On this week’s episode of the Marketing Evangelist Network, LeadMD CEO, Justin Gray, welcomes Derek Slayton to the show. A self-described, “career B2B marketer & product guy, technology enthusiast, soccer-dad, believer in doing all-things-mountain-related”, Derek also recently joined Terminus as CMO. In this chat, Justin and Derek dig into all things ABM and modern marketing performance.
Time Stamped Show Notes:
00:58 – Tell us a little bit about yourself and Terminus?
04:15 – What is the narrative that Terminus supports in terms of, an organization that thinks ABM might be right for them?
06:43 – What early ABM metrics do you typically recommend to set organizations up for success? Also, how do you accurately set expectations for marketing teams as they change, fundamentally, what they have measured previously?
9:02 – One of the predominant themes we’ve often seen arise is, organizations “keeping the lights on” with the old demand generation funnel as well as knowing that some of their accounts are better treated through an ABM go-to-market. How do you recommend balancing both these concepts?
10:56 – Tell us about the evolution of the Terminus platform and what you guys are prioritizing in order to meet the needs of ABM marketers?
15:44 – Traditional CRM and Marketing Automation platforms cannot fill in the data gaps needed for an ABM strategy. How long do you think before someone like Salesforce tries to plug in those data gaps?
18:50 – Given the rise of ABM, do you see any solution on the horizon as it pertains to good B2B data stewardship?
22:38 – What are you seeing as the state of overall marketing talent? What are some of the things you look for within a well-rounded, modern day marketer?
25:54 – You have CMO’s that come from a more traditional background that have grown in marketing 20 to 30 years in the seat vs. the modern day CMO who may have come up from the operational side of the house and they understand data architecture. Which identifies better with your background and do you have an opinion on whether one works better than the other?
29:40 – We’re in the middle of an exercise at LeadMD right now, where we are talking to customers and asking them, “What is our culture, how does that culture impact you, what feedback would you give, and how can we more closely align to our brand promise?” Did you have those types of conversations coming in as the new CMO at Terminus? Was that something that was intentional during the interview process and important to the organization?
31:32 – What were some of the indicators that allowed you to say, “We’ve got some work to do on our brand?”
33:24 – Taking ABM off the table for a moment, what is the most exciting trend in marketing to you right now?
37:22– As a CMO, what keeps you up at night?
39:14 – Where can people go to learn more about Terminus, connect with yourself, and just consume better ABM best practices?
4 Key Points:
- There are 2 important components to think about when putting an ABM strategy together.
- Make sure sales and marketing are aligned about ABM
- Have a measurement system in place before starting
- ABM vs Demand Generation. It’s not either or, you want do both. It’s a balance, you still should capture new names to identify strong accounts.
- The 2 biggest pain points for ABM strategies.
- Data gaps and disparate systems holding that data.
- Measuring activities to understand how accounts are progressing at an account level.
- An exciting trend in Marketing today. The strategic role marking has in the B2B space. A lot of people that have grown up in marketing are taking on chief revenue officer jobs, or chief growth officer jobs, or even chief operating or chief executive jobs, because the role of marketing in B2B has become a lot more strategic.
Our favorite quote from the episode:
“I’m pretty passionate and opinionated on the whole data side of the house. I actually think we’ve created this problem in marketing. We’ve built databases of nonsense that we’ve measured as intrinsically valuable and it has never been organized in a way to actually help us move our business forward in a productive manner. “
Looking for more marketing expertise? Check out more of our favorite Marketing Evangelist Network videos!
Justin: Hey, hello, and welcome once again. You are on Marketing Evangelist Network. Today I’m joined by someone that has a lot of first hand experience within a topic that is near and dear to all of our hearts, account-based marketing. So, welcome to the show, Derek Slayton from Terminus. Derek’s the CMO over at Terminus and again, Terminus is doing some really interesting things in the ABM space, so I’m excited to have him here today. Welcome, Derek.
Derek: Thanks, Justin. Glad to be here. Looking forward to talking about my vested interest and also innate curiosity around account-based marketing.
What is Terminus? Tell us a little about yourself!
Justin: Awesome. So with that, give the audience a little bit of an intro to yourself and what Terminus does. I know you’re fairly new in that role, so maybe a little bit of a window into what an average day looks like for you.
