesses. This achievement puts Metadata among an elite group which has included companies such as Microsoft, Vizio, Intuit, Oracle and many other well-known names that gained their first national exposure as honorees on the Inc. 5000. 

“This is an incredible testament to our innovation and efforts to transform marketing and ABM as we know it,” said Gil Allouche, CEO of Metadata. “CMOs today are under constant pressure to create pipeline at scale and show the insights and impact on revenue and ROI of each program. We are listening to our customers and passionate about offering an autonomous demand generation platform that consistently and reliably delivers marketing KPIs with minimum time and effort. Our rapid growth and this prestigious acknowledgment are validation that our continued work will disrupt the status quo as marketers know it.”

Metadata’s autonomous demand generation software is a huge advantage for marketing teams as it sets the entire martech stack on autopilot by connecting existing tools and putting them to work. With Metadata, B2B marketers can take the guesswork out of their demand generation campaigns by getting the right content in front of the right people and building a predictable flow of MQLs and pipeline. Experimental marketers from companies like Zoom, Pendo, Udacity and Vonage have experienced as much as a 4.5X ROI in as little as 90 days using Metadata. Metadata’s rapidly growing customer base continues to praise the technology for helping achieve B2B marketing results beyond the scale and scope they previously thought possible. On average, Metadata customers achieved positive ROI within just seven months compared to 17 months from competing platforms.

Not only have the companies on the 2020 Inc. 5000 been very competitive within their markets, but the list as a whole shows staggering growth compared with prior lists as well. The 2020 Inc. 5000 achieved an incredible three-year average growth of over 500 percent, and a median rate of 165 percent. The Inc. 5000’s aggregate revenue was $209 billion in 2019, accounting for over 1 million jobs over the past three years.  

Complete results of the Inc. 5000, including company profiles and an interactive database that can be sorted by industry, region, and other criteria, can be found at www.inc.com/inc5000. The top 500 companies are also being featured in the September issue of Inc., available on newsstands August 12.

“The companies on this year’s Inc. 5000 come from nearly every realm of business,” says Inc. editor-in-chief Scott Omelianuk. “From health and software to media and hospitality, the 2020 list proves that no matter the sector, incredible growth is based on the foundations of tenacity and opportunism.”

The annual Inc. 5000 event honoring the companies on the list will be held virtually from October 23 to 27, 2020. As always, speakers will include some of the greatest innovators and business leaders of our generation.

About Metadata

Metadata is an autonomous demand generation platform that automates the most critical but often tedious tasks in marketing to help companies efficiently scale their demand generation efforts. Through machine learning, a proprietary corporate-to-personal identity graph, and automatic optimization to revenue KPIs, Metadata’s platform generates demand from target accounts and converts them to customers much faster than legacy methods. Innovative B2B marketers at Zoom, Pendo, Udacity and Vonage rely on Metadata to create harmony between marketing and sales, lower costs and save time, and ensure marketing drives revenue. Drive outcomes today at https://metadata.io/ 

More about Inc. and the Inc. 5000

Methodology

The 2020 Inc. 5000 is ranked according to percentage revenue growth when comparing 2016 and 2019. To qualify, companies must have been founded and generating revenue by March 31, 2016. They had to be U.S.-based, privately held, for profit, and independent—not subsidiaries or divisions of other companies—as of December 31, 2019. (Since then, a number of companies on the list have gone public or been acquired.) The minimum revenue required for 2016 is $100,000; the minimum for 2019 is $2 million. As always, Inc. reserves the right to decline applicants for subjective reasons. Companies on the Inc. 500 are featured in Inc.’s September issue. They represent the top tier of the Inc. 5000, which can be found at http://www.inc.com/inc5000.

About Inc. Media

The world’s most trusted business-media brand, Inc. offers entrepreneurs the knowledge, tools, connections, and community to build great companies. Its award-winning multiplatform content reaches more than 50 million people each month across a variety of channels including websites, newsletters, social media, podcasts, and print. Its prestigious Inc. 5000 list, produced every year since 1982, analyzes company data to recognize the fastest-growing privately held businesses in the United States. The global recognition that comes with inclusion in the 5000 gives the founders of the best businesses an opportunity to engage with an exclusive community of their peers, and the credibility that helps them drive sales and recruit talent. The associated Inc. 5000 Conference is part of a highly acclaimed portfolio of bespoke events produced by Inc. For more information, visit www.inc.com.

