Interview with James Foulkes

Director & Co-Founder Kingpin Communications

James Foulkes Director Co-Founder Kingpin Communications

Interview Highlights:

  • Agile MarketingDynamic Content -> Behavior – text via behavior.
  • Marketing Challenges in Europe
  • Intent Data – tracking what people are doing.
  • What Defines Success ie Event/Webinar on ABM. Pitch process. 13 on the webinar.
  • 105 target companies. White space analysis.
  • Mid-to-large. Tech.
  • ABM Strategy vs Tactic Accountability. Long Term.
  • Test Test Try.
Video Transcript

hi this is Bob Samuel found a tech
connector tech connector provides
efficiencies and actionable intelligence
for b2b légion marketers and their
agents we’ve partnered with serious
decisions to bring you wisdom from
leading account based marketing thought
leaders to that end I’m happy to
introduce you to James folks co-founder
and director of kingpin communications
like me James has a background in print
publications before he dove deep into
different marketing and related
intelligence and targeting kingpin is a
pioneer and ABM marketing and they’ll be
exhibiting at next week’s serious
decision summit in London James it’s a
pleasure to speak with you how are you
today I’m fine thank you I’m fine thank
you and that’s my British understatement
so it’s actually Friday afternoon in in
London I’m looking forward to the
weekend excellent and I’m looking
forward to to seeing you in person and
London and the serious decision show
it’s my it’s my favorite show of all do
a really good job yeah they certainly do
and actually I often seem that the
marketing and sales side of the tech
industry can often be can often be not
brushed aside but be their bit in the
corner that everyone wants to talk about
after the the more mainstream IT analyst
so it’s great to have someone that
focuses on us and it will be good to
catch up absolutely absolutely you know
what a thing to like about Sirius is you
know they’ve got great presentations but
it’s also a great way to network and and
and see people who are really good at
what they do and and compare notes and
so yeah it is it’s good it’s good the
content is good you get to me
competitors and partners alike and you
also get to meet clients prospects and
it’s it’s a great way to just go on that
go on and knowledge and almost
brainstorm for a couple of days to be
honest so certainly certainly I always
pick up a couple of nuggets things that
I didn’t think about before which
I guess is what happens when you you
stick 1,500 creative types in a room and
start talking about how they’re going to
market oh my oh my it’s wonderful so I
understand you guys are going to have a
booth there is anything anything new
going on in the kingpin world that we’re
hearing about well I we always tell our
clients not to talk about products but I
guess the most significant thing we’ve
got is actually the 2.0 version of Argos
which is which is our account
intelligence our data validation and
campaign management platform so we’ll be
demoing that on on our booth and it’ll
be really cool to get people’s thoughts
on it we’ve put a lot of thought into it
we’ve integrated with lots of
third-party data and first party data
and to really kind of all build an
overall 360 view of accounts and
organizations of the kind of topics that
they’re looking at so it’d be good to
get people along to have a look at that
just get their opinion it’s like
everything it’s a journey it’s agile
development it’s always in beta however
you want to describe it we’re always
continuously improving it so opinion
through as value fairly there’s anything
else so so before we go too far so if
you can explain a little bit to our
audience and your background
Kingston’s background and and and you’ve
been around a while and then and then
your tie into a VM and maybe in this I
mean it’s really just named account to
target accounts but you know the topic
and the process is there what’s your
background okay
so myself myself I come from a fairly
long media media and event management
background or at least that’s where I
started something like 30 years ago
so something anyway well yeah well if
only when it when it went away when I
was around about 17 I started in in the
tech media space and and that kind of
grow to managing events
small small brush by eventuated larger
larger conference mating companies
mainly for tech vendors at that time
myself or my co-founder Mirza decided
that we would look at working closer
with these tech companies to actually
work out best routes to market so we
launched kingpin in 1997 we’ve always
had something that we call audience
first so we understood where the
audience was what it was doing where it
was going and how to reach it at the
right time so traditionally we come from
a media and data background but that’s
been really good for us because the
explosion in data and the excitement
around technology has been really good
for us because we started at the
beginning always looking at audience
always looking at market sizing
segmentation we were doing personas
early two-thousands we come from a sales
background where were targeting we were
targeted to around about 150 to 200
account so we got the kind of account
based modeling and marketing from from
from day one and in many ways actually
it’s not changed the results are still
the same you still want to engage
