Interview with Christopher Engman

CRO/CMO Proof Analytics

Christopher Engman CRO/CMO Proof Analytics
Video Transcript

hi this is Bob Samuels founder of tech
connector tech connector is a
marketplace and campaign management
platform of Best of Breed account based
marketing lead generation solutions
we’ve partnered with the b2b sales and
marketing exchange to bring you wisdom
from leading account based marketing
thought leaders to that end I’m happy to
introduce you to Christopher inkman
chief revenue officer and chief
marketing officer of proof analytics
he’s also author of the book mega deals
how multi-billion dollar deals are done
Christopher it’s a pleasure to speak
with you how are you today great yeah
likewise I’m doing really well but a
wedding yesterday not my own but we sit
at the wedding your import to go we’re
here for that betting aunt wedding in
for a quick you haven’t you again
remember it with you
I do yeah I have a bunch of kids and my
wife and we’re also here with another
family so usually have both an assistant
and an old pair so pretty very nice but
this time we decided that none of them
would follow which was probably some
kind of mistake
no I he’s a really nice time with the
kids but it’s kind of hundred some kids
I think a great bonding opportunity
thank you for yeah I know some time for
us I appreciate it and of course yeah so
could you give our audience a little bit
of a background your background about
marketing a BM in particular yeah so he
got into marketing around larger deals
maybe around 2000 when I started my
first software company it was enterprise
software and I was selling into the big
retailers like the Tesco’s and the big
fashion readers and all those and
realized how hard I mean how he said
watch to get if you really go for it how
easy it was to get me things with the
right people but then
hard was to go from there to to closing
a deal
and then I managed to I had a pause a
bit in my entrepreneurial career I was a
and had a customer loyalty for a big
fashion retailer so I was all of a
sudden on the buying side and I saw with
my own eyes what happens around the
larger deals and how the how the
decision making is really going and on
the surface you want to show that you’re
really fact-based but in reality it’s
lots of politics various agendas much
more people involved and you think and
the budget owner is rarely a sole
decision maker many junior salespeople
think it’s yeah we’re talking to the
right person here she’s making the
session like yeah sure and I was a CIO I
had I was part of the c-suite even
though I was only 26 that was pretty
young but I had on paper lots of budget
responsibilities but in reality I
decided very little so things like that
were big realizations for myself and to
some extent prior to that my first
company that sold into retail kind of
yeah it’s a successful company today but
myself I didn’t succeed well with it and
one of the reasons what was that I
couldn’t scale and the price sales and
marketing so I had a lot of sales team
team members but I ended up having to
sell myself all the time so I couldn’t
scale it in the beginning I thought I
was particularly good but in there after
a while I realized no I suck if I can’t
scale this I it’s game over so and we
actually fail the first time so we had
to start over and and second time it
worked out but but that was kind of the
context for me that led me and then I
started another enterprise software
company we don’t have to go into that
but that I was also mostly selling into
partner owned companies and
that decision-making is making is even
trickier with again agendas and stuff
yeah I was going to say I guess my
you can probably cut that out so a B in
the word takes me out sometimes because
often it’s not so much about marketing
to try to get new prospects but actually
getting deeper into customers that are
already on board
Landon of course yeah oh yeah the land
and expand this is learning expand that
that’s where you have the big money so
we’re with our court the landing or the
expanding know it’s typical said well
both are equally difficult but the big
money is in the expanding it’s so just
to finish off my story that so that
actually led to me starting a company
called and the more we started in
November 2007 it was more or less the
same I mean few days as demand they
started so we’re kind of the first
product ABM companies in the world and
we got eventually over 100 fortune 500
companies unfortunately well I I don’t
regret it because I had to get my first
kind of few million dollars but I sold
it too early and the buyer I don’t think
they did a phenomenal job and developing
it further but that’s maybe a personal
thing but but anyway we we were pretty
successful we got a lot of American
companies worked with us both in Silicon
Valley in Boston area and New York etc
and we particularly good at really large
companies doing ABM anyway so yeah going
back to your question so canvas
marketing is particularly good in 3 so 2
out of
three big faces so if you take from
awareness to closing your first deal
with a completely new account acephate
that’s phase one phase two is to take
that not sorry to take that again so the
