SalesTech Star Interview with Jon Miller, CEO & Co-Founder at Engagio
In 2018, how much did the Marketing and Sales Technology landscape changed?
I think we’ve hit peak hype with ABM. These days, you can’t trip over a B2B marketer without hearing them talk about it. Adoption is on the rise, and more vendors than ever have attached themselves to the term to take advantage of the fervor. Don’t get me wrong, in many ways this is great, and exactly the type of excitement we predicted and hoped for when founding Engagio. To-date we have brought hundreds of organizations onto our platform to experience the benefits of ABM.
But, excitement comes with a consequence. Hype inevitably creates backlash. Recently, a post featuring the “ABM Hype Cycle” has made the rounds, illustrating the sharp and quick rise in excitement, and a fall into a “trough of disillusionment” when expectations aren’t met.
Gartner began using the Hype Cycle in the 90s, and it can be applied to any new technology that earns a groundswell of activity and growth. In the post, Steve Watt argues that the Hype Cycle doesn’t just work for technological adoption, it can also be applied to new business strategies such as ABM. My advice to avoid the “trough of disillusionment” is to realized that ABM is NOT a technology category, it is a business strategy. There are no shortcuts. Take the time to understand ABM and how you can leverage the strategy for your business.
What’s the biggest attraction for you at events like Dreamforce and others?
I am always looking forward to the Account-Based Marketing 360 day at the B2B Champion’s Lounge in Dreamforce. It was full day of 20+ sessions by top B2B Sales and Marketing Leaders. Also, I’m of course excited about my panel, Top CXOs on ABM.
Do you think lack of CRM innovation is hurting the Martech and Salestech ecosystem?
No, not at all. In fact, I think it’s a good thing because it gives other companies and vendors a chance to innovate and fill in the gaps. Working with constraints often leads to more creativity and more innovation. This is especially true in my market for ABM Platforms.
Could you share some tips on how to coordinate ABM ‘Plays’ on the major Marketing Technology platforms? How do they impact sales performance?
First off, if you’re doing ABM correctly, sales will see huge benefits. ABM is a team sport. It’s not something just for marketing. You’re on the same team striving for the same goal.
Now for some tips on Plays – when running your ABM Plays, make sure your programs are:
Account-based, operationalized at scale.
Relevant to the key contact in the account.
Extended throughout the entire lifecycle of the account, from acquisition to advocacy.
When you’re able to orchestrate your Plays following those tenants, your team is nearly guaranteed to succeed.
How do Salesforce trends and technology impact your business?
Since our platform integrates with Salesforce, and we are also users of Salesforce, we pay close attention to the changes. We care deeply about the experience that we’re delivering to our customers, so keeping up with the trends is important to us. Not to mention, as a leading B2B marketing company, we’re always looking to get the most out of Salesforce ourselves.
How did you extend the benefits of Dreamforce to your employees, customers and technology partners?
We have a big presence at Dreamforce this year to help organizations find their path to ABM success. You can talk with our ABM experts, get a demo of our new ABM platform, learn best practices, and party with the best B2B thought-leaders in the business.
As always, we also have some engineers and product people at the show too. It’s a great opportunity for them to talk with customers and keep a good pulse on the market. You can’t build a great product for your customers if you never talk to them!
With 6000-plus Martech companies to choose from, how should new businesses leverage customer review platforms to make better, unbiased decisions while buying enterprise software?
I’ll speak to choosing ABM technology, but the same idea can be applied to marketing in general. ABM is a strategy. It’s a fundamental way of managing your go-to-market business to drive better quality pipeline and revenue at the accounts you care about the most. ABM is not a campaign and it’s most certainly not a single technology.
This implies you must define your ABM strategy before you start thinking about what technologies you need and what vendors have to offer.
At a minimum, answer these questions before investing on ABM technology:
- Why is ABM the right strategy for your business?
- Is there executive alignment and organizational buy-in on ABM as your go-to-market strategy?
- What criteria makes a good target account? How will you decide on your target account list?
- What does success with ABM look like? How will you measure your progress?
- What are the roles and responsibilities of the players on your ABM team?
The ABM market will continue to evolve, and we’ll be keeping a close eye on it. Select your ABM vendors wisely, but remember, you must start with defining your strategy.
How do you plan to improve the adoption of newer technologies for ABM, Customer Experience and Content management?
I think the best way to improve adoption of any technology is to make sure that you need it in the first place. Let’s go back to my answer of how to buy ABM – if you’ve focused on strategy first (which assumes that it’s driven from the top executives all the way down through the ranks), it becomes a matter of find the right tools for the job. I don’t want my team buying a technology just because it’s the new shiny thing. I want them buying it because it supports our to-to-market strategy. If that’s the case, they will have intrinsic motivation to use the technology, and use it to its fullest.
Upcoming Events in 2019: Demandbase Announces 6th Annual ABM Innovation Summit
An inspiring quote from past editions of Dreamforce that you have ever heard—
“What customers most desire is the human touch – the [real] world of AND with digital [world].” – Jennifer Stanley, Partner at McKinsey & Company, Leader in Marketing & Sales
Thank You, Jon, for answering all our questions. We hope to see you again, soon.
Engagio delivers an account-based foundation and engagement insights so revenue teams can orchestrate multi-channel interactions and prove impact across teams.
At Engagio we are united by a common vision of marketing that uses data and analytics to be more intelligent and the human touch to be more relevant. Our goal is to create the next great marketing platform.
We believe it’s important that Engagio is a place where employees enjoy working, where happiness and positivity thrives, and where excellence is rewarded. We know this is a journey, which is why we care about taking care of our people.
Jon is a Marketing entrepreneur and thought leader. He is currently the CEO and co-founder of Engagio, an account-centric platform to orchestrate and measure Account Based Marketing and Sales Development efforts at named accounts. Previously, Jon was a co-founder at Marketo (Nasdaq:MKTO), a leader in marketing automation.
Marketing technology innovator, with previous leadership roles at Epiphany and Xchange, plus board/advisory roles at Scripted, Newscred, and Optimizely.
Thought leader and evangelist, speaker at conferences including Dreamforce, MarketingProfs B2B, Marketing Operations Executive Summit, OMS, and the Marketing Nation Summit. Blogger and author of numerous e-books including Complete and Clear Guide to Account Based Marketing and the Definitive Guide to Marketing Automation.