Derek: Sure, as you mentioned, I am the CMO here at Terminus. We are an account based solution for B2B marketers, where our platform looks to drive more revenue to their sales teams. It is focused on taking an account centric approach to how you identify your best markets, connect with your best future customers, engage and activate the relationship, and then measure the results of that program from an account based perspective. We built our platform with a set of capabilities that plug into your CRM and your marketing based solution, to help you, as a B2B marketer execute programs on an account centric premise, and measure the results of those programs over time with the ability to drive quality growth and quality revenue for your company.
As you mentioned, I have been at Terminus for about eight months now. I joined last year in August and was really getting up to speed throughout the year. Now, I finally own the budget and this is my year to shine. All the pressure sits firmly on my shoulders now as a CMO that turned over into the calendar year. We are doing a ton of account based stuff internally. We’re also mixing that with a bunch of inbound efforts as well, because it’s not a religious discussion, account based monitoring, it’s a blended discussion around how do you find the best accounts, but how do you help them find you too.
My focus over the last eight months has been working on evolving our brand, our demand generation efforts and how we embrace partnering with sales to drive demand inside the right target accounts for them. I joined from Dun & Bradstreet, where I ran the sales and marketing line of business, they were acquired from a company called NetProspex, which was a contact management solution for B2B companies. We were acquired at Dun & Bradstreet in 2015, less than three years at DNB, and then jumped back into start-up life, cause I love working hard for less money. So, that’s my story.
Justin: Don’t we all.
Derek: Yeah, right?
What is the narrative that Terminus supports in terms of, an organization that thinks ABM might be right for them?
Justin: It’s got to be an interesting position to be in. Essentially, you are the ideal customer profile for Terminus right? So you’re serving as a window into what the CMO cares about, and a lot of times, what they’re working on in conjunction with a CRO or a VP of sales as organizations try to implement an effective ABM strategy. I know that you guys just rolled out your account based blue print, which is a new content piece that again, looks to assist organizations that are considering ABM, or maybe already down the path a bit in terms of their ABM journey in adopting best practices. So, I see that’s one of the areas you guys touch on, how do you get started with ABM? That tends to be a really predominant question that we run into, both with clients, as well as organizations that we are speaking to, and there’s so many different ways that I see people starting to head down this path.
A pilot seems to be the predominant concept, and of course, I have my opinions about those as well, but what is the narrative that you guys are really supporting in terms of, an organization that thinks ABM might be right for them? How do they explore if that’s truly the case?
Derek: Yeah, I think for me Justin, there’s two main components of making sure you’re getting off on the right two feet when you’re going down an account based initiative within your company. The first one is to make sure this is a sales and marketing driven initiative, it’s not just a marketing driven initiative, where sales is not fully bought in and understanding of the process and the implications of the partnership that you’re going to be asking the team to embrace account based for whatever segment of the market, or your entire go-to-market, depending on how you’re looking at it. So, make sure that we’re aligned and agreed, that account based is something we want to explore, that these are the segments of which we’re going to explore it, and even that these are the target accounts, and the targeted sales team that are going to be focused around our efforts and benefiting from our effort. That’s step one.
So as you’re down that process, make sure you’re not on an island, and make sure you’re partnered up with your sales counterpart, and you have the teams working well together to understand the journey you’re on.
The second piece for me is also, make sure you have a measurement system in place before you get, started, because if you can’t show at the end of the process how this thing is doing, then you’re going to be caught, just having a lot of qualitative discussions around why we think it worked. The one thing that I’ve learned being a practitioner of this, and also working with hundreds of customers that we have that are doing it themselves, is that the metric system and the measurement kind of capacity for account based is necessarily different from what customers have embraced in the past. So, traditionally, most folks look at MQLs or Elite Funnel or something like that, and when you adopt really a more narrow focus to the market around account based principles, you have to be prepared to measure things a little bit differently, you have to be able to keep a little score card in terms of determining what success looks like, and how you’re measuring success across the journey for early engagement to actual purchase.
So, those will be the two main components to think about as you’re embarking on the journey that we see as being critical to being successful at the end of the journey.
What early ABM metrics do you typically recommend to set organizations up for success? Also, how do you accurately set expectations for marketing teams as they change, fundamentally, what they have measured previously?
