Interview with “Andrew Mahr”

Chief Customer Officer at Triblio

andrew mahr chief customer officer at triblio
TRANSCRIPT

Andrew it’s a pleasure to speak with you how are you today i’m doing very well and great to speak with you guys again too excellent excellent and i think you remember my my friend and colleague david rowe he’ll be joining me on this interview hey andrew hey david and for the people that don’t know you very well could you give a little bit of your background about abm and marketing and so forth yes uh so my name is andrew marr i’m the chief customer officer at triblio an account-based marketing platform uh we are part of idg international data group uh we became part of that company in june of 2020 um and so um yeah i’ve been in the process of bringing together all of their data and services with our triplio abm platform uh and it’s been exciting and very busy uh last eight months that’s fascinating and you know both david and i have quite a history with idg over the years so what is what was uh some of the magic behind or the or the logic behind the the merger acquisition yeah sure um so if you’ve been watching the account based marketing space for the last couple of years you might have noticed that there’s two i think parallel tracks of innovation that have been happening one is on what i would call the marketing execution track so this is what channels can you reach how coordinated that can those be how accurate can you be in those channels the other channel has been account based data how well can you measure how well can you you know get and be granular with who you’re reaching and now post gdpr can you do that in a gdpr compliant way ccpa compliant way and are you still able to get all the metrics and insights you need to understand what’s happening those accounts so triplio you know we’ve been developing in both but probably majoring in the execution side whereas idg has been uh you know as a media publisher and a data aggregator they’ve been putting together great account based data for for decades now um so we’re able to now have a solution at that intersection of media data and technology so that was really the logic and the magic as you said that’s probably a better word uh behind bringing the two companies together is to be able to have you know kind of best of breed on both of those things at once you know global data gdpr compliant that allows for great targeting and intent and then you know the execution capabilities also excellent so the data helps helps the the targeting be more specific and more relevant and um and then the execution they’re in so it’s a nice combination yeah the targeting um as well as on the intent side so you know a big category um again parallel to abm has been intent data how well can you measure and understand what accounts are doing in kind of pre-funnel stages where they’re doing research they’re looking at competitors they’re evaluating solutions they’re just poking around at problems they have but not yet raising a hand to talk to you as a vendor a solution provider intent data measures that the ability to get that intent data is all based on your sources and idg’s data is proprietary it’s you know uh and they’re operating in a 150 markets so it’s international and it’s got great volume so not just on targeting but also even understanding what the market is doing what we’re able to tap into them with them is really unparalleled and are you getting other data as well and try triangulating or whatever with the idg data yeah as a platform i mean we’re very uh open to working with other data sources too so we have you know enterprise customers who will bring in their own data sources uh that are that are you know custom to them uh but then other partnerships i mean we’ll always keep our door open to those as well so we’ve worked really well with bombora um and i think that there’s a lot of other great options too um just to to make sure that you have the right data for different markets because very often you know one vendor might have a specialty in a certain vertical or geography and so to serve customers broadly uh you need to be able to aggregate all those that make sense and tech excuse me idg is very specifically technology sector so that’s where your strongest i assume with the data yeah certainly their data really strong in i.t decision makers in line of business decision makers uh and then spread out really evenly across the globe so down to the you know the individuals who are doing that research or leading those projects um they’re able to see into that really well okay and and are you good for other b2b sectors yes absolutely so pre-idg we’re serving you know companies that are uh you know servicing healthcare solutions that are servicing financial sector and so on uh so it’s not just it companies certainly but from a data standpoint we certainly have a lot of strength there now and we’ll be able to specialize um certain services around those as we continue to scale and are you by definition b2b as opposed to b2c yes so account based marketing is is b2b it’s treating every account essentially as a market of one so being able to deliver personalized messages that drive that buying group forward in the process so it’s definitely a b2b um strategy and where we’re focused as a company okay and and david and i had had the pleasure to speak with john miller recently and so um and he talked about the the merger between demand base and engagio so how do you how do you stack up against that i assume they’re a big competitor of yours yeah we see demandbase and and formerly engagio out there a lot um and so um you know they they do a lot uh certainly in the advertising space uh so we see them there um you know i think the the race is on to build a um a platform that can service everything from you know advertising and insights and intent data at the very top of the funnel all the way down to how well you’re orchestrating uh sales motions and closing activities with data and marketing tactics at the bottom um we like where we’re at we like the the data that we’re working with the technology we’re working with but the competition is good for us too makes everybody stronger so um well oh you mentioned