SalesTech Star Interview with David Brutman, Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer at Folloze
Tell us about your role and the team/technology you handle at Folloze.
I am the Chief Product Officer and Co-Founder at Folloze. Folloze provides a powerful next-generation Customer Engagement platform that combines content, AI-powered Personalization and seamless process to deliver a Customer Experience journey that dramatically impacts our customers’ pipeline creation, closing rate and upsell revenue.
How do you bring AI to the center of Sales and Marketing Technologies?
AI – and the data associated with it – are the fuel of modern Marketing. There is a tremendous opportunity to leverage it to transition from broad Audience Marketing to targeted – Surgical Marketing. This is true for both Marketing campaigns as well as Sales-driven Marketing-supported motions. We see our mission to aggregate different data and AI surges into an actionable process, powered by Hyper-Personalization, that directly impacts our customers’ business results.
Folloze allows to put customer’s data and prediction into action by creating a precise game-plan of campaigns to run as well as the ability to personalize those campaigns for each customer touchpoint based on account attributes, intent, stage and more. This may sound like a complex and long project but in fact, we have simplified it to the level this can be launched in days.
For example, one of our customers, a leading software provider, launched their first personalized campaign – to 263 accounts- in only a week. And it was super effective: they saw 8% conversion (people clicking on the call to action “I’m Interested”) which is some four times that of a standard Marketing campaign, and 19% of the prospects actively engaged (actively consumed content).
What is Folloze’s current technology roadmap to build B2B Personalization Solutions?
There is an increasingly broad agreement that leveraging AI to drive deep Personalization at scale – what we’re calling ‘Intelligent Personalization’ – can have a huge business impact. This is fundamentally different from a few years ago when Personalization was in its early days for B2B.
This is very evident in the types of customer conversations we are having, and a recent ITSMA study showed that Marketing leaders see that Personalization impacts the big 3 Rs: Revenue, Relationship, and Reputation. The big transition of B2B personalization strategies is the move from relatively light Web Personalization to full-cycle Personalization.
What this means is that Digital Personalization is done throughout the account cycle. It remains important in the awareness phase, but also in the consideration, decision, competitive, and expansion phases. And in fact, the deeper the account is in the process, the richer data you have about his business needs, deployment, use case, technical landscape, etc. This is a very exciting notion, that goes far, far beyond “hello <firstname>.” Rather it is leveraging AI to personalize every aspect of the customer touch – the content, the creative, the CTA and much more, as the customer progresses through their journey.
We recently launched a brand new and very powerful Personalization Engine for this exact purpose and have seen tremendous interest and uptake from customers. We continue to invest deeply to facilitate more data sources and more sophisticated journeys while keeping it extremely simple to use and deploy. We also continue to develop new partnerships with intent data providers, as the one we announced with Demandbase, to serve our joint customers with integrated solutions.
How is the North American AI Sales market different from European and APAC markets? How do you plan to grow your customer base in the lagging markets?
Historically, the North American market has been early to adopt new Marketing Technologies, including AI and Personalization, than other markets due to many factors including GDPR and data governance regulations. However, we have recently seen some very innovative Personalization projects, initiated by global companies, in the EMEA and APAC regions. We have some great partners in those regions that we work with to help customers and drive full-funnel Personalization deployments.
Tell us more about your AI and Machine Learning initiatives for Account-Based Marketing Platforms?
Account-Based Marketing at scale – done properly – is pretty much synonymous with – Hyper-Personalization. The truly exciting thing is seeing dedicated Marketing teams strategizing and deploying deeply personalized campaigns to hundreds or thousands of accounts. Such scale is only possible via technology and AI.
For example, our customer Autodesk rolled out a formal ABM program and, in just a year, was able to scale it to 10,000 target accounts across multiple regions. This led to great customer experiences, as well as extensive data that helped the Marketing and Sales teams prioritize follow-ups and gain better insights into prospective buyers and content gaps. It also drove greater transparency and alignment between Sales and Marketing.