Justin: Any early on metrics that you recommend to organizations, to set both the organization up for success, as well as set expectations accurately as they change, fundamentally, what marketing has measured previously?
Derek: I think the one that comes up over and over again, is this concept of account engagement, and that’s a very different measurement than number of leads. If I’m marketing in an account based practice to a set of 300 accounts, what’s my hurdle to count that account as being an engaged account versus an unengaged account. So there’s a bunch of different ways you can so that. We have one within our software that helps identify when folks are engaging through your digital and physical channels that helps marketing show the company where the early returns of an account based approach are showing progress around that engagement mechanism. I just think having the sales team understand how to look for that, how to interpret that engagement metric, and then how to think about that, compared to what they used to see, which was the number of qualified leads that came in last week is really important. So getting people aligned around that metric.
Then the other piece is, as you’re going down this path, our successful customers almost always set up a cohort of accounts that’s similar, but not being treated with account based practices, so that they can measure the lift on account based versus non treated accounts at a representative set of the market that is similar. I think that’s really important because what we’re actually trying to do here is surround a set of accounts with a series of marketing and sales resources, and show that by doing that, we have an incremental lift over the status quo. Doing that is another key piece from the metric side.
How do you balance traditional demand generation vs ABM go-to-market?
Justin: One of the predominant themes that often arises that we see, and I’m curious to see if you guys are seeing something similar, is that dichotomy between the old demand generation funnel and wanting to keep the lights on so to speak, want to keep that flow going, as well as knowing that some of these accounts are better treated through an ABM go-to-market, they need to embrace a more hyper personalized approach to get these larger sized deals. How do you balance those two concepts?
Derek: Well, I think it is a balance, and you used the right word there for sure. Even from my observation coming into Terminus was that we were over rotated on account based and not enough aware of or appreciative of the power of being in the places where your best customers are going so they can find you, even if you haven’t identified them as a named account yet.
Derek: I think you do have to balance how you think of account based practices, which is really targeted outbound, and then how you look at measuring some of your inbound channels around your targeted addressable market, and ensuring that you’re filtering inbound in a more strategic way, so that it’s not just somebody, anybody, everybody, it’s actually understanding the people who are showing up that do look like accounts, and when you can tie those interested parties back to accounts that fit my target profile, then I’m going to count them as good too. It’s not either or, you want do both.
Tell us about the evolution of the Terminus platform and what you guys are prioritizing in order to meet the needs of ABM marketers?
Justin: So, I normally shy away from talking too much about the technology of the guests that we have on these shows, but I think that the state of ABM is just really interesting in that, not only is the best practice go-to-market strategies being defined, but also the technology that supports it. So I am curious to get your take on the Terminus platform, which for those of you that aren’t aware, has really evolved out of targeted and programmatic display advertising, and getting that message in front of a really, one or a few accounts versus the normal display strategy, which is kind of one to many. So, not that that’s not important, but it’s evolved from that focus, right? So tell us a bit about that evolution, and what you guys are prioritizing in terms of the platform, to be able to meet the needs of the ABM marketers.
Derek: I think for us, one of the core engagement levers that we think is an important one to pull for our customers, is the ability to be brand aware through digital channels inside of your target accounts, with the decision makers and decision influencers in as tightly as focused way as possible. I just think, with all the noise in the market, the status of your inbox, my inbox, emails serves a purpose, but it’s not necessarily going to break through, and it is this kind of rising tide lift all boats approach, and digital engagement is an important one. So, we obviously have the nexus of the company was around better targeted, more performant, digital engagement advertising based on who the account was, who the people were within those accounts, where that account was in its journey of buying my solution and serving relevant content through the browser to those individuals in a way that’s much more targeted, and much more efficient.
That is still a big part of what Terminus does every day for our customers. However, there’s a whole bunch more to a company’s marketing now than just that. I actually think if you go and sit down with a bunch of practitioners out there, their biggest pain isn’t necessarily around driving targeted ads. I think they always feel like they’re doing better but they’re never perfect there, that’s just the nature of the advertising business, candidly. The 50 percent quote.
Justin: That’s the third time this morning that quote has been used, I’m not kidding you, and it’s 11:30 where I’m at, so.
