ABM, AI List Building & Lessons from Beer & Potato Chips 

Olin Hyde

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Artificial Intelligence as Applied to List Building: A giant leap forward in B2B targeting has occurred, and today we're going to talk about what's going on in list building with artificial intelligence, and how it can benefit your business. LeadCrunch[ai] uses artificial intelligence to drastically improve the performance of B2B demand generation campaigns through account-based "lookalike" modeling. Click the link for more information. https://leadcrunch.com/solutions/

Posted by LeadCrunch on Thursday, April 25, 2019

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Hosts: J. David Green and Jonathan Greene

Topic: Account Based Marketing

Subtopic: Artificial Intelligence

Duration: 15 minutes 

In this episode of the Green & Greene Show, the LeadCrunch B2B podcast, seasoned marketing experts discuss the use of artificial intelligence in list building for ABM campaigns and how beer & potato chips can teach today’s B2B marketers a lesson or two.  

TLDR; 

  • What Your SDRs Are Really Doing All Day 
  • Why Contact Data Is So Dirty
  • ABM & An Integrated Marketing Strategy
  • The Not-In-A-Million-Years Correlation
  • Beer & Potato Chips: Insights from B2C Marketing

Podcast Transcript

[INTRODUCTION]

[0:00:07.3] ANNOUNCER: Live from the city with the most perfect weather ever, San Diego, California, all the way to the gleaming shores of Jacksonville, Florida, it’s the Green & Greene Show. Here are your hosts, Dave Green and Jonathan Greene, goofing off instead of working, while unlocking the mysteries of demand gen. The Green & Greene show is brought to you by LeadCrunch, which creates B2B look-alike audiences.

[INTERVIEW]

[0:00:32.9] JG: I see we finally got an accurate intro.

[0:00:37.1] DG: We’re getting into this whole honesty thing. I thought, “Might as well come clean.”

[0:00:43.1] JG: Yeah. I’m over here, like I got my toenails painted this weekend, if you believe it. I’m just admiring my nail polish instead of working.

[0:00:51.7] DG: That is so good, man. I haven’t gotten into painting my toenails yet. I can see that I’m just missing out in life and I’ve got to get into these finer things.

[0:01:03.3] JG: It all started when my daughters were young. They used to paint my toenails for me. Now I just take the whole family for pedicures.

[0:01:13.8] DG: Well, I think we’re supposed to talk about demand gen, B2B-type stuff. We should probably get cracking before you’re not doing anything.

[0:01:22.9] JG: I’m sure audience has already found something else to watch. Last week, we talked about artificial intelligence as applied to programmatic advertising and discussed some of the ways we’re leveraging that in our core business and some of the things we think are possible. That’s not exactly the end of the story, is it? I mean, we also think we can apply this to list building and other ABM pursuits. Do you want to talk about that?

What Your SDRs Are Really Doing All Day 

[0:01:49.6] DG: Yeah. If you ever go watch sales reps, like SDRs for example, you’ll notice that they spend a huge amount of time screwing around. It’s not that they intend to screw around, it’s just the way it works out, because what do they do? They go on LinkedIn, and they munge around for a long time. Then they go on the client website and they dink around on that. Then they go into ZoomInfo, or Discover, or whatever data tool, or tools they have to try to figure out who to talk to and try to get some contact information for them, in order to send them some pretty irrelevant e-mail. That is the playbook du jour for probably 60%, 70% of SDRs today, and a heck of a lot of the actual sales reps.

[0:02:42.0] JG: It’s funny. I’d like to actually run an experiment, because most of the SDRs that I know make about five Facebook comments to every one I make. I have this theory they sit there and argue on Facebook all day.

[0:02:56.3] DG: Yeah. There are probably a bunch of them watching this show right now thinking it’s a strategy for trying to figure out how to sell you something. There are a whole bunch of marcom sales guys watching this show right now thinking, “Okay, what’s the angle here that I can use to send a pithy e-mail?”

Well, one of the things I think people ought to be thinking about is do you really want to have your $100,000 or $200,000 resource screw around all day? I think maybe not. Maybe that’s not the best use of limited resources that are hard to scale. I’m just spit-balling here, but maybe you should actually give them a list that’s already cleaned up, and it’s the right people and the right companies. What do you think?

[0:03:44.9] JG: You’re getting crazy. I don’t know if I could follow you with that. 

Why Contact Data Is So Dirty

[0:03:53.0] DG: For the uninitiated, you get a resource like Zoom, and I’m not trying to throw shade at those guys, but contact data is just incredibly hard to keep clean. That’s just the reality. Zoom and DiscoverOrg and Inside View and all these different providers, they really do a very good job, all in all. It’s never perfect and you can spend a lot of time, and then you find someone, and you go send them an e-mail and it bounces, or you dial the phone number and it doesn’t work.