This is consistent with the fact that more than 80% of our customer’s Personalization projects are ABP – Account-Based Personalization – illustrating how important the Account perspective is.
Our mission is to enable and educate organizations on this topic, which is why we will soon publish The Engagement Playbook, a step-by-step guide on how to build effective, results-driven engagement for the modern buyer, one who has grown fatigued from broad, generic, inside-out marketing.
How do you ensure seamless integration with CRM, Marketing Automation, Contacts and Email, Customer Service and Personalization platforms?
Integration is a serious consideration for organizations and can potentially introduce complexity. Increasingly, CMOs are concerned about deployment and integration costs and effort, which can be a blocker for adopting new technologies.
Folloze addresses this concern with a two-fold approach: 1) Integrations can be implemented gradually – organizations can achieve great results right out of the chute with minimal to no initial integration. 2) When it’s time to integrate, Folloze integrates with all the major platforms and employs a simple, standard approach that significantly reduces the effort needed to integrate.
Tell us about the role of a CMO and CIO in the current context of AI, Cloud and Automation infrastructure.
Today’s CMO has to be pretty savvy about the ‘art of the possible’ of Marketing Technology and, moreover, the things that will make a big business difference such as AI. Truly successful companies have a strong partnership between the CMO and the CIO to be able to drive big transformations.
How can these two titles come together to drive Digital Transformation?
More than in the past, Marketing ops teams are the “IT of Marketing”. The key to driving a comprehensive Digital Transformation is a true partnership between the CIO and CMO (and between the Marketing ops and IT teams) while defining clear responsibilities. Companies that do so have a huge competitive advantage, in my mind, and become true innovators in their customer engagement.
How do you leverage their expertise at Folloze and any advice you would like to share with the industry?
We have ongoing conversations with C-level executives at companies of all sizes and operate a customer advisory board that allows us to be continuously connected to the market. We hear a strong demand for greater effectiveness in deploying campaigns and the need to align Marketing spend with revenue and pipeline. In many cases, this requires to rethink the way customer engagement cycles are being executed.
What is your prediction on the disruptive application of Enterprise-level Personalization using Data, Analytics and AI?
Personalization has been on marketers’ minds for quite some time but is now reaching a tipping point that we refer to as “Intelligent Personalization” – hyper-account based Personalization driven by AI and rich data. As with most important technologies, companies are deploying Intelligent Personalization to gain competitive advantage. Today’s leaders, such as the example companies I mentioned earlier, have made their strategy very clear: ‘Hyper-Personalization’ at every customer touchpoint’. It is a bold statement but a logical one and is very much where the market is going, in my mind.
What message do you have for businesses that are yet to leverage AI capabilities for Sales and Marketing?
My main advice is to not “wait and see.” I like this guidance that Aman Naimat of Demandbase published last year, I think that it provides a great progressive roadmap as to how to build the company’s AI and data practices and increase likelihood of success.
Thank You, David, for answering all our questions. We hope to see you again, soon.
David Brutman is the Chief Product Officer and Co-founder of Folloze, an ABM Sales Platform. In his previous role, David was a Global Senior Director of Marketing at SAP overseeing Mobile Apps.
Being a learner at heart, he has been an advocate of “selling by education” rather than “selling by persuasion”, as evident in his talks and writings about the topic. Prior to that, David was in Product and Engineering leadership roles where he brought innovative products from ideation to market adoption.
Folloze is a provider of an innovative enterprise Account-Based Marketing (ABM) Sales Platform, which enables B2B Sales teams to use Marketing techniques to engage, develop and win their top target accounts. Built for scale, the platform allows Marketing to empower Sales to deliver account-specific content campaigns, content automation, actionable account analytics and more, all from within their familiar Sales tools. These capabilities dramatically increase the Sales pipeline.
Folloze is headquartered in San Mateo, CA with a development center in Tel Aviv, Israel. Folloze was founded by a group of Marketing, Sales and Technology veterans and is backed by world-class investors.