Account-Based Marketing (ABM): A Peek Behind The Curtain
An Interview with Mahesh Jeswani,
Principal Product Manager/Head of Product for Account Based Marketing Products Marketo
BEYOND THE HYPE
Mahesh, your CEO Steve Lucas recently claimed that “We’re the Best in
Marketing Automation” -- a space that focuses on lead generation,
When you listen to a lot of the people who are talking about or doing
Account Based Marketing (ABM), a lot of what they are discussing
will see as they use Marketo for their broad-based or lead-based
sounds similar to marketing automation software-related requirements.
If you look at the large enterprise companies that Marketo sells to, you
If you look at how Marketo has been implemented through the years, marketers have invested a lot
of time and resources building best practices around content, campaigns, reporting, scoring, etc.
approach that also leverages the work that marketers have built into the marketing automation
providing essential tools to target accounts, engage key people from those accounts across
as engagement, pipeline, sales cycle and revenue by allowing marketers to leverage their existing
“What if we had account
based marketing built
right within the same
Marketo platform that
we have been using
over the years for
ACCOUNT-BASED MARKETING (ABM) A PEEK BEHIND THE CURTAIN
contacts, and MQLs. So why roll out Marketo ABM?
marketing that the next question that comes up is “What if we had account-based marketing built
right within the same Marketo platform that we have been using over the years for traditional
marketing?” It is a natural thought progression from a marketing perspective. That is why at
Marketo we believe that ABM should live within the Marketo engagement platform and now we
have made it a reality by delivering a new best-in-class ABM product few months ago.
Does Marketo ABM require users to think differently about accounts, campaigns, KPIs, etc.??
ABM is not a replacement of what these marketers have been doing—it is a complementary
platforms to go after those highly focused target markets. Marketo ABM increases the ROI by
channels with high level of personalization and measure success using account-level metrics such
? Earlier you called Marketo an “engagement platform.” How do you see platforms such as Marketo
ABM helping sales and marketing teams in the next year?
We see ABM as one of the top initiatives for our customers in 2017. One of the key reason is to bring tighter
alignment between the marketing and the sales teams and ABM is undoubtedly an effective
high-value accounts across channels with consistent messaging and high-level of personalization.
-New technologies are generating more and more touch points for marketers to consider. Look at
entering the market, marketers need a platform that can be adapted and conﬁgured to
accommodate these ever-growing touch points. Therefore we are focused on delivering the best-
in-class ABM solution that will allow closer collaboration between the sales and marketing teams
and cross-channel personalized engagement for targeted accounts through a uniﬁed platform.
Display ad and retargeting is a great complement to marketing automation regardless of it is for
strategic technology partners such as Kwanzoo can easily plug into any new tools which Marketo
will build in the future. Even the ABM platform which we launched a few months ago is open
enough for Kwanzoo to plug into and run display ad campaigns to the targeted accounts which
are managed within the Marketo ABM platform. Display advertising is a very important channel
not only for Marketo customers but for Marketo’s overall strategy going forward from a product -
? Marketo ABM relies on strategic partnerships with best-in-breed vendors. Where do you see ABM
retargeting campaigns ﬁtting in with Marketo ABM?
Slack. That has become a go-to-market tool for every organization. With more of these tools
demand generation or ABM. That is we are making our platform more open and ﬂexible so
? Obviously Marketo sees ABM as more than just the latest “shiny object” for sales and marketing.
In the coming year, you are going to see Marketo focus a lot on sales enablement. Over the last few
years Marketo has been focusing on building tools for marketers and less on building tool for enabling
the sales teams. We are now looking at building richer tools for enabling the sales teams. Imagine
an app that the sales team can use daily to not only get insights from Marketo at both lead and
account level but to collaborate closely with the marketing team on common objectives. This is the-
high level direction we are taking around sales enablement. We are looking to provide better
collaboration between sales and marketing from an ABM perspective on those target accounts
that both organizations are mutually going after.
at a conference recently that showed that there were more than 100 startups providing some kind of
Yes, you are right. We are seeing that as more and more large enterprises become Marketo
customers the amount of data coming to Marketo from the outside (websites, emails, adtech and
IoT platforms) is enormous. We are building a new platform that can scale, handle this volume of
data, and provide strong performance—while allowing us to manage relevant activities in an
optimal way. We want to provide a way to “listen” to all the touch point activities in milliseconds. We
are not only changing our architecture but we are changing our user interface as well. We are
looking to revolutionize the way data is processed not only at the back end but also at the UI level.
We want to give marketers access and insight from billions of activities almost instantly. The way
that decisions will be made in the future will certainly change. Timing and adjustments can be
When it comes to ABM there seems to be a lot more data and touch points to deal with. How is?
