Sangram Vajre wants you to fill in this sentence: “In B2B marketing, the value of marketing is defined by _______.”
The chief evangelist and co-founder of Terminus got a number of responses from the audience at CONEX on Wednesday, which ranged from “leads” and “engagement” to customer success. His answer? “Sales.”
“It took me a while to accept it,” Vajre admitted, but he said it’s a truth that should both stir debate and create a real shift in how marketing teams set their priorities. “Think about it: did the marketing budget go up when the sales numbers are down? No, it never happened.”
While Terminus has made its name by helping marketers deliver better results to sales through account-based marketing (ABM), Vajre said he has started to redefine the concept as “authenticity-based marketing.” This is about looking at some of the most common tactics to connect with current or future customers — Vajre wants the profession to stop using the word “prospects” — and looking for more genuine ways to engage.
Instead of relying on form-fills, for instance, Vajre pointed to the streams of content that can be produced with tools like Uberflip (which hosted CONEX 2018). This increases time someone spends on a web site, which can ultimately lead to better conversions, he said.
While a lot of marketing still happens with mass e-mail, meanwhile, Vajre referenced a peer who regularly sends two tickets to an event he feels his customers would find valuable. This has lead a 80 to 90 per cent close rate with those clients later on, he said.
Then there are third-party platforms like LinkedIn, where a lot of marketing has relied on InMail messages, ads and so on. Instead, Vajre talked about someone who had reacted to an episode of his Flip The Funnel podcast by posting a video with his reactions.
“Without even asking me to go to his site, I spent 10 minutes to learn more about him and his company,” he said.
That same one-to-one approach applies well to ads, Vajre added, along with personal touches like handwritten notes versus traditional forms of direct mail. Marketing teams shouldn’t shy away from less-than-perfect reviews, either. He pointed to research that showed those on Amazon with 4.5 or even 4.3 ratings sell more than those with five stars. The reason? It seems more honest.
“Say you’ve been reviewed by a G2Crowd, or you’ve been on a Gartner or Forrester report — what if you just showed where you are? Why not show them what’s really happening so they can really connect with it?”
Vajre said those who follow this “authenticity curve” from transactions will begin to see ABM in a new light.
“ABM is a strategy that requires marketing, sales and everyone else to come together,” he said. “Don’t worry about the buzzword.”
CONEX 2018 wrapped up Wednesday.