Sales and marketing events are pretty much a dime a dozen these days. Every one is the same old deal—big speakers you can never actually speak to, sponsors shilling their wares, lots of high-level content without a whole lot of real takeaways. I’m not saying these types of events don’t have value, but it just seems to be a particular kind of value that’s not always what I’m looking for.
Recently I attended one of the Sales Development Councils put on by TOPO. If you’re not familiar with TOPO, you should be. They’re a research and advisory firm that helps companies improve critical sales and marketing practices. These development councils they host bring together about 50 practitioners to listen to presentations from a TOPO analyst and two sales development leaders. Not a boring conference with people talking at you. It was a real, vibrant discussion about moving the needle in the industry.
Even the sponsorship approach is different. They call it “underwriting” and it’s no sleazy sales pitch that makes you roll your eyes. Underwriters get introduced, talk for a couple of minutes, and that’s it. No gimmicks. I have to admit, it was pretty refreshing.
Anyways, enough of my lovefest with TOPO events. Let me get on to the good stuff, the meat of the council I attended. The topic on everyone’s mind was account-based marketing and how it’s the next big thing in sales/marketing development. And I had to agree. I’ve been following this emerging trend over the past year, and it really presents some exciting possibilities for marketing automation practitioners like us here at LeadMD. In fact, we even published a white paper about it.
Account-based marketing (also called ABM) is really the next evolution in the concept of personalized sales/marketing, especially in the realm of automation platforms. I highly encourage you to read our white paper, but I’m also going to share some highlights about the practice so you can see why it was such a big topic at the TOPO event.
- It redefines the way sales approaches leads. The key to ABM is looking at your data and creating a deeper, more informed look at contacts, beyond simple engagement numbers. It’s a more efficient way of connecting, because you end up with a richer look at a full contact (which may be a company versus an individual) and what may lead them to buy from you.
- It tightens the alignment between sales and marketing. ABM encourages sales and marketing to work closely together to evaluate lead data, create a shared list of high-potential leads and prospects and target them with a highly specific approach.
- It’s the logical next step to what savvy practitioners are already doing. Sales and marketing automation has finally crossed the chasm from scary new technology to widely adopted practice. But these things are never content to languish. Account-based marketing combines existing marketing automation capabilities with new services like EverString and Lattice Engines that are just now cropping up, helping companies curate databases, improve lead scoring and better focus their content.
- It can give you a huge competitive edge (hint hint). It’s ok if you were a late adopter of marketing automation. I get it—it was a completely new approach to sales and marketing for the average business. Account-based marketing isn’t such a big leap. But it’s still new enough that if you jump on it now, you’ll be miles ahead of your competitors. Don’t sit back with a “wait-and-see” approach on this. Trust me.
In our hectic industry, we all need to be conscious of how we spend our time. That includes picking the right events to attend – events that offer solid takeaways and fresh information that can actually boost your sales and marketing. Before you plunge into another generic conference, take a look at what TOPO has to offer.
And if you’re interested in finding out about more high-value events? Make sure you follow LeadMD on LinkedIn and Twitter. We’ll keep you up to date on the latest tools, tactics and strategies in marketing and make sure you hear about the best events out there.
Meet Justin Gray
Justin is a serial entrepreneur and the CEO and founder of LeadMD, the world’s largest revenue operations agency having implemented over half of the Marketo user base. Justin has made a career of launching successful companies and scaling them, with successful exits of over 200MM+ in the last decade. Justin’s latest endeavor launched in 2016 when he co-founded Six Bricks an online learning startup designed to combat employee and customer churn through experience-based education. Over the past 10 years, Justin has emerged as a strong voice for entrepreneurship, marketing and culture. As a recognized speaker, Justin has been published over 350 times in industry publications and holds his own column, Tribal Knowledge in Inc., while writing for Entrepreneur, Tech Crunch and others. Justin and his wife Jennifer met over marketing and three years later welcomed their son, Grayson, into the world in April of 2017.