Interview with Marc Johnson

CMO and GM at Bombora

marc johnson cmo and gm at bombora
Video Transcript


hi this is Bob Samuels founder tech
connector tech connector is a
marketplace and campaign management
platform of Best of Breed account-based
marketing lead generation solutions
we’ve partnered with the serious
decision summit to bring you wisdom from
leading account based marketing thought
leaders to that end I’m happy to
introduce you to Mark Johnson chief
marketing officer of Bambara Bob boy is
a leading provider of b2b content data a
key ingredient and targeting
prioritization of account based
marketing efforts I had a chance to
visit with Mark in his office in New
York mark it’s a pleasure to speak with
you how are you today
fantastic how are you I’m very good it’s
a pleasure I’m here in actually sunny
New York and it’s a beautiful day and I
get to talk to you about account based
marketing so it’s all good so can you
tell the audience a little bit about
your background and you know what you’re
what have you seen along the way as far
as ABM yeah absolutely
so my background is a couple of decades
in selling data essentially I came from
businesses that understand consumer
behavior and generate data around that
consumer behavior and that started with
online shopping moved into
consumer-generated media and online word
of mouth online search data along the
way online panels point-of-sale data
some mobile data so all of that was
understanding and marketing to consumers
but selling – b2c oriented businesses
and so from a account-based marketing
perspective and it really started
you know for me and for the companies
that I work with with the product itself
with the data and understanding that by
definition certain data sets were only
applicable to certain different types of
so this retail point of sale data that
was about market share related to
consumer electronics wasn’t something
that you would sell to anybody that
wasn’t manufacturing competing in
consumer electronics so there’s almost a
default ABM approach and when I came to
Bambara in the early days it was I
started to learn more about how the B to
b2b businesses had or are formalizing
their approaches and evolving the
sophistication to b2b so some of it I
brought fresh eyes some of it I’m
learning as we go and haven’t been sort
of in this world for the past 20 or so
years so it’s every day’s a new day to
some extent your background and b2c my
understanding a lot of the lot of the
marketing technology is is more advanced
in b2c than b2b Bizu b2b is a little bit
of a laggard in that respect I would
agree it’s changing I’m that’s that’s
been the case I think historically b2c
has because of the competitive nature
because of the the investment there and
some of the sort of sexiness of
everybody wanting to innovate and get
the visibility that you get with both
consumer campaigns and consumer products
that that’s been then the case though
I’ll say coming from a more b2c
marketing environment to b2b and the two
things that are true one is that the
thoughtfulness and deliberateness of b2b
marketers is refreshing it’s rare to
have our customers or others come
screaming with the hair on fire to say
what’s our yo strategy talking about the
latest consumer app that’s going to be
hot for three seconds and then disappear
so there’s that approach and
in terms of looking at the entire buyers
journey lifecycle and all the different
touch points I’m finding at least that
that because there’s a longer sales
cycle and much higher price points that
b2b marketers are just investing more
time and energy and connecting all those
than typically and b2c which is
ultimately ones of being a lot more
siloed than b2b looks to be going
forward so account based marketing what
is your you’ve got an interesting focus
a certainly a bond board does what is
what is your take on ABM and what do you
see as the main criteria for a
successful campaign versus campaigns
that fall short
sure yeah interesting BOM Bora is we’re
a neophyte practitioner of account based
sales and marketing and we always try to
get sales and marketing in there or
marketing and sales and at the same time
we sit sort of right in the middle of
account based marketing process sales
and marketing processes and technologies
so we learn a lot from our customers as
well as our partners as it relates to
successful or or less so what I think
you know we’re seeing is two things is
that the idea of just account based
becomes table stakes for four brands for
b2b brands and the idea of call it agile
account based marketing in which those
target lists or target accounts and the
activities around them are constantly in
a dynamic way constantly changing and
being updated and refreshed and tweaked
and optimized based on signals and
whether those are you know whether you
put it in the fire fit intent recency
engagement framework or whatever your
acronym is
and the idea that account based
marketing and sales is not set and
forget with a list and just keep banging
at that list with the same tactics but
rather understanding what’s happening
and knowing that potential customers are
there they’re going to be changing where
they are in that sales cycle and you are
tweaking your behaviors and your
activities based on that so it’s a you
know a constantly self-learning process
in the best of situations and you
mentioned fire and for the folks that
aren’t familiar with that could you
explain a little bit about you know the
importance of the concept yeah sure so
fire is I’m not sure where it all came
from but there’s plenty out there I it
is the idea that recasting the process
and the framework by which you approach
or take an account based approach and
the first part of it is building a fit
model and taking a fit approach and
understanding what your ideal customer
profiles are and so basically building
the lists of companies or segments that
you want to sell to based on your own
historical knowledge both quantitative
and qualitative of who can benefit from
your product so what companies can
benefit from your products of course
that can generate quite a large universe
and the next one would be intent which
is those companies that are ideal fit
are the companies that could buy from
you but what are the ones that are
