AiThority Interview with Latane Conant, CMO at 6sense
How much has your role at 6sense changed since the time you joined here?
When I joined 6sense, the Marketing team was one person — so we had a lot of building to do. Over the course of the year, I’ve run field events, written blogs, built email cadences, worked booths, created decks and mailed out swag. It’s been very hands-on but my biggest focus area and accomplishment has been getting the right people on the team. It takes a certain type of person to want to go all-in and transform an industry. Our Marketing team needs to “market” but also be pushing the bounds of what’s possible in our product and the industry. Not everyone is game, I warn people that this is a cause, not a job. I’m lucky to have found 7 of the most talented (perhaps slightly crazy) people to join the team and help lead our lofty pursuit.
How has B2B buying evolved with automated insights on customer behaviors? Why are B2B marketers shifting to account-based approach?
Today, a B2B “buyer” is now a committee likely made up of ten or more individuals from all parts of the company. In this new world, each member of the buying committee needs to be engaged at different times, and with different approaches and value messages, all in the hopes of building consensus across a very diverse set of functions, needs, and readiness. The majority of these interactions and buying team research is happening anonymously in what we at 6sense call the “dark funnel.”
Marketers are shifting to account-based because engagement based on form fills and email nurture doesn’t work under these circumstances — buyers aren’t filling out forms and inboxes are overly-cluttered with unpersonalized messages. Companies recognize diminishing returns from their lead-based approach, which manifests in pipeline issues — not enough, low-quality pipe and/or non sustainable CAC.
ABM is about embracing the new B2B buying journey and those who make the shift see results in pipeline, close rates, deal sizes, and velocity.
Do ABM customers also have a good look at the competitors and decisions made by their own cross-functional teams?
With 7,000 MarTech solutions, all shouting “I’m an ABM,” it’s extremely confusing for customers. The reality is, there are only a select few true ABM platforms. We spend a good deal of time helping marketers deconflict information, understand the various players and solution an ideal tech stack. It’s typical that marketers can consolidate a number of point solutions with 6sense but, more importantly, we want to ensure we can deliver actionable insights for our customers. To do this, we often create an instance in presales so they can start getting value and seeing insights. It’s also critical in Account-Based Marketing that Marketing and Sales team can identify accounts as early as possible in the process and way before they identify themselves.
We highly encourage prospects to put us to the test in this regard because Web Personalization, ABM ads, and Custom Content streams don’t work with missing or, worse, erroneous account identification and insights. Last, we get Sales involved in the process. We have a dedicated product just for Sales because account-based orchestration is about engaging customers across the entire journey — a big part which is Sales.
Could you tell us about how you prepare for the future in Tech?
The Marketing Tech stack is crazy — with CMOs currently relying on 10, 20, even 50 tools. To prepare for the future of MarTech, CMOs will get the best bang for their buck by making the shift to the right technology platform, which optimizes their legacy tech stack for an account-based strategy and allows them to scale ABM from a pilot strategy to THE strategy.
Winning ABM platforms like 6sense will be “true platforms,” meaning they include an embedded CDP and provide robust 360-degree customer insights, end-to-end AI-driven orchestration capabilities to optimize ABM processes across Sales and Marketing, a robust marketplace of connected execution applications customers can easily leverage for innovative engagement tactics (and that those connections are dynamic, seamless, and controlled by AI orchestration) and robust analytics to show revenue teams where to focus activity and how previous activities have performed.
What is your favorite tool/technology?
Well 6sense, of course. But I do seriously get so geeked out about what is possible and the type of results we are seeing. Our web traffic and engagement is up 100% for our ICP segment because we can personalize experiences for account, persona, behavior, and timing — with NO FORMS. Most people dread prospecting, but our BDRs successfully drive a ton of pipeline with NO COLD calling because the team knows from 6sense when accounts are “in-market,” what personas are on the buying team and which KEYWORDS each persona really cares about. When armed with this information, our team makes real connections and prospecting is actually fun! Not to mention, they are creating an industry-leading amount of pipeline per month.
How does the account-based orchestration platform help B2B revenue teams?
It’s all about tapping into the power of AI to increase customer engagement, pipeline, and revenue. My scaled account-based strategy is as follows:
1) Select the best accounts using AI — Based on real buyer intent and activity data that buyers are leaving behind as a digital footprint on the web. The AI scores that activity against not only the current ICP but continually learns what behaviors are leading to new opportunities.
2) Know about them — not just basics like demographics and firmographics but use AI insights into the account’s buying stage, who is on the buying team and what they care about.
3) Orchestrate engagement — This is not email blasts disconnected from a field event from a BDR call. AI can take customer insights and orchestrate outreach to ensure the right message is delivered to the right person at the right time on the right channel.
4) Collaborate across the Sales and Marketing team — meaning real-time alerts for Sales on meaningful account activity, what Marketing did to drive that activity and how personas are engaging. As account status changes, personas engage and opportunities bubble up, Sales is automatically notified and provided all of the details of what the revenue team has done collectively to progress the account in their buying journey.
5) Track real stuff — move away from MQLs to more meaningful measures like accounts that are “in-market” and meaningful metrics like engagement levels to understand which tactics are actually working to reach our targeted accounts.
With Account-based orchestration capabilities, you can execute this play without a million spreadsheets, silos, missed handoffs and shelfware technology. Finally, something Sales and Marketing can agree on!