Derek: I didn’t use the entire quote, but yes. Actually, if you go and sit down with these folks and ask them what their biggest pain is, in many cases it’s at the front and back end of the program. One is, how do I drive a data oriented strategy around account targeting segmentation of my targeted market, and using increasing amounts of intelligence to identify the companies who are in market, and who I should be pursuing today, right? The marketing teams have this massive challenge of, I’m getting data from this temp provider, I have my own first party data, I have other stat that I think might be indicative of probable, likely fit for what we’re doing.
The ability to kind of put all that data together, and tie it to an individual account, and drive a segmentation strategy around that, is really freaking painful. So that’s just where a lot of cycles get burned, and not only that, it gets done in silos, so I’ve got my email team doing it one way, I’ve got my advertising team doing it a different way, I have my field marketing team doing it a third way, and I’m not even at my sales organization doing it an entirely different way. So being able to pull all that data into a hub, which is a word I use specifically, because we have an account hub in our platform that helps bring first party data in with third party data, and give the marketing team the ability to drive analytics and intelligence around segmentation and targeting, and then use that cohort of accounts to activate it out in multiple channels in an organized way, which is one of the key value creators of the platform.
The other end of the bookend, is just using that ring fence around those accounts, how do I then measure all of the activities I’m going to deploy against those accounts, and understand how those accounts are progressing at an account level. Not in an email level or a lead level. At the actual account level, and aggregate individual activities and responses and website visits and downloads, etc., to the account and then showing the representative of engagement of that account within the score card. I think those two bookends are where a ton of time gets sunk at inefficiencies exist for customers.
Traditional CRM and Marketing Automation platforms cannot fill in the data gaps needed for an ABM strategy. How long do you think before someone like Salesforce tries to plug in those data gaps? What are the differences you felt between being a CMO and a marketing leader?
Justin: Yeah, it’s kinda crazy when you look at these fundamental systems like CRM and marketing automation have been designed with such a lead centric view of the world, and for years it was a challenge, it was a bit of an operational struggle, but when you approach something like ABM, it’s detrimental, right? We just can’t get the visibility that we need, the operational backend, in terms of routing, scoring, the visibility that you mentioned. How do I understand that buying committee and that account as a whole is just something you frankly you can’t do. I think the question that always comes up for me is, there’s a lot of platforms like Terminus…well there aren’t a lot, I shouldn’t say that, there’s like two like Terminus that are filling those gaps in a somewhat comprehensive manner. What’s the conversation like internally, and what do you feel about how long the runway is before someone like a Salesforce tries to plug these gaps, or do you think they’ll take more of an augmentation, kind of a best breed, and work with those partners.
Derek: Well, number one is people have built their business kind of on the backs of their CRM in many cases. I think if you look, 15, 10 years down the road, all this stuff lives within my go-to-market platforms in some way, shape or form. Just having been, like I’m 18 years in the tech industry now, I’ve seen a ton of consolidation, it always feel like things gravitate towards the platform eventually, right? How long that takes, I can give you one man’s opinion, but that’s just my opinion. I think it’s going to take longer than most people think, because I think just having been, like I’ve been acquired by Citrix Systems, I got acquired by Bradstreet, and knowing what the internal software development cycles look like in big companies, it’s just really hard for those companies to innovate in a way that give customers tangible, new capabilities, beyond just continuing to drive their core business forward.
So I do think there’s a breed of technology that’s emerging around account centricity, and how does that plug into my CRM or my marketing automation systems so that I can be account centric and still leverage the arms and legs I already have, and aggregate the data I’m already collecting. I think it’s going to be years before those platforms really start to showcase features around account based. Even if you look at Marketo getting acquired by Adobe, and the way that they’re treating that acquisition. It’s very much still you’re over there doing your thing, and we’re still doing the core Adobe stuff here, and I don’t know how long that will even take them even to integrate traditional marketing automation into the other marketing cloud that Adobe owns.
Given the rise of ABM, do you see any solution on the horizon as it pertains to good B2B data stewardship?
