The second year of the B2B Sales & Marketing Exchange, hosted by Demand Gen Report, in partnership with Terminus and The Pedowitz Group, came to a close yesterday Oct. 28, with more than 1,900 attendees listening in on the virtual event.
As B2B continues to evolve, especially due to the recent pandemic and rise in digital technology, many companies are adapting their strategies for a new era of marketing and sales. Many B2B organizations are also redefining their roles in the B2B buyer’s journey, committing to building relationships with their buyers and partners and serving as allies rather than sellers in the market.
On the final day of B2BSMX, two keynotes focused on how B2B executives are exploring new opportunities to improve their account-based marketing and revenue operations. The conversations among panelists provided insights into how companies are choosing their revenue leaders, employing new strategies, aligning their internal teams and reinventing their marketing and hiring practices to meet the requirements of the new B2B landscape.
Improving Alignment & Pivoting To New Revenue Realities
The morning keynote, titled: The New Revenue Conversations In The C-Suite, was a panel moderated by Terminus CEO Tim Kopp, which discussed how the shift to ABM has affected the way executives manage their companies.
According to Terminus research, 61% of marketers have focused on retention in their marketing strategies in 2020, an increase from 2019’s 38%. Kopp explained that marketing and sales efforts have shifted from merely driving sales and moving on to the next customer. Instead, they have placed emphasis on retaining and building relationships with those accounts.
“I’ve been saying this for a while, but I believe we are at a tipping point [in B2B],” said Kopp. “Retention is the new acquisition. Even if you’re not thinking about the world like that, I predict that you will very shortly.”
She highlighted three key steps to internal alignment that not only made TripActions account-based efforts more successful, but also helped them build better internal infrastructure that ultimately impacted their generated revenue. These three steps include:
- Building together: Having a shared understanding of a company’s goals involves sales and marketing creating personas, account lists and lead outreach as a unit, which in turn, allows for more efficient collaboration;
- Transparency: Being transparent with what’s working and what drives revenue builds trust and reliance among teams; and
- Habitual communication: Maintaining constant contact between teams helps address internal needs and better cater to target accounts.
“All of that sits on a technology stack that allows you to gain valuable data you need to not only see what’s working, but also have a baseline,” Eisenberg stated. “You need to have a baseline of truth that you both agree on. I’ve always been an advocate for ‘get in, get what you need and work together to get results.’”
Despite the lack of physical events and ways to interact with accounts, buyers still expect personalized interactions with companies. According to Outreach CRO Anna Baird, companies need to be able to pivot their marketing and sales efforts on a whim, and that the data sales and marketing gather ultimately affects how a company reaches their target accounts.
She explained that Outreach focuses on scenario planning for enhanced pivoting, using the data at their disposal to decide which accounts to target, how to personalize that account outreach and what the best way to retain that account is. This allows them to build go-to-market strategies that are more agile and increase their revenue through smart internal collaboration and planning.
“We all have to be able to pivot,” said Baird. “If you think about the companies looking 90 days out, their biggest asset is agility. [Outreach] asks what our growth levers and objectives are, then we decide where in the best case we spend our time.”
Adapting New Mindsets & Hiring Practices To Grow Revenue Teams
The evening keynote, titled: The Revenue Team Of The Future: Leaders Provide An Inside Look Into Their Priorities & Initiatives, was also a panel moderated by The Pedowitz Group’s President and CEO Jeff Pedowitz. The panelists — Rashmi Vittal, CMO of Conversica, and Brandi Starr, Chief Operating Officer at Tegrita — explored their priorities and shared insights into the new mindsets behind executives’ strategies for the future of revenue teams.
Executives are becoming more mindful of the new realities of working remotely and are using these conditions as opportunities to further develop their revenue teams and strategies.
“There’s going to be more people working from home, and less face-to-face interaction, so what do we need to do to continue to drive awareness, interest and revenue for an organization?” said Vittal.
One of the methods companies are employing is the increased usage of martech solutions. Marketers are looking to adopt marketing solutions that show actual results, and optimize their tech stacks in order to improve operational efficiencies at scale.
Starr explained that companies are beginning to focus less on having various solutions on their platform, and instead are focusing on their specific role in the market. B2B executives are steering their companies toward point solutions, focusing primarily on the ones that work best for them or how they can emphasize the importance or role of their solution in the market.
“There is an opportunity for more niche technologies that are really focused at being amazing at that one thing that they do,” Starr stated. “Customers are tired of accepting ‘fine enough’ and are really looking to optimize and see results. There is going to be a shift from the ‘getting everything under one roof’ model to getting all of the right pieces and making them fit together.”
Vittal highlighted the importance of technology solutions in revenue strategies, and that executives have an opportunity to drive more sales by adopting these technologies directly into their strategies. She explained automation and AI solutions can provide a “human-like touch” that allows organizations to generate revenue and engage their buyers, but also focus on improving revenue operations.
“It’s not like it hasn’t been happening,” Vittal explained. “It’s been happening in back-office operations for a long time. But these [solutions] are now really coming to the front office and augmenting its productivity and performance. Covid has really accelerated this digitalization.”
The last major point of discussion during the panel was the potential opportunities for B2B executives to include more diverse voices in their companies and improve their infrastructure simultaneously. Reinventing the hiring process is one of the easiest ways to accomplish this and broadening the candidate pool allows organizations to hire people from diverse backgrounds with bring in more diverse skill sets.
Vittal explained that the remote workforce is an opportunity to find and train new candidates and help executives expand their hiring pools. Executives can ensure that there are more candidates with diverse skills sets, trains of thought and backgrounds to pull from while keeping their requirements and expectations of their workflows the same.
“It’s hard to find people, especially in the tech sector that specially fit your requirements,” said Vittal, “The good news is, with a remote workforce, you don’t need to strictly hire from Silicon Valley anymore. You can go out and find the people and expand your pool so that you can foster more diversity.”
Starr also explained that roles, such as BDRs, can be filled by people from diverse backgrounds, giving them the opportunity to share their voices in the B2B industry and eventually rise within their companies naturally.
“This is a great way to get minorities into the figurative and literal board room,” said Starr. “The fact that people/executives are aware of this gives me hope that we will one day turn the corner.”