The Impact of ABM: News from the Demandbase ABM Innovation Summit

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"Did you impact my pipeline, or did deals close faster? These are the things which matter to the sales team, and to the CEO," explained Chris Golec, founder and CEO of ABM leader Demandbase. "The next thing is, can I form groups programs, and look at alterations of those groups, and vary the output?"

We were sitting down at a table in the conference space at San Francisco's Pier 27, surrounded by the buzz of this week's Demandbase ABM Innovation Summit, getting into the details of yesterday's launch of the new ABM Analytics offering. The specific challenge of analytics for ABM arises from the alignment of marketing, sales, and ad tech — a necessity for a successful ABM strategy — and the legacy bad news that each of those spaces measures results in very different ways, creating a morass of disparate, and at first glance incommensurable, data. If you doubt it, ask a sales rep about MQLs.

Measuring ABM success 

Interestingly, the offering is based on observation of how brands with a record of ABM success have been solving that problem on the fly. "We're mirroring what our customers were already doing, often in a very manual way, and bringing it to life in our product," said Golec. "So no matter where you're at in the ABM journey, you can get started with what some of the more sophisticated companies are doing. Now we're bringing it to the masses as well.

Basic metrics were already available. The initiative here includes the possibility of comparing the performance of ABM initiatives across different account lists, different audiences, and different mixes of marketing programs. It's also aimed at helping marketers demonstrate the intrinsic ROI of using Demandbase ABM solutions. A range of KPIs are up for comparison, including pipeline, revenue and ad performance.

The approach isn't without challenges when it comes to identifying appropriate controls. One way to do it? "I would take 200 companies, select 50 randomly, and then you have a true control group," Golec explained. "The other way to do it, it will let you pull lookalike companies from your CRM. "What new companies [to ABM] want to get from it, is does ABM work for me?" Companies with more mature ABM programs will be interested in comparing the performance with different verticals, accounts lists, and mixes of marketing programs.  

ABM Analytics executes across a wide range of data, including adtech, marketing automation, Google (and other) web analytics, and CRM. "We wouldn't be able to do that unless we had this master data platform which ties all these worlds together," Golec said. "It's the least sexy part of the conversation, but fundamentally it's the underpinning of everything we do." 

Delivering ABM success

If closing deals matters to the CEO, one fundamental key to ABM success is putting these rich insights into the hands of sales teams, in the moment, and within the tools they're using. That's a recognition expressed in the collaboration with Salesforce Pardot, where expanded collaboration and deeper integration was announced yesterday.

Simply, the enhancement will push real-time intent insights from the Demandbase network directly into Pardot, tied to target accounts, and even known individuals within those accounts, delivering actionable alerts to sales reps at their interface of choice, including the mobile app, and even Slack.

"It's a deeper level of product integration," said Golec, "where we can add the insights that we gather using AI — based on not only the interactions happening on your website, but what's happening across the web with these accounts — and then funnel it into the business context that's in your Pardot. Then it gets sent to the sales people, through email, or Slack, or right to your cellphone."

Adam Blitzer, EVP of Salesforce Sales Cloud, and the man behind Pardot, told me: "It's a natural fit." The functionality will be available to Pardot and Demandbase customers in June.


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