For more information on the Inc. 5000 Conference, visit http://conference.inc.com/

By Marketers, For Marketers ep 1: Are You Really Doing ABM?

On the very first episode of By Marketers For Marketers, James Gilbert, Head of Marketing at CRMNext, and Jason Widup, VP of Marketing at Metadata, talk about what it really means to do ABM.

Are we doing Account-Based Marketing?

 Often Marketing defines their ABM campaigns w/o Sales, then goes to Sales to sign off on the campaign, which falls flat. Marketing ends up doing air cover ads to support what Sales is already doing in their key accounts, resulting in a disjointed and ineffective GTM approach.

1. Account-Based Marketing is part of an overall GTM strategy

 Build Demand Gen and ABM together under GTM–you need both
How CISCO did it:
 – Dedicated gatekeeper for each target account
 – Understands the biz as well as that account knows itself
 – Manages relationship with CS, Product, Mktg, Sales
 – Predictive model
 – ex- they knew Zoom would have COVID security issues b4 Zoom did)

2. Identify the right accounts with triangulated data

 – Start with the data.
 – But don’t just take the list from Sales
 – Triangulate the Data, to validate it
Marketing, don’t just say: “Sales, PICK the accounts you want to go after.”
Instead, Triangulate with:
 a- Sales (Opportunities, Sales Velocity, Industries)
 b- Customer (Renewals, Upsells, Churn, Industries)
 c- Product (Product Roadmap, Feature-Benefit Use Cases)
 d* Marketing Ops
     – SEO, Paid Search, Analytics (I’d want this in Marketing Ops, so help make the data actionable)
     – That can provide deeper actionable insights, to build an ABM list
     – Rather than pushing this data all over to Sales
     – Bring them in earlier (Planning and Strategy phase)
     – Provide them an entire Powerpoint: All the insights from every system we have in one place

3. Define what your buyer journey really is

 – Multi-Touch Attribution
– I get passion about the middle touches
– Those middle touches have more of an impact than 1st and last touch
 – Go through the journey with your Sales, Customer and Product teams
 – Have really clear pathways of how to distribute the data (hardest part of ABM) so it’s actionable

4. Don’t ignore the mid-funnel

 – Just as much about getting people to self-select out…
 – As to keep people moving through
 * Don’t be scared putting out content that self-selects people out
 – “Self-selecting content is the easiest way to find the low-hanging fruit.”
 -ex-  Review sites: 
 – A friend recommends it
 – A BDR reaches out, and you ignore it…
   * A BDR is a middle touch
 – You may go back and look at customer reviews…
 – Later you may go back and look at feature comparisons…
 * None of these are first or last touches…
 * And they often don’t get tracked because they’re middle touches!

5. Keep it simple

 – Product, Customer Success & Sales can triangulate and simplify your messaging and GTM

Difference between Account-Based Marketing and Demand Generation:

 – Some of the biggest companies doing ABM really well are NOT focused on a lot of companies
 – ABM: Tiered [more customized] efforts [with an Account Owner]
 – Demand Gen: Broader targeted efforts
 – Execution within the channels are different for ABM vs Demand Gen
 – [Some channels may differ as well]
 – Each brings different insights

How we did it at CloudCherry:

  – Layout content for each phase:
 – Top Of Funnel Content: – ex- Educational content on review site
 – Middle Of Funnel Content: – ex- Fill-in Template: How to get buy-in from your exec team
 – Bottom Of Funnel Content

How do you do it with a small 1 or 2 person company?

 – Narrow down your account list to a 5-to-10
 – Determine w/ Sales team the best way to get in
– Have a workshop
– Let them know the channels you can pick from
– Let them decide what channels they think will work best
– as the marketer, go with one of their top channel options