Art and Science Collide at SiriusDecisions Summit

By May 26, 2016
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Guitars - Sirius Summit 2016

It’s time for SiriusDecisions Summit! This year, we’ve put on our country boots and traveled to Music City to learn from some of the very best sales and marketing thought-leaders.

So imagine this–you’re sitting in a big, conference ballroom where there’s classical music playing in the background. You’re waiting for a marketer to make some sort of flashy entrance to kick of the conference, but instead a concert pianist emerges and starts playing Beethoven’s infamous Symphony No. 5.

Right from the very first note of music,  SiriusDecisions set the stage for this year’s SD Summit theme–the Art and Science of Intelligence Growth. It’s the 11th Summit for SiriusDecisions, and Tony Jaros, EVP Chief Research and Product Officer at SiriusDecisions, explained that art and science come together in music; just as it comes together in the B2B world to drive revenue growth.

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Photo via SiriusDecisions

Jaros reminded us that throughout history, musicians have adapted their music and lyrics to go with the changing times. He then likened this to the 3 ways organizations can capitalize on change:

1. Adopt. Your business should map an approach to each opportunity or deal, in order to know what to do.

2. Operationalize. Make sure that your business understands the steps, resources, and best practices to know how to do it. 

3. Optimize. Always embrace improvement. The best businesses have a thirst for what to do next.

To show how much SiriusDecisions really took this theme to heart, they showed us immediate optimization by segmenting their conference content based for different levels of business maturity. They’re also using real-time attendee voting to determine which sessions should be repeated on last day. And, as a marketer, I have to say, it’s always refreshing to see a brand take their own advice to heart.

Now, onto how the underlying theme of Adopt, Operationalize , and Optimize echoed throughout the first day of SD Summit.

Adopting Account-Based Marketing–Beyond the BS

Maria Pergolino, Senior Vice President of Marketing for Apttus opened by saying, “I don’t have anyone on my team who has ABM specifically in their title. It is the responsibility of everyone in marketing.”

This set the stage for what came next, point-by-point steps that the audience could immediately take to optimize their Account-Based Marketing strategy. When Maria wants to optimize for ABM, she think about optimizing for channel and content. An example of this formula is optimizing a personalized gift to your target account through a direct mail program. The personalization of both the channel and the content is what it relevant to Account-Based Marketing.

Maria then went into detail on the ABM approach that Apttus takes:

  • Identify target accounts
  • Identify decision makers & influencers
  • Clean account and lead/contact data
  • Create content
  • Select channel(s)
  • Run campaigns
  • Review results and optimize

So how does predictive marketing fit into this mix? Using EverString’s predictive marketing platform, Apttus was able to identify the right target accounts. After giving EverString a seed list of closed won/ lost data, the platform was able to identify 400 suggested target accounts that led to 37 new opportunities for Apttus, representing $6.4 million in pipeline in just six months.


Maria then explained how she delivered the right messages to the right audience. Here’s a few of my favorite strategies that she presented:

  • Social Media. Ok, so this is my jam and targeting within social media advertising is totally my peanut butter. Maria stressed the importance of diving into social media and uploading a list of your target accounts to serve ads to rather than using broad based audience targeting within each platform.
  • High Value and Personalized Emails. When sending emails with an incentive, like a Starbucks card or Visa gift card, Maria reminds us to, “think about relevant incentives to drive the actions you want. Lead your prospects to the next step”.
  • Unique Personalized Content. Examples of this include customized landing pages, website personalization, personalized banner images in emails, personalized video and personalized URLS. Apttus is executing this strategy by delivering industry-relevant case studies on its website based on the visitor’s business.

Maria then ended her keynote by reminding us all to ‘market your own marketing’–in other words, make sure that your executive team knows all about the great stuff you are doing!

How to Operationalize Your Customer Marketing

Another one of the keynotes on the first day of of SD Summit was Marcus Samuelsson–a “Top Chef,” best-selling author and owner of 22 restaurants around the globe. I wasn’t familiar with Marcus’ work prior to his keynote, but what he said really resonated with me and the approach team EverString takes to scale our strategies.

Marcus explained that he took a lot to his business from what he learned at his soccer club. He explained how on a team you can win a lot, but you can lose a lot too. “You listen to coach,” he said. “And the kitchen turned out to be the same way. Listen to chef, listen to coach”.  At EverString, we definitely have the same mindset. One Team. One Goal.

How does cooking then relate to operationalizing? Marcus explained, “no one comes to a restaurant anymore because they’re hungry. They want an experience”. When thinking of your customer marketing, you should think through how to give every single customer a great experience–no matter who or where that customer is. Being able to scale up his business to where every experience was astounding was what lead to Marcus’s extreme success and I think it was a great lesson for the SD Summit audience.

How to Optimize Your Sales and Marketing Alignment

In his opening keynote, Tony Jaros noted how ‘67% of B2B organizations still have not implemented a buyer-aligned sales process.’ Matt Amundson, Sr. Director of Sales Development at EverString, and Maester of Sales on Between Two Dragons, explained at our case study with InsideView how EverString falls into the other 33% of companies.

Jim Walker, VP of Marketing at EverString, added that EverString focuses our sales and marketing alignment by honing in on MQL to SQL hand-off within our funnel. This is a key driver of our alignment and, as I said earlier, falls into our mantra of One Team, One Goal.

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InsideView plays a part in our sales and marketing alignment by integrating with Marketo, SalesForce, and SalesLoft. Because even though EverString using EverString to identify the right accounts, or as Matt says knowing where to fish in the pond, InsideView helps us know what to say to our target accounts.

I’ve already learned a lot and had some amazing conversations with smart-minded marketers. We’re definitely learning a lot at SiriusDecisions and I can’t wait to hear more throughout the conference.

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