organizations you still want to get them
doing stuff but the only channels we had
when we first did this was a telephone a
fax machine and sending out letters
whereas now in a multi-channel world
that’s completely changed more to the
point I can now track what what
individuals and organizations are doing
to so I guess in a nutshell been around
a while always been in data we looked
and Geeks and see ABM as as a natural
extension to the account based selling
that we did when we first started in
this industry absolutely absolutely and
it sounds like you put a premium on
intelligence and data and just being
really a great match for you yeah it is
it is I mean I can’t base marketing for
us and the move to account based
marketing has been fantastic for kingpin
because we traditionally like to look at
a longer game and embedding ourselves
clients and their prospects we can fully
understand the end to end customer
journeying how people help people buy
their products and services and the move
to account based marketing has moved
from very tactical driven short-term KP
is what leads can I get in can I get MQ
ELLs can I get sql’s etc – okay how do i
influence this account over a 6 12 24
month period in in some cases and that
and that’s fantastic for us because it
means we can actually deep dive into our
clients their prospects and customers
and start working out a longer term a
longer term root for them rather than
short term gain of can I get a load of
leads in can sales follow it up can they
sell stuff which feels a bit like
marketing producing stuff thrown it over
the wall to sales and sales trying to
follow up on it as opposed to what we
generally find we’re working with now is
someone sat in between marketing and
sales and actually seeing seeing ABM as
a strategy not a tactic very good I
could so as far as the strategy I
understand a lot of a lot of the process
has to do with a lot of the planning up
ahead and coordination with sales who
generally leads the processes that
you’ve seen sales or marketing groups
where did the challenges or the okay
there’s always going to be challenges
within sales and marketing even though
even though we all want the same the
same thing with a responsibility lies do
you want me to tell you where it
actually lies or where I think it should
like well actually can change can change
from company to company where I think it
should lie is somebody should get the
overall accountability for a gap and you
can call it account based sales you can
call it account based marketing it
doesn’t really matter but what you’re
trying to do is extract greater
engagement and revenue from a certain
number of accounts over time so that
should sit with somebody they can come
from a sales commercial background they
can come from a marketing background
they can come from a product marketing
background it doesn’t really matter but
somebody should be accountable for that
behind that there should be a team and
those teams should have one goal which
keyboard or cello say two goals increase
engagement and increase revenue from
from a targeted number of the caps
that’s it
so accountability should sit with one
person in one team yes and so when I
hear council is marking I think of
bringing in new accounts the net new
names but the reality is a lot of it has
to do with growing the existing clients
it is and this is where I actually quite
like pub spots version of the funnel ie
the flywheel because don’t be an
insurance company where if you’re
thinking about account based marketing
if I think of the insurance companies I
engage with as a consumer I get a letter
at the end of the year saying we’re
about to renew you and they would you me
and then my friend two doors down gets a
letter from the same insurance company
saying we want to take you away from
your current insurance supplier so I’m
going to give you a 20% discount that
makes me feel bad as a customer what
they should be doing is treating me as
an account and starting to sell to me on
a number of levels so if they’ve got my
house insurance why don’t they get my
car insurance if they’ve got my house
and coinsurance why don’t they get my
utility and all of my essential services
booked in and that’s kind of where we
have to think now so I know serious
decisions do some fantastic frameworks
but in terms of the demand waterfall I
prefer to look at the flywheel because
you are always continuously trying to
influence at the right right time and
continuously trying to sell to people
whether they’re a customer or a prospect
you’re either trying to make maintain
revenue or grow revenue if they’re a
customer or actually get them in if
they’re a prospect so from my
perspective I like the flywheel approach
although I do see value in the funnel go
after them for your product by a product
by product but the whole holistic
relationship yeah absolutely and I think
one of the things we’ll probably cover
is is where I see this going or where
well this is going to go over the
one in five years and I think
personalization and that move towards
people assuming that they’re going to
interact with organizations in the same
way they do b2c I almost think in five
years time there won’t be a b2c b2b
split it will be person-to-person
assumed over-over a digital platform so
yeah you’re gonna get senior senior IT
senior senior board level people wanting
to talk to humans but the actual users