Justin: Yeah, that’s a great point. So, you mentioned something else which is always near and dear to my heart, and is absolutely fundamental for ABM, which is the state of B2B data, right? I’m curious to get your opinion on where we’re at as marketers in terms of solving for this predominant problem, and if there’s one thing that’s ubiquitous and just, you can’t get ten marketers to agree on anything, but the fact that data sucks. And it’s strange that it’s such a predominant and agreed upon gap, and yet we seem to spend so little time, money and effort really solving for that gap. Most of the time, we’re seeing net new data acquisition being the blanket strategy, and the existing stuff is just kind of going to the wayside. Meanwhile, we’ve got transient buyers, we’ve got visibility that we need to understand, we need to understand relationships from company to company, how our relationships thread into those organizations, and it’s so challenging given that state of B2B data, so given the rise of ABM, do you see any solutions on the horizon as it pertains to good B2B data stewardship, or is this just kind of a heavy lift that every organization has to either prioritize or not.
Derek: Actually, I think it’s funny. I have to be careful not to jump off a cliff to my past life on this subject, because I’m like you, I’m pretty passionate and opinionated on the whole data side of the house. I actually think we’ve created this problem in marketing. We’ve built databases of nonsense that we’ve measured as intrinsically valuable and it has never been organized in a way to help us move our business forward in a productive manner.
Justin: Yup, absolutely.
Derek: Actually, if you look at consumer space, the data problems are real there. The number of males 18 to 30 years old in Nebraska, right? It’s a huge number, right? Marketing and selling to somewhere between two and 10,000 accounts, is a lot, if you are really thinking about the business. I think account based actually helps narrow that down, it’s like lets focus on the stuff that matters, let’s be tight on our ICP, let’s come up with segments of our ICP that we’re going to market to and sell to for a specific purpose, because they have this problem, or they’re showing this behavior, or they purchased this thing, or we’re launching this product, etc. Then you start to orient all of your data that you collect around that account centric strategy, and the problem becomes a lot more simple. We try to help customers with this in the account hub. So, find your accounts pull in intelligence about those account…be more relevant in your messaging gambits.
So I just feel like we’ve been moving towards this for a decade or more, and unfortunately the whole metric system in marketing has been oriented on, kind of email addresses, for B2B, and now I think the evolution of tech and data has allowed us to be a lot more knowledgeable about entity intelligence, and we just need to stop worrying about email addresses and start worrying about domains, right? To some extent. And orient our data aggregation policies on that. And that’s actually how most sales people operate anyways right? So, it just also furthers that alignment gap. Anyway, like I said, I have a lot to say about data. I better stop there, or I’m going to need another 45 minutes.
Justin: Yeah, I think strangely, the world of predictive and data modeling and so on, has also exposed this huge gap, because it’s solid technology that a lot of organizations just can’t leverage because they just don’t have the fundamental underlying data to produce real insights. But, strangely, that space is starting to solve for that problem as well, you see these predictive solutions that are coming in and mining inboxes, and mining your social connections and profiles, and automatically bringing that data into CRM. So at the end of the day, it might be the solution that exposes the problem that ends up solving the problem. But there’s a lot of ground to cover there, obviously.
Derek: Yup, without a doubt.
What are you seeing as the state of overall marketing talent? What are some of the things you look for within a well-rounded, modern day marketer?
Justin: I also want to get your take on another thing that ABM has really exposed, which is the talent gap that we always talk about and have to deal with day to day. We see so many marketers now with LinkedIn profiles that state, “ABM ninja, and account-based marketer, and director of account-based demand,” and so on. Certainly chasing the trend of ABM there. What are you seeing as the state of overall marketing talent? I’m curious to get your opinion on that, and also how you navigate that and how you hire, and maybe some of the things that you looked for within a well-rounded, modern day marketer?
Derek: Well, I think number one, I’m older than I pretend I am for sure, but definitely starting to see these digital natives now be not just brand new entrance to the workforce, but they’ve been in the workforce now for five to ten years, so they actually have real experience, and they have fairly deep digital social data centric kind of capabilities that they’ve brought to the workforce. So I do see the problem of the skill gap really reducing, in my opinion. I think where some of the bigger gaps are when you think of the movement to being an account based organization, is it requires some of the marketers who have been traditionally focused on running marketing really well, to being able to have that dialogue with sales.
