Ops Cast

ABM and PLG Motions - Two Sides of the Same Coin with Julie Geller

March 25, 2024 Michael Hartmann & Julie Geller Season 1 Episode 110
Ops Cast
ABM and PLG Motions - Two Sides of the Same Coin with Julie Geller
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Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Prepare to unlock the secrets of combining Account-Based Marketing with Product-Led Growth as Julie Geller from Infotech Research Group joins us for an insightful exploration into harmonizing these powerful strategies. Our conversation kicks off with Julie's wealth of experience, from pivotal roles in company acquisitions to the forefront of marketing technology innovation. We pull back the curtain on ABM's transformation over the years, revealing how it has sharpened its focus on high-value accounts through personalized, intent-based marketing and discussing the hurdles that businesses face when implementing these data-driven approaches.

Venture into the operational world of ABM and PLG, where maintaining a clean database is not just recommended but essential for effective campaign customization. Julie and I dissect the struggles of selecting top-tier accounts amidst the chaos of unclean data and how PLG's user-centric growth methods offer a compelling contrast. By advocating for a blend of ABM's targeted precision with PLG's organic reach, we champion a strategy that aligns with the natural purchasing tendencies of today's savvy customers.

Finally, we wade through the nuances of buyer engagement with a focus on the art of personalized messaging. Julie illuminates how recognizing potential champions within organizations can be a game-changer, and we ponder the non-linear odyssey customers undertake, emphasizing the importance of crafting a customer experience that adapts to their unique journey. As we conclude, heartfelt thanks are extended to Julie for sharing her expertise, and we tease the promise of more illuminating conversations with future experts. Join us for a session that not only enriches your marketing knowledge but also empowers you to sculpt strategies that resonate with the heartbeat of modern customer dynamics.

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Speaker 1:

Hello and welcome to another episode of Opscast brought to you by marketingopscom, powered by the MoPros. I'm your host, michael Hartman, joined today by no one none of my co-hosts at least but I am looking forward to our conversation today with our guest. We're gonna be talking about the relationship between ABM and PLG motions, and joining me for that conversation is Julie Geller. Julie is currently principal research director with Infotech Research Group. She is an accomplished advisor and strategist specializing in CX, customer experience, revenue and growth, where she focuses on developing innovative and disruptive go-to-market strategies, taylor to meet the business goals of SaaS and global service-based companies. Her frameworks and methodologies have consistently driven sales, revenue, growth and expansion within high-value accounts. Previously, she held executive positions at CISN and BBDO, refining her expertise in sales and marketing leadership. Additionally, she has contributed valuable insights to CX, dive, the ABM report and Martek Cube. Thanks for joining me today, julie.

Speaker 2:

Absolutely. Thanks for the invite.

Speaker 1:

All right, so should we? All right, I will reveal the little hidden secret of doing podcast things. So this is our second attempt at this because we had technical difficulties, so I'm gonna blame it on the outages at Facebook and LinkedIn the last couple of days.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I agree with that, yeah.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, we'll blame it on. We'll blame it on Zuckerberg and Trevor's in charge of LinkedIn. Now I don't even know anymore.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, 100%.

Speaker 1:

So all right, well, let's you know. One of the things we like to do, julie, is we like to start with some more I guess a little bit about career journey and kind of understanding the path that led to where you are today. So yeah, if you could walk through that and if you have any specific people or moments where you maybe had a choice to go down path A or path B that maybe had a major impact on the trajectory of your career, I would love to hear about those specifically. But I'll let you take it where you wanna take it.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, absolutely. You know, I think that one of the pivotal moments that I remember is working at an interactive shop called Sonic Boom, and that shop actually got sold to National PR, which is a part of ResPublica. So that's the umbrella and I went through, you know, valuation and sale and all of that, and I think that it was just, it was a great moment to understand more about all the steps to integrating those two businesses. So that was quite fascinating for me and at the time I was really involved in that whole interactive space, you know, or at least that's what we were calling it. And then, of course, you know, we kind of I sort of bridged that gap more into the strategic space as we joined National being a PR firm.

