Scaling the ABM Summit

This will be my third year covering the ABM Summit, hosted by Demandbase in San Francisco, and it’s been fascinating to watch the swift evolution of the event. At first, people were still asking “What is ABM, and why should I care about it? And how the heck is AI involved?”

Next time around the block, the theme was, “Okay, ABM is essential. How do we do it right, and make it work for the full funnel?” In the meantime, Demandbase was working on precision and scale, the key twin elements of their offering. Not only did their Fortune 500 clients need laser-focused accuracy when it came to understanding accounts, they needed to be able to do it for a great number of accounts simultaneously.

Of course, there are still brands out there not fully engaged with ABM, or struggling to apply it, but where does something like an ABM Summit head from here? One thing to expect at this year’s event (March 14, with certification courses on March 15) is to see a flag planted. Demandbase is marking 12 years of spreading the ABM gospel by launching a comprehensive guide to the best practices for using ABM for targeting and engagement.

It’s co-authored by Demandbase founder and CEO Chris Golec, CMO Peter Isaacson, and VP ABM strategy, field and channel marketing, Jessica Fewless. It sets out how to identify accounts for an ABM strategy, how to execute multi-channel and funnel campaigns, how to bring sales and marketing together in doing so, and how to measure results. “For all the hype,” said Alison Wagonfeld, CMO Google Cloud, in a release, “there isn’t a lot of practical, hands on guidance out there. This book changes that — it’s an important read for any B2B marketer executing ABM.”

And this year’s ABM Summit promises to be an important event for that same audience, with more than 1,000 marketers and thought leaders in attendance. In particular, it features sessions from some of the cutting edge marketing tech vendors we’ve been paying particular attention to at DMN. Highlights for us will be:

  • Dave Gerhardt, the very highly regarded VP of marketing at Drift, formerly of HubSpot, discussing conversational marketing
  • Dayle Hall, CMO at People.ai, the AI (of course) based revenue intelligence platform
  • Matthew Sweezey, principle of marketing insights at Salesforce, gazing into a crystal ball to predict the shape of demand over the next 5, 10, even 15 years
  • We’ve recently written about Uberflip’s personalized content marketing offering, and Randy Frisch (co-founder, CMO, and President) is going to explain how it works for ABM at scale
  • We knew Elle Woulfe when the company was called LookBookHq. It’s now PathFactory, Elle is still VP of marketing, and she’ll be talking about surfacing relevant content for buyers in real time
  • We view Salesforce Pardot as a key solution in the B2B space, so we’re looking forward to SVP and GM Mike Kostow’s keynote
  • There’s also a keynote from body language expert, Mark Bowden, a closing flourish from conjuror Justin Willman, and words from the home team of Golec and Isaacson (Chris Golec was DMN’s 2018 marketing tech executive of the year).

That’s how we’re trying to thread our way through the day, but there are other sessions and speakers, and you can grab an agenda and other information about the Summit here.

The new book, of course, will be available. “As pioneers of the ABM technology category, we have helped educate thousands of B2B marketers on ABM best practices. In that time, we have also become expert practitioners ourselves,” said Golec. “This book compiles all of our ABM expertise for companies big and small, and provides a comprehensive guide for marketers at every stage of their ABM journey.”  

All of Demandbase’s expertise?  So far, maybe, and I have a feeling the journey is not yet over.

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