Derek: And if you’ve grown up in marketing in the last 15 years, you’ve kind of grown up in this era of kinda the marketing and sales dissonance, which is like, sales does one thing, marketing tries to help, sales doesn’t think they’ve helped enough, marketing doesn’t think sales gets it, right? There’s kind of just this lack of trust that has been fostered through some of the measurements, and some of the practices that have been used in both those organizations. So I think actually, the ability to drop those pretenses, and actually have some sales experience is something that I think from a marketing standpoint that I look for, is someone who’s spent time in the trenches or spent time in the field, whether it’s in a marketing role or a sales role, and can leverage that experience so that when they sit down with the sales counterparts, they have that credibility instantly, which makes all the different in the world, frankly, and they can build that relationship.
I think these are some of the skillsets that are increasingly needed, as opposed to ten years ago, just when you were more like, “Do you understand digital or not,” right? Most marketers maybe didn’t really understand it, so it was a very difficult proposition to do great digital marketing. That’s why agencies got really big in digital marketing because they could bring in all the talent and then they could farm it out to big organizations that didn’t have it. Now I actually think more of the workforce is digitally native, and can handle that better.
You have CMO’s that come from a more traditional background that have grown in marketing 20 to 30 years in the seat vs. the modern day CMO who may have come up from the operational side of the house and they understand data architecture. Which identifies better with your background and do you have an opinion on whether one works better than the other?
Justin: As a CMO, and we were having this conversation prior to hopping onto this video, working with the client on their messaging, going through their messaging exercise, and they sell the CMOs, and they were talking about CMOs that have come from a more traditional background, and have grown up in marketing, 20, 30 years in the seat, versus those more digital natives that have graduated, they’ve come up from maybe the operational side of the house, and they understand data architecture, they understand how systems work together. But potentially have less of the traditional marketing experience, right? The product positioning and the branding types of skill sets. Do you, I guess number one, which identifies with your background, I think I know the answer to that already, and do you have an opinion on whether one works better than another?
Derek: Yeah, I think, it’s funny, because historically I come from a more product technology background. My first gigs were in IT management software companies, so it was very much about understanding the tech and the solution, and the way that it drove innovation and intellectual property around a better way to do something. As opposed to my logo, and my brand, and my customer experience. And then I grew into demand centric roles, so I’m very much more of a demand and product person versus a brand person. And I’ve spent zero time of my career on consumer brands or there four P’s, and I just didn’t grow up in that environment, so I have less relevant experience there. Although I will say, that one of the things that I’ve been working on real hard here at Terminus, since I joined, is re-evaluating our brand promise, our brand look and feel, and being really tight on the value proposition that we want to embody, not only with our product, but with our marketing material and our sales process.
I think number one is, you have to know in today’s world how to drive demand. I actually think that’s the core capability of the marketing function is how to bring my story to relevant people that have the problem that I help solve. And that is demand generation, I think; however, you need to understand how you differentiate your message, how you connect with people based on their bias versus your bias, what your brand promise is, and really be tight on defining for the company, when we talk to the market, these are the words that we say, this is the tone we use, this is the proposition we present, this is the experience we want to deliver. So I actually feel like, because of the market places we operate in are so crowded, if you don’t have control and real deep understanding for brand, it doesn’t matter how good you are at pulling the levers of demand, you’re not going to break through the noise.
I think I answered your question, and then unanswered it with my second part, but I do think it’s kind of like most things, it’s a need for understanding both sides of that equation
We’re in the middle of an exercise at LeadMD right now, where we are talking to customers and asking them, “What is our culture, how does that culture impact you, what feedback would you give, and how can we more closely align to our brand promise?” Did you have those types of conversations coming in as the new CMO at Terminus? Was that something that was intentional during the interview process and important to the organization?
Justin: Yeah, absolutely agree. Now one of the elements of brand that I think is, whether we want to blame this on millennials, as we blame a lot of things these days, or some of other factor, the notion of brand has expanded certainly beyond the definition that we would have given to it ten, 20 years ago, into culture, right? And I think that’s one area that stand out for me as it relates to Terminus, and something that you guys have done really well, which is bringing to the forefront, what is the culture of the organization, how does that impact the decisions you guys make, how does it impact the way that you serve your customers.
We’re in the middle of an exercise like this for LeadMD right now as well, where we’re talking to our customers and asking them that question, “What is our culture, how does that culture impact you, and what feedback would give us, how can we more closely align to that ‘brand promise’.” I’m curious, being a CMO that has come into the role, obviously you weren’t there at the beginning of the company, but you’d had to pick up that promise, potentially modify it a bit, put your own stamp on it and amplify it. What were those types of conversations coming in? Was that something that was intentional where during that interview process, or those early conversations, was something that was very important to the organization that they were concerned, or were adamant that you identify with, and be able to perpetuate?
