When I joined Terminus back in 2016, I announced my new position as CPO with a manifesto of sorts. As a product creator and innovator, I wanted to plant my flag in the next wave of leading B2B MarTech solutions and create something special with Terminus. That brief history of my MarTech journey still lives on LinkedIn, but in essence, I declared that I wanted to make things easier for marketers.
Back then, account-based marketing was the new thing, but marketers were still waiting for form-fillers and hand-raisers, struggling to escape the lead rat race. The idea of actually “aligning with sales” was still, for the most part, just that — an idea.
B2B marketing departments were trying to shift towards creating meaningful relationships with entire teams and buying groups but were ill-equipped to do the job, and sales was unmotivated to partner beyond the MQL handoff.
Cut to now, and account-based marketing isn’t so new anymore. In fact, it’s quickly become a widely adopted, common-sense approach to B2B marketing strategy — though not without new challenges.
These days, account-based marketers are focused on incorporating new account-centric behavioral signals into their customer data repository and acting on that data with intention; they want to manage complex audiences across many channels; they want to engage with sales to build account-specific campaign strategies that improve win rates and increase deal sizes.
Challenges aside, I’m proud of what the Terminus team has done in that time: over the past three years, we’ve successfully enabled our customers to align sales and marketing efforts more effectively, engage best-fit accounts with more specific, targeted outreach, and create a more holistic, efficient lead conversion funnel.
Beyond our product accomplishments, we’ve also defined a methodical strategy to execute ABM at scale through the implementation of our TEAM framework – which has been widely accepted as the fundamental way to approach ABM.
It’s safe to say that we’ve been busy.
As a result of ABM’s rapid evolution over the past three years, a firestorm of new challenges now confront marketers each day, bringing with them a whole new checklist of products, data, processes, and KPIs required to make the transition to account-centric marketing and sales possible and easier.
So when the Terminus leadership team sat down to dream up the next iteration of ABM, that’s where we started.
First, we listened; to the valuable feedback from our incredible customers, to the insights from our trusted partners, to the quiet murmurs of what’s to come, and to our own creative intuition.
Throughout the process, we noticed a few recurrent themes:
- First, marketers have to manage too many disconnected tools and data sources in service of their ABM vision; as a result, they’re bogged down in tech and unable to think creatively about their programs.
- Second, bringing sales into the process by way of data-sharing is critical — we’ve talked about marketing and sales alignment for years now, but it’s more important now than ever to move the partnership beyond MQL.
- And third, especially in transitional organizations, marketers still need to tie together inbound demand with ABM strategy as part of their revenue story.
With those learnings in mind, we expanded the vision for what Terminus is and can be for marketers, and embraced the freedom to create an ABM solution that is both a reflection of the current MarTech revolution Terminus started and a responsive solution to our customers’ more granular needs.
The Fall Release of the Terminus platform is a huge milestone towards our vision and represents a significant leap forward for ABMers. Let me explain.
More Transparency in the Age of Information
We all know the evolution of the modern marketing department. What was once the “creative” team is now a sophisticated group of data analysts and strategic thinkers — who are, still, very creative — working tirelessly to manage complex systems and programs to meet the increasing expectations as operators of business growth.
During the first MarTech revolution, it was marketing automation which gave the power back to marketers while introducing a whole new role: marketing ops. As demand gen teams continued to get more sophisticated, the marketing ops role grew in demand and skill. But unfortunately tech stacks ballooned and brand marketing fell by the wayside in favor of inbound marketing, which sacrificed brand equity in favor of leads.
In the current MarTech revolution led by ABM, companies are consolidating technologies, seeking capital-efficient growth, and looking for better ways to quantify marketing and sales investments with an eye towards long term success. This transition to account-centric thinking, however, requires access to data currently trapped in the silos of the first MarTech revolution’s resulting B2B tech stack.
Along with a rise of available information and the changing and more strategic role of marketing, those companies seeking the benefits of ABM need to ask themselves the following questions:
Can you quantify the value of brand advertising in relation to demand creation and even downstream business outcomes?
Are you able to measure account engagement, including anonymous marketing interactions, across all campaigns?
How much of your pipeline and revenue is coming from target accounts? Does that align with your strategic investments in marketing and sales?
Are you able to prioritize campaign budget and sellers’ time on the most sales-ready accounts?
Do your sellers penetrate accounts earlier than the competition using account intelligence, or are they left waiting for form fills and MQLs?
Can sales and marketing coordinate campaign strategies at an account level or is the data needed obscured through unrelated contact and lead records siloed across disparate systems?
Is marketing in a position to explain the role they played across the sales cycle in closing a recent deal or are they defined by leads sourced?
The investments we made in the recent Terminus Fall Release were in answer to these important questions.
The Light at the Top of the Funnel
So much of what we do at Terminus focuses on building a bridge between “old” inbound approaches and new account-based strategies and brand engagement standards. While our company DNA was built on one-to-one account-based advertising, a crucial, continued piece of marketing strategy, it’s the Terminus platform vision that is propelling us forward.
But let’s face it, the divide between the direct-response digital tactics in demand gen channels as compared to the value achieved through thoughtful brand marketing is very real, and stymies organization leaders, who continue to ask questions like, why should we fund what can’t be proven? How are these higher-funnel activities actually driving business? The risk to all companies making the transition to ABM is a fall back to the vanity metric of leads. The antidote, in our eyes, is obvious: let’s help marketer prove the value of ABM, by shining a light further up in the marketing funnel.
By working to eliminate the opacity that plagues brand tactics like digital advertising and anonymous online engagement, we want to empower our customers to confidently understand and advocate for brand activity as a necessary marketing strategy in their organization’s mix.
To do so, we’ve introduced view-through conversion tracking, enabling our customers to track account-specific view-through visits and conversions driven by their awareness advertising. This conversion-level reporting ties account-based advertising to down-stream conversion events and engagement increases, directly linking brand activity to demand gen outcomes.
In addition, we’re also launching some major enhancements to our B2B Account Graph and advertising platform, enabling Terminus to resolve even more digital identities, connect more anonymous visits with the right accounts, and deliver even better coverage across target accounts.
Measure Everything In One Place — Not Just ABM
For years, marketing ops pros have been tasked with building reporting in systems that weren’t designed for the modern B2B marketing team. Attribution, marketing influence, campaign responses, additional data feeds, and general data cleanliness continue to plague digital marketers.
In response, our Fall Release breaks down the barriers to meaningful measurement with purpose-built marketing data views.
Our new Marketing Influence Report will help to identify how much open pipeline and closed revenue is meaningfully touched by marketing, allowing our customers to understand program coverage on accounts that matter, by channel.
Additional features like revenue trends in the Terminus Scorecard seek to further enable best-in-class measurement with new KPIs, allowing marketers to see how account engagement, pipeline creation, deal cycle, and close rates are trending over time – by account segment. Our updated campaign attribution feature will enable first- and last-touch attribution out of the box, allowing our customers to stop trying to build an incomplete solution in their CRM.
In the past two decades, measurement has changed the basic functions of marketing. Now, it’s time to change measurement.
Your Answer to, “Prove it.”
It’s seemingly impossible to transition to and execute on an ABM strategy when you’re struggling to quantify the results, which is why we made solving that problem the hallmark of our Fall release. Whether you are new to ABM or on your third iteration, the ability to prove early and often that the strategy is working is critical to driving buy-in and participation across your organization. The new Terminus is like having a friend at the executive table.