Ask the Expert Series: Field/Event Marketing with Courtney Smith, Head of Field Marketing

Courtney Smith

 

This is one in a series of blog posts that will tap into our own ABM experts to guide you through the questions you should be asking when considering ABM technology.

Field Marketing is commonly misperceived as an “events” function. While events are a key piece of the GTM motion, the value of field marketing extends far beyond trendy venues and tasty cocktails. In fact, Field Marketing can and should be the heartbeat of your GTM strategy, demanding tight alignment between sales and the rest of marketing. 

As a business partner to Sales, Field Marketing has a seat at the planning table – evaluating how messages and programs are performing in the field and pressure testing new ideas to create pipeline. And if you’re a Field Marketer, you should have an active voice when it comes to your organization’s ABM strategy, including the tools you need to adopt to execute that strategy. 

To ensure success in your role and create seamless alignment across sales and marketing, here are the top questions you should be asking your ABM platform provider: 

1. What data and insights can your platform provide me to help drive effective conversations with sales? 

Sales teams have no shortage of ideas, and there are two types of sales reps: the lone wolves that go rogue and try to execute their own programs and the visionaries that bring you so many ideas that it can sometimes be overwhelming. If you’re lucky, you get to work with the latter. In either case, it’s up to you to identify pipeline gaps and make proactive recommendations to fill those gaps. But before you can have those discussions, you have to have the data to support your recommendations. 

One of the biggest struggles with creating and executing effective campaigns is understanding and prioritizing the audience (accounts) you are targeting. You need to know who (account) is in-market for your product or solution. This is critical to developing your message and selecting the type of program most likely to elicit engagement – digital, direct mail, live events, etc. – and even where you need to place focus, geographically. 

Look to a platform that can give you these insights, so that you can fuel your recommendations with trusted data pointing to who, when, and how to go after target accounts to drive more pipeline.

2. Does your platform support multiple GTM motions? 

Field Marketing leverages several GTM motions in addition to events. Across each motion, it’s critical to deliver the right message to your target audience based on where they are in their buying journey at any given moment in time.

You will also want a platform that uses the power of AI to run dynamic campaigns based on segments and personas that you have preset. Meaning that the platform can read the anonymous signals and digital footprint left across the web by a buyer and then automatically select the messages and offers the account will see based on their behavior. Website content, digital ads, and resource hubs all get synced up with the same messaging directed towards the account, creating a dynamic, tailored experience just for them. This will increase alignment with your sales team and help drive proactive end to end programs to fill pipeline gaps.

3. How can your platform boost my pre-event strategy? 

Leading up to an event, you might get a list of accounts and titles attending the event, but sometimes you get diddly squat. And even if the event does provide those accounts and titles, it is usually too late to do any research around them to create personalized, targeted messaging. So that leaves marketing and sales to use the good ol’ “spray and pray” method, which we all know is not very effective. 

You need a platform that allows you to create custom audiences no matter how much or how little data you have. If you don’t get a list of attendees, you want a platform that tells you what accounts are researching the event so you can focus on the ones relevant to you. If you do get a list of attendees, after analyzing gaps from your MAP/CRM systems, you can use the insights from your platform to enrich the data you have or purchase missing data.  

All good pre-event strategies focus across channels – emails, blogs, social media, display advertising, etc. Having a more targeted audience benefits you by taking the guessing game out of your messaging. Instead, you can know what messages will be the most relevant to your broader audience and then you can create variations of that message to get more targeted once you know each account’s intent and buying stage. This reduces waste across resources by eliminating time spent on irrelevant audiences and accounts. 

In addition to Marketing driving promotions, Sales teams are leveraging messages to drive face to face engagement. So the more relevant your messaging is, the better the chances of sales getting those meetings. 

4.  How can I leverage your platform to increase onsite engagement at events? 

You now know that you need to create meaningful experiences for your audience based on their needs. But how do you execute and scale? 

You have to start by understanding where accounts are in their buying journey and formulate outreach that is most likely to drive engagement. Let’s look at the buying stages and what outreach makes the most sense. 

Awareness – If an account is in the awareness stage, you can use a broader, more general message through display advertising and nurture emails. At this point, the account is just getting their feet wet and poking around to see what’s out there. 

Consideration – If an account is in the consideration stage, then 1:1 outreach is best with direct invites such as “meet us at happy hour” and “stop by our booth”. You are inviting them to learn more about your product or service and telling them that you are there to answer questions, show them demos, introduce them to your customers, etc. 

Purchase – If an account is in the purchase stage, again, 1:1 outreach is best but in a more granular, targeted way. You want to get deeper with these accounts to show them how your product or service can solve their problems. Set up a meeting, invite them to an opportunity to learn about your product or service’s capabilities, find executive alignment, invite them to a networking dinner with customers/peers, and/or invite them to attend a customer case study session at the event. 

With your platform's insights, you can know who is going to attend each show you participate in and/or sponsor which will help you formulate the right outreach to drive engagement and set meetings. Now you can align with your BDRs and AEs on what message you want to send, to who, and through which channel for each account to maximize your efforts and hit your goals. 

1:1 emails and phone outreach, display advertising for awareness, and blogs leading up to the event – all targeted with relevant messaging, dynamically shifting as accounts move in and out of buying stages – increase your brand awareness and sets expectations for attendees, putting you top of mind. Getting on your targeted accounts’ calendars with meetings, speaking sessions, happy hours, and dinners before the competition gives you an edge in an otherwise hard-to-compete-in area. 

5. Can your platform help me maximize investments, post-event? 

The most important piece of every event is the follow-up plan. Because guess what? You’ve just worked your tail off putting on a successful event and Sales had amazing meetings..but your prospects probably aren’t going to think about you when they leave. It’s your job to stay top-of-mind by continuing to nurture the accounts and move opportunities forward. But remember, one size does not fit all when it comes to the message.  

Find a platform that helps you scale your follow-up through the power of AI so that you can continue to nurture accounts and buying teams as they fall in and out of buying stages. Create segments so that you can provide each account with the resources that will drive them to YOU (use cases, demos, webinars, product updates, and other resources relevant to that account). Again, this is where personalization comes into play. You have to know what your account is interested in and where they are in their buyer’s journey in order to build trust with content that speaks to them. Once that trust is established, use keywords and intent data to drive them to another event or a meeting that is relevant to them and continues the conversation, moving the deal forward. At this stage, you should also know what accounts are qualified and are ready for direct follow-up by your BDRs and AEs. 

Having a platform that uses Big Data and machine learning to give you the right insights, at the right time, and uses AI to keep up with shifting personas and buying stages in real-time puts you in a position to lead the competition. Having all of this data and insight on one platform that seamlessly integrates with your CRM system, builds trust and keeps you aligned with sales and revenue teams. When we can all work together in parallel towards a common goal, we become a powerhouse that maximizes effort, time, and resources while increasing deal velocity and pipeline. On top of that, we can have fun while doing it because we know that what we are doing is having an impact and helping buyers complete their buying jobs (all while wearing that awesome t-shirt and drinking their favorite coffee you sent them out of the mug touting your brand.) 

To learn more about how 6sense’s Account Based Orchestration platform has transformed our customers ABM efforts, check out our Customer Success Blogs and our Meet the Sensei’s Webinar Series.

 

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