Speaker 2:

So that was a really big time, you know, I think after that I did establish a consultant. It's a consultancy called Geller Strategic, which you know remains on my resume, and it's always one of those things that I get questions about, you know. So how come you were here and here and here and here? And it's like, well, you know, once you develop a consultancy, you just always have that running in the background, right, and it's afforded me some really great opportunities. I've worked with Baker McKenzie, which is a worldwide law firm, for over three years actually, so helping them to create editorial and demand generation for their teams all over the world. So that was pretty big. But I think, all in all, I have to say that, you know, cisiid was a really big role for me too, being the VP of marketing over there and just sort of spearheading that sales and marketing alignment and driving, you know, substantial growth that led us to absorbing focus as well. So, yeah, that's kind of a little bit about me.

Speaker 1:

That's great. Yeah, I was late to the game on setting up a consultancy on the side for just what you described, so it's been an interesting challenge to get that going, but it's been helpful to have that for a variety of reasons, so I wish I had done it sooner.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, absolutely yeah, that's a great thing to have.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, so okay, so let's get into this topic. So we hinted at this. Right, we're going to talk a little bit about both ABM strategies as well as PLG, product led growth, account based marketing. For those who have their head in their sand and don't know what those are, we'll just explain that. So, specifically, though, I think you've had a lot of experience with ABM motions and go to market strategies, say, over the last decade or so, so I'd be curious what your take is on how things have changed or evolved during that time and if you think that the what are the key benefits and challenges for that kind of go to market approach?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I mean I think that there's been a really big evolution just in platforms, because I know that we were working with Marketta, we're working with Pardaw, we're working with whatever it is and, of course, as those things get amped up, there's other Mar-Tech platforms that get created in the background. So you have now, of course, those intent based platforms which make it a little bit easier to set up your motion. So that has been a really big change, I guess, in the landscape in the past decade or more, probably a little more at this point. So some of the benefits actually are increased efficiency, of course, enhanced personalization. There's better alignment between sales and marketing. So I think all of those reasons are great reasons to do it, but it's really about targeting high value accounts.

Speaker 2:

That's what you wanna do. It's often misunderstood about how you wanna be involving APM and what part of the sales journey that that is. So, yeah, and there are some challenges, of course, that you wanna be looking at. I think that it can be resource intense and that, I think, is just different than regular. I would call them like inbound motions. Those are all so intense, but this could really be building, depending on what kind of an APM program that you have, and then I would say also the scalability of it too. So I mean, it really does depend on the scope of what you're doing, but yeah.

Speaker 1:

So, if I could, you brought up technology early on. You mentioned a couple of marketing automation platforms. You didn't really talk about other platforms specifically that either call themselves ABM platforms or whatever. I'm curious if, in my own experience, I guess is this way. That's why I wanna ask the questions. When I've been approached by others in different positions, when I've led marketing ops to, the ask would be to let's do ABM, I think very often what they were thinking about is not a strategy or an overall coordinated approach, like you talked about with coordinating sales and marketing, but a technology implementation. And I think that's one of the things that I've run into is people are thinking of it as just we're gonna put in technology and then we're gonna start just bringing the cash register Right. I mean, do you see that as a challenge, like some places where they don't really think through what it actually takes between coordinating and all that?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, absolutely. I think that's something that I dealt with on a day-to-day basis. So I think that you have these leaders that sort of. They want to take advantage of all the great platforms and technology and piecing things together. So what can their market stack look like? But they don't have a lot of the core maturity in their marketing practice yet, so they may not really understand how to manipulate lead scoring, and so they don't know how to adapt that to account scoring. They just don't have those basics in place. And there's so many things that you need to have as well. I would say having a tidy database, and really this often happens where working with an ABM professional is important to make sure that you are cleaning up all that data, because you're going to want that for personalization and customization, and you can't have a proper program and engage success without bringing those factors in. So just going out and shopping for that really expensive platform is just not going to do the job. The preparation is so important when you're implementing.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I mean my, and I've always taken those kinds of requests in my in general. So I would say, if someone asked me if you've done ABM, I'd say no, but not because there hasn't been a desire, it's because I could see that it was either a technology request really without really a strategy behind it, or the organization really wasn't ready for it, even though there might have been one person who, because for whatever reason, thought it would be a good idea. And generally what I've done is my approach to that is first, before we go buy new tech, is there something we can do with what we have existing and be can we do something simple like let's just identify our top pick, the number right 50 hundred accounts that we want to target with this. And in just about every case, every case, there was a struggle just getting those two things solved.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, right, exactly, and that's, that's exactly it, right. So the database is not in your CRM. Your CRM is not in really good condition. It's very hard to ascertain who those top clients are, and then to boot, you're you know. Basically dovetailing into the point that I wanted to make about ICP is that they don't know who their ICP is. They haven't gone through the exercise and to go through an exercise with detail as well, understanding you know what those, those attributes are, what are the winning attributes that you?