phase one is to go from unaware into
becoming a lead than to go in from lead
into becoming a deal and then to go from
a deal to like you said land and expand
kind of expand that deal ABM is
particularly good at the second the last
two so it’s not phenomenal for lead
generation especially if you calculate a
cost per lead you use that metric ABM
will come out pretty flat if you look at
the win rate for accounts ABM is
it’s more expensive than many lead
generation activities that you do but it
has a higher win rate and some of the
reasons why I account as marketing
really works and the enterprise sales
world is that first of all that five
point seven decision-makers in our
research around the mega deals book that
does a kind of I don’t know where they
got that number it’s not true simply not
true in enterprise deals are much larger
amount of people involved maybe if you
sell some simple sauce stuff that’s
that’s easier but and and well it’s a
side note sauce doesn’t mean it can’t be
enterprising sauce is often enterprise
but as soon as you go into enterprise
style deals there are more complex you
have vast groups of people that you need
to get on board not necessarily just
sign the deal but you don’t want them to
object to what you’re trying to achieve
so you need to run a pretty significant
consensus game to get people aligned and
sales people typically pretty bad at
that they’re kind of by default speaking
to a to small amount of people and
especially the junior ones to go back to
the head of sales saying yeah Bob I I
had a meeting now with missus or mr. X
of this company and
she was really positive I think we’ll
close the deal with them as a senior
sales leader you’re like right because
you know that from having one person
signaling an interest until you have a
signed contract that’s a pretty long
journey so and typically quite a few
people involved so that those kind of
areas are great for for ABM and the
decision groups are way bigger the lobby
groups around the deal are way bigger
than any other gardeners and the guys
are saying our research is showing that
and constantly and also larger deals are
a lot about mitigating risk and and
being trussed forward yes a when their
vendor so what we’ve seen in our
research is that most big companies
prefer to buy from a secure vendor
rather than the extra bells and whistles
so you can come as a dozen as a smaller
company and this is a bit of a struggle
and here here ABM can play a big role
for small companies so a small company
you can and I’m a part of such a company
so I’m an investor in foil companies and
one of them has a phenomenal product I
mean they really wipe the floor with
some of the biggest names in the IT
industry but they’re small and they
suffer from that so much there they look
risky even though the if you look at the
functionality demands they completely
have a compliant all of them but that
doesn’t matter they don’t win enough
anyway because they’re losing on the
credibility side so it’s a risk being
low a reuleaux alternative is an
immensely important in larger deals and
and this is a spot where branding and
marketing can really play a role because
you can reduce this perceived risk by
really good marketing especially if you
do it at scale within the target
organization and some are there some of
the some of the ecosystem around that
organization so it sounds like
especially for smaller
newer companies it makes sense to be
more specific on the target company size
that they should be going after yeah I
mean as I made Mario Megamart exactly
connected to connect that’s a good
conclusion so to build your way up you
should start with a mid-market I mean
the small SME are typically not not
capable of paying off so you should go
for the kind of 52,000 employees and try
to really gain momentum there and then
you start to move the needle up step by
step once you’ve gained credibility
because they’re so I know I think you
guys listening to this I’m sure you’ve
been come across this a ton of time so
trying to sell into a big brand a really
pragmatic they it they’re like okay so
who else have you sold in our industry
and you go yeah but you have the symbol
that you have seen their needs as our
other clients coming from this other
industry they’re like no no and you’re
as an entrepreneur you can’t can be a
bit a bit more wide thinking but then
the buyer is like not on see a
resemblance like we have nothing to do
with an airline you’re like yeah but
it’s the same problem like doesn’t
matter we’re not in Maryland so and I’m
sure you about I’ve seen this as well so
a lot of your advice is to know your
target audience and don’t I mean don’t
waste your time where it’s just going to
be hard work it’s a struggle and maybe
work your way up there right yeah
exactly I think you’re right I think
it’s important to some people say you
should never give up but that can be bad
bad advice like the best salespeople
we’ve studied in the mega deals research
are great at exiting early so when they
speak to you they have that there their
checklist and you’re not taking all the
boxes they exit they just you know in a
subtle way move out and they go for the
next company and the high performers and