of the software are definitely gonna or
service are definitely gonna want a kind
of personalized view and personalized I
know in today’s world it’s an app god
knows what it’s going to be in five
years time but they’re gonna want a
person-to-person experience and that’s
going to drive a whole load of a whole
load of IBM and that’s the interesting
thing about a VM it’s not just marketing
it’s customer experience as well it’s
what you do once they become a customer
it’s how you get them in its the
impression you make from the second the
the CEO walks in your front door to the
time that one of the the people running
the research and land on your website
it’s a whole thing
so you mentioned personalization and you
know with the information and the data
signals and so forth we have we can we
can get to the point where we’ve got
very very specific people we can go
after specific timing and discussions we
can have which is great the downside of
it is it can be a little bit spooky yeah
and besides the fact that and maybe you
can share a little bit about how you
know how gdpr gets involved as far as
you know how personalized do we want to
get okay so gdpr protects data data
subjects and it’s it’s about
understanding protecting their personal
personal information so it depends again
I quite like the way serious decision to
do one to one want a few on too many
ones programmatic is a kind of split of
the way that you approach ABM ABM in
that one-to-one route if we talk about
you can be hyper personalized because
traditionally you’ve got a fairly large
budget to target a fairly large account
so on that level you can actually garner
and and take a whole load of information
that’s in the public domain and put it
together there are tools like Crystal
knows for example that you can utilize
if you you know you have to speak to
somebody but you don’t know how to in
the 1 to few market you’re probably able
to do something similar in the
one-to-many that’s where personalization
gets gets harder and also a bit murkier
if you’re starting to scrape it’s great
people’s personal information from here
and there but actually gdpr doesn’t stop
you emailing or or targeting people
under the guise of legitimate interest
you just have to make sure you
understand why you’re do doing that the
impact on that date or subject if any of
the information you hold got out there
and how much of its available in the
public domain domain so you do need to
think about it but actually GDP are just
gets you to do good marketing rather
than bad marketing so it’s our friends
it in it gets rid of some of the the bad
players and lets you still be able to
market to people is like I said there’s
a legitimate intent yeah it is I mean
the only thing I would add to that is
actually I’ve never met a market that
actually wanted to target someone who
didn’t have a legitimate reason for
being targeted I know I know we used to
at scale spam lots of people with with
lots of cold email and I’m never
suggesting doing that but at least
there’s a reason for emailing them in
the first place you have to work out
you’re not going to send something a
message to someone that that’s
completely gonna ruin your brand and
that’s funny funnily enough above and
beyond it so GDP are just baseline of
protecting data subjects it’s actually
more about customer experience and brand
value when you think of targeting
someone cold is there is this email
going to affect my brand negatively is
is a kind of questions that you should
be asking now rather than
rather than the data protection issues
it’s more commercial moral commercial
for you okay thank you so you’ve
mentioned a few technologies you love
hubs but crystal crystal knows I’m not
familiar with what other technologies
have you found to be useful is there any
technology for instance to help you with
the messaging you know knowing who to
reach out to I get that and and maybe
what they’re you know figuring out maybe
what their interest is or what their
pain points are is kind of a key but how
do you figure out what to talk about and
there’s no there’s no magic formula no
separate there’s no software you can buy
that’ll that’ll help you figure out what
the method you have to do that yourself
so that well the first thing is there’s
so much more tech around I’ve yet to
find the Silver Bullet some of it
depends on what you’re trying to achieve
and ABM for one organization is
different from maybe into another in
terms of actual dynamic content there
are tools around that pertain to
understand behavior and present text in
a way that it suits the content that
that person is consuming as yet I’ve not
seen that work so successfully other
than at something like an IP or
organization level you can personalize
to to the individual if you know them
through your automation tool or you can
personalize to the industry
or to the company based on on you you’ve
picked them up through through through
IP tracking or however you’re you’re
doing that in terms of actual dynamic
content I’ve not seen anything beyond
that that works brilliantly
so that yeah there’s no silver bullet
but that doesn’t mean you can’t track
and we like to think of marketing
qualified accounts it is kind of where
we head so there’s no reason why you
can’t attract and look at an account and
the kind of content it’s consuming off
you and third-party websites and start