Speaker 2:

want to be looking at right, so this will give you a more channeled approach.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, we could probably go on a whole rabbit hole just on what in the world does persona mean? But let's not go there, because that really could that could go anywhere and everywhere.

Speaker 1:

All right. So let's talk about PLG, and I don't know if you've had much or even any experience with PLG motions. I haven't personally worked with these either, but I know a lot of our listeners do. So, yeah, how do you see similar question right? How do you see it? What do you see as the benefits or and or challenges with with PLG motions? And I think especially maybe compare, contrast that to what you think about for ABM, and maybe, maybe they're not totally different things. Maybe there's some sort of complementary components as well, but I honestly I don't know.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, no, that's totally fair. I think it's just that you're looking at it from two different ends of a. I guess let's call it experience. It's a user experience that you want to be thinking about. So your PLG is more of a bottom up approach, so it focuses on those end users and those experiences that they have as being that primary champion or growth driver within the organization. I think it's about giving them a firsthand experience where they can really adopt the product and they understand how to use it. They're feeling like they have that support in order to learn and they don't feel too restricted that they can't understand what some features and functionalities are. So you want to be giving them that experience, giving them enough time to absorb that as well.

Speaker 2:

So I think that PLG that's how I view it, abm is more of a top down approach because it's about fostering relationships. It's about understanding deeper knowledge of that of that customer and of that client or account. So you want to target high value accounts that are specific. Obviously, you'll understand what those winning attributes are, what you're looking for, and make sure that you're engaging those key decision makers and stakeholders within that buying committee. And there's a variety of ways to do that, but I think designing a journey that kind of leads one to the other, which is what I really believe in doing and that's why I like to.

Speaker 2:

I generally call it a dual motion. Right, because you're designing for that one experience and I see that a lot more often. It's something that is it's getting more and more, I guess, appealing to companies because they see that this is more of a natural progression of the way that people buy. So if your customers buy this way, perhaps this is something that you're going to want to think about doing. I know that it was just reported about. I think Amplitude did this for their platform. Many platforms, like, if you look at you know Monday, if you look at you know, there's just there's so many of these platforms that have adopted this process. I think Airtable has done a very good job as well. So, yeah, I think it's going to be very. I think it's going to be the way that we look at motions in the future is definitely dealing them together.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I think a lot of the project management platforms that are out there have come about over the last several years have been really good about that, and they sort of build a ground swell, somewhat naturally right word of mouth. This is a little bit of a different thing and I'm going to throw this at you unplanned, so bear with me, but it popped into my head as we were talking about this that. So I think there are PLG motions that make sense where it's relatively low cost for the business to offer a free premium kind of access for some period of time to an individual. There are more probably maybe I'm overestimating, but more places where doing that doesn't make financial sense, there's a heavier cost or it's a more complicated tool or whatever. And so one of the things that I have struggled with as a buyer of technology in the market, especially in the Martek space, has been you can usually get a trial of some sort right, and it's usually sort of if there's a range of capabilities, you tend to get closer to the higher end for a short period of time, and it's a relatively short period of time, typically in the weeks, you know, typically less than a month, and what I've found is.