sales are having this behavior and and
that is deaf
to point applicable to selection of
clients like if you are a smaller
company even though it’s tempting to
media to go for the Bank of America of
the world but don’t just gain momentum
in the mid markets and then you
gradually move up there enough so for a
company that’s larger or a company
that’s ready to move up and they’re
ready to go after the big folks you
mentioned there’s a lot of decision
makers a lot of people you have to reach
out so there’s arguably dozens of
different key stakeholders to reach out
to different personas I assume in
different pain points or different
focuses maybe security or cost or or
whatever but how do you identify who the
right people are and what to talk about
so this might be a bit boring advice but
I think in the choice between being
exactly to the point with the various
persona and so to summarize it a bit I
think it’s it’s more scalable and more
effective to focus on the the pain
points for the account in the marketing
program whereas in sales you’re more
persona oriented so I seen and during my
ten years at bender more where we worked
with over 100 fortune 500 companies I
saw way too many companies being over
sophisticated when it came to the
analysis of the stakeholders and then
trying to craft unique messages for the
different type of type of personas that
they failed on the execution so so my
strong recommendation is to when doing
ABM is to start with the display
advertising and the social medias of the
four social media channels kind of ABM
where you’re very media based and you
folks mostly on the the
the accounts pain points whereas
salespeople can take it one step further
because the issue with the cannabis
marketing is that it’s in theory perfect
but in practice it’s imperfect so with
what is a struggle is that marketing
teams are speaking too little to sales
teams and and also even if they do to
execute campus marketing becomes really
heavy unless you make a few brutal
choices so my recommendation is to to
actually not over over invest in the
persona specific messaging in the
marketing programs but use that instead
in sales I know that a lot of people
would say I’m wrong but this is
definitely my experience and and I think
what really gives you bang for the box
is to get a compass marking to become an
inherent part of your daily work and to
get it to scale through your
international organization so it becomes
an integral part of what you do and to
reach that point you need to simplify it
a bit and when overdoing it like we
could we could spend this talk on the
most sophisticated stuff you can do
around the campus marketing but that is
not profitable for 99% of all the
listeners the big man like I said per
temple and sorry what did you say well I
I get there’s a lot to be said for a
simple yeah yeah yeah I think it’s the
same you know in the book in our books
mega deals that we’re just launching the
EBM chapter yeah so we’ve interviewed so
I started then the more but then we’ve
interviewed people from the big big AVM
vendors but also many of the known
analysts around it from the campus
marketing space from Sirius Forrester
Gartner and the others but we’ve chosen
to in that chapter
describe it in a very pragmatic way so
that the readers can implement it I’ve
seen recommendations on campus marketing
implementations that are mostly like
okay this is Rick is really cool to say
this but no one can run it so my view is
more pragmatic like it’s what makes
things successful is to get it into a
habit when when when you do it when you
excel at it and it’s becoming a habit of
yours and a habit of your organization
and not just your team but across
countries etc and then you make some
serious money on doing it and then you
need to package it and simplify it a bit
some pay for that long so as far as the
the human side of this how do you see
the coordination between sales and
marketing who who does that well with
good sales drive it to his marketing
drive it is how do you get by right so
this is an experience but we’ve seen
both in the research and I was the most
is this one we’re running blender more
so often you benefit from having
marketing lead a canvas marketing but
have for example content creation don’t
start with in the marketing team what
you do instead is you have meetings with
sales and you try to figure out what’s
on the agenda of these accounts so let’s
say you’re responsible for three
accounts what’s what’s their different
agendas and also what kind of stories
can we make that they fit that agenda
yes yeah make them yes so for example
both in climb on and and and earlier and
where when sales I’m working with two
years and grew it from three to ninety
million dollars first so we we start at
all the
and creation was centered around the
salespeople so let’s assume you were
responsible for British steel then we
would expose you in videos and articles
and you would be also the IDE generator
of the content then obviously marketing
people have different toolboxes and
skills so marketing can add significant
value to you but the original stories
came from you and then the the main
character in the stories whether it was
videos or articles again was you so what