Derek: Yeah, it’s a great question, and I think actually coming in, going through the process of talking to the guys here and deciding whether or not this was a place I wanted to come and work, and whether or not they actually wanted me to come here too. It wasn’t like we identified, like come in and figure out our brand. But I did identify as one of the ideas I brought to the table was that, we have this now significantly broader value proposition to the market, where as we used to be, as you mentioned, really fun and ground breaking and though provoking in account based marketing, and we helped you manage your digital advertising in a much more efficient way. And we were easy to do business with and we gave you a very approachable price point, and we brought a bunch of customer success resources to the table to make sure you were more productive in your digital advertising.
The way the company had evolved, was now we had this much more capable platform, we were pulling in data, we were giving you targeting and segmentation capabilities, we were using analytics and driving better decisions around that. We’re also providing measurements, and giving your CMO something they might look at on a daily weekly basis. And when we looked at the core assets of the brand, and the way that the brand was represented in the market, and really your brand is what customers say about you, it’s not what you say, customers say about you. We were misaligned, our product was way ahead of our brand. In fact, I think I had that on one of our early board deck slides was, product was here, brand is here, and we need to move the brand here. We can’t meet in the middle.
What were some of the indicators that allowed you to say, “We’ve got some work to do on our brand?”
Justin: What were some of those indicators. I’m curious, as your plotting that out, what are some of those indicators that allow you to say, “We’ve got some work to do?”
Derek: Well, one of them was just, we had let our brand get out into the wild and just find its way, there was very little, we hadn’t really managed it aggressively, the way you really should, and also just some of the style decisions we had made, the look and the feel. I’m not really a big look and a feel guy, but it just didn’t align. We were offering a very sophisticated, componentized solution that offered huge value, and we didn’t look like something you would bet your account based practice on.
Justin: Right, right.
Derek: We wanted to level that out, and just tighten it up. Then also, we were expanding what we were asking our marketing and sales teams to say to the market, and so that was an opportunity say, we’re revising our message anyways. Our messaging in no longer ‘run better digital ads’, our messaging is ‘run better account based initiatives on our platform’. And so therefore we need a different set of assets, and… So you start to get this scope creep of product marketing to corporate marketing, and you realize well, this is a great opportunity for us to just do it all at one. And then it gives you the forcing function to say, okay, this is what we want our brand to actually represent in the market, let’s go and do it. And that was kind of the way we worked through it. So it wasn’t like I showed up with, here comes a new brand, and like every CMO, here comes a new website. It was really kind of a… In fact, there were people on my team who surface it to me as part of their observation. So there was pent up demand in terms of that.
Taking ABM off the table for a moment, what is the most exciting trend in marketing to you right now?
Justin: Got it. Got it. So, taking ABM off the table, cause I feel like that’s going to be the cheat answer here. What’s the most exciting trend in marketing to you right now?
Derek: Yeah. It’s a great question, I think I’ve said this before as well, but I still think it’s the case, and it’s really for me it’s the role of marketing in B2B. I think I am increasingly asked to participate in more strategic conversations within the company around customer experience, or product strategy, which I know is a little bit probably necessary in my case, cause we represent the buyers of our product, and that might not be every bodies. But even still, our opinions on product road map, product direction and how we competitively differentiate, and what’s happening in the market at much more expansive than in previous times in my career. So just taking the go-to-market strategy, how we think about sales channels, how we structure demand units and fulfillment units around selling to that market.
I think the role of marketing for me in B2B has just gone from go run my events, and make sure the logo looks good, to participate in the corporate strategy. Obviously I have a vested interest in that being the case, but I think its a continued trend that I see. I think you see a lot more marketers, or people that have grown up in marketing taking on CRO jobs, or chief growth officer jobs or even chief operating or chief executive jobs, because the role of marketing in B2B has become a lot more strategic. An that’s pretty… I think that’s exciting. I think at the end of the day, most good marketing teams are really looking for one thing, and that’s actually efficiency. That’s what we’re wired to do, it’s how can I spend less and get more? That’s actually directly aligned with what your CFO wants to do and what your CEO probably wants to do. So I think we have the organizational chops to participate there, and I think now we’re actually getting the opportunity to do so, which is fun.