Speaker 1:

It's just not enough to be able to really fully evaluate things. And I appreciate the free and occasionally they'll extend it, but yeah, there's. No, there was never really a huge financial incentive or penalty for me not taking the time with me or the team to do it. And one of the things I would, I think would be an interesting one that maybe is sort of in between full PLG and full ABM or traditional go to market, is where you offer a trial. That's a paid trial but it goes longer, right? So there's, I mean, it could even be discounted. That maybe, or maybe it's not. That yeah, it really lets an organization have a stake in the game and kind of pushes them to evaluate, like, do you think there's, do you think there's a place for something like that? Because I don't know if anybody is doing anything like that. And when I say short, I'm saying, say, six months or less.

Speaker 2:

Six months or less. Yeah, I mean, often what happens is so, like in the case of air table. I believe they, I think they offer reverse trial concept, which is, you know, puts it fully paid version, you know fingertips of the user, and it allows them that way to experience what they need. And then they'll wrap a timeframe around that and then, of course, they'll give you this option to, I guess, upgrade to a paid package of your choice and they'll tear that out. So I think it's about understanding what tiers your, what tiers your customers really want with what kind of features, and that is really, I think, about understanding things like usage patterns and feature adoption and you know what their engagement is with the platform in the first place.

Speaker 2:

So I think, from a SaaS perspective, it's really important not to have that go on forever, and I think that just you know from a revenue model, you want to make sure that this is something that's going to convert and that you're not keeping them on the platform. I see this happen so often in PLG, where it's just like we're going to just let them do whatever they do, but you are still storing data, right. So I mean you do still have rising costs on your side, so you do want to throttle that to some extent. But I mean also, I think it's about personalizing the experience for that user, and this is where understanding what part of the so what account does this person belong to? And you know who is this person, how much are they using it and is there a possibility for them to experience more? And potentially, you'll have an enterprise play at the end of it. So being very careful yeah.

Speaker 1:

Well, and what I found with some of these where it's a PLG motion is and I have happened to work for I guess we would call enterprise clients of those platforms is there'll be pockets right, there'll be a marketing set of users using it and maybe there's an engineering one or maybe, like these, different groups are using using it and there's no coordinated effort. And one of the things I've gotten into a habit of doing when I'm in those scenarios is, if it's, especially if it's a new thing where I know that we need to, I'm evaluating whether or not we should continue spending on something. From a tech standpoint, I will make sure I ask the question is there anyone else from our organization you're working with? Sometimes they're forthcoming with it just on their own, sometimes they're not, and I don't want to ascribe in you know intent or anything that, but I do know that you know there's some value.

Speaker 1:

I could use it potentially as leverage for negotiating. If I can coordinate all the other folks internally who may also not know about it and you know, from the vendor standpoint, I think they could also get some value out of it and have leverage on. You know we can expand your capabilities and if you sign longer term like there's a lot of things that go into it that I think would be interesting. But yeah, I didn't know about the air table thing. Now I'm going to go have to check that out.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, absolutely yeah. I think that there's. This is a case for when we were talking about Hartec a minute ago, right, like, are you using any business intelligence tools? Do you understand who the buying committee is? Are you seeing all of this is something that is part of your process, right? So looking it up and seeing you know, I guess, how you can create relationships, especially for those users that are adopting you know, can you offer a longer trial, and I think that people often they'll do that as well, right?

Speaker 2:

So I mean, yeah, there's a lot of, there's a lot of points that you can bargain against, for sure. Yeah, so yeah.

Speaker 1:

No, and I like I'm not one who's looking to like take advantage of stuff, but I also I mean, I try and tend to be very direct about things. When it comes like that, I don't feel like it's a waste of their time, wasting my time, to be dancing around it, I'd rather be direct about it. You mentioned you just mentioned something about buying committees, though, and I think this is one of the things to me that is a little bit different. Like with with, as I understand, abm, that tops down approach, one of the things you shouldn't actually be doing is sort of mapping out the organization and who the key players are and ultimately, decision makers and people have financial power and things like that, whereas with PLG, it feels like it would be much more difficult to do that. So, just because it's can be scattered right think we just described, how do you, how do you see that playing out at organizations who are doing PLG motions?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I think that you should have a target account list, you know, and you should understand what those look like for for yourself, for your company. I think that also bringing in those other tools that let you know what organization they're a part of so I mean, maybe they're using their Gmail but you actually know that they're a part of, you know, xyz Corporation or whatever, and they have some kind of, you know, influence there Are they showing different, I guess, intent markers that would lead you to believe that they might be the champion of a group like that. This happens a lot. It does happen in the business architect kind of arena as well. Those individuals often don't have the you know they don't have budget. They they are a lot of budget line but they might work with other groups that do and they're influential in that space.

Speaker 2:

So, you know, just understanding ahead of time and I think that's what I mean by sort of your marking it and saying this is someone that I know is part of this corporation which is a target for us. They're really good match. We're going to keep our eye out on that person. We're also going to make sure that we get reports on usage patterns and feature adoption and you know we're going to we're going to build in a feedback loop. You know those kinds of things and pay attention to things like strategic inquiries, where they ask questions about things like you know, security and scalability and all those things that they might need to go to their, their team with and say, hey, you know, if we were to adopt something like this and, by the way, I've been using it and here's some of the work that I've been able to do here this is what it looks like for organization.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and then you know I was going to do something you said about. You still have me to target account list. It feels like that which makes total sense. But then I was like, well, it feels like there's a different is the right word. It feels like the idea of a target account list and appeal G motions is a little bit different and that you may put this way. In a traditional model, target account list is essentially people. You want to be as net, new logos, yeah, accounts. Whereas in a PLG admission there may be an existing customer, air quotes here for those who can't see it because they're individuals, but there's not as an organization a full adoption. I mean, how do you? Am I onto something here or am I way off track? Am I making more complicated than it needs to be?

Speaker 2:

No, no, no. I think you're asking really good questions actually. So here's the thing. The thing is is that if someone is using this, for, usually they're using it for their place of work, right? So I mean, they're trying to make their life easier. Maybe they're paying for this out of pocket, which generally they could start off that way, right, I mean, especially if they don't have the allotted budget line and they happen to be a champion, but they're not really running that business unit. So that makes sense in that case.

Speaker 2:

However, what I do find is is that, when they do get into more of a role of you know they're using this, we know that they're using this often. We know that they, you know they're using a lot of the features and they're finding this to be an important platform for them. I think it's only natural that they try to sell it into the organization and say, hey, look, you know what, I'm on it. I want you to be on it, michael, I want us to communicate through this platform. You know what? Actually, let's make the business pay for this, right? Because then we can onboard, you know, john and Jane and everybody else. And so you know you're you're just stitching together the two motions as one, because they are kind of that way, naturally and I think that's what we do, you know, from day to day in our jobs is that we might find that we, you know, we have this new platform that will really help, and we want to tell others about it.

Speaker 2:

So it gets into that kind of advocacy kind of role, right? So now you're that champion to sell through your organization, but in advance and like, like you said, I mean it's not just looking at it, as it's not an individual going through that process. I think it's trying to put down some markers of like, what does, what does it look like to have that ideal client? And, yeah, champion, you know what? What should we look out for?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, Okay, yeah, that makes a lot of sense. My head's sort of spinning here, sorry.

Speaker 2:

Sorry, I know.

Speaker 1:

Maybe what I and the reason I asked you know, like both sort of ingest, but also seriously is like am I trying, am I making this over a complicated? Because that's one of the things I fear about things like this is that they become almost too clever.

Speaker 2:

Yeah.

