AiThority Interview with Jon Miller, CMO and CPO at Demandbase
Hi Jon, please tell us about your current role and how you arrived at Demandbase?
I’m currently the Chief Marketing and Product Officer at Demandbase. Previously, I was a co-founder of Marketo and the co-founder and CEO of Engagio. I became part of Demandbase after the merger of Engagio and Demandbase in June 2020. I lead the marketing and product teams and oversee the innovation development we bring to our customers.
As a serial entrepreneur and a technologist, how did you extend the ABM strategies in your companies?
We approach ABM in two ways: One, we believe in creating different styles of ABM for different tiers of accounts. We practice a one-to-one approach for a small group and a one-to-few approach for a larger, but still very constrained, number of accounts. The rest of our target accounts fall into a one-to-many approach. This strategy enables us to really distinguish the number of resources we put into each account, based on its potential value.
Second, we drink our own champagne. We use intent data and our pipeline prediction analytics to know when any of our accounts are showing signs of being ready to engage with sales. When we’ve determined which are marketing qualified accounts (MQAs), they progress to a one-to-few or one-to-one approach so we can focus extra time and attention on those hot in-market accounts.
What makes Demandbase One unique in the market?
Demandbase One is simply the most powerful solution providing end-to-end account-based experiences to help B2B revenue teams find and prioritize target accounts, engage them across channels, and close the deals that matter most. By combining proprietary data, third-party data, and a company’s own first-party data, Demandbase One gives revenue teams a complete view of their customers and prospects at every stage of the buying journey. We’ll keep building on that, adding more data, more intelligence, and more channels over time. I’m excited to see the impact the platform will have on customers, and how the platform will continue to evolve in 2021.
Demandbase just announced their new go-to-market strategy Account-Based Experience (ABX). What is ABX and what kind of data drives this technology?
I’ve always used the analogy of traditional demand generation is fishing with a net, whereas account-based marketing is fishing with a spear. With demand gen, you throw your net out, you see what you catch, you don’t care which specific fish you catch, just that you caught enough. With ABM, you go after the big fish directly. This analogy worked well as ABM was created and fleshed out, but the reality is it doesn’t take into consideration the experience that the fish is having (i.e. it doesn’t feel very good to get poked by a spear).
Our adoption of ABX was a result of focusing on the overall limitations of both. With traditional ABM, companies would identify the accounts that we really wanted to go after and we’d go after them, regardless of whether they were interested in hearing from us or if it was the right time. And so, you end up having this world where we were doing traditional demand gen, which was great because we only called people who had high scores and were really ready to be called. With ABM, we were calling people regardless of whether they were interested.
This is where ABX was born. Account-based experience is a customer-centric rethinking about how you go after accounts, completely built on your buyer’s experience. And, it also has the advantage of being bigger than just marketing.
Which set of industries and titles would benefit from ABX and how?
An account-based approach isn’t for one specific industry; it is for any company or industry that sells to other businesses through a sales rep. We believe ABX is the future of B2B marketing.
How important is this shift to embrace ABX for marketers?
Account-based platforms will soon reach the same level where marketing automation has been — meaning it won’t be a question of if you need an account-based platform, but rather, which one will you choose. This is why I feel now is the time for ABX, because the solution has finally come together to deliver everything customers need in the right way and at the right time.
Tell us more about the top Martech / Salestech trends that influence ABX adoption?
There are four major trends in the industry that have lead to the necessity for ABX:
Buyers are deluged with content — B2B companies have overwhelmed the poor buyer with more information than they could ever want or need: blogs, ebooks, webinars, product reviews, videos, emails, phone calls, and so on. The worst part is that companies start to fight with each other to get the buyer’s attention, and so the content tide escalates. The result is a “tragedy of the commons” – everyone tries to get the customer’s attention, while the customer has a terrible experience, and nobody wins.
Buyers do their research before they talk to sales, and they want to do their research anonymously before talking to sales. Today’s buyers want to avoid being emailed or called by a sales associate. They are doing more of their research on third-party websites compared to 10 years ago, when a vast majority of the research happened on the vendor’s own websites. Traditional marketing automation scoring has lost its ability to truly track what buyers are doing.
Buyers are harder to reach than ever before. Being anonymous is the goal. Buyers will do everything they can to avoid filling out a form because they don’t want to be marketed to or to feel sold to. And they will let you know by opting-out, tuning-out, and tossing-out any unwanted engagement.
Buyers spend less time with suppliers and more within the team. Gartner research finds that B2B buyers spend only 17% of the buying process meeting with potential vendors. And this gets shared across multiple vendors, meaning each one may only get 5% or 6%. In contrast, they spend almost a quarter of the time meeting with other members of the buying committee.
What is your piece of advice to every CEO/CMO looking to adopt more of an ABX approach to ABM in 2021?
ABX doesn’t invalidate ABM and lead-based strategies. It makes them stronger by adding the best principles of Customer Experience (CX). It combines the engageability of inbound marketing with the precision and targeting of ABM to enhance every aspect of the B2B buying experience.
With that in mind, I suggest that every CEO and CMO reading this take a look at their ABM process and ask if it uses the same principles as a good CX strategy — trust, empathy, and relevance at every stage of the journey. Determine where it falls short. Is it your software? Or perhaps your team structure? And find a way to fix the issue.
Thank you, Jon! That was fun and we hope to see you back on AiThority.com soon.
Jon Miller is a CPO at Demandbase
The biggest and fastest-growing companies in the world rely on Demandbase to drive their account-based strategies and maximize B2B go-to-market performance. We pioneered the ABM category nearly a decade ago, and today we lead the industry as an indispensable part of the B2B tech stack. Demandbase offers the only end-to-end Account-Based Experience (ABX) solution that helps B2B companies find, engage, and close the accounts that matter most. Our success would not be possible without the driven and collaborative teams here at Demandbase. As a company, we’re as committed to growing careers as we are to building world-class technology. We invest heavily in people, our culture, and the community around us.