After you put all that effort in, it’s pretty disheartening. If you’re a sales guy, it’s worse, because sales people are often given very broad parameters. Your job is to call any of the companies in your patch that have 500 to 2,500 employees, or…, or…, or…, right? Within that, of course, there are fantastic prospects and there are terrible prospects that are a bad fit, completely unlikely to buy. The very worst thing that happens is you get some interest and, because it’s hard to get interest, you hold on to those guys and you take them all the way through the closing. You overcome all of their objections and they sign the contract and you get your commission. Then you’re slammed with phone calls from an angry person who hates your guts, because you’ve sold them something that didn’t really work for them. 

That’s even worse. That’s demoralizing. You don’t really want to get back on the saddle and do that again. I think the better thing is, “Hey, let’s go look at the characteristics of your best customers. Let’s go figure out who it is that’s involved in the kinds of decisions of the products you sell. Let’s go find companies like that. Let’s go find the people. Let’s go validate the phone numbers and the e-mail addresses and make sure that they’re still there,” because I don’t know if you knew this, but on LinkedIn, I’ve noticed that when people get fired, they don’t tell you right away. They make it look like they’re still employed at that same company. There’s a lot of that. There are also fake LinkedIn profiles. Instead of making your sales people try to sort all that out, do it for them so that they can do what you actually hired them to do, which is… mmm… sell something.

Get the free eBook “How to Win the Love of Sales “

[0:06:22.3] JG: If only it were that simple, dude.

[0:06:24.6] DG: I know. I’m over simplifying by a lot, by a whole heck of a lot.

[0:06:30.3] JG: No, I’m kidding. It is that simple. I mean, the technology is emerging. We own a fair bit of it, actually, that can make this happen. Do you want to explain how that works?

[0:06:43.6] DG: Before we go there, let me tell you about what I think is the ideal use case here. ABM has rightly become the rage. Everybody’s doing ABM, except for the people who don’t know what it is. I’m not sure who those people are. It’s more pervasive than Donald Trump.

ABM & An Integrated Marketing Strategy

With ABM, one thing you can do is generate leads. Here’s a list of accounts. Let’s go introduce our whitepaper or e-book to them. A small percentage of them will raise their hand, and you can opt them in. You can do more, right? You can do display advertising to all those same people. That might make your lead generation efforts more productive because of brand awareness and tying an integrated message in and things like that, tricks that you do for LeadCrunch.

The third thing is that’s still not good enough. You know, these are your $100,000 or quarter-million-dollar or a million-dollar accounts. You have an SDR team or a sales rep banging on the phone, trying to get into the account as well, in addition to all those other things that you might be doing with digital or direct mail or whatever your marketing strategy is to create awareness and to spark some interest. Why not put all those things together in a single package and really kill it? That, to me, is the kind of thing that people ought to be thinking about with this, so they have a much more integrated approach. Cleaning up that list for the sales guys is part of the deal.

[0:08:23.9] JG: Yeah. The important thing about that integrated approach is that, when you begin to think of your entire market as a cohort, instead of onesie, twosie leads, it fundamentally changes the way you approach marketing. You might even find that you do it in phases, instead of trying to do everything at once and having a whole funnel. Obviously, a whole funnel needs to be built, but instead of trying to curate the whole funnel at once, you find that you try to move the cohort.

You start with a couple of months of really top-of-funnel, familiarization messaging, and then you move to conversion messaging over time. I think the efficacy of those things increases as a result of having done that.

[0:09:05.3] DG: They do. I’ll just give you a personal proof point. Long ago and far away, I worked for a company with a huge brand, really well-known. I didn’t realize at the time what a huge benefit it was to be able to call up and everybody already knew the company and had respect for it. Then I went to a little agency after that and no one wanted to give me the time of day. I was the same guy. I was actually a little smarter. Forget it. I didn’t have that brand behind me.

Building a recognition and awareness helps sales enormously. It’s hard to measure the benefit of that, but I think it also has a catalytic effect on the actual lead generation the marketing is doing as well. If people already know and trust the brand, it really does help.

[0:09:52.8] JG: Sure. Yeah, but the key, I think, is a world-class segmentation, or being able to arrive at that list of people in an intelligent way. I think that’s where most marketers fail. We’re very lucky that you happen to have a ton of experience with that. We’re able to layer together a whole bunch of different data sources and arrive at a well-curated list. I think that a lot of people perhaps don’t have that level of savvy, or they’re not ready to step up to that level of spin, because that’s an expensive proposition as well. I think we can help with that.