Speaker 1:

You know what I mean, and so I'm a big fan of keeping things simple, and you know, an elegant sort of analogy would be football. I think football, american football, yeah, to our international audience is one in the middle Right and so, and it's one with knowing how to tackle, knowing how to block, like just doing basics really, really well, and then if you add anything else that you can add on top of that, as long as you can execute the basics really well, then I think you're in a better position than somebody who has a scheme, although schemes will work for a period of time until things catch up. And that's what I'm like. It feels like I would probably feel like I would pretend to go towards being schemy as opposed to staying focused on basics, if I was to do one of these things, because it seems like it would be very appealing to do that.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I think that what we want to be thinking is less about the complexity and more about the CX experience. So when I write about this as a customer experience, this is not something that marketers should be doing in a silo or in a box. They really need to be looking at that person as they travel through on their journey. What do they need in order to not just convert them as an individual and make their job easier, to sell this into a buying committee, but then also to expand the account to land and expand the account. At some point you're going to be into a renewal Now. Does it look like it's more of a onboarding other groups within the organization? How big could this grow? So I think it's just being prepared for that, because otherwise you will lose out. You will lose business. That's part of that is maybe even creating a side community, and so often you'll see that these platforms they have the communities there. They have that continued engagement. They're letting you know about new features and things that you might find helpful. So I think having that great CX backbone is super important.

Speaker 2:

You'll know what your own situation will call for, just based off of interviewing your ICP and really getting a good idea of who these people are. Do your ICP I know we already talked about not talking about it, but do your ICP. Do your Borsonas. Your ICP is going to help you with targeting. This is where I see that a lot of the time you won't understand exactly who it is that you're targeting, and then going into Borsonas is going to help you with content. So I don't think skipping that is going to work. But all of this PLG to AB emotion is really wrapped around. What is the experience of that person? Get to know who that person is and why you're making the decisions that you are.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, this is bringing to mind to me. Two things have come up recently in episodes that some are at, some are not yet. But one is this differentiation in my mind that I think a lot of marketers and business people in general they mix up this idea of our internal view of the steps that customers go through the fun, which I think there's a part of me wants to say the funnel is dead right, it just doesn't make sense anymore. At the same time, it's a convenient and simple way of thinking about that that is distinct to me and different than the way that people actually go through the process of finding, evaluating and deciding on products. Now, because I think you brought talking about communities, I think there's also independent communities like marketingopscom as a community. That is where I know I have started checking on things before I ever even talked to the vendor.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I do think there's this distinction about we want to be able to measure the funnel and conversion rates, but we need to recognize that there's a different experience on the other side of it that the customer is going through or prospects going through. The other thing is just how damn important it is for the people who are going through that buying journey, that experience, to be easy and painless. If there's a problem, you support them. That onboarding is super important in all those. I think that does get lost sometimes in terms of how it can impact the brand. Put it simply, the brand is can be really affected by that, as evidenced by a recent post on LinkedIn that somebody had about. It was initially massed, but everyone knows it was Zoom Info and how they handled a customer who was considering canceling Right, it blew up. There were literally hundreds of thousands of views on this LinkedIn post and a subsequent post. I think that damages your reputation very quickly these days.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, definitely. I can't Planning it out is definitely key. I have actually developed something that I'm working on which is a framework for this PLG to ABM motion. It looks at an acronym that I've adopted.

Speaker 1:

Let's go there, let's do that.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, right, why not? I'm using the acronym of Align just to understand the steps and some of the tools that you're going to want to use in order to mel these two motions together. You're right, it's complex. There's a lot of consideration. You're definitely wrapping this around the user experience. Where do you even start? I like to start at A is account-led prioritization. The concept of this and the framework is to really understand those attributes that we are talking about. What does that target account list look like? Who is it that's the ideal candidate for this? It could be starting by looking at the champion. Who is that champion? What kind of role or title do they have? What are their jobs to be done? Making sure that you address that, Of course, you can get the accounting information from. It could be anything from a demand base all the way down to. I just heard of another platform called Motik, I think, and it's like an open source, I guess. I think it's a marketing automation platform, so I haven't worked with it yet, but I'm pretty interested to dig into that.

Speaker 2:

But, knowing who those accounts are. I think especially the high value ones are really important. So after you have that figured out and that's maybe with your existing system, as you had said before maybe you want to dig into what you have and that's where the analysis is really going to come from as well, because you're going to have your salespeople there to ask questions how did this get sold?