actually looking to buy a product or
solution in your category and for us
what we’ve seen historically is that of
any companies of any account-based list
about 15% are actually in market and any
given time which makes sense because
every company can’t buy every product
all the time so they go into these
buying cycles so when intent is layered
on top of a fit
or an ICP list then you narrow that down
by about 15 to 20 percent gives you a
more manageable and higher likelihood to
engage list of companies and then this R
which you know depending who you talk to
sometimes it’s recency the most recent
interaction of some type resident like
to also frame as a relationship do you
actually have some sales conversation
going on with that account is the RP s–
and that plays into what you’re doing in
terms of marketing and sales
interactions with those individuals and
that and that account and then
engagement which often ties to first
party engagement on your website or with
your emails and that sort of thing and
all those different stages inform what
you’re doing and give you sort of a
holistic view of of account based sales
and marketing there’s there’s two others
and I’m sort of personally trial-like
also consider one is and I changed the
fire and I put a scene in E and change
it from fire to fierce so like add more
accurate into it but the convert and
contract and what at what point you
actually establish a contractual
relationship is a key point in this in
this process and then the e after that
is this engagement and expansion and the
idea that for many particularly for us
customer success and advocacy and how
you ensure those customers grow benefit
and become second and third-order
customers is critical so I’m sort of
seeing it in this longer cycle so that’s
the that’s how I would describe both
fire and fierce and so that’s all
aspects of or different elements about
prioritization and helping make that
happen because you can’t go after all
the accounts and so it’s nice to be able
to prioritize and focus on the ones that
are or like I said a better fit more
intent and so forth so I suspect that
you’ve either done
yourself as a marketer or you’ve seen a
lot of marketers with ABM campaign so
you have some examples or case studies
that you can share as far as specific
companies that that did things really
smart as far as account based marketing
yeah sure I have one I have the worst
practice which we’ve done for sure one
is is to the point of having too small
on account list to the point that you
always need to be optimizing based on
and changing your behavior based on the
signals of these companies if you start
with two on too small of the universe
then you you can wind up with nothing at
the end of the day so that’s one one
thing that we’ve learned from our
customers who are much better than us
and I’ll call out like examples that
bullets that from from primarily from
customers so Mike Madden at Marketo has
been an amazing customer for us and
showing us in the industry how they’re
using intent data and ABM and one of the
the things that really stood out and in
their work is the simplification of what
you’re transmitting to sales reps and
distilling down from a lot of different
signals not only intent but also
third-party signals and getting it to a
single number or numbers or a single
unit that says you know call now and
that can be digestible and drives an
action at at the rep level rather than
presents them with a bunch of
information that they need to interpret
so he’s been amazing Ben Howell at
Salesforce in terms of aligning sales
activity and sales prioritization with
account based advertising and paid
social and the idea while this sounds
simple that the ads that are being shown
should be shown to people that are
interested on your account list and the
calls should also be going to those same
people so they’re reinforcing each other
so the the sort of real
fit of display not as as click-throughs
or direct response but rather as display
and paid social as reinforcing sales
activity so that alignment from been
we’ve seen it’s pretty amazing and then
finally heather sutherland at Cloudera
and stephanie Don Beck have been cloud
Air has been a an early early adopter of
Intent data and have showed us all these
ways that they’re getting it through
their whole ABM stack and the one which
literally brings a tear to my eye is
about field marketing and ABM the
account based approach with field
marketing and just in general field
marketing when the of sales leaders are
hammering away at these poor event
marketers report field marketers trying
to say like we got to do in Chicago we
got to do an event in Dallas no New York
no LA and it just becomes a free-for-all
for like who’s screaming the loudest of
where they should do this cocktail party
and taking not only an account-based
approach but also using a tent to say
what are the companies that are
interested what are the topics they’re
interesting and letting data drive field
marketing and event programming where
typically that’s been far far more
qualitative and subjective and so like
that’s that’s so cool and I don’t think
enough enough marketers are using that
so those are those are those are three
examples examples and I like I like the
first one we’re basically helping
distill the information down the less
data then more and because if you give
too much data then you can just get
buried and dizzy exactly exactly and for
us there are many different things that
go into the company surge score there
are multiple topics they can create a
cluster that really reflect the buying
behavior the research behavior inside a
company and the value in telling whether
it’s a wrap or marketer exactly what
they need to do versus the why all the
way upstream is
is where a ton of value is is created
for sure and I love the fact that you
can take the search data and not only
know that there’s some interests going
on about a topic but you can get some
insight about specifically what types of
things they’re interested in and so
that’s something to talk about when when
you give them a call yeah exactly and
and not only from a new customer
prospect point of view and increasing
the relevance of that conversation but
in account management and upsell and
retention and that’s another you know