that they’re strong in advertising so what else are you talking about for demand general legion what what other aspects is there for the abm um execution yeah so in account based marketing i mean i would think about it in a few kind of distinct funnel stages where the first one let’s say that accounts you’re trying to reach are showing some intent you just need to be able to monitor that and begin to run those very top of funnel tactics advertising’s a good one just begin to nurture them make sure you’re creating brand awareness and and getting your name into the mix early in that project cycle then as you know the the process continues in an account that’s in a buying journey we’ll want to begin executing other tactics to reach them more aggressively so our platform is able to deliver up personalized website messaging so you know if a healthcare company versus a finance company comes to your home page making sure they’re brought down the right you know buying path but also uh triggering other things so triggering an email campaign in your marketo instance or triggering a gifting campaign if you’re if you’re tied into one of those direct mail vendors um so all those different channels you know that are appropriate to different funnel stages are going to be important for abm and as a platform what we’re trying to do is not replicate all those channels but be the orchestration engine that defines the buyer’s journey from top to bottom so we do you know own the advertising channel but if after that first you know touch or if you see the intent data increasing you want to trigger an email campaign a direct mail send an event invite or have sales reach out right away with a specific message we’re able to orchestrate sequence and create rules around those things as well so all those channels that have been relevant b2b i think will continue to have a place and we’re seeking to be again is the orchestration engine that keeps them all moving in the way you’d expect david you had your hand up i saw has the idg sales team uh been sort of pitching um your services in conjunction with their existing programs and if so are there any examples of some idg advertisers who have taken advantage of that combination yeah absolutely so that was a big part of our activity at the very outset was to make sure that um you know the whole organization was excited and able to capitalize on the advantage this has brought not just idg data coming into triblio but triplio solutions getting pushed into that into that sales team um so from an advertising perspective but also from some of our our sales engagement tools those things you know begun to be packaged up uh with other idg programs so when someone is buying let’s say like a lead gem program from idg now they’re also able to buy in conjunction with that ads to reach those specific people sales engagement data and tools to to help convert those people into pipeline so it’s really exciting um you know these these leads that come through now have more value wrapped around them more data wrapped around them from us and so when they’re getting handed off and worked we’re hoping to be able to deliver more value from those and would the idg sales person be able to act as a single point of contact or would there be also then a triplio sales person that would get involved yeah so it depends on the way that the the customer wants to engage with the services if they want to buy you know just some trivial solutions that are kind of wrapped into a legion program or an online event program they have they’re able to do that and they’ll just keep working with their idg rep as they engage that way but if they want to explore like a sas subscription they’re going to have to bring in a specialist who can do all the technical vetting and integration planning and those more long-term kind of you know road map-oriented conversations uh that our specialists are able to execute i was intrigued i saw your video you did about uh the fire approach you guys have i wondered if you could explain that a little bit and what’s involved there yeah so fire is an acronym that’s picked up in account based marketing for selecting and prioritizing accounts and so it’s an acronym as you’d expect so the f stands for fit is this company of a firmographic profile you know industry size geography that we know we can service well the i is for intent are they actually showing interest right now um and then r is for recency and e for engagement so is this a count across all four of those uh showing signals that would indicate we should be taking action on this account so you can think of kind of that f as more or less defining what’s the total market who’s everyone that’s a fit and then the more intent recency and engagement you can measure and layer on then the more and more uh priority and resources you’re going to dedicate to that account so we use that acronym and when working with customers let’s say that you’ve got you know a global sales team um of you know 100 sales reps and you want to make sure that all of them on a weekly basis are going to be working the the 5 or 15 best accounts in their territory and they’re showing the most intent even if it’s not if you know somebody who’s in your funnel already well fire is a way that we can kind of pull together a quick definition of what that is for the business and then be pushing those accounts out to the reps and they know why this account now and why the associated leads are showing up in their funnel to work it’s because they’ve already been pre-qualified from a fit perspective and we’re seeing that okay there’s intent data that says they’re in a purchase cycle they’re looking at a competitor they might be directly engaged maybe there’s you know they’ve attended a webinar there’s anonymous visits to the home page so all those four things together give us confidence to send you know sales reps uh and more dedicated marketing programs after those accounts and uh i think you also made the point that was interesting that a lot of companies start with a relatively small list of prospects like maybe they have 100 prospects or something and they can manage that in an excel spreadsheet pretty easily but then when they want to scale that