Marketo ABM going to use that data to help sales and marketing teams?
much faster—impacting performance, productivity, and revenue.
Where do you see ABM opportunities evolving in the near future?
The ABM technology landscape seems to be ever growing and changing. Where do you see
Marketo ABM ﬁtting in to that landscape?
Yes, I agree. The ABM technology stack is growing at a very fast pace. In fact, I picked up a brochure
of ABM. Once marketers have the foundation through our platform, they can then access
integrated, specialized solutions like Kwanzoo to enhance the value of Marketo ABM. Our idea
of the essential components begins with the ability to manage accounts. In the past Marketo has
been focused on “leads” so changing the platform and introducing an object such as an “account”
object is a very important need to satisfy for Account Based Marketing. So, we have built an
account object. We have built a management tool that manages the whole lifecycle of your accounts
A third essential component is the ability to measure success at the account level. Let’s say that
your ABM technology stack has six solutions in it. At the end of the day, you need a way to “stitch”
all of the reporting and performance measurement together. That is exactly how Marketo ABM was
designed. We have a dashboard that “stitches things together” and provides you with aggregated
information and insights at an account level. This is highly important to truly measure success in
ABM. These are the essential components that we have addressed in Marketo ABM.
ABM solution. That tells me that there is a huge need, which everyone is realizing, that the
marketing automation software like Marketo must satisfy. It makes it clear for us. When it comes to
for marketing and sales teams. Now having said that, we at the same time are not saying that we -
will build everything within Marketo.
ABM, we want to be the “go to” platform for automating end to end Account Based Marketing needs
such as Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics. You get instant value. With other tools that are not
platforms you need to have the integration ﬁrst built out. So, the ﬁrst essential component is
management. A second essential component includes the ability to engage people from those
accounts across different channels. You need a platform that can quickly adopt new channels and
allow you to engage those people from the target accounts. We are providing a cross-channel
orchestration capability within Marketo by the way you build your campaigns. Or you can build your
campaigns at an account level and orchestrate those accounts across the channels.
Obviously, this is just the beginning. We have built great relationships among accounts, leads,
opportunities, and activities. So, for the future, we are taking these relationships to build “account
teams.” With these identiﬁed teams you can know which internal stakeholders (account owner,
sales development rep, etc.) are focusing on speciﬁc accounts so that Marketing can collaborate with
Sales on a day-to-day basis. Can you see the power of associating objects such as account teams,
opportunities, and activities together on the same platform? Once we have the object relationships
worked out, sales and marketing misalignment should go away. Everyone will have the same
information in front of them when they are looking at speciﬁc target accounts. Some of our
customers are already realizing this beneﬁt.
chooses to use someone who is not certiﬁed and part of our LaunchPoint ecosystem then they
are going to struggle from an integration perspective. I always tell customers to please step back
and take a long look before they employ any new technology.
The second challenge focuses on operations. Right now there is a lack of ABM best practices. Here
The third challenge focuses around the technology stack. There are a lot of attractive, specialized
solutions out there and marketers want to try them all. The problem at the end of the day is trying
to stitch all those solutions together—and making them work together. Very tricky. Marketers do
important aspect of implementing ABM. As I work with customers coming on board with Marketo
ABM I see three challenges around ABM implementation and execution. The top challenge focuses
Mahesh, can you talk a little bit about the challenges of implementing ABM with so many different?
pieces to manage such as data?
on organization. Before implementing ABM, it is critical for Sales and Marketing to align with each
other. If Sales and Marketing are not in alignment around the targeted accounts, the whole ABM
strategy will fail. I have seen companies spend a lot of money and time setting up their ABM
initiative only to have Sales come back and complain about the lack of results when engagement
does not happen right away. The two groups are not on the same page and have not mutually
agreed upon the objectives.
at Marketo we produce our deﬁnitive guides on a variety of topics. There is no document out there
that walks through the ABM process from end to end—that tells the whole story of ABM and how to
go about it. There are many solutions today and everyone has a different view of what ABM is
doing and how it should be implemented. I see customers getting really confused. Marketo is trying
to step up with our services team and LaunchPoint ecosystem partners to come out with best
practice guides and blogs and to implement these best practices in our engagements with our
not realize this challenge as they buy each individual solution but they do see it over time. So, to
us, it makes sense for marketers to start with the technology that they have already employed—
Marketo—and build a foundation from it. Then start extending. Have conﬁdence using partners
that have been certiﬁed by Marketo like Kwanzoo. Marketo will recommend Kwanzoo to our
customers who have display ad needs and hopefully we have earned their trust. If a customer