example of what Marketo has done looking
at existing customers and if there’s an
increase in content consumption around
competitive solutions independent of
whether their contracts up or not that
would be a flag for account manager to
get in there and understand if there’s a
problem and they’re already starting a
competitive evaluation that’s a good
observation and and you know I get I get
caught into thinking that with the count
based marketing that’s all about
bringing in new new prospects but if the
reality is the the bigger value
potentially is the current current
customers and and growing them and
getting them deeper and and building the
relationship stronger yeah a hundred
percent and the sort of a
self-fulfilling prophecy in that if you
a unless you’re starting from scratch
you already have accounts that you know
things about and that seed list and
that’s even though doesn’t give it
enough credit those customers can tell
you the things that will help you get
more quickly to the next set of
customers on thus you know grow your
ideal customer profile one one thing
that we do pretty frequently with with
customers and prospects is say let’s not
squander that opportunity of your
existing customers so let’s go look back
in time at what they did and what
topics rather they researched prior to
becoming your customer and so that way
we can understand that whole buyers
journey in terms of the research process
and then go look for other customers
that look like that and so that model
again is like more about expanding the
existing customers you have but using
them to dictate your efforts going
forward to help you find look-alikes or
look like patterns or that sort of thing
beautiful good stuff so what is what do
you see if you have a crystal ball what
what is a BM changed a lot I mean you
know it’s its name to counts I mean it’s
been around since before us really but
the whole term of you know hope terms
new but what’s what’s changing now
what’s what’s the world gonna be like in
a year or five years if you can if you
can predict sure sure
well a year and I think I had seen from
Sirius or something that Steve Casey has
just said the ABM will die and it will
just be b2b marketing the Forrester and
I so I think that’s probably true is if
we do the Google Trends and like the ABM
just like perhaps AI the buzz worthiness
of the topic itself will be decreasing
ly interesting as it just becomes the
table stakes as I said earlier I think
and hope longer term in you know 2025 or
going forward like there’s a there’s a
less there’s less of everything and when
we talked earlier about only 15% of
companies are actually buying something
at any given time the other side of that
is 85% are not and yet we as marketers
and sales people are calling on those
85% so and every company is doing it
with high-powered nurture campaigns and
autodialers and doing and and now I love
chat BOTS but they’re basically turned
hyperaccelerated sales calls the minute
you get on a website and so the hope and
you know we’re trying to help do with
others is like by 2025 or beyond it’s
like your inbox is blissfully free of
things that are irrelevant to you and
rather an email will come in and it will
be relevant because it will help you in
a business process or a buying cycle
that you’re in today and the same will
be called the true of calls and ads and
so imagine a landscape where everybody
did a ton less but what they did had so
much more relevance and value that
everybody benefited from that and we
didn’t have as much of the problems we
had today around individuals just
ignoring phone calls and emails and
blocking ads and privacy issues because
data has been exploited and not provided
as much value to the end customer so I
hope we can get there by 2025 meeting up
a good point I mean not only is is it’s
having good data help you figure out who
to go after a new prioritize but who to
stay away from and who not to waste your
cycle not to piss off because they’re
not you’re not you know your solution is
not not relevant for them now a hundred
percent and that is that impacts on your
brand so it’s not just I didn’t get a
response what it was i intruded on this
person with something that wasn’t useful
to them and that experience is not a
positive one was associated with my
brand and every sales rep call that
we’re avoiding and we do the same thing
is diluted of our brand and of the the
broader industry and the practice of
sales and marketing frankly and and I
think the point that you alluded to as
far as what Sirius was saying is that
ABM I mean I guess a VM is not a program
it should be an aspect of everything you
do yes or a company a pro company
philosophy really and that from
the very conceptualization of the
company’s strategy and the products that
are built and the go-to-market approach
that you have a specific customer
problem and lit by you know cohorts or
customer profile in mind and that flows
through through everything and so yeah
it’s and and then when you get down to
the more tactical marketing level of
course you would have defined lists of
named companies and personas within
those companies so it’s both them as you
say it’s not uh it’s it’s either sort of
a broad company philosophy or tactically
just of course a matter of course for
b2b marketing going forward make sense
this is good stuff I appreciate you
sharing all this is there anything else
that I missed or any other many cool
tidbits of knowledge you can share
that’s a great question any yeah I think
the only final you know passing comment
is is back to that successful account
based sales marketing and and successful
probably everything in general requires
you to figure out what you’re not going
to do and restraint and that is the
opportunity both in using data and
having a more focused approach is that
being able to say no to things benefits
you as a brand to sales a marketer
because you can focus on the things that
work and it benefits everyone else
because it’s not something that creates
value so that sort of less-is-more idea
is is hard because we’re always focused
with growth and testing and doing it
whatever but but yeah to say to say less
but better is is probably the passing
shot I think it’s a shot and good stuff
mark it’s a pleasure thank you very much
thank you for coming