up into the thousands or tens of thousands of companies that’s where you know a solution like yours kind of comes into play yeah exactly um so you have to have you know you have to be able to have you know data and then rules that you can execute uh if it is going to be you know thousands or tens of thousands of accounts that you have to prioritize and you want to be you know the first one in the door with those um it just takes a lot of processing and a lot of um understanding of you know what does the sales rep need ultimately to close the deal and what we saw in the early days of collecting all this account day account based data is that the reps don’t need a spreadsheet full of information that says well here’s every engagement point and here’s every uh you know every little movement that the account made they need to know which ones to focus on and so that’s that prioritization mechanism is it fit and is it intent and then what should i say when i reach out you know should i reach out to them about you know the service this product um you know where are they stuck in the buying process what’s their specific challenge and the engagement data allows us to deliver that to them as well so if a wrap at the end of the day knows that these are the 10 accounts that are most likely to buy in the next 30 or 60 days and here’s a message i can send to each one then they’re going to be off to the races and able to work really well so that really lifts sales productivity because there’s going to be an improved conversion rate from focusing on the right accounts and also from sending out the right message to those accounts we have to remember that in really large teams there’s a huge productivity lift just from automating this account selection process and a lot of organizations you know a bdr team might show up on monday mornings and spend that whole first day or a good part of it just putting their list together scrubbing it taking it to sales ops having it deduped with pipeline or customers or that’s a blacklist don’t touch that so all those processes are manual so you’ve got 100 people spending a fifth of their week just on day to clean up we can put a whole day back in the week of an organization and uh you know really see productivity gains from that too um another comment you made that i thought was interesting is that when you started triplio you didn’t consider yourself an expert on abm and really over the course of the last five years or so you’ve learned that from working with different marketers and you know their experiences i’m wondering if you can just maybe uh embellish on that a bit yeah i’d be happy to i want to make sure listeners know too that i’m not i’m not triplio’s founder but i was employee i was full-time badge number 10 so i got in the door pretty early but yeah you know our our approach always was to be customer-centric and that meant that we were going to be driven forward in the use cases we’re developing in in the tools that we were developing by the needs that they had by the problems they were solving and how can we just go after making those customers successful and trusting that success was going to build on itself if we were able to execute on that vision so what that meant is that everyone not just me as the customer success lead but you know our cto and sales people became deeply embedded in what was actually happening in our customers businesses understanding what are the problems and when they try to use this new tool what happens and what are the knock-on effects through the whole organization as different people start using you know these data these data points and these activation tools so we became i think experts in it through that through really trying to get into and augment our customers teams just be part of their business and you know we benefited immensely because we learned use cases we learned what works and what doesn’t best practices because we’re just sitting at you know the switchboard of a lot of abm programs understanding what’s working what’s not um so yeah you know five years in i think that you know certainly the customer success team uh but really the organization i mean you can talk to our developers and they understand the workflows that customers are trying to execute really really well it’s not just a line of code but they know that okay well there’s you know this guy you know sam is going to be using this tool you know next friday to try to like execute these things and they think about that business application and it makes all the difference in how we go about um you know building the product developing roadmap um and learning and and then projecting ideas out into the market so we we have this tool or this uh road show back in the day uh of live events that we would do called the abm uh tour and that was just uh sharing customer stories and not a single original thought and the whole thing really for me uh but just things i learned from others and it’s been a really great and fun way to build a business when you look out there at all the companies doing abm now are there any that stand out to you in terms of companies that are really using abm in an exceptional way or in an innovative way particularly um yeah i mean the the examples run the gamut um and certainly the ones i’m most familiar with um are our customers so we recently you know released a case study with a customer inspirity um who’s working on that problem i talked about how do we get a really large sales organization to be using uh fit data intent data engagement data to execute the right sales plays to the right accounts um on an ongoing basis and have that tied in with advertising with direct mail programs um and content development and all those types of things so organizations like that that are really pushing themselves to be better they’re great partners to work with because they’re going to bring their a-game to every status check-in and they’re going to expect us to be bringing our a-game to every status check-in and we have really aggressive goals we set with them you know we can uh you know speak to them about things we’re seeing that we think they could optimize because they’re not getting the most out of the tool and they can be