Speaker 2:

in looking at just the success of good matches versus ones that are maybe not as good. After you identified that, I think you move on to OWL, which is that leadership identification and this is really good understanding that buying committee that we keep bringing up. So who are they within that target account? What are the decision makers? If you look at their goals, both professionally and also in a functional and personal areas, what would those look like? Who are they influenced by those kinds of things? And then you can find a lot of the relationships there as well. That can be recovered through discussing the accounts, but you can see that too on LinkedIn Sales Navigator. They'll give you a lot of the relationships there, so you can pick that apart, or you might just go straight into your CRM and, for those that are a little bit more fancy, they can start up their maybe like BI or whatever they have. So, yeah, this is intelligence platforms. So that covers the first two steps. Should I lead us into?

Speaker 1:

I yeah, let's do it.

Speaker 2:

Okay, so I is for the ICP-centric intelligence and I'm finding that there are a lot of, I guess, more dynamic tools in this area. I personally am old school in the way that I like to start with doing it manually and understanding it, and then putting that into some of those automation systems or wherever you want to load that into, so you can understand who the tiers are that you're trying to target.

Speaker 1:

There are platforms that help with documenting ICPs. Is that what you're?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah. So most of the automation is going to allow for you to document a tier, and then you're going to want to also identify those individuals within the systems that you have, like your CRM or your marketing automation. You should be, I think, quite acquainted with whether you're targeting a tier one client or tier two or tier three, particularly if you're doing ABM right.

Speaker 1:

So, yeah, so putting those together, Okay, so you're saying that some of the tools that are out there that are, I'll call, more traditional? What you're talking about is how I hate to use the term but how you segment your database based on those characteristics that match this ICP tier. Okay, got it.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, you got it, that's exactly it. So, you know, I think you need to measure performance too, right? Because then you know that you are intending on hitting your tier one audience, but maybe the result is that you've actually hit more like an emergent kind of stream. So, yeah, so just being cognizant of that and then. So after that, I have goal oriented personalization and this.

Speaker 1:

This is one. I didn't understand when we talked before, so I want to hear this one.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, okay. So this is all about messaging and I think, literally, I would love to say that companies are doing this well, but I don't have a lot of examples for you in the space, and I think what this has to do with is really understanding. Let go saying before the jobs to be done so you're going to speak in a certain voice and use messaging and nomenclature that resonates with a particular title or persona. You want to make sure that you don't blanket it and send it out as like a brand kind of play. You're speaking directly to these individuals and this is your opportunity to do that. So understanding that intimately is going to be key.

Speaker 1:

So this is a little more than just inserting their first name into the same copy that everyone else is getting.

Speaker 2:

Okay, yeah, that's not going to do it anymore, especially as, like, ai becomes more, more sophisticated. It's just you're not going to get a big pardon for things like bringing up a tool. You know you're selling a tool that they are, a platform that they already have or package they already have right.

Speaker 2:

I mean you should full well know how they're using it, what they've subscribed to. You want to have that kind of conversation, or else you may not consider that you're very valuable at the end of the day and start looking for other options. So I think it's an opportunity for retention and I personally think that's key is that personalization.

Speaker 1:

So you brought up AI, but so I think there are things that are trying to do that or have been trying to do that on, particularly, I think, on the sales motion part of this. So things like things that do I get these all the time right that are, I think, in a pretty crappy automated way of trying to personalize messages through LinkedIn or emails that just don't miss, they don't hit the mark. Especially, you can very it's very easy to tell that somebody.

Speaker 1:

there wasn't really anybody looking at something specific, and so when, when I see something where someone has actually done that, it stands out.

Speaker 2:

Yeah.

Speaker 1:

I mean, do you think AI is going to be able to come close to matching that human sort of ability to look for those underlying patterns? I guess I can't think of a better way to describe it.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, no, for sure. I think it's going to get more and more sophisticated, for sure. But, like I was saying about the ICP exercise, I'm a big fan of really sitting down and digging into it. I think that you still have to learn, or train rather, the AI and AI systems and be able to really query them in a proper way. So I personally would really sort of write it out first and talk a little bit about what those jobs are.

