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Q&A w/ Matt Heinz and Jon Miller on Flipping Funnels

Flip my Funnel Austin is coming up in two weeks!

As a lead up to this hyper-cool event, I sat down with some of the biggest names behind the Account-Based “Everything” movement: Heinz Marketing’s Matt Heinz and Engagio’s Jon Miller.

I wanted to get their take on how ABM/E is getting traction with the companies they work with. More importantly I wanted to know the real rubber meets road stuff – I only care about the “how” and these two are a great place to start in that vein.

Before we even get into the Q&A I have to call out specifically how aligned both of these guys were around one message:

Relevant & personalized is at the core of account-based marketing.

It was really uncanny how much everything revolves around this core concept in ABM and it also speaks to why the term “Account-Based Everything” is starting to gain traction as a retort to the misnomer of ABM primarily focusing on marketing messaging. The entire customer journey is formed, facilitated, and focused around relevant, hyper-personalized messaging.

I love it.

So, to start off our Q&A I sent over a list of questions asking how ABM/E creates hyper-loyal buyers. No one seemed to like that spin. I still do. I strongly believe how we treat our customers before they become customers leads to great long term relationships. You teach people how to treat you. Regardless of Matt and Jon’s distaste for my attempt to spin into “loyal” “trusting” relationships, I’m still going to thread it in here and therefore I have the last laugh! (hahahahahaha) Kidding, but although the concept is perhaps a bit abstract, the answers they provided absolutely highlight how critical relevance is to long term engagement.

I started off by asking:

What are companies doing well in relation to the ABM transition?

Matt: The Account oriented thinking has really taken root with companies and it makes a lot of sense. Anytime we focus on one point of contact we set ourselves up for failure. With the Account level thinking we focus execution away from the individual and that alone is showing value.

Jon: Selecting relevant accounts seems to be something that most are doing well. There’s room for improvement here by applying a more data driven approach but we are seeing significant movement away from the ‘set it and forget it’ major account list thinking. The collaboration between marketing and sales has really improved as a result of ABM.

Next I wondered why marketing seems to be the poster child for ABM promotion. It really seems like marketing is becoming the center of the ABM universe. So, I asked: 

Is marketing actually at the center of customer relationships? If not, who is?

Jon: ABM has been the boing point for a resolution to the age old Marketing vs Sales alignment issue. Now more than ever Marketing is opening the kimono and collaborating with Sales to divulge signals and DNA that comprise the best client accounts. A move away from the insanity of spray and pray is a welcome change and one that sales has been happy to see take root. Now more than ever marketers are functioning with more of a sales brain.

Matt: I’d like to say that everyone owns the relationship BUT someone must own the success of this process. Marketing is developing more well-rounded buyer profiles and weather you call them personas or not they’re highly actionable and therefore sales is identifying with them. Sales enablement has historically fallen down as it has become product marketing but if TRUE marketing takes over we have the potential for marketing to step up and play cross functional roles. When it comes down to it sales is an ‘ok’ home for ABM stewardship, Marketing is better but the entire organization is best. ABM is a concept than needs the buy-in and participation of the entire organization.

This is great stuff and I can’t help but notice that the term ABM is being thrown around quite a bit.

Isn’t ABM just another buzzword?

Matt: Yes.

Jon: Yes.

Jon: Change requires unification and that’s why I like what the term ABM is doing in terms of unifying the collective brain around personalization. Human touch has to be a part of the equation and I don’t know if that was always clear in relation to other recent trends like Marketing Automation. Unlike some of the other flings in the B2B marketing space, ABM is as much offline as it is online. ABM execution is often the domain of sales and it all boils down to outreach, list selection and really solid process – if that takes a buzzword then so be it.

Matt: ABM is a necessary buzzword as long as it’s driving the right conversations. Listen, this stuff isn’t easy, we’ve all been talking about it for a long time. The cool thing about ABM is that the leading indicator of ABM success is the resolution of the age old sales and marketing alignment issues. We’re finally making some real progress there and it’s a great thing.

What excites you most about the #FlipMyFunnel conference?

Matt: #FlipMyFunnel extends into all areas of the business and that creates great systems. We’re not there yet but we have the momentum. When I see so many people getting together to talk literally about completely upending old mentalities that don’t deliver and implementing strategies that have been proven to work. FMF highlights the enormous opportunity out there – it’s exciting.

Jon: Account centricity makes sense and the movement creates motive. Any one person can say “no” when it comes to making a purchase, so single threaded relationships simply don’t make a lot of since from a longevity perspective. #FlipMyFunnel is creating that momentum and it’s highlighting the tactics and technologies that can help marketers facilitate this process. It’s a great place to be if you’re looking to fast-track success.

I’ve never spoken to anyone that said ABM/E doesn’t make sense, and for me, these interviews highlighted how much consensus there is around how these tactics simply work when done right. It is of course still interesting to see how far we have to go. Not a week goes by where someone doesn’t ask, “Should we be doing this ABM thing?”

But that’s marketing, there’s so much muscle memory built around lead generation it’s going to take some time to wean the community at large off of those funnel mentalities. As Jon also pointed out, it actually is a bowtie and lead generation still has it’s place, certainly for smaller ticket sales and accounts.

Transactional process isn’t going away, it’s just aligning to where it makes sense. At the end of the day that’s exactly what marketing, sales and any other process needs, a good dose of reality.

If you’re interested is stepping out of the conceptual and digging deeper into the practical you can join us as well as other leading edge companies at FlipMyFunnel Austin on June 7th.

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