How Cumulus Networks Turns Enablement Into Impact with 6sense

Cumulus Networks provides open networking software for the modern data center. With 34% of the Fortune 50 having already adopted Cumulus Networks technology, we know they’re doing something right! 

We recently sat down with 6sense power user Ari Capogeannis, Senior Director of Marketing at Cumulus Networks, to learn about the different ways the Cumulus team has created enablement plays that help their team deliver a cohesive customer experience from the inside, out. 

With locked-down internal processes and the entire revenue team united on a single platform, it’s no mystery why Cumulus Networks takes the cake when it comes to a robust account-based sales and marketing process.


Cumulus takes an account-based, hyper-targeted approach

Cumulus Networks has gone from traditional ABM methods like static target account lists to a hyper-targeted, account engagement approach focused on the best accounts that are in-market, and therefore, more likely to close. 

What drives that hyper-targeted, focused approach — as Ari Capogeannis says — is science and data. The Cumulus team has heavily integrated 6sense into their sales and marketing engine, powering their initiatives from prospecting all the way to upsell and retention, and they’re seeing great results. 

The Cumulus team has locked down a comprehensive process across their revenue team, and as a result, have been successful in creating cohesive experiences across every stage of their customers’ buying journey. Ari and the Cumulus marketing team have developed various enablement plays using 6sense that empower the revenue team to prioritize their efforts efficiently and engage with buying teams at scale. 

The account-based approach for Cumulus begins with its sales team, as they’re responsible for curating the target account list. Once that list is finalized, it is passed from sales to Ari, where the marketing team leverages 6sense to analyze and segment that list further. He uses 6sense predictive analytics to find additional accounts in-market that are then segmented within their Salesforce org. Predictive analytics helps them unveil which accounts are in-market for their solutions and who is displaying various research behaviors in the different buying stages.

Instead of a spray-and-pray method, the Cumulus team takes their in-market target accounts and ramps up digital marketing spend, creating hyper-targeted campaigns that are personalized based on intent clusters by keyword. 

Another element of this approach includes creating targeted campaign messaging that revolves around the different pillars of their product, using 6sense intent data to drive how spend and display ad targeting are divided across campaigns to their target accounts.

As a result of these hyper-targeted efforts, their account click-through rate has risen 53%.

Moving from MQLs to AQLs to increase efficiency

Most marketing teams are focused on generating as many MQLs as possible, which the sales organization may or may not work. The Cumulus Networks team is way ahead of this game. They’re currently operating with what Ari calls a “Demand Gen 3.0” engine. 

This goes beyond funneling MQLs into the sales org — and beyond simply aligning on a pipeline number. In Ari’s words, it’s about “everything we [Cumulus Networks] have in play between 6sense and the cohesive experiences on our website, being able to personalize across different personas and roles in the decision-making process, and making those rich experiences correlate to the conversation sales is having with each one of them.”

Ari and the marketing team at Cumulus have developed a lead classification model based heavily on 6sense data, using account buying stage and profile fit (depicted by a letter), along with lead strength based on intent and recency (depicted by a number). This allows their SDRs to efficiently target the best accounts, as their prospecting is based on relevant, real-time information like intent and predictive analytics. These leads, defined by their lead classification model, are known as Automation Qualified Leads (AQLs).

With this lead classification system, SDRs can measure immediate shifts in account engagement levels within their target account lists. On a larger scale, the management team can see the bigger picture by taking a snapshot of their target account list on a quarterly basis. They can now see how awareness and engagement has shifted throughout their entire global list, allowing them to quantify and measure the output of their team.

With 6sense intent data powering their scoring mechanism, uncovering which companies are in-market, and identifying which personas are doing keyword-specific research, the Cumulus SDR team can dive deeply into accounts that are in-market to buy, prioritize their prospecting efforts, and personalize their outreach effectively. 

The sales team also leverages the persona map within 6sense Sales Intelligence, which resides in the CRM, to see who else within the in-market account they should be engaging — and if there are other personas showing intent that sales has not yet reached out to. 

The idea of the lead classification model is to move from a black-and-white, loosely-defined MQL criteria to a data-driven model — something that cannot be refuted. 

A classic Cumulus triage play

Ari eloquently introduces the next enablement play: “You can’t force someone to have a need for you, but you can get much more targeted in your tactics.” 

The Cumulus team recognizes that in the mid-market space and beyond, the decision-making unit has varying roles and personas; in other words, today’s buying journey is fragmented. Fortunately, they have a systematic approach to combat this classic challenge in B2B buying.

In order to improve visibility into the entire buying team and prospect efficiently, the Cumulus team uses 6sense to trigger data enrichment plays for the decision-making units within in-market accounts. 6sense automatically executes SmartPlays to enrich contact data for target accounts, ensuring adequate contact coverage in geographic regions where there used to be whitespace, especially for accounts with someone in the buying center hitting the website. 

From here, two key next steps occur: 1) The SDRs are alerted and begin prospecting to the account, and 2) those regions are then triaged with corresponding 6sense segments that identify which accounts they can begin engaging by ramping up spend through their targeted display campaigns.

A robust reporting experience 

The Cumulus team — and Ari in particular — is no stranger to integrating different martech platforms, and Ari delves more into this by explaining their robust Google Analytics (GA) reporting experience. They’re able to dig another layer deeper into the data by leveraging the 6sense API to push segment data into custom GA dimensions, which allows them to take their reporting to a whole new level of granularity. 

With this approach, they are able to — on a global scale — take regions or even sub-regions and see the mix of visitors on their website in the past day, week, and/or month, as well as other key information through 6sense, like firmographics and more.

With the direction the Cumulus team is headed, it’s critical for them to be able to dive this deeply into their data in order to engage at scale. They can analyze their site traffic data at a whole new level by going into GA data studio and layering 6sense dimensions to see who’s “raising their hand,” who’s researching (and what) on the Cumulus website or elsewhere, and which accounts are in-market for their solutions. And with this level of account insight, they can create plays to warm them up through digital campaigns and capture them in a targeted manner.

Equipping SDRs with an “all-bound” model

“We’ve got a lot of cool things in play with 6sense [and other technologies] to focus on getting the right information in front of our SDRs rather than tossing a volume of names over the fence at them,” explains Ari. He goes on to mention that his absolute favorite thing about 6sense is how it has improved the efficiency of the Cumulus team. With their “all-bound” model, lead classification system, hyper-targeted display campaigns, and more, it just makes sense to focus on prioritizing by intent, and 6sense is critical in allowing them to do just that.

What makes Cumulus Networks so successful in rolling out these enablement plays incorporating 6sense is a combination of three things according to Ari: education, internal communication, and alignment. 

With sales and marketing working together from a single source of truth, they’ve achieved revenue team alignment — and continue to see success. The Cumulus team has built and embraced a strategic process that allows them to execute at scale, and Ari regularly brainstorms ways in which they can reap the most benefits from the 6sense platform, end-to-end. 

From using 6sense as an enablement tool for their sales organization, to predictive analytics that allow them to prospect efficiently, to rich insights that fuel their marketing campaigns, Ari has made it a point to incorporate 6sense data into the Cumulus team’s omnichannel customer experience — and has done an incredible job of driving strategic usage and adoption throughout the team, turning enablement plays into direct impact. 

We’re always learning something new when we talk to the Cumulus Networks team about their tactics! 

About the Author

Minal Awasthi

Minal Awasthi is the Customer Marketing Manager at 6sense. Regularly working with 6sense customers, Minal is responsible for documenting and sharing the success of all of our 6senseis.

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