Speaker 2:

See if you can replicate the same voice within AI. Before going ahead and just saying I'm just going to plug and play this stuff Because I think, like to your point, we know that right. As human beings, we know what feels like a real Uber being addressed in an authentic way, versus more of like a authentic automation way. Yeah, yeah.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, no, totally Totally. But the idea here that goal oriented part of this or the G is to try to match the messaging to the target person's goals or what they're wanting to accomplish. But is that right. Okay, see, now I understand.

Speaker 2:

Right, it's making more sense. I kind of thought it would If I went on. I was like you know what we're?

Speaker 1:

going to do this. Yeah, the end in a line. I think this is one. We just touched on this, I think, if it's what I think it is, so you want to go with that next.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, we did. Actually, you have brought this up and I think that's a very smart point to be talking about is the nonlinear engagement. So I mean, when do we ever buy the way that we think we're going to buy, the concept of a funnel, and I still find myself saying funnel. So I'm totally guilty of this. But I just would prefer to look at it as a journey. You know, your journey might be that you go back and think about the way that you shop for even just an item for your house, or maybe it's like a new shirt, even you might look at something a few times before you go and buy it. So are you giving them all of the information that they need about it before you know because you don't want your sales team to be engaging prematurely with this person and then kind of handholding them through the entire process that that's just not going to be useful, right?

Speaker 1:

So yeah, well, that's expensive.

Speaker 2:

Very, yeah, and it often amounts to almost nothing. So what can you be giving them in their journey that they can use for themselves to self-educate and potentially even self-qualify, so that that would help the business to know when you have to have those key conversations? Yeah.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I mean, I think this is such a good point, especially for people who are in B2B and think that B2B buying is different than consumer buying and certainly there are distinctions. I think about it. There are oftentimes where we go like I just need something, I'm going to go online, I'm going to order it and it'll be here in a couple of days.

Speaker 2:

Right.

Speaker 1:

And then there are times when I'll go through a more elaborate evaluation and I think there's analogies to that on the B2B side. I mean, I think it's. There are times when I will do almost an impulse buy on, say, a really low-cost technology where there's not a I'm not committing to myself to a long-term connect. If I can do monthly, do a trial pay for it, figure it out, see if it works and then maybe commit to a longer one and negotiate something where I get a lower price. I think there's some analogies there. But the point is, how do I get to the point where I'm going to make that decision? Today, versus probably even just five years ago, is different and for sure is different than it was 10, 15, 20 years ago.

Speaker 2:

Right, yeah, so I mean you may take the risk as a user to do something like that, but I guess the question is that, as the companies, to look at like sales velocity, how can you reduce sales velocity overall? And that really is to understand how that how the buyer wants to buy, rather than how the company wants you to buy. So giving them options, taking them through that process a little bit faster, making sure that they have all the information on hand that they can share with their team, things like that, that will be helpful for sure.

Speaker 1:

That's great, all right. Well, I know we could probably continue this on for a while, but I think we're both tight on time here, so I want to be respectful for you. But, that said, if folks want to learn more about the Align framework or what you're doing at Infotech or in your own consulting, what's the best way for them to connect with you and hear or learn more about that?

Speaker 2:

It is always through LinkedIn, I mean, I think I'm always on it. When it went down yesterday, I was absolutely shocked.

Speaker 1:

Am I doing something wrong?

Speaker 2:

Right so yeah absolutely, but on LinkedIn they can. You know. Please engage with me, ask me questions. You know I'd love to engage in any kind of dialogue. So terrific.

Speaker 1:

Well, julia, this has been great. I really enjoyed the conversation and second time around I learned a lot, so you may get more people coming back at you like I did want to go deeper, so I appreciate that. Thank you for the time, absolutely. Thank you, so to our audience and our listeners out there. Thank you for continuing to support us. We will be back with more guests in the near future and hopefully we'll have Mike and Orneami joining as well soon. Until next time, bye everyone.

ABM and PLG Relationship Discussion
Implementing ABM and PLG Strategies
Understanding Customer Experience in Sales
Personalized Messaging and Buyer Engagement
Engaging Conversation With Julia