Justin: For so long, marketing has asked for that seat at the revenue table, and I think there’s definitely some heart burn that occurred just discipline wide because of that request on both sides of the equation. But we see more marketers not only fitting into that role, but as you mentioned, also expanding into other areas of the business, because marketing truly is the thread that hold these different areas and disciplines together, and so it’s only right to serve them in that capacity.
Derek: I think we have an obligation to so that in a way that serves the company, and not make it a territorial thing. I think that why I’ve seen some marketing folks be a little bit challenges as if they think of it as territorial versus stewarding for the company. The strategy that drives us in the right direction, and I think you just have to make sure you have the latter not the former.
Justin: Right. Yeah, I think some of that’s a positive ramification of ABM, is just the elimination of that baton pass, I mean that’s so powerful just to get rid of this whole, marketing takes it to this point, sales picks it up. We can extrapolate that to any area of the business, but just that simple visual has been super powerful in finally moving towards alignment in between sales and marketing.
Derek: Yeah, that baton analogy is a great one, because it really does speak to how sales and marketing are going to be asked to operate in the future versus what people have actually been striving towards in the present, which is like, get to that facilitated baton pass. I think that’s just a really… I think I read in in something you were writing. That’s just a really powerful way to represent what we’re actually talking about here
Justin: Right, right.
Derek: Not dropping the baton.
Justin: Sure, yup.
Derek: A better way to complete the task.
As a CMO, what keeps you up at night?
Justin: So, inverse question, as a CMO, what keeps you up at night?
Derek: Lots of things, apart from my teenage daughter.
Justin: Yeah, that’ll do it.
Derek: Right. I think, for me, the thing it think about probably the most at Terminus beside working within other parts if the organization to help move the company forward, in the marketing function specifically, is how do I structure the team so that we can scale, because we’re scaling, and there’s a difference between people who are tasked oriented and people who have domain experience, domain knowledge. Trying to set up… How do I… What domains do I build so that we have most of the bases covered, and there’s the ability to hire entry level, experienced and leadership level folks in those domains in a way that doesn’t create silos. I end up, and I think when I talk to my peers to, I think we all end up talking about, how are you structuring marketing, how are you measuring the pockets of organizational or domain areas that you’ve set up, and how are you allowing them to work collaboratively, but still be on the hook to own and feel like there’s maniacal ownership about certain things.
So a lot of it just comes down to organizational design, rules, responsibilities and talent management. And just keeping them invested and feeling like they see when they’re doing well, and they can lean in on that. So, I think that’s what keeps me up at night, more than anything.
Where can people go to learn more about Terminus, connect with yourself, and just consume better ABM best practices?
Justin: Maniacal ownership, I love it. And so as we wrap up here Derek, where can people go to learn more about Terminus, and obviously connect with yourself, and just consume better ABM best practices?
Derek: Yeah, if you remember nothing else, remember www.terminus.com. Because website measurement is all I care about. Obviously we built the channel both with FlipmyFunnel, which is a community around account based marketing, that Sangram, who’s one of our founders here at Terminus, is championing, working with my team. We have our own company website at Terminus, we actually just released a report on the state of account based marketing, which you can go find on our website which may help you understand what’s happening with the industry where you are compared with your peers, or what’s some of the things others are thinking about as we head into 2019 now. And we’re obviously out on the road a lot. We go to most of the marketing shows, we’ll be at Serious Decisions, we’ll be at the B2BMX event in the spring here. We were just at Rainmaker SalesLoft event here in Atlanta earlier this week, actually today. So we’re out and about, but we love to interact and chat with anybody who wants to talk account based stuff, that’s what we do every day.
Justin: Awesome. Well Derek, I really appreciate you taking the time to run us through the state of ABM, Terminus, some of the inner workings of how you run your team. It’s been super informative, and again I appreciate you joining us. The rest of you who are tuning in, of course you can find past episodes of Marketing Evangelist Network at LeadMD.com/bestpractices, and we appreciate you tuning in to check out Derek, Terminus, and all things ABM. We’ll talk to you next time.
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.