The Not-In-A-Million-Years Correlation

[0:10:28.2] DG: I was just talking to one of our rock-star clients over at Oracle Bronto, a guy named Bryce Roberts. Bryce, if you’re listening, sorry for telling the dark secrets that you shared with me, but I thought it was really instructive. We had found a correlation for Bryce, that he said, “Hey, I wouldn’t have seen this correlation in terms of targeting in a million years. I never would have thought of it.” I think that’s one of the powers of data science. You have all this data out there and there are signals that are really germane and they’re usually specific to your company and your particular product, and you need to figure out who those folks are.

By the way, it’s not how many employees or what industry you’re in. Those are maybe fence posts that you want to have in, but they’re not really going to get you to where you want to be. It’s usually much more nuanced than that. I think I was giving the example before: we use our own look-alike audience. The look-alike audience, among other things, will go out and look at a website and essentially look at keywords that seem to be common between two companies.

In our case, they found that if one of our prospects has the word “Gartner” on it, the big market research company, they tend to be a good prospect for us. We do content syndication. People are licensing Gartner whitepapers. There’s a good chance they’re trying to get that up, be on their website. They’re a good target for us. That’s the segmentation or filtering that I think is simply unavailable on the market, unless you’re using some look-alike engine.

[0:12:10.5] JG: Yeah. I used to use that similar targeting in the B2C base extensively. If I was selling surfer’s rash guards and I couldn’t figure out how to grow the market anymore, I’d try to think about crossover audiences. It turns out that Brazilian jiu-jitsu fighters wear surfer’s rash guards, so there’s a crossover there.

There’s no good way to do that in the B2B space. It’s much more difficult to cross-reference mentally. The AI, for whatever reason, has a knack for going in and ripping those things out for you and making them apparent. After the fact, you’re usually like, “Well, duh.” You never could have arrived at that conclusion by reverse engineering it.

Beer & Potato Chips: Insights from B2C Marketing

[0:12:50.6] DG: Yeah, that’s absolutely right. I think that consumer marketing in this regard is so far ahead of B2B. You just need to walk into your local convenience store. They’ve got things arranged per that crossover idea. The beer and the potato chips are in one place and the milk and the butter and the eggs are in another, because you’re usually not going in and getting beer and butter, right? They’ve learned that, so they put things together that are likely to relate to you, cross-selling and upselling. This is the same thing. That’s all segmentation really is if you get a little bit more elite in B2B.

[0:13:28.0] JG: Yeah, but you could have never observed those connections in the B2B space with your natural eye, because it takes 10 million different websites and natural language processing and higher algebraic linear analysis of the various points to even arrive at an idea of what these various crossovers could be. The AI does it efficiently and effectively and it’s been beneficial for a lot of our customers.

[0:13:52.8] DG: There you go again, man, using these big words, “algebraic” and stuff.

[0:13:56.4] JG: Yeah, it’s scary man. It really is.

[0:13:58.6] DG: I have no idea.

[0:14:01.6] JG: After Mark Russo watched our show, we’re busting out the approach records right now. Just let the robots do it, people. Trust me.

[0:14:11.4] DG: Well, great show, Jonathan. Thanks so much. By the way, if you noticed and you probably didn’t. It’s pretty hurtful if you didn’t, but we have a new jingle. It’s because I am in San Diego. I don’t have my beautiful San Diego backdrop yet, but I do want everyone to know, because I’m sure you’re on the edge of your microphone or audio device. We will have a San Diego backdrop shortly. It really is an awesome place here, man. I’m so glad I’m not living in Houston, Texas anymore. No offense to all the people there, but I’ll take San Diego any day.

[0:14:49.8] JG: Rub it in, rub it in.

[0:14:52.2] DG: You’re in Jacksonville. That’s a good spot. There’s nothing wrong with that.

[0:14:55.0] JG: Ain’t that far. It rains every day at 3:00 here. It never rains in San Diego. Every time it rains in San Diego, people lose their mind. Yeah. Anyway. Play the music, that’s a wrap. It’s been the Green & Greene Show.

[END OF EPISODE]

[0:15:14.4] ANNOUNCER: Thank you for tuning in to the Green & Greene Show by LeadCrunch. Green & Greene think differently about B2B are starting a movement to transform demand gen. If you have ideas for topics or would like to be a guest, send an e-mail to david.green@leadcrunch.ai. If you’d like to find more customers, visit our website to talk to one of our demand gen guides, www.leadcrunch.com.

[END]