thinking well if they’re looking at
endpoint security maybe I should send
them an endpoint security message and
these are the decision makers that have
heavily engaged with us but we know
we’re missing these four or five over
here maybe we should start sending them
some branding to kind of kind of help
cross fertilize across the whole buying
team so you can you can look at content
and behavior and you can start start
start adapting but once you get into the
one two programmatic one-to-many that’s
really hard to do at scale it’s only
there if the if the deal value or the
customer lifetime value to you is it is
into well into seven seven figures when
you mentioned that you do you do way you
take a look at and when you look at an
account you you’re looking at who you
know they’re and you’re also figuring
out you don’t know they’re so you
imagine you’re hooking into some
databases of contacts to match up what
you have versus the the whole world out
there to figure out the white space yeah
you’ve got the general the the general
general suspects you’ve got LinkedIn
zoom info etc but you’ve also got some
specific technology list so over here
we’ve certainly in Europe we’ve got mi
Europe which is a data set we can use we
can also call into a department
Neverland and start researching these
again it depends it depends on how much
information you need to know and also
how much information you really can know
and then thirdly how much is of value to
you because some of these organizations
are so large that can you really do a
personal message to 20,000 marketing
individuals within a very large
organization probably not so you might
want to look at six to twelve contacts
that you can influence that you are know
know heavily influential and spend a lot
of time and effort on those and almost
treat the rest of the organization as a
one two programmatic by we where you
start targeting them and then tracking
tracking behavior once so responding so
how do you figure out what channels to
use as far as outreach do you typically
try to hit people
multichannel with calling and emailing
and so at the one-to-one the one-to-one
kind of space within IBM that’s
relatively easy because you can spend
time and effort on working out what
makes the individual tick I mentioned
crystal nose again that that that is a
tool that effectively looks through all
of your social social searches postings
etc and comes up with a personality type
for that individual and it’s on
narrowing the accurate I actually
suggest that you go after the after this
podcast go on to it and put yourself in
there and find out your own profile
which is based on stuff it can get
completely legally across them across
all across the web so have a look at
that it is unnerving
it really is it’s it’s very accuracy you
could do that kind of stuff but and that
that means you can then start focusing
on more personal touches so as I said if
you can get those six to twelve
individuals ideally six that you want to
talk to you can start inviting them to
the event that they want to go to that’s
might be will you’ll include hospitality
might be that you’ll send a high-value
direct mail through a it’s a very
different channel route than if you look
at the one proper two programmatic route
which is more kind of just good targeted
marketing where you may be targeting in
industry and those channels you’re going
to use the at scale channel so you’re
going to use digital ads you’re going to
use the programmatic
real-time advertising and you’re going
to use things like email social paid
social etc so it depends on how
important the client is and how you’re
approaching it as to exactly which
channels you’ll use make sense and then
like you said it at the different levels
of a being the one to one the one yeah
different outreaches thanks actually
that and then I think you’ve alluded to
signals so I think so crystal nose gives
you some clues about what people are
interested in with were they frequent
maybe be other intelligence tool we are
using BOM Bora or
or any other intelligent sort of signal
sort of offering yeah yeah we do we were
big believers in intent data we’ve used
that ourselves actually to complete
degeneration campaigns and we’ve we’ve
seen a massive uplift lift just by using
intent data over over over standardized
flat data or behavioral that all
standardized thermographic information
so yeah we do use all of those that you
suggested and a few more we also have
our own intend data most of the
campaign’s we we send out more our
customers we are tracking at least at
the organizational level what people are
what people are doing and what
organizations are doing so we could see
content consumed and maybe look if
there’s a project available so we could
start using that Intel and then maybe
calling into to that account and on
behalf of our clients start finding out
what they’re interested in and what’s
making that making them tick but yeah
there were big believers in intent data
mainly because if you look at any
organization it clearly has its own
buying cycles and its own content
content it has its own times of the year
that actually takes content so if we
looked at a large organization you’ll
see this two or three times of the year
it’s actively taking content so your if
you’re looking at that as an account
you’ll probably target it with gated
downloadable content at the times it