How is 6sense different from other Account-Based Marketing orchestration platforms?
6sense’s history is in Big Data and predictions and these strengths continue to be a competitive moat for us — and huge advantages for our customers.
- Our Account ID graph has been tested numerous times to be upward of 50% better than our nearest competitor
- Our proprietary intent network is more granular and allows unlimited branded or generic keywords vs. just categories
- Our patented in-market predictions provide a game-changing timing element. This maximizes Marketing and Sales efforts to focus on accounts in-market and engage appropriately based on account purchase timing.
- Unlimited segments enable our customers to easily micro-segment for very targeted outreach and/or execute programmatic campaigns. Additionally, segments are dynamic, meaning they are always on and updated. As opportunities move in or out of stages, and as prospects become customers or churn, segments are updated in real-time.
- The speed to value — we get new customers started on the core platform in 24-48 hours and also do this in pre-sales cycles (see the “uncover now” offer on our website).
- Sales and BDR teams — typically the hardest group to adopt new technology, love the insights they get from 6sense and are driving wide adoption 6sense Sales intelligence.
What is a dark funnel?
The dark funnel is a 6sense-coined term for buyers’ digital footprint — made up of all of the research activity and buying signals within an account, like anonymous website visits, third-party research, and false form fills that go unseen by Sales and Marketing teams and systems. In fact, almost all of the buying journey happens here so marketers that don’t uncover dark funnel activity are missing out on a huge opportunity to engage with buyers during the most crucial time in their journey.
How can Sales and Marketing teams use 6sense to leverage data into customer insights?
There are lots of ways 6sense is used on a daily basis across the Sales and Marketing team. A few examples are:
- Field Marketing: While the appetite for executive dinners is always huge, you may not have the budget to run 500 Michelin star dinners. Use AI to heat map accounts, personas, and buying stage based on geography so you know exactly where to prioritize.
- Content Development: Rather than trying to ascertain and interpret what your prospects and personas care about, use keyword intent data to really know. This, in addition to a persona map, can help shape much more effective content.
- Account Prioritization: Use AI to determine exactly when accounts are “in-market,” which personas are the most important, and what those accounts and personas care about to set BDRs up for more success.
How can Sales Marketing teams implement AI and Big Data in converting leads into deals?
Stop even thinking about “leads”
- With the majority of research being done in the “dark funnel,” we can’t wait for the form fill or a booth scan.
- Leads are like single-threaded deals we know are not good, so we want to qualify and look at overall account/buying team activity both anonymous and known.
- AI can help us know when accounts are in-market and what stage of the prospect journey they are in. This way we can meet the account with the right content, at the right time, through the right channel.
What is the 6sense Company Identity Graph and how does it help in gaining insights into the buying journey.
The 6sense Company Identity Graph connects intent activity across devices, channels, anonymous users and product categories to prospect accounts. This is done by dynamic mapping IP addresses, advertising IDs and cookies to provide complete insight into the account-based buying journey.
The 6sense Company ID Graph is the company’s core IP and s 100% proprietary. It has been built over 6+ years and billions of data points to identify:
- visits from corporate headquarters
- visits from branch offices, sprouting of new branch offices of companies
- visits from hotels, coffee shops, and home offices attributable to companies
We have found that since research is often done outside the corporate headquarters, going beyond just the IP address is critical to finding/matching smaller companies. We are confident in matching companies with less than 100 employees globally and less than 10 employees in the US. This means we match millions more accounts and help find accounts globally for SMB and mid-market, not just enterprise. When tested against our competition, we routinely perform 50% better for matching.
6sense’s Demand Graph is the only platform that captures intent signals from every known and anonymous source, and connects it all to prospect accounts, providing 6sense customers complete insight into the account-based buying journey.
What is your product roadmap for future?
The future of ABM allows marketers to focus on the creative and strategy while letting their platform leverage AI to automate workflows, decide next best actions to achieve a strategy, predict the best content to be used within a tactic, make dynamic decisions around bidding and spend strategies and optimize for revenue. This has been our underlying principle since 6sense’s inception — and will continue to be a significant part of our future roadmap.
Thank you, Latane! That was fun and hope to see you back on AiThority soon.
As CMO of 6sense, Latane is passionate about empowering marketing leaders with effective technology, predictive insights, and thought leadership so they can confidently lead their teams, company, and industry into the future. As a “recovering software sales women” she is keenly focused on leveraging data to ensure marketing programs result in deals, not just leads.
Prior to 6sense she was the CMO and a sales leader at Appirio. She was instrumental in aligning sales and marketing under a consistent and relevant message – resulting in increased bookings, average deal size, and win rates. Latane is creative, charismatic and competitive. Her high energy, positive attitude, and sense of humor are contagious and it’s hard to find a customer, partner, audience, or employee who doesn’t want to work with her.
The 6sense Account-Based Orchestration Platform helps revenue teams identify and close more opportunities by putting the power of AI, Big Data and Machine Learning behind every member of the B2B revenue team, empowering them to uncover anonymous buying behavior, prioritize fragmented data to focus on accounts in-market, and engage resistant buying teams with personalized, multi-channel, multi-touch campaigns.
6sense helps revenue teams know everything they need to know about their buyers so they can easily do anything they need to do to generate more opportunities, increase deal size, get into opportunities sooner, compete and win more often.