Madison Logic learned a lot about the global state of ABM through our 2019 ABM Symposia series! We asked marketers what was on their mind in San Francisco, London, Boston, and Singapore when it comes to ABM, and the answers provide a fantastic look at the state of the ABM industry worldwide.
To summarize the most important takeaways, we sat down with Jenn Steele, CMO at Madison Logic.
To start, what are your overall thoughts on the 2019 ABM Symposia Series?
The coolest thing about the symposia was the ability to talk to over 100 marketers from all over the globe. Learning that they value talking to each other as well was huge. I loved the transparency that people showed.The other thing that I took away is that no one has figured [ABM] out because no two companies are exactly alike. Your company’s personality, your target buyer’s personalities, your sales team’s personalities, your geographic region and all the other variables mean that account-based marketing looks different to every single company.
At the Boston Symposium, the “Ultimate Tech Stack” came up. Can you elaborate on that discussion?
At the Boston Symposium, somebody asked, “What’s the ultimate tech stack?” The truth is that there is no ultimate tech stack because of all the nuances in cost, feature set, etc. There are certain things that everyone needs. It’s nearly impossible to do ABM without a CRM because there’s nowhere for the data to live between marketing and sales. It’s nearly impossible to do ABM without somebody doing ABM. Someone needs to oversee it and for some people that’s their entire job. The “ultimate tech stack” depends on how all these variables shake out at each specific organization.
In London, a main topic was 1:1 ABM strategies. Can you share why this is so important?
At the London Symposium, we had a few attendees who were one to one ABMers. This is very different from other companies at the same event that needed to do more broad-based marketing. These organizations had people focused on their top accounts, but the ABM that the marketing team was taking over was the mid-tier accounts. They are using Madison Logic to target these accounts because of our cookie-based targeting functionality. Some organizations say it isn’t ABM unless it’s 1:1, while others have different tiers of accounts and a very different strategy. It’s custom for each organization depending on their customer base.
In Singapore, the participants wanted a unified ABM dashboard. What are your thoughts on that?
In Singapore, we had far larger companies like Google, Google’s agency, Facebook, and IBM. It was incredible because the one thing that 100 percent of them wanted was a unified dashboard. They took for granted that there was a data warehouse and that all the data would get piped into one place because they were all enterprise companies. Versus smaller companies, which we had in San Francisco, who would say something more along the lines of “Well how do you get the data together and where does that dashboard live?” The priorities are very different depending on the size of the organization for a variety of reasons, but especially because larger organizations have more resources.
In San Francisco, the discussion turned to Sales and Marketing Alignment. Can you share more about this?
San Francisco attendees wanted to take sales and marketing alignment further and call it whole company alignment. At the TOPO Summit executive track, a bunch of sales and marketing leaders mostly from the Bay Area asked me, “Is this even a thing anymore? Aren’t we over the sales and marketing alignment thing?” So, I took that question to the following events, the London Symposium and the Singapore Symposium, and they said, “What do you mean? Sales and marketing alignment is our biggest thing.”
In Singapore, they want to solve it with a dashboard. In London, it felt like they were exhausted with sales and marketing alignment. I started to think that, internationally, sales and marketing alignment is still a thing. Whereas in the United States, it is not. And then I go to Boston and they said, “What are you talking about Jenn? Sales and marketing alignment is still our number one thing.” It really depends which audience you are speaking to.
Do you have any other takeaways regarding sales and marketing alignment?
The thing about sales and marketing alignment is that you can fall out of alignment very easily. For me, coming from product marketing, sales and marketing alignment is what you live and breathe. It’s fascinating, because I’ve done demand and I’ve done product marketing, and looking at it now from the CMO seat, I see that members of my team have very different relationships with the sales team. So, my relationship with the sales team and product marketing is not the same as demand’s relationship with the sales team.
Sales and marketing alignment also depends on size. Larger organizations tend to have a data warehouse. If you’re small, your data is probably living in separate systems. Building a dashboard is easier for bigger organizations because they have the systems and resources. But from a personal relationship standpoint, if you’re a small company it’s infinitely easier — you can use your personal relationships to fill those gaps.
What are your other key takeaways from the 2019 ABM Symposia series?
For San Francisco, my big take away was the transition to whole company alignment. ABM won’t work unless your whole company is bought in. In London, I found that they discussed one to one ABM best practices more. My other big takeaway from London is that they got to skip a lot of mistakes that we went through here in the U.S. because most of them are learning from their U.S. counterparts. I think the same thing is happening in APAC. For Boston it was really along the lines of there is no unified tech stack and you don’t have the right technology if you don’t also have the people to make it work. In Singapore, the clear takeaway was that the larger enterprise companies wanted a unified ABM dashboard with all their data in one place.
What did you think of the solutions that each group brainstormed at the end of each event?
The last think-tank for each event was all about solutions that work. On the one hand, we’re trained to always talk about challenges and solutions at the same time. So, we were talking about, ‘this is how we did it. This is how we did it.’ What kept coming out of those panels were vignettes, stories that say, ‘Here’s how this one thing worked for us,’ and it was always different. This was incredibly valuable and we have to thank our attendees for sharing their own stories so others can learn from them.
What do you think is the most successful aspect of this event series?
I love what people were taking away — pages and pages of notes, bringing things back to their companies to change their ABM programs. People were making material changes based on what they learned at our event.
Another thing that I adore about it is that we made marketer’s lives better. We’ve built our business on relationships. Now I feel like we’ve got the opportunity to not only build our business on the relationship with these marketers but also these marketers with each other. They will consider that Madison Logic played a part in that and it reinforces us as a leader.