will take it and throughout the rest of
the year having always on programmatic
campaign and just to back that up so
you’re always front of mind and the
reason I say we do that is for example
we run a IT leader event last night and
asked a simple question his brand is
brand important when selecting when when
when selecting vendors and 50% of them
said yes straightaway and the rest kind
of had it to varying degrees but a
but certain certainly brand branding and
it that’s how I would see that as well
if you’re taking it an account level and
you’re targeting it throughout the year
and putting your money into gated
campaigns around the times it’s taking
take taking content that gives you the
greatest chance to to succeed over the
year so it sounds like you’re using the
intelligence to figure out who to talk
to what to talk to them about and
perhaps when to talk to them yeah
exactly that and if you had any
experience with some of their
predictions like a sixth sense for them
to go doing that sort of thing oh sorry
say that I got the line when did some of
the predictive solutions out there like
yes extents are meant to go ever string
lattice engines if you had any
successors or yeah we’re often driven by
in the same way will work with Marketo
Eloqua or whole host of debt we’re often
driven by tech that our clients have
already installed and invested in for
example if we sit down with somebody
who’s invested in sixth sense we’re not
going to tell them to rip it out and
remove it so we’ll work with it all of
them perform a reasonable reasonable job
so what we try to do is just use it as
another data set to add to anything that
we can implement and complement okay so
do you have any examples that you can
share as far as some of the success
stories you’ve had either either for
yourself but perhaps you use them for
your your own marketing for to get new
clients or build your clients or success
you’ve had with some of your clients or
maybe some learning opportunities yeah
yeah so I think what are the key
questions I would ask someone at the
beginning of an ABM campaign is what
defines success so certainly for
ourselves we have around about so
worried than what kind of
want one just ahead of one turf you
somewhere between once a few months many
we’ve got a hundred and five companies
that we want to target so we’ve
specifically mapped those out filled out
or white space analysis hopefully some
of them are listening to this podcast as
well and actually have seen some of some
of our our marketing information going
towards them but that’s enabled us to
manage our manager our inbound and we’ve
we’ve have Tillie affected all all of
our opportunities in terms of in terms
of marketing we’ve sent out there what I
don’t have at this moment in time is an
exact figure on that because because our
market Humanity is currently in the
phase of planning but we would have we’d
affected at least sixty percent of our
pipeline last time we checked and our
year-end was end of June so we were we
were we analyzed the previous year in
okay so so I’m curious what defines your
your target account so you’ve got a
hundred or so target accounts do you
define those is that is that an industry
or company size or geography or are you
limited to clients that don’t compete
with some of your other clients with
what are some of the processes involved
with identifying who the targets are so
if it’s not something you can share them
no no no we’re careful not to pick up
too many accounts to compete we if we do
we make them aware and set them in
separate account teams we generally
target mid mid to large IT accounts and
in terms of where they’re both
geographically well I’ve been our
offices base at our base in London and
on the west coast so in terms of if you
take that kind of tech target mediate
mid-sized to large organization they’re
going to be based in and around London
in Europe somewhere or in and around the
west coast all across America primarily
make sense and then just their curiosity
which would define success for you
for as if our as in internally so I’ll
give you give you an idea of so we ran
suddenly enough an event a webinar two
weeks ago on ABM and we were currently
were going through a pitch process with
a potential new account we had 13 people
from that account on that on that
webinar for us that’s that that that
success certainly from a marketing
standpoint so this is really good so
anything else any other any other words
of wisdom that not really but I’d kind
of somewhat summarize ABM just make sure
you it’s a it’s it’s a strategy not a
tactic you’re in it for the long long
term and you make someone accountable
for it who straddles across marketing
and sales and more than just one person
ideally you’d have an account-based team
and that’s it then test test and try
understand the market you’re you’re
selling to and you’re targeting and and
that’s it stop start from there really
and just track what you’re doing over
time and react accordingly
it really isn’t to use the old phrase
rocket science but but as long as it’s
planned out well and executed well you
will reap results I think it’s great I
appreciate your time in the wisdom
you’ve shared it’s it’s awesome I look
forward to continuing our conversation
when I see you in London okay see you in
a couple of weeks Bob thank you James
take care have a great weekend