happened was that the account
representatives when when they went out
to see people in those target accounts
they were they receive this film stars
so all of a sudden you come into meeting
you noticed everyone in the room they
feel that they know you you haven’t seen
them effects like that so so you use use
the the people on the ground put them in
media use them as the front figures and
don’t make the mistake of you using only
the the name spokespersons like the CEO
and the CEO and the CFO in that kind of
communication use the people that like
that particular account will meet so we
did that really well Klieman during the
last two years and we’re developing that
now a proof where I run sales and
marketing now and the most of the lead
investor so going back to your role as a
the decision-makers or at least an
influencer when you were on the T side
or as you are what is what works with
when marketers want to reach out to you
when salespeople want to reach out to
you are you wanting them to reach out to
the lower level people first the
managers to get their their buy-in first
or go directly to you look and then
learn a call yesterday after they send
you web stuff right so what really
annoyed me when I was the CIO at the big
fashion retailer was even the biggest
names in the market
doubt to me with the to junior person
some kind of pre-sales and this is by
the way big mistakes I don’t believe in
that I think if you want to reach into
your most pre prioritize accountants
don’t put someone that starts to stutter
when they reach the right person so I
got really annoyed when they didn’t know
who we were
they couldn’t ask them so what do you
know about retail and they’re like not
bad but but in general what we’ve seen
in the research and that probably
applies to myself as well even improve
we’re only 24 people but I want sales
people to reach out to people below me
because I I don’t have time to filter
everything but then I also want my team
to filter so they don’t because some
people just say like oh here are all my
d2d this to my boss and he send me send
him an email and then some kind of shit
email comes through and and then my team
member hasn’t done a good job in
filtering out thinks they’re irrelevant
so but but it’s one simple thing
together I respond straight then you
probably seen this as well but like as
soon as you can speak about that
industry so the industry specificity say
we’ll talk about the the big names in
that industry what are the big trends
and all that then all of a sudden the
the receiver or what kind of regardless
of its phone call or a marketing item of
some kind it realizes that you you know
what you’re talking about
and then all of a sudden you’re so
interesting like I mean a lot of Indian
outsourcing companies are still sending
emails where they list 23 capabilities
like c-sharp asher blah blah blah blah
they were just listing IT capabilities
and then they’re asking for meat and
you’re like right so i knowing about the
industry but also mentioning a few words
about the company where you work like i
mean the company
targeting so that you shall receive it
that you’ve spent the time researching
them what we’ve seen in our mega deals
research is that it’s really relevant to
try to figure out what the key
initiatives are the target account so
what are the top three to five key
initiatives if you can hit one of those
with your offering then your hit rate is
tremendously higher so and those are
often described in the annual report so
by just scanning the annual reports you
can figure out what the target accounts
is having as a key strategy and what
their programs are that are backing up
the strategy and by then figuring out if
you fit into one of those programs then
you can have a really fast track into
significant deals but if you go into a
company where what you’re selling
doesn’t touch upon any of their key
you should probably exit and don’t even
spend time with them and this is also
behavior of the the best like highest
performing mega dealers they are really
good at both through quick research and
reports but also in the first
interactions with the customer actually
working to to exit the discussion
instead of so we intentionally use the
word disqualify instead of qualify
so you want to disqualify early and
because it’s better to instead it to
happen to disqualify too much that then
too little because in the larger deal
each sales cycle is so expensive that
you want to you you want you need to
prioritize really hard and then once you
have qualified them then you spend a lot
of money on IBM and you pull in various
resources from your company to to be to
team up around the potential deal but
before that you don’t spend much money
again going back to the last two phases
where ABM really make sense so from
and so not to Legion right but to
actually like okay we it’s not just a
lead we have is not a man MQL it’s not
masculinity on that so we have now
spoken to the customer we really feel
that this is a fit and we should start
to allocate money towards this
opportunity then you start to do Co some
serious a compass marketing yeah so good
advice it sounds like an outreach don’t
need to junior people go use your strong