really um good partners for us helping to see well you know what are ways that we could improve efficiency of something or a workflow so i i think that when i think of customers who are approaching abm right and doing really well the the profile that appears to me is the customer who has really engaged their vendors as partners and isn’t trying just to build out a little team of experts who just buys tools and then just uses them internally but someone who knows how to bring in the expertise that’s out there uh you know through vendors um and and uh partners and really you know pull everyone’s insights because right now it you know this is still a young strategy in the sense of you know the abm 2.0 not the the 20 year old version from itsma but what’s really been happening in the market the last five years best practices are still emerging how to get really large sales teams engaged with this is still emerging um how this interfaces with you know the current demand gen you know funneled of leads to mqls to sqls that’s still emerging so if you’re not pulling from all the smartest people that you can pull into the room you’re just not going to do as well and inspired is a great example of somebody who’s really been had their foot on the gas with doing that i love i love good case studies do you do you have some case studies um published on your website because maybe we can add some links yeah we do so a there’s a client stories uh section on the website so yeah we could just add that to the uh and i wouldn’t mind doing an interview with one of your clients too i always like hearing from them but yeah let them say how wonderful you are yeah absolutely yeah really fun um what what’s what’s going on in your world as far as everybody working from home now the ip addresses aren’t very useful anymore i assume um well they changed you know it’s funny because in the early days of building out our platform um we ran into a problem uh where somebody said hey you know we were you know running a campaign with you you identified this account uh as being you know this company but then we saw it show up the same device showed up later and you’re saying it was a hotel chain which is it so we would look into these device histories and we say oh of course like people are not at a desk like we’re at a desk right now they’re out there right there and so this one employee this one uh this one individual that we’ve been targeting and this campaign tracked that device and yeah they had been they’ve been working at a company but it i think it was a sales rep uh then had been at a conference and then was at a client site that was at another client site and they went back to the office so i p addresses were never this uh static data point uh that you could um just always know exactly what something was just by the ip address so back then we had to develop tools that built confidence scores that said okay you know yeah this this you know device right now is at logan airport but 45 or let’s say 80 of the time that we see this device you know it’s at boston consulting group headquarters so we’re going to say that’s the device even if we see it show up at you know mcdonald’s tomorrow so it’s uh the systems have to be smarter than ip addresses and what happened when everyone started working from home was a lot of those confidence engines got a flood of new data to work with and that did take a couple weeks to work out where it’s like okay well now we’re seeing this person usually from this this address instead we have two people who appear apparently work for different companies and they’re at home sharing the same ip address so all those things had to get worked through we have to adjust the confidence models we have to adjust you know which data points we’re giving the most weight to but ip addresses actually again are very useful for our system um but only because we had that system in place from years before of of building those confidence models on the fly and we’re kind of ready for the wave before it hit but yeah there was a huge surge of new ip data to be processing and you know scores to be recalculating for a good six weeks there yeah and what about cookies google’s gonna be getting rid of those at some point i guess there’s a threat but yeah everyone that you know the uh the cookiepocalypse is on the horizon of you know the third party cookies going away there’s a lot of strategies um that are being worked on for this for different partners um and different just other other vendors that we talk to um who who are in the ad space and need to be able to advertise so clearly you know being able to use the ip address data that we just talked about is going to be really important the fact that we can know what account somebody is from um and then use other things to to triangulate to who that might be and are they the right person to show an ad to the ip data is a foundation for that and so we’re really happy that we have really great tech in place for that but there’s going to need to be other technologies too i think you know the ad exchanges where people are sharing publishers are sharing data sets as part of an opt-in system is probably going to be on the rise but i think a lot’s still coming too you know google at the same time as they’re blocking these cookies they make a lot of money every year selling ads against those cookies so i think that you know they’re working hard on new solutions too that allow advertisers to still reach their goals um so i think it’s going to be something that’s positive for the market in the long run i think what we’re going to get from the googles of the world uh from the big dsps um is going to be higher quality data to work with um and then there’s going to be a transition period where where people are figuring things out um and where we’re trying out different strategies like we always are uh but i think in the end we’re gonna be in a better place with privacy and we’re gonna be in a better place with uh brand confidence with the ads you’re serving so probably a good change on the whole that’s coming our way and from a you know selfish standpoint you know at idg because we own these properties and can sell placements there directly we are a first