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AI and Data: Breakfast of (Marketing+Sales) Champions

Last week, Lattice and Dun and Bradstreet hosted a breakfast with B2B sales and marketing innovators from companies like Sirius Decisions, Adobe, Dell EMC, Thomson Reuters, Liberty Mutual, Akamai, etc. There were a few key points I took away from the different speaker presentations and follow-on discussions:

1.You need to frame your revenue funnel in a way that accounts for the fact that B2B marketing and sales is committee driven.

The fact of the matter is we sell to committees in B2B for the most part. While marketing databases primarily work in terms of leads, it obscures the fact that there are several individuals working together at companies in the buying process.

That’s why Kerry Cunningham and Sirius Decisions developed the notion of the Demand Unit Waterfall - they took the old Sirius Waterfall (which helps align sales and marketing around the stages of the buying cycle) and made it “account-based.”

2. Speaking of alignment, once you’ve agreed to what the buying stages are and what you're buying committees look like, you need to get on the same page with respect to the profile of the accounts you’re targeting.

Ben Coffee, Head of Marketing Ops at LiveRamp walked through how they did this critical step as part of their ABM program. It started with simply talking to sales and getting their input. He also noted that it’s important to use this input as a starting point.

3. Marketing can use all the AI they want, but you won’t really start seeing value until you can act on those recommendations in a timely way. 

Adobe generates up to 14,000 leads per day! As marketers, we know that it’s really important to be able to identify which ones are the quality ones that deserve follow-up. Scott Leslie, who is an Enterprise Marketing Automation Manager there, explained that they’re able to score most of these leads in less than 60 seconds!

Paul Danahy of Dell EMC took it one step further by talking about how they ensure that sales is able to follow-up on the AI-based recommendations provided to sales. This was especially important at Dell EMC where they had thousands of sales reps each of whom could sell tens of thousands of products.

4. Marketers need to think beyond just net new customer acquisition - huge opportunities await when you start talking about improving retention and growing customer relationships.

Dell EMC merged on the thesis there was a multi-billion dollar revenue synergy between the two companies - that is, there was huge revenue potential in introducing EMC products to Dell customers and vice versa. Paul’s team at Dell EMC is providing this out. They use AI to identify which customers are most likely to buy more and what products they’re most likely to buy. 

Dell EMC saw a 2x increase in revenue within 6 months of driving this program. It's no wonder, the program is called “Revenue Synergies” internally at the company.

Thomson Reuters saw multi-million dollar gains as well from focusing on cross-sell, up-sell, and retention.

5. Create a complete view of your customer and prospect - so you have the greatest possible context and insights about your targets.

There are two great examples I saw here. First, Adobe uses a combination of different types of data to identify which leads and accounts to act on and what campaigns to put them into. 

They’ll look at not just firmographic data and technographic data, but look at 3rd party intent (web browsing activity and searches done on non-Adobe web properties) and 1st party intent (they call this “engagement” - which looks at what people do on Adobe web properties).

What else? If you attended the event, I’d love to hear what you took away from the speakers and discussions. Also drop me a line, if you’re interested in the slides and I can send those over.

Finally, if you’d like to learn more, we’re hosting a webinar on Wednesday October 25 (11AM PT) with Sirius Decisions and Masergy - a leading telecommunications, networking and security company. Masergy leverages a combination of AI and data to drive growth for their direct business. In fact they saw a 20% increase in ARR within the first 3 months of their program. You can register for the webinar here (link goes to the BrightTalk website - where we’re hosting the webinar).

Written by

Nipul Chokshi
September 20, 2017