sales people do your homework know the
industry very well have done have some
solutions for the industry know the the
prospects hot points are there or their
projects so how do you how do you find
out what their projects are I mean don’t
know they don’t lift them on the web
anywhere well most public companies and
many large deals are done with big
become biz and many of the becomes our
public so most public companies have and
your report to you can you can download
and in the annual reports you typically
have a CEO letter and and you have some
pages about strategy and quite often you
find this kind of information in there
so sometimes you need to do what we call
research calls you need to call people
within that account on lower level to
try to figure out what the main
initiatives are or the key initiatives
and people often know this because
they’re so important for that company
that they are communicating about these
key initiatives frequently but the
c-suite is communicating frequently
about them they’re monitoring them on
various monthly monthly internally
things and stuff so it’s actually not
too tricky to find them out I mean it’s
different when you target smaller
companies they probably don’t even have
key initiatives but once you target the
bigger companies then then you’ll notice
that it’s it’s not so hard to figure out
and instill most sales America self
people in marketeers are not even
checking the annual report so if there’s
one simple key takeaway from listening
to this poll
caste then start to look at any reports
and you don’t have to go through all the
numbers you just have to look at the ten
fifteen pages are more about strategy
and sometimes it’s less than that you
find a lot of it it’s super valuable
information there so we have we we have
add comments like when we go and see in
client they go oh you know more and most
my staff about us and you only think
you’ve done because most if you if you
work in a fortune 500 companies I mean I
and I would bet money on that ninety
five percent of the staff never read the
annual report so they’re not up to date
with the strategy they’re not up to date
with with all the details so so as soon
as you do that and you mean someone’s
senior they get is impressed
I mean almost all high performers do it
so if you were competing with high I
mean really competitive people you will
not be unique doing this but it to the
on the others on the contrary if you
don’t do it you’re out so but that’s a
that’s a an important and easy takeaway
from this podcast is to start reading
annual reports and that trying to figure
out what the key with the strategy is
from your time for your target account
and what kind of key initiatives they
have that are backing up that strategy
great advice thank you so what do you
see as the future how are things heading
in your mind in a year four or five
years from now what are we gonna be talk
about from a strategy perspective from a
technology perspective from us from a
legal privacy issues perspective the
last point you’re racing is pretty key
so so most kind of new and innovative
things I see in ABM are kind of gray
zone from a privacy point of view and
since I’m European and GDP are is
obviously very prescient for us like the
data protection law and many
international American companies need to
be compliant with that as well even
though the
us-based so that is I mean some really I
mean very active investor in more tech
and coming like yeah you’ve been
involved in a lot of market companies I
want to have you as an investor and I
they go through a brilliant idea but
it’s immediately like yeah but that’s
too intrusive they’re like is it mm-hmm
yeah so I think that the what would what
you’ll see in the next ten years is a
big balance act and the battle between
robotize ation and data and and privacy
kind of those three battling and I mean
robot isolation and they thought kind of
hand-in-hand but many of the smart
automations and really clever stuff you
can do around an account quickly becomes
sensitive to privacy one of the things
I’ve done which i think is part of the
future of ABM so I’m fairly large
investor in a a rather young campus
marketing campaign called NSYNC but has
quickly grown 700% several years in a
row where it’s kind of started off with
display advertising through IP and then
in sync also added all the for social
channels so you can both target all
employees by IP numbers but then you can
display advertisement but then you can
also target by a social posts using
selections of people inside those
accounts it’s really smart set up where
you get the best of social the for
social media channels and display
advertising and then they’ve integrated
that you’ve had rapid which is actually
another investment of mine it’s an
embedded platform for for for ads and ad
templates so like banner snack and
banner flow but completely build to be
embedded into other platforms all of a
sudden in one user interface you can
decide okay I want to target this
account I want to have out of the
hundred messages and ads we have on when
you see seven I want to want it to be
visible both in normal media online
but also in the for social media
channels this is how you kind of often