party publisher uh with with a huge international audience so um it just increases the value of what we’re able to do for that it market too that’s a good point and then speaking of privacy so how does how does gdpr castle ccpa how does that affect you um well it affects you know certainly account based marketers differently uh you know any company that was operating in europe um and was you know taking these things seriously um you know their their databases uh were decimated in 2018 because they you know all of a sudden you need to have an opt-in permission on everybody that you’re going to contact and now you’re not able to do that anymore or you have to remove those people from your database where you don’t have the opt-in information so it has made um you know a few things more valuable it’s made you know the the account based kind of like ip targeting and these advertising is more valuable because you know you can just go into a system like triplio and say i want to reach people who are i.t or you know finance you know directors and above and you don’t have to have their data first you can just reach them and then hopefully they’ll go inbound and convert to you at the same time it makes it more challenging than for for sales teams sometimes to follow up because they you know internationally can’t just go to a contact vendor and buy a bunch of names because if those things haven’t been opted in for you um fortunately you know from a um an idg triplio standpoint uh because you know they’ve been in the kind of opt-in uh legion program space for so long for for us it means that we can actually just deliver something you know that is if you know even more consequential and important which is names that are opted in so when people engage with those programs that david was asking about earlier someone buys some leads from idg and then some other follow-on solutions from triglio part of that process is that we’re opting in those leads so you can take them put them in your crm and and not be facing you know gdpr action um after the fact um so i think that you know ultimately the regulation is making you know privacy better it’s making people or companies who have uh proprietary gdpr compliant data uh more valuable and so you know we’re planning to lean into that we think we have something really great to offer in terms of opt-in data um and that’s a strength for the next couple of years for us okay good i have one final question unless david has more but what does your crystal ball say about what next year and five years from now what is what is abm going to look like what are people going to be talking about sure i i do spend uh time thinking about this especially this time of year one of the things that i think is going to be most important is that right now in the abm space a lot of what you have from a data standpoint is just that it’s data and at the end of the day you know no one buys data for its own sake so the way i think of the transition that’s going to be happening is that we’re gonna be moving from uh companies selling account based data or intent data to selling you know discovery um and an insight to later on top of that it’s interesting if you look at buyer profiles or buyer surveys of companies and individuals who purchase intent data the number one problem they report having in most cases is operationalizing it okay i have the data now how do i use it and this is always the problem when you buy big sets of data am i getting the right value out of it am i seeing the right things so i think that the way that data is going to be serviced and sold in the future is going to be more about insight and discovery engines and things where the computer’s figuring out what to tell you instead of you buying a huge spreadsheet of information and figuring out what to do with it or hiring someone to figure out what to do with it so moving from data to discovery and insights is certainly one trend um i think that the you know positions of you know privacy first companies and strategies is going to continue to be a point of strength and anyone who hasn’t been taking gdpr seriously or is hanging on to the the last bits of kind of you know pre uh pre-privacy restriction selling um is going to be at a disadvantage so that’s certainly a movement that’s happening and then we’re going to have to figure out these new advertising strategies post cookie like you said so those are three big things i’m looking at um and that we have a focus on executing well uh probably you know we can watch this in a year and see how good that was but minimally those three things are going to continue to be important thank you david anything else i guess my only final question would be looking down the road again do you see idg ultimately just becoming a data company versus a publisher well the the publishing is where the data comes from and so i think that you know a move like that would mean that we’d figured out you know that there’s a better more valuable more efficient way to get the data that marketers need and to reach those audiences the way that we view it is though is not just that well the the publishing is a means to an end i mean that’s not idg the publishing arm of the business wouldn’t be successful in getting data if that’s how they viewed it they’re there to help buyers make great decisions and so the the media the editorial arm are laser focused on that um and so i i don’t think that publishing is going away it’s really important part of the mission of if you’re thinking about how you know we’re helping sellers on the data side but we’re helping buyers uh on the other side of you know serving up good information idc obviously as being part of that in the analyst firm so i think serving that entire kind of like purchasing process is going to remain important uh publishing is is going to change in some ways and that’s a different that’s that’s not my job to figure that out um but not just a move just to strictly data uh i think the other parts of the mission are too important great thank you so much really appreciate it yeah it’s absolutely great to speak excellent we look forward to talking to you soon okay bye thanks andrew

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