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The Funnelholic’s Perspective on Account-Based Marketing

Author Sangram Vajre Category Account-Based Marketing, Video

The Funnelholic's Perspective on Account-Based Marketing

Craig Rosenberg has the gift of perspective.

As the co-founder and chief analyst at TOPO, Craig Rosenberg — aka the Funnelholic — cites his experience in both sales and marketing as helping him connect with B2B professionals. As he sees it, his experience allows him to commiserate with those entrenched in silos and struggling to wrap their collective minds around my favorite topic: account-based marketing.

Craig recently joined me on a Google Hangout to share his marketing and sales knowledge with our audience. Before we get to the video of our conversation, let’s get to know him a bit better.

What are his favorite movies and actors?

“The movie I’ve watched more times in my life than any other is Die Hard,” he says. “If you really look at it and don’t take it in the lens of just an action movie, it is an amazing movie. With all the elements of tension and the storyline and all this stuff, it’s incredible.

“I also really like Vince Vaughn. If you watch him in movies, he is the ultimate buyer-centric salesperson of all time. In the movie The Internship, where he’s at Google, the sales call he has in the pizza parlor is brilliant. For account-based marketers, a good movie is Focus with Will Smith. You see what the ultimate play of branding and mindshare can do to affect a buyer.”

The top three people he follows and admires?

  • Matt Heinz – “He’s very versatile, so we can talk about lots of topics.”
  • David Brock – “My mentor in many ways. He’s always been there for me to answer questions. He writes great stuff.”
  • Carlos Hidalgo – “He’s truly caring. In his book, he gives tons of anecdotes and examples. Lots of really good stories in there.”

If Craig were not a sales guru, what would he be doing?

“You cannot find a person that said they wanted to be a sales and marketing thought leader when they were in high school or in college, or even in their 20s. This is something we become, not something we want to do. Being in tech, with all the stories of all these rich 23 year-olds, everyone wants to be in tech. The truth is, I originally wanted to be in Hollywood in the movie business. I went to UCLA. I interned at Disney, at ABC, and at a Hollywood agency. I was kind of primed for that, but it just wasn’t something that excited me.”

Check out the full interview here:


Why is account-based marketing so hot now?

“Account-based marketing is so top of mind for me,” enthuses Craig. “I spent five and a half years as a sales consultant, then five years as a VP of marketing for a B2B media company. That allows me to talk about it because I’ve been yelled at from the marketing side and done the yelling.”

Creating a successful ABM strategy — and just as importantly, convincing those in leadership positions of the bottom-line benefits — is the most significant task for account-based marketing champions going forward.

“I have empathy for both sides, and it gives me a good view of how it works,” he says. “It has to come from the top, and there have to be people that think this way. That’s how it’ll change.”

“In reality,” he continues, “sales teams have always behaved with an account-based mindset, but it was marketers that joined the party in the first decade of the new century. New tools allowed marketers to build incredible demand-generation machines. But the main question that needed to be dealt with was, is it scalable?”

It used to be nearly impossible to scale account-based sales and marketing tactics — but no longer. Craig gives a great example from the 90s. “Twenty years ago, I remember we sent pillows to people [at] a specific set of accounts . . . but it wasn’t done at scale and it lacked that perpetual nature that we can do today with technology.”

“At its core,” Craig says, account-based marketing’s “best application is in highly targeted accounts, but that mentality will help sales and marketing when you start to think about even the volume and velocity game. You know full well that the CEO is not going to your webinar – ’10 Things That Justin Bieber Thinks About.’ You’ve got have ways that you get to everyone, and you can do it at scale today.”

(Wait, Craig, are you saying you didn’t watch my latest webinar about the Biebs?)

What are the key ways to measure success in account-based marketing?

Marketers are often too focused on the number of leads they generate because that’s what we’re used to measuring. But that’s not what the CEO and the VP of sales are looking for. Rather, they’re seeking tangible evidence in the form of revenue, pipeline velocity, influence, and opportunity creation.

“When you look at everything and you try to do attribution, it’s really everybody trying to point fingers at each other – and in account-based marketing, that’s stupid. If sales doesn’t believe you’ve done good things, tell them, ‘OK, fine.’ You won’t do it anymore. ‘Good luck.'”

“I want marketing to think about all the really powerful things that they can do to influence and touch the relevant stakeholders of the account. And I want everyone to look at the overall effect of their business.”

So how do we help marketers become more than just lead generators? Craig says it comes down to not blaming the demand generation people when it’s the CMO and the VP of marketing that need to wrap their minds around a new method.

“My wife works with a German shepherd rescue, and they rescue dogs that have been damaged or treated poorly. You watch the dogs and they’re getting along really well, but they’re always wary that someone might do something to them. Demand generators are always building walls. They’ve built this wall, and they’ve found this thing that they’re good at. They try to find this one thing to work, and in volume and velocity that one thing is great. Do webinars all day and you’ll get it.

“But someone at the top has to change the mentality,” Craig emphasizes. “What I recommend to people who have more budget is to split the team. You’re going to have cross-pollination, but you should have a volume and velocity marketing organization, and you should have an account-based marketing organization. Certainly, for people where that blends, it can be difficult. Those roles should be differentiated. It’s easy for me to say. It has to come from the top and there have to be people that think this way. That’s how it’ll change.”

Brilliantly said, Craig!

So what did you think about my interview with Craig? I’d love to hear your thoughts. For more information about account-based marketing, download our beginner’s guide to ABM by clicking the banner below.

The Beginner's Blueprint to Account-Based Marketing - Read Now

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