want to run canvas marking then on top
of that you wanted to do some stuff
there more like in mail and an email but
but at these the media part of a campus
marking you want to be run synchronized
so in sync with a Zed they have done
this really in a really smart way so
they’re gaining momentum now and then a
lot of the guys that are only doing IP
and some smart data stuff are not
covering enough because most people I’m
sure you’ve notes this we we tend to
spend more and more percentage of our
time on the social channels and less and
less on on the regular media channel so
if you’re not incorporating your social
channels in your account based marketing
program it quickly becomes too weak so
with the display advertising by IP
LinkedIn Twitter Instagram and Facebook
those four combined with IP and display
is really powerful so maybe that’s it’s
not it’s not super duper ultra
innovative but it’s it’s kind of close
to how you want it to run and you don’t
have to have a big Orchestra of people
to manage it you can run it with very
few people industrialize IBM maybe have
industrialized ABM is critical I mean
moving it like we talked about before
maybe getting to behaviors daily habits
like has to be an integral part of your
everyday work and then it has to be easy
to manage and has to cover many things
in one go yeah I’ve heard
things about the Facebook for b2b but
your what the challenges it seems the
Facebook is a b2c sort of a product I
mean that’s how I’m that’s how I
position myself on Facebook yeah no
totally so but the thing is what would
you get with Facebook and Instagram its
frequency so LinkedIn this is in theory
the ultimate tool for you to be and for
targeting I mean you can do really
sophisticated selections as you know in
anything but a lot of people are way too
infrequently at LinkedIn so if you want
to influence them you cannot rely on
LinkedIn you need to blend it so you
kind of use you use the strengths of
LinkedIn but you then use that to build
a bridge into also Instagram and
Facebook and what we would we see anyway
is some really good results combining
these even though them they are seen as
consumer channels but they have such a
high frequency and also lower price per
exposure that it kind of makes sense but
in that it doesn’t mean it’s for all but
what we’ve done in instinct is that you
can choose you say ok I want to use
display and LinkedIn and Twitter that’s
the three I want to use so I want to say
okay I want to use display Instagram and
Facebook that’s fine as well you can
make whatever combination you want but
the key the key is that more and more
people are spending an awful lot of time
on social media and less and less on
traditional online media and LinkedIn as
the kind of ultimate b2b channel has to
low frequency for too high proportion of
all the people you want to influence so
to bridge that you need to mix you need
to mix it
let’s go I see it we’ll move forward I
also see some really smart tools on how
to automate so kind of so there’s one
company cooking it’s not even launched
but I’m I’m an advisor there where it’s
kind of creating marketing automation
that’s social media based so much like
the yellow quartz and the mark arrows
but and they’re very I mean they’re
fundamentally built around email even
though they try to branch out into
multi-channel but it’s still you can see
the heritage even in there where is this
there’s a new genre of marketing
automation companies that are more in
mail and Facebook messaging I mean that
the social media channels are the core
of the product and not an extension
that’s also something because social
selling Enterprise style is really
complementary to account as marketing if
you want to win bigger deals this is
really working well in our book in our
book we have a lot of how to combine
those beautiful is that company in
stealth mode or are you able to share
who that is so in sync is not in stealth
mode that’s the accomplice marketing
company the the the the marketing
automation company for social media I
mean kind of built around social media
it does include you know the others but
it that’s in stealth mode still but I I
will probably be on the board of some I
mean I the chairman or board member of
that company
and it’s a real balance act to not
become about GDP are not to become too
intrusive but it’s kind of finding that
balance of how close you can come
without breaking the law yep make sense
beautiful well this has been awesome
Christopher any final words of wisdom
otherwise I’ll let you go enjoy those
those wonderful kids
I think keep it simple and try to scale
it and then it’s so tempting to over
complicate it and then get stuck in in
details not getting anywhere so that’s
my 10 year of Abyan experience great
advice thank you thank you again for
your time and other courses between you
and Boston next month
yeah and that will be a pleasure I truly
look forward to it and I am Boston in
such a cool town one of my best friends
going to Harvard that I was there for
one of my most fun weeks ever was at
Harvard Business School as a guest
it’s a good time it’s a good time you
see very good pleasure Christopher